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The short answer is: It's Harry Reid's fault. But let me back up a bit.

The New York Times published an important article February 24 on the fears that many Americans have about seeking out genetic testing for disease. A positive test for a pre-disposition to a genetically-based disease could lead to higher health insurance premiums, a loss of coverage altogether, or even the loss of a job.

It's a scary situation for anyone, especially for those who have family histories of such illnesses. Do you get tested and put your healthcare and job at risk? Or avoid testing - and, of course, put your very health at risk?

Fortunately, Rep. Louise Slaughter has a solution (at least until we have universal healthcare). After twelve years of being rebuffed by recidivist Republicans, Rep. Slaughter was finally able to pass the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (aka GINA) after Democrats re-took the House last year. As she explained at the time:

GINA will prevent the improper use of genetic information when workforce and insurance decisions are made. To put it another way, employers and insurance companies will be prohibited from using genetic information as a factor in determining hiring, firing, promotion, or medical coverage decisions. It will allow people to take and participate in genetic tests that could save their lives and the lives of others, without fear of their test results being used against them.

The bill passed overwhelmingly, 420-3. Everyone assumed that passage in the Senate would be a cakewalk - a similar bill had been approved in that body twice before, and even President Bush said he would sign it. But that was until Sen. Tom Coburn's ugly mug showed up on the scene.

Coburn actually voted for GINA in 2005, yet now he's placed a "hold" on the bill. Rep. Slaughter says that Coburn's excuses for his hold "don't make sense," but what makes even less sense is Harry Reid's respect for that hold.

A hold, as we well know, simply means that the senator placing it intends to (or at least claims he or she will) filibuster the bill if it's brought to the floor. The surest way to test the sincerity of such a claim is for the Majority Leader - in this case, Reid - to actually go ahead and force a vote on the bill. Seeing as the 2005 version of GINA passed by 98-0, there's no way Coburn could muster 39 other Republicans to sustain his filibuster.

So why the hell is Harry Reid honoring this sure-to-fail hold?

There is no reason that I can discern. We can't even pretend that Reid is doing this out of a too-great fealty to Senate tradition - we are all too familiar, by now, with his ugly history of ignoring holds placed by fellow Democrats, such as those placed by Ron Wyden and Chris Dodd. If Reid has no problems running roughshod over the perogatives of members of his own caucus, then surely he can disregard Coburn's abusive and senseless hold as well.

I'm not a reflexive Reid basher, but there is no justification for this. I expect the Tom Coburns of the world to be irredeemable jerks. And I expect our party's Senate Majority Leader to recognize that and govern accordingly. Reid needs to steamroll Coburn's hold immediately. Countless Americans, who wrongly are forced to live in fear of the consequences of genetic testing, deserve no less.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:12 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I can only hope (8+ / 0-)

    That we field a top-level challenger to Coburn in 2010.

    Pragmatic progressivism is the future.

    by Pragmaticus on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:14:28 AM PST

  •  Can't ALL be Reid's fault. (6+ / 0-)

    The insurance industry isn't too keen on having their hands tied, I'd imagine.  They are not lacking in influence, correct?

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:14:55 AM PST

    •  Genetic testing is a big business too. (4+ / 0-)

      There was a documentary a few years back about the race between a non-profit and for- profit company to isolate the BRCA gene.  The for profit company got there first, and so BRCA testing costs thousands of dollars.

      Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. --Molly Ivins

      by sap on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:22:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  'The DNA AGE' (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, sap, lgmcp, AmericanRiverCanyon

        The DNA AGE is an excellent series, of which this article is just one.
          As someone who has a few of these 1 in 1 million preexisting conditions and is well on my way to my insurance company's limit, I'm lucky they haven't screened me out...not that they haven't tried.
           DNA testing is available outside your insurance company's scrutiny if you pay for it yorself and can be done anonymously. GINA would be so much better, good for Rep. Louise Slaughter.
          Pass GINA.

        •  Actually, self-pay may be preferable (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sap, lgmcp, 4thepeople, KenBee

          rrheard, below, points out the typical path legislation goes through, where its intent is corrupted to the benefit of the ruling class.  If I wanted DNA testing, I would pay for it myself, with cash.  I'd provide a false name, and I damned sure wouldn't give them my SS#.  I'd give them nothing.

          Once the test result is in the infoverse, "accidents" will happen.  And the punishment will be something along the lines of "Now, now, don't do that again".

          I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

          by tle on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 11:18:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  They talk about that in several articles (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            in that series...that's what people have been doing.
               Shouldn't have too of course, it should be considered another test and be covered, be we all know that, a perfect world.

            •  Why should it be covered? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Mostly just being a devils advocate here, but what reasons make you believe that this is the best use of your tax and insurance dollars?

              Ignorance isn't bliss?  That the more we know the more we can prepare?

              What specific need does this fulfill?  Why is it imperative?  Compare/contrast with real diseases like West Nile, polio, and other serious problems if you want.

              -7.75 -4.67

              "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

              by Odysseus on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:36:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If you might be at high risk for colon cancer (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lgmcp, 4thepeople, KenBee

                getting tested to know, and then monitoring polyps and having them removed very early if they are not benign is a major savings in cancer treatment costs and productivity of a worker.   If you are not at high risk you don't need to be screened as often.

                You could save money by not dying so your kids don't get the social security money.

                Specific enough? Serious enough? I believe cancer is a real and serious disease.  But I guess that could have changed since my degree in molecular biology was awarded...?

              •  I almost married a woman with my genome's (0+ / 0-)

                same defect and our child would have been dead by 20.
                  From a monetary standpoint it would have been a million or way more in costs.
                 As it is today, even 'ordinary' genetic testing would have flagged that problem.
                  Even the insurance companies argue for preemptive health care, this is thankfully evolving as another tool in the medical care kit. Soon it won't be just a test that only yuppied can afford. Unless you want to argue these cases are God's plan..that would truly be the devil's advocate.

                •  My personal feelings do not matter at all (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  when formulating public policy.  Public policy is necessarily utilitarian.  The greatest good for the greatest number.  Individually cheap, proven effective, and widely available treatments like vaccinations are no-brainers.  Individually expensive treatments cannot and should not be covered.  "If you get cancer you die" is both a valid Overton window statement and a utilitarian public policy statement.  Whether you or I would advocate it does not diminish that.

                  Genetic testing may or may not "pay for itself" in avoided genetic disease cost.  I am absolutely witholding judgement on that idea.

                  "a test that only yuppied (sic) can afford" is interesting from a research and development perspective, and that should not be entirely discarded, but there is a serious question of what GOOD public policy is or is not.

                  My mother has diabetes.  My father had three heart attacks by age 40.  What kinds of family history gateway SHOULD indicate a pressing need to be tested?

                  -7.75 -4.67

                  "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

                  by Odysseus on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 05:52:57 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  A good doctor would screen (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    for a user history..and may find a person to have the possibility of genetic complications. Dr would then justify it to the insurance co and order it, just like any other screen or lab test. Ins Cos would squirm and whine, just like with any other lab test.
                     A genetic test from a medical standpoint may indicate treatment and a preventive routine..the science may help the patient to see the truth of his/her reaslity and form better life insurance company can at this point in our countries legal and cultural evolution use the test against you.
                      Blue Shield of Cali are requesting that new  Blue Shield applicants be screened  by their enrolled Doctors for just these things in California...Drs are resisting...but for how long. Used like that, genetic testing if mandated as part of the application process would be a real double edged sword, held by the insurance companies. I haven't seen that they are considering it, but when there's a upper life limit in the millions, a 'simple' if reliable genetic test is going to seem like reasonable underwriting...wait for it, they'll think of it.
                      Your family and it's offspring of just such potentially genetic problems seems the perfect example. Seems...and that's where the Dr is important, and that the insurance be prevented from acting against the patients is important to (your)(our) future, and that of (your)(our) children.

                        Another history is said to 'probably' be genetic...and it was the opinion of my doctor that there was a good possibility that these same genetics could manifest in younger relatives...the more obvious physical characteristics pointed to one nephew, who was screened at great cost in time and money, and was found to have/be manifesting the outward signs, but not the inward lethalities...important because sudden death from exertion is 'the problem'. He was cleared, and his team won a national football title that next year.
                        A genetic test, if/when routine would have flagged my case earlier and saved me much pain time, money, damage, and threat..and the worries and costs to my family...and genetic testing would have shown my nephew to be more or less at risk as well.
                        Knowledge is power, all the moreso when it's personal. If the insurance companies use this power against us, how is that good? Lower rates? Less people insured? Poorer care with less people in the insurance pool, more people getting poorer care at taxpayers the expense? Ayn Rand would love it.

                       Good luck and health to your family..

          •  More like ... (0+ / 0-)

            And the punishment will be something along the lines of "Now, now, don't do that again".

            The punishment will be more like: You can only have 12 "accidents" per insured.  Don't worry, though; your retroactive immunity from liability is still intact, wink wink.

            Left. Because it's right. Look up Jon Elrod

            by 4thepeople on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:08:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Nope (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Can't ALL be Reid's fault.

      Nope; we can blame Bill Clinton as well.  The Republicans will.

      "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

      by MikeTheLiberal on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:38:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So you're saying they've bribed him? (0+ / 0-)

      If that's what you're saying, how is he not at fault?  

      And if that's not what you're saying, what do you mean?  That they bribed Coburn?  But Reid is still responsible for honoring Coburn's hold.  What do you mean?  

      •  I mean that they have "bribed" numerous members (0+ / 0-)

        of Congress, perhaps most.  In the perfectly legal and above-board ways allowed by our current lobbying, campaign finance, and revolving-door policies.  I mean, it's not as symbol as Coburn in black hat and why doesn't Harry put on the white hat already.  I mean, if this bill was really such a shoo-in, it would have been shooed already.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:53:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  In order to believe this, though, (0+ / 0-)

          you also have to believe that not only have members of Congress been co-opted by insurance lobbyists, but they have also colluded to pretend to be in favor of the bill (by voting for it!) while in reality having secretly selected Coburn to torpedo the thing by putting a hold on it -- and also having secretly obtained Reid's agreement to honor the hold.  

          I suppose this is not impossible.  But it seems pretty tin-hatty.  

      •  'simple' not 'symbol' (0+ / 0-)

        Sure he shares in the blame.  Just not exclusively.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 11:02:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Kow-towing to insurance influence... (0+ / 0-)

      The insurance industry only has the influence given it by their Congressional enablers.  I sure as hell don't give Harry Reid a pass because he's confused about whether to abase himself before Coburn, first, or abase himself before the insurance lobby first.

      Left. Because it's right. Look up Jon Elrod

      by 4thepeople on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:03:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  All I can say is, WTF? (6+ / 0-)

    I agree--there is no reason for this crap to continue.

  •  Dodd and Wyden... (14+ / 0-)

    should offer a motion to proceed on the bill.

  •  Highly important issue. (12+ / 0-)

    Great diary.

    I would also submit we need VERY large penalties for disclosure, whether inadvertant or intentional, of such genetic information.

    We've seen how companies have "accidentally' disclosed hundreds of thousands of Americans' personal and financial data without any penalty whatsoever.

    Disclosure of private genetic information can never be corrected and is the most intensely private information we have.  The next bill under a Dem Prez and Congress should seek to create strict liability for disclosure and large penalties therefor.


    by maxschell on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:17:18 AM PST

  •  Spineless wimps (6+ / 0-)

    Yet another example of the spineless wimps this batch of Dems has turned out to be.  Poor leadership on FISA, Iraq, and now GINA.  Any other four-letter words, anyone?

  •  What in the hell is wrong with Harry? (4+ / 0-)

    Some things are really easy.  This is one.  WTF?

    We need a new majority leader now.  We can't wait any longer.  We are not guaranteed anything tomorrow.

    In an insane society, the sane man would appear insane

    by TampaCPA on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:17:48 AM PST

  •  If your genes are pure... (14+ / 0-)

    ...what do you have to worry about?

    (-2.75, -4.92) | Barack Obama: Best chance in a long time

    by Addison on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:18:54 AM PST

  •  Release GINA now (6+ / 0-)

    This is just one of many steps we need to end the pre-existing condition situation in health care. The current situation strongly discourages the uninsured from getting any preventative care, even if they can afford it - because the diagnosis of an expensive disease will disqualify you from the system, even if it can be managed inexpensively for now, or even if taking care of it now would save money down the road. Insurance companies should be happy to take on people who are responsible and proactive in keeping themselves healthy, not disqualify people who had the foresight to have a test done or ask a doctor to look at a freckle.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:18:54 AM PST

  •  It's such a great feeling to know that (6+ / 0-)

    a genetically inherited disease exists in my family, and that I have 50/50 chance of inheriting it.

    It's even better to be afraid of getting screened for the genetic defect because of the affect it could have on my insurance.


    •  Reminds me: free diabetic testing as a genetic (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, jay w

      inheritance is available for people who may have diabetes...if in their family.
        It's free I think, and part of a study...maybe a drug company test ultimately.
       It was on my local Air America affiliate yesterday.
        I can't remember the was simple...'free diabetes test' search may bring it up.
        For those of you/us with diabetes in our families ...

    •  Also the wonderful catch- 22 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, KenBee, jay w

      ... have the symptoms of a certain genetic- based disorder, have the family history of associated auto immune disorders, have the medical establishment refuse to recognize it or issue an "official" diagnosis based on a test for a genetic marker that you ... don't possess.  Because surprise! you belong to that very lucky 5% that can still get the disease but carry the other markers not yet recognized officially in this country.

      Scenario #2 ... have symptoms,  refuse to undergo "official" genetic testing for the other markers now that the medical science in this country has sorta gotten its head out of its bum, and surprise! your physician cannot give you an "official" diagnosis because your insurance says you don't have the disease because you've not been tested and found to have the genes. In the meantime, flunk another blood test the doctor did not tell you he was running with the other blood test,  and get told cheerily "don't have the disease" by totally clueless office minion calling fr doctor's office.

      In no hurry to be officially labeled Genetically Carrying because of the pre existing condition clauses and spouse's employment situation.

      Fortunately condition can be treated by selective diet and I don't have to worry about passing it on to non existant offspring.

      I am really curious, I went ahead and investigated who actually runs a place I could privately get the super duper expanded genetics testing done at, and surprise!, no, I am not making this up, the ownership is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, I think, and there are all sorts of geneology links on their websites.  Now I know LDS is a huge fan of family trees and databases and the last thing I want is to get tucked into some FBI database somewhere with the label of "Now Officially Carrying," even if it is just a gene.  Maybe this is overly paranoid, but really, could somebody else out there now take what I have just said and extrapolate it further with some more research?

      Unfortunately if I am ever proscribed any medication, it needs to be noted somewhere don't give me stuff with that in it, not that I actually have the condition officially.  

      If I was Italian I'd a been diagnosed before kindergarten.

      Follow the money, or in this case, the political / business connection and you may find your answers.

      •  You could be my sister. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Are you?
        (well sorta. actually...heh.)
         Good luck with that, that need not be named here, but dam.
            Once upon a time, I'm all like 'wow, I AM one in a million!'...for a few seconds. They'd always told me I was special...

        •  Heh... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...  and there are two branches of my family tree that are missing pieces, even funnier.  Somewhere there are cousins.  I plugged my grandfather's real name into a search and found someone by that same exact name but younger, buried in a military cemetary near San Francisco... it could be his other son, my father's brother, or a coincidence.  I'm like, very interesting, but... that makes another mystery branch.

  •  Time for a new leader (5+ / 0-)

    Harry Reid has been a terrible Majority Leader. He needs to be replaced quickly. Give me a Dodd!

    Support Rules: Don't count my vote! (FL voter)

    by gregonthe28th on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:22:13 AM PST

  •  Reid has been (5+ / 0-)

    such a disappointment.

    If we continue to accumulate only power and not wisdom, we will surely destroy ourselves. -Carl Sagan

    by LightningMan on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:22:30 AM PST

  •  It's Harry Reid's fault. (5+ / 0-)

    What, that happens in the Senate, isn't? He's worthless, and needs be tossed out with the rest of the Bush-kissing trash.

  •  Thanks for reminding us... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...on just how must of a jerk Hapless Harry Reid truly is!  

    May Senate Democrats come to their senses and dump him as Majority Leader in 2009!

  •  Sen. Reid joins Sen. Biden as a Corporatist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama

    Both put the interests of big business (notably banks, telecom and now health insurance) ahead of citizens.

    We need more Progressive challengers for their seats.

    "People who enjoy sausage and respect the law should not watch either being made." - Otto von Bismarck

    by shaf on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:27:17 AM PST

  •  Yes, but WHY has Reid been such a disappointment? (7+ / 0-)

    Does anyone have any kind of handle on his motivation for being such a ... shoot, I can't even think of the right word. Spineless wimp? Poor strategist?  Lousy feeler of national pulse? Pick your favorite pejorative.

    Thing is, why does he do this? Does somebody have him by the balls, and if so, who?

    •  That's simple (5+ / 0-)

      Harry Reid has been such a disappointment because he is a Senator who was in line for the job due to seniority and was never cut out to be a Senate President.

      A love for being a Senator doesn't make you a good Senate leader. "It's my turn" doesn't make you a good Senate leader either. He is far more conservative and cautious than anybody realized.

      People believed the myth of Harry Reid. Hook, line, and sinker. And he's losing that.

      As somebody who lives in Nevada, you have to understand how much of a shock it was that Reid was a total wimp. He runs on what a tough guy he was back in the day. Boxer. Former prosecutor. Grrrr.

      And what showed up in the Senate was a tomato can sparring partner.

      The rumor here is that he wants to step down, but stay in his seat. He loves being a Senator, but I think the fun is gone from where he's at. This is not a man who is used to having to fight for things anymore. The Nevada Democratic Party is a Reid bastion. He's a senior member of his party who doesn't hear emphatic 'nos!' a lot from younger Senators without consequences.

      Part of the reason I think he has been so hard on his own party is that he can punish them with far less disruptive consequences, but not the GOP. You slam the door on the GOP its war. You act petty to a younger Senator of your own party, and, what? He or she isn't going to attack you. They already have the problem of you shutting them down as it is. He has no control over the GOP like that and, for all of his years of experience, he's more likely to be petty to a member of his own party than come down on a GOPer who makes the same kind of request.  

      If he ever wants his son Rory to be Governor or to have a shot at his seat, he's gonna have to get out of the Leadership slot. It's killing his legend.

      Sometime this year, an eighteen year old soldier will die in a war that started when he was thirteen. -Anonymous

      by LeftHandedMan on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 11:00:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That oversimplifies his relationship with (0+ / 0-)

        other Senators.

        There are Dems who are senior enough to tell him to go f*** himself without consequence - Dodd being one - but he doesn't support them either.

        Similarly, the senior Dems who could boot him haven't gotten together to do so.  

  •  It's the moral hazard argument (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, sherlyle, KenBee, Neon Mama

    See, without the insurance companies to penalize people for having bad genetic profiles, people will stop being careful about the genetics they get and pick up nasty genetic diseases willy-nilly.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:30:21 AM PST

  •  It's safer to not be tested (6+ / 0-)

    Actually relying on the government to protect my private health information would be nonsensical considering all of the abuses of our privacy during the Bush administration.

    If the insurance lobbyists push for having my genetic information, they will get it. Of course, they will say that no specific genetic information is being given out.  They will say that they are just gathering anonymous data to better understand the people that they are covering with insurance.

    I'd rather take the risk of health problems than to risk losing my job because of genetic testing.  It's very unlikely that genetic testing will reveal anything on a probability basis (meaning that the odds of any one person having a positive test is low, not that no one will test positive).  

    However, if it does reveal potential health problems, kiss your life goodbye.  It won't be the disease that hurts you, it will be the government, insurance companies, and your employer that destroy your life even before you exhibit symptoms of the identified disease.  

    •  2 or 3 debates back.......... (0+ / 0-)

      Hillary was saying she is trying to legilate for a national database that will carry everyone's medical details. Her excuse was to make it available "So that when you are in an accident you can know that any DR will have your details on hand".

      However in the real world there is just too much at stake for us lill individules who might have some flaws in the ole genetic code. And one's personal info is just that........personal. And should remain in ones own possession. Unless you are my Doc or my wife, it isn't any of your gd business.

  •  ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama

    Do you get tested and put your healthcare and job at risk? Or avoid testing - and, of course,

    Do the same, because not having tested could easily also "lead to higher health insurance premiums, a loss of coverage altogether, or even the loss of a job". Until you get tested, that is.

  •  Ins companies will drop you for some other reason (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sherlyle, DanK Is Back

    and say it is NOT from a genetic test result.

    Until healthcare is fixed, it will be business as usual.

    I would go to an anonymous lab if I wanted to know. My GYN told me to get the breast cancer marker test, since my mother died of the disease. I said no, for this very reason. If I test yes, my insurance will call it a pre-existing condition or something and I will not risk that.

  •  This would be the perfect bill (5+ / 0-)

    to call someone's bluff on.  Bring the bill up and let this guy filibuster.  What happens is that it is an incident of the GOP crying "wolf" it takes the teeth out of later filibusters and lets the Democrats call them "obstructionists".

    There are bagels in the fridge

    by Sychotic1 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:35:18 AM PST

  •  If you have Universal Health Care ... (4+ / 0-)

    ... you can't be discriminated against for a pre-existing condition.

    "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

    by MikeTheLiberal on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:37:33 AM PST

  •  Reid only ignores Dem Holds (3+ / 0-)

    Just ask Dodd

  •  Agreed. (0+ / 0-)

    But to be honest, even without the health insurance discrimination I would refuse.

    The government would still have my genetic profile on file. You know they'd get it somehow, and that's not something I'll ever be comfortable with.

    There's something attractive about invincible ignorance... for the first 5 seconds.

    by MNPundit on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:40:56 AM PST

  •  Harry Reid is an incompetent BOOB! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Five of Diamonds, mikeconwell

    Chris Dodd for Majority Leader! Now!

    by JimmyQ on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:41:30 AM PST

  •  The simple solution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Five of Diamonds

    or at least it should be simple would be to just have a single payer universal health care system. But until then, this law needs to be passed. And I don't understand the hold up, let them try and filibuster if he can get the support (which I doubt).

    You know, I rather like this God fellow. He's very theatrical. A little pestilence here, a plague there... to get me some of that.

    by ryan81 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:41:39 AM PST

  •  I believe that Tom Coburn has the current record (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for number of holds, that being 87. I can't dig up the reference for this number at the moment. The Washington Post has an unsubstantiated claim that the number is ~100, but then again it's the Washington Post, so who knows? In any case, the number is quite large. Reid, in his infinite wisdom, has honored every last one of those holds, while Dodd gets the shaft.  I know there is some trite saying out there about politics and the art of compromise, but it's clear to me that Harry Reid doesn't have a clue.  Witless capitulation seems like a more appropriate description for his grasp of politics.

  •  Coburn is a Pain in the Ass (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, Coburn is a pain in the ass with his reputation of numerous holds on good legislation. And, Reid enables this serial behavior by not challenging the man. Another case in point is the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act. I have written extensively on this subject. My latest diary on the subject can be found here. found here

  •  Three words: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting. - George Orwell

    by Five of Diamonds on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:46:44 AM PST

  •  Harry Reid has got to go. (0+ / 0-)

    Hello Dick Durbin-And he is the Other senator from Illinois. How convenient.

  •  Reid has been astonishingly weak and ineffectual (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sacrelicious, rlochow

    What on earth were the Dems thinking when they chose him?  A less effective leader and spokesperson for any majority, Dem or Republican, would be hard to imagine.

  •  in a somewhat related matter (0+ / 0-)

    why do you suppose our backward-thinking President has periodically gone on a diatribe about pushing Electronic Medical Records?

    Now....EMR's are a good thing, but the potential for abuse is staggering, particularly when you consider the  abuse of personal data which has existed under the Bush regime.

    If the bill in this article passes, that means Bush will be breaking two laws by rifling through our medical histories....this bill, plus HIPAA.

    Perhaps he only breaks one law at a time.

    It's not a war, it's an occupation

    by PRESSmUP on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:52:59 AM PST

  •  Well there was an article (0+ / 0-)

    That said that "conservative brain" and "liberal brain" are genetically determined- your DNA makes you consider your decisions carefully (liberal) or make them reactively based on little information (conservative)- so now we can't even give conservatives a DNA test and refuse to hire them on that basis, so we can eventually give them a hard time finding jobs and therefore less of a foothold in our society.

    I guess we'll be living with the people who screwed up the Hurricane Katrina clean-up and the Iraq war until we can get this stupid legislation repealed. Maybe then we can start working on cleaning up our gene-pool.

  •  It is unconscionable. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Louise Slaughter has been here and asked for our help, and I know most times people responded.  Except for the time that the Kossacks assaulted her.  

    A group that has been working very hard to pass this is The Genetic Alliance.  Great group, founded by a parent of a kid with genetic condition.  My company is a member of the Coalition for Genetic Fairness.  

    And, of course, I asked a question about this of the candidate reps at the AAAS meeting recently.  Both of our candidates support this, btw.

    ScienceDebate2008. It matters.

  •  Harry Reid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fat old man

    Is the most timid little mouse of a Majority Leader you could ever expect to have.

    Don't go away mad Harry, just go away.  Actually, I don't care if you get mad or not.  You wouldn't do anything about it.

  •  Can we finally deal with health care? (0+ / 0-)

    This is just another example of how completely fucked our whole health care delivery system has become.
    The concern over privacy is afecting EMR, genetic testing, etc. and the bulk of the concern is that you run the risk of losing your insurance or paying much more if you are found to be anything other than perfectly healthy in all regards.
    This is just nuts.
    Can we finally join the other civilized nations of the world, make the leap into the 21st century and just guarantee that everyone in the nation will be able to get care when they need it?

    •  It would be easier from a legal perspective (0+ / 0-)

      because we would avoid the WTO and NAFTA hassles that would arise out of trying to manipulate our current system in defiance of our free trade agreements WTO and NAFTA.

  •  Pick Up The Phone And Give Harry Hell (0+ / 0-)

    Washington, DC
    528 Hart Senate Office Bldg
    Washington, DC 20510
    Phone: 202-224-3542
    Fax: 202-224-7327
    Toll Free for Nevadans:
    1-866-SEN-REID (736-7343)

  •  Insurers argue that it is their right to know (0+ / 0-)

    Nobody is expecting insurance companies to operate at a loss, and unfortunately, some diseases cost huge amounts of money to treat.

    This is why many insurance companies ask people point blank if they know of any diseases that effected family members. They ask what your mother died of, what your father, sisters, brothers, aunts uncles. They are mining public data sources like for this information, and they are using it.

    As people live longer, and healthcare costs rise, the stakes for insurance companies are also rising. Nobody is expecting them to operate at a loss, and if they are to be expected "Not to turn anybody away" and insure even people with pre-existing conditions who are not members of groups, then they argue strongly that they must be allowed to charge what it will take to insure those potentially very sick people. Which could be a lot of money. (But they wont turn them away if they have it.) They have salaries to pay, just like any company.

    "Genelining" as they call it, is a right that they are defending aggressively.

    They accuse people of fraud if they hide information. They often take sick people to court to get their money back.

    If they HAD been honest, the insurance company would simply have not insured them, or perhaps may have insured them - charging enough to make it worthwhile for them.  

    Thats what the insurance business is all about, making money. We may at times wish they were welfare agencies, but they arent. Nobody is expecting them to lose money on this.

    Personally, I would prefer to see us adopt some form of single payer heathcare, but as we dont seem to have that in our future, we are going to have to deal with this situation. Its a shame, though because given our trade committments, it would be MUCH simpler. Many other WTO countries have single payer, so we would avoid the inevitable lawsuits in WTO court.

    (If we stick to commercial insurance, we can't discriminate against larger companies, and a million other things, so there are a very limited set of options under WTO and NAFTA.)

    Trade agreements such as those we have with the WTO and NAFTA preclude many of the solutions the candidates have put forward, and we are really in a bind.

    So are they with the high costs of healthcare and their own costs of doing business. The candidates are trying to give us hope, though.

    The insurance companies? They are in the business to make money using any information they can get.

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