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The title of this post is stolen shamelessly from Paul Krugman, who wrote an excellent piece explaining why the public option is important in the context of the health reform proposal, both in terms of policy and politics.

But without taking anything away from what Krugman wrote, there's another reason why the fight for the public option matters: its outcome will demonstrate the extent to which progressives do (or do not) wield clout on national policy.

To be clear: I'm not advocating throwing weight around for the sake of throwing weight around. I'm saying that the fight for the public option is about more than just enacting into law a good and a popular idea opposed primarily by conservative ideologues and established corporate interests, it's also about showing that progressives can hold their ground and are a political force to be reckoned with.

In large part because the public option is such a no-brainer, almost all the arguments raised against it are either circular (Democrats like Kent Conrad saying that they don't support the public option because Democrats like Kent Conrad don't support the public option) or based in fantasy (the public option is a government takeover of health care).

Even liberal policy pundits who are willing to abandon the public option (like Ezra Klein or Steven Pearlstein) concede that it is a good idea. It's true that they aren't as enthusiastic about it as advocates like Paul Krugman or Robert Reich, but they still think it would be better to have than not.

Where the Kleins and Pearlsteins of the world go wrong is in assuming that it would not be possible to get a public option. Obviously, it will be hard. But nobody has demonstrated that it is impossible. It would be one thing if they were saying that the public option isn't a good idea, or if it really were a choice between reform without a public option and no reform at all. But that's not the scenario we face.

The top Democratic elected officials -- President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Reid -- have consistently said that they support the public option, arguing that it addresses an important need: providing a competitive choice in a health insurance market where all individuals are required to buy insurance.

Their support of the public option is not dogmatic, however. If somebody were to develop an alternative to the public option that could achieve the same goals, they have said they are willing to explore it.

Unlike Klein and Pearlstein, however, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have said that if there isn't a public option, there needs to be something equivalent to it. There's nothing inherently wrong with that position -- as long as they don't put window dressing on a bad idea, claiming that it is just as effective as the public option, when in fact it isn't. The problem is that it seems all to plausible that they could end up doing just that.

To date, nobody has come up with viable alternative to the public option, at least not in the context of the current health insurance reform framework. (Competing frameworks, like single payer, might be better than the current framework, but they aren't alternatives to the public option, which component of reform.) By the standards outlined by Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, the public option should therefore be presumed to be part of the ultimate plan, yet we still here chatter -- much of which is coming from their offices -- that the public option won't end up being in the final plan.

The fact that the public option addresses an important need and doesn't have a serious alternative helps explain why the public option remains so popular in the court of public opinion, and it explains why progressive activists have been working so hard to defend it. Unfortunately, however, we still find ourselves in a situation in which every Republican in Congress opposes the public option -- and a sizable minority of conservative Democrats in Congress are joining them.


Try this thought experiment: imagine you are Chief of Staff to the President or Speaker of the House or Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, and imagine that your only goal is to pass health care reform legislation.

You know that the public option is good policy, and you know that it's popular, but that's not the key question you're asking yourself. You're asking yourself: "What's the easiest way for me to get a bill passed?"

If you're Senate Majority Leader and can avoid it, you'd rather not use reconciliation -- even though it would only require a majority instead of a supermajority, it would still be a procedural challenge, and if you can get a bill through a different path, you're probably going to take it. Meanwhile, if you're Speaker, you'd rather avoid a huge battle with the Senate. As long as you can get your caucus behind the Senate bill, you'll move the legislation. And if you're Chief of Staff, you just want to see progress, getting a bill get through that your boss can live with so you can move onto the next big thing.

If you're Senate Majority Leader, you know that the only way you're going to get the public option through is reconciliation or by hoping that your own caucus will refuse to filibuster a reform bill. You also know that if you dump the public option, you're probably going to be able to get those conservative Democrats plus maybe a Republican or two.

As long as the progressives don't bail (and you can be sure that they won't, based on past practice), you know you've got 60 votes and can pass a reform bill. You know that the House Speaker and the White House know this, and you know they are willing to compromise, so your decision is easy. You drop the public option. It's the easiest way to get to yes.

If you're the Speaker or the Chief of Staff, you're just happy to see the Senate pass something, because you know you can bring your progressives along. Sure, dropping the public option means dumping a good idea that is popular and important to the party base. But your only goal is to get a health care bill passed as efficiently as possible. And you know you can steamroll the progressives, so that's what you do. After all, it's always been the way to go.

So you sacrifice the progressives, and you don't think twice about it. It's nothing personal. You might not even think it's the best policy. But it's just the way it works, and you've got to get something done. So do you it, knowing that it will work. And whether or not you like it, you know that as long as progressives let themselves get steamrolled, that's always the way it will work.

Lawrence O'Donnell explained this very dynamic the other night on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. It was a sobering few minutes of television, well worth watching:

Excerpt (full transcript at DKTV):

OLBERMANN: We also keep hearing that the White House has been frustrated that the public option has gotten far too much attention in its opinion in this entire debate. How did they misread this? It seems that the public option is the hinge on which forcing insurance prices down exists or does not exist.

O’DONNELL: Well, what they misread, Keith, was how much uproar this would cause on the left. And they were using the old playbook, the 1994 playbook.

And what you have to remember about 1994 is, there were no blogs in 1994, and for the 15 — for the 15-year-olds out there, I hate to tell you, but MSNBC did not exist in 1994. And so, when we were legislating this in 1994, we did not worry about risking the wrath of the left if we start — if we were trying to move the bill towards the middle, because we knew the left would have to be with us in a vote when we actually get to the Senate floor and the House floor.

That’s the normal formula that the Democrats don’t worry about the left. And that is the formula that they’re using this time.

I — Nancy Pelosi firmly believes that when the moment comes, she can gather her caucus together, tell them that she fought harder for the public option than Barack Obama did, than Harry Reid did, than any senator did. No one fought harder for it than Nancy Pelosi, and she is now telling her troops they’re going to have to go forward without it. That moment is going to come.

The only way in which I might part company with O'Donnell is that I don't think it's over until it's over. I still think we can win this fight, and if we do win the fight, we'll not only help pass into law a good, popular idea, but we'll also turn on its head the political calculus that, in the end, progressives -- and particularly, progressives in Congress -- will always cave.

Unless progressives in Congress actually demonstrate they have a spine on this issue, nobody will ever take them seriously -- nor should they. But if progressives in Congress do put up a fight, if they show the decades-old political calculus needs to be updated, then they will have won a major victory that goes beyond just the issue at hand.

The public option should be passed on its own merits. It's good policy, and it's got popular support. It's primary opposition is motivated by ideology or self-interest. It was proposed by President Obama during the campaign, and he won a majority of the vote. There's 60 Democrats in the Senate and an overwhelming majority in the house. On the face of it, passing the public option should be about the easiest no-brainer in politics.

But it's not. And that fact poses a real test for progressives -- and a real opportunity. Progressives can finally change the power dynamics in Congress by proving that they will hold their ground. Getting the public option would be one kind of victory, but proving that progressives area  potent political force would be another.

And the potential for that victory is one of the most important reasons that the public option matters so much. We can't give up the fight.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:02 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Every single Pundit and Congressperson (22+ / 0-)

    said today that the Public Option is Dead. DiFi was one of the worse Democrats on TV today. It is going to take one hell of a fight, are you up to it ?

    "The Dream Lives On", Sen. Teddy Kennedy

    by SmileySam on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:05:05 AM PDT

    •  Yep, I sure am! (9+ / 0-)

      I work full-time with the FDL team on health reform thanks to your donations.

      by slinkerwink on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:06:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mr president they don't respect you because they (12+ / 0-)

      don't fear you and they don't fear you because you have shown zero willingness to fight for Anything, even your honor.

      sometimes you have to bite the bait just to show you are alive..

      God is a process not a person

      by Dhirty on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:27:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  All the old traditional media (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buckhorn okie, Uberbah, thethinveil

        was focused on the Hillary/Obama divide which really wasn't a divide at all.
        The divide was between Dennis Kucinich and maybe John Edwards and Hillary/Obama.

        John Edwards might have a hanky panky problem, but he's a scrapper and more progressive than Hillary/Obama  Too bad Dennis Kucinich was ignored.

        "Never trust a computer too big to throw out a window" -Steve Wozniak

        by Four of Nine on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:28:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not to reopen old wounds but... (6+ / 0-)

          My intuition screamed that John Edwards lacked authenticity and sincerity.  Unfortunately, I was proved correct.

          --Country before party--

          by chipoliwog on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 01:20:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  proven on what planet? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Four of Nine

            FDR had affairs - was he not "sincere" and "authentic"?

            Really, the only primary supporters who can still bitch at Edwards are the Kucinich people.

          •  Maybe so (0+ / 0-)

            Presidents are public servants.. They're hired to do a job.  The way I see it, how they manage their personal affairs is their business.  Sure he's a cad, but that's an issue for his immediate family, not my problem.  

            Senator Edwards was a junkyard dog from the wrong side of the tracks that made good by doing battle against the kind of corporate attorneys that are the essence of everything that's wrong with Washington these days.  He took on these corporate insurance attorneys in court houses, in front of juries and had their hides.

            It would have been interesting to see how he would be handling things now.

            "Never trust a computer too big to throw out a window" -Steve Wozniak

            by Four of Nine on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 07:16:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Hillary's plan was a copy of Edwards' (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          buckhorn okie, miss SPED

          Hillary and Edwards insisted on a mandate. Obama did not.

          •  That much is true (0+ / 0-)

            as far as it goes.. Senator Edwards was also the first to bring up the public option as a vehicle toward a true single payer system, even though he didn't express it in those terms, that's the obvious development.  

            Senator Edwards had a very clear idea regarding a single payer system as the obvious endgame, and felt like that was exactly the kind of poison pill that would render the private insurance industry irrelevant.

            "Never trust a computer too big to throw out a window" -Steve Wozniak

            by Four of Nine on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 07:10:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Edwards was a faux populist (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          buckhorn okie, CWalter, masslib

          Most people saw through this because the first half of his first campaign he presented himself as the usual centrist, and also his record hardly proved he was the fighter he was claiming to be. I think we would have experienced a larger let down with him given he truly did campaign as a fighting (faux) progressive, where as Obama campaigned as someone who would bring great "change", which could mean anything of course.

          "All [US govt model based countries], without exception, have succumbed to the nightmare [of breakdown] one time or another, often repeatedly." - Bruce Ackerman

          by PoxOnYou on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:03:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  these are Faux complaints (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...that are empty bellyaching.

            where as Obama campaigned as someone who would bring great "change", which could mean anything of course.

            Weak.  Sauce.  And that's even without all of his statements and pdf's on policy during the campaign.

        •  Not true... (0+ / 0-)

          Edwards and Hillary had basically the same health plan and made health reform the centerpiece of their primary campaign.

          Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

          by masslib on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 06:01:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  unfortunately this seems true (5+ / 0-)

        During the campaign, Axelrod and Obama knew the calculus was not to be baited into being an "angry black man".  As was recently shown during the Gates affair, they will pummel him if he even gets within a mile of that meme.

        But I am not convinced that Axelrod and Obama really know how dangerous this game they have waded into and the tremendous forces of hate and (dare I say evil) that have been unleashed by his November victory and his presence in the White House.

        I am well aware of the philosphy that Mr. Obama espouses of holding a  good presumption about the intentions of one's rivals and giving them enough rope to hang themselves with their behavior.  But I fear these people cannot be reasoned with and they cannot be charmed.  The evidence shows his charm is what infuriates them.  

        Since Mr. Obama has handicapped himself with regard to how he does or doesn't respond to the batshit crazy things being said and the atmosphere of hate that is being incited minute by minute on all forms of media, then it behooves him to gain a surrogate who can do the "bad cop" routine.  Perhaps it's Joe Biden --the elder statesman to appeal to values-- or even sending Rahm Emmanuel out since he is a junk yard dog type.

        But while the President can seize the momentum back with one speech (which was an amazing feat) it is also clear the opposition is not cowering, they are fighting with everything they've got.  And they are not afraid to go beyond the pale and break the rules of civility.  The dangerous game of incitement is likely to lead to someone getting hurt.

        Bully's only understand force and fear. They are creatures less of intellect and reason in general but have some who are steeped in it.

        --Country before party--

        by chipoliwog on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 01:18:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They are fighting with everything they have, (0+ / 0-)

          including just making things up out of thin air, because they understand what the stakes are.  If we get a good bill, democrats will rule for quite a while.  If we get a bad bill, the republicans are back in 2010.  If we get no bill, probably advantage republican, but possibly survivable.

    •  Paging Mr. Wyden (11+ / 0-)

      It looks like one more phone call, more letters, more veiled threats, especially for Mr. Ron Wyden, who is being very cowardly and not stating that he supports a  strong public option along with cost controls and limited mandates as outlined in the white house's plan.

      Ron Wyden is not immune. Gorden Smith did very good things for Oregon- yet Mr. Merkley is now in his seat.Mr. Wyden needs to consider what is good for Oregon and not what is politically expedient.

      Why yes, I am Catholic.

      by ems97007 on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:51:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wyden would be weakened... (0+ / 0-) a credible challenge from the left (which I feel is well deserved: his towing the insurance industry line is inexplicable, until one considers the money they've showered upon him).
        Wyden is still very popular in Oregon, but a tough primary might soften him up for a loss in the general election.
        Why won't he just support the gddmn public option??

        90% of congressmen & senators give the other 10% a bad name.

        by DFH on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 07:37:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wyden is on the Finance Committee (0+ / 0-)

        and not a member in good standing of the Gang of Six.  I've been calling his offices regularly demanding that he vote in committee against the Baucus Faucus bill, especially since he was intentionally dissed on formulating it.

        But Wyden is wiley. He has his own bill and expects to step into the smoke at the end of this mess (2 of 3 possible outcomes are horrible) wielding the Healthy Americans Act as the Great Compromise that saves health care reform and the future of the Democratic Party.  It probably doesn't help that turncoat Lieberman is standing next to him at the unveiling....

        So Wyden will, unless properly motivated, dutifully vote to pass the Baucus Insurance Industry Highway Robbery Act out of committee and then for the final version of whatever comes out of Conference--so as not to alienate any possible supporters of the Back-up Plan.  (He's fond of saying that he could get 80 votes for his plan).

        Yet another sometimes progressive Senator doesn't realize that the internet exists and it could eventually complicate his life.

        As an action item, I would encourage all progressives to flood Wyden's phone lines with demands that he vote against the Baucus BS bill to keep it from ever passing out of committee.

        And IMO, any bill without a public option is yet another massive transfer of public money into private hands and spells doom for the Democratic Party.  I can't believe these douchebags can't even have enough greedy self-interest to see how badly their game ends.  It's like watching a slow motion train wreck.

    •  Feinstein has been one of the worst of this whole (13+ / 0-)

      process.  She just slides under the radar because others chair committees like Finance that have more pertinence at the moment, but she has worked tirelessly to undermine Obama's negotiating position from the very start.

    •  Ding Dong, The Public Option's Dead! (8+ / 0-)

      We know the "Wizard of Oz" was made on a Hollywood sound stage. Some progressives knew way back the "Wizard of Public Option" was being created in the Senate Fianance Committee, as Wizard Max Baucus directed the bill the Obama Administration wished for all along. The pseudo-reform bill was always intended to reward the private insurers & Big Pharma for their campaign contributions. Obama was & is corporate owned. What to do? First, if someone is sawing off your arms & legs as they sing "Maria", watch the saw(actions) & ignore the singing(Obama's speeches). If it gives you hope that we haven't elected another administration lined up with palms extented on K-Street, ignore the following: Yes vote for Fisa Bill, Geither & Summers for economic policy(Krugman who?), continued renditions, Blue Dog Rahm replacing Rove, continued exodus of gays from the military, refusal to pursue higher-ups for war crimes, maintaining the foundation of the Imperial Presidency, escalation in Afghanistan(Vietnam), never considering single payer, lip service for public option...the list can go on, but why bother. Progressives better come-up with a better plan than continuing support for the Democratic Wing of the American Corporate Party...and yes, we may just be screwed by the corporations that have fixed the political process as permanently corrupted beyond repair. We will reap what we continue to sow.

      •  Right, but koolaid drinkers here will prob (8+ / 0-)

        call you a nader apologist for talking reality.

        I wanted more and better Democrats, had hope for change, but this fight we are in will tell the tail.  Did we do it or, as you said, did we fail.

        I am not giving up, but I fear the story, and your take, are very close to the truth.

      •  Strikes a chord for sure... (6+ / 0-)

        Yet to get from here to there, we had to bridge a major gap.  Obama is our bridge.

        In health care, the public option is our bridge.

        Both worth fighting for.

        Turning the uninsured into criminals if they can't afford the corporate plan just isn't going to cut it with the American people.

      •  Yup. It's hard not to come to the conclusion that (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CWalter, mcartri, poxonyou, DFH

        Obama is selling the Democrats and the American people out, and that he's a liar and snake oil salesman of the slickest kind.

        •  Snake oil (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Pay closer attention. The big time journalists always say that they spoke to someone in the WH who tells them that Public Option is dead; the Baucus bill will be the Obama bill; only the left of the left is fighting for the PO; they are surprised at the reaction of the progressives.  In my opinion that is coming directly from Rahm Emanuel and his deputy, Messina, who used to work for Baucus.

          Check out todays Meet The Press, it is being repeated on MSNBC,  Chuck Todd has moved from PO is dead to PO with trigger, someone else on the panel also said the same thing.  

      •  That's been my commentary for two weeks (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buckhorn okie, mcartri, DFH

        now.  And OH the pushback.

        Not with counter FACTS, mind you, but just calling me cynical and crazy.

        I STILL hope I am wrong but events are proving me correct.

        The deal with Big Pharma gives Rahm the $$ to put MORE Blue Dogs in congressional seats.  

        This isn't just a fight for what is correct, it's a fight for the Progressive soul.

        ~Conservatives..the living representation of the XFiles Peacock family~

        by CWalter on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:45:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Don't forget those (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buckhorn okie

        new tariffs on China, finally opening the White House visitors log, EPA saying that mountain top coal removal doesn't meet clean water act, DoJ appointing a special prosecutor, restoring the roadless rules in forests, Roadless Rule Ruling...oh wait... guess I'm hyped on the kool-aid. That's not the list you meant.

        Criticism is fine. Obama is not perfect and I've disagreed on many things including state secrets and prolonged detention, etc. but I wish we could spend as much time pointing out the positive moves as well, and there have been positive progressive moves despite the naysaying. We just don't hear about them....

        Obama to his opponents: If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize - Muhammad Ali

        by MB32 on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 04:09:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Change, my ass (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Mountaintop removal goes on unabated, with Obama's blessing. The DOJ special prosecutor's purview is extremely limited to only low-level operatives, i.e., grunts.... a few "bad apples." By appointing Tim Geithner & Larry Summers, this president has made it clear that it will be business as usual & riches galore for Wall Street banksters, while the rest of us face stagnant wages & chronic unemployment.

          there have been positive progressive moves despite the naysaying. We just don't hear about them

          That's because they've been all too rare.

          It's plain to see by Obama's refusal to fight for the public option that indeed he already sold us out on that, in his (and Rahm's) secret dealings with industry honchos, just as he gave up negotiated drug prices when Billy Tauzin came calling.

          It's all about the campaign contributions.

          90% of congressmen & senators give the other 10% a bad name.

          by DFH on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 08:04:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the Rebuttal to "Don't Forget" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            As I read about the Chinese tire tarrifs(Watch for imported chicken meat from U.S. get Chinese tariffs placed on it) & WH visitor logs, I almost forgot about the Afghanistan complete troop withdrawl & the ongoing prosecution of Bush/Cheney for war crimes. How easily we are distracted...

    •  DiFi is a Democrat???! (6+ / 0-)

      I hate her record on the environment too.

      This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

      by Agathena on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:33:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not True (0+ / 0-)

      Dick Durbin on CNN was very firm on Public Option.

      Susan Collins said no to trigger.

      Olympia Snowe said no trigger.

      Chuck Todd has moved from PO is dead to PO with trigger.

  •  Obama Moves To Seize Momentum In Health (11+ / 0-)

    "I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it's better politics to kill this plan than improve it," President Obama said.

  •  To help FIGHT for the PUBLIC OPION, please join (11+ / 0-)

    my google group, PublicOptionNow!

    I work full-time with the FDL team on health reform thanks to your donations.

    by slinkerwink on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:06:15 AM PDT

  •  Fifty ways to screw your voter ... (12+ / 0-)

    The Dem leadership is up to 49 already.

    "If you don't use your majorities, you lose your majorities."

    by SteinL on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:09:59 AM PDT

  •  Win what fight??? (7+ / 0-)

    For the hobbled joke of a PO in HR3200, or worse, HELP, which amounts to little more than leper insurance?

    Why don't the editors of this site say what they mean.  Exactly what "public option" are you fighting for?

    A symbolic PO will be a very hollow victory.

    Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

    by masslib on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:10:14 AM PDT

    •  Congressman Kucinich said essentially this last (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SarahLee, masslib, bluedonkey08
      •  Yep. Our "leaders" killed the fight (6+ / 0-)

        for single payer and substituted the ill-defined "public option." And they rally support behind it, mobilize the troops for it - yet they don't define it.

        I think we're being had.

        And where the hell is Kos on this? Shouldn't he be making a strong, visible stand on a regular basis on this, the fight of our lives? And defining exactly what the fuck we're supposed to be fighting for? Or has he fallen in love with his political visibility and lost his courage for fighting the true fight? Where are his constant front page articles asking us to rally behind truly worthwhile reform? Why is he letting others lead this fight?  Step up, Kos. It's time.

        Medicare for all was run up the flagpole, then shut down by our "leaders." That was the real rallying point and it's been left behind.

        Slink and Eve work hard. But for what?

        I'm not happy.

        We're being played, from both within and without.

        We need two lists: those we will work to elect and those we will defeat. If you're not progressive, you're not a Democrat.

        by moosely2006 on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:18:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Public Option (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SarahLee, CWalter, masslib

        The public option is an extremely weak alternative to a single payer system.  The public option is built on the following conditions:  1. Only a small group of people will be eligible for the public option.  All of the folks who have employee based health insurance cannot choose the public option.  The figures I have seen say this will include about 170 million Americans.  Those eligible for the public option will include people who have no insurance and people who work for small businesses which also cannot afford to buy insurance for their employees.  I have seen estimates that the number of people eligible for the public option is somewhere between 10-70 million people.  2.  The fact that you are eligible for the public option does not mean you will chose it.  Those eligible will also have the opportunity of choosing a private insurance plan.  This will most assuredly result in significantly reducing the number of  people who will choose the public option.  Like the "trigger" idea and the "co-op" idea the number of people who choose the public option will be too small to have any real affect on health care costs.  Reduction in health care costs is, of course, the primary reason the "progressive left" supports the idea.  They are deluding themselves.

        What is absolutely fascinating about all of this is the left cannot fight for real reform.  The minute someone talks about "pragmatic" solutions to problems or that a solution is politically not feasible, the "progressive" left runs for cover and refuses to continue pushing for meaningful reform.  Obama's speech outlined his capitulation to the status quo.  Obama's version of reform will alleviate pressure for change, but all of the problems endemic to the current health care system will return with a vengeance.

        More importantly, once more the "progressive" left is revealed as an irrelevant faction of the Democratic party. "Progressives" willingly celebrate their irrelevance by abandoning meaninful reform and substitute wishful thinking (the public option) for analysis.  

        Once they are told political realities dictate caving in to corporate interests, they mindlessly repeat all of the nonsense about "pragmatism", politics as the art of compromise, and the virtue of incremental change.  In the process they enable the elected officials who have no intention of advocating anything that adversely affects status quo politics.  The result:   the corrupt partnership between vested interests and our elected representatives is affirmed once more.

        There will be no true reform or real change until the left establishes its own identity outside of the Democratic party.      

        •  What we have left it to fight hard for the (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          buckhorn okie, CWalter, masslib

          Weiner and Kucinich Amendments to HR-3200.

          Weiner will get a floor vote - probably this month, so we are running out of time to influence that vote.

          The Kucinich amendment will get stripped out if we don't fight for it - and it would allow states to get around ERISA and implement their own Single-Payer plans.  We certainly need to be supporting that when making our phone calls to Congresspeople.

          •  Dear SarahLee (0+ / 0-)

            If the only thing on the table was health care reform, I would be willing to chase one more mirage by following your recomendations.  Unfortunately, there are many other issues that also concern me.  This includes, for starters, the long, winding, dark walk down the foreign policy path pursued by this country, income distribution, climate change, the overwhelming corruption of the political process, the huge, wasteful spending on the military, civil liberties and civil rights issues.  

            I have followed politics in this country since Vietnam, my political awakening event.  I have not supported the Democratic party at any level since 1965 and you can hardly convince me to wall off yet another issue and support Democrats who mean well but have long been marginalized by the Democratic mainstream.  That mainstream has many institutional tools to neutralize the relatively minor discontent of a few of their colleagues on any one issue.  Included in the list of the marginalized is Russ Feingold, Kucinich, Weiner, Wellstone and so forth and so on.  

            I must say you display a stomach made of iron and admirable fortitude in pursuit of the impossible.

            I reiterate:  Until the "left" establishes an identity and a constituency independent of the Democratic party, they will be used, abused, and ignored by the Democratic leadership and party.          

  •  This is one time when putting policy over party (13+ / 0-)

    will save the party. It wasn't the centrists who donated and volunteered.

    •  Exactly. The Democratic Party will be destroyed (21+ / 0-)

      if a bill with mandates but no public option is passed and signed into law.  Progressives, anti-corporate and civil-libertarian Democrats will stop supporting the party and stop volunteering and contributing to its candidates en masse.  Because the party will have been responsible for a government program that amounts to a large tax on all Americans going directly into the pockets of corporations.  It will be so unpopular with not only the Democratic base but also the general public that it will virtually guarantee the Democrats will lose the House in 2010, maybe even the Senate, and the Presidency in 2012.

      The Council of Wisdom - an interfaith nongovernmental parliament for progressive intellectuals -

      by Eric Stetson on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:52:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not one bloody penny- EVER (14+ / 0-)

        if a public option does not pass- period. I have told the DNC and even OFA this- that I am wmore than willing to do my share, but I will never ever contribute to the Democrats again.

        Last my contributions were a few hundred dollars- now multiple that by hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, and they had better see sense.

        Why yes, I am Catholic.

        by ems97007 on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:00:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree...progressives who fought the good (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          slinkerwink, buckhorn okie, masslib

          fight will continue to get my money.  The fight doesn't end with this.  I am just getting started.  When people are literally dying, you can't just give up when the veil over your eyes is lifted to reveal the wizard behind the curtain.

          Obama, however...not a fucking cent.

          ~Conservatives..the living representation of the XFiles Peacock family~

          by CWalter on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 04:01:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  That's the crux of the fight right here. (8+ / 0-)

        It's about the future of the Democratic Party. I'd appreciate it if you could join the google group set up by nyceve and I to help fight for a trigger-free public option, called PublicOptionNow.

        I work full-time with the FDL team on health reform thanks to your donations.

        by slinkerwink on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:19:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The "Forced mandate" is a Political POSION PILL!! (4+ / 0-)

        If the Dems are so desperate to pass some kind of reform under the mistaken belief if they don't they'll pay a terrible political price in 2010 , they'd had better quickly understand that passing any BILL without a robust Public Option and with a so called "forced mandate" for Universal Private health Ins. coverage ( AKA the Mass. plan or Romney plan) is tantamount to POLITICAL SUICIDE! This is exactly what both the Health Ins. mafia want and their patrons ( the GOPER party). This posion pill will IMO be so unpopular with everyone once people understand it's implications that it will sink the Dems. for a generation. The GOPers will easily be able to tell people elect us and we'll lift this beast off your backs immediately! The Dems. had better wake up or they'll soon find themselves saddled with a political nightmare!

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

        by Blutodog on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:40:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Even 'public option' (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Blutodog, masslib

          isn't true public option when there's language in the bill to limit participation to 10% 5% of the entire pool, and then add language demanding a 'level playing field' for the big HEALTHCO groups.  Add the 'trigger' and you get a big fat ZERO.

          "Never trust a computer too big to throw out a window" -Steve Wozniak

          by Four of Nine on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:44:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I thought the 5% estimate (0+ / 0-)

            was not a limitation but based on the CBO estimate of who would choose a public option...

            Obama to his opponents: If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize - Muhammad Ali

            by MB32 on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 05:40:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  we need reform- is this it? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          i may get flamed for this, and i'm sorry, still kinda new here, but i think this needs to be said-
          while most of us (here at kos anyway)- realize we need to reform the health care industry-
          is this the bill to do it???-
          if it includes universal mandates (and fines) and no public option, it's not.
          vote it down, scrap it and try again, and maybe this time, get some balls!!!!!
          we need REAL REFORM
          not this watered down bs.
          i say- progressives- tell max and anyone else to demand REAL REFORM!!!
          TRY AGAIN!!!

          •  Not only isn't this reform..BUT! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            deli lama, allenjo

            The present ideas that Obama is peddling are a disaster not reform! A forced mandate is a political poison pill for us! I agree we need to tell the Progressive wing to KILL this thing before it sees the light of day. It's turning into a huge giveaway or bail out of the health mafia and once the public realizes this were toast as a party. Clinton walked away and he was smart even though Congress paid the price back then. This nightmare is far far worse and if Obama doesn't see the trap being built here , shame on him and his handlers! If he signs any bill without a ROBUST Medicare style Public Option and with a Forced taxpayer supported mandate for private coverage ( emphasis on RAGE here), he'll pay the price personally and the rest of us will pay the price financially! I HATE the present bills ! KILL this NOW !!

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

            by Blutodog on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 01:06:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I agree, what Obama "seems" to be proposing will (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Blutodog, CWalter, poxonyou, Uberbah

          be a disaster politically. Remember, though, the "reform" doesn't being to kick in for another 4 years - even though we have a crisis that needs fixing NOW. Looks like yet another calculated play for political aggrandizement at the expense of the American people.

          Folks, we have a very, very corrupted system. Time to think how we might be reforming it versus keep on supporting the status quo.

          •  Things happen immediately when! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Larry Bailey, CWalter

            Ever notice how things happen immediately when it's for the Powers. Wall st. got trillions immediately not in 4 yrs. Why? because it was an emergency! Apparently millions losing their jobs and then their Ins. isn't? Another example: The Patriot act ( AKA full employment for the Intell. and military act)  passes with nobody reading it!  It seems when it benefits the powers it's happens ASAP. The system is as you say corrupt beyond redemption I'm afraid. The simple truth is neither party wants to do this right, or it seems is capable of doing anything more then lining the pockets of the usual suspects.

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

            by Blutodog on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 01:43:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  You are absolutely correct. When millions are (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Blutodog, moosely2006, jck, allenjo

      mandated to purchase insurance without
      "convincing evidence" that they have
      benefitted, the consequences are very
      obvious. Even with an option we're walking
      into a landmine. This type of legislation cannot be finessed.

      •  KILL IT NOW!! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The Progressive wing should KILL this abortion of a bill before it sees the light of day and destroys everything that's been gained these last few years! The  bills now up for consideration are nothing more then political suicide. The PUBLIC OPTION isn't worth fighting for and it's bastard twin the so called Forced mandate is a POSION PILL of such strength that once it's passed the Dems. have IMO destroyed themselves politically downstream! My advice for the Progressives then is KILL it now and pay the price up front instead of the awful price waiting for all of us if it passes as is.

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

        by Blutodog on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:45:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Don't get discouraged! The right sure isn't. (12+ / 0-)

    They're angry and organized. We need to be.

    Fight until the end and past the end.

    A last-minute infusion of energy could push the PO over the top.

  •  Dems are so spineless (13+ / 0-)

    why can't they just seize the initiative instead of tiptoeing around? Bush rammed through his priorities without worrying about the Democrats. It's pathetic--they constantly let themselves be defined by the opposition instead of defining themselves through bold decisive action.

    •  Nearly all of Bush's major domestic programs (4+ / 0-)

      went through reconciliation - the Dems couldn't have stopped them.

    •  dems cant frame shit against 1000 radio stations (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      moosely2006, divineorder

      they get blasted, threatened, lied about all day to  a crowd the sie of the one that voted for obama, dems ignore the GOPs invisible 2x4 and don't get their reps back where it counts, and claim their reps are wimps.

      the perfect pol weapon.

      ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

      by certainot on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:19:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thats why we need the FCC to get involved (6+ / 0-)

        The FCC needs to assure that there is somewhat of a level playing field. Current rules basically allow a right wing radio monopoly.  As an example, the Limbaugh show is provided for free to many stations.  This becomes an antitrust issue at some point.  

        •  make local sponsors choose limbaugh or obama (0+ / 0-)

          before regulation or demonopolization can get through the courts progressives need to start calling local sponsors of the hate radio stations to it's easy and fun to listen once in a while, get some local numbers, and ask them what the fuck they're doing by sponsoring the hate in their communities.

          it should be becoming obvious to them now that limbaugh and sons are not just partisan rabblerousers trying to get more listeners for their products.

          in many markets those stations are the loudest in their areas and that is the main reason they advertise on there. some may be going through PR companies or have bought  packages and are forced into it.

          few i've called to complain to argue back that they like limbaugh politics. more often i've heard the opposite. many employees, managers are surprised to hear their businesses are sponsoring the hatemongers.

          'obama's head needs to roll' said limbaugh sept 10, 2008- i'll bet many will start looking for alternatives when their communities start picketing the stations and or pointing out the part they're playing in undermining democracy and progress and spreading what is now plainly racism and violence incitement.

          ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

          by certainot on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 01:23:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You have to ask yourself: (7+ / 0-)

      Are they truly 'spineless' or are they doing the bidding of their corporate masters?

      "Never trust a computer too big to throw out a window" -Steve Wozniak

      by Four of Nine on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:46:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup, I wish it were spinelessness, but more (6+ / 0-)

        more it's hard not to conclude that in reality it's the Dems caving to their coporate masters, over and over and over again. Obama talking from both sides his mouth - one for the people, one for his corporate masters - epitomizes the internal conflicts the Democratic leadership faces. They're serving 2 opposing masters, and the one with the money always seems to win out.

        And we wonder why Congress such low approval ratings and why nothing ever seems to be done to benefit the American in the last quarter of a century or so? The only "reforms" we ever get benefit corporations at the expense of the people (looser regulations (see financial meltdown, higher fees for everything, usurious interest rates), corp consolidation of media (see corporate propaganda and mindless infotainment 24/7), colleges that were once free now charging an arm and a leg, 401s instead of pension plans...

        You really notice it when you go to country that hasn't been taken over by big money, such as France. Not everything is about money! The notion of the common good still lingers! People are still sane and nuttiness doesn't dominate the media and political conversations. Stress is much lower because there is a social safety net. And on and on...

    •  Not "Dems"...we have some Progessive members (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that most certainly have spine.  They just aren't power-players.  Yet.

      IMO, Rahm and Obama made a deal with Big Pharma back at that August meeting.  More $$ for D's, No PO.  Rahm has been very successful extending Dem seats in Congress.  Obama just gave him more ammo to fill more seats with BLUE DOGS.  

      Make no doubt about it...this is a fight for the Progressive soul.  It wasn't just American's sold out.

      ~Conservatives..the living representation of the XFiles Peacock family~

      by CWalter on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 04:08:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not spineless, it's a dog and pony show (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Look at who funds their campaigns, and who they tend to meet privately with more. They never intend to enact major reforms that will upset large corporations and powerful lobbies because to them, it could mean an end to their job and the perks they get and will get when they finish politics. It's better to pretend you're fighting, and then repeatedly capitulate to those darn Republicans ("If it weren't for them, we would have delivered on what we promised. Really!!"), and end up with something that pleases their corporate masters.

      "All [US govt model based countries], without exception, have succumbed to the nightmare [of breakdown] one time or another, often repeatedly." - Bruce Ackerman

      by PoxOnYou on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 04:13:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The PO will set the template for the rest of this (19+ / 0-)

    Congress, if not for the rest of this presidency.  Everyone in the WH and on the Hill assumes that, once again, we'll wail and gnash our teeth and then hold our noses and support a "HCR" bill w/o a PO in it when the time comes.  That's why they've* been letting us down slowly for weeks now.

    I have no idea what will happen this time.  There will be major disruption w/i the party if the CPC really does hold firm.  There will be a series of similar disappointments for us on cap and trade, on EFCA, and on other issues in the coming months if the CPC doesn't.

    *"They" include Obama in his speech on Wed.  His failure to mention it in his radio address on Sat, the constant mixed messages from WH spokespeople, and Rahmbo's clear disinterest make it obvious that the WH has never been that committed to the PO.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:13:28 AM PDT

  •  My line in the sand (24+ / 0-)

    I will no longer support Barack Obama if there is no public option in his healthcare reform bill.  We've had enough of pussyfooting around and catering to the nutjobs out there.  

    As a lifelong Democrat, I've had it with the olive branch extended to those who wouldn't vote for Obama if it came with a $100 bill attached.  They did not put Obama in office. We liberals put him in office.  We did the leg work. We wrote the checks. We manned the voter registration tables.  

    I am not willing to compromise so Olympia Snowe can be placated.  

    There are plenty of Democratic politicians out there who belong to the Democratic wing of the Democratic party.  Unlike the Republicans who swallow anything if it has an "R" attached to it, this Democrat will not "go along to get along" because Obama is having an "Adlai Stevenson" moment.    

    The public option is my line in the sand.  End of story.  

  •  Could not disagree with you more, Jed. (7+ / 0-)

    You know I respect you, but I do disagree with you on the political power of the public option.  The public option won't do any political good to Democrats if people still have to spend a substantial portion of their income on health care.  And the key provision to lowering this figure isn't the public option -- it's the community rating, it's the minimum benefits package, it's the Exchange, and it's the premium caps.

    I'd love to have a conversation about this because I so strongly disagree with you about the importance of the public option.

    jim bow, ASA, MAAA

    by jim bow on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:14:52 AM PDT

    •  None of these things (6+ / 0-)

      brings down the cost of a premium policy. The po isn't the greatest thing on earth, but it is the only thing we have on the table right now to create downward pressure on costs. Yes, those who cannot afford their premiums will not have to pay them, but neither will the insurance companies. WE the American taxpayer will be required to pay WHATEVER COST THE INSURANCE COMPANY comes up with instead. Nothing to hold down or reduce costs is a windfall for the insurance companies and the great American stiff to all t\he rest of us. It is yet one more way to squeeze the Amreican tax payer to borrow more money to shore up corporate profits. I'm done if this is what we get.

      "The individual mandate is 'just one part of the bill' - its not worth losing everything else in the bill just to get it through." BruceMcF

      by irmaly on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:04:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

        The Commonwealth Fund study that mcjoan frequently cites illustrates it's not so much the public option that brings down costs but abandoning the employer-based system that brings down the costs.  The more people we have comparison shopping on the Exchange, the more we can control health care costs.  The Commonwealth Fund study finds a federal Exchange where all employers have access will lower premiums for a family by $1,575/yr. by 2020.

        jim bow, ASA, MAAA

        by jim bow on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 02:25:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, of course families in countries with (0+ / 0-)

          some sort of single payer pay 6k less than us a year, but we will get looted 1500 less a year than now.  Wow.  Great.

          Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

          by masslib on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 06:11:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And those countries also ... (0+ / 0-)
            1. Have longer waiting times than the U.S. to get help
            1. Limit the number of doctor visits per year
            1. Are much stricter in basing payments on comparative effectiveness research (In other words, people like Nataline Sarkisyan would no doubt suffer the same fate in single-payer countries as she did with CIGNA.)
            1. Are willing to pay premiums in the form of taxes

            I'm not saying I oppose a single-payer system -- I support single-payer.  But to act like single-payer is some sort of panacea is frighteningly naive:  single-payer still requires difficult choices that Americans have been unwilling to make in the past.  Single-payer means that people now angry with insurance companies for the decisions they make will now be angry at the government for the same reasons they got angry with insurance companies.

            jim bow, ASA, MAAA

            by jim bow on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 06:45:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Polls have shown Americans are willing to pay (0+ / 0-)

              more taxes for better services.  I'd rather have the government dealing with comparative effectiveness than private corporations.  They actually see the doctor more on average than people in the US.  Single payer systems ration on health need, not ability to pay as we do here.

              " Single-payer means that people now angry with insurance companies for the decisions they make will now be angry at the government for the same reasons they got angry with insurance companies."

              I don't believe this one iota.  If this were true, people in foreign countries would be clamoring to adopt our market-based system.  they are not.

              I think it woefully naive to think a market failure can be fixed by throwing more money at it.

              Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

              by masslib on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 07:28:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I disagree with your penultimate point. (0+ / 0-)

                Foreign countries have much greater respect towards government bureaucrats than the U.S. does, which is why single-payer survives the political process much easier than here in the U.S.

                jim bow, ASA, MAAA

                by jim bow on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 06:21:00 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Commonwealth Fund update (0+ / 0-)

          Actually, its a strong public option that would keep costs down.  Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis recentlystated:

          Unfortunately, as legislation has worked its way through congressional committees, the potential power of a public plan has been substantially eroded in three ways: by dropping the requirement that providers that receive Medicare payment also participate in the public plan; by requiring the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary to negotiate provider payments rather than base prices on Medicare rates; and by restricting access to a public plan option to individuals and small firms. As a result, a strong public option is no longer a component of several bills now being debated in Congress.

          She also points out that other mechanisms beside a public option exist.

          For example, one approach would be to negotiate provider payments under all plans—public or private. This is the model followed by most industrialized countries that leverage purchasing power by having a single entity—either a government agency or a non-profit entity acting in the public interest–negotiate provider payment rates and methods on behalf of the entire population. Another option would be to charge states with designing and implementing all-payer methods of provider payment. States with a plan that ensures fair and reasonable payment rates and methods that reflect value, harmonizes payment under public programs and private insurance, and effectively controls the growth in costs over time could be permitted to establish their own systems.

          Just wait'n to see what unfolds.

          •  I know Karen Davis. I respect her very much. (0+ / 0-)

            I interviewed her for a report in college.  My dad, a health economist often receives grants from her organization.

            That said, there is no way that you can require providers receiving Medicare payment also to participate in the public plan.  That would give the public plan an unfair advantage over private plans, and we want a level playing field.  I doubt this provision could pass the House -- let alone the Senate.

            And you're not going to get providers to participate in the public plan if they are reimbursed at Medicare rates.  In other words, by choosing the public plan, you are limiting your choice of doctor because your doctor of choice might not participate in the plan.

            The last item is really the most important, and on this I agree with Karen Davis.  The real factor lowering costs isn't what rates at which the public option can negotiate -- it's how many people have access to it (and the Exchange, which is where the public option lives).  The more people who have access to the Exchange and the public option, the more people will be forced to recognize the full costs of health insurance, and the more incentive people have to make wiser choices through comparison shopping, and enroll in cheaper plans.  If, for example, a PPO costs a family $18,000/yr., and an HMO with the same cost-sharing arrangements costs 20-40 percent less, more families will be willing to pocket the savings than if they only see the price of their contribution to their current employer-provided health insurance.

            jim bow, ASA, MAAA

            by jim bow on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 07:07:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Cost-reducing reforms require giving individuals (0+ / 0-)

              a choice of delivery system and allowing them to keep the savings, concludes renowned health economist Alain Enthoven in a recent Kaiser Health News column entitled "Please Don't Call it Health Reform." He explains that we don't get those things in the current proposals:

              State employee health plans in California and Wisconsin show that if employees are offered a choice, along with the opportunity to keep the savings, very high percentages choose comparatively low-cost HMOs based on group practices.

              These systems, with cultures of teamwork and built-in quality enhancing features, such as electronic health records with reminders, deliver high quality care more reliably. The uncoordinated traditional fee-for-service sector does not have these features and is not likely to for years.

              Once again the President did not put forth serious proposals to reduce the growth rate in health expenditures in his speech last night. Obama likes to talk about the iconic systems: Mayo, Intermountain, Kaiser Permanente, and Geisinger, but the Democratic bills do practically nothing to promote their growth or systems like them.

              •  We agree. (0+ / 0-)

                The more comparison shopping and the more rationing by need (rather than by ability to pay) there is, the better we will be able to control costs.

                Until we end the employer-based system, which conceals the true cost of health insurance to workers, we will continue to have health care costs skyrocket.

                jim bow, ASA, MAAA

                by jim bow on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 06:15:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Great work Jed! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Upper West, bluedonkey08

    I wish you would put together a video regarding the Public Option.

    Today on 'State of the Nation' with John King... his round table was saying the the Public Option was never discussed during the Presidential campaigns last year.

    •  great to see you! (7+ / 0-)

      Pundits are now lying about the public option as not being a part of Obama's campaign plan, when in fact, it was.

      Would love to see you in the Google group that I've set up with nyceve called PublicOptionNow!

      I work full-time with the FDL team on health reform thanks to your donations.

      by slinkerwink on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:17:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Republican line (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      john07801, jethrock, ems97007

      as stated by Gillespie on that show, is that permitting insurance companies to compete across state liens would serve the same competitive purpose as the public option.

      Donna Brazile, of course, did not have a good answer as to why this won't make a difference and Democratic representatives on these programs should be able to clearly articulate the answer, which is??

      The best I know is that where there is "competition" e.g., in NY, true competition doesn't exist because there is an understanding among the insurers to give the same bad deal to everyone (and they're exempt from the anti-trust laws).  

      Any other reasons?

      The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

      by Upper West on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:46:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For another look at healthy corporate competition (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larry Bailey, divineorder, jethrock

        one needs look no further than energy companies.  The oil companies, alone, trade their products back and forth just to drive up prices.  It's not competition; it's cahoots.

        It's time to scrap that Reagan-era meme that businesses will lead the way.  They have no interest in being good citizens.

        (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

        by john07801 on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:56:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I have read a few blog posts mentioning (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that states regulate health insurers.

        So if insurance companies could "compete across state liens", it would make sense for them to settle their headquarter in the state with the lowest amount of regulations.
        Race to the bottom was mentioned.
        As an example banks and credit card companies were cited.

  •  Amazingly or not, I notice no FP editor (13+ / 0-)

    gave notice to George McGovern's op-ed today, that describes the sort of health care reform we should expect the Party to wield it's power in support of, Medicare for All:

    But what seems missing in the current battle is a single proposal that everyone can understand and that does not lend itself to demagoguery. If we want comprehensive health care for all our citizens, we can achieve it with a single sentence: Congress hereby extends Medicare to all Americans.

    Surprise, surprise, no mention at all on the FP.

    Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

    by masslib on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:15:30 AM PDT

    •  Medicare for all !!! (7+ / 0-)

      I so support this - and it is not a whole new program, its just expanding what we have.

    •  generally we write sunday pieces before sunday (5+ / 0-)

      that's why they tend not to have news that came out on sunday.

      MfA seems like a good idea though. it's just not being contemplated in the current debate.

      Watch political video at Daily Kos TV | Twitter: @jedlewison

      by Jed Lewison on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:48:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree that McGovern's piece is really important (5+ / 0-)

      Notice that the old time Democrats like McGovern, O'Donnell and Moyers - people who have been through fights for progressive issues and won -  keep trying to tell folks to keep fighting for Single-Payer and continue to be ignored.  Shoot, Helen Thomas, who has watched the political game longer than just about anyone alive, has tried to tell everyone to stay on track with demanding single payer.

      We do still have two options for keeping single payer as a strong negotiating tool for a public option that would actually help:

      1. - The Weiner Amendment
      1. - The Kucinich Amendment

      The Weiner Amendment would replace Division A of HR3200 with the text of HR676 transforming it to Single Payer.  It will get a debate and vote on the floor and real progressives should be working hard to get as many votes as possible for that amendment.  Even calls asking for it will make congress critters start thinking twice.  

      When working towards the Civil Rights bill, LBJ countered opponents with the threat of a bill they liked even less if they refused him support.  For activists, the Weiner Amendment is that bill on the back burner we should be using the same way.

      The Kucinich Amendment gives the states the right to impliment single-payer in their states without ERISA getting in the way.  This is the way Canada did it - providence by providence.

      To Support the Weiner Amendment:
      Send a letter to your rep here.

      Sign the petition here.

    •  Also notice that they've been ignoring Hartmann (0+ / 0-)

      Who has been saying like I have for some time just let people buy into Medicare paid for by premiums!

      Hartmann calls it "Medicare Part E (for Everyone)" I call it "The Kennedy Plan."  It is essentially the same concept.  Here's Hartmann:

      Just create "Medicare Part E" where the "E" represents "everybody." Just let any citizen in the US buy into Medicare.

      It would be so easy. No need to reinvent the wheel with this so-called "public option" that's a whole new program from the ground up. Medicare already exists. It works.


      Just pass a simple bill - it could probably be just a few lines, like when Medicare was expanded to include disabled people - that says that any American citizen can buy into the program at a rate to be set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which reflects the actual cost for us to buy into it.  Thus, Medicare Part E would be revenue neutral!

      To make it available to people of low income, Congress could raise the rates slightly for all currently non-eligible people (like me - under 65) to cover the cost of below-200%-of-poverty people. Revenue neutral again.

      Here are my two diaries detailing how the Kennedy Plan would work and how it would be good for big corporations and Joe & Jane American alike.

      So much for "[ing] up with viable alternative to the public option, at least not in the context of the current health insurance reform framework."

      -Hope never cost Corporate America a dime

      by DWCG on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 09:03:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "We just throw it in the garbage can......." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, CWalter

    Graham says Obama was on the defensive – especially on a public health insurance option that Graham says is off the table and has been for a while. Not only does Graham think it "is dead," but it has "probably been dead a long time." "We just throw it in the garbage can," he added.

  •  A Strong PO (7+ / 0-)

    Stronger than that detailed in HR 3200.

    I work two jobs to pay the mortgage and other household bills. Is what it is. That's the way our Corporate Masters want it.

    But I still take the time, more for entertainment than 'hope for change', to call my dear Blue Dog Senator Patty Murray twice a week. No strong PO, no vote from me.

    How difficult is that ?

  •  Send this article to every House Progressive!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, bluedonkey08

    Do the people we are speaking of - the liberals and progressives in the House of Representatives - know how much power they could gain by holding ground? We should send them this article - it is excellent - thanks Jed!!

  •  Rahm Emanuel seems to have framed HCR (14+ / 0-)

    as a means to make deals with Big Pharma and ins cos in order to get more Blue Dogs elected in the future. He's been playing for the Center, not for progress on a damn thing, but solidifying corporate Democrats.

    If anyone can refute that, I'm open to being talked down, but that is my received wisdom on the WH's health care position.

    Tax the rich until they need cheaper health care.

    by bob zimway on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:18:20 AM PDT

  •  Progressives need to stand up for Public Option (3+ / 0-)

    and show that we can compete with the health industry lobby in terms of socialjustice and also in terms of grassroots adocacy.

    The last thing that we can do is not push the congress and senate to do what the majority of the American People want and the best part of health care reform.

    One thing about President Obama is that he will listen to the merits of an argument IF it is presented logically to him.

    The best thing about President Obama is that yes he can still be shamed into doing what is right and thiis can only be achieived by loud and consistent advocacy for the Public Option

    •  you're right about loud and consistent advocacy (0+ / 0-)

      for the public option. Would you like to be a part of the work that nyceve and I are doing for a trigger-free public option? We've set up a Google Group called PublicOptionNow! so you can stay in touch with us on the latest action updates, news, and information.

      I work full-time with the FDL team on health reform thanks to your donations.

      by slinkerwink on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:37:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can you give an example where he's been talked (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      into doing the right things by liberals or progressives? Alot of examples where it "appears" he's been talked into doing the corporate thing by Blue Dogs/Repubs; I would argue that he intended on doing the corp thing all along and used them as a cover to make it appear like he had no choice.

      He seems to listen to liberals and gives pretty speeches seeming to support many of their causes, but his actions have always been diametrically opposed to liberal issues in support of the status quo, conservatives and corporate donors. If you go back and look closely at his speeches that put liberals in such self-induced, self-congratulatory trances, you'll find them filled with corporate dog whistles. When you ask liberals for specifics as to what he said and how it's going to advance their cause, you inevitably get that glazed expression that tells you someone beens drinking the koolaid.

  •  always sad to see (0+ / 0-)

    how spineless democrats are when the going gets tough.  Ethics?  Naw.  Backbone?  Naw.  Commitment?  Naw.  Buy me lunch?  Sure.

  •  public option (8+ / 0-)

    Why can't people say that the public option is necessary to lower costs by making insurance companies compete?  Just saying the public option w/o explaining it every time is part of the problem.  Also, I always am for whatever the corporations are against, and they sure don't want the PO! Say its to save the taxpayers money! That should resonate.  Otherwise, all the money that is going towards covering everybody and eliminating pre-existing conditions, reccisions, etc. will be coming out of our taxes instead of coming out of the ins. co. profits.  That's what makes me so mad, that Obama started negotiating with the ins. companies from the standpoint that they would NOT have to take a hit on their profits and they would make up for everything they gave up by giving them the individual mandate etc.  But we the people WANT the ins. co. to give up some of their profits because they are too high and are rising fast and our wages aren't rising enough to cover them.  If that problem is not solved with the PO, then our premiums will just keep on going up. This is my opinion with everything I know so far, and nothing makes me feel good about these bills. Where's our middle class bailout?  We're the ones who are suffering the most. I thought Democrats were supposed to be for the regular people, not the corporations.

    •  The reason people don't talk about how (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buddabelly, CalliopeIrjaPearl

      the Public Option will lower costs is that as written it'll affect maybe 3-5% of insured individuals. No one has shown me in numbers how much of an affect that will have, probably because the numbers would be embarassing.

      •  erm, effect - spell check ain't enough -eom (0+ / 0-)
      •  actually... (5+ / 0-) wouldn't impact just the people who use it. it would be a lever of compemtition to make sure that evedrybody else who buys insurance through the exchange gets a better deal.

        and if you don't think the exchange is a big deal, then you don't support this reform bill.

        one of the the central ideas of this reform bill is the exchange. without a public option, the exchange will likely be much less effective. and the exchange is where people who are mandated to buy care will have to buy it.

        Watch political video at Daily Kos TV | Twitter: @jedlewison

        by Jed Lewison on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:51:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As I read things, the exchange (0+ / 0-)

          is supposed to aggregate demand from individuals and present that demand to multiple insurance policies, thus providing individuals the mass buying power available to large corporations. The PO was supposed to add to that, not obviate it.

          •  didn't say it was supposed to obviate it (4+ / 0-)

            the po was a key part of the exchange to make sure that private insurers offered as competitive a product as posisble.

            Watch political video at Daily Kos TV | Twitter: @jedlewison

            by Jed Lewison on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:39:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I won't argue with that version. (0+ / 0-)

              I'm just not willing to think that having insurance companies competing with the PO for 3-5% of the market is enough reason to not have an exchange at all (not to speak of the other reforms), where the 26% of families making less than $30,000 per year and who have zero life insurance can get subsidized insurance they can afford.

              •  But that depends on the final bill (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Uberbah, nickrud

                doesn´t it?

                Community ratings, subsidies, caps etc.?

                And who will enforce the regulations? How much funding will be there for the enforcement?
                What will be the punishments for violations?
                (Just remember the Bush years.)

                As I see it if progressives get defeated on the (admittedly limited) public option why shouldn´t insurance companies "aim even higher", so to speak?

                If getting "a" bill, any bill is the goal you leave yourself open for "blackmail".

                (I might be totally wrong of course. I´m watching this from Germany and so I might miss things.)

                •  You're making a very important point (0+ / 0-)

                  The devil is always in the details of the legislation and how the regulations are written. That's why I've tried to assimilate as much of hr3200 (and it's effect on other aspects of the US Code) as possible. As written I think it will do a good job of providing a framework. However, much of the detailed regulation, as always, will be written by the cabinet department responsible for implementing the legislation.

                  Most of your questions are only going to be answered after the regulations are put up for public review. And as you point out, any regulations can be re-written during another administration. The Environmental Protection Act is lovely legislation, but each administration's re-writing of the regulations has determined it's effectiveness.

    •  When I worked in insurance (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the companies were "mutual" (owned by the policyholders, instead of lemmings-disguised-as-stockholders).  Administrative fees were about 3% and our biggest healthcare client was General Motors.

      Today's insurers are taking over 30%.  That's about $700 Billion just for doing the friggin' paper work.

      I doubt they can compete with the non-profit government, even as it's as inefficient as everyone fears.  But if they implode, it will have been from their own greed.  

      I say, "Vaya con dios!"

      (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

      by john07801 on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:23:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't care what they call it. (2+ / 0-)

    I want affordable health care coverage.

    I'll be happy to pay a fair share that i can afford. I've paid more than a fair share for the last 30 years (paid in more than i collected), but now that we really will be needing it, we can't get it (had acne as a teenager).

    IGTNT...Honor the Fallen...Respect Their Loved Ones.

    by geez53 on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:23:16 AM PDT

  •  Public option is DOA (7+ / 0-)

    Never had a chance, actually, because Obama didn't begin with single payer.  Had he done that, he could've bargained down to public option.  But by starting w/public option, never really backing it 100%, and remaining quiet as a caterpillar all summer long while it was under attack, he assured it would not be included in the final bill.

    Progs have to make a decision now:  Go ahead without it, or allow the whole effort to crash and burn.  Personally, I vote for going ahead, since crash & burn will surely mean losing Congress to the Joe Wilsons and Jim DeMints next year.  And that's just suicidal.

  •  Public option (5+ / 0-)

    If you don't have a public option what is the reason for moving on this at all?

    •  "Window Dressing & Photo Op" soon to be: (7+ / 0-)

      ... "today, President Obama signed a historic giveaway to the Health Insurance Industry so they can continue to subsidize their Murder - by- Spreadsheet Business Practises."

      Blue Dogs & DLC Vichy Dems "I told you progressives to shut the **** up, see, we have a health care bill now."

      Progressives "But it doesn't kick in until 2013. And it sucks. It's a mandate to buy high cost junk insurance and they're still making me wait months for appointments and tests, and denying me treatment. I can't afford this tax for nothing."

      Blue Dogs & DLC Vichy Dems  "Ha ha, suckers! You're marginalized. By the way, sign this petition for our next project. We need the cash."

      "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

      by AmericanRiverCanyon on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:48:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because insurance reform itself would be a great (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kitty, slinkerwink, miss SPED

      improvement in how most people deal with health care in their lives.  No rescission, no pre-existing conditions -- these are important.  That's why Republicans purport to support these ideas even though they would happily see them go down to defeat.

      It's not that there's no reason to go forward; the question is, is there enough?

      •  I don't think the regulations will be enough. (3+ / 0-)

        Private insurers already have their lobbyists working overtime to find ways around the regulations. Besides, regulations can just be as easily deregulated by the other party if they come to power because we passed a bad bill that forced Americans to buy insurance at 13% of their annual income without a public option.

        I work full-time with the FDL team on health reform thanks to your donations.

        by slinkerwink on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:09:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The question is cost (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slinkerwink, miss SPED

        Its fine to enact a bill that imposes these restrictions, but without cost controls it could backfire on Dems.

        Sure, it may be great that an insurance company can no longer cancel or deny insurance due to pre-existing conditions, etc.  But what happens when those who were previously denied coverage find their insurance policies cost $2,000 a month?

        Private health insurers always manage to stay one step ahead of the sheriff - Sen. Sherrod Brown

        by Betty Pinson on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:17:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I am happy to have insurance regulation. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Just don't call it health care reform, because it isn't.  The government isn't providing a lick of health care, without Medicare for All or some robust public option.
        Take the mandates out and pass the regs, knock yourself out, Congress.  But if you force people to buy insurance that they cannot afford and that is junk, I feel confident people will punish the pols the next chance they get.

  •  Thanks for saying this. (10+ / 0-)

    IMHO, success on Public Option --and a strong one at that, means Progressives have arrived.

    We can use this to recruit and engage others for their support.

    The end game is Progressives becoming the party.

    We can get small to mid sized business, who is getting screwed as much, if not more, than ordinary Americans are.

    To me, this is the big coup!  Splintering business into two camps would completely change the GOP game.

    If they see a significant health care savings (and a lot of them will with good reform), we can message to them and get their attention.

    The small to mids are looking to lower costs and for ways to successfully compete.  Progressive policy gives them that.  There is nothing for them in big business legislation, or the social issues.  That's where the GOP is, yet they identify more closely with them because the Republicans are the "party of business".

    Progressives can crack that nut, and it's a total game changer.

    Free Markets Do Not Exist; Free Market Supporters Value Money Over People.

    by potatohead on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:25:08 AM PDT

    •  great comment! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AmericanRiverCanyon, thethinveil

      Would love it if you'd be a part of the google group that nyceve and I are starting to advocate for a trigger-free public option.

      I work full-time with the FDL team on health reform thanks to your donations.

      by slinkerwink on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:38:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Done. (0+ / 0-)

        When my day job permits, I gladly participate in the efforts you guys are doing an excellent job of driving home.

        Thank you for that.  Somebody has gotta do it.

        I'm quite serious about splitting business into two factions.  I think it's a seriously tough road, but any progress there has a serious multiplier attached to it.  Small to mid sized business has a serious influence on whatever community it happens to exist in.

        A few years back, the company I work for now had to break up and re-organize.  We are a small firm and bad things happened to us after 9/11.  So, I ended up out on the street and gave self-employment a go.

        What ended that was health care, and it cost me my home and almost my wife!!  Things are looking better now, but I learned some things that stick with me.

        One of those is how the GOP really is solid in their recruitment efforts.  I don't know how they get the data.  It's probably public record, but no less than 4 months after I fired up my business, they came calling.  

        It was very interesting.  I got a letter detailing how Republicans served business interests.  This letter was worded very well, reinforcing the idea that business people need consideration, laced with reinforcements for all the entitlements that business people assign to themselves, and on and on.

        That was followed up by a phone call.  A very nice woman talked to me for a very long time.  I tried to get her to quit that day, by the way.  Funny as all get out.  I had her on the ropes.

        That was followed by several expensive mailings and offers to be introduced to "my business peers" and be "an example to the community", all with an actual gavel and signed picture of Bush and Cheney.  Unbelievable.

        Truth is, after enduring that experience, I am now again employed, though we are on the ropes again.  Ugh...

        Republicans have their name all over the things that are just hammering small to mid-sized business, yet those people strongly identify with big corporate.  After considerable analysis, I can only conclude this is because each and every one of them wants to go big enough to retire on the island somewhere.

        That happens by getting bought, which is why they like the low regulation environment, or scoring a big deal, which is why they always like the low corporate tax environment.

        It's all about getting their share, which is work hard, then rest easy.

        None of them are going to get there.  Maybe a few will, via the means I just mentioned, but the vast majority are going to grind away, getting beat up by their bigger business peers, and there it is.

        Strong progressive tax policy, strong progressive health care policy (which by all rights should be linked to a progressive tax scheme, but that's another fight for another day it seems), strong progressive trade policy all align extremely well for these people.

        They remain the majority employer (just under 60 percent) in the nation, despite being completely hammered by the Republican machine.  They are overwhelmingly Republican, for the reasons I gave, and many of them are socially conservative, but not by such a strong amount.

        It is my belief that "progressive" does not equal liberal.  A real progressive wants progress that favors ordinary people AND small business.  How we get that progress comes from ideas that form as a result of considering ideologies.  An example of this is taking the word conservative and just considering the low risk element of that, and you have some policy idea foundations there that are realistic.  People want change, and it's nice to get it in big chunks, but it's also nice to get it in littler ones too.

        Taking this view local means local and primary politics coupled with any small to mid-sized business growth empowers progressives to take the fight to their town, their region and score little victories nation wide.  Big business isn't going to be able to handle this at all.

        And that's why they focus so strongly on federal policy.  They know this is a huge weak spot and would rather legislate and litigate their future potential competetors away than do the leg work to deal with them on their home turf.

        Circling back to health care.  The gold standard benchmark for meaningful reform is economic stimulus.  We want the public option not only because it's aligned with the right thing to do.  We want it because it's going to deliver good, solid coverage at a lower cost.

        Lowering the cost of people, by distributing risk and cost in a nationalized fashion (hows that for dodging the word socialist?), lowers the cost of operations and that means they can compete and if we do things right over the next few years, they can grow and invest in their business and get closer to that island.

        If I were king, I would round up monthly donations, pool them into a war chest, and use it to target these people, one, two, three, just like the GOP is.  A few small, regional groups working on this in a targeted fashion would do a lot of damage.

        Profile these guys, look for strong progressive alignment potential, and also look for existing progressives.  (there are some, count on it)  Target them strategically, and build that machine.  It will take a few years, but those progressive minded businesses would seriously enjoy the support, and growing their base of peers, in what is a sea of Republicans, is attractive enough to get their participation.

        We have the added advantage of being able to follow up and remind them of how our policy put money in their pockets and mean it, unlike the GOP which is limited to lip service.

        IMHO, come election time, those businesses contribute ad dollars and give not insignificant amounts.

        For a little education on this, go and look at the 2004 election donation data.  It's flat out amazing.  You can track Republicans by their donation size.  Tons of small to mids, all giving 1-2K, with the more wealthy citizens handing out $200 or so.

        On the Progressive / Democratic side of things, we've got huge numbers, all under $100, with some bigger dollar contributors.

        That's the multiplier right there.  A few percent change in support means seriously good things, because we will keep our numbers.  That's a double dip on their fund raising efforts.  Net gains for us, bigger loss by percentage for them!


        Free Markets Do Not Exist; Free Market Supporters Value Money Over People.

        by potatohead on Tue Sep 15, 2009 at 05:34:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Don't forget that... (13+ / 0-)

    ...a bill that has compulsory insurance WITHOUT a Public Option is actually worse than doing nothing.

    I can't see any point in what is basically a tax hike on poor people, the monies from which will go directly to the shareholders and executives of UnitedHealth Corporation.

    By stripping out the Public Option, the Republicans are tricking Obama into signing a bill that is bad policy AND bad politics.

    •  will you keep on helping nyceve and I (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in making sure there's a trigger-free public option in the final bill to prevent the nightmare scenario from happening? We've started a google group called PublicOptionNow, so you can get the latest action updates, news, and information about the public option.

      I work full-time with the FDL team on health reform thanks to your donations.

      by slinkerwink on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:44:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama is a very intelligent man. He knows (0+ / 0-)

      "By stripping out the Public Option, the Republicans are tricking Obama into signing a bill that is bad policy AND bad politics."

      what the Republicans are up to. The evidence is mounting that he/Rahm negotiated a deal with bigPharma/Insurance months ago to kill the public option in return for their keeping his campaign coffers perpetually filled. Hard to otherwise explain why he's taking actions so opposed to the best interests of the Democratic party and the American people, and never seriously acted on the only 2 logical options - single payer and the public option - that would actually work and have the support of the majority of Americans.

  •  Without a robust Medicare like Public Option (14+ / 0-)

    health care reform should not pass. Period. End.

    And that should be clear to every Democratic representative out there. Including the multi-dimensional chess playing President who apparently either doesn't see the reality or hopes he will get his second term before it hits.

    Very simply, almost everything being discussed seriously, including in the President's speech, will be a huge burden on the majority of Americans rather then making things better and cheaper. The only option we have to be sure that doesn't happen is a robust Medicare option available for the Public backed by the full faith of the United States government. Unfortunately, the demands of the President for the bill leave that possibility out.  If the Senate, and apparently the President, get their way the Democrats will be out of power for the next decade or more.

    They are playing a stupid game, shooting themselves, their party and their country in the foot to appease their corporate masters. Sadly it probably won't do much to hurt them personally except for losing their current jobs.

    We must make it clear to progressives that they HAVE to hold the line. Too much is at stake - not just the public option.  

    •  What you are proposing will result in the same (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rsmpdx, nickrud, littlebird33

      No bill equals Dems cannot govern.

      •  They are CHOSING NOT TO GOVERN, this is a willfil (5+ / 0-)

        ... decision made at the highest levels of government to just continue the policies of the Bush administration, do a few window dressing feel good bills, go on a big vacation, come back, whoops we lost control of the media, oh well, time to capitulate and just show up for work and hope nobody notices everything gets worse every time we give a big government bailout to failed business CEO's and corporate donors.

        "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

        by AmericanRiverCanyon on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:40:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm sorry but the constituents of people we need (0+ / 0-)

          Are not as liberal as you or I.

          •  Hell, I can tell you then that they damn (9+ / 0-)

            well better not pass any bill then. Because if you think the not liberal constituents are going to like being told that they need to give over 30 per cent of their income to Insurance companies or face continual fines from the US Government, you don't have a clue about them.

            •  Then work towards a compromise (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              And don't give me the nonsense about having already compromised on single payer which was never on the table to begin with.

              •  Why wasn't it? (9+ / 0-)

                Why leave out a negotiating chip. Unless you have already conceded. Who agreed to leave it out. Oh, wait, not the progressive caucus.

                Once again, this is the compromise.

                If the goal is to lower health care costs - why do you want the Dems to pass a bill guaranteed not to do it. EVERY assessment of the possible bills show that they do not do it without a robust public option. I'm sorry, that you think it is important to pass any bill, but that isn't my concern.

                I want a good bill, or no bill. Let me repeat:

                If this bill does not make health care more affordable for the 90% of Americans who are not rich there is NO POINT in passing it. IF it is going to maket things more expensive for middle class Americans it damn well better not pass.

                •  Then you don't understand politics (0+ / 0-)

                  How on earth do you expect to get anywhere near what you want with the Republicans back in charge? You work with what you have not what you wished you had.

                  •  Tell me again (15+ / 0-)

                    what was the platform?

                    What was the margin of election of the President?
                    Who has the majority in the House? the Senate?

                    I get politics. I do. This was never going to be a bipartisan bill, they should have played the illusion and ignored it entirely in reality. Baucus should have been told what he could do and his little circus stopped cold.  The Blue Dogs should have been told to get out of the way for closure and that they could vote as they choose.  Single payer should have been kept on the table until the last minute so that a robust public option for purchase was hailed as significant compromise.  Don't tell me it wasn't possible. It was. They choose not to do it that way because it would upset the insurance companies - not because it was what people voted for, or what was the best we could do. And frankly, I don't feel the necessity to bend over and get reamed so they don't look like the ineffectual purchased stooges they are.

                    And very honestly, if the progressives want a real seat at the table, they will vote this down unless they get everything they want. Because that is politics and they are being taken for granted. Their votes won't ever be taken for granted again.

                •  You don't threaten people with an (0+ / 0-)

                  unloaded gun. There were never enough votes for single payer, and the Republicans know it. They'd just walk away from the table until we came to our senses.

                •  Actually, for the vast majority of people (0+ / 0-)

                  this bill will change nothing, just as they want it. They keep their employer insurance, their network, their doctor. The people this most effects are the ones on the fringe, the uninsurable under current regulations, the poor and the ones betting on their continued good health.

                  •  Baloney. (8+ / 0-)

                    Unless this bill lowers premiums and the annual increases, you will have a lot of people paying their own premiums with no choice in the matter.
                    Since the fines being bandied about are actually not that high for employers who can barely afford health care now.

                    And what about that person with pre-existing conditions who can't afford 12,000 plus a year. Do they continue to be uninsured and just take the fine? Perhaps they just let their mortgage go into default and keep the insurance.  Wait, you say that won't happen, take a close look at the subsidy levels out there. Don't bet on it.  

                    It isn't just the fringe.

                    •  I have looked, very carefully, at the (0+ / 0-)

                      subsidy levels. And the number of uninsured who are making incomes that reach into the unsubsidized levels. 26% of people making 30,000 or less are uninsured. They will be fully subsidized. 12% of people making over 60,000 to 75,000 are uninsured, of which more than half are single individuals. A single person making over 60,000 can buy insurance for substantially less than 12,000. I agree the subsidy should go to 400% but since I'm more concerned about the poor and destitute ....

                      •  And who is going to pay those subsidies? (5+ / 0-)

                        You can bet it ain't the insurance companies. It's US. The insurance companies will charge whatever they please, increase their premiums as much as they want, and we, the American tax payer, will have to fill their coffers.

                        "The individual mandate is 'just one part of the bill' - its not worth losing everything else in the bill just to get it through." BruceMcF

                        by irmaly on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:18:02 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Massachusset's experiment says otherwise (0+ / 0-)

                          It may have issues, but it has proven that using an exchange does force down prices on policies bought by families and individuals on an exchange. is nice diary with a link to a dispassionate analysis of what exchanges did to premiums.

                          •  Really? (5+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            irmaly, poxonyou, masslib, Uberbah, miss SPED

                            Quote from the Boston Globe from August, 2009:

                            Massachusetts has the most expensive family health insurance premiums in the country, according to a new analysis that highlights the state’s challenge in trying to rein in medical costs after passage of a landmark 2006 law that mandated coverage for nearly everyone.

                            The report by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit health care foundation, showed that the average family premium for plans offered by employers in Massachusetts was $13,788 in 2008, 40 percent higher than in 2003. Over the same period, premiums nationwide rose an average of 33 percent.

                            I have not read the Kaiser report, but most of the documentation I've read indicates that following an initial lowering of premiums, annual increases have been greater then the national average. And this is with an expanded safety net program and Commonwealth Care. Commonwealth Care  expects enrollment to increase by 50,000 people in the next year, and is facing deep cuts if the State Treasurer has his way (the alternative being tax increases.)

                          •  MA has the highest premium prices in the country! (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            poxonyou, Uberbah, miss SPED

                            "The individual mandate is 'just one part of the bill' - its not worth losing everything else in the bill just to get it through." BruceMcF

                            by irmaly on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 01:05:12 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

                   shows that's not true, with links that you can check for yourself.

                          •  Just published this august (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            poxonyou, masslib, Uberbah

                            "The individual mandate is 'just one part of the bill' - its not worth losing everything else in the bill just to get it through." BruceMcF

                            by irmaly on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 01:34:18 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That article is talking about (0+ / 0-)

                            employer provided insurance not insurance provided on the exchange which is bought by individuals. It's not a contradiction that employer costs have gone up due to increases in health care costs, while the policies available on the connector have gone down due to larger risk pools. Remember, before the connector went into effect individual policies could be up to 3 times the cost of group policies. There was a lot of room for reduction in individual policies.

                            Besides, I don't think any analyst claims the PO will have a downward effect on employer provided polices, since all the pending bills deny the PO to persons eligible for employer programs.

                          •  The policies through the Connector have not (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            gone down.  They may be less than before the stupid Connector, but they are rising along with all premiums in MA, and they never went down enough to be considered by any reasonable person affordable.

                            Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

                            by masslib on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 06:17:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  What on earth are you talking about? (0+ / 0-)

                            MA premiums have risen faster than the national average, and everyone who buys through the vaunted Connector pays about 4.5% in premiums just to cover the payroll of the Connector.

                            Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

                            by masslib on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 06:16:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Funnily enough (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        poxonyou, Uberbah, thethinveil

                        I know what my union/employer pay for my insurance premiums, and I know how those premiums have increased, what has been lost and my increased fees. I do not have a gold plated insurance policy. With a group rate that individual premium is the amount you seem to think is high.

                        The 2008 quote for my region for individual coverage through another program I am eligible for group rates through was for $981/month. That was for 2008 again.

                        And yes, I would pay less in a different region, but considering that it is estimated that almost 1 in 16 Americans live in this area or nearby, I'm betting that 12,000 dollar figure is pretty realistic for a large number of individuals. More if you have a pre-existing condition. (They don't get to refuse you, nothing is in the bills about keeping it affordable.)

                        Believe it or not, I'm fighting for affordable. I take it personally even though I'm going to be able to keep insurance as long as I can work because I have some protections. It may get stripped to catastrophic coverage, but I'll have it.  But I know a lot of people who aren't that lucky. And a few of them are people whose incomes  would get them little or nothing in subsidies who will still be hard pressed to pay half what my current premium is for insurance and still afford a roof over their head, food and clothes, forget the premium for family coverage.

                        •  I do expect that the mass buying power (0+ / 0-)

                          applied to exchanges will make a strong downward pressure on premiums; right now an individual pays up to 3 times what the cost would be for a group plan. Mass has shown that prices do come down on exchanges, there's empirical evidence.

                          And for pre-existing conditions, HR3200 article 113 does not allow setting premiums based on heath risk. I'd link but searches expire quickly, so:

                                (a) In General- The premium rate charged for an insured qualified health benefits plan may not vary except as follows:

                                     (1) LIMITED AGE VARIATION PERMITTED- By age (within such age categories as the Commissioner shall specify) so long as the ratio of the highest such premium to the lowest such premium does not exceed the ratio of 2 to 1.

                                     (2) BY AREA- By premium rating area (as permitted by State insurance regulators or, in the case of Exchange-participating health benefits plans, as specified by the Commissioner in consultation with such regulators).

                                     (3) BY FAMILY ENROLLMENT- By family enrollment (such as variations within categories and compositions of families) so long as the ratio of the premium for family enrollment (or enrollments) to the premium for individual enrollment is uniform, as specified under State law and consistent with rules of the Commissioner.

                          •  Good on HR3200, of course it also contains a (0+ / 0-)

                            Public Option. Which is supposedly DOA...

                            But I guess we can hope this one passes the Blue Dogs. Pardon me, would you like a bridge in Brooklyn, with that order?

                          •  This part of hr3200 is not controversial (0+ / 0-)

                            and shouldn't be conflated with what the Blue Dogs are leery about.

                          •  It limits insurance companies (0+ / 0-)

                            in a way that I am sure is controversial for them. That could be why we don't see it in the lovely Baucus bill.

                            And I think we go are going to see things go much closer to Baucus then HR3200.

                          •  You actually do see some of this (0+ / 0-)

                            in Baucus's bill:

                            Insurance Reform in the Non-Group Market. Beginning January 1, 2013, health insurance plans in the individual market would be required to offer coverage on a guaranteed issue basis and would be prohibited from excluding coverage for pre-existing health conditions. Limited benefit plans and lifetime limits would be prohibited, and health insurance companies would be prohibited from rescinding health coverage.
                            Health insurance premiums would be allowed to vary based only on tobacco use, age, and family composition according to the following ratios: * Tobacco use – 1.5:1 * Age – 5:1 * Family composition:
                            o Single – 1:1
                            o Adult with child – 1.8:1
                            o Two adults – 2:1
                            o Family – 3:1
                            Premiums could also vary to reflect geographic differences. Taking all these factors together, premiums could not vary by more than 7.5:1.

                            Not nearly as good as hr3200, but it does disallow using pre-existing conditions, other than smoking. But that's what conference committees are for.

                            If you're interested, a pre-release copy is here: . No guarantee that this is exactly what comes out the committee, officially, this week.

                          •  I'll dislike it less then I did before, (0+ / 0-)

                            if they get out of conference without stripping everything of real value out of the final bill. But I'm a cynic.

                            You see the public option was a stick, a tool, a weapon to help make sure that insurance companies toe the line, what does that without it?  Who is going to oversee this? And along that line: What's going to happen when they don't? How does this effect states that have been regulating insurance? Can we guarantee that this doesn't have a negative effect on them? There are a lot of questions might have been less pressing with a robust public option biting at insurance company heels.  Without real competition (which does not really exist in most states even on a minimal level) how do you continue to force them to streamline the process? And as things get more expensive how do we guarantee that the subsidies will remain and not leave people in the crunch, with no options? What happens if premiums continue to rise (as every estimate expects them to do) and the costs to the government go up?

                            Despite the initial costs for a real public option, in the long run it would save us money. Money that could go to expanding health care availability, funding education, all those things that might actually be real health care reform.

                            We're never going to agree here. I see too many advantages to having a medicare like public option - both for the public and financially. I see too many pitfalls without it.

                            And unlike you, I have no problem with losing majorities that mean little.  Maybe because I've already decided that there are some things that are non negotiable for me, and I won't support any Democrat who doesn't attempt to come through for that, up to and including the President. And I don't think everyone who says the progressive have nothing to lose by being spineless jellyfish in order to provide cover for ineffectual or corporate tools with a D attached to their names don't get that they do have to answer to voters like me.

                          •  Not one smidgeon of my reasoning is based (0+ / 0-)

                            on political advantage, it's based on what's the most good we can accomplish today. 20+ years of working with the disadvantaged drives my view of this legislation. I have seen people DIE because they had no insurance (and hence, access to health care). HR3200 as written could have saved their life. And the PO isn't the part that would have made that possible.

                            Myself, I'd be willing to primary anyone who used the poor and destitute as a bargaining chip for political power while supposedly working in their best interest. At least with Blue Dogs and Republicans you can see the knife coming.

                          •  Respect you & your reasons, unlike the BDs. eom (0+ / 0-)
              •  Compromise already done (0+ / 0-)

                Both the Senate HELP bill and HR 3200 are full of compromises.  Both bills contain hundreds of amendments proposed by conservatives and adopted by the committees.

                We've done it, now its time to move forward.

                Private health insurers always manage to stay one step ahead of the sheriff - Sen. Sherrod Brown

                by Betty Pinson on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:24:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not that liberal. You're got to be a Repub or (5+ / 0-)

            ... a retread of one if you think I'm "liberal."  This nation has tilted so far to the right under Reagan and Bush I and Bush II that people who are middle or even conservative, fiscally, are painted as "liberals = dirty word" in the Republican insult sort of sense, where it's the same as calling one a godless communist eco terrorist.

            All sorts of Republicans working the media and internet boards trying to divide and conquer.

            "People we need ?"  People we need for what ?

            "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

            by AmericanRiverCanyon on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:39:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  No bill does less damage (11+ / 0-)

        to the public. Health care may be unsustainable, but unaffordable mandated payments by the middle class is not the answer. Those payments, without any controls on the insurance industry, will actually lessen people's access to health care and lower consumer spending even more.

        It doesn't solve the problem, AND it cripples the economy even further.

      •  False choice (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Uberbah, miss SPED

        Whip them in line and use reconciliation.

        Private health insurers always manage to stay one step ahead of the sheriff - Sen. Sherrod Brown

        by Betty Pinson on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:22:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I fully agree with you on this! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Will you help nyceve and I in our fight by joining our google group called PublicOptionNow? We've set it up so you can get the latest action updates, news, and information about the public option.

      I work full-time with the FDL team on health reform thanks to your donations.

      by slinkerwink on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:45:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  we already compromised - single payor (8+ / 0-)

    is what we wanted...

    Public Option IS our compromise.

    No PO...NO DEAL.

    vote em out and start over if need be.

  •  Eyes on the Prize - Fight for Public Option (4+ / 0-)

    We progressives have come too far to back out now  because there is no doubt that the death of the Public Option will be a 100% victory for the insurance companies against the people - pure and simple.

    If we want to see real reform, we have to fight for it because the politicians are bought and paid for and so do not have our interest at heart

  •  Public option: Requiscat in Pace (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larry Bailey, poxonyou

    As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama said he would "establish a new public insurance program" alongside private health care plans.

    That proposal took on a life of its own, but it now appears to be dying, a victim of an ineffectual White House strategy, the president’s failure to argue passionately for the "public option" and all-out opposition by the insurance industry and much of the health care industry.

    "And the biggest self of self is, indeed, self." Mark Sanford

    by Paleo on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:30:04 AM PDT

  •  There might be another way out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jed Lewison, MichaelNY

    I agree totally with your analysis. This is how the end-game will likely play out, including (I hate to say) the progressive caving that O'Donnell alluded to.

    The only other possibility that can get us the policy win on the public option is that Obama actually pulls off the thing he is pushing for now: a public-option-in-everything-but-name. Something that truly can provide the same benefits as the public option, but called something else, or structured in a politically acceptable way. Harry Reid has been hinting at this idea recently.

    Nothing like that has been put forth yet, but it is a possibility.

    •  Reid has been calling for a private (0+ / 0-)

      "public option" - whatever the hell that means. I therefore disagree that Reid has "consistently said that [he] support[s] the public option."
      Can anyone convince me that he has?

      Good diary, otherwise, though.

  •  Great job, Jed. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm not giving up on this, and I don't think anyone else here is, either. Let's keep on calling our congresscritters, emailing the WH,  proselytising like mad among our friends and neighbors...I really think we can win if we stay focussed and don't even THINK of caving. The polls show that God is on our side...grin.  Power to the people!

    "Tenser, said the tensor...tension, apprehension, and dissension have begun. " Alfred Bester.

    by sgrAstar on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:33:51 AM PDT

  •  No more politics as usual (10+ / 0-)

    the worst thing that can happen is a bonanza for the very groups that caused this mess...

    I refuse to get health insurance forced on me - I will refuse the to pay a fine -

    you will have to DRAG ME TO JAIL.

    no PO...
    NO PLAN>

  •  The lack of understanding of political realities (0+ / 0-)

    Is as ever breathtaking. And that cuts both ways.

  •  "Progressives can finally change the power ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, JanL, Uberbah, thethinveil

    ...  dynamics in Congress by proving that they will hold their ground. Getting the public option would be one kind of victory, but proving that progressives area  potent political force would be another.

    And the potential for that victory is one of the most important reasons that the public option matters so much. We can't give up the fight.

    This is why the DiFi's and Baucus' and all the rest of the corporatist slaves are in such a lather.

    As with the emergence of a President who is also now the most prominent symbol of the success of civil rights (human rights), the emergence of a bold, persistent, growing and successful progressive base in American politics drills to the very core of those whom have wielded power, largely unchecked except for FDR, since the inception of the Republic.

    As we prevailed on 4 Nov 2008, we will prevail before Jan 2010 to have a public option (and much more to come).


  •  It is simple, get leverage (0+ / 0-)

    Progressives can move mountains once they get leverage, meaning getting the votes.

    Here in CO I have now had two direct phone calls from both Senator Bennet's staff and candidate Romanoff's staff to join.

    With Bennet it is show me, show me you are a progressive, for I know Romanoff is.

    Beat some sold out Dems in primary and bring them to DC and progressive politics will be a is that simple.

    My ultimate progressive end is turning back corporacracy

  •  No public option-no mandates (7+ / 0-)

    If Obama allows a bill to pass without a public option that mandates we all buy health insurance he has lost me forever.  

  •  The media had declared the public option dead (7+ / 0-)

    hundreds of times already.

    If it's so dead, why do they feel the need to keep saying so, month after month?

    •  Because the left won't listen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And is threatening to kill the whole bill.

      •  no, threatening to force them to do a real reform (4+ / 0-)

        ... bill, which is even worse.

        Remember, the goal is to make a good bill go into law.

        The goal isn't actually to kill the bill, if they have a good bill with a strong Public Option, it is supported and praised. The threat is to kill a bad bill.

        It's a shame the people we elected don't want to do this, and a bigger shame the site is full of Republican enablers, but one must do what one must do.

        And we're not "the left." We're the middle. The administration is veering hard right in an attempt to appease. Force these Senators who are doing this to vote in public and defy the President for all to see.

        "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

        by AmericanRiverCanyon on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:54:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nonsense (0+ / 0-)

          People are trying to kill a bill that doesn't have a public option. If it wasn't people would be talking about taking other things out of the bill in exchange such as mandates. Very little talk of that. And shame on you for calling me a Republican enabler.

          •  No, you lie, people are trying to get a GOOD bill (3+ / 0-)

            ... enacted into legislation.

            Republicans are trying, and sucessfully, to kill the bill by repeatedly picking off the functional parts of it.

            That's how it is done. Pick a part, lie and demonize it, equate it with killing granny, for instance, and let the MSM know they make their next payroll pushing this press release this week.

            Public Option makes the bill work. The P/O must go. They pressure the Blue Dogs and the get along Balking Dems, and they fold.

            The Progressive Caucus says, wait a minute... and the Blue Dogs go on attack, NOT AT THE OTHER PARTY, but on their own which won't sell out.

            Progressives want a bill. It is the Republicans and the Balking Dems and Blue Dogs that don't, or they just want a window dressing version that does nothing for the photo opt.

            If you work with their tactics, you are a Republican enabler.  Lots of them here. Especially during the Primaries, trying to get Obama elected because they knew he was "republican- lite" in terms of business attitude.

            "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

            by AmericanRiverCanyon on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:20:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  That's a good question, and it's because of (3+ / 0-)

      the hard fight we've been keeping up on this.

      I work full-time with the FDL team on health reform thanks to your donations.

      by slinkerwink on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:47:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Real Reason A Public Option Is Important (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zack from the SFV

    is because no health care reform bill will work uless there is one.  President Obama said he will not sign a bill unless he is sure that it will bring down cost for health insurance.  There are no other options that will do this, but the public option.  President Obama is not stupid and he does not want to be a failure, so this is why the public option will be part of the health care reform bill.

  •  Dem politicians need to understand... (6+ / 0-)

    Dem politicians need to understand that everyday Americans only have one way to shape policy and that is to vote.

    It appears that the will of the American people is being ignored with regard to making certain that healthcare reform contains a public option.

    We all know why a public option to any healthcare reform is so important.

    I have with a fairly great degree of frequency written to my Senators and Congressman and made my opinions known and backed the opinions with appropriate facts.  

    If we do not get healthcare reform with a public option, then we need to abandon any Dem who in  anyway contributes to the demise of a public option.

    If necessary, this lifelong Dem will switch his support to a third party such as the Green Party.

    May God Bless our troops wherever they are. Best regards, El Tomaso

    by El Tomaso on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:45:27 AM PDT

    •  Never thought I'd agree with such a statement (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slinkerwink, El Tomaso, thethinveil

      but I do.  I was firmly against the Nader faction in 2004, but now, between this issue and Democratic support for coal, I am wondering more and more if there really IS a substantial difference between the parties.

      "A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost." --Sartre

      by hannahlk on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:53:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I switched from the Green party (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Uberbah, El Tomaso, miss SPED, thethinveil

      to the Democratic party before Nader largely based on the ideas I leaned and shared here at DailyKos over the last decade.

      This site gave me hope that there may be some backbone in Democratic Progressives. And I became a huge fan of the notion of the "left edge of the possible."

      This is that fight.

      If Dems don't stand up this time, they will lose millions of hours of donated campaign volunteers in the next election (Think Obamkids.) We will stay home, dejected, knowing that politicians are not willing to stand up to the insurance industry and protect our the health of OUR kids.

      This is GenX talking here.

      Not a bunch of 65 year-olds who already enjoy single payer, but don't want to let anyone else into "their" system.

      Some of the Greatest Generation and the Boomers are really trying to fuck over the younger people by cutting our families off from health care coverage.

      We need a public option to make sure our kids stay healthy. Healthcare is too essential to be left to only private markets. That's why we have federal highways and dams and a military for fuck's sake.

      Public option or we walk.

      "One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

      by greendem on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:23:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Stay a registered Democrat to vote in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      El Tomaso, thethinveil

         the primaries for the better candidates. Vote Green in the general election when you need to do so. I am a partisan Democrat but I haven't voted for DiFi (Senator Feinstein for you non-Californians) since 1994, which was her last close election. If I registered into the Green or Peace and Freedom Parties I wouldn't be able to vote for better Democrats in the primaries...

      I'm not a Limousine Liberal; I am a Prius Progressive

      by Zack from the SFV on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:52:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How in the living hell (6+ / 0-)

    ..can anyone legally justify forcing me to give money to a private, for profit, corporate entity under penalty of law?

    Don't even start with so called "non profits." The perks that the higher ups receive are "profitable" to them.

    I hope there's still "hope" but I'm running low. I suspect we'll get a piece of crap bill passed by the end of the year and the Dems in DC will claim victory.

    I'd rather see a veto if it comes to that.

    Your attention please. HypnoToad has his eyes on you. You will now believe really crazy shit and vote Republican.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:47:08 AM PDT

  •  Do they not realize (13+ / 0-)

    that if they ditch the public option the Republicans will claim victory?

    To me, that is the most serious political miscalculation the Democrats are making.  They think passing health care reform without the public option will be a victory for themselves, but it is bascially conceding, "You guys are right. The PO was too extreme, let's get rid of it."  Then the Republicans will crow to their supporters about how they stopped the government takeover of health care.

    "A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost." --Sartre

    by hannahlk on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:47:38 AM PDT

  •  What an utterly sad comentary on the (9+ / 0-)

    state of any progressive movement in this country when one of the largest progressive blogs titles a post "Why the public option matters".  For decades, the vast majority of the Democratic base has supported taxpayer paid, government administered health care for all.  The title of this post alone demonstrates how the leaders of the Democratic Party have so completely failed us, even in the face of Wall Street bail outs, near double digit unemployment, 50 million uninsured, tens of millions underinsured.  

    Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

    by masslib on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:49:32 AM PDT

  •  An American in Kent (UK) (0+ / 0-)

    Always nice to hear some on-site first hand experience with foreign health care....unlike those "experts" from the GOP:

    •  The CrapBee requires a subscript so I'll excerpt (0+ / 0-)

      Had this happened in America, the outcome might have been different. Early diagnosis played a crucial role in Richard's recovery. Treatment was never delayed or denied. Equally important, nobody asked for a credit card to save my husband's life.

      America is the only developed country in the world to allow our health to be politicized and commoditized beyond recognition. In the United Kingdom – England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – all 61 million residents are fully covered by the NHS from birth to death. The U.K.'s budget for universal heath care is 100 billion pounds, or $160 billion. It is funded by our taxes. Any British politician who does not enthusiastically support the NHS is unelectable.

      We recently celebrated my father's 80th birthday. Our plans to join him and my mother in Oregon will never be realized without comprehensive, universal health insurance.

      Alas for the CrapBee when the economy went into the tank, they cut way back on staff and what remains has a much more right wing, corpatist tilt, no doubt this piece was allowed to be published because now their right wing readership (all 10 of them...) can repeatedly make horrible nasty comments under this story. More hits = more advertising revenue.

      They used to be a good newspaper. Now they're a Republican Rag.

      They've repeatedly written stories and opt ed type pieces that are straight out of the Kaiser HMO handbook, on how to convince everbody that signing up for the world's lousiest HMO equals health insurance reform in America.

      "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

      by AmericanRiverCanyon on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:07:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Medicare is a public program that's optional (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buddabelly, HCKAD, miss SPED, thethinveil

    for its participants.  The only problem with the current version is that it's age restricted and there's no justification for that, other than that separate services are a sop to the segregationists.

    I can see why Medicare-for-all was rejected.  It leaves the impression that there are no other options.

    Ditto for Single Payer.

    Medicare Opt-In
    would seem to solve those problems.  Why we need to set up yet another program is incomprehensible.  It would be unnecessarily duplicative.

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

    by hannah on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:50:01 AM PDT

  •  For a long time now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've been saying exactly this.

    "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine" --Patti Smith

    by andrewj54 on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:51:50 AM PDT

  •  If USC played football the way Dem leaders (5+ / 0-)
    play politics, we never would have gotten that game winning touchdown against Ohio yesterday, we never would have gone to the Rose Bowl so many times, and we wouldn't have had so many Heisman winners in the past several years.
      Nope, USC players would have sat down on the field after the coin toss, claiming that was the "centrist" thing to do.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:52:07 AM PDT

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

      USC is a notoriously slow starting team, and often prone to silly early mistakes and penalties. But they are absolutely the best at
      making half-time adjustments and/or deciding to get "tough" in the two final quarters.

      Don't know what that means for health care reform....but maybe Obama's
      speech Wed was the equivalent of Pete Carroll at halftime.

  •  Incremental????> (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buddabelly, Uberbah, nickrud

    The worst thing politically would be to do nothing. That said, I'm now becoming a bit more pragmatic (if that's the right word here)....

    Pass what can get passed and signed.
    If it doesn't have a PO then it won't take all that long (in "years" relative to the history of health care reform attempts) to measure whether the Bill has been
    effective, or not.
    Effective being health care costs (to the nation, employers, individuals etc)

    IF it isn't, then the window will be open again to revisiting the whole question
    of single-payer and/or a PO......

    I can see plenty of legitimate objections to this scenario, but I come at it from
    the reality that getting nothing passed will be the real catastrophe.

    •  I write as a person without health insurance (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      masslib, miss SPED, thethinveil

         and it is clear to me that a bad bill would be worse than no bill at all. If we are mandated to buy insurance from the private insurance companies that will only increase their power and make it harder to fix the system. Meanwhile when such a bill makes it worse for everyone, the Democrats will lose support, Congress gets even more rightwing and we are further screwed.

         The only non-PO version that would be an improvement would be one without mandates but with new regulations on health insurance; no pre-existing condition exclusions and no recissions. And you know that wouldn't pass in out bought Congress. I remain a mixture of angry, frustrated and depressed. I am no longer willing to be "reasonable" and yes I will lash out at those that choose to betray me and millions like me. Fuck 'em! and that goes for Barry as well if he signs a piece of crap bill...

      I'm not a Limousine Liberal; I am a Prius Progressive

      by Zack from the SFV on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 01:06:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama and the Democratic (11+ / 0-)

    leaders never had the guts to push Medicare for all even though it would cover everybody and lower overall healthcare spending. Instead they pushed an inferior system that has so many caveats in it that it might even backfire on them. There is NO excuse to promote a weaker plan that will not solve the problems as well as a non-profit universal system. If something is broken you fix it completely, you don't half-ass it and hope it works.

  •  Even if we lose the battle (0+ / 0-)

    we can still win the war. If the public corporation cannot be formed that will not stop expanding direct access. This can be done much more quietly and subtlely. Start with reinstating all of the Tri-Care "Priority" levels that were cut by the Bush administration in 2003. Expand access to all veterans that wish to buy in. Expand the sliding scale of rates that account for time in service and type of service for all veterans. I would like this point being pushed because the wingnuts would be put in a situation that will expose their total corporationist domination if they oppose it. If they support expanding access for veterans then why not expand access for the rest of America. They cannot win no matter which side they take.

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

    by RMForbes on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 10:56:00 AM PDT

    •  You've got to be kidding. Remember the civilians (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poxonyou, thethinveil

      ... this is a domestic policy we are working on.

      "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

      by AmericanRiverCanyon on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:09:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's so much that's wrong with this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      beginning with the total conflation of Department of Veterans Affairs and Tricare. Vets don't use Tricare, retirees and active duty do. Vets don't 'buy-in' to VA care, either they qualify (the priority group thing, which is scheduled to be phased out around 2012 already) and if they qualify they may have a small copay or not.

      Bottom line, this would have zero effect on domestic policy. Wingnuts are incredibly reliable supporters of veterans, with their votes and their money.

      •  The VA is the largest componet of Tri-Care (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        miss SPED

        Retired pay to access the system and they go to VA doctors and hospitals, why not allow all veterans access based on their level of service? As a Viet Nam combat veteran I could have qualified for "Priority 7" access before Bush cut funding but I don't want a free ride. I want the choice to to buy in like the retired already do, only I should pay more because I only served one enlistment. Allowing veterans like myself to buy into the system would be a win-win because of the additional funding for Tri-Care and better healthcare for the veterans. The only loser would be the insurance companies that give terrible service at inflated prices because they will lose millions of customers.

        If this could be passed then the next step would be to do the same for Medicare/Medicaid. Just change the access rules and allow those that don't qualify for free access to buy in at a competative rate. We don't really need the public corporation to compete with the private insurance industry as long as the public can given the choice to access public plans in some way.

        Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

        by RMForbes on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:05:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tricare and the VA are totally separate entities (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          they're not even in the same government department. Tricare is an insurance policy, the VA is socialized medicine. Most tricare coverage not done at private doctors is done at military hospitals, and a substantial number of VA hospitals aren't even accepting new tricare patients, they don't have enough money to cover their mandated patients.

          You earned that Priority 7 category; use it. No one sane would begrudge you that. Besides, as I said Shinseki and Obama have promised to up Priority 8 for enrollment by 2012. They've already added a half million that would have been in 8 this year.

          What you're talking about would require a total rewrite of veterans benefits.

          •  Oh, I forgot to mention (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            most retirees that are using tricare are using it because it will cover dependents as well. Nearly all who are widowers or single drop Tricare in favor of VA coverage, unless they're particular about their doctor or it's a burden getting to a VA facility and they don't qualify for Fee-Basis outpatient coverage.

          •  So you don't see the value (0+ / 0-)

            of allowing veterans the ability to buy in if they wish, wouldn't that increase funding for the VA healthcare system and improve the system? Tri-Care is not just an insurance policy, the world wide military hospital system is administered by Tri-Care and the Veteran's Admintration hospitals work in a symbiotic relationship with Tri-Care domestically. Walter Reed Medical Center is a VA hospital where many of those wounded in battle go when first brought back to America. That's why it's called Tri-Care, active military hospitals plus VA healthcare system for both active and former service members and their families.

            I can't use Priority 7 because I earn just a little too much. Do you want me to quit my job so I can qualify for decent healthcare? Why do you think it's okay to force me into private insurance when I would rather spend the money to access the VA system? Why can't I have that choice? It won't increase your taxes, the VA will enjoy more revenue, and I will enjoy more security.

            Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

            by RMForbes on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:56:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, I misread as you had qualified for 7 (0+ / 0-)

              Also, the tricare in tricare stands for active, retired and dependent, the VA is not referred in that.

              Walter Reed is an Army hospital, not a VA one. The VA does have an office there, for transitioning veterans to the VA system from the army medical system:

     will help you separate out what Tricare is and how the VA relates to it.

              To be fair, I should point out that my primary job responsibility is knowing this stuff so I can provide advice and referrals to active duty and veterans who are using the VA's medical and other programs.

              •  sorry, one too many periods in the link above (0+ / 0-)
              •  I worked with the VA (0+ / 0-)

                indirectly thru the "earn as you learn" program. As a sophmore at Grossmont Community College, I was the assistant to one of the two Vet Reps on campus with 5,200 veterans. My job was to help advocate for veterans  when they had issues trying to receive their GI bill education benefits. My junior and senior years at Western Oregon State College I was the mostly the only VA clerk on campus. Of course that was 35 years ago, and that GI bill no longer exists. But, I have experience with how the VA works and I still believe that the idea of allowing all veterans the choice to buy into the VA healthcare system is a good one, for the VA, the veteran, and the American taxpayer. Once the veterans are allowed the choice to move from private to public healthcare then it will be much easier to open up Medicare to all Americans in the same way. The private insurance industry would be forced to give far better service at competitive rates or lose millions of customers. Of course, this would only be necessary if the public option is not passed in the current reform bill. It is an option that whould be only necessary to add the choice of public healthcare for the American consummer if that choice is otherwise blocked. If the public option is lost in the reform bill would you support moving toward adding choice by oppening up access to the VA to veterans and their families that want to buy into the system?

                Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                by RMForbes on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:24:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Tricare, maybe. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  It's an insurance program that could handle the influx of enrollees. The VA simply doesn't have the infrastructure to handle another 20-30 million patients (an off the cuff estimate of vets & family members that would become eligible. There's roughly 27M vets, and around 10M are enrolled.) Plus I guarantee that most family members would balk at having to drive 30+ miles to a VA clinic every time they wanted to see a doctor. That's just about the biggest complaint for vets also, and why most use private insurance if it's available from their employer rather than the VA.

                  •  It wouldn't happen overnight (0+ / 0-)

                    In fact, just creating the threat might be enough to keep the insurance companies in line but more likely they not start to get really worried until they start losing customers. I live in the San Diego area and there is the capability here. In Riverside there is a VA hospital that is completely operational but only the clinic is in use because of demand.

                    Yes, use the existing capability of Tri-Care to collect payments and administer the program and use the VA IT system to streamline access to the best and most cost effective healthcare available. Enlist more local primary care doctors into the system and use the resources of the VA clinics only when needed. But keep in mind this is only a choice, no veteran will be forced into the system and it may not be in the self-interest of all veterans. I wouldn't see this growing faster than the VA could accomodate considering the increased revenue that they would enjoy.

                    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                    by RMForbes on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 06:36:23 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  You're wrong to dismiss Single Payer... (3+ / 0-)

    this was always the correct solution to the problem and the ONLY alternative if the Congress fails to include a ROBUST public option in its health reform legislation.

    Progressive Americans need to go on the offense NOW in the event that the Public Option is pulled from the current legislation.

    And imho, Single Payer comes into play NEXT.

    this was always the correct solution to the problem and the ONLY alternative if the Congress fails to include a ROBUST public option in its health reform legislation.

    Progressive Americans need to go on the offense NOW in the event that the Public Option is pulled from the current legislation.

    And imho, Single Payer comes into play NEXT.

    It will take direct mass action... I propose we go to our federal buildings or to our civil servants local offices and stay there until they come up with health care reform that benefits ALL American residents.
    And yes that means undocumented, visitors, etc. It's time to join the civilized world.

    Let Single Payer try on the glass slipper too!

    by seastar on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:02:09 AM PDT

  •  Public Option (4+ / 0-)

    If the Democrats pass Health Care "REFORM" which has no chance to control the Premium spiral upward, we are screwed.

    The Public Option is more than a sliver of this legislation. The Health Insurance Industry gets millions of new policyholders and retains the ability to conspire improperly to inflate premiums.

    Ending Pre-existing condition denials and ending a lifetime benefit maximum means NOTHING if NO real price competition exists.

    Legislating means MORE than passing a 2nd Rate Bill.
    Ted Kennedy voted NO for the Bush Medicare Part D BILL; he knew it was an expensive handout to the Drug and Insurance Industry.

    If the "ConservaDems" refuse to permit a REAL public option, the Progressives SHOULD vote....NEY.
    SOMEONE must standup to this unjustified Corporate abuse.


    •  well, he and other liberals couldn't (0+ / 0-)

      stop it either could they. The Repubs had control of the White House, Senate and House.

      So how come now, when the Democrats have control of the White House, the Senate and the House the repubs can stop us from passing meaningful healthcare reform?

      Don't bother with the usual Blue Dogs traitorous cowardly spineless blank blank blankety blanks's.

      Is the real problem that the Democratic Party actually is diverse and consists of Progressives, Independants, Moderates,  fiscal conservative Dems while the repubs are all screaming fanatical right wing single minded toe the line nuts. And they arre still winning?  There are no more moderate Democrats despite the fact that even though they hog all the headlines and airwaves the last election said that they are only about 48% of the electorate. So does that mean that already in seven months a large enough percentage of the Democratic party have either defected or tuned out? or is the defection from the Progressives and Independants?

      I guess 2010 will tell. Good luck folks.

      What to do, what to do. Abolish the Constitution, usher in a dictatorship. Throw a coin.  Hold a lottery.

  •  Can US Progs Achieve a Dilute Form of Every Other (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, thethinveil

    advanced nation's proven superiority?

    If the answer is no, that's one HELL of a lesson.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:06:41 AM PDT

  •  The failure of federal regulation (4+ / 0-)

    Proponents of the public option have failed to take advantage of one of the main arguments for it.  For whatever reason, they have not pointed out how federal regulation has failed us in many areas.  Instead of the public option, we are told to look for federal regulators to monitor the insurance companies.  Will they be as effective as, say, the SEC?  FEMA?  Department of Homeland Security?

  •  And what happens if progressives lose this fight? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, seastar

    It damages our ability to fight in the future in many ways.

    And I finished this letter with unshakable faith that the dream will be fulfilled for this generation, and preserved and enlarged for generations to come.

    by Elise on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:08:13 AM PDT

    •  Fight for what in the future ? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slinkerwink, masslib

      ... please elaborate.

      "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

      by AmericanRiverCanyon on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:10:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cap & Trade, immigration reform, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        any other meaningful legislation we plan on passing in the future...

        And I finished this letter with unshakable faith that the dream will be fulfilled for this generation, and preserved and enlarged for generations to come.

        by Elise on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:03:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Lobbyists are already learning (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          miss SPED

          from HCR fight just how to water down Cap & Trade and other important bills.

          If we cave, they have a formula to help guarantee defeat of any other key legislative proposals.

          Private health insurers always manage to stay one step ahead of the sheriff - Sen. Sherrod Brown

          by Betty Pinson on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:30:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  We must take the offense NOW... (3+ / 0-)

      before the Congress does as it pleases with health care reform.

      They need to know that there will be consequences if they fail to include a ROBUST public option.

      We are re-living the war vote. There were never any dire consequences for them taking us into an unnecessary war. There should have been a general strike or other non-violent action that slowed commerce.

      Let Single Payer try on the glass slipper too!

      by seastar on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:16:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The we take the skills learned (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Elise, thethinveil

      in the last few elections, and work to get more progressives in Congress.

      We work harder.

      This is a lifetime fight, people.

      "One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

      by greendem on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:11:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, say we stand ground and refuse to give (0+ / 0-)

        an inch and we get no health care reform bill as a result.

        Those who don't want change (many Blue Dogs, some jackass Dem Senators, and every Republican) would be thrilled. They wouldn't have to pretend to try and compromise anymore - they would just play the progressives by pushing buttons and get the progressives to kill the bills for them.

        Sure, what we get now is incremental change...but that seems better to me than nothing at all.

        I think the biggest mistake that many here are making is assuming that every Democrat wants a bill to pass. I think there are a lot of Dems who would prefer the status quo - no change at all, no bill at all. I think they're more than willing to let progressives kill the bill - makes things easier on them and they get exactly what they want - status quo.

        And I finished this letter with unshakable faith that the dream will be fulfilled for this generation, and preserved and enlarged for generations to come.

        by Elise on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 07:12:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It comes down to voting or refusing to vote (6+ / 0-)'s also about showing that progressives can hold their ground and are a political force to be reckoned with.

    As long as we continue to be stupid enough to vote for these turds, they'll continue to take all of you for granted. It's simple, if the public option (no toothless trigger or anemic co-ops)is not part of the bill, then don't vote Democratic on congressional races and reject Obama's re-election in 2012. All the speeches are just smoke and mirrors and yet people keep falling for it. Instead of holding them accountable, we have apologists and soothsayers warning that if we don't vote Democratic it will just give power to Republicans and blah blah. Yadda! Yadda! I've heard all before and I'm done with the lies. This is the best opportunity to enact real change and the Democrats still make up excuses. No more! I want results or I'm staying home on voting day.

  •  of course the fight for public option (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, KayCeSF, Zack from the SFV

    or socialised medicine, or universal health care, whatever you want to cal it matters. It is central to the competetive health of the nation.

    While quoting Krugman et al I also read Frank Rich today and I totally disagree with his analysis that Obama wasted the summer by allowing the debate to get away from his single minded sales job on health reform. He did nto waste the summer, he allowed US to see ourselves a WE really really are.

    I believe that August was absolutely invaluable to the nation by showing everyone exactly what they are up against, on both the left and the right. We have tried for too long to pass these controversial reforms by trying to pretend they are something else. We cannot do that anymore as a nation.

    The biggest mistake was allowing single payor to be taken off the table  and trying to pretend it was somethign else we called a public option. The next huge mistake in cap and trade will be to pretend that all is well in the atmosphere and it is NOT really deteriortang faster than anyone wants to admit.

    We are facing the death of the planet folks, not death panels for the elderly. There are no more ice floes out there to go and die on.

    Wake up America and get REAL.  Stop dicking around and get the bloody job done.

    •  I don't know about your comment concerning (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      whether taking single-payer off the table is right or not.  I saw single-payer as a big red flag to most in our Party and a plan that would have made most of them balk from the get-go.  

      The rest of what you say I wholeheartedly agree with.

      I also don't agree we need to be following the whine of either Keith Olbermann or Larry O'Donnell (I like them both but...) because both of them have been whining without real facts to support any of what they say.

      I'm listening to the whine and gagging on all of it.

      •  I don't insist on being right, I just feel that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KayCeSF, Zack from the SFV

        it was a big mistake to give up at the beginning by taking the one position off the table that most progressives and many moderates too want to finally reach.  It just moved the furthest edge closer to the middle.

        I honestly have no idea who is right or who is wrong regarding tactics and strategy now. Its too easy to Monday morning quarterback and fight yesterdays battles.

        In a way I feel like a bit of a hypocrite by even offering  any opinions at all, because as a dual citizen I always have the option of returning to the UK if my personal situation or that of my family is imperilled by the inability of America to pass meaningful legislation.

        It is just that as a negotiating position it is always better to have the outer perimeters and parameters as far apart from what you want and what you will accept, is my feeling, that's all.

        I gave up trying to be right all the time or even some of the time many many years ago. Doesn't work in families and can't work in politics. And I care more about  good policy than correct politics.  Universal health is good policy even if it is impassable politics. That's all.

        •  I know you didn't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:


          This legislation is difficult, for many reasons, as has been stated often by those on Kos who understand that it wasn't going just slide through because Obama wants it.  We just keep working at it, with some reasonable perspective.

          I'm glad you have the UK health care to fall back on, too.  ,)

  •  the talk radio machine beat clintons in 94 (0+ / 0-)

    harry and louise were riding the limbaugh bandwagon and guys like odonnel didn't have a fucking clue what was beating clinton health care

    still don't- limbaugh and hannity rule the red states and their blue dogs and will continue until the left takes it seriously with picketing of local stations and calling and boycotting of the local sponsors. then the blue dogs will see someone finally countering the screamers and baggers and lobbyists at their headquarters and centers of power.

    the GOP will crumble and single payer will be around the corner.

    ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

    by certainot on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:16:58 AM PDT

  •  Private death panel targeted me yesterday (3+ / 0-)

    Got this letter from my health insurance corporation yesterday:

    "Dear customer:

    We want you to be healthy. We work with your doctor, who gives you the care you need.

    From time to time, our doctors and pharmacists review the drugs in your drug plan. The goal is to choose quality drugs that are the most cost-effective for your care. We have reviewed and updated the list of covered drugs. As a result, some drugs that you may be using will no longer be covered as of October 1, 2009.
    These drugs are listed below.


    Some private health care bureaucrat sitting on a corporate death panel has come between my doctor and me and is taking my inhaler away so they can make even more obscene profits.

    Well this time they have out-finessed themselves. I am going to hold my breath until I turn back into comet crap so Blondie can sue the wealthy bastards.

    Death, where is thy suffocated sting?

  •  Not to be the pessimist (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, DeadB0y, poxonyou

    but, with the SCOTUS reviewing all campaign finance laws and likely to strike down a lot of prohibitions, we had better get some progressive legislation passed soon or it will be too late - forever.

    Pretty soon corporate interests will be able to draw on pooled treasuries to flood the airwaves with ads, create movies, and otherwise destructive media campaigns destroying progressive candidates.

    We may never see another liberal elected to public office short of dog catcher. And most of it will be filled with lies that won't matter because they own the media as well.

    I have very little faith in the long term prospects for this nation.

    The uncaring ruthless capitalist may have won out after all.

    To whom it may concern. Waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal. Sincerely, A. No Brainer.

    by Pescadero Bill on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:21:45 AM PDT

    •  Next year under the SupremeCourt new rules (4+ / 0-)

      ... I expect the Senate to try to kill all reforms outright, merely by passing new legislation.

      In the meantime, try to do the right thing and not worry about that. We could get hit with an asteroid or earthquake next month, too.

      "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

      by AmericanRiverCanyon on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:26:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some things you can chart and predict (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SarahLee, thethinveil

        and forecast, some things you can't.

        One can chart the right-wing slant and the history of a corporatist-like agenda of the SCOTUS. From that one can predict how they'll rule on corporate finance law and (after having listened to Sunday Sedition on KPFA in the Bay Area where the guest talked about how broad ranging their decision is likely to be) predict what the consequences will be on elections.

        In the mean time, I'll call and write and email Feinstein, Boxer, and Eschoo and hope they actually give a damn about whether or not I'll vote for them based on their actions in Congress, all the while watching the storm clouds form on the distant horizon.

        Worry? Hell, I think we should all be worried.

        To whom it may concern. Waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal. Sincerely, A. No Brainer.

        by Pescadero Bill on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:52:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Totally agree. And it is one reason that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      it is so vitally important to do this now and to get it right - we just are not going to get another chance.

  •  if serfs prevail (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in staged congressional-kabuki-fight on cspan  caving-into corporate feudalism kiss life, liberty pursuit of happiness bye-buy

    When you give up on the un-insured and the under-insured you give up on your countrymen/women ~ Hate, Greed, Lies, Gullible vs. Health Care For All

    by anyname on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:24:46 AM PDT

  •  PO was shakey from the start (4+ / 0-)

    We all know damned well that it was going to be a tough, tough thing to accomplish.

    It basically signals the beginning of the end of the private health insurance industry.  Nobody is going to pay more for more costly plans if a cheaper PO is available, and private insurance will have a supremely difficult time "competing" with a PO.  Remember, the insurance industry is powerful.  It makes billions of dollars and spreads that money around.

    The political will to start killing off the private insurance industry is simply not there.  Let's face it, the PO is the first nail in the coffin.  

    Democrats are not immune to lobbyists and corporate money.

  •  I don't get it. She can only afford to lose 38 (4+ / 0-)

    but there are 23 blue dogs, so she is good.

    Jed, you don't know me but I am a pretty middle of the road Democrat.  I am no lefty.  If you researched my positions here on DK, you would see that.  I am 57 and have three kids.  But, I am ready to push this to the limit.  This is the only way to convince Obama that he is a democrat and not a post partisan love boy.

    If I were Nancy Pelosi, I would get the 60-100 you talk about together and say, OK, boys and girls, what are you really going to do?  If they say, vote no, I would go out of that room and tell my caucus to vote his/her own conscience.  That way it appears that she has called the shots.

    The public option is no lefty thing either.  Where is the single payer option?  PO is middle of the road, and it's about time Obama took us seriously.

    Today I write to Bob Casey and Arlen Specter and tell them what I think.  My congressman is a lost cause.

    My father used to say, `Son, always remember that silence gives consent.' Jim Clyburn

    by alliedoc on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:27:38 AM PDT

  •  May I recommend (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, greendem

    Public Option Fades From Debate Over Health Care

    I hated the article but I recommend the comments.
    The writer hasn't been reading the blogs, especially DKos but what's most interesting are the comments, articulate responses from people who do not buy the headline.

    This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

    by Agathena on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:32:24 AM PDT

    •  The media and the politicians aren't listening to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greendem, chipoliwog, Agathena

      the people in this debate. It's all right-wing framing.

      I work full-time with the FDL team on health reform thanks to your donations.

      by slinkerwink on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:42:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Quote from Wonkette website (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Agathena, littlebird33

        I sometimes wonder what it’s like when somebody (Gibbs? Rahm?) goes into Obama’s office to tell him something like Sarah Palin posted a message about death panels on her Facebook page and now a bunch of middle-aged white people are screaming about it in town hall meetings. Does he just brush it off like he always appears to do or, when there’s nobody looking, slam his head against the Oval Office desk muttering over and over again "Jesus Christ, I can’t believe these people are so fucking stupid. We are SO fucked."

        You know, kind of like what we do.

  •  call it what it is: Ultimate Betrayal (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irmaly, poxonyou, miss SPED, thethinveil

    mandates without PO = Ultimate betrayal

    plain and simple.

    there will be hell to pay.

  •  While you are fighting, Glenn Beck (0+ / 0-)

    is organizing on TV. The Democrats are losing ground with voters including you. If you would just let this go through we would get a public option in 2010. What you will get is a GOP that is fundamentalist and wants you gone. Good luck.

    Write CNN today and tell them that the truth is not theirs to decide. Ask when they plan to do the news.

    by Plain Speaking on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:38:37 AM PDT

  •  Why is 'the left' so disdained? (8+ / 0-)

    even by President Obama.

    "The left" did not support the 8 years of disaster under Bush, destruction of Iraq, and now Afghanistan, the building of Gitmo, torture, the deregulation of banks, destruction of the environment, not signing Kyoto, you know the rest.

    This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

    by Agathena on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:41:05 AM PDT

    •  The "left" is disdained here at Daily Kos (7+ / 0-)

      framed as being "purity trolls" despite the fact that they frequently also admit that our center has moved way to the right.

      When most of your fellow activists in a community refuse to fight to move the country back to the left, to make the center really a center again, it becomes quite depressing.

      •  Unfortunately, you're right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Just click on a non-recommended diary with a left of Obama position and you'll often see the comment section buried in attacks against "purity trolls" and other nonsense.

        "All [US govt model based countries], without exception, have succumbed to the nightmare [of breakdown] one time or another, often repeatedly." - Bruce Ackerman

        by PoxOnYou on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:22:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Democratic tradition of punching the hippies (0+ / 0-)

      and usually the hippies keep coming back despite being shown they're hated by both parties. "Hippies" being progressives and other non-corporate sell out left-of-center types.

      "All [US govt model based countries], without exception, have succumbed to the nightmare [of breakdown] one time or another, often repeatedly." - Bruce Ackerman

      by PoxOnYou on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:24:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Trying to Plug Holes is not Reform (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blutodog, masslib, HCKAD

    Having the President say that "preexisting conditions will be illegal" and "it will be illegal to drop you if you get sick"..  I say big deal, the murder for profit companies break the law all the time and just pay the fines so making these things illegal without telling me the penalties is just to placate me and my crowd. Pfizer just paid for medicare fraud for the umteenth time.. Health Insurance IS the problem many people KNOW its immoral to make a profit on healthcare. I wonder when we are going to stop enabling our opponents with supposed compromise.

    there is never time to do it right, but always time to do it over -6.88/-4.31

    by DeadB0y on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:41:17 AM PDT

    •  Enforcement against whom for what? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DeadB0y, HCKAD

      We have the glaring example of Wall st. and the SEC as a prime example of just how weak and ineffectual any regulators are when it comes to these HUGE cash rich Corps. We can expect however any "forced mandate" for individuals and small companies to buy private health Ins. WILL be rigidly enforced by the IRS etc et al. If this happens the Dems. are toast politically. A forced mandate is exactly what the health mafia wants and the Gopers. It's nothing more then a huge bail out and giveaway to the health Ins. mafia as well as a life saver for the GOPers. If the Dems. make everyone out here swallow this posion pill they're history politically!

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

      by Blutodog on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:32:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The other important thing... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, irmaly

    ...about the public option is that it is a decisive repudiation of the conservative philosophy that we are all on our own.  (This meaning, of course, that we are defenseless at the hands of flim flam artists and thieves.)  This is a reassertion of the idea that there is such a thing as a public good.  

    That may be the real reason they fear it so.

    "To hell with the rich. They made me sick." - Philip Marlowe

    by Roddy McCorley on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 11:44:59 AM PDT

  •  Fine. I'll try this way. The President is trying (0+ / 0-)

    to stay alive long enough to get a Democratic Congress in 2010 so we can get Single Payer. A man who was a former Secret Service Agent went on Jon Stewart because he wrote a book and part of it was how the Secret Service is not doing the job they should be covering this President. Who knows... they may be left over fundamentalists from Bush. Here is a link to what he says about the book. He is trying to force them, by talking about what they are doing, to do a better job. Link...

    You do understand what happens to us if the Glenn Beck crowd takes over the Senate in 2010 right? My 16 year old beautiful nephew who died because he was gay will be the lucky one.

    Write CNN today and tell them that the truth is not theirs to decide. Ask when they plan to do the news.

    by Plain Speaking on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:03:57 PM PDT

  •  For Young Progressives, this is a "record" vote (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miss SPED, thethinveil

    That means we are keeping score, and it will play a very big role in whether congresspeople will have progressive activists knocking on doors for them, or a young opponent from the left in the next primary.

    It certainly will be a the top of my list when deciding where my donations go next election cycle. And I have become a modestly big donor since the Obama campaign.

    If you will only vote for a HCR bill with a robust public option, you will be considered a progressive in my book, and many others.

    Otherwise, start raising money, because you will soon have a challenger from the democratic wing of the Democratic Party. The young people will back your challenger. We are fired up about this issue.

    We want someone who will take a stand against conservatives over 65 with Medicare who are organizing to keep us our generation from getting health care. The health of GenX's kids is on the line here, you see? We are not messing around this time.

    Do you stand with the young people who brought Obama to power (the next power holders in America with good incomes and progressive values) or not?

    "One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

    by greendem on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:04:23 PM PDT

  •  The Public Option is all that matters (0+ / 0-)

    . . . and all that is needed!

    •  WRONG! (0+ / 0-)

      The present incarnations of the so called Public Option suck! Have you really looked at what they've done to this idea? First of all it would only cover those people that don't have Ins. already and it's not even a Gov't option but some kind of Non-Profit Corp. forced to play by the same rules as the other Corps. It's a weak stupid idea like CO-OPs with No chance of survival against the power of the health mafia. Without a Single payer type system as an option for everyone we've LOST. Worse if Congress passes the so called Force mandate for Univerisal coverage ( with an emphasis on RAGE) the Dems. would be in effect committing political suicide. Such a mandate will be wildly unpopular once people realize what it's implications are. Forcing people to BUY over priced JunK Private Ins. from essentially what are monopolies will really piss off the public. Add the fines they're proposing and we might as well just hand Congress over now to the GOPers. The mandate is a political POISON PILL without a Robust Medicare style option! if the Progressive wing really wants to save the party it should KILL this now and stand firm on a MEDICARE style single option or nada. So called health Ins. reform is also a dead letter. The Gopers or even the blue dogs will easily over turn any attempts at regulation of these Industries. Plus, the 24 hr. K st. lobby league will work day and night to change any such regs. Ins. reform is an Oxymoron.

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

      by Blutodog on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:55:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No You're WRONG! (0+ / 0-)

        I don't give a damn about the public option that the spineless eunuch democrats are falling back on.  An option to "buy in" to medicare by paying my premiums to Medicare is all that is needed, and is everything that is needed, PERIOD!  All other issues instantly become moot.

        •  Medicare = Single payer (0+ / 0-)

          Read what I said friend we agree. I said without a ROBUST Medicare style Option it's phony reform the weak PO in the bills is anything but Medicare like it's essentially  BS. Single payer or Medicare as an option was off the table from minute one. The only real solution for this mess off the table? That should have warned all of us that nobody in Congress was really going to try and do anything more then give the same thieves that are squeezing the life out of our country even more profits plus a nice chunk of tax dollars as well.

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

          by Blutodog on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 06:42:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Bravo! (0+ / 0-)

    You've made a great point.

    "I don't want socialized medicine. And don't touch my Medicare."

    by bluedonkey08 on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:17:35 PM PDT

  •  And again I say -- (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irmaly, kovie, HCKAD

    If the right wing is so thoroughly convinced, as they continually claim outside of the health-care argument, that an unregulated free market is the best arbiter of choice for consumers, then what do they have to fear from a government-run public option???  They tirelessly argue that the private sector knows what's best, and the best choices are created by corporate ingenuity and capitalist drive.  So PROVE IT.  Make your case against a public insurance option.

    The right has tried to bring big business into government for 28 years, and all we have to show for this malfeasance of justice and power are a collapsed financial sector, corrupt executives running the private sector, and two ill-conceived and even-worse-implemented wars going on with innumerable abuses of authority by government contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And Osama bin Laden is a most effective as a deterrent against critical thinking, if you believe anything Prick Cheney says.

    President Obama should have taken the opportunity to point the finger back at the true liars when Lyin' Joe Wilson acted with such blatant disregard for decorum.  Instead, we still have to listen to the ignorant right-wing masses scream pointlessly through CNN microphones, bleating the same sheeplike retorts that have been fed them by the extreme right-wing nutjobs at Fox.

    •  Yeah that unregulated free market thingee (0+ / 0-)

      worked so well last year. Of course, libertarian teabaggers claim that we didn't have a real free market, so nothing was proven. Except that if we had a 100% free market, half of us would probably be dead or homeless by now. Which, I'm sure, would be aok with them because at heart these people are basically cowardly sociopaths.

      "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything." - Alexander Hamilton

      by kovie on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 02:06:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Dems need to (0+ / 0-)

    stop letting the freakin Republican loons get away with their shit for months before calling them on it. Legitimate dissent and discussion is one thing, but the wingnuts get too much time and too much credit before the Dems even start to respond to it.

  •  GAME OVER ! (5+ / 0-)

    My only advice to the Dems. after dumping what's pathetically left of the Public Option is to also dump the awful idea of a " forced mandate" for Universal coverage. It's a political poison pill that will destroy them in 2010 and beyond.  The goal of Universal coverage is ok, but not one were people are being forced to buy essentially over priced "junk" Ins. from private monopolies. Once you decouple a robust Public option from any forced mandate it's just giving the health mafia and their GOPer allies exactly what they have wanted from the beginning. Unfortunately, this is exactly what I think were going to get! If it is it's Game over for the Dems. This kind of change is exactly the opposite of what people voted for.

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

    by Blutodog on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:26:59 PM PDT

    •  Sometimes I suspect that they either want to lose (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Blutodog, poxonyou

      or else are willing to lose, if that's the only way to please their corporate owners. Dems have become so conditioned to caving, and losing, that the idea that they don't have to, if they just stand up for something, is utterly alien to them. This is some combination of corporate prostitution and Stockholm Syndrome.

      "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything." - Alexander Hamilton

      by kovie on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 02:10:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I won't be voting for or donating to any Democrat (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, thethinveil

    If a public option doesn't pass. They're taking the country to hell too, just a little slower than the Republicans would.

    Oh, and good news guys, Baucus (R-MT) is going to ruin the climate bill too. Gotta love our government! We can either vote center-right or far right.

    Don't donate to the DSCC in 2010 - they'll give your money to Harry Reid. Donate to the candidates instead!

    by arcticshadow on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:40:24 PM PDT

  •  obama set to ban pub fudning of abortions (5+ / 0-)

    sbebelius-obama will announce ban on public funding of abortions as it anger gop. hell will break lose

  •  The question is.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larry Bailey how willing are we for creative destruction? I disagree with you, I DON'T think the Public Option can pass. Not so it would matter anyway. The fight is pretty much lost.

    But look at the economic situation. During the heart of the debates among ourselves (and let's be clear, we did not matter one bit in that period to the larger narrative) the two polls were best exemplified by Openleft and Booman with Openleft preferring economic ruin to coddling wallstreet and Booman arguing for the real costs to people for such a crash and that we could (and would) fight for reform later. At the time I sided with Booman but that was before the Obama administration removed all doubt that they are corrupted, co-opted and cowardly.

    So now I would rather healthcare fail completely than anything without a Real Public Option pass. And eventually, it may come to that openly. And if you want progressives to stand, you need to be ready when that day comes because how many of them with their compassion for real people will fold?

    I am on record as supporting the continued destruction of the system. A system that almost surely will be pricing me out of it rather soon.

    A neutered public option is worse than nothing.

    Time to burn it all down.

    Are you ready to go there?

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

    by MNPundit on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:40:57 PM PDT

  •  Feinstien said (just today) she would not vote (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for a PO.  Susan Collins said that she would not even vote for a trigger.

  •  Wow. I am so glad I read the Krugman post. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson

    His biggest worry is that with no public option President Obama might lose so much support that he will not be reelected. For a man who seems to disagree with the President he sure seems to want him reelected and that is because Krugman is a genius. He may not like losing that option but he gets the big picture, and...

    He probably read the column I did yesterday from Frank Schaeffer in Huff Post where he explains what was happening with the march yesterday. All of these thousands and thousands of home schooled kids are now adults. He was home schooled, helped found the movement, saw the greed of the sicko fundamentalist leaders and is now desperately trying to get everyone to understand what could happen.

    These home schooled kids, now 18 to 40, were kept from the population, isolated at home and church, and taught, systematically day to day that America was pagan, was evil and has to be destroyed--my take but here is the real thing--

    The President how has 16 hard blue dogs in the Senate. He has to have more progressives. We need to get people elected. FDL is wonderful but it is not quite the time... I'm sorry but I just think you are 2 years too early. Hate me if you want to. I'm just trying to keep us all alive and out of Rush Limbaugh's Auschwitz. Yes, that is exactly what I think of the Republicans. That is what I think they would do to us.

    I am so frightened that we are getting so mad at the President that we will let Republicans win just to show him that we have clout. We DO have clout we just don't have enough Senators to have clout with. We can get real clout if we just get Democrats in the majority for real. THEN we can hold their feet to the fire. I agree with everything you say. But don't kill our chances in 2010.

    For now, the President has a Secret Service that a former Secret Service member thinks is not doing their job--they let  people go around the metal detectors-- and we're talking about a fucking republican Senate. We have 45 good Democrats at most in the Senate.

    Write CNN today and tell them that the truth is not theirs to decide. Ask when they plan to do the news.

    by Plain Speaking on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 12:59:32 PM PDT

    •  Wow, that article by Shaeffer (0+ / 0-)

      just filled in more blanks for me.  I have been arguing that the right use motivated reasoning (reasoning not based on facts but on underlying assumptions) more than the left.  I didn't have a good explanation for why that is.  This fills in the missing piece - it's environmental - home schooling, indoctrination into a religious faith based way of reasoning.

      This country is in deep trouble.  We have a truly insane right wing with a center that thinks you can reason with them.  The left of the left already figured out that's impossible and now we know exactly why.  

      So where do we go from here folks?  Do we want to continue pursuing centrist policy?  Do we really think there's is reasoning with the right wing?  Looks like a non-starter.

      Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

      by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 04:05:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's OK you stole Krugman's title, b/c... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...Krugman owes us--or someone--one. I've looked, but have not found, any explanation, defense, or apology from him for having, umm, used, the title of Paul Wellstone's book, The Conscience of a Liberal, as the title of his own book. :)

  •  Sums Up the Nex 3.5 Years (5+ / 0-)

    Unless progressives in Congress actually demonstrate they have a spine on this issue, nobody will ever take them seriously

    We can just write off the next 3.5 years if they cave on this.  Not only will they not be taken seriously by others, but by the very people that comment here.

    •  Reagan got his buget cuts through reconcilliation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      so what's the problem now.  JUST DO IT be remembered as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

      by Churchill on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 01:34:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds like it's easier to do cuts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        than comprehensive reform through reconciliation - and they'd still have to deal with Conrad since he is head of the budget committee (Ezra Klein said in a WaPo column he would have even more control under reconciliation).

        But if they can't even get 60 votes for triggers, the only option left to get something passed would be to split the bill and put the other reforms and co-op plan to a vote while leaving the public option to reconciliation. Conrad still might be able to put the kibosh on it, but at least they will have tried.

        And if the co-ops and other reforms result in more coverage but no significant cost controls (as I think will happen), I could see the President saying 'ok, we tried your way and it's not working - we need to try the p.o." once he's safely into his second term (hopefully - would be nice if Conrad took a hike, too ;)).

  •  No public option, no support from me, BOTTOM LINE (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larry Bailey, Perseus, miss SPED be remembered as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

    by Churchill on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 01:33:49 PM PDT

  •  Progressives (3+ / 0-)

    are the ones offering Barak Obama a lifeline to a meaningful presidency.

    If Obama thinks he is going the to be last President to address healthcare reform without a robust public option, capable of leading to single payer as the market demands, he's kidding himself, and his legacy is already shot.  

    The front pager's emphasis is backwards.  Progressives don't have to prove anything.

    It's feckless, mainstream Dems that need to come around, not only on moral grounds but as a matter of self preservation.  Obama and the Big-Boy Pants(tm) Dem faction he represents are drowning in a sea of Reaganesque political fantasy.  As long as this remains so, he/they will not be respected.

    Please don't feed the Security State.

    •  As it stands, Obama the "centrist" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larry Bailey

      will be known as:

      1. the President who kept Bushco's costly, corrupting "war" on "terror" going, against all morality and all reason.
      1. the President who enacted the culmination of Reaganomics (the transfer of wealth and power from the people to corporations), now with direct and open government facilitation.
      1. the President who botched even the measly healthcare "reform" he was after.  Said "reform" kicking the can down the road.

      You'd think after 30 years of Reagan Revolution, and 8 years of cheap Bushco fascism, the stage would be set for a meaningful correction.  

      Not with Obama calling the shots.  Not so far.

      Obama needs progressives, not the other way around.

      Please don't feed the Security State.

  •  Progressives and Clout (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Exactly what planet have you been living on? Progressives have clout? You're dreaming. And it ain't over til it's over-who are you Yogi Berra? All Obama and this right center Administration care about is mollifying corporate America and in this instance big Insurance, Hospital companies, pharma and Tauzin and the rest of that ilk. If you don't think these people aren't bought and paid for, ask yourself a simple question. Why is implementation proposed for four years in the future. What series of events will have been completed some four years from now?
    Psst-A few elections!

    •  Building funding to get it going (0+ / 0-)

      I think you missed that tidbit.  They need to build the funding to get this going.  There isn't enough up front money.  That's why the 4 year phase in.  I don't see that as the problem.  What I do see as a problem is a mandate WITHOUT a public option.  That is a dangerous idea that will either bankrupt millions of Americans or balloon the deficit if we keep subsidizing insurance at 10% per year increases.

      The real problem is the hyper-inflation of insurance.
      I think this is heading toward a health insurance bubble.  I suspect we will find these insurance companies have been cooking their books to an extent just like the banks.  Insurance is headed toward a meltdown.  It's all a matter of how we react to it.  Do nothing and it will be very painful to fix.  Do something and we can slow the inflation down. Ultimately my guess is that the insurance industry is doomed.  It's price increases are unaffordable.

      Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

      by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 02:38:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  health insurace conpanies (0+ / 0-)

        again i think you are dreaming. i've worked in health care my entire adult life(for public). i don't agree at all with your premise. the four years are to fill the political coffers with health industry money which i believe is the deal worked out with the industry to not scuttle whats proposed and they'll make the ultimate bill acceptable. the idea of health care insurance bubble makes zero sense. bubbles are created by either expanding in an unchecked and unsupported manner or creating paper vehicles(some kind of insurance that is not supported)insurance companies if you've missed it either don't cover people who may have some medical condition or if you develop one they either drop you or they limit their exposure by various limits. so basically the way things stand now there is simply no way there can be a bubble in the same sense as the housing or wall street bubbles. On the other hand insurance can get so expensive as to cause a growing loss of affordability, both for individuals and business. Why you think the insurance companies are cooking there books is beyond me as they are publicly traded companies. further the banks didn't cook their books they took on debt that was unsupported and insured debt that was unsupported. They created paper money(derivatives) to the extent that it represented more money than existed in the entire world. But they didn't cook their books, which means overstating their assets. Except in the sense that those assets were often funny money. But they either didn't believe that or chose to ignore it. But in a technical sense in GAAP terms they were not cheating.

  •  Progressuves In the Catbird Seat (0+ / 0-)

    Look: if the legislation passes, the insurance companies get tens of millions of new customers, captive.  And Obama will be more powerful.  Both the President and the Insurance companies  have it ALL on the table.  For them, they have everything to lose by not passing legislation.

    So who stands between the insurance companies, the leadership and the President and the golden prize?  THE PROGRESSIVES!  The progressives hold the key.  

    We say "give us a public option, and you can have the keys to the kingdom: customers, fame, glory ... otherwise, come back some time next decade".  "Don't be greedy", we say.  "We're already offering you wealth beyond the dreams of avarice; we just want a little ... insurance".  

    Finally, as a practical matter, it's going to be a hard sell to FORCE Americans to buy insurance from an insurance company; a lot easier to get them into something they can see works -- like a Medicare-style public option.

    Bottom line:  Progressives are too used to losing.  We whine in our sleep about the bullies.  

    What if the "moderates" refuse to go along, and the bill dies?  So what's new?  We progressives are USED TO losing!  Then we start working on single payer.

  •  Or, as Chris Bowers put it at Netroots Nation '09 (3+ / 0-)

    If house progressives fold on this, they may as well not exist.

    "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything." - Alexander Hamilton

    by kovie on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 01:58:20 PM PDT

  •  Where is Leon Festinger when we need him (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to point out that Net Roots Obamistas are in cognitive dissonance, prophecy failed, in short, denial mode – Big Time?

    The Public Option is dead, dead, dead.

    And the fact that many Kossack progressives couldn't – and apparently still can't -- see that this was the message of the burial ceremony Obama was conducting in his damning with faint praise ceremony on Wednesday shows that you know less about reading tea leaves than the Tea Baggers, who, for all their ridiculousness and their faux protest on Saturday, have joined the health care oligarchs at PhRMA, the AMA, the AHA, and Big Insurance in a victory romp over the "Big Government" Public Option not happening.

    I mean, wake up.  Go no further than the News Analysis story by Robert Pear that is running upper left on the NYT website right now.  It puts the matter in a somewhat more genteel fashion: The Public Option Fades from Debate Over Health Care.  But the message is the same.

    The Public Option is dead, dead, dead.

    Am I happy about this?  No, I'm almost literally in tears.  The opportunity of a generation has been lost.

    But it has been lost not because it was defeated in a fair fight by the Oligarchs, Fox News, or the hopelessly benighted Tea Baggers.  It has been lost because Barack Obama made the conscious decision to deep six it, his head fake in Wednesday's speech to the contrary notwithstanding.  And for God knows what reasons progressives such as Kossacks keep blathering on how we still have a chance because the president understands and has given his support to the Public Option.

    But he hasn't.

    I can perhaps put this best by referencing Frank Rich's column in the NYT today.

    Rich, also an Audacity of Hope true believer and scorched-earth anti-Clintonite in the Democratic primaries like many Kossacks, and the numero uno Kossack, Marcos, is himself having problems accepting the fact that he was somehow hoodwinked by PayGo Obama.  (Ask yourself, by the way, where did that $625bn or so in roll backs of the Bush tax cuts for the rich promised by PayGo Barack show up in the Wednesday speech – tax cuts rammed through under budget reconciliation by Republicans who did not think twice over whether this would hopeless divide the country along partisan lines?  Jesus, at least follow the money.)

    And so Rich is perpetuating in his column the meme that, yes, we're dealing with a flawed president who, because of his indecisiveness, but not for lack of understanding and conviction, has maybe waited for too long to ride to the rescue; but maybe not.

    Jed appears to be under pretty much the same delusion.

    Alas, this is not what the documented record suggests has been the problem.

    The Public Option, and other potentially progressive parts of health care reform, have not been lost because Obama did not come down out of his No Drama Obama cloud soon enough.  All these things have been lost – for at least a generation -- because all along Obama has been working hand-in-glove with the Oligarchs and granting them concessions beyond their own wildest dreams, concessions which are structurally incompatible with a robust Public Option.

    Yes, Obama has appeared to lay back in the public debate.

    Except, of course, for when he repeatedly endorsed the supposedly bi-partisan work of Max Baucus' Gang of Six, even, for example, in the initial stages of Senator Grassley's rants about pulling the plug on Grandma (hard to believe but documentably true), while not deigning to give Nancy Pelosi and her three committees in the House working on a bill and Senator Kennedy's HELP committee in the Senate the time of day -- all four of which committees had a version of the Public Option, not to mention other progressive features, that won't make it past Max Baucus, Kent Conrad, Jeff Bingaman, and Olympia Snowe on the Senate Finance Committee.

    An excise tax on gold plated insurance policies indeed!  Can you say chump change?

    How to explain all this?

    It's simple.  Again, all the while, as documented in spades by Rich's own newspaper (and occasionally even here on Kos when some Kossack started comparing what Obama said he was going to do with what the NYT was reporting he was actually doing),Obama himself, not some other sinister shadowy figure, was not holding himself aloof from the actual process.  Instead he, and his White House lieutenants, were hard at work behind the scenes and out of reach of the promised CSPAN cameras negotiating with the industry lobbyists at PhRMA, the AHA, the AMA, and Big Insurance, and shaping most of the major options in the impending bill.  And these negotiations were being run right through that very Gang of Six that Rich and the Kossacks were deriding.

    But while you were deriding and urging Obama to get involved, Obama, personally, was actively enabling this hijacking of health care reform by the Oligarchs.  The idea that Obama really, as distinguished from rhetorically in public, held himself aloof from the process is a total myth, especially when it comes to tallying up the long terms structural subsidies to the already obscene level oligopolistic profits and protection from competition that Obama and the supposed Rahmbo have been structuring into what will be presented as the working framework for the final bill.

    All for the pother of not running negative ads against the president.

    And, oh yes, keeping the stream of campaign contributions coming in from the Oligarchs.

    Again the main point.  The water that has already flowed over the dam and into the coffers of the Oligarchs is structurally inconsistent with a robust Public Option, and even the minimal regulation that would be needed to keep these foxes from completely devouring the chickens in the coop.  Obama could not consistently support a robust Public Option and deliver on his backroom deals to the Oligarchs even if he really wanted to.

    Hence the damning with faint praise, and the attempt to pass the Public Option off as just one means among many to ride herd on the Oligarchs.

    Once more, I'm not engaging in a conspiracy theory here.  All of this has been documented.

    So the next time someone tries to tell you that we are going to get this mess because Obama was, alas, too Hamletian, you tell them:

    "No, we're in this mess not because Obama tergiversated, but because he connived."

    •  If so, the system will collapse in a decade or so (0+ / 0-)

      So, you'll still in for the TRUE fight of your life.  When the health insurance bubble explodes, and it will explode if there is no public option, the first demand that insurance companies will make is for a bail out.  At that point, it gets interesting.  We will actually have something in common with right wingers.  At that point, we should say in 60's parlance "burn baby, burn".  Let the rotten health insurance industry go bust.  Their business model is not realistic; never was and never will be.  At that point comes the fight we'll have with the right.  The right will say that everything needs to be out of pocket.  We will fight for single payer.  It will be interesting to see how it turns out and it may get how should I say ... volatile!  I hoped we could avoid this but it isn't looking good.  I think we'll get a bill but I am NOT confident it will fix much of anything.

      Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

      by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 02:45:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

        Single Payer is what we want and that the system Obama is putting in place will implode.

        But alas I think it much more likely that the industry will get bail outs, and a continuing promise of no competition from the government.

        The problem is that a lot more of us will be dead or destitute by that time.

        •  There will come a point where bailouts are (0+ / 0-)

          not possible.  We are also heading toward a time where the nation will NOT be able to borrow more money.  Mark my words, that day is closer than we think.  The Chinese have already started the process of dumping dollars.  The dollar will no longer be the benchmark currency.   At that point we will struggle just to pay the interest on the trillions of debt.  At some point we will default and have to re-structure everything.  That will present the opportunity to re-build the health care system along more reasonable lines (along with everything else).

          Sounds like I am predicting doom.  Maybe I am.  Look at how close we came with the banking debacle.  There isn't enough financial bandwidth to tolerate another debacle (like the health insurance bubble we are headed toward).

          Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

          by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:03:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  5 to 15 years is about right (0+ / 0-)

        Could be your scenario, or some other scenario, but what we are seeing established is the principle that the consensus preferences of corporate America and Big Insure will prevail... and that the government of the U.S. will be ever more marginalized... a mere appendage to the real power structure.

        We will have a bill.  It will not solve the problem of expenditure growth.   American economic growth will continue to be impeded relative to the world.  Eventually any of a number of bad outcomes will result...

        I don't think the insurance industry will collapse... but I do think that uninsurance will remain high, creating continued cost pressure on the system.   At some point public health more broadly will be affected, although capitalism may be able to resist the effects of that problem.   Economic inequality is likely to grow, exacerbated by health inequality.  

        The right does not want everything out of pocket... they have a large constituency of well insured who like their rich benefit packages.  What the right wants is for people to be beholden to their employer for their health benefits, and to fear what would happen if they were cast out of the corporate system.  This gives corporate employers leverage and keeps salaries low.   The right doesn't mind rich benefit packages... what it objects to is equality, or employee mobility.   It understands that physical fear for your body is a powerful motivator in the employment relationship.

    •  From the New York Times article (0+ / 0-)

      As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama said he would "establish a new public insurance program" alongside private health care plans. That proposal took on a life of its own, but it now appears to be dying, a victim of an ineffectual White House strategy, the president’s failure to argue passionately for the "public option" and all-out opposition by the insurance industry and much of the health care industry.

      •  This was the worst article (0+ / 0-)

        It goes on to point out how none of the conservative dems are for it and it cant pass and shows in no way how " ineffectual strategy" or lack of passionate argument are at fault.  

        •  I thought it did a good job of stating obvious (0+ / 0-)

          There has been no strategy or even any passionate argument from Obama.

          The game is over... in fact, admittedly in retrospect, the game was over a long time ago.

          This  has always been about passing a bill, any bill, and that's a bottom line that left no room for bargaining to get a public option.

  •  Obama asked CPC if they had an alternative to po (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poxonyou, miss SPED

    They said no, but I have one:  In exchange for dropping the po, all the private insurance participating in the exchange must be non-profit (and that goes for any company having an interest -- directly or indirectly --- in the insurance company) and that the executive pay at those non-profits are set by statute (ie pay caps).  Love to see what the Blue Dogs would say to such a counter-proposal.

    •  That's interesting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      True Independent

      It's a variation of highly regulated multi payer system like Holland.  I am NOT a purist.  I can back something like that.  I still suspect single payer is the simplest answer and therefore the best one.

      Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

      by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:06:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I tried to log in my opinion at the Congressional (0+ / 0-)

    Progressive Caucus but the post failed.  Here is my comment:

    I've said it before on the Daily Kos.  I am not at all what you would call "left" of center.  Well, maybe a bit but I'm mostly a moderate/liberal democrat.  I am happy that Arlen Specter converted.  I am pro death penalty.  On everything else I am pretty damned liberal.  Oh, I am a 57 year old woman, an academic with three kids.

    But, unlike my normal MO, I believe that you should vote no on a watered down health care plan.  I'm not obsessed with a public option although I do believe that it is crucial.  It really isn't extreme at all, given that no one even talks about single payer anymore.

    But, I think that we must use this extreme measure to empower the centrist democratic caucus ... you guys.  Progressive, NO.  Real democrats, YES.  Having a watered down bill does no favors for anyone, least of all a strong democratic coalition.  When Speaker Pelosi comes calling, tell her how we feel and that there will be no caving.  Her only option will be to clearly state that she wants all democrats to vote his/her conscience!

    And, you should.

    The site is

    My father used to say, `Son, always remember that silence gives consent.' Jim Clyburn

    by alliedoc on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:05:47 PM PDT

    •  The real problem is that a watered down (0+ / 0-)

      bill won't fix the health care inflation!  That is a true crisis.  I came away from the last town hall with Rush Holt shocked by what he said - shocked because I didn't think a politician (even a pretty good liberal like Rush Holt) would admit this.  He said paraphrasing:

      1. In ten years our health care system will collapse if we don't get this right, The health insurance industry will go bankrupt.
      1. He suspects, though can't prove, that the health insurance companies just like the banks are cooking the books already.

      I was amazed that he would say that.  This was all a lead in from a single payer discussion.  Rush Holt still thinks single payer is the right answer but the country is not ready yet.  I think he laided out clearly exactly what must transpire for us to be ready - essentially a major failure of the health insurance industry.  Of course, they will take us down with them and cause all manner of suffering.

      Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

      by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:13:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have said that in other comments. Watered (0+ / 0-)

        down, if it fails, is both party's faults.  You cannot tell if it works, who gets the praise, or if it fails, who gets the blame.  I would guess it will fail and the GOP will blame the failure on the Democrats.  I honestly would prefer none to this option.  I think if the progressives stand firm, and Obama gets the message, he will have to try another strategy.  Failure at this level is his own.

        My father used to say, `Son, always remember that silence gives consent.' Jim Clyburn

        by alliedoc on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:58:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  and you think Obama doesn't see this? (0+ / 0-)
  •  Im willing to lose congress next year... (0+ / 0-)

    and the presidency over this if we dont get what we want.  Hell, if we dont get what we want, what are we losing anyway?

    •  "next year" = they could hardly care&won't change (0+ / 0-)

      2 parties. They lose seats this year. You get pissed at Republicans next time and they get eats back. You get pissed again at the Democrats for being corporate sell outs, they lose seats again. Then gain them back the next election. Over and over and over. This is the game that never ends with American's military/corporate "democracy".

      "All [US govt model based countries], without exception, have succumbed to the nightmare [of breakdown] one time or another, often repeatedly." - Bruce Ackerman

      by PoxOnYou on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:13:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A game that will head toward a collapse (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and then it gets really dicey.

        Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

        by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:16:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If this fails... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        who said I was ever going to vote dem again?

        •  Why not? (0+ / 0-)

          You want to see John Boehner running the House? You think we'd have gotten anything that this Congress has accomplished (and they have done some good things,believe me).

          You're what tea baggers and the RNC are counting on. Don't make them

          •  No improvement with Republicans (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            that's for sure.  It's not politics that concern me.  I am genuinely concerned that health care inflation is the next bubble!

            Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

            by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:36:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Im definitely not in it... (0+ / 0-)

            to make teabaggers happy.  But you have to admit that retardicans are able to keep their politicans on a short leash, and they do that with the ballot box.  

            So let me put it this way: if dems want my vote, they need to start caring that I have one.

            •  I wonder how many Republicans are primaried (0+ / 0-)

              I suspect that they don't primary very many.  The Republicans have merged with the right wing base.  They are now one and the same.  They don't need to be kept on a short leash because they think the same way as the right wing whackos. I suspect they probably are products of the same home schooled evangelical culture.

              Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

              by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 04:28:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  They primary those... (0+ / 0-)

                that dont jump when the base says to (See mccain 09 and specters defection).  This is how they have the whole party beholden to the base, through threat of primary challenge or weak turnout in the general.

        •  If you're progressive, you have no options here (0+ / 0-)

          The portion of Democrats who control the party are corporate sell outs, and same for Republicans. If you vote for a 3rd party, the party you like least of the 2, the party of crazy, will have a better chance of winning and your 3rd party will win nothing. if you protest (from the left), you are ignored or marginalized. Campaign finance reform may help, but it's one of those carrots on a stick issues, and with the Supreme Court about to unleash the full fury of corporate power over elections and govt, that option is looking less likely. The whole government needs to be thrown out and fixed. Not sure how that's going to happen.

          Or, we're going to see a lot of frustrated people escaping this country. Having lost all hope, knowing there are countries with more responsive, progressive (when compared to the US) governments. Some countries have laxed immigration recently even, like Canada, Sweden, Australia. I've been looking more into Vancouver, my only concern with it is the amount of rain, but it's well recommended otherwise. Sweden is also a consideration, just larger cultural/language hurdles.

          "All [US govt model based countries], without exception, have succumbed to the nightmare [of breakdown] one time or another, often repeatedly." - Bruce Ackerman

          by PoxOnYou on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:57:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We are headed toward a collpase (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            No telling how that will turn out ... the crazy right wing may win out or we may turn them out for good along with the corporate sell outs.  

            Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

            by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 04:08:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I appreciate what youre saying... (0+ / 0-)

            but this line of thought is why dems suck at negotiantions.  No one takes threats seriously when, in the end they know we'll cave because we have no where else to go.

            So if we want real change, we're going to have to change it from, 'ulitmately they'll vote for us in the end', to 'we better do what they want or we wont get re-elected'.  Once they understand that, we may actually start to matter.

            •  Not a threat just an analysis (0+ / 0-)

              Again, I am NOT being political.  I am projecting potential real world impacts.

              So, if you want to get political, what do I think we should do?  It will take too much time to build a 3rd party that wins elections.  Also, campaign finance laws are unkind to 3rd parties.  I think we should try our best to elect progressives.  Where feasible we should primary really awful conservative Democrats especially in high performing Democratic districts (where they could afford to progressive).

              Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

              by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 04:24:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree... (0+ / 0-)

                that 3rd parties are a waste of time under the current setup, but letting dems that arent actually progressive twist in the general election wind will end up favoring us politically.

                As far as the real world impacts, yes, it will get much worse before it gets better, but this current path ensures we'll never have any real say.

    •  It's not political; it's the real world impact (0+ / 0-)

      I am concerned about. As I see if we don't get this right and fail to slow down medical inflation, we are headed toward an economic collapse.

      Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

      by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:15:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Meh... (0+ / 0-)

        America had a good run.  All parties gotta end sometime... besides, we've proven we dont deserve our fortune.

        •  That is probably true (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Looking at it from many angles it may be a good thing for us in the long run and for the world.  A collapse would end the military empire - just like it did with the Russians.  That will be good for Americans (though right wingers will jump off of bridges ... so far so good). It will be also good for the world because we have started too many unnecessary wars.

          It will be bad of course for the people and I don't under-estimate how painful it could get.

          I don't hope for collapse.  I try to fight for sensible policy to avoid it.  That's why I am for single payer.  I think it's not only the most just answer but the most economically feasible.

          Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

          by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:24:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I dont hope for a collapse, per se.. (0+ / 0-)

            but, as you illustrate, there is a bright side.

            •  I am good at finding the bright side (0+ / 0-)

              in everything.  At heart, I really am an optimist.  But make no mistake a real collapse will be much worse than the 1920's for these reasons:

              1. There is insufficient farm land in America.  A collapse may mean starvation on a scale we never seen before.
              1. We are a less cohesive society.  There will be potentially violent struggles between the right and the left.
              1. Way too many people with guns ... it could turn into a scene out of a Mad Max movie.

              Let's hope we will find the wisdom to fix the problems before a collapse really occurs. The barbarians, name;y the insane right wing, are at the gate. We don't want a collapse, which I suspect they actually hope for (read Frank Shaeffer's excellent article on the resurgent religious right0, because it may give them an opening.

              Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

              by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 04:20:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Obama is making it increasingly hard to defend (0+ / 0-)

    him against the crazies. It's not that I can't defend him against their nonsense, but rather what motivation do I have to fight for the truth about a DLC/Blue Dog-siding corporate sell out? My only fight is against racism, but I can hardly defend him based on what he's done while president anymore.

    "All [US govt model based countries], without exception, have succumbed to the nightmare [of breakdown] one time or another, often repeatedly." - Bruce Ackerman

    by PoxOnYou on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:11:14 PM PDT

    •  Didn't the CBO already score a plan without a PO? (0+ / 0-)

      If I recall right it was NOT even close to being revenue neutral.  So how do the Blue Dogs support a plan without a PO?  There's a crazy logic at work here.  I suppose we are yet to see CBO score a plan with a CO-OPT.  Given that no one has defined a CO-OPT clearly, I doubt they can do that yet.

      What a bizarre debate!  The most obvious fixes are being ignored.  Changes that are least likely to fix anything are at hand.  How do we justify that knowing the system will go bust if nothing is done over the next decade?  I think that's the tactic we should take when pushing for a PO.  So far it's the only choice scored by CBO that has a chance of being revenue neutral and slowing down inflation.

      Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

      by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:21:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  tort reform? whoopee (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What about that one Republican idea to "save money"?

    About that great Repub idea to contain costs....

    The CBO estimated last year that savings achieved by limiting medical liability
    would amount to less than 0.5 percent of health care spending. In addition, the office studied states with their own controls on medical lawsuits. It found no proof that those limits have reduced "defensive medecine" - expensive and unnecessary tests and procedures ordered by a doctor only to reduce the risk of a lawsuit.
    (Associated Press, cited in Sacramento Bee, p. 6, Sept.13, 2009)

    Furthermore, in states with caps, malpractice insurance cost has not decreased compared to states without any. And there is no appreciable difference in "defensive medecine" costs either.

    Witness two states with conservative caps: Texas and California.

    More baloney from insurance companies and the GOP. With, of course, the little guy/consumer being once again the scapegoat.

    •  Yes indeed! (0+ / 0-)

      Again, Congressman Holt explained this very well at the last town hall.  It's amazing how good town halls can be when the children (tea baggers) aren't present.

      Basically, there are two aspects to tort - one is compensatory charges (no one argues against that), the other is so called pain and suffering.  Even if you grant that there are some frivolous pain and suffering aspects to tort, they don't amount to very much money.  That is why limiting tort doesn't do much.

      There may be legitimate concerns that Doctors practice defensive medicine because of tort.  That also isn't a large fiscal factor but does effect the practice of medicine.  Holt suspects talking to Doctors that it's a minor impact.

      Bottom line:

      Tort reform doesn't accomplish much.  It will effect health care policy costs by less than 1%!

      Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

      by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:33:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Institutional Investors iin Health Insurance Comp (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe it is time to put some pressure on institutional investors to pull their stock out of the major health insurance companies.

    As a result of shareholder resolutions and ongoing dialogue, ICCR members have
    prompted companies to issue public endorsement of healthcare principles --
    covering access, quality, affordability, and equitable financing.  Companies
    that have issued such public endorsements include (in alphabetical order):

    •  If they are smart they would URGE (0+ / 0-)

      real reforms.  Otherwise, these companies will collapse.  The CEO's don't care.  They will get filthy rich and head to Europe where they can get health care.

      To be honest, I suspect the entire concept of for profit health care insurance industry is unworkable.  If I was an investor (and I am not) I would get out now before they get stuck like with the banks.

      Kent Conrad is chasing a white rabbit named Harvey (don't let him co-opt real reform).

      by noofsh on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 03:44:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can the health care bill be revenue (0+ / 0-)

    neutral without a public option?

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