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Monday wisdom and learnin' from the pundits.

Paul Krugman:

Besides being vile and stupid, however, the editorial was beside the point. Investor’s Business Daily would like you to believe that Obamacare would turn America into Britain — or, rather, a dystopian fantasy version of Britain. The screamers on talk radio and Fox News would have you believe that the plan is to turn America into the Soviet Union. But the truth is that the plans on the table would, roughly speaking, turn America into Switzerland — which may be occupied by lederhosen-wearing holey-cheese eaters, but wasn’t a socialist hellhole the last time I looked.

Let’s talk about health care around the advanced world.

Ross Douthat:

If the Democratic Party’s attempt at health care reform perishes, senior citizens will have done it in, not talk-radio listeners and Glenn Beck acolytes. It’s the skepticism of over-65 Americans that’s dragging support for reform southward. And it’s their opposition to cost-cutting that makes finding the money to pay for it so difficult.

That’s because they’re the ones whose benefits are on the chopping block. At present, Medicare gives its recipients all the benefits of socialized medicine, with few of the drawbacks. Once you hit 65, the system pays and pays, without regard for efficiency or cost-effectiveness.

Ah, a substantive article from the new guy! More...

You can understand why Republicans, after decades of being demagogued for proposing even modest entitlement reforms, would relish the chance to turn the tables. But this is a perilous strategy for the right.

Sigh. Well, among the wins for the Democrats will be Republicans championing  single payer socialized, government-run medicine. We could actually have a discussion about this if they only meant it.

Nate Silver:

Forget politics for a moment -- what about from a policy standpoint? The fundamental accomplishments of a public option-less bill would be to (1) ensure that no American could be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition or because they became sick; (2) subsidize health insurance coverage for millions of poor and middle-class Americans.

These are major, major accomplishments. Arguably, they are accomplished at too great a cost. But let's look at it like this. The CBO estimates that the public option would save about $150 billion over the next ten years -- that's roughly $1,100 for every taxpayer. I'm certainly not thrilled to have to pay an additional $1,100 in taxes because some Blue Dog Democrats want to placate their friends in the insurance industry. But I think the good in this health care bill -- the move toward universal-ish coverage, the cost-control provisions -- is worth a heck of a lot more than $1,100.

Nate makes the case the votes were never there in the Senate. He's right. Hence, ‘Public Option’ in Health Plan May Be Dropped.

Update [2009-8-17 9:56:30 by DemFromCT]: More from Nate, same topic.

Fareed Zakaria:

If America doesn't face impending disaster, we dont fix our problems.

Joe Sestak on health reform:

More Netroots Nation video at Sum of Change

Bill Scher embarrasses Digby with effusive and well-deserved praise.

More Netroots Nation pictures at Multi Medium.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 04:56 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good Morning (5+ / 0-)

    so is the White House backing down on Publis option

    I'm so confused

    •  Wait about 20 more minutes (7+ / 0-)

      you'll have the latest opinion -- but make sure you check back at 11:43 a.m. EDT.

    •  It's not looking good. (10+ / 0-)

      We're in the middle game of this political chess match.  The insurance industry and their bought off senators and congressmen are poised to kill off the Public Option.

      Nate Silver may indeed be right, and the PO is most likely dead (I think it is, unfortunately).  But it doesn't mean that Progressives cease the fight.  Keep fighting, keep calling your congress critters, and email those in the House of Representatives supporting the Public Option know that we've got their backs.

      We might get lucky.  We might win.  But we won't know unless we fight against weaksauce, 'centrist' (aka corporatist) incrementalism.  So, we keep fighting.

      "Here we go." President Barack Obama, 1/22/09

      by cybrestrike on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:14:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is a staring contest (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eeff, cybrestrike

        More-or-less Establishment Dems like Silver and Ezra Klein are loudly declaring that they're happy to blink.  We need to make sure that progressives in the House continue to declare that they won't.

        The only way to get the public option is to make it clear to the Senate that without a public option no bill passes at all.

        Arguing the marginal merits of a bill without a public option concedes the public option. Lines in the sand only work if they are truly lines in the sand.

        No public option, no House passage.  Put the heat on the Senate.

        Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House. - Bob Herbert

        by GreenSooner on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:28:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Current Harper's index states (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eeff, cybrestrike

        These are approximate since I don't have the issue here at work.
        Percentage since 2002 health care premiums increased +84
        Percentage health insurance profits increased +450

        These are numbers that the angry mobs need to hear about
        Photobucket

        "Are we to continue entrusting our affairs to men ...... having nothing to recommend them except methodical hatred and skill in vituperation?" Bertrand Russell

        by sydluna on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 07:07:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What is it about us as Americans, that causes us (12+ / 0-)

    to demonize our allies (Canada and England and their health care systems) in order to make ourselves feel superior?

    •  More snark on Stephen Hawking & NHS... (9+ / 0-)

      From the Guardian:

      All the president's emails ...
      In a unique experiment in democratic transparency, Barack Obama – a BlackBerry owner, and the first American president to use email while in office – has agreed to copy G2 in on his otherwise highly confidential electronic communications. Each week, we present a selection from recent days:
      ...
      BHO
      To: Stephen Hawking <stephen.hawking@cam.ac.uk>
      Subject: Re: NHS – clarification required??

      Wait, what? Now you're saying you do live in England, and have received treatment on the NHS, but that, following the principles of quantum physics, it's also possible that you simultaneously live in the US, and have never received treatment on the NHS? And that you may live in an infinite number of other places also, all at once, depending on who's observing you at the time? No, please DON'T issue a statement clarifying that. Everything's fine just as it is. Warmly, Barack

      "Specialization is for insects." -- Heinlein

      by BachFan on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:11:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ignorance, chauvinism--we are #1 despite evidence (0+ / 0-)

      to the contrary in many respects--with blinders, a seeming antagonism to any large scale national planning on much of anything beyond wars and far too many with hostility to "know somethingism" for starters.

      When significant minorities cannot even find Canada on the map and are vague about which countries were allies or opponents at which historical point what can we expect?

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:43:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Once again, the truest punditry is found in (24+ / 0-)

    the Letters to the Editor:

    Why old regime tried to make dissent invisible

    For eight years we had to live with a government that used the police and the Secret Service to make dissent invisible, which corralled all non-supporters into remote "free speech zones" and expelled citizens from rallies and so-called "town hall meetings" for the crime of disagreeing with their policies or even just wearing the wrong T-shirt or button.

    . . .

    But now, finally, eight years later, I understand why they did it. They were afraid that the rest of us would behave as badly then as their supporters are behaving now. They were afraid of the rest of us disrupting town hall meetings, shouting lies and accusations, drowning out the voices of citizens who have real questions for their elected representatives and even issuing death threats and drawing comparisons between our current government and the Soviet and Nazi regimes.

    They must have seen themselves reflected in their fear of us.

    Songs up at da web site! Also. . . It's Kostown, Jake. . .

    by Crashing Vor on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:04:53 AM PDT

  •  Agree with Krugman (11+ / 0-)

    Which is why I always felt that our endless diaries defending Britain's and Canada's health systems missed the point and, maybe, played into our opposition's hands.

    Whatever the Democrats come up with with bear no resemblence to Britain or Canada so, instead of being baited into defending Britain or Canada, we should have just replied "You're wrong but it's beside the point. The Democratic plan will be a mix of private and public, like we have now. Except the mix will be a little different."

    •  Even the Swiss... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bush Bites, vets74, TigerStar337

      ...have some pretty hardcore regulations that I'm not sure the GOP - or some of our esteemed Blue Dogs - will embrace.

      And I am certainly afraid that what the Blue Dogs might decide is "affordable" with regard to deductibles and co-pays is going to come far too close to what John Mackey thinks is "appropriate."

      Medicare: Government-run Health Care since 1965

      by Egalitare on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:35:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If this thing passes and Obama/Dems do well..... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jim bow, vets74, Egalitare

        ....in 2010 or 2012, I think they should go back to try to get the public option as a stand-alone bill, like Nate Silver suggests.

        By that time, the evidence will probably show no cost containment, so they'll have an added case to make.

        •  Never happen in a billion years (0+ / 0-)

          The pressure will be off and they'll have the entire insurance industry pressing against it with a perception that we've already solved the crisis (or at least put in motion a solution), a position that the Democrats themselves will have to affirm to reap the political benefits of "victory" on this.

          This is our one chance for at least a generation for real reform.  The only way it will happen is to make it clear to the advocates of phony reform that the House simply will not pass phony reform.

          Over the next few weeks, the loudest voices will the Nate Silvers, Ezra Kleins, and other "progressive" sirens of phony reform. They will insist that the Progressive Caucus is being unreasonable.  They will make irrational promises about the future.  But remember: they're just playing Good Cop to Rahm Emanuel's Bad Cop. Their goal is to make us lose.

          Ignore them.

          Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House. - Bob Herbert

          by GreenSooner on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:32:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The Massachusetts model (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare

      In this country, the Massachusetts health reform more or less follows the Swiss model; costs are running higher than expected, but the reform has greatly reduced the number of uninsured. And the most common form of health insurance in America, employment-based coverage, actually has some “Swiss” aspects: to avoid making benefits taxable, employers have to follow rules that effectively rule out discrimination based on medical history and subsidize care for lower-wage workers.

      Also, the insurers that participate in the Massachusetts system engage in many of the same shenanigans as private insurers elsewhere. During a depressive episode, I began seeing a therapist once a week. It was helpful, and in fact it was something that I probably should have done long before I ever got depressed. Well, once I was downgraded from "moderate depression" to "mild depression," my insurer informed my therapist that instead of seeing her once a week, I really only needed to see her once every two months, and that was all that would be covered.

      Nrrgh.

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:55:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And they know that...because? (0+ / 0-)

        Internal medicine is complicated enough, but at least with "plumbing," the options are limited to what's physically there.

        The factors involved in Mental Health are many orders of magnitude more complicated. Yet those therapy sessions once a week would probably cost less than a handful of MRIs, and make a huge impact on your well being years from now. Might even allow you to be more physically fit to boot.

        The phrase "penny wise and pound foolish" comes to mind....

        Medicare: Government-run Health Care since 1965

        by Egalitare on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:06:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bingo. When my fundy relatives rail about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes

      universal health care, I always start the rebuttal with "Unfortunately, we are not talking about universal health care. That just simply isn't possible in the current political environment." Then, we go from there.

      Again, framing is everything. They have managed to call this socialized medicine and universal health care and whatever else they can think of that sounds awful to them and it's not even what we're talking about.

      Always be sincere, even if you don't mean it. - Harry S Truman

      by parker parrot on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:08:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Moving to Canada via Switzerland (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE

      If I can't move to Canada, then moving to Switzerland will still be a major accomplishment for the Obama's first  term, as Nate and Krugman both point out.  

      It will be a major accomplishment to cover all  Americans  with health insurance that can't be denied based on pre-existing conditions or because they become sick, and provide government subsidies for the poor and middle class. Clearly, Democrats need to push for tougher regulation  of the insurance industry, and a stronger employee mandate.

      In the second term, I expect to finally get  to Canada, by which time we vote the Blue Dogs and some Republicans out of office, and the government option is passed as a single item when it becomes apparent that it is the best way to lower the cost of healthcare to the taxpayers for the government subsidies to the poor, and middle class.

      Of course it would have been cheaper to have just moved to Canada from the U.S. in the first place instead of going via Switzerland...

      Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

      by loblolly on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:57:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And I think (0+ / 0-)

      that if we get those tight controls on the insurance companies, THEY will be the ones screaming for a public option.

      Then they can offer policies that don't cover any really expensive problems, and just concentrate on the unnecessary but highly lucrative fluff.

      Things like premium cable in your hospital room, covering a hotel room for your family if you're hospitalized more than 3 days (or a bigger room with a nicer guest bed), custom gourmet meals while you're in the hospital, copays up to a certain amount, etc.

      Chances are most people would never use those things, because most people aren't going to be in the hospital (at least, not when they're younger).

      But a lot of places would offer it as well as the public option, just like in Europe, because it's a perk they can easily afford.

      And, just like in Europe, it sets those with money apart from those without.

      Which is all they really want, anyway.

  •  Fareed Zakaria (11+ / 0-)

    seems to be channeling Winston Churchill:

    Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities.

    The voices of the people are being drowned out by the money of the insurance companies.  Some democracy.

    Public option or primary challenge? Your choice, Congressman.

    by puzzled on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:05:03 AM PDT

    •  "public" is the operative word. (9+ / 0-)

      Conservatives are against public anything.  That's because they don't trust the public.  Their record is clear.  Conservatives are opposed to:

      public schools
      public parks
      public transit
      public health
      public highways
      public golf clubs
      public records
      public hearings
      public sessions
      public information

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:20:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  true (4+ / 0-)

        I'm just waiting for them to suggest municipalities deal with budget shortfalls by eliminating their fire departments in favor of private companies.  Idiots.  

        Public option or primary challenge? Your choice, Congressman.

        by puzzled on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:25:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They did that already in some venues. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sherlyle, puzzled

          It hasn't worked out real well in the arid West.

          Fire departments looked like a sure winner to the privatizers because lots of casual observers see firemen sitting around just waiting for something to catch fire and they think that's a waste of money.  They don't realize that we task government with preventing things we don't want to happen and the measure of success is not having to respond on an emergency basis.

          How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

          by hannah on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:51:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Please, read my sig line............... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sherlyle, Egalitare

        Those who pander to AWM's and delusionals have to be narcissists/antisocials in some mix or another.

        Macbeth:

        I have no spur. To prick the sides of my intent, but only. Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself, And falls on th'other....

        For example, I envision Sarah Palin as an 85 IQ version of Lady MacBeth.

        Lady MacBadBreath, if you will.....

        Angry White Males + DSM IV Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The Base

        by vets74 on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:02:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, they're really opposed to (0+ / 0-)

        public golf courses. They just can't stand having to play with the non-moneyed crowd. God forbid somebody should play with clubs from WalMart.

        And it just makes them livid when the public course is actually GOOD.

  •  Public option should be cheaper (0+ / 0-)

    Dropping the public option is bad for patients but good for health providers and insurance companies because the government can contract for lower fees than the other insurers.
    As an American living in Norway I have had some experience with both insurance and socialized systems. The American system is much faster, and for me, cheaper. In Norway I pay a yearly fee of about $1200 and a co-payment of about $20 for every primary care visit and about $40 for specialists. The treatments seem to be quite thorough, but there are usually months between appointments for extra tests and specialist exams. In the U.S. Medicare A fees were paid while I worked. Medicare B is about $1200 a year. Then my previous employer pays for an additional Blue Shield plan that pays a little, when it pays.
    Yesterday I checked on what my insurances have paid. I find that my combined insurances pay about 12 to 40% of what the doctors and hospitals billed—but I owe nothing more. Medicare and the insurance companies have contracted for lesser fees than the doctors bill. Then I found that the doctors and hospitals pad their bills  so that they end up with a fair return. But people without insurance are stuck with  the whole amount. This isn’t fair.
    My doctor in the U.S. has stopped taking new Medicare patients. We need to arrive at fair rates for all. When my doctor has spent 8 to 10 years of training it seems that he or she is entitled to a minimum of $200,000 a year of net profit. It seems that our top students, after ten years of education and training, should be able to earn in a lifetime what a professional athlete or film star earns in a year. But then being entertained is much more important than our health. Free enterprise is fine for entertainers, but is seemingly limited for health professionals. (Let’s not even think about the worth of top notch teachers and professors—they don’t entertain enough! But that’s another letter!!)
    I found some interesting observations on the problem  in Book 4 of the free ebook series "And Gulliver Returns" –In Search of Utopia—at http://andgulliverreturns.info

    •  You make a case for an end to fee-for-service. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare

      In a system where costs are out of control, for-profit makes no sense.

      Your suggestion that a doctor is worth $200,000 per year is silly, however. Why not $500,000? Why not a few million?

      I have to wait a month-and-a-half to see a fee-for-service specialist over here in a very competitive NYC market - that is, unless I have an emergency, in which case I get a staff specialist to see me at the hospital, and he'll see me within a day or two...just like in Norway.

      When surgery may be indicated, hospitals can't open their doors fast enough...just like Norway, except the competition for patients is fierce at non-profit hospitals because if they don't have satisfied patients, their surgical departments downsize...just like in most of the civilized world.

      First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win. -Mohandas K. Gandhi

      by ezdidit on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:19:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The American problem is somewhat unique (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, No one gets out alive

      because access to and the use of money has become the new tool of social stratification.  And while money seems entirely impersonal and democratic, it's been discovered that it's also a perfect disguise for strategies that insure all the usual suspects are kept in their traditional strata.  So, women continue to have less access to money than men, blacks and recent immigrants get even less and the whole "middle class" gets the benefit of disparate levels of service for the same or greater cost.
      That one percent of the population controls 99% of the wealth is not an artifact of nature; it's the result of a strategy followed at many levels to transfer public resources and assets into private pockets and sequester the money that might be used to buy them back.  There is no other way to explain how come no matter how much money we distribute, it keeps being so scarce that the wheels of trade and exchange grind to a halt.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:34:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  $200,000 a year (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE

      is a ridiculous amount in some areas, and leaves out the rural poor and the urban poor completely.
      Why not a system that offers to pay for a majority of medical school, in exchange for 2 or 3 years working as a primary care physician in underserved areas and making a modest, liveable salary?
      I work for a vet and last year, we had a vet student from Canada intern with us for the summer. His costs for going to vet school were going to approximate about $8000, in return for which he would work for the province for a set period of time and gain experience at the same time.
      Seems to be a good system to me.

      Save the Earth! It's the only one that has chocolate.

      by skohayes on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:25:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wait, what? (0+ / 0-)

      Compensation is now based on length of training?  That would be nice for me, but I don't see it as a real practical way of doing business.

  •  Even Tories in Britain love the NHS (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pattyp, BachFan, amk for obama, Egalitare

    The Conservative leader David Cameron had a very ill disabled child Ivan who sadly died aged 6 earlier this year.

    But Ivan had to have free NHS care every day and no-one seriously thinks Cameron is going to dismantle the NHS though he might bring in more private companies to run particular aspects of provision.

    Of course there are some extreme Thatcherite Tories like 'Daniel Hannan' who is a Member of the European Parliament. He went on Beck and Hannity to call the NHS a '60 year mistake' but Cameron slapped him down calling him 'eccentric'.

    Krugman is right - the NHS/VA model would be best; but it isn't going to happen unfortunately. So we need to fight hard for a public insurance option.

    •  The thing about public systems is... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sherlyle, Egalitare, Chilo Chilonides

      ..that once a country begins to use it its citizens quickly realize the immediate benefits and the peace of mind that comes knowing you're not going to be dealing with hospitals for payments or insurance companies when you areat your most vulnerable. Each major industrialized country is in some way defined by their health coverage so Britain's identity is now as much about public health care and access for all as it is with the monarchy.

      David Cameron would no more attack the NHS and call for its dismantling than he would publicly attack Queen Elizabeth.

      Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

      by Scarce on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:00:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure it is so clear cut (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Scarce

        When the Tories were last in power they badly underfunded the NHS.

        Blair really pumped money in - almost tripling the NHS budget since 1997.

        The Conservatives haven't historically 'loved' the NHS as an institution. Historically Labour has been seen as the party of the NHS, not only because they founded it, but also because the Conservatives have often treated it badly.

        However, recently, things have become less clear cut. Health is now devolved between the 4 countries in the UK. So Scotland has its own NHS run by the minority Scottish National Party government; Wales and Northern Ireland have their own NHS too.

        Labour have also handled many aspects of the NHS rather bureaucratically, often taking too many decisions away from doctors.

        For example, they have many inflexible targets which distort clinical priorities, such as every emergency patient being seen within 4 hours, regardless of need.

        Their most costly error has been a very poorly implemented national IT scheme for the NHS which has wasted £20bn.

        Also Cameron in particular has been deeply shaped by his personal experience. This, in my opinion, more than any other aspect of his life, has made Cameron more socially aware and compassionate than almost any Conservative leader in living memory, despite having the most privileged background imaginable:

        Add to this - Gordon Brown has basically been caught lying on public spending issues, saying that there will be no cuts, despite his own Budget contradicting him!

        The Tories have said they will increase spending on Health, to be funded by deeper cuts elsewhere. Labour won't match this promise, and for the first time I can remember, are weak on the NHS.

        This is why they were so delighted with the comments by the wingnut Daniel Hannan on FOX. Labour are more or less doomed to electoral defeat next year but things like this at least let them make some pretence at a fight of it. Labour's best hope for a winning message would be "Cameron has changed, but the Conservative Party behind him has not". Unfortunately, Gordon Brown hates David Cameron too much to contemplate this. He tries to fight the media-savvy Cameron on his own terms, and loses badly, every time.

        Personally I support the Liberal Democrats, though our Health policies are less well developed than I would like. It is a very strange time in British politics, though.

        The Tories are resurgent, because Cameron is an excellent communicator, and has softened the Conservative line enough to appeal to all the disaffected middle-class Blair voters.

        We will lose seats to the Conservatives in rural-leaning constituencies. Hopefully we can take many seats from Labour in urban areas, especially in the north of England, to compensate.

        Also, we are the least affected by the expenses scandal. Many purchases on expenses by our MPs were unwise (such as a rocking horse, and a trouser press). However, we didn't have MPs who claimed for mortgages which didn't exist, or MPs who 'flipped' second homes to maximise their profits, or MPs who avoided paying tax. Neither did we have the most memorable expenses abuses - moat-cleaning and duck houses for the Tories, pornographic pay-per-view movies for Labour. Expenses will mean there are 'freak' results all over the country as incumbents who are badly damaged lose regardless of their Party. The Lib Dems should be far less vulnerable to this than Tories or Labour.

    •  more from UK (0+ / 0-)

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:45:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Folks here should check the diaries... (4+ / 0-)

    Marc Ambinder has three sources, one the Communication director for Health Reform saying the story on what Sebelious said is bogus.

    Reject the drama like Barack Obama!

    by Stephen Daugherty on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:12:20 AM PDT

  •  a lot of voters don't realize (7+ / 0-)

    that the public option is a cost-cutting measure. They are under the impression that it will be paid for out of the budget and don't understand that participants will have to buy a "policy" like any other program. If Dems want to bring back independents on the PO, they need to make it clear that the $800,000,000-$1,000,000,000 price tag is not the cost of the PO (like everyone assumes)... but a cost that will go up without a PO.

    •  This is what the Douthat piece fails (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes, Stroszek, Egalitare

      to mention.  Which will be harder for the Blue Dogs to swallow:  a strong public option or extremely tight regulations on the insurance companies that would force them to insure people who currently can't afford insurance and/or have been shut out of the market?

      The problem with the latter is that the policies that will be available to people the companies really don't want to insure will not be worth the paper they're written on unless the companies' profits are practically strangled with regulations.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:39:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  See, that's the kicker (0+ / 0-)

        if you don't have a public option, the insurance companies lose big time if you put in place the restrictions on them that are being called for. I think their accountants probably know that, they just can't get their flunkies to change.

        Frankly, I'd almost rather just get the insurance company restrictions, and let THEM scream for the public option.

        Because it would take about a year, and they would be. Their profits would fall off a cliff if they had to pay for all that expensive care that they refuse to cover now.

    •  it's funny that the thing that would save $150B (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sherlyle, Stroszek, Egalitare

      is having trouble in the senate.

      washington is truly disgusting.

    •  Repubs win by reinforcing worst part of Medicare (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare

      The concept that any cost cutting threatens the level of benefits. Ideologically, they'd be the last people to put in cement the idea that removing waste and abuse is the same as ending the program, but nce again, the republicans sell out for power.  Good luck to them with that.  In the next election, they'll be running on unlimited funds for the seniors?  

      "I'm specificallly allowed to call people names and I don't have to use profanity to do so because I have a vocabulary unlike some of the morans on this site."

      by Inland on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:49:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Blue Dogs are blatant hypocrites (14+ / 0-)

    The estimated cost of the Iraq war, which nearly all of them supported, is about three times that of the health care public option. I didn't hear a peep of protest from that crew over the cost of that war.

    "If we can get a man on the Moon, we can win the World Series."--Mets pitcher Tug McGraw, July 20, 1969.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:13:13 AM PDT

    •  There's no question the money is (4+ / 0-)

      available.  The bottleneck is in the allocation and sequestration.

      When, for example, Wall Street ties up trillion in bogus transactions and speculative schemes, that money is not available to facilitate worth-while exchanges of goods and services.  For all intents and purposes, Wall Street has sequestered the money just as surely as that "wicked lazy servant" in the parable who buried his talent.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:39:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And idiots too (0+ / 0-)

      If done right, the initial startup costs should be recouped with greater efficiencies and actually save money over time. The present system of doing nothing is unsustainable ---the favorite word from conservatives about Social Security and Medicare--- but they refuse to do anything about the more glaring and pressing problem of health care.

      Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

      by Scarce on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:05:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mark Lupica, New York Daily News (11+ / 0-)

    The most violent opposition isn't directed at his ideas about health care reform. It is directed at him. It is about him. They couldn't make enough of a majority to beat the Harvard-educated black guy out of the White House, so they will beat him on an issue where they see him as being most vulnerable.

    In the process, they'll come after him on health care the way Kenneth Starr went after Bill Clinton on oral sex in the Oval Office.
    http://www.nydailynews.com/...

  •  Air Force 1 (5+ / 0-)

    AF 1 flew over our pool yesterday. If only I had a "Don't give up on the public option" sign to hold up. I blew it.

  •  HCR in principle needs to be put in place quickly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    North Coast Ohioan, loblolly

    Nate makes the case the votes were never there in the Senate. He's right. Hence, ‘Public Option’ in Health Plan May Be Dropped

    Of course the issue is more than the $1,100, and so mcuh has already been co-opted in the political process.

    This issue can be solved with a nationally networked co-op program with advanced pharmaceutical support and costing. The more progressive versions of such programs need to be advanced ASAP and partnered with powerful groups like AARP and the unions.

    Liberals need to decide how progressinve they really are and decide what election strategy they will adopt for the so-called DINOs in future elections.

    I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person. -- Pogo

    by annieli on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:15:16 AM PDT

    •  Not being a brilliant statistician myself, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare

      I hate to contradict Nate Silver, but we will all have to pay a lot more than $1100 to make up for people who currently have no access to health insurance.  If millions of these people had $1100, they would already have some sort of insurance.  The rest of us will have to pay that $1100 plus shoulder our part of the money that others can't pay for themselves.

      I shouldn't be, but I'm really surprised that Democratic senators care more about the profits of health insurance companies than they do about the American people.  I expected it from Republicans, who have always cared more about businesses than individuals and families.  Now I'm left with the certain knowledge that a Democratic majority in the Senate means very little progress for the people.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:49:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The insurance companies and health (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare

    care providers have a big head start in creating the myth that Medicare is private enterprise.  All of their ad-ons are promoted like a "new and improved" detergent or cereal or tooth-paste.  Also, I think there's some requirement that Medicare "promote" supplemental policies in its information packet to members.  So, it's easy to see why the users think that Medicare isn't run by the government.  Besides, it works and nothing the government does works, so Medicare has to be private.

    In retrospect, I think it was a mistake not to highlight Medicare as a model.  The thinking was probably that they wanted to avoid giving the opponents an opening for going on the attack.  But, the opponents of the American public were going to attack anyway.  You can run but you can't hide from Conservatives.

    Or maybe it should be personalized.  "You can run, but you can't hide from Newt and Dick."

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:16:00 AM PDT

    •  Perhaps every one of us with a Medicare card (0+ / 0-)

      needs a new one with a big and prominent "U.S. GOVERNMENT MEDICARE PLAN" at top. To make sure people use the thing have a drop dead date for old cards in which one gets care just as a provisional vote.

      It is just incredible that some idiots in Medicare do not seem to make that connection. The fact that Medicare is a government plan needs to be hammered home hard.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:54:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, the way the system works is that (0+ / 0-)

        the first visit to a new provider the card is shown and zeroxed into the file and never looked at again.

        After that people get statements which, if they've not been particularly sick, require no payment.

        Since I've not signed up myself, I only know what I do from my mother's and the spouse's experience.  Mother died in 2005 at the age of 98 and was basically in good health.  Indeed, when I tried to sign her up with a new GP, because she didn't come in for regular check-ups, he threw away her files and recommended hospice when she appeared to fade.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 08:33:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  what sucks is... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    puzzled, condorcet

    we didnt need a single republican vote and Obama cant get this through.

  •  Great article about real wingnut agenda (2+ / 0-)

    Here in America, our destiny is not written for us - it's written by us. Barack Obama 9/28/08

    by quadmom on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:21:55 AM PDT

  •  No public option? NO DEAL! (0+ / 0-)

    That's a deal breaker.

    We gave up on single payer for the public option. Take it away and they have fucked us all while subsidizing the greedy bastards int eh insurance industry.

  •  I have a question for Nate Silver. (0+ / 0-)

    What are the political implications of a half-assed bill?  Are we staring down the barrel of Republican rule again?  Because, if we are, that price is just too high.

    •  depends on the half-assed bill (7+ / 0-)

      A decent set of regulations should help us quite a bit with voters and would definitely be better than no bill. Providing coverage to "preexisting conditions" alone will immediately be felt by millions of voters and will generate good will.

      A mandate is cause for concern among progressives (including myself), but theoretically, it should drive down prices for people who already have insurance. It's also somewhat possible that forcing people onto the private market would create more incentive for a public option, but along those lines, the mandate would be the source of backlash if there is one.

      Not passing a bill, however, will guarantee a backlash.

      •  A mandate when insurance premiums are still high (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sherlyle, Egalitare, truesteam

        won't work.  

        How are we going to keep insurance premiums low if there is a mandate?

        Kent Conrad has NOT answered that question

        Obama 7/09: "Don't bet against us" (unless the Dems screw it up).

        by Drdemocrat on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:39:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  He hasn't answered that question... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sherlyle, truesteam

          ...because the answer is by heavily subsidizing premiums. Even households with low 6-figure incomes wouldn't be able to absorb the full freight of an individual mandate without great difficulty, and those of us lower on the food chain....

          And the CBO scoring of that might just be a tad uncomfortable. Better to get to the "grand compromise" at the 11th hour, then have the CBO scoring occur after the fact.

          Doesn't this feel more and more like Medicare Part D every day?

          Medicare: Government-run Health Care since 1965

          by Egalitare on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:48:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  2nd term: pass government option to lower costs (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            truesteam

            As Nate says, in the second term, the government option could pass as an ammendment to the health care reform law because it will lower the costs of the government subsidies of  premiums of the poor and middle class. By itself, the government option would have a better chance to pass without all the other distractions of the current plan.

            Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

            by loblolly on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 07:17:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  one answer... (0+ / 0-)
      from Timothy Stoltzfus Jost:

      http://www.politico.com/...

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:49:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like tall, dark men who write well (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zizi, TigerStar337

    Barack Obama - Eugene Robinson - now Fareed Zakaria

    www.tapestryofbronze.com and www.haikudiary.com

    by chloris creator on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:28:24 AM PDT

  •  Krugman's Plain Talk Was Refreshing, So Lets Talk (7+ / 0-)

    about how plain it is that our military is in 120 countries and our money is going for that instead of for the folks at home to have homes, jobs, and health care.

    •  Well, at least the money is going, (0+ / 0-)

      rather than being stuck in hedge funds and investment accounts.  How many dollars is Wall Street playing with?

      The money people use to buy stocks doesn't buy a single brick in a factory or a knob on a car radio.

      It's true that money is a figment of the imagination but we use it to mediate real transactions of real goods and services.  When Wall Street arrogates the money for virtual transactions, the real economy grinds to a halt.
      Throwing more money into Wall Street is not going to help if, like those billions of bills we shipped to Iraq, they just sequester it with the rest.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:46:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  According to a coworker (3+ / 0-)

    who watched Howard Dean this morning, there will be a public option through reconcillation. The White House knows they can't get it in the Senate, so they're just getting things to move. The Senate will have their bill with co-ops, the House will have their bill with the public option, and they'll reconcile, take out the co-ops, put in the public option, and need 51 votes to pass it. Hope he's right. He usually is.

    I used to wonder why somebody didn't do something, then I realized I am somebody.- unknown

    by Brimi on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:30:41 AM PDT

    •  who are the other 6 votes (0+ / 0-)

      needed for reconciliation? Nate pointed out 45 who've publicly have said they are for it. If a Dem hasn't already said they are for it by now, I am skeptical they will sign on later.

  •  Dean pushes Public Option, Obama capitulates. (0+ / 0-)

    Bad Obama.  Shame.

    "It stinks." - Jay Sherman, Film Critic.

    by angry liberaltarian on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:31:11 AM PDT

    •  Obama hasn't capitulated (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sherlyle, loblolly

      the AP is fucking with the left. The admin insists that the media is blowing up a rhetorical formality for the sake of controversy.

      •  on that note (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Newsie8200, loblolly

        when Dean ran for president in 2004, he evidently didn't think a public option was possible because he didn't propose one. I like Dean a lot and think he's one of our side's best voices on this issue, but there's a difference between stating your opinion and trying to get a bill passed.

        •  Exactly! Public option wasn't proposed (0+ / 0-)

          by any candidate in 2004.

          Interesting point made in Morning Joe.  Erin Burnett said that insurance stocks are NOT going to go up after this news because the insurance companies felt all along that a co-op was what was going to be passed in the end.

          Obama 7/09: "Don't bet against us" (unless the Dems screw it up).

          by Drdemocrat on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:41:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  He didn't propose it because he was (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          angry liberaltarian

          committed to a gradual transition by getting all children insured (ala SCHIP) and then transitioning them into universal coverage as they aged.
          It's now six years later and, while the transition will, perforce, be gradual because you can't have a wholesale changeover of 200 million and some people are always going to want "special" programs just for them (like private academies), it's time to grab the bull by the horns.  The insurance industry has not played fair.

          Or, more accurately, they're a bunch of crooks and need to be stopped.  The problem is that when somebody voluntarily hands over money for a benefit he expects, it's very hard to prove, when the expected is not realized, whether the expectation was unrealistic or the recipient of the money committed an intentional fraud.  Then, when you consider that what's intended to be paid for (medical care), isn't really desired in the first place (most people prefer to be healthy), then not only complaints to be expected, but the recipients of the money can argue "you didn't want health care and you didn't get it.  So why are you complaining?"  

          Which is why medical care is not appropriate for the market and needs to be delivered as a public service.

          How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

          by hannah on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:05:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the insurance industry wasn't playing fair (0+ / 0-)

            six years ago either.

            •  Right. It's taken a lot of organizing effort (0+ / 0-)

              to generate sufficient awareness.  Dean hasn't slacked off one bit.  
              He was one of the first to recognize Obama's talent and, so far, his judgment on that has been correct.

              Sometimes even the non-faith based have to have a little faith.

              How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

              by hannah on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 08:26:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The failure to define the Public Option (0+ / 0-)

    Clearly and allow it to become Obamacare is part of the problem.

    But ITD w/Nate Silver. I think the votes in the Senate  can be forced.

    We need 50 senators to go for a public option and then with the house we can force a filibuster or an up or down vote; I think this and reconciliation are two possibilities.

    But I honestly take the president at his word that he wants competition and the fact that this co-op plan is being floated illustrates that in private he is saying the same thing.

    The insurance companies need to be checked. The public option is that check.

  •  Coburn is disqualified... (2+ / 0-)

    Coburn has advocated the death penalty for doctors who perform abortions.

    If this is not incitement to murder, I do not know what is.

    This miscreant is one of the reasons people think they are losing control of their government. This heinous politician should be impeached for failing to uphold his oath of office, which states:

    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

    First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win. -Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by ezdidit on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:35:44 AM PDT

    •  Reps and Senators are not impeachable. (0+ / 0-)

      Neither are they recallable. They can only be disciplined by the House or the Senate and that rarely happens without the proverbial "found with a dead girl or live boy" level of scandal.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 07:03:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Kill the public option (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemFromCT, Newsie8200, jim bow, Drdemocrat

    I totally agree with Silver. The public option debate is a distraction, a debate blindly driven by the ideology of the two sides. The goals should be universal coverage, portability, open exchanges that can cross state lines, etc. The public option issue seems separate and quite frankly isn't as important as the granting coverage to everyone.

    •  always been true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jim bow

      people fight for it as an alternative to single payer, also not going anywhere in the senate.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:39:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  even if the PO is not a possibility (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zizi, Egalitare

      I think it still has its utility as a distraction. We have seen how easily something as benign as end-of-life counseling can be demonized and removed from the bill. The PO, if nothing else, provides political cover for other goals.

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

        I think the PO is being used as an excuse for the right to shut all reform down. And the catalog of reforms is impressive and valuable. The PO debate has completely blinded everyone to the core benefits of the reform, although your point is well-taken.

    •  are you kidding? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      itsbenj

      Pray tell...what exactly is accomplished by removing pretty much the ONLY way of containing the costs of the American health care system--costs which will continue to rise unabated because there is simply no mechanism to control the costs?

      There is nothing stopping the insurance companies of continuing to raise premiums by 20% a year, nor to make insurance unattainable to those with pre-existing conditions by making their premiums impossible to pay. And subsidies? Gee, I'm sure the CEOs are quaking in their boots about receiving billions upon billions in tax payer money which not having to change any of their practices of denying care when they feel like it, and imposing ridiculous co-pays and deductibles.

      So please, the public option is not a distraction. It is EVERYTHING in changing the health care system. If it is dropped--it is then FAKE reform, which will continue to make things worse, and more expensive.

      "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

      by michael1104 on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:42:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure we can count on the PO not to raise (0+ / 0-)

        premiums a lot, either. I'm not convinced it will be that simple. As for costs, yes, I'm not sure I know what the answer is there. The entire model of health insurance has changed: it's not insurance any more (ie, you get really sick or injured as an exceptional event), it's an ongoing relationship with the medical community that didn't really exist before. Think maintenance of chronic ailments: a lot of us probably has one of them. I digress. I'm not sure what will control costs, but why would the PO do so? Anyway, don't the other reforms curb how much the insurance cos can raise premiums?

      •  The only reason cost is a problem is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zizi, Egalitare

        because money has been sequestered and there's never enough to pay for what needs to be done, but which some people, frankly, actually don't want done.  That's because there are some people who believe that if people are hard up, they'll do what they're told without question.  What these people forgot is that if people are sick, injured, and malnourished, they can't do worth shit.  They don't even have enough energy to kick somebody's ass, which is actually what those pricks are afraid of.  You know, like the slaves who were always rumored to be on the verge of revolution and had to be kept in chains.  Then when their productivity was hampered, the plantations went bankrupt and the slaves got blamed for having kitchen gardens, without which their productivity would have been even less.

        The problem with the people who prefer leisure is that they're also lazy and stupid.  And we've allowed them to pass themselves off as managers.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:24:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They REALLY need to do an open exhange (0+ / 0-)

      that crosses state lines.

      I don't understand why that isn't there.

      Obama 7/09: "Don't bet against us" (unless the Dems screw it up).

      by Drdemocrat on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:44:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It isn't? That's a shame (0+ / 0-)

        I think there's something that could reduce insurance costs of the pool got spread out across the whole country.

      •  Does that mean ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        itsbenj

        ... allowing insurers to operate across state lines?  If that is the case, then I'm adamantly opposed to that.  This would eviscerate states with strong community ratings, and would make health insurance affordable for only the young and healthy.

        •  Dick Armey supports it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jim bow

          Insurance companies will just move to states with the least regulation. The fact that Dick Armey supports this should be reason enough to oppose it!

          Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

          by loblolly on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 07:05:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  no, it would be (0+ / 0-)

        a nightmare. every state has different regulations, companies would have to have a million and one mini-policies tailored to meet the regs of every state and locality. what a waste of admin time and $$. huge throwing away of money, without any sense that it would bring long-term savings. insurance cos competing across state lines is a right-wing red-herring meant to confuse people and sound good while offering nothing useful.

        What carpet-man doesn't understand is; if carpet-man don't dance, carpet-man don't eat! - Bob Fossel (The Mighty Boosh)

        by itsbenj on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 07:14:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's not possible for the government, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare

      or anybody for that matter, to grant something he/she/it doesn't have.  If every member of the public is to be protected against insults and injuries to their health, then the proper provider is the public.

      How are you going to force insurance companies to pay for services they don't even provide?  How is the public going to coerce other members of the public to perform a service?  Under our system of political organization, the use of force is restricted to being used against bad actors--i.e. criminals--and the form that that force usually takes is to lock the bad actors up and keep them from doing anything at all.  That's because it's practically impossible to make someone do something he doesn't want to do.
      When we want something unpleasant done, we hire public servants and pay them and then, if they don't do it, we fire them.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:15:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Public Option (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itsbenj

    If the public option is not in the health care reform bill, then the screaming teabaggers and the lobbyists will have won.  Removing the public option because of all this acting out behavior will have rewarded this behavior and we will see more of this.  Every time the Democrats write a bill, the screamers will be out in force, again.

    •  48 million uninsured Americans will have won (0+ / 0-)

      On the contrary, as both Krugman and Nate Silver suggest, passing health care reform  which guarantees all Americans health care regardless of pre-existing conditions or illness, and provides government subsidies to the poor to pay for health insurance would still be a  major accomplishment that will bring peace of mind and relief to 48 million Americans. It will not be as cheap as a public option, but in time, it will likely lead to passing a public option to control the escalating costs. It will be a failure for the screamers, who just want to stop any health care reform dead in its tracks.

      Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

      by loblolly on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 07:32:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Insurance companies will find a way to screw us! (0+ / 0-)

        If the insurance lobby can openly defeat a public option, they can weasel around regulation without overly exerting themselves.  There are so many ways they can put exploitable loopholes into the regulations—which is child's play for the way these virtuosos play Congress—that the result will be little different than the current situation.

        --- Obama: combines the intellect of Bill Clinton and the decency of Jimmy Carter—it's good to have a thoughtful non-cynic in the White House!

        by KingBolete on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 09:53:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  In the Senate, the public option was never there (0+ / 0-)

    On the Finance committee, they always talked about co-ops.  Why didn't the MSM or anyone else see this?  I knew about this over 3 weeks ago.  Oh, well.  If the co-ops fail, Progressives can say, "I told you so".

  •  Nate Silver's piece is the best, and (5+ / 0-)

    a must-read for anyone interested in the health care debate. It's not just that we've elected a congress (really, a senate) of people who are too conservative, we've also elected a bunch of people who care more about the lobbyists than the people. But that's been the case in the senate for 200 years and isn't going to change anytime soon.

    I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

    by doc2 on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:41:36 AM PDT

  •  Twitter (0+ / 0-)

    Here are some good Twitter recommendations I saw, for all of us who can't get enough of politics.

  •  Blue cross/Blue Shield used to be non-profit (0+ / 0-)

    and like a co-op.

    Could a co-op work?

    Obama 7/09: "Don't bet against us" (unless the Dems screw it up).

    by Drdemocrat on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:47:47 AM PDT

  •  Did we ever really have 50 Democratic Senators (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    amk for obama

    in the first place who were for a public option?

    Obama 7/09: "Don't bet against us" (unless the Dems screw it up).

    by Drdemocrat on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:48:16 AM PDT

    •  yeah, I remember the heady days of "60 seat" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dump Terry McAuliffe

      advantage. So much for that show.

      Between birthers, deathers and mouth-breathers, the gop has got 'teh crazy' and 'teh stoopid' covered.

      by amk for obama on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:55:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nate's analysis cannot account for some factors (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TIKI AL

      If the Democrats are operating in a 50-vote environment on health care (which is debatable) then they need to find 12 additional votes for the public option. The easiest pickup, not listed here, is Al Franken, who will almost certainly support the public option and who will probably be seated by the time the Senate votes on health care. The next 11 easiest converts are, in order, Senators Begich, Byrd, Cantwell, Dorgan, Tester, Wyden, (Bill) Nelson, Hagan, Lieberman, (Mark) Udall, and Carper. One also imagines that if a bill with a public option wins the race to the floor, Senator Reid will at some point have grit his teeth and signed off on it.

      On the other end of Nate's list, his modeling suggests that since Mark Warner has already gotten $67k from the Health Industrial Complex that he may already be co-opted. Warner isn't facing re-election until 2014. He successfully raised taxes in Virginia after he was elected Governor in 2001. And he's probably getting that amount of money because all other lobbyist are donating to him. He made his money in telecom in the mid-80s and he could, if necessary, self-finance. He has PERMANENT cred among African American voters in Virginia because he was Doug Wilder's Campaign chair when Wilder won his historic Governor's race.

      In short, Warner probably has more "wiggle room" based on non campaign finance "intangibles" to make the right vote than Nate's analysis can be expected accomodate. I suspect the same thing is true for a couple others on the "no way in hell" end of the list.

      And it doesn't hurt that Remote Area Medical was in Wise County just last month.

      Medicare: Government-run Health Care since 1965

      by Egalitare on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:47:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the problem is (0+ / 0-)

        that Mark Warner faces no public pressure about his stance that the public option isn't necessary. he can just come out and say that, and the Pres and other Congress people just say "la di da, dum dum dum" and it doesn't cost him anything!

        if a popular President came out the day after a Mark Warner made a lukewarm statement about the PO and chastised him for it, things would be different. you'd see more people falling in line. but no, there is no such effort, and blue dogs and bogus "conservative" dems know they control the debate at this point, and can propose pretty much anything, no matter how ridiculous, and get their views aired.

        What carpet-man doesn't understand is; if carpet-man don't dance, carpet-man don't eat! - Bob Fossel (The Mighty Boosh)

        by itsbenj on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 07:18:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Repubs own the MSM and are therefore... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vets74

    forming the talking points seen and heard. Their publicity is a force that is hard to match. The blitz started a few weeks back and the Dems showed up late. We are presently witnessing the results.

    Secrecy breeds fraudulence

    by North Coast Ohioan on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 05:54:28 AM PDT

  •  Nate is wrong. (0+ / 0-)
    Not on the numbers.  But if he think America will go for a 1k tax increase without seeing anything for themselves, he is naive. This is a what's in it for me society. If costs are not driven down by at least a commensurate amount, Democrats can kiss their majorities goodbye.

    Look at the stimulus.  It is doing everything advertised and many probably don't realize it saved their job.  But yet they don't see the payoff and have internalized that fact.

    No public option is good for those uninsured, but horriic public policy that will come back to bite dems for a very long time.

    "Republicans drove the country into a ditch and now they are complaining about the cost of the tow truck"-Jim Cornette

    by justmy2 on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:37:53 AM PDT

    •  Public option as an ammendment later on (0+ / 0-)

      Down the road, it will be necessary to cut costs. That's where the public option comes in, and as Nate suggests it could pass as an ammendment. It can be sold as a cost cutting measure to reduce the taxes paid to sustain the government subsidies for the poor.

      Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

      by loblolly on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 07:37:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Schaivo moment for Rethugs and Corporate (0+ / 0-)

    Democrats.
    Public option won't die
    The problems aren't going away.
    Push public option to the limit.
    If the politicians defeat it they will be writing their own epitaths starting with Conrad, Baucus and Grassley.
    I'm not afraid of the 'deathers'.
    This will crush the Rethugs going into the next election.

  •  It Is Sad So Much Of The Damage (0+ / 0-)

    done to Obama's is at Democratic hands.  Paying for the overhaul by limiting deductions for upper income taxpayers or even putting surcharges on the most wealthy would have minimized the need for Medicare tax cuts that so disturb the Seniors.

    Since when can't 3:2 Democratic majorities produce tax increases on the rich?

  •  No political price? (0+ / 0-)

    The Public Option dies because Obama's advisors don't see any political downside. They fig. the left will vote for him and Dems. next yr. no matter what. It's a calculation fraught with danger. We might vote or we might just stay at home.
      The GOP will count any retreat on Health Reform as a HUGE victory ala 1993 and the MSM will trumpet it as such. Obama has already lost immense amounts of political capital in this battle and has shown himself to be unable or unwilling to lead his party forget about the Nation. It has made him look BAD and worse weak. His smile is already wearing thin. He might be a nice man but that's not what people want primarily in a leader, they want strength and good judgment.

    "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

    by Blutodog on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 08:25:50 AM PDT

    •  Why appease the far right? (0+ / 0-)

      There will be a political (and economic) price for failing to truly reform healthcare in this country.  Even with the then apparent hideous legacy of Bush, McCain was able to lose by only 7% of the popular vote while promising to basically continue Bush policies.  If Obama and the Dems fail to give progressives a something to fight for, they will find themselves back on the route that leads to impasse or defeat.

      Without a vigorous public option, healthcare reform is going to look pretty much the way things were before.  It might be enough to convince some of the whackos to stop hanging folks in effigy, but I doubt it will even accomplish that and is more likely to just encourage them.  The only way to shut the lunatic fringe up is to act decisively to defeat them.  Then at leat the next time they'll show up at town halls demanding that the politicians keep their government hands off of our public healthcare option.  

      --- Obama: combines the intellect of Bill Clinton and the decency of Jimmy Carter—it's good to have a thoughtful non-cynic in the White House!

      by KingBolete on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 09:48:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Appeasement NEVER ever works (0+ / 0-)

        I agree, appeasing the rightists factions in the Demoparty and their Goper allies is going to be a disaster precisely because the price is a reform package that is weak and non-effective. The GOpers will pt. to the rising cost of care in a yr. and say hey u promised your reforms were going to lower this and look! Obama is making the same mistake Clinton made, but Clinton had a rapidly strengthening economy in 1993-94 and Obama isn't going to see the numbers turn for him till 2011 at the earliest. Obama can't put lipstick on this pig , he's getting his head handed to him and he's going to pay the price. The rest of us are going to pay because the cost of healthcare will just continue to go north at a rate that is unsustainable. It seems to me that America has decided that when the economy goes south the price will be paid by it's weakest and most vulnerable citizens and when Healthcare becomes to expensive these same folks will also pay the price. I thought the Dems. believed a society is to be judged by how it treats it's weakest members not how it allows it's strongest to just keep hogging the trough.

        "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

        by Blutodog on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 04:26:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Investors Business Daily (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    not2plato

    A quick story:

    I dated this guy in college.  He was so nice, a very kind and generous and funny young man.  He tended to wear this one poncho, you know, the kind they sell in Tijuana . . .

    Anyway, I really loved this guy, and he was even kind and gentle when he broke up with me after a couple of years.

    For literally decades he'd enter my mind every once in a while, the one that got away, that I thought would be cool to see again someday.

    My son signed me up on one of those "find your classmates" thing and I found him, sent him a little e-mail - he was married, sounded happy, and was writing for this magazine I'd never heard of.

    He's now a senior editor there.  Guess which one?

    I'm floored.  This guy lived a bohemian life style back in the day.  NO money, didn't care about it.  I wasn't political back then but I'd certainly guess he was liberal.

    Nope.  I've read some of his stuff from 2000.  Bush was a dream, Gore sucked.  blah blah.

    I came across an article that states that our economic woes are caused by crony capitalism - by the DEMOCRATS!!

    What universe do these assholes live in?  Did they not understand that their party was in control, that their policies were written by their cronies, they staffed every important position with their cronies - cronies who were at best incompetent to the job, and at worst, only put there to destroy things?

    The man that got away is now a celebrated right wing asshole, who has appeared on such illustrious shows as Glenn Beck!

    I saw a photo of him.  I can almost recognize the smile behind the puffy, bearded face.  I keep hoping I got it wrong, that it's not him, the name is pretty common.  But his educational background, the school he attended, and that almost hidden familiar smile - I can't believe it, but it's him.

    I thought maybe he just needed the job at some point and wrote what they wanted.  But he's not only swallowed it hook, line, sinker, but is one of the biggest fans of blind allegiance to republican ideals.

    He derides the danger of Obama on our economy.  What the fuck are these guys smoking?

    At least I don't dream of meeting him again.  

    "Balance" does not mean giving the same weight to a lie as you do to the truth.

    by delphine on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 09:06:59 AM PDT

  •  I don't see how we win this. (0+ / 0-)

    All we have on our side in the health care debate are facts, logic, reason, decency, compassion, and empathy.  How can that stand up to virulent racism and, as Krugman notes, "a dystopian fantasy."

    When reality stops having anything to do with public policy, we lose every time.  Iraq invasion, Bush tax cuts, torture, spying - we lost every one of those 'debates' because facts and decency were swept aside under an avalanche of myth and nationalism.  Now it's happening with health care.

  •  Healthcare reform could end up being hollow (0+ / 0-)

    The fundamental accomplishments of a public option-less bill would be to (1) ensure that no American could be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition or because they became sick; (2) subsidize health insurance coverage for millions of poor and middle-class Americans.

    These two points are necessary but insufficient.  Having unaffordable coverage is the same as being denied coverage.  The exact nature of the coverage (what's covered and what's not) is also another way to effectively deny coverage.  Insurance companies can also increase the number of hoops and the amount of time that is required to "preapprove" treament and refuse to pay for any treatment that is not preapproved.  Insurance companies are already very adept at these scams and many others.  It is unlikely that the there is sufficient political will to devise a system that the insurance companies cannot circumvent without breaking a sweat.

    --- Obama: combines the intellect of Bill Clinton and the decency of Jimmy Carter—it's good to have a thoughtful non-cynic in the White House!

    by KingBolete on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 09:26:45 AM PDT

  •  Minor Correction of Krugman re France (0+ / 0-)

    Krugman's column today incorrectly asserts that the French have a single payer system of some complex variety:  

    The second route to universal coverage leaves the actual delivery of health care in private hands, but the government pays most of the bills. That’s how Canada and, in a more complex fashion, France do it. It’s also a system familiar to most Americans, since even those of us not yet on Medicare have parents and relatives who are.

    As a matter of fact, the French system is a PUBLIC OPTION system, as described here.

    This is a minor but important distinction.  Germany also has a public option program.

    Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. Ecclesiastes 9:10

    by not2plato on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 10:12:15 AM PDT

  •  Nothing that DoucheHat says (0+ / 0-)

    is wisdom. As Amanda Marcotte, who linked to this post, says:

    Please, my liberal friends.  I understand that you want to be generous people who assume that our opposition is capable of arguing in good faith, and Ross Douthat makes himself an appealing person to reach out to, because he will occasionally say not-crazy things. And you’ll be tempted to reprint them on the front page of Daily Kos.  But do not be fooled!  Douthat only says occasional not-crazy things in order to lull you into not realizing that he’s pushing a crazy point.  That’s his schtick.  He is not about being reasonable.  He’s about taking crazy, right wing ideas and writing them in a way that makes them seem reasonable.  And that’s what he’s doing with this Monday’s column, which can be summed up as, “Republicans are only lying about the existence of death panels, because of the death panels.” Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to say, “Hey, he admitted that the ‘death panels’ thing is a lie!”, when of course what he’s doing is basically saying that Democrats want to kill your grandmother.

    •  what part of (0+ / 0-)

      "We could actually have a discussion about this if they only meant it." would like you have explained?

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 03:07:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  er (0+ / 0-)

        ...would you like to have explained?

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 03:08:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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