Health care plan clears major hurdle
October 13, 2009 3:34 PM   Subscribe

The Senate Finance Committee has approved the plan proposed by Max Baucus.
posted by reenum (177 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I'm not normally a political person, but if you want this to pass, e-mail your senators and let them know about it.
posted by reenum at 3:38 PM on October 13, 2009


one small step for congressional procedure, one giant leap for american-kind, etc. etc.
posted by Think_Long at 3:38 PM on October 13, 2009


lets see if I can sum up..
1. the finance bill is meh-tastic
2. Snowe crossed party lines to vote for it and is potentially facing pretty strong blowback from her party leaders for doing so.
3. This is the furthest HCR has gotten in forever
4. This is NOT the final product. A merged bill between House and Senate will be the final bill, and some have said they may well freze out the GOP completely in the merging process.


All said I have to say this is a very thin post, a CNN and BBC link, so while I'd be interested in what people have to say, I think I have to flag it.
posted by edgeways at 3:40 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sadly, Snowe’s support could signal a bad day for real reform. Snowe has long been opposed to some of the most important elements of reform. I’m not just referring to her opposition to a real public option and her support for a worthless trigger proposal. ...

I fear all of these terrible ideas from Sen. Snowe will make their way into the final bill. Obama has signaled his desperation to win the support of Snowe, and seems willing to accept any idea she has regardless how bad. Snowe’s vote may make it easier for the Democratic leadership to declare a political victory, but the cost of winning Snowe’s support could be that health care reform is a policy failure. In which case, it is the American people who are the real losers.

posted by Joe Beese at 3:42 PM on October 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


yeah but people have been predicting the failure of any HCR at all for so long I have to take sour grapes with a grain of salt until the final product is put forth. It is pre-criticism that does little to nothing in accomplishing anything.
posted by edgeways at 3:45 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


"It is not guaranteed to pass, as it needs all the Democrats, two independents and one Republican to vote in favour."

"But this is not the end of the process. There are many more legislative hurdles to overcome before it becomes law. In the meantime, debate will continue to rage."



crap
posted by sweetmarie at 3:47 PM on October 13, 2009


"Ours is a balanced plan," said committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana.
Fuck you, Baucus. I don't want a plan that's "balanced" between "right-leaning" and "fruitcake nutso moonbat neocon", and I don't want worthless, impotent co-ops. I want a goddamned public option in lieu of fully socialized care.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 3:50 PM on October 13, 2009 [102 favorites]


Yeah, there seems to be a real concern that the Finance Bill would be a disaster from a policy perspective. If it forces people to buy health insurance and still get jerked around by insurers, that's going to be a problem (Although I gather they are going to ban recision, at least)

Creating a crappy system and forcing people into it is a recipe for political backlash, while further sucking the cash out of middle class Americans and forcing them to fork over more and more of their paycheck to wallstreet and healthcare CEOs so the rich can continue to get richer.

One of the important differences between the senate Democrats and senate Republicans is that the Republicans can actually take away things like chairmanships and ranking seats from senators who don't toe the line. Meanwhile senators like Joe Lieberman and Kent Conrad can do whatever they want and keep their chairmanships. Because of that, we have far less control.
posted by delmoi at 3:51 PM on October 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


I have so many mixed feelings about this. I'm worried the bill will be impotent because of the lack of a public option, but at the same time, I feel like this is really the best this country can politically muster.

Still, I get the feeling that Snowe crossing party lines is sort of a watershed moment. After all, there's only so much that Fox News and the teabaggers can say against her, and I think the majority of Americans are glad that she's been willing to compromise. She might encourage other moderate Republicans to provide real, constructive help on the bills, rather than the same rhetoric about decreasing regulations to increase competition.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:52 PM on October 13, 2009


"It is not guaranteed to pass, as it needs all the Democrats, two independents and one Republican to vote in favour."

That's not true, it can pass with 51 votes under reconciliation, although there would have to be some compromises (like a sunset period)
posted by delmoi at 3:52 PM on October 13, 2009


In the meantime, debate will continue to rage.

Haven't seen much debate yet. No shortage of rage, though.
posted by rokusan at 3:52 PM on October 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


mccarty.tim: "...Snowe crossing party lines is sort of a watershed moment. After all, there's only so much that Fox News and the teabaggers can say against her..."

RedState's Erick Erickson will prove you wrong!

Olympia Snowe has sold out the country. Having been banished to our world after Aslan chased her out of Narnia, Snowe is intent on corrupting this place too.

So we should melt her.

What melts snow? Rock salt.

I’m going to ship this 5 pound bag of rock salt to her office in Maine. It’s only $3.00. You should join me.

It is a visible demonstration of our contempt for her. First she votes for the stimulus. Now this.

It’s time to melt Snowe. ORDER YOUR BAG HERE.

posted by Joe Beese at 3:55 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


yeah but people have been predicting the failure of any HCR at all for so long I have to take sour grapes with a grain of salt until the final product is put forth. It is pre-criticism that does little to nothing in accomplishing anything.

I got caught on the sour grapes and grain of salt, and I got hungry.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:56 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


5 LB Rock Salt For Making Ice Cream.

And now I want tart grape ice cream
posted by filthy light thief at 3:58 PM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


"I’m going to ship this 5 pound bag of rock salt to her office in Maine. It’s only $3.00. You should join me.

It is a visible demonstration of our contempt for her. First she votes for the stimulus. Now this.

It’s time to melt Snowe. ORDER YOUR BAG HERE."


Brilliant. Rock salt is only $4 for a 40-lb bag here, so he's clearing $20 on each bag.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 3:59 PM on October 13, 2009 [13 favorites]


My fear is that this will pass with the provisions that protect the already insured, and will let the poor just go without, because that's how things work in this country. You can abuse the middle class for a while, and then they rebel. But you can can always "put the great fuck" upon the poor, in the words of 17th century Irish playwright Richard head.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:01 PM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


To be honest, I really can't wait for healthcare reform to be wrapped off, not just because I want affordable healthcare for everyone, but also because I want to see the right wingers freak out over some new subjects, like DADT, gay marriage, and climate change. I know it'll be terrible and offensive, but it's like a train wreck. Plus, it also serves as a good survey to see how many racists, homophobes, and climate change deniers are in the woodwork. And the teabagger posters have been fun, but they're starting to repeat themselves.

DADT and repealing DOMA are particularly exciting, because the Republican party can't play to their rational strengths (states' rights, liberty, reduce taxes) and will have to resort to pure bigotry and fear mongering. DOMA's a federal law that imposes restrictions on marriage, and even the Pentagon admits DADT is making the military weaker.

They can't even fall back on socialism, as the USSR was quite homophobic. So were the Nazis.

I particularly can't wait to see the leaps of logic Glenn Beck will use to tie the repeal of DADT to a vague historical analogy that puts tolerant progressives on the side of tyranny.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:02 PM on October 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


sweet, I bet she'll appreciate all the free ice melting goodness being sent her way in snowy Maine, if people sent her rack salt in appreciation (as it has a legitimate use) it'd really confuse the message.... And I'm thinking it'll take more than $3 to send a 5 pound bag, size as well as weight matters. Looking at the postal rates I'm thinking it'll be more like $11.
posted by edgeways at 4:03 PM on October 13, 2009


It's a toothless plan, and thus a tepid 'victory'. Call me when real reform takes some steps toward passage.
posted by cmgonzalez at 4:03 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


lets see if I can sum up..
1. the finance bill is meh-tastic
2. Snowe crossed party lines to vote for it and is potentially facing pretty strong blowback from her party leaders for doing so.
3. This is the furthest HCR has gotten in forever
4. This is NOT the final product. A merged bill between House and Senate will be the final bill, and some have said they may well freze out the GOP completely in the merging process.


All said I have to say this is a very thin post, a CNN and BBC link, so while I'd be interested in what people have to say, I think I have to flag it.


The fact that you don't like the Finance bill is not a reason to flag the post.

This stuff is going through. I was very sketchy on the public option's chances, but I'm starting to think it will make it in the conference committee. Then reconciliation will be used for the final product. But there will be a senate bill and there will be a successful cloture vote on that bill.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:03 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


She should use it to make a shit-ton of ice cream so that everyone who buys into the public option gets a cone.
posted by sciurus at 4:04 PM on October 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


I particularly can't wait to see the leaps of logic Glenn Beck will use to tie the repeal of DADT to a vague historical analogy that puts tolerant progressives on the side of tyranny.

Pssh, like anything they have been saying is accurate anyways, being truthful is no bar... by the way, haven't you heard? Hitler was gay.
posted by edgeways at 4:06 PM on October 13, 2009


People are sending rock salt to Olympia Snowe? That's expensive to ship and stupid. Plus, rock salt is somewhat useful. Chances are her district has money in the budget to buy salt to clear the roads in winter.

They just gave her district a handout. A socialist, welfare, commie handout. After all, don't Real Americans™ drive eight wheel drive pickups and thus have no need for government snow plows?
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:08 PM on October 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


I didn't flag it because I didn't/don't like the finance bill, I flagged it because the post is a link to a news article to a transitional piece of news on the ongoing fight of HCR. It is noteworthy in a sense but the post is very thin.

and, yet.. I'm still here.
posted by edgeways at 4:09 PM on October 13, 2009


The last time I tried to keep up with all the changes in this bill was at least more than a week ago, and reading around I can't find anything that answers my question (and don't have time to reread the bill yet again). Maybe someone here knows:

I know the personal mandate to buy insurance is still in it, and they plan to have coops/exchanges/whatever ... but I read the exchanges (and the subsidies to those who can't afford insurance) wouldn't come into being until 2013 but the personal mandate to buy insurance would begin right away. Is that true? If it is, that seems crappy.
posted by Orb at 4:14 PM on October 13, 2009


RedState's Erick Erickson will prove you wrong!

What a tool.
posted by Ratio at 4:14 PM on October 13, 2009


2. Snowe crossed party lines to vote for it and is potentially facing pretty strong blowback from her party leaders for doing so.

what are they going to do? not let her have the ranking membership on the commerce committee?

The Dems will give her the chair of that fucking committee. Seriously, she's been laying the groundwork for a party switch for some time now. She's been making the "I haven't changed, my party has changed comments for weeks." They won't do shit, or better yet, they will retaliate and the Dems will swoop her up. 61 votes baby! 61! soooo sweet.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:17 PM on October 13, 2009


It is not guaranteed to pass, as it needs all the Democrats, two independents and one Republican to vote in favour.

FFS, no it doesn't. It needs 50 votes to pass. It needs all the caucusing Democrats to not filibuster, which should be a requirement for being part of the Democratic caucus to fucking begin with.

If this makes it to the floor, even with a public option, it passes. Why in god's name must people who want it to pass help the media in lying about an obstruction tactic that mushy Dems want to hide behind? STOP SAYING THEY NEED 60 VOTES TO PASS THE BILL.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:19 PM on October 13, 2009 [29 favorites]


what are they going to do? not let her have the ranking membership on the commerce committee?

Umm, that's exactly what they're threatening to do.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:20 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, so the Senate has finally gotten off its keister and voted on the thing.

Now send it to Conference, put the robust public option back in and vote on Reconciliation and let the damn Republicans howl all they want.

Elections have freaking consequences, y'all.
posted by darkstar at 4:23 PM on October 13, 2009 [7 favorites]




and, yet.. I'm still here.

Because you looooove us. Yes you do!
posted by hellojed at 4:25 PM on October 13, 2009




This is NOT enough. If we get stuck with a mandate and not enough real financial help, it will suck the life out of the middle class (the life is already sucked out of the poor).
posted by kathrineg at 4:27 PM on October 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


And the taxes involved are stupid. They are just non-sensical.
posted by kathrineg at 4:28 PM on October 13, 2009


COMMENCE GRIPING!
posted by Artw at 4:33 PM on October 13, 2009


I've been unemployed for over a year, there are no jobs to be had where I live, I haven't had health insurance in over a decade even when I was employed, because it wasn't offered to me.

How will this plan help me other than by threatening me with stiff financial penalties if I DO require medical attention?
posted by hippybear at 4:34 PM on October 13, 2009 [8 favorites]


61 votes baby! 61! soooo sweet.

That's a pretty meaningless number when a dozen aren't even reliable votes on a Democratic bill.

60 Republican seats meant 60 Republican votes. 60 Democrats, though, only seems to mean 50, maybe 52 votes.

"Getting Stuff Done" is not something these guys study.
posted by rokusan at 4:36 PM on October 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


hippybear, why don't you qualify for Medicaid?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:36 PM on October 13, 2009


EMRFKC: long story short?

1) gay living with partner which is the only reason I haven't starved to death
2) household income exceeds all possible Medicaid requirements
3) partner's employer won't accept me as legitimate under their health care plan
posted by hippybear at 4:41 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had hopes for real medical reform once, but I've given up on my hopes.

For the last 6 or 7 years I've often thought of striking out on my own, since I am positive I can be a successful enough hunter and gatherer to provide for me and my own, but the one thing that has always stopped me is health insurance.

Sure, the guy in the tribe that I used to exempt from hunting and gathering tasks because he entertained me has somehow become more important than the Chief, but you know, I could deal with this if the shaman would still take my calls.

It's all broken.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:42 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now that they finally got the bill out of committe, here's to hoping they hit a home run and throw in single payer during the reconciliation.

Or to put it another way, I bet the walrus will totally take care of us, unlike that carpenter fellow.
posted by mullingitover at 4:44 PM on October 13, 2009


I'm not normally a political person, but if you don't want this to pass, e-mail your senators and let them know about it.
posted by davidmsc at 4:46 PM on October 13, 2009


hippybear, I hope the Baucus plan would allow you to get health insurance from a public co-operative at a somewhat acceptable rate. But of course a robust national public option would be far better value.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:47 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not normally a political person, but if you want this to pass, e-mail your senators and let them know about it.

Or better yet, pick up a pen, hit the keyboard, send a real letter and pay postage.

I honestly believe people pay more attention to real letters (companies, politicians, or random Joe).
posted by cjorgensen at 4:47 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I feel for you people. I really do. It could just as easily have been me born 100 kms south.
posted by gman at 4:48 PM on October 13, 2009 [10 favorites]


Dean for Senate Majority Leader.
posted by DU at 4:51 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


For the last 6 or 7 years I've often thought of striking out on my own, since I am positive I can be a successful enough hunter and gatherer to provide for me and my own, but the one thing that has always stopped me is health insurance.

You know, if people had portable, universal health care, they'd be a lot more likely to leave bad jobs and strike out on their own... leading to exactly the kind of innovative, entrepreneuria businesses that the gov't keeps insisting the economy needs.

Why doesn't anyone ever sell universal health care as an economic stimulus?
posted by rokusan at 4:51 PM on October 13, 2009 [30 favorites]


My fear is that this will pass with the provisions that protect the already insured, and will let the poor just go without, because that's how things work in this country.

Even the most conservative of the bills (the one out of the Finance Committee) is not going to stiff the really poor. In fact, it's going to DRAMATICALLY expand Medicaid, by opening it up to all poor people, not just those that also qualify by virtue of being disabled, over 65, or pregnant/caregivers. (People don't seem to realize that your average single person living near or below the poverty line doesn't qualify for Medicaid in nearly any state, no matter how poor or destitute they are.)

Will it stiff the lower-middle class? Definitely a possibility, although it looks like there's a waiver of the financial penalties if you can't find affordable insurance.

I'm having a hard time seeing how someone is going to be worse off under even the "worst" [Baucus/Snowe] bill. At best, they're either going to qualify for Medicaid (extremely comprehensive and free healthcare, albeit with some problems finding a doctor to take you) or they are going to qualify for some major subsidies to help them buy insurance that now comes with strong consumer protections. At neutral, they aren't poor enough to qualify for subsidies but can't find affordable insurance, and they face no financial downside, although they're not necessarily better off. At worst, middle-class families--say, 300% FPL and above--and single young people are forced to spend more on insurance than they want to or feel they can afford (I think the exemption from the mandate kicks in if you can't find anything below 10% of income, although I haven't read the most recent bill).

I think the bill could be better, but all the griping about how this is actually going to screw people seems a bit misplaced to me. The consumer protections alone are worth supporting; the big expansion of Medicaid eligibility to working poor people who aren't parents seems worth supporting to me; the subsidies for people below 300% or 400% of poverty to assist with buying insurance seems worth supporting to me. Any single one of those things I think progressives should be lobbying their asses off for. YPolicyPreferencesMV, of course.
posted by iminurmefi at 4:52 PM on October 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


Why doesn't anyone ever sell universal health care as an economic stimulus?

The CAW does so at every possible opportunity.
posted by GuyZero at 4:52 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I honestly believe people pay more attention to real letters (companies, politicians, or random Joe).

Actually...

The strictures on receiving physical mail put in place after the Anthrax scare of 2001 have led most politicians to prefer email or telephone communication. I know that both of the senators in my state have statements on their website stating that the safety measures for inspecting mail will delay any physical mail from getting to them for about 4-8 weeks, and they recommend other sorts of communication.

This likely does not hold true for companies, but for congress critters, that is what most of them report.
posted by hippybear at 4:53 PM on October 13, 2009


STOP SAYING THEY NEED 60 VOTES TO PASS THE BILL.

Yes, that. I remember when the Republicans had a slim majority, but somehow were able to manage all kinds of legislation down the Dems' collective throats. The only option Dems had was to filibuster, and they rarely took it. Now, all of a sudden the Democrats have the majority in a fucking election sweep and 50 isn't good enough? They need 60? Seriously, wtf. People need to stop listening to all that bipartisan bullshit. No one really believes it and it's just holding people back.
posted by scrutiny at 4:55 PM on October 13, 2009 [13 favorites]


davidmsc dreams of a system without government regulation, in which anyone is free to pick any health insurance plan, and in which private insurers will simply choose to cover pre-existing conditions, and to provide affordable care to those of us unlucky enough to develop expensive diseases, simply because [INSERT REASON HERE]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:56 PM on October 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


if this is "health care reform" why do i still feel sick?!?
posted by kuppajava at 4:56 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, they Democrats need to call the Republicans on their "filibuster option" and make them actually exercise it. Let them be seen by the American public as being obstructionist. Force them to follow through on the threat, and make them talk and talk and talk... Eventually they will want to see their families, or there will be a holiday they feel is important, or something else will come up, and then the Democrats can actually get something done.

But there is no shame in allowing one's opponent to be as obstructionist in as public a manner as possible. That will only win over more voters to the side of those wanting to get things done.
posted by hippybear at 4:59 PM on October 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm not normally a political person, but ... I would like to remain complicit in the deaths of 45,000 Americans every year for crassly ideological and/or selfish reasons? Preach on, brother! Preach on!
posted by joe lisboa at 5:01 PM on October 13, 2009


Flagged!

(as fantastic)
posted by jock@law at 5:04 PM on October 13, 2009


Yay! One step closer to being more fully screwed than you already are! Healthcare reform my furry ass.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:05 PM on October 13, 2009


Tags:
healthcare
politics
government


How about a "America" or "USA" tag there? Because every other government has solved this issue to the satisfaction of their respective citizens.
posted by GuyZero at 5:06 PM on October 13, 2009 [13 favorites]


iminurmefi: "The consumer protections alone are worth supporting..."

You do realize that the final bill is now whatever President Snowe says it is.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:11 PM on October 13, 2009


Can someone explain to me the various ways we (Congress, Obama) go from the Baucus bill to actually having a for real public option? Because the talking heads and bloggers and newspaper columnists seem to be perfectly split--half think the public option is dead, half think it'll definitely pass with one. Me, I dunno what to think.

So the big question is: will Obama sign a law that does not include a public option? On bad mornings, I think he'll sign something with the illusion of a public option, but will end up being a nice, long bone job for the health industry.
posted by zardoz at 5:14 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Joe Beese, I think that's overstating it a bit. But even so: Olympia Snowe is significantly more liberal than a big chunk of the Democratic Party. She has some ill-considered ideas (the one about the penalizing employers for not offering health insurance only if their employees were low-income jumps to mind), but generally has pushed for things I'd consider pretty progressive, like subsidies extending further up the income ladder. She's batted down stupid amendments to force any insurer in the exchange to drop abortion coverage.

So, yeah, she's to the right of where I am, but given the general make-up of the Senate, I could think of worse people to be influential in the process.

Unless you're aware of something I'm not in terms of Snowe hating consumer protection. She's from Maine, not Connecticut or Delaware, so I think that's unlikely, but if it's so I'd love to hear about it.
posted by iminurmefi at 5:18 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


following ezra klein on this: "Baucus and Wyden are, in theory, working together to get a compromise version of Wyden's [Free Choice] amendment into the merged bill that will come out of the HELP/Finance negotiations."

\o/ yay :P

in addition: Evan Bayh and Bill Nelson Open to State Public Plans, perhaps something along the lines of robert pozen's proposal...
In short, within the context of state-based Connectors implementing the individual mandate, the most viable definition of the public option is a state-based health care plan currently serving governmental employees. That approach would sidestep the ideological debate, while helping to achieve the consensus goal of constraining health care costs.
otoh, a cynic would say...
the proposals in Congress are just patches for this unsustainable system. Ultimately, we will either move toward a government-run system (and by that I mean not just government running an insurance system, but government running the entire health care delivery process) or we will move toward a system based largely on vouchers
regardless tho: Think About the Grandkids

also, fwiw, klein is on charlie rose tonite

oh and btw michael sandel was on last nite
posted by kliuless at 5:20 PM on October 13, 2009


Sorry. That was incredibly pessimistic. I just don't have any faith in any of our governments any more. They all seem to be out to thoroughly fuck us over.

Sigh.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:20 PM on October 13, 2009


STOP SAYING THEY NEED 60 VOTES TO PASS THE BILL.

Maybe I'm wrong, but the real answer is it depends on the Republicans. If they filibuster, you need 60 votes for cloture. The Dems only have 59 even if all caucusing Dems vote for it (since we only have 99 Senators right now). cloture rules which seem to confirm that Republicans could block it (even just a small group of them) if no Republicans voted for cloture.

The only way around that is the reconciliation thing.

Yes, Republicans passed all sorts of stupid shit with 50 votes? Why? The Democrats were afraid to filibuster. We'll see if the Republicans are.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:21 PM on October 13, 2009


Unless you're suggesting they wait until the new Mass. Senator is seated, I'm not clear when that is. At the moment they don't have enough.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:22 PM on October 13, 2009


You know, if people had portable, universal health care, they'd be a lot more likely to leave bad jobs and strike out on their own... leading to exactly the kind of innovative, entrepreneuria businesses that the gov't keeps insisting the economy needs.

Which is exactly why Southern conservatives of the Wal-Mart mould would hate it; it'd weaken the quasi-feudal chains of fealty between employees and their employers and strengthen the hierarchies of authority that bind the Red States together.
posted by acb at 5:25 PM on October 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


It needs all the caucusing Democrats to not filibuster, which should be a requirement for being part of the Democratic caucus to fucking begin with.

That's a good point. When was the last time a member of a political party joined or threatened to join a filibuster of his own President's agenda?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:27 PM on October 13, 2009


And what Democrat in their right mind would choose this time to make their stand, if they don't intend to switch parties?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:28 PM on October 13, 2009


Because every other government has solved this issue to the satisfaction of their respective citizens.

So, so not true! I am deeply unsatisfied that when I take my son to visit his doctor, for free, so she can give us another prescription for his heavily publicly-subsidized asthma medication, she can sometimes be running as much as 15 minutes late for the appointment!
posted by Jimbob at 5:41 PM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94: "When was the last time a member of a political party joined or threatened to join a filibuster of his own President's agenda?"

Tell you in a sec... I've got Lieberman's people on the line...
posted by Joe Beese at 5:43 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


iminurmefi: "I think the bill could be better, but all the griping about how this is actually going to screw people seems a bit misplaced to me. The consumer protections alone are worth supporting; the big expansion of Medicaid eligibility to working poor people who aren't parents seems worth supporting to me; the subsidies for people below 300% or 400% of poverty to assist with buying insurance seems worth supporting to me. Any single one of those things I think progressives should be lobbying their asses off for. YPolicyPreferencesMV, of course."

See, I'm griping about this because it doesn't fix the glitch. Now people are going to be forced to pay private health care and insurance companies who are out to make a profit off of peoples' suffering, and if you can't afford the bills, well, we're all going to get to foot the bill! Yay! And what if costs still go up? Well, then people will say, "See? The naysayers were right! It didn't work! End government regulation!" and we'll be right back in this fucked-up, not-actually-even-free-market system we're in right now.

Half-assed measures will not fix the underlying problem, they'll simply mask the effects for a small minority while allowing the disease to spread.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 5:57 PM on October 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


"This is NOT enough. If we get stuck with a mandate and not enough real financial help, it will suck the life out of the middle class"

Not likely. In fact, it should help it, as it will result in a net savings to the middle class.

Why?
1> Having a job but being uninsured costs money, even if you aren't paying for health insurance. When you don't have insurance, that doesn't mean you never get sick, never go to a doctor, never pay for alternatives to doctors, etc. A cold that gets in your lungs or a back problem, for example, could cost you more in lost wages and work time when you don't have access to antibiotics or stronger pain meds, than when you do. It it hardly uncommon for people to be fired or lose work because they are sick too often. This should help to reduce such incidences.

2> It most certainly saves money for those in the middle class that get hit with an unexpected health emergency. Even short-term health emergencies that require hospitalization can lead to tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt... oftentimes followed by bankruptcy and/or foreclosure.

3> Those who appear nominally "healthy" and who aren't insured, oftentimes find themselves not saving money, but deferring costs. Minor problems or lack of routine physicals and preventive medicine oftentimes lead to far more expensive, life-altering problems later... again, with risk of bankruptcy and foreclosure.

4> Income stability is not guaranteed for the middle class. If someone uninsured loses their job, the program should provide them access to subsidized health insurance, which would function as a social safety net until such a time as they are employed again. This should keep an already bad situation from getting worse, with permanent financial damage.

So, while there will be winners and losers in the middle class, the overall result should be a considerable increase in financial stability for the middle class, in addition to what effectively amounts to a higher standard of living, a higher quality-of-life, and an improved ability to function in the work place.

Most experts expect that there will be a public option, though it may be one which the states can choose to opt out of. And while some states will initially do so, they are very unlikely to keep to such a policy, once it becomes standard in most states, and once it becomes clear that it substantially reduces both the cost to the people of their state, but also to the state itself, which would no longer be forced to cover uninsured.

Many of the Republican states that would be most likely to initially oppose a federal public option actually have the highest prevalence of uninsurance among their people. The nationwide average in 2001 was 17%, and has grown higher since then, while states like Louisiana, Montana, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho, and West Virginia top the list for the country. None of the Southern states except Tennessee appear to be below the national average of 17%... most are well above it.

Given that these states would have to bear a considerable portion of the costs for the uninsured, it is highly unlikely they'd refuse what, in effect, amounts to financial help from the Federal Government... especially when it becomes clear that their costs are escalating at a much higher rate than other states.

"I've been unemployed for over a year, there are no jobs to be had where I live, I haven't had health insurance in over a decade even when I was employed, because it wasn't offered to me. How will this plan help me other than by threatening me with stiff financial penalties if I DO require medical attention?"

Odds are very good that your health care will be subsidized entirely... or very close to it.
posted by markkraft at 6:01 PM on October 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


I've been wrong once or twice before, but I think the future for decent (not great) health care reform just went up tremendously. Just the fact that something will be going to the floor is historic.

Remember, the Senate Finance Committee is, far and away, the most conservative group of legislators - and there are only 23 members. Some of them, like Schumer and Rockefeller, actually fall on the more liberal side of this issue. Regardless, the rest of Congress as a whole is more progressive than these guys. Patching all the bills together for concensus, I think, has to lead to a more progressive bill than Baucus's.

I say we get a public option. How good an option, I dunno. But it will definitely be something to build on.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:01 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


They can't even fall back on socialism, as the USSR was quite homophobic. So were the Nazis.

I particularly can't wait to see the leaps of logic Glenn Beck will use to tie the repeal of DADT to a vague historical analogy that puts tolerant progressives on the side of tyranny.


So I googled "nazi homosexuals". Second hit.

I would bet cash money (10 whole dollars) that Beck mentions this book when they start going after DADT. He'll probably do a whole segment equating homosexuality, nazis, and communists.
posted by heathkit at 6:02 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not all bad news for the young. I know several people in their 50s and 60s that can't retire because they can't find affordable health insurance without an employer plan. The moment they can find affordable care, they're retiring. I wouldn't be surprised if many were willing to quit/retire if they have medical insurance resolved, which should help younger people trying to find employment.
posted by amuseDetachment at 6:16 PM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Democrats were afraid to filibuster. We'll see if the Republicans are

Conditional on the Democrats not being afraid to make the Republicans go to a filibuster. Seriously at this point the Republicans are like the yapping little chihuahua that just doesn't quit and the Democrats as the big husky dog that shuts up and takes it. It would be one thing if the Democrats had the muscle and used it judiciously at opportune times. It's quite another when they are clearly favored, yet somehow are not comfortable enough with their own favor to go out and do the things that they were elected for out of fear of some weird popular reprisal.

Seems counter-intuitive to me.
posted by scrutiny at 6:30 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obamacare: It's like a Nazi Communist Homosexual Atheist Crusade to have a new Socialist Inquisition.
posted by tkchrist at 6:33 PM on October 13, 2009


I started a company 5 years ago as a single guy and got horrible high deductible health insurance - got socked with a $4000! bill for an precautionary MRI and followup due to an extended family member's aneurysm two days before my yearly coverage was about the run out.

The company I started now employees 30 people offering okay but not great health care.

I don't think I can take the risk with my families health to do it again and start a new company in a few years from now.

The fear of being dropped or having a HUGE deductible or unaffordable monthly cost is pretty scary.

The guy in England or Canada who doesn't have to worry about going bankrupt (and dying over health care definitely has a leg up on me.

I see why big business was nominally against this in the past (easy worker portability is a concern for them) but anyone who wants to start a company or work for a startup should be totally behind a public option (or true single payer)

What pisses me off is that "a public option" is a piss poor alternative to single payer and we might not even get that.

grrrrr.

One thing that also makes me irate is that Sen Boxer (D-CA) can't even be bothered to put any real content about the health care issue on her web site. She has more text and ways to help get involved with the Forest Fires in Southern California than she does concerning health care reform.

Double grrrrr!!
posted by bottlebrushtree at 6:36 PM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's not all bad news for the young...

All snark aside, this is a really good point that I haven't seen raised anywhere else. I hope you're right.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:42 PM on October 13, 2009


Only in America could lack of insurance be confused for lack of health care.
posted by Brian B. at 6:53 PM on October 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Can we at least agree that it's looking mighty good for the trigger right now?

Snowe has promoted that contemptuous swindle from that beginning. And Obama gets to say, "Look! See? A public option! Just like I promised!"

One part of the story that strikes me as under-reported is the Pearl Harbor-like weekend surprise attack by the insurance boys with that AHIP "report". Rahm must have been mighty unhappy to see that deal going sour. And, like Miles Drentell, Rahm is never unhappy alone.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:01 PM on October 13, 2009


They can't even fall back on socialism, as the USSR was quite homophobic. So were the Nazis.

I particularly can't wait to see the leaps of logic Glenn Beck will use to tie the repeal of DADT to a vague historical analogy that puts tolerant progressives on the side of tyranny.

So I googled "nazi homosexuals". Second hit.


I recall seeing, at Dachau, the placards listing the kind of patches different prisoners were required to wear. The origin of the pink triangle. I cannot describe how seeing that made me feel. The deep down in the bone, existential nausea it conjured up.

The idea that right wing, wedge-issue blowhards might seek to link Nazism and homosexuality in order to discredit gay rights? That makes me want to vomit.

Off topic, but still.
posted by darkstar at 7:09 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


edgeways: My reason for just linking the BBC and CNN is because this post regarding Mark Buehrle's perfect game was seen as fine. Linking to those articles is neutral and seems to encourage debate, rather than framing the post to fit a specific viewpoint.
posted by reenum at 7:11 PM on October 13, 2009


One part of the story that strikes me as under-reported is the Pearl Harbor-like weekend surprise attack by the insurance boys with that AHIP "report". Rahm must have been mighty unhappy to see that deal going sour. And, like Miles Drentell, Rahm is never unhappy alone.

It's starting to get a lot of play, actually. And it seems like it might backfire on the insurance industry. Already folks are saying that 1) it's grossly dishonest and 2) it offers an eloquent argument for exactly why we need the public option. Meanwhile, the company that did the analysis has pre-emptively released a statement backing away from the analysis.

The report may end up being a huge tactical blunder for the insurance industry.
posted by darkstar at 7:12 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not normally a political person
posted by davidmsc


I don't know how to tell you this...
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:16 PM on October 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


I want a goddamned public option in lieu of fully socialized care.

You want socialism. Please, stop grandstanding, complaining, covering up, distracting or pulling the red herring. You want (and, it seems) desire a socialist, single payer healthcare system, fully funded, organised and supported by the government, with absolutely no chance for any privately held healthcare organisation to have an even outside chance in competing. Once you come to grips with this (and I certainly hope you do), get back to spending all of your time blogging, complaining and whining, rather than actually holding a job and having to actually be responsible for your own bills.
posted by CountSpatula at 7:34 PM on October 13, 2009


The idea that right wing, wedge-issue blowhards might seek to link Nazism and homosexuality in order to discredit gay rights?

Why not? In their minds, homosexuals are goose-stepping ideological militants bent on converting innocent children to their ranks, enforcing ideological purity, and destroying the family unit. All things that they equate with Nazism, although, as mccarty.tim notes, the Nazi state was brutally and uncompromisingly homophobic.

Hell, just so I'm not totally derailing, the NRCC is tweeting links to a "funny" (their word) Moonbattery video that splices voiceovers of Bruno Ganz as Hitler from "Downfall" screaming about how much he adores Nancy Pelosi because she shares his vision of health care reform and "socialized medicine."

It's a smooth (if illogical) elision, it evokes a visceral response, and, for some people, it works.
posted by blucevalo at 7:35 PM on October 13, 2009


CountSpatula: "You want socialism. Please, stop grandstanding, complaining, covering up, distracting or pulling the red herring. You want (and, it seems) desire a socialist, single payer healthcare system, fully funded, organised and supported by the government, with absolutely no chance for any privately held healthcare organisation to have an even outside chance in competing. Once you come to grips with this (and I certainly hope you do), get back to spending all of your time blogging, complaining and whining, rather than actually holding a job and having to actually be responsible for your own bills."

You're GOD-DAMNED RIGHT I DO. I make no bones about it, and I have a job that pays me quite well, thank-you-very-much. One in the private sector that's highly competitive and provides, amongst other things, "Cadillac" health insurance.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 7:37 PM on October 13, 2009 [30 favorites]


If the US as a nation was serious about improving health why isn't what is put in the American mouths up for discussion?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:38 PM on October 13, 2009


I do, however, understand that I'm in the minority, and not everyone agrees with me. So I'm pulling for the most politically expeditious and effective alternative that I think can provide most of the benefits with none of the downsides of the horrible, awful, goddamned handout that's being paraded as being "progressive". Nationalize the whole goddamned thing, I say, before you give tax money to private bodies who will then have no incentive to reduce their costs or increase their efficiency.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 7:40 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, if people had portable, universal health care, they'd be a lot more likely to leave bad jobs ... Why doesn't anyone ever sell universal health care as an economic stimulus?

Because using pre-tax dollars and providing the 'gold plated insurance' is a way of control used by Corporations VS well...you?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:41 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


How exactly does the individual mandate work? If I make below a certain amount of money does that exempt me from the tax penalty?
posted by meta87 at 7:42 PM on October 13, 2009


meta87: "How exactly does the individual mandate work? If I make below a certain amount of money does that exempt me from the tax penalty?"

No, you get extra dollars from the government that you can then spend for coverage. It's a quasi-voucher system, if I understand it correctly.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 7:43 PM on October 13, 2009


Please, stop grandstanding, complaining, covering up, distracting or pulling the red herring.

Pray tell, what does your thesaurus list as an acceptable synonym for "ignorant blowhard"? We're all dying to know. Oh wait, we're dying from lack of health insurance.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:46 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mod note: few comments removed - can we please have this discussion wtihout comment-trawling - if you think someone's a troll flag them, ignore them or go to metatalk. if you're just here to fight with everyone, don't. thanks
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:50 PM on October 13, 2009


rough ashlar: "If the US as a nation was serious about improving health why isn't what is put in the American mouths up for discussion?"

Because so much of what they choose to put in those mouths is shaped by large advertising and agricultural business concerns that do not welcome such a discussion.

Not that we fatsos don't have our share of responsibility. But do you really think that if the corporations saw a way to profit by demonizing the American glutton they would be the least hesitant to do so?
posted by Joe Beese at 7:53 PM on October 13, 2009


TheNewWazoo, I'm not sure you and CountSpatula are using the same definition for socialism. He's on record as saying the Nazis were socialists, so in the interest of communication, you may wish to clarify what you mean when you say you want socialism. Because that evidently means something quite different to him.
posted by darkstar at 7:58 PM on October 13, 2009


got socked with a $4000! bill for an precautionary MRI and followup due to an extended family member's aneurysm… The guy in England or Canada who doesn't have to worry about going bankrupt (and dying over health care definitely has a leg up on me.

I suspect your MRI would not have happened in Canada. How "extended" is this family member? Third cousin, twice removed? Are you greatly at risk for a pre-aneurysm structure? Is it really possible to tell years in advance?

Up here, there's a sense of not wasting valuable public health resources on insanely remote chances. A lot of people don't get the MRIs they think they should have.

There is, of course, a push by private investors to open up the MRI market in Canada. I'm not sure if the plan is for the existing public system to actually fund their scheme; I sure hope not. I'd hate to see $4000 MRI scans being hawked to the gullible public as the best cure-all since homeopathics.

I hope you have legitimate reasons for spending so much on MRI on the basis of "extended" family, and have not been fooled. Likewise, I hope you found out everything is okey-dokey fine.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:58 PM on October 13, 2009


An insightful statement, Brian B. But it needs to get deeper into their minds.<fnord>Only in America could lack of insurance be confused for lack of health care.</fnord> I don't know how you can do that. <fnord>Only in America could lack of insurance be confused for lack of health care.</fnord> I mean, basically, I'm saying you'd have to engage in mind control.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:05 PM on October 13, 2009


Not that we fatsos don't have our share of responsibility.
posted by Joe Beese


Wow. All this time your name has been a pun, and I didn't get it.

I am ashamed of myself.
posted by rokusan at 8:10 PM on October 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


What's hilarious about the whole Hitler comparison is that Bismarck gave Germany health care in 1883.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:13 PM on October 13, 2009 [12 favorites]


I just don't have any faith in any of our governments any more. They all seem to be out to thoroughly fuck us over.

Yes, the same as it ever was.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:14 PM on October 13, 2009


You want (and, it seems) desire a socialist, single payer healthcare system, fully funded, organised and supported by the government, with absolutely no chance for any privately held healthcare organisation to have an even outside chance in competing.

There are private healthcare organisations in Canada.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:17 PM on October 13, 2009


This complicated income-based voucher system sounds like it will add a hellish amount of paperwork and bureaucracy for everyone. Ugh. COBRA is bad enough.
posted by kathrineg at 8:26 PM on October 13, 2009


get back to spending all of your time blogging, complaining and whining, rather than actually holding a job and having to actually be responsible for your own bills.

Amputation! Boop!
posted by dirigibleman at 8:45 PM on October 13, 2009


You know, all I'd like is a government that wouldn't misinterpret Article 1, Section 8 to include not allowing insurance companies to offer healthcare in states other than those they have headquarters, and for that same government to also stop taxing the living shit out of anyone that makes more than $25000 a year, in order to pay for damn near anything the welfare nation wants. That's all I ask. Government to step the fuck out of our lives. Is that so bad?
posted by CountSpatula at 8:47 PM on October 13, 2009


Government to step the fuck out of our lives.

Please feel free to pave your own roads then.
posted by chiababe at 8:54 PM on October 13, 2009 [22 favorites]


Pope Guilty wins the thread for channeling his inner Aristotle.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:00 PM on October 13, 2009


in order to pay for damn near anything the welfare nation wants.

I got this swell tiny violin on a grant. Wanna hear it play?

Government to step the fuck out of our lives. Is that so bad?

I suppose you've padlocked your mailbox, then?
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:06 PM on October 13, 2009 [8 favorites]


I suppose you've padlocked your mailbox, then?

And taken a pick axe to the nearest interstate? And burned down the local library? And stopped using the Internet? And stopped flying? And so on, in this fashion...
posted by saulgoodman at 9:14 PM on October 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


Government to step the fuck out of our lives. Is that so bad?

As a general principle, no, but it's hard to ignore the scent of "fuck you, I got mine" in your post. I could be wrong: You might have a very detailed idea about how your libertarian utopia would work in a way that's generally better for everyone, and not just you, but I must admit that when someone complains about how their taxes are wasted on feeding an ever-bloating welfare state, I'm suspicious of the complainer's motives.
posted by fatbird at 9:15 PM on October 13, 2009 [8 favorites]


That's all I ask. Government to step the fuck out of our lives.
posted by CountSpatula at 8:47 PM on October 13 [+] [!]


You know this internet thing you're using to bitch about government intervening in your life? Are you aware of where it came from?
posted by Ndwright at 9:17 PM on October 13, 2009 [14 favorites]


for that same government to also stop taxing the living shit out of anyone that makes more than $25000 a year, in order to pay for damn near anything the welfare nation wants

Actually, the US has some of the lowest tax rates in the industrialized world, even including Social Security.
posted by jedicus at 9:22 PM on October 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


I've wanted government to step out of my life ever since it married my mom and started bossing me around, like, ok, for real, government, back off, I already HAVE been looking for a job, damn, and then government is probably having sex with my mom so :/
posted by kathrineg at 9:27 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Government to step the fuck out of our lives.

He posted TO THE FUCKING INTERNET!
posted by dirigibleman at 9:28 PM on October 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


Once you come to grips with this (and I certainly hope you do), get back to spending all of your time blogging, complaining and whining, rather than actually holding a job and having to actually be responsible for your own bills.

I want an inexpensive public option or a single-payer system BECAUSE I hold a job and pay my own bills. My previous employer had a health plan for their employees. To cover my wife and myself would cost A HUNDRED AND SIXTY DOLLARS A WEEK! That's SIX HUNDRED AND FORTY DOLLARS A MONTH!! That's three car payments! That's more than all of my utilities, credit card bill, and car payment combined!
When a whole weeks pay goes for paying your monthly health insurance bill, that's not coverage. It's extortion. It's slavery for the working and middle class.
Nobody I know who breaks a sweat or busts their knuckles for a living thinks that's a better option than a public option.
posted by Jon-o at 9:44 PM on October 13, 2009 [21 favorites]


Don't feed the troll.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:45 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


"You want (and, it seems) desire a socialist, single payer healthcare system, fully funded, organised and supported by the government, with absolutely no chance for any privately held healthcare organisation to have an even outside chance in competing."

Might I interest you in Bupa?! Or Universal Provident?! Or maybe some shares of PGH?! (Admittedly, their shares have been on a bit of a run-up lately, but there's still a lot of upside and growth in their marketplace.)

Clinicare? Exeter Friendly? BCWA Healthcare? FirstAssist? Health On-line? Legal & General? Norwich Union? SecureHealth? SimplyHealth? Standard Life? Universal Provident? WPA? AXA PPP perhaps?

Maybe a nice slice of Double Gloucester?!
posted by markkraft at 10:08 PM on October 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


$67,900. That's the dividing line between the 15% bracket and the 25% bracket. $60K a year, and 15 percent goes to the man. Boo fucking hoo.

I am in favor of a revised tax code, though:

Under $100K, no tax.
$100K - $250K 50% tax.
$250K and over, 80% tax.
$1M and over, 95% tax.

Additionally, if your net wealth is over $5M you are taxed 5% of your wealth each year. Estate taxes: 50% of estates over $1M, 95% of any estate over $10M.

Entrenched wealth is a huge problem in a democratic republic.
posted by maxwelton at 10:08 PM on October 13, 2009 [14 favorites]


It's truly disturbing, that people like CountSpatula are so willing to trust their health to a private company with no motivation beyond profit, and think they'll somehow magically do a better job, for cheaper, than the government. The evidence points very much to the contrary. I understand Americans need only look towards Medicare.

It's also disturbing and weird that people like CountSpatula think that health care systems have to be either "all private" or "socialist", because private enterprise (you know, the thing that's SO efficient and wonderful) could never compete with the government. The evidence points very much to the contrary, when you look at pretty much EVERY other western country, where public and private health sectors work side-by-side, and in fact help each other. The existence of public healthcare means private insurers don't need to concern themselves with every prescription or visit to the doctor. The existence of private insurers means pressure is taken off public healthcare, in terms of surgery, hospital beds etc. It just fucking works. Get used to it.
posted by Jimbob at 10:13 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


(If you adjusted that for cost-of-living, I might agree with you, MaxW. There's a huge difference between $100K a year in places where houses average $70,000, and $100K a year in a place where houses average $700,000 dollars. )
posted by markkraft at 10:17 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are you Proud To Be An American? Now you can be the owner of a genuine Olympic Gold Medal, won for American by a Proud American (who now has to sell it to pay his medical bills)!!

I am selling my 1960 Olympic gold medal with the original frame. I'm taking reasonable offers. I will not go under 20,000 so please do not send offers under that amount. I've hit some pretty bad financial situations due to my recent stroke.


Hopefully, a real winner, a winner at capitalism -- like an insurance company CEO -- can purchase this loser Gold Medal Winner's medal! That's what I'd call a triumph of Capitalism!
posted by orthogonality at 10:19 PM on October 13, 2009 [14 favorites]


markkraft makes the point I was going to - there's an endless number of private insurers and healthcare providers doing very nicely, thank you very much, in the UK.
posted by Abiezer at 10:20 PM on October 13, 2009


Based on current events, I can only assume that the statement "ever bloating welfare state" refers to corporate welfare, and all those giant welfare checks Wall Street has been cashing lately. And based on that reading, I whole-heartedly agree.

And the biggest, most baffling thing about the whole thing is the idea that there's even an tiny bit of anything right with the way things are now.

Imagine that the "free market" is a giant cake that we all should have an equal and unobstructed shot at carving a slice out of. I can understand if you don't want the govt. determining when and how much cake you get. I disagree, but I can see how that's a thing that someone would believe. fine.

But the Health Insurance companies are basically eating the flour before the cake has a chance to get made. I don't see any position on the political spectrum where that should be ok. It's one of the basic philosophical foundations of this nation.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That word "life" in there? there's no asterisk on that that says "void where profits are concerned"
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:31 PM on October 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Can we at least agree that it's looking mighty good for the trigger right now?"

Actually, no.

The trigger idea was floated out there, and laid a big goose egg.

Ultimately, this is going to be about reconciling the House bill's strong public option, and the Senate's plan.

That means that a deal needs to be worked out between the Blue Dogs and *maybe* Sen. Snowe, vs. the Progressive Caucus in the House, who have promised to oppose anything without a full public option.

The most obvious compromise isn't a trigger, which I'm pretty certain that the Progressives would balk at, as it is little better than Baucus' plan. The dividing line is giving each state its choice as to whether to join or not. This also goes a long way to undermine the Republican attacks about a Federal takeover of health care.
posted by markkraft at 10:59 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


CountSpatula: "You know, all I'd like is a government that wouldn't misinterpret Article 1, Section 8 to include not allowing insurance companies to offer healthcare in states other than those they have headquarters, and for that same government to also stop taxing the living shit out of anyone that makes more than $25000 a year, in order to pay for damn near anything the welfare nation wants. That's all I ask. Government to step the fuck out of our lives. Is that so bad?"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the 'competition across state lines' ideas that is heard so much nowadays is a bit misleading, in that companies are perfectly free to offer insurance in any state-- they just have to obey the laws of that state. When people talk about allowing the companies to compete across state lines, they're (knowingly or not) asking for North Dakota health insurance companies being allowed to offer insurance in California-- under North Dakota insurance laws. The practical upshot of this is that all the insurance companies will move their HQs to the state with the weakest consumer protection laws (and will get states to compete as to who can offer those, "to attract business"), while all the laws passed by the state government and voters of California will become unenforceable, with the added benefit that a Californian wronged by an insurance company will have to complain to the insurance commissioner of ND (who, of course, has both received numerous contributions from and knows that many of his constituents' jobs and the state economy depend on the continued happiness of the insurance companies).

No offence to the North Dakotans out there, I'm just using it as an example.

The same thing happened with credit card companies.

Again, please correct me if I'm mistaken in anything.
posted by alexei at 11:14 PM on October 13, 2009 [12 favorites]


640 dollars ought to be enough for anybody!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:15 PM on October 13, 2009


The practical upshot of this is that all the insurance companies will move their HQs to the state with the weakest consumer protection laws (and will get states to compete as to who can offer those, "to attract business"), while all the laws passed by the state government and voters of California will become unenforceable, with the added benefit that a Californian wronged by an insurance company will have to complain to the insurance commissioner of ND (who, of course, has both received numerous contributions from and knows that many of his constituents' jobs and the state economy depend on the continued happiness of the insurance companies).

Yes, it will be the health insurance version of credit card companies. And we all love how credit card companies operate.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:20 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't believe how bad this bill is. It is full of pandering and the stink of cowardice.

The public option failure is obvious. What isn't quite as obvious is the complete travesty they've made of the individual mandate. You know that insurance company report that is making the rounds today? The one that is drawing so much scorn? The thing is... it's right. I hate insurance companies and wish we went to a single payer system, but on this one point they're actually telling the truth. The problem is they're such a bunch of asshole liars that no-one believes them.

The bill would forbid the insurance companies from discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions. That's good! But because requiring people to buy insurance when they don't want to buy insurance would take actual political backbone, the Finance Committee gutted the penalties for not complying with the individual mandate. You can't require insurance companies to take anyone who applies but not actually require people to buy the insurance because then healthy people just don't buy insurance... until they get sick. Since the insurance companies can't refuse pre-existing conditions, no-one pays into the insurance system while they are healthy and instead they pay the nominal "penalty" for not buying insurance, and only get insurance when they get cancer or whatever.

Here's a hint: If the penalty for not buying insurance is significantly less than the price of the insurance, it isn't an incentive to buy insurance.

I am not sure what the implications of this would be. My guess is that insurance gets MUCH more expensive as the insurance companies have to jack up rates to pay the claims of people who only join once they get sick. Which means huge amounts of government subsidies to pay for the insurance. Which adds to the deficit and lets Republicans yell about how this bill was a failure.

And they'll be right, because the bill will be a failure.
posted by Justinian at 11:50 PM on October 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


That's not true, it can pass with 51 votes under reconciliation, although there would have to be some compromises (like a sunset period)
posted by delmoi at 3:52 PM on October 13 [+] [!]


That's fine with me if it's a good bill, one with a solid public option. If it's a bill that actually makes a significant difference, no one will take the political risk to take away health care from millions when the sunset provision hits. Get us a truly good bill, let America reap real benefits, and the rest will take care of itself.
posted by azpenguin at 11:54 PM on October 13, 2009


The bill would forbid the insurance companies from discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions. That's good! But because requiring people to buy insurance when they don't want to buy insurance would take actual political backbone, the Finance Committee gutted the penalties for not complying with the individual mandate. You can't require insurance companies to take anyone who applies but not actually require people to buy the insurance because then healthy people just don't buy insurance... until they get sick. Since the insurance companies can't refuse pre-existing conditions, no-one pays into the insurance system while they are healthy and instead they pay the nominal "penalty" for not buying insurance, and only get insurance when they get cancer or whatever.

If, in the real world, people lived in the dichotomy of being "healthy people" or having "cancer or whatever", your argument might have some meaning. In the real world, people are faced with questions like: I feel like shit today, and my symptoms are a hell of a lot like the swine flu they keep talking about on the radio. What the hell am I supposed to do? It's October and my work's health insurance choice window is November. I thought I would be healthy this year so I picked the plan that had crap coverage. I only have a weeks worth of sick leave, so I hope to God it's not serious. Even if I choose a more expensive plan, it won't go into effect until January. If I miss work a month or so, I can probably work things out, but two months and I am completely screwed.

Swine flu is 100% media hype, right?
posted by Quonab at 12:26 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, all I'd like is a government that wouldn't misinterpret Article 1, Section 8 to include not allowing insurance companies to offer healthcare in states other than those they have headquarters

I don't know enough to know if your analysis here is correct, given its lack of subtlety I suspect it's missing some details and Article 1 Section 8 is hardly the whole story.

But I'd be willing to make a wager: we relax that restriction, and what you will not see is any kind of sustained diverse competitive marketplace. That's not how this kind of business is done in America. We'll see a national market that contracts to a number of big players you can count on one hand and then maybe a few niches on the side. Options may increase temporarily, but they'll consolidate and the end result will be no more competition than exists now.

for that same government to also stop taxing the living shit out of anyone that makes more than $25000 a year in order to pay for damn near anything the welfare nation wants. That's all I ask. Government to step the fuck out of our lives. Is that so bad?

An additional 8-10% on your income over $80,000 (and don't forget a break of 10-20% on capital gains or the regressive nature of the payroll tax!) is "the living shit"? We have a "welfare nation" that gets "anything it wants"? Government as a constant intrusive presence? I don't buy any of that.
posted by weston at 1:13 AM on October 14, 2009


If, in the real world, people lived in the dichotomy of being "healthy people" or having "cancer or whatever", your argument might have some meaning.

No: Insurance plans have deductibles. If you get sick with something that requires treatment but isn't long term or chronic, you likely pay most of the cost in deductibles. Insurance only really kicks in for catastrophic or chronic problems, unless you take a low-deductible plan. But in that case your monthly rate will be very high.

It is not a controversial position that "requiring" insurance coverage as a means to get rid of pre-existing condition discrimination does not work if you don't actually require coverage.

Besides, this isn't theoretical. There are plenty of (mostly young and dumb) people who deliberately go without coverage even now. Lots of people think they are invincible when they're in their early 20s. That number will certainly increase if you add in the knowledge that if something really expensive happens they can just sign up for insurance at any time.

The real solution, of course, was never to get into this situation where health care is mostly tied to employment in the first place. What a terrible way to handle things.
posted by Justinian at 1:30 AM on October 14, 2009


> stop taxing the living shit out of anyone that makes more than $25000 a year, in order to pay for damn near anything the welfare nation wants.

CountSpatula, I'm sure you've long since left reading this thread, but I'm compelled to ask, what the living fuck are you on about?

Please define "taxing the living shit out of anyone that makes more than $25k a year." Keep in mind the tax brackets have not changed in any way (i.e. barely keeping up with inflation) since tax modifications signed into existence by George W. Bush went into effect several years ago. Can I ask what suddenly changed about your taxes specifically since then that troubles you? Did you experience the same sputtering outrage one, two, or even three years ago with regard to your rate of taxation?

Have you ever read a current marginal tax rate table? What tax bracket would you say you fall in? (Here - I'll get you started.) Just out of curiosity do you know what marginal tax rate means? Have you actually, you know, worked out what you pay in income tax and done a little bit of division to see what your effective tax rate is? If you had to guess, would you say the effective rate is higher or lower than the marginal rate from the table?

And out of curiosity, how much of your total tax contribution would you say actually goes to the "welfare nation?" What in your mind counts as welfare? What do you feel you're being cheated out of, exactly?

Do you choose to get everywhere by walking through privately owned wooded paths, rather than the public roadways that convey motorized vehicles? Do you get all of your water by pumping it from your own well, instead of through a public sanitation system? Do you burn or compost all of your own refuse? Never read a book from a public library, received any education from a public school, gotten an immunization from the flu given by a community nurse, only ever eaten in restaurants that have never been inspected for unsanitary conditions, worked out the boundaries between your own property and that of your neighbors all by yourself, carried each piece of paper mail and packages personally to their recipients...I could go on. But hopefully you kind of get it now.

It's not likely. But anything is possible.
posted by contessa at 2:02 AM on October 14, 2009 [14 favorites]


Once you come to grips with this (and I certainly hope you do), get back to spending all of your time blogging, complaining and whining, rather than actually holding a job and having to actually be responsible for your own bills.

You have no idea that you can't just put a line item in your budget for "health expenses" because you have no idea how much it should be, right? Krugman explains it for you.
posted by oaf at 2:09 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah, round 302739816722 of "C'maaaaaaaaaan" versus "Fuck you, got mine"
posted by tehloki at 2:09 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


My guess is that insurance gets MUCH more expensive as the insurance companies have to jack up rates to pay the claims of people who only join once they get sick.

Too bad we won't have a public option to compete with the inefficiency and gouging that private insurance companies do.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:54 AM on October 14, 2009


I decided to check Glenn Beck's stance on gay marriage. Turns out he thinks it is the Large Hadron Collider of public policy.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:12 AM on October 14, 2009


establish nonprofit health care cooperatives

Y'know, I was thinking of this when dealing with my health insurance company last week. That really, if we made insurance companies behave like NPs, that it would contribute a great deal to solving the problem.

I'm glad to see that someone in the Senate also thought of this. (Not as awesome as the public option would have been, but I'm glad to see that not all of the ideas that I think of are in the realm of "total crack pot.")
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:27 AM on October 14, 2009


Although I gather they are going to ban recision, at least

The recision issue is a huge red-herring. Eliminating recision will do nothing to assure ailing consumers continue to have coverage. Insurers have other ways of eliminating un-profitable customers without outright dropping their coverage. Doubling or tripling of their rates, for instance, coupled with a doubling or tripling of their deductible.
"We regret the need to raise your rates at this time. If you feel you cannot continue paying for your coverage, you have the option to cancel your policy and shop for new coverage offered by one of the many other insurers in your state."

See? Nobody was cancelled. The consumer made an informed choice!
posted by Thorzdad at 5:37 AM on October 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Only in America could lack of insurance be confused for lack of health care.

When going to a clinic run by a Catholic non-profit for bronchitis runs you $300 for antibiotics, and a similar ER visit for a UTI runs you another $800 - and these are normal, run of the mill problems solved by drugs that even without insurance cost $10 - when it costs you HUNDREDS of dollars to get these drugs? Yeah, that's a lack of health care because it's prohibitively expensive to get basic treatment for non-lifethreatening problems. Have you read the number of AskMe questions about health problems that say "I can't go to the doctor because I don't have insurance..." and then enumerate a serious health problem that truly can only be treated by a doctor?

In the US, a lack of insurance is a lack of access to health care.

I was without insurance for a while. I have a chronic condition. I maxed out my credit cards paying for prescriptions and two years later, I'm still over $5,000 in the hole. I'm lucky - I was able to get the prescriptions because I had access to aforementioned credit card and family who were willing to help pay for the appointments and tests necessary to get the prescriptions. If I hadn't had the drugs, I would have had some serious problems that would have prevented me from holding down a job - but ironically, I would never have qualified for disability insurance since with drugs, I'm pretty much fine.

If you enter any doctor's office, ER, anything in the US - the first question is "What kind of insurance do you have?" That is BEFORE taking your vital signs and symptoms for whatever brought you t here. If the answer is "none," the doctor might elect not to see you at all, which would require you to go to an ER for any care - care that will run you hundreds of dollars for even the most basic of problems.

A lack of insurance IS a lack of health care for many people who simply can NOT afford to get truly basic problems treated.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:57 AM on October 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


. My previous employer had a health plan for their employees. To cover my wife and myself would cost A HUNDRED AND SIXTY DOLLARS A WEEK! That's SIX HUNDRED AND FORTY DOLLARS A MONTH!! That's three car payments! That's more than all of my utilities, credit card bill, and car payment combined!

My pre-existing condition has driven up my premium payments so that I pay FULLY HALF of my month's salary to health insurance. The only way I can afford this is that I am lucky enough to not pay rent since I live with my partner who owns his apartment outright. That is damned lucky and when I *did* have to pay rent, I *didn't* have insurance.

HALF. Of my salary. I pay so much that a customer service employee at the insurance company, when going over my bill with me, thought that this was surely a mistake and advised me to apply for a plan that would decrease my payments based on my medical history. Until I explained that my payments are that high *due to* my medical history.

Honestly? I would vote for Satan himself (or Bill O'Reilly if Satan is unavailable) if he promised and delivered on single-payer health care, but the problem is that he designed the current system.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:04 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


(PS: I pay half of my salary for insurance and STILL pay out of pocket for one of my - very expensive - medications because the insurance company elects not to cover that particular medication specifically because it is costly for them to do so.

CAN YOU SMELL MY OUTRAGE?)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:05 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's a lack of health care because it's prohibitively expensive to get basic treatment for non-lifethreatening problems.

It hasn't always been that way. In fact, having health insurance --or at least health insurance that covered every little thing-- hasn't always been the norm either. I grew up without health insurance, and most of my parents friends didn't have health insurance, except for catastrophic types that would cover very serious conditions, and yet we all (including my dirt poor family) went to the doctor as needed for basic health care without it breaking the bank just to treat an ear infection or get a checkup. I had more and better health care when I was a dirt poor kid in a household barely able to keep decent food on the table than I do now as someone who is uninsured and in the struggling lower middle class.

I've been convinced for a while that modern health insurance is somewhat to blame for the rising cost of health care. If there's profit to be made, someone is going to want to make it. I saw (or maybe read) somewhere recently where a pharmacist was saying that an anti-fungal cream to treat athlete's foot cost about $4 wholesale, but he had to charge some outrageous price for it (a hundred bucks or something - can't recall the exact amount, but it was ridiculous). Well, why the hell would that be true? Everyone who can is out to make that almighty dollar, including the insurance companies.
posted by Orb at 6:31 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The recision issue is a huge red-herring. Eliminating recision will do nothing to assure ailing consumers continue to have coverage. Insurers have other ways of eliminating un-profitable customers without outright dropping their coverage. Doubling or tripling of their rates, for instance, coupled with a doubling or tripling of their deductible.

But... this won't happen, because jacking up someone's rates based on their medical history won't be allowed. Under all of the legislation passed, people who buy insurance on the individual market cannot be denied coverage (guaranteed issue) and premiums can only vary based on age, geographic location, family status, and smoker status (community rating). There are also overall limits on how much of a price difference can exist between the most expensive plan (e.g., for a 55-year-old smoker) and the least expensive plan (e.g., for the 22-year-old vegan nonsmoker). As I recall, the Finance Committee set that overall rate band at 7.5:1, while the House Tri-Committee set it at 2:1. Where the final rate band ends up will probably make a huge difference in who wins and who loses here; older sicker folks win with tighter rate bands, which will increase the cost of insurance for the young, while younger healthy folks win with the widest rate bands possible, which will allow them to keep purchasing plans that cost $150 per month.

I agree with your point there are ways that insurers can try to discourage unprofitable customers from signing up or staying with them without resorting to recission or jacking up premiums (which will both be illegal)--you can have a pretty sparse network of doctors in low-income neighborhoods, which discourages the low-income from signing up, or you can offer freebies like gym memberships that appeal mostly to young healthy people--but those sorts of things are really unlikely to cause someone to drop insurance if they, say, get cancer and are going through treatment. So I really don't think the recission issue, and the community rating issue, are a red-herring. They're vital new consumer protections that will protect people exactly when they need it most.
posted by iminurmefi at 7:28 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you enter any doctor's office, ER, anything in the US - the first question is "What kind of insurance do you have?" That is BEFORE taking your vital signs and symptoms for whatever brought you there.

That is not true of an ER. In just about any ER in the US you will see a sign that says this:

"If you have a medical emergency or are in labor, you have the right to receive the following care within the capabilities of this hospital’s staff and facilities, even if you cannot pay or do not have medical insurance or you are not entitled to Medicare or Medicaid:

* An appropriate medical screening exam
* Necessary stabilizing treatment (including treatment for an unborn child)
* An appropriate transfer to another hospital, if necessary"

That all happens before they ask about insurance and what not. Now, notice the 'if you have a medical emergency or are in labor' part. If it's plainly obvious that you do not have an emergency, then they may ask about insurance before doing the screening exam. Most ERs will do the exam first out of an abundance of caution, though.

With a regular doctor's office, of course, they absolutely can and do ask about your ability to pay first.
posted by jedicus at 7:29 AM on October 14, 2009


markkraft: "The trigger idea was floated out there, and laid a big goose egg. ...a deal needs to be worked out between the Blue Dogs and *maybe* Sen. Snowe, vs. the Progressive Caucus in the House, who have promised to oppose anything without a full public option.."

I guess we'll see. But...

Jim Manley, a spokesman for Mr. Reid, said that Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, the lone Republican on the Finance Committee to vote in favor of the bill, would be invited to future sessions. And Mr. Manley said the Democratic leader was prepared to go to substantial lengths to keep Ms. Snowe’s support. [emphasis mine] (via)
posted by Joe Beese at 7:31 AM on October 14, 2009


If you enter any doctor's office, ER, anything in the US - the first question is "What kind of insurance do you have?"

Funny thing that.

I popped a bone in my neck (not doing my yoga neck rolls often enough)

Visited the local chiropractor. Was told "that will be $75" then asked "who's your insurance?" When I said none, then was told the price was $21. I asked "Why the difference" and was told "paperwork costs".
posted by rough ashlar at 7:33 AM on October 14, 2009


Troll guy said: "You want (and, it seems) desire a socialist, single payer healthcare system, fully funded, [organized] and supported by the government"

I say: FUCK. YES. I. DO. "Socialism" is not a sooper seekrit clubhouse codeword for "bad." What it actually means, in a literal and real world sense, is that I guarantee by rule of law a safer and healthier life for my children and their children, that my hard work and tax burden is used to prevent their little league coach, kung fu instructor, grocery bagger, best friend from across town, or they themselves do not die because I prefer to pay for shuffling insurance papers than pay for doctors.

I think socialism in health care is a damned good bargain. Stop using the word like it's some kind of evil talisman. If anything it's a symbol that American culture is starting to return to its true and patriotic roots after the long national anti-American nightmare of Reagan's legacy: caring for yourselves and your neighbors to build a strong and independent nation. That makes me proud to stand here with my heart over my hand and say:

I WANT SOCIALIST HEALTHCARE. GOD BLESS AMERICA, THIS GREAT LAND OF OURS.
posted by majick at 7:34 AM on October 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


(And if I don't call attention to the "heart over hand" thing, my statements appear much more profound.)
posted by majick at 7:36 AM on October 14, 2009


Now, notice the 'if you have a medical emergency or are in labor' part. If it's plainly obvious that you do not have an emergency, then they may ask about insurance before doing the screening exam.

The point, I believe, is that they get to define what is a plainly obvious emergency or not -- of course. If you don't have what they define as an emergency, and you don't have insurance, how much of a priority are you going to have in their triage, especially at a trauma center, which is often the only place you are taken if you don't have insurance?

And regardless, having to rely on an emergency room as a health care center for anything, emergency or non-emergency, is deleterious in countless ways, both to the patients (those with and without insurance) and the emergency rooms that are full of people without insurance.
posted by blucevalo at 7:37 AM on October 14, 2009


For those interested: Jonathan Cohn, whose reporting on reform has been really great, has a list of the top 10 items he thinks are important for people to organize around and keep pressure up for during the merging of the House and Senate bills.

One of them is the public option; but the other 9 are really great suggestions as well. I'm particularly in agreement about #5, 6, and 10:

--strengthening the exchanges by making them national and giving the gov't the power to actually negotiate on behalf of enrollees rather than just accept what insurance companies feel like offering in terms of benefit design and premium levels;

--preserving the independent Medicare commission so that insurance companies, device manufacturers, pharma, and the AMA have less ability to corrupt the process by buying off Congresscritters; and

--opening the exchanges to everyone, not just those who aren't offered insurance by the employer.
posted by iminurmefi at 7:56 AM on October 14, 2009


jedicus: That's interesting. However, having been a patient in various ERs in the US, I can say that my experience is that they've always asked me about insurance before anything else.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:00 AM on October 14, 2009


Government to step the fuck out of our lives.

Show me a working non corrupt court system 1st.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:12 AM on October 14, 2009


The point, I believe, is that they get to define what is a plainly obvious emergency or not -- of course.

The point I was trying to make is that in an ER the screening exam generally comes before the question about insurance, and what's more, regardless of the order and regardless of the answer, you do have a right to a screening exam and stabilizing treatment.

If you don't have what they define as an emergency, and you don't have insurance, how much of a priority are you going to have in their triage, especially at a trauma center, which is often the only place you are taken if you don't have insurance?

The triage nurse cannot take your ability to pay into account when determining priority.
posted by jedicus at 8:40 AM on October 14, 2009


jedicus is right: once you've gotten past the registration process and have a chart in the system, the triage nurse takes over and your treatment from that point on is assessed regardless of your insurance situation.

My only point is that in every situation I've been in, insurance info is assessed before vital stats and symptoms. I wasn't trying to imply that you get different treatment after that point, because you totally don't.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:53 AM on October 14, 2009


Good points, jedicus, but what bothers me is that if the ER determines that you are not a medical emergency, even if you are in severe and obvious pain, you will need to wait in the ER for hours to get any kind of resolution. I wasn't trying to imply that the ER triage prioritizes you based on ability to pay, and I apologize if that's how it came across.

In any case, it is not a good thing that the ER is often the place of only resort for medical attention if you don't have insurance. Having been to an ER myself in the past few months, I can say that it's not a great place to have to go, whether you are insured or uninsured.
posted by blucevalo at 8:59 AM on October 14, 2009


If anything it's a symbol that American culture is starting to return to its true and patriotic roots after the long national anti-American nightmare of Reagan's legacy: caring for yourselves and your neighbors to build a strong and independent nation.

This. United you stand, divided you fall.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:06 AM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Chuck Schumer, on Rachel Maddow's show:

Reid has the option of putting [the public option] in the final bill. If he puts it in the final bill, in the combined bill, then you would need 60 votes to remove it, and there are clearly not 60 votes against the public option.

Firedoglake comments:

The message is pretty simple. Reid has the power to pass a public option. If the public option is killed in the Senate, the blame rests squarely on Reid. The question is, with a very tough election coming up, does Reid want to be know as the man who killed the public option?
posted by Joe Beese at 11:16 AM on October 14, 2009


Well, the question answers itself. With a very tough election (in Nevada, not a very blue state) coming up, does he really want to be known as the man who took any conceivable risk? The corollary: Has Reid taken any risk since he became Senate Majority Leader in 2007?
posted by blucevalo at 11:39 AM on October 14, 2009


Well, the question answers itself. With a very tough election (in Nevada, not a very blue state) coming up, does he really want to be known as the man who took any conceivable risk? The corollary: Has Reid taken any risk since he became Senate Majority Leader in 2007?

Well, it's not so simple. Unions play a big role in Nevada Democratic politics, and a large group of them have come out against the Baucus/Finance Committee bill precisely because it does not have a public option. Reid will need Union support if he is to be re-elected, and the question becomes, will he risk alienating that portion of his base?

Senate Democrats are making sure the Reid feels the pressure, indicating that if the public option isn't in the merged bill, that it will be his fault. Reid, of course, says he's in favor of it too, but won't make any guarantees.
posted by thewittyname at 12:58 PM on October 14, 2009


This would be a fantastic time for Reid to finally grow some balls.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:05 PM on October 14, 2009


And since he's a senator, I bet ball regrowth is covered by his health plan.
posted by oaf at 5:32 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Regrowth? When has he previously presented signs of possessing balls? When have any of the Dems shown the least gumption?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:50 PM on October 14, 2009


Reid to finally grow some balls

Reid's too old to get pregnant so he could have a shot at growing some balls....Yea, they wouldn't be his balls, but they would be balls he's growing.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:48 PM on October 14, 2009


One word: Neuticles.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:00 PM on October 14, 2009


Reid to finally grow some balls

It appears he's had them all along.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:34 AM on October 27, 2009


Yeah! I was so pleased to hear that he got that public option back in there!
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:26 PM on October 27, 2009


Not so fast. Lieberman is threatening to filibuster health care reform if it has a public option. Which means no 60 vote majority and cloture vote to overcome a filibuster.

Either Reid has to somehow whip Joe into line or use reconciliation. Otherwise, the public option is dead. Reid has some tough work yet to do.
posted by darkstar at 7:40 PM on October 27, 2009


Saw a post on the Top 15 Lieberman Betrayals posted on HuffPo, and it made me think of a movie or something. Like when the main characters finally find the mole and the audience asks "How did you not see that coming?"
posted by sambosambo at 9:58 PM on October 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Like a character in The Godfather.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:38 PM on October 27, 2009


Dear JoeBeese,

Toldya so!
posted by markkraft at 10:52 PM on October 27, 2009


He really is quite an astonish asshole.
posted by Artw at 10:52 PM on October 27, 2009


How is it that Madoff's closest assistant winds up dead at the bottom of a pool, but Joe Leiberman continually knifes the Democratic Party in the back and lives to tell the tale again and again? How the hell does he stay protected from political assassination? They let him back into the party, even! Insane.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:56 PM on October 27, 2009


"Like a character in The Godfather."

Obviously, Harry Reid needs to take Joe Lieberman out on the lake for a bit of fishing.
posted by markkraft at 2:02 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Budget reconciliation vote (majority-only needed) remains an obscure method to side-stepping a filibuster, and is being considered by Reid and Durbin.
posted by Brian B. at 7:09 AM on October 28, 2009


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