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View Diary: Why we need to hold our nose and support the Senate HCR bill (UPDATE - Senate Invokes Cloture) (55 comments)

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  •  Shitty legislation can be improved. (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, I agree that this bill is a turd.

    However, I think that the Democrats will be given credit, though tepid, for TRYING to do something.  As opposed to the party of No.

    But the status quo will march us, slowly but surely, to inevitable doom.  I'm not saying that lightly, or for effect.

    Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

    by StonyB on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 06:41:35 PM PST

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    •  Credit? (1+ / 0-)
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      Did we give Bush or the Republican controlled Congress credit for trying to do something?

      Be it in regards to protecting the country with preemptive wars or the Patriot Act or warrentless wiretapping?

      Giving us tax-cuts to stimulate our economy?

      Giving us the massive Pharmaceutical Deal?

      They certainly tried and the public found out that these policies were massive failures and did not benefit from these policies.

      Is this what we have come to?  It doesn't matter if we truly reform the healthcare industry while we have the power to do so....what matters is we've tried?  

      What good is getting points that we've tried if we continue to push lame-assed reform in the future?

      •  When I say "credit"... (0+ / 0-)

        I mean credit from the general public.  As in, increased approval ratings for Obama and Democrats.

        This will allow us to gain political capital, and push forward on tough legislative fights next year.

        Be it in regards to protecting the country with preemptive wars or the Patriot Act or warrentless wiretapping?

        Giving us tax-cuts to stimulate our economy?

        Giving us the massive Pharmaceutical Deal?

        Look, you're preaching to the choir.  I agree with you on all of these.

        Let me say this.  If you have a moment, turn on C-SPAN.  Right now, I'm listening to John Thune (Liar - SD) talking about the myriad of ways this bill sucks.  He's parroting the same crap that all of his Tea-bagging cohorts are; it's Big Government, it's going to bankrupt the country, we're all going to die, cats and dogs will be living together.

        And then, consider that every progressive Senator, even our dear friend Bernie Sanders, is, reluctantly, supporting passage of the bill.

        Who do you trust?

        And if it's "none of the above", I can't help you.

        Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

        by StonyB on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 07:16:56 PM PST

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        •  "political capital"... (1+ / 0-)
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 us this lousy bill.

          60 Senators
          258 Congressmen

          and is this is the best we can offer the people who put them in power?

          And approval ratings for this bill have been dropping and dropping the more watered down it has become.  Wasn't their a general agreement that what cost Creigh Deeds the Virginia governorship was that he wasn't supporting the public option and basically didn't give democrats a reason to go out and vote for the man?  Now Democrats should get excited about voting for Democrats because we are forced to buy health insurance that is provided by the private sector without a public option and without any cost controls?  I can't get excited about that.

          You and I both agree the bill is shit.  Bernie Sanders knows the bill is shit as well.  He's supporting it because he was able to get in his funding for public health centers.  Public health centers are extremely important and beneficial to society and they should be part of the bill but not at the expense of the countless other detrimental aspects of the bill that do not benefit those that most need support.

          Bernie Sanders believes that he can get his funding for these health centers by accepting the bad with the good.  The general public should not have to dig through a pile of shit for a nugget of gold.  We should propose legislation that has nothing but golden nuggets.  

          We need to be the one's who give Bernie Sanders the support he needs to call for leadership that is actually willing to help the American people without getting on our knees to centrists who are bought and paid for by insurance industries.

          To me passing this legislation is doing nothing but enabling those who have profited from delaying, watering down, and standing in opposition to health reform.  And when it does pass, whether it is effective or not it still rewards assholes like Nelson and Lieberman and enables them to continue to do these policies on any piece of legislation they damn well wish and they know they will face no repercussions whatsoever (from their fellow Congressman/Senators and their president at least).  

          To answer your question progressive senators are "reluctantly" supporting it.  Why should they have to show that progressives are the whipped mules of the Senate?  Why should they have to be reluctant about reform?  I think they are reluctant because despite their party having an overwhelming mandate for progressive policies they are pissing it all away to appease 5 senators paid for by the insurance industry.  

          They are reluctantly following orders.  i don't believe they want to.  I think they would rather have Obama tell Reid to get the best things possible via reconciliation and leave Bayh, Landrieu, Lieberman, Nelson, and Baucus cut off from any support of the Democrats whatsoever.  But they don't have the stones to stand up to Obama or to Rahm.  I wish they did, and what I'm fighting for now is for them to find their backbones and tell the president they can't count on them for every goddamn concession.

          So far only the House progressive Caucus has been willing to take a stand...we'll see how long that lasts.

          •  I honestly agree with everything you said. (0+ / 0-)

            Your points are all well-taken, and I endorse them completely.

            So again, at this point, what are our choices?

            Like you, I will continue to fight for the best possible bill.  I will support the Progressive Caucus in the House, and implore them to make this bill as good as it can be.

            But in the end, I'm asking you to answer just two questions.

            Despite how crappy this bill is, wouldn't its defeat be even worse?

            And if your answer is no, defeat is better, what do you think is going to happen to healthcare reform in the future?

            Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

            by StonyB on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 08:10:29 PM PST

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            •  Sure I'll answer (0+ / 0-)
              1. Would it's defeat be worse?

              You could make the argument that yes it would because we don't have all the lovely things that are actually good in the bill, but at the same time we won't have all of the terrible things involved in the bill as well.

              More abortion limitations being passed would not occur.

              Forcing individuals to buy insurance would not occur.

              Fines for refusing to buy insurance (if you don't have any of the pre-approved reasons) will not occur.

              And also avoiding the whole reforming insurance without actually controlling their costs, reimporting drugs, or offerring any sort of alternative rather than private plans that are responsible for the need for reform in the first place.

              Legislation that rewards the people responsible for the seems like the financial bailout all over again.

              No I don't think the defeat would be worse because we avoid all of those things I just mentioned.

              What do I think will happen to health reform in the future?

              I expect people to get mad and get agitated.  Mad enough to toss the bums out who watered down this monstrosity, mad enough to demand reconciliation be put through with policies that are actually beneficial without giving massive handouts to pharma and insurers, mad enough to get actual leadership willing to fight for such a move, mad enough to continue to fight for these policies so that when they actually have the power they use it to enact the good without the bad.

              The reason it took 15 years for anyone to talk healthcare reform again was because Republicans had control of Congress (the House at least) from 1995-2006 and the presidency from 2000-2008.  If Democrats want to pass anything substantial it should be now...they should not be content to pass what we currently have because it is more and more unpopular then what was promised to those who put the Democrats into power.

              I don't want to wait another 15 years to do healthcare reform, and I sure as hell don't want to wait 15 years under this new apparent "reform" either.  If Democrats can get it right in regards to healthcare reform it will be easier to make changes in the future, but the way I see it now they are sacrificing far too much of their promises and ensuring their own defeats in the future, and we can look forward to more wandering in the wilderness or watering down even more-so in order to get the support of those who have no interest whatsoever in meaningful reform.

              I can't trust those to lead who continue to submit themselves to a minute minority.  Leaders lead; they do not cower in the face of their subordinates.

              •  Here's what I think will happen... (0+ / 0-)

                if this bill fails.

                - Republican approval ratings will rise, and Democrats ratings will fall.  They will be seen as strong, us as weak.

                - Obama and Congress won't touch healthcare reform again.  Insurance premiums will continue to rise.  Thousands will continue to die due to lack of health insurance.  Tens of thousands will go bankrupt, and/or lose their insurance.

                - The economy will continue to tank, as businesses will be unable to invest in new employees due to the overwhelming burden of healthcare costs.

                - Republicans will make serious gains in both the House and Senate in 2010.  This will cripple Obama's agenda over the last two years of his term.

                Oh yes, people will get "mad and agitated".  But they will direct their anger towards the Democrats, for failing to pass a bill.

                I understand exactly where you're coming from.  I honestly do.

                But we're truly at the point that we need to choose between the frying pan and the fire.

                I can not stress this point enough - those who do not follow politics closely will not blame Republicans if this bill fails.  They will blame President Obama and Congressional Democrats, for spending months on this bill and then not getting it done.

                We MUST pass this bill, make it as good as possible in conference, and work on improving it in the years ahead.

                Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

                by StonyB on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 09:25:04 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Hold your nose, it's gonna be a long ride (1+ / 0-)
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      This is just the beginninng. We need this bill to get something in place to make improvements. The real lesson here is just how strong the lobbyists are and that there is even a bill at all. The future of this country will lie in the ability of the people in government to stand up and do what is right for the American people that they should represent.

      Even holding my nose this is far better than the last eight years of drowning in shit.

      •  When you hold your nose for too long... (0+ / 0-) can suffocate.

        Drowning in shit, or suffocation.  Either way you look at it you're still dead.

        We shouldn't have to deal with any shit at all.

        We won the elections.
        We have Congress and the White House.

        We have the public approval for meaningful reform.  We should just have roses and scented candles...not roses and scented candles covered in shit

        •  Let's say you have 60 friends... (1+ / 0-)
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          ...and all of your friends are encouraged to speak their minds, have their own opinions, and be held in regard.

          Now let's say you have 40 people you don't like.  This group is encouraged to speak with one voice, to suppress their individuality, to cast aspersions and falsehoods on all who DARE to disagree with them.

          As frustrating as my friends can be, in the end, they are still my friends.

          We must remember who the enemy is.

          We are NOT Republicans.  And therefore, as I said in a previous post, we must sometimes swallow some shit sandwiches.

          Because the alternative is starvation.

          Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

          by StonyB on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 08:20:20 PM PST

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          •  If you still want to use the shit metaphor... (0+ / 0-)

            ...I'm game.

            Eating shit can also poison you.  Shit is something that has been deprived of all it's nutritional value so the body expels it.

            If our bodies expel shit and we then continue to eat our shit that is akin to a dog going and eating it's own vomit.  Is that what we've come to be?  Shit eaters?  We control everything and yet we still eat shit?

            We are not Republicans, but we are enabling our supposed "friends" who are acting exactly like Republicans. These "friends" are taking advantage of your friendship.  They are not acting like our friends, instead they are willing to join the people we supposedly "don't like" in order to get their way.

            When 55 friends give up everything they like in order to keep five selfish "friends" they are complete idiots.  They are willing to accept those who resort to the tactics from people they "don't like" meaning that it doesn't really matter what you believe in as long as you keep your friends together.

            You become exactly like the people you don't like by willing to let these five friends decide anything the group does.  These five friends have done exactly what you said people we don't like have done.

            This group is encouraged to speak with one voice, to suppress their individuality, to cast aspersions and falsehoods on all who DARE to disagree with them.

            55 of my friends should be willing to tell those other 5 friends to either a) grow up or b) get out of our club if they are willing to stop our friend group from coming to a vote on something.

            •  And if your 55 friends... (0+ / 0-)

              disagree, and continue to support the 5 people in our group that are acting badly, what are you going to do?  Take your ball and go home?  Yell at your 55 friends until you become hoarse?  Drive the 5 bad friends into the arms of the other side?

              You still won't answer the most important question.  What will happen if we defeat this bill?

              Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

              by StonyB on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 08:56:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Pretty much yeah (0+ / 0-)

                If my 55 friends continue to enable the five who act like those I don't like then yes I will take my ball and go home and refuse to associate myself with spineless wimps who refuse to hold their ground on anything.

                Would I yell at them?  Sure.  I yell at them all the time now.  Will I share my opinion about why I am disatisfied with them?  Yes.  

                If we defeat the bill we won't have to deal with all of the shit currently in it which I made mention of a few posts down.  We won't receive the benefits either, but I think we should get the people angry enough to start demanding that the Senate have a public option in the plan, that abortion should not be restricted in the bill, that we should not be forced to buy insurance unless their is a public option to control costs.  We need to get people angry enough to make it political suicide for anyone to seek out the will of insurances industries before the will of the people.  

                I keep hearing we need to pass it as soon as possible because we don't have time to wait (even though many of the reforms don't take place for another 3-4 years).  Why don't we make it the best bill possible by explaining why it sucks now and offering solutions that will improve it (like a public option).  Basically health reform needs substantial PR.  Enough to convince those who actually want to listen not those who will say no just to piss off Dems.  If the people get overwhelmingly on board, it would provide a much better piece of legislation than is currently offerred.

                Of course I could be wrong as of right now the public option was enormously popular and still did not make it into the Senate bill, so maybe it doesn't really matter at all what the people think.  As long as we continue to let the Senate and the House get away with putting shit in and taking out the good they have no motivation whatsoever to listen to us at all, and once this bill becomes law it merely reinforces this.

        •  We need 60 votes (1+ / 0-)
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          Any way you look at it, the Dems need 60 votes to pass this legislation through the Senate.  It sucks, but that is reality -- because the Republicans have shamefully decided to stand unified in opposition to any meaningful health care reform.  They have done everything possible to delay and block this bill, down to requiring key votes at 1 a.m., hoping that the aged Sen. Byrd wouldn't be able to show up, and forcing the final vote to take place late on Christmas Eve.  They even filibustered the motion to bring the bill to the floor for debate -- and every single Republican, even purported "moderates" like Sens. Snowe and Collins of Maine, locked arms and voted with the party on that.  Conservative Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina candidly acknowledged the party's plan early on in this process, saying that they intended to fight this bill at every turn and attempt to use this to "break" the new Democratic President, turning it into "his Waterloo."

          This is the best that can be achieved right now.
          And it is quite good.  It makes health insurance available to 31 million Americans currently without it, puts an end to insurance industry practices of denials for "pre-existing conditions," rescissions of coverage for those who get sick or hurt, charging women more than men for the same coverage, and cutting off benefits for those who hit certain predetermined lifetime or annual benefit limits.  It also mandates that insurers spend 80 or 85% of their premium revenue (depending on the particular plan) on medical costs.  
          These are all good things.

          This is a good bill, and it should definitely be passed and signed into law.
          Could it have been better?  Of course -- but, unfortunately, a better bill was not politically feasible in this Senate at this time.
          Would single-payer be even better still?  Hell, yeah.  But that just has no chance in the current political environment.
          We have to take what we can get.
          Then keep on working to get a better Congress, and more improvements in our health care system.

          •  Reconcilliation does not require 60 votes (0+ / 0-)

            is that not a viable solution?

            •  We can scream from the top of Mount Everest. (0+ / 0-)

              But Obama and Reid have clearly made the political calculation that reconciliation would do more harm than good.  You, me, all of us can vehemently disagree with that assessment, but we all know that reconciliation is NOT going to happen.

              And if we agree that is the case, then we are left with two choices.

              Bad - Passing this bill.

              Worse - Not passing this bill.

              Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

              by StonyB on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 08:33:24 PM PST

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              •  If they won't use reconciliation then they can't (0+ / 0-)

                do anything substantial without eating shit.

                You make the argument that accepting the bill is bad and not doing so is worse.

                My opinion is that accepting a bad bill merely reinforces a willingness by Democrats to continue to accept bad legislation instead of fighting for good legislation.  I believe setting that trend is worse than passing the legislation.

            •  Reconciliation has real limits (0+ / 0-)

              There are rules about what can be done through the reconciliation process, which was created specifically to avoid filibusters for budget/revenue bills only.  
              So, the Dems couldn't pass the insurance reforms (such as banning pre-existing conditions, rescissions, mandating medical loss ratios, etc.) through reconciliation.  Nor could they have used it to pass the insurance exchange mechanism -- which is the heart of the bill.
              Basically, they could have made some incremental changes using reconciliation, but could not have passed a comprehensive reform bill that way.

              •  Then I guess they truly are powerless... (0+ / 0-)

                They can pass shit or nothing if they can't use reconcilation.

                I have no faith that they will improve it at all if they continue to enable Nelson, Landrieu, Bayh, Baucus, and Lieberman.

                Democrats have proven they can't fulfill their promises and can't pass anything not loaded with shit.  Which just shows me that if this is the best we can hope for...what is the point of even hoping?

                •  Have faith. (1+ / 0-)
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                  You clearly are passionate about this, and you clearly know what you're talking about.

                  Are you aware that Social Security and Medicare were both severely flawed when they were first enacted?  Their initial legislation looked like pathetic attempts at solving serious problems.

                  Please, look at this in the same light.  This is a first step.  A deeply flawed, but not incurable, first step.

                  Two days ago, I was where you are.  Bitter, alienated, ready to throw in the towel.

                  But if we give up now, we can't make this bill better.  If we give up now, we can't pressure our party to do whatever it can to give us the best possible bill.  Not the best bill, the best possible bill.

                  If it makes you feel any better, think back to a year ago and picture this: Vice-President Sarah Palin.

                  Keep the faith.  Keep fighting.

                  Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

                  by StonyB on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 09:54:34 PM PST

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                  •  I'm tired (0+ / 0-)

                    of having to choose between shit and even more shit.

                    I appreciate your responding to me throughout the thread and I am indeed very frustrated.  I seriously am very lacking in any faith in the Democratic Party at all at this point in time, which is why I don't believe they will ever try and improve the bill.

                    Social Security and Medicare did start off flawed, but I don't see the same demographics getting excited enough to tolerate the Dems enough to allow them to reform their own attempts at health reform.  There is also much more financial influences from lobbyists and insurance and health industries on legislation today than there was back when Medicare and Social Security were established. Because the power structure is much more vast today than in the 30s and 60s I am very pessimistic about anything getting better down the road.

                    And I know you mean well but the whole "At least he's not McCain thing" doesn't really make anyone feel better.  If anything it makes me feel worse because we no longer are judging Obama by his policies but rather the policies that could have been.  It's an easy argument but it shouldn't let him or Congress off the hook.

                    •  But this isn't "shit" (1+ / 0-)
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                      It is not as good as it could have been if we had a few better Congressmembers.
                      It is not perfect, by any means.
                      But it's pretty good.  It accomplishes a lot -- as I've mentioned before.  Insuring 31 million Americans, 45,000 of whom die every year as a result of their lack of insurance, will be a very real and very important improvement to our society, and this bill does that.  It contains many very good reforms.
                      Does it do everything we would have wanted?  No.  But it does an awful lot.

                      As Ezra Klein, a very keen observer (and progressive former blogger now writing for the Washington Post) observed:

                      Imagine telling a Democrat in the days after the 2004 election that the 2006 election would end Republican control of Congress, the 2008 election would return a Democrat to the White House, and by the 2010 election, Democrats would have passed a bill extending health-care coverage to 94 percent of Americans, securing trillions of dollars in subsidies for low-income Americans (the bill's $900 billion cost is calculated over 10 years, but the subsidies continue indefinitely into the future), and imposing a raft of new regulations on private insurers. It is, without doubt or competition, the single largest social policy advance since the Great Society.

                      Not bad, huh?  [Emphasis added.]

                      That's why the forces of reaction and conservatism and fear are sulking today.  
                      Every GOP member of the Senate voted against this bill (twice, now).  Every GOP member of the House but one voted against the House version.
                      The conservatives and the lobbyists and the entrenched interests and Mitch McConnell and John McCain and Tom Coburn and John Boehner and Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck and Michael Savage don't want this bill.
                      Russ Feingold and Dick Durbin and Sherrod Brown and Tom Harkin and Bernie Sanders and Robert Byrd and John Lewis and Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama and Victoria Kennedy do.

                      I know which side I'm on.

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