Today’s opining on the public discourse.
Someone needs to explain to Sen. Max Baucus that throwing the 76% of the population that wants meaningful health care reform under the bus is not a healthy career move:
The good news is, the Senate Finance Committee, which has held up health care reform efforts, is nearing the end of its negotiations. The bad news is, the negotiators have apparently come up with a bad bill.
The New York Times reports today on the ongoing talks between six committee members — Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) — who reportedly agree on the broad outline of a bipartisan plan.
The group, which includes no genuine progressives and is made up entirely of senators from states with no major urban areas, seem to have no use for liberal benchmark measures.
Already, the group of six has tossed aside the idea of a government-run insurance plan that would compete with private insurers, which the president supports but Republicans said was a deal-breaker. Instead, they are proposing a network of private, nonprofit cooperatives.
They have also dismissed the House Democratic plan to pay for the bill’s roughly $1 trillion, 10-year cost partly with an income surtax on high earners. The three Republicans have insisted that any new taxes come from within the health care arena. As one option, Democrats have proposed taxing high-end insurance plans with values exceeding $25,000.
The Senate group also seems prepared to drop a requirement, included in other versions of the legislation, that employers offer coverage to their workers.
The AP is reporting similar details — no public option, no employer mandate, no millionaire surtax.
The co-ops are an inadequate substitute for a public option, which Baucus had vowed to “fight tooth and nail” for. Moreover, the elimination of an employer mandate makes holding down costs that much more difficult.
Baucus, in other words, has prioritized Republican support for a bill over the quality of the bill, and has given up on some of the key priorities Democrats, including the president, have prioritized from the outset.
Unholster your phones, my darlings, and get crack-a-lackin’:
This would be a very good day to flood the offices of Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., Sens. Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, the Democrats slicing and dicing away our future, with PHONE CALLS (not emails) telling them you want a strong public option….
While you’re bawling these bastards out, you might want to remind them that the Finance Committee is supposed to deal in finances, not create their own shitty health care reform bill:
I’d just like to dial everybody back for a second and note that this is the Senate Finance Committee. In practice this hasn’t been honored, but in theory the group has jurisdiction over the financing of Medicare and setting up the revenue stream for a health care bill. Since pretty much everything costs something, that mandate has expanded into writing an entire bill. But in an ideal world, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee would write the health care bill, and the Finance Committee would direct how to pay for it.
If you need to borrow the Smack-o-Matic, it’s on the wall behind the bar. Use it well. Prove to Jane Hamsher that we can, indeed, whip the Senate – as long as we’re wielding the correct whip for the job.
For additional fun, should you have a health care horror story, shoot a video of it and send it on to Crooks and Liars. John Amato would like to shove Congress’ noses in the fact that even with health insurance, wrestling the care you need from your insurance company is an utter fucking nightmare.
That’s about it for the action items on the agenda. Let’s turn our not-so-tender attention to the Cons, who claim they have no influence over health care reform, and yet strangely keep fear-mongering in an effort to kill it. Once again, they are lying for the cause:
On CNBC today, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani claimed that President Obama made health care reform “an entirely political program” when he “took tort reform off the table.” “How can you ask Republicans to be part of a bipartisan group” without discussing tort reform, asked Giuliani:
GIULIANI: I thought when President Obama took tort reform off the table, you know, doing something about the excessive cost for doctors being sued, he made it an entirely political program. I mean how can you ask Republicans to be part of a bipartisan group when you take tort reform, which is one of the major causes of expense in the health care system off the table? Shouldn’t that be part of, shouldn’t that be part of a whole re-ogranization of health care?
While it’s true that Obama told the American Medical Association last month that he’s “not advocating caps on malpractice awards,” its been reported that he told AMA representatives in private that it “should be considered as part of any health care overhaul.” Additionally, Time’s Karen Tumulty reported in May that Obama specifically put it “on the table” in negotiations with Republicans, but the GOP wasn’t willing to deal…
So, Rudy, answer me a question. Why don’t Cons want tort reform?
Oh, and Rudy – malpractice is a drop in the fucking bucket. We’re talking a lousy two percent of health care costs. Maybe you should’ve stayed with a noun, a verb, and 9-11.
In other stupid Con news, Rep. Virginia “Everybody Has Health Care!” Foxx just jumped on the Obama-the-granny-slayer meme with a vengeance:
Anyway, today she came up with a brand new health care reform objection when she said that the Republican health care plan — whatever that is! — would “make sure we bring down the cost of health care for all Americans and that ensures affordable access for all Americans and is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.”
Do these people really believe a single fucking word coming out of their own mouths? If so, why the fuck aren’t they hospitalized?
They’ve gone so psychotic, they think it’s okay to use taxpayer dollars to mail their lying little chart around:
Seems that House Republicans are looking to spend taxpayer funds sending a mailing to constituents showcasing the chart. Dems are crying foul, saying the chart is false and that House rules prohibit the sending out of official mail if it’s misleading.
Look, you little shits, you used my tax dollars to fight a ridiculous war, spy on Americans, fund your little faith-based friends, enrich your corrupt corporate pals, and torture people, among a great many other things. Enough. If you want to send out yet more lies, go for it – on your own fucking dime.
Oh, and by the way – we’re on to your little astroturfing schemes. But if you insist on keeping up pretenses, you might want to let your fake grassroots know that lynching Congressmen in effigy kinda sorta sends the wrong message.
My darlings, while you’re calling dumbfuck Dem senators today, you might want to ask them why they’re working so very hard to please a bunch of frothing insane, lying douchebags while giving 76% of the electorate the shaft.