Health care reform is the litmus test for distinguishing between progressives and Dementors -those creatures from the Harry Potter books that live by draining hope and initiative from victims. Here's a progressive:
Tonight Congressman Alan Grayson, FL-8, voted in support of historic health care reform legislation.And here's Eric Alterman in a incredibly shoddy article that must be making IF Stone's ashes spin:
Congressman Grayson said, “I may be in Congress for two years or twenty years, but whenever I leave Congress, I want to be able to say that there is no blood on my hands. I want to know that I did everything I could to save lives. That’s why I voted for health care reform. That’s why I had to vote for health care reform. I am pleased that I voted for life.”
The health care reform act includes important changes that will make life better for everyone.
After all, who was the guy who said "Any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange... including a public option"?
The group of critics who are now most loudly yelling about the "enthusiasm" gap do not argue that progressives who found a lot of good in the health care reform are wrong, they simply refuse to admit that such people exist. Here's Congresswoman Barabara Lee
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee released this statement following her vote in support of the health care reform legislation. The legislation passed the House with a vote ofHere's Nancy Pelosi.
“Tonight, my colleagues and I cast an historic vote to improve the health and wellness of millions of Americans who suffer because they are uninsured and under-insured and because of massive gaps in our nation’s health care system.
“Tonight, I cast my vote for all those people who deserve health care but simply can’t afford it. I cast my vote for our senior citizens who will see their prescription drug costs go down. I cast my vote for our children and grandchildren, so that they can live longer, fuller and healthier lives. I cast my vote in memory of those people who didn’t have preventive care and died prematurely.
“There is no doubt this bill has flaws. Many of us would have preferred a single-payer system or at least a public option. However, this bill offers vitally important advances for health care - making coverage more affordable and expanding access to much needed services.
“I worked tirelessly with my colleagues to ensure that this bill holds insurance companies accountable and included a number of cost-saving provisions. We were vocal advocates for provisions in the bill to combat health disparities, illnesses and diseases that disproportionately affect low-income and minority communities.
“To those who suffer from those health disparities, our vote tonight carries significance similar to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in that it fulfills a dream that has been elusive for far too long and for far too many Americans.
The Affordable Care Act will ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care and significantly reduce long-term health care costs. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has determined that it will provide coverage to 32 million more people, or more than 94% of Americans, while lowering health care costs over the long term. This historic legislation will reduce the deficit by $143 billion over the next ten years, with $1.2 trillion in additional deficit reduction in the following 10 years.If we saw some acknowledgment of success in stories by Alterman and others, or even discussion of why they considered Lee and Grayson to be deeply confused, one might have some respect for their positions. But what we get is simply a declaration that the "base" which they seem to have elected themselves to speak for, is offended and, echoing GOP propaganda, the whole thing is some sort of scam.
What the legislation does for you:
Health insurance reform puts American families and small business owners—not the insurance companies—in control of their own health care.
Making health insurance affordable for middle class and small businesses—one of largest tax cuts for health care in history—reducing premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
Giving millions of Americans access to affordable insurance choices just as big businesses have—through a new competitive health insurance market that keeps costs down.
Holding insurance companies accountable to keep premiums down and prevent denials of care and coverage, including for pre-existing conditions.
Improving Medicare benefits with lower prescription drug costs for those in the ‘donut hole,’ better chronic care, free preventive care, and nearly a decade more of solvency for Medicare.
Reducing the deficit by $143 billion over the next ten years, and by $1.2 trillion more over the following decade; reining in waste, fraud and abuse, paying for quality over quantity of care.
Failure to enact reform would have meant continued double digit premium increases—some as high as 60%, arbitrary loss of coverage, and huge increases in the national deficit.
Here's David Sirota
Clearly, this is a telling indictment of the health care law itself, strongly suggesting that it was constructed by the Obama administration - as some progressives argued - as a massive taxpayer-financed giveaway to private insurers like Wellpoint.Here's Senators Sanders and Leahy
BURLINGTON, Vt., June 7 – U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced today that almost 9,000 Vermont seniors will receive a one-time $250 rebate check beginning this week as the new federal health care law begins to close a gap in Medicare coverage for prescription medicine.By the way, Grayson has come up with a method of "pushing from the left" that actually, you know pushes instead of tries to drown. Here's the second part of his press release quoted above
The first checks will be mailed June 10 for people whose out-of-pocket expenses already total more than $940 for the year, the senators said during a joint press conference at the Champlain Senior Center. People covered under Medicare Part D should receive a check automatically.
Nationwide, more than 3 million people a year fall into the so-called doughnut hole, the gap in coverage for drug costs between $2,830 and $4,550.
Starting in 2011, people affected by the coverage gap will receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs. By 2020, the doughnut hole will be eliminated entirely. In addition, starting in 2011, increased discounts for both generic and brand-name drugs will save seniors more than $700. The savings will grow to more than $3,000 annually by 2020.
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) supported the health care reform bill in the House of Representatives.
The health care law signed on March 23 by President Barack Obama also made the program more secure and more affordable by curbing excessive Medicare Advantage payments to private insurance companies, by cracking down on fraud and abuse, and by increasing the Medicare payroll tax on the wealthiest Americans. It is estimated that Medicare premiums will drop by $45 per year for 80,000 Vermont seniors thanks to better oversight of the Medicare Advantage program.
Among other improvements, there no longer will be deductibles or co-payments required for an annual checkup or for other preventive services. For low-income seniors, access to no-cost drug plans will be expanded and co-payments will be eliminated for those on Medicare and Medicaid who receive home and community-based care.
The health care reform act includes important changes that will make life better for everyone. In Congressman Grayson’s 8th Congressional District, the health care reform:Noting the important positive aspects of the plan did not require the Congressman to say all problems were solved or to back off on his proposed solutions. Here's Jane Hamsher - the inspiration for Alterman's shoddy story.
• Enables 108,000 people to get health insurance,
• Eliminates discrimination based on a pre-existing condition for 19,500 people,
• Eliminates the donut hole on prescription drug costs for 9,000 seniors,
• Provides tax credits to 20,100 small businesses that offer health insurance to employees, and
• Lowers the federal debt by $1.3 trillion, which comes out to be more than $4,000 for every man, woman, and child in America.
The Congressman vows to keep pushing for the passage of his Medicare You Can Buy Into Act (H.R. 4789). The bill allows anyone who can afford it to buy into Medicare at cost. The bill already has 80 cosponsors in the House.
“My new bill will provide real competition to the private health insurance companies. Those companies make money by denying people the care they need. My Medicare You Can Buy Into Act will go even further toward saving money and saving lives,” said Congressman Grayson.
So it’s awfully glib for Obama to now belittle the people who worked hard to get him elected for always seeing the glass “half empty” if they’re disappointed about the public option. Then again, he apparently doesn’t even remember the promises he made to them.Here's some more Hamsher on Obama:
Maybe they’re not being negative, maybe they’re just smart enough to know when they’ve been conned.
"This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president."Oh sorry, that's not Hamsher it is
President Obama came into office with a promise to change how Washington works. It hasn't worked out well so far, and many supporters of the president who helped to catapult him into office are frustrated, at least according to various polls.We have a netroots that can give us another version of the same narrative pushed by the main stream corporate media. Not only that, but the "left" critics also can pace the standard crappy level of "journalism" that we get from the MSM. Here's Alterman in his role as the anti-I.F.Stone
In case you hadn’t heard, yes Barack Obama did go before a $30,000-per-person Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Greenwich, Connecticut—the hedge-fund capital of the world—and (at the home, I kid you not, of a guy named “Rich Richman” ) complain about how silly his base was being.Woo! Actually, he didn't complain about "the base", he said
Now, the second reason I’m telling you this is because Democrats, just congenitally, tend to get — to see the glass as half empty.You know, Democrats, "we". Interestingly, Alterman does not provide a link to the text of the speech, he links to Hamsher, who links to - who else, Mike Fucking Allen. Yes that's our progressive media for you. Inspiring. If you want to see the speech you have to search away from the white middle class punditocracy on the blogs that claims to represent "the base".
We have finally started digging into our health care system2 in a way that is not just providing health insurance to 31 million people who didn’t have it before — I spoke to a woman today who was the first person to sign up for an insurance pool that allows people with preexisting conditions to finally get health insurance. (Applause.) She lives up in New Hampshire — had lymphoma, could not get treatment, could not get health insurance. And we signed that bill just as she was about to give up — and is now in the midst of treatment and her prognosis is good.By the way, other people who must not belong to "the base" have concerns other than whether the President said something that offended them
Across the board, we are making progress.
[...]Now, I’m making this point for two reasons. Number one, the changes we’ve made are ones that will take some time to bear fruit. And folks who are out of work right now, whose homes are underwater right now, who are trying to figure out how to pay the bills or send their kids to college right now — they don’t have five or 10 years to wait. And so we’ve got to still work very hard in the short term to dig ourselves out of this enormous hole.
Yesterday, we reported that the nation’s biggest health insurers are “sparing no expense to weaken” the new health care reform law by lobbying the state regulators who are writing new regulations to ensure consumers’ premium dollars are spent on real medical care.Imagine that, they are actually concerned about protecting gains, not about asking how high when Mike Allen tells them to jump.
Today, a new report from the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) reveals the same insurance giants are discussing forming a $20 million, “nonprofit” front group to influence regulations, sway voters and back industry-friendly candidates.
The companies, according to CPI, are Aetna Inc., Cigna Corp., Humana Inc., United HealthCare Inc. and WellPoint Inc. Sources told CPI they:
expect millions of dollars will be pumped into issue advertising in a number of races where candidates sympathetic to health industry concerns have a shot at winning….Overall, the insurers are expected to focus on swaying about two dozen close House contests, says one source.
Keep in mind that during the health care debate there was near unanimous Republican opposition to the bill and the strong insurance reforms the industry is now fighting. Senate and House Republican leaders have marked repeal of health care reform as a top item on their agenda if they win back control of Congress.
And to conclude, here are some more comments from people who are apparently not progressive.
Here's Barbara Boxer
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) released the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act:
“Today, we have taken a huge step forward for our nation by passing historic legislation that will make affordable health care a reality for America’s families.
“When this legislation takes full effect, 95 percent of Americans will have access to affordable health care, including up to 7 million uninsured Californians. Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition or cancel policies when people are sick and in great need. And small business owners will get large tax credits to provide health care for themselves and their employees.
“Prescription drugs will become more affordable for our seniors. Young adults will have the security of knowing they can stay on their parents’ health plan until they are 26. Preventive care such as mammograms and vaccinations will be free.
“This legislation will bring community health centers to 10,000 communities, extend Medicare for nine years and create an insurance exchange that will allow consumers to purchase competitively priced health insurance. And this fiscally responsible legislation will reduce the deficit by $143 billion over the first ten years and by more than $1 trillion over the next decade.
“This legislation is also a victory for college students, who will benefit from the single largest investment in federal student aid in U.S. history. By eliminating subsidies to big banks and cutting out the middleman, we will save taxpayers money and provide Pell Grants to 63,000 more students in California over the next ten years.”
April 1, 2010
COLUMBUS, OH - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted an event in Columbus today to celebrate the historic passage of health reform - signed into law earlier this month. Sen. Brown was joined by elected officials and Ohioans from across the state who have urged him to fight for comprehensive health reform.
"We live in a country that is stronger for every American who has a good job, a secure home, and a secure retirement - and where every family in America deserves a family doctor," Brown said. "As a nation, we are one step closer to ensuring that parents never again have to choose between putting food on their table or visiting their family doctor. We are one step closer to making medical bankruptcies a thing of the past."
“For too long, working families have lived in fear that they are just one illness away from financial ruin. For too long, the men and women in my home state of New York have watched their premiums skyrocket, with family rates up 97% in the last decade. For too long, Latinos have been left behind, suffering the highest uninsured rate of any other community. Tonight, it is time to say enough.
“It is time to say enough to the discriminatory policies that charge women and minorities more money for the same services. It is time to say enough to a system that has pushed more than 2.5 million New Yorkers over the brink and into the ranks of the uninsured. And it is time to say enough to a status quo that robs Americans of the peace of mind that can only come from knowing this -- they, and they alone, are in charge of their own well being.
“This bill gives every American that autonomy. For the Latino community, it delivers coverage to 8.8 million people. In my home district, it improves options for 324,000 residents, and expands care to 86,000 more. For 16,000 people with preexisting conditions, it allows them to buy affordable health plans right away, promising them: Never again. Never again can you be denied coverage. And for 4,300 of my district’s seniors paying full price for prescription drugs, it closes the Medicare donut hole.
“Meanwhile, this bill invests in New York’s network of community health centers. In my district alone, 33 clinics will see critical improvements, meaning more options for the men and women of Brooklyn, Queens and the Lower East Side. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that what this legislation is all about -- options?
“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will deliver better choices -- not just for New Yorkers, but for all Americans. With the passage of health care reform, we are finally answering a decades-long cry for help. We are finally empowering the American people with quality, affordable options that put them in the driver’s seat, and I urge support of this landmark legislation.”