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Republicans have gotten much mileage by railing against the insurance mandate, and it's a key point of contention with the teabagging Right. But the dirty little secret is that Republican senators really don't want it to go away -- it is, after all, an epic giveaway to the health insurance industry.

So Republicans are salivating at this win-win opportunity -- keep their corporate lobbyist friends happy, while also having a potent campaign issue with which to beat the crap out of Democrats.

The mandate puts the government in the untenable position of forcing everyone to buy a shitty product from private companies enjoying ant-monopoly protections. Funny how all the measures that helped people in this reform bill were stripped out, but the one that screws over many people and bails out a failed industry (that doesn't even need a bailout) somehow has no problem staying in. Yet another symptom of a broken government.

So here's the deal -- a progressive should step up with an amendment to strip out the mandate. He should get a non-Wall Street Republican to join him, be it Tom Coburn or Jim DeMint, one or more of those guys. And then force a roll call vote on the issue.

Republicans are then forced to make a genuinely difficult position. If they vote "yes" on removing the mandate, they help make the health care bill less electorally toxic, helping Democratic electoral chances in 2012, while also pissing off their insurance industry pals. If they vote "no", then they are exposed as being just as culpable on the issue as the Democrats driving their party off a cliff. In addition, the teabaggers will be incensed, and as we know by now, they're not shy about primary challenges.

So who will step up for the Democrats? Sanders? Franken? Brown? Burris? And who will join them on the GOP side? Coburn? DeMint? Gregg?

As a bonus, we'd get some good ol' fashioned "bipartisanship" we could all believe in.

Update: A similar strategy, from the comments, which could also work:

Pass the bill with the mandate, and then come back in January and propose a single-sentence bill to strike everything referring to the mandate out.

And make Joe and the Republicans filibuster a one sentence bill that every American can understand. You have to buy insurance because of Joe and the GOP.

Then introduce another one-sentence bill to remove the HI industries anti-trust exemption. And make Joe and the party of the free market (ha!) filibuster that.

Make the GOP and Joe own the bad parts of the bill.

Problem is, of course, that we're stuck with the mandate. But the mandate penalty is only $95 in 2014 (up to $750 in 2016). We can keep hitting them on this for the next few cycles.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:26 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Isn't the mandate the only thing (5+ / 0-)

    keeping the costs down? Can it still be deficit neutral without it?

    "A vote against cloture is a vote for Die Quickly"
    --@jameskass

    by ThatsNotFunny on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:27:42 AM PST

    •  There's nothing keeping costs down as best (33+ / 0-)

      I can tell.  

      The public option was a vehicle for that.  

      Heck, they couldn't even pass drug re-importation from countries with verified QA/QC, which would have resulted in huge cost savings.  

      •  Wrong! (4+ / 0-)

        The idea behind the mandate is that if everyone has insurance, then we're not paying exorbitant prices for healthcare for the un-insured.  If people pay for insurance, as the thinking goes, premiums would come down over time because those of us with insurance are not having to pay for a lot of bad apples without it.

        Now, I'm just laying out the cost-containment argument for the mandate, I'm not arguing for or against it.  But to say that the public-option was the only cost-containment mechanism in the bill is just flat out wrong.  People should actually study the thing before they go off on it.

        Now, I understand Kos' objections to the mandate within this context, but just because the insurance industry is a virtual monopoly now doesn't mean that (a) it will be in perpetuity or (b) that a mandate, in the abstract, is a bad idea.

        I really hate how people on this site have let their emotions get the better of them.  We can't be credible progressives if we're going to cry everytime Joe Lieberman is a son-of-a-bitch.  If it weren't him, it'd be somebody else.  Trust me on that.

        Oba-MA bumaye! Oba-MA bumaye!

        by fou on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:38:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Without a public option (4+ / 0-)

          or other strong new competition, the mandate is virtually useless as a mechanism for reform.

          BTW, it wasn't added to lower the costs due to uninsured health care - it was put in as a bone to the insurance industry for sucking up to community ratings, an end to rescission, and an end to denial for pre-existing conditions.  The theory being that if the insurance industry was going to accept those conditions, then they didn't want some uninsured Joe walking in the door, getting insured, then turning around the next day and racking up huge bills.

          But without cost controls, it's a giveaway to the insurance industry, not reform.  I agree; take out the mandate and add in, say, a 1-year pre-existing condition exclusion for new insured in its place.

          Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

          by Phoenix Rising on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:44:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Of course (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lzachary, nargel, tle

          that assumes that insurance companies will pass on the savings achieved because hospitals no longer have to finance uninsured ER care by hiking up costs across the board. Because they're really caring, generous, misunderstood folks who aren't at all out to screw every single victim customer they can get their hands on.

          Now, I understand Kos' objections to the mandate within this context, but just because the insurance industry is a virtual monopoly now doesn't mean that (a) it will be in perpetuity

          It will be as long as it's got antitrust exemption, which, as far as anybody can tell at this point, it will in perpetuity.

          •  LOL. Thank you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lzachary

            for the belly laugh.

            Because they're really caring, generous, misunderstood folks who aren't at all out to screw every single victim customer they can get their hands on.

            I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

            by tle on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:26:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, you're wrong. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tmo, lzachary, nargel, Murchadha

          The idea behind the mandate is that if everyone has insurance, then we're not paying exorbitant prices for healthcare for the un-insured.

          Individual mandates do next to nothing in controlling premium rates, as uninsured 'free riders' account for at most about 1.7% of the cost of individual premiums.

          By contrast, private insurance companies typically skim as 'administrative costs' up to 40% off the top of individual insurance premiums and 20% off of insured premiums overall.

          For more see, here and here.

          "The Owl that Calls upon the Night, Speaks the Unbeliever's Fright." - William Blake

          by Night Owl on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:10:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Would it as much as people say (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lzachary

          One Issue with a mandate include people preferring the fine to paying for insurance they may feel they cannot afford (if the fine is low enough that people see it as a better option)

          Another issue is that it does not get rid of the need for ERs performing primary care if homeless people (and other extremely low income people working under the table) and  undocumented immigrants were to somehow get insured. A mandate will likely have no impact on either group but if it does insure people in other categories it could get rid car for such individuals completely from nonER situations that exist now (since one does tend to get treated if one doesnt have ones ID on one and one gets hit by a car but one cant go to many county hospitals without id and proof of low income)

          Another issues can be seen in the auto uninsurance rate. The mandate in most states seems pretty hard to get around but people find ways. The devil is in the details with a plan but if the subsidies are not timed correctly (they are paid after one pays insurance or are not available when one had a job earlier in the year and got fired but dont have savings) people will try to find some way around the mandate (maybe getting insurance and cancelling, using others numbers to trick the IRS, filling in a random number and hoping not to get audited  etc..).

          The 30 millions number people throw around as getting insured with a mandate seems like it is probably an unrealistic number. You can look at auto-uninsurance rates (which are over 25% in some states to get a more realistic estimate)

          The last issue (unrelated to your point) which is probably more important to people on this site than the general public, is that if the mandate consists of additional forms one has to file with ones taxes, it will be unpopular across the political spectrum. I would guess even if it is just a single new field to fill in one some forms the complaints form those of all political background will be louder than with a tax increase. The issue is partly one of having to do one more thing in a hated process but it is also they way people think of the IRS and the combination of that with a requirement of providing new information that seems unrelated to taxes with the Right telling you that the government will misuse it and the Left talking about it being a bailout for insurance companies.

        •  Wrong! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Night Owl

          That's not cost containment.  It's cost distribution determined at the whim of private insurance companies that pocket 27% for themselves, subsidized by taxpayers at that.

          And I suggest you re-read my post.  I didn't say the public option was the only cost containment measure that could be undertaken.  In fact I listed another one that they also shelved.  

          This bill as it stands is a piece of shit.  

    •  Kos is too mad at Joe Lieberman (4+ / 0-)

      to have a rational discussion the bill.

      Funny how all the measures that helped people in this reform bill were stripped out,

      That's just bullshit is what that is.

      Oba-MA bumaye! Oba-MA bumaye!

      by fou on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:30:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The insurance industry is who is fighting for (15+ / 0-)

      the mandate and stricter penalties and fines.

      Kinda make one wonder what the real benefit to the country is?

    •  I don't think so. (7+ / 0-)

      It does, philosophically, keep costs down. But only if the industry consists of a variety of companies who compete with each other for clients and providers. We know it doesn't.

      Right now, the only competition the industry has is with its customers and with the health care providers, so the only way it can classically work against costs. Thiswon't change with mandates.

      It might not even change if the anti-trust exemption was lifted. But that would make a great second step here.

      Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

      by textus on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:31:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My "philosophical" paycheck won't cover t mandate (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tmo

        I'm beginning to wonder if the "across state lines" competition may be a good thing, as long as there's a strong FEDERAL regulator of coverage terms and industry practices.  And NOT one that's "quasi-governmental" like the FAA or SEC other of the agencies that end up just being subsidized lobbying groups for the industry they're supposed to regulate.

        •  I'm going to sound like a tea bagger here, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tmo, eztempo, Timothy J

          but I don't trust the federal government to enforce its laws on my behalf against a well-lobbied industry. A strong public option as a consequence for not meeting its obligations is the only viable check/balance a mandated health-insurance system in this country in this era could have.

          "School reform" includes using school choice as an incentive for schools to meet their obligations. Why is choice good for public schools but not for allegedly competitive private-sector insurance companies?

          Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

          by textus on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:05:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yer right. (0+ / 0-)

            My fingers were trembling as I wrote that about a Federal regulator -- I know the sorry track record -- but intra-state competition is something that even the Rethugs can get on board with, so increased competition can relieve the anti-competitive, monopolized markets in many states.  But, it should only happen as long as there are national protections for consumers.  NOT the balkanized state-by-state regulatory regime we have now.  That just enables big insurers to shop their contracts to the most permissive, bought-off state regulator.

            Real change isn't gonna happen until it's systemmic:  until there's a strong, robust government plan that's subject to voter pressure that competes with the private companies.  That's a truism.

            I'm just concerned about my premiums until we get that.

    •  I believe it can with the incentives and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eztempo, beltane

      subsidies - there's obvious problems with the mandate in-and-of-itself bending the cost curve (i.e., why would insurers necessarily decrease rates when they're getting govt taxpayer dollars anyway?)

      I think the "draw people in with honey" approach - subsidies plus a PSA campaign - is the right way to go without a public alternative. Plus, you don't have the issue of actually having to enforce the mandate (something we haven't tried on a national scale before, and which might actually be harder and more costly to do than it sounds).

      "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

      by grannyhelen on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:32:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It has not worked that way in practice (16+ / 0-)

      The notion that forcing people to buy a product no matter the cost, will lower costs is patently absurd. If anti-trust exemptions had been removed, perhaps the mandate would work, but not as the bill now stands.

      The weak in courage is strong in cunning-William Blake

      by beltane on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:33:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It raises costs dramatically (15+ / 0-)

      We have a mandate in Massachusetts, and our insurance rates have skyrocketed even faster than those in the rest of the country.

      What the mandate does is put a heavy weight on the supply-demand balance.  Demand is forced, so even if the price goes up, people HAVE to buy.  So there's a huge incentive to raise prices.  Absent antitrust and given the high concentration of providers (worse in other states than in Massachusetts, where there are usually 3-5 companies with a meaningful market share), the outcome is obvious.

      The only excuse for the mandate is to force people who perceive themselves to be at low risk into buying a product they think they don't need.  But that only really makes a difference when the community rating system is strong.  The proposed rates keep the low-risk people near their actuarial risk anyway, so they're not subsidizing much.  And the Senate plan, at least, preserves pre-existing condition exclusions and recission, albeit in guise of "failure to disclose".

      •  sortof (0+ / 0-)

        Agree with you but want to correct one aspect of an argument you are also arguing against.

        The only excuse for the mandate is to force people who perceive themselves to be at low risk into buying a product they think they don't need.

        Really that argument only applies to low paying jobs without insurance and independent  workers. Since high income independent workers are largely insured you end up with the group that tends to be demonized as choosing not to have insurance as being mainly minimum wage service sector jobs and day labor type work. In many cases there is a choice in such a group where people could buy insurance if they prioritized it over housing, food, clothing etc.. Housing is a complicated one since the lowest rental rate one can find depends on ones credit, how long one has been living in the same place (with rent control) and luck in section 8 lotteries. If the lowest priced apartment a single person can find for a job near ones work is $1000 a month the definition of affordability is different from a couple or group of friends sharing a rent controlled place in a cheeper city and paying $200 or less each.

    •  Anti-trust protection and subsidies nix "cost (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grannyhelen, cybrestrike

      control"

      There is nothing ... NOTHING ... to keep insurance companies from jacking prices as much as they want, as long as they spread it 3-to-1 against older Americans.  Least, that's all I've heard or read that "contains" costs to us serfs that'll be forced to buy insurance.

    •  Bill is cheaper without mandate (0+ / 0-)

      The bill would be much cheaper without it.

  •  So what's the solution to broken government? (8+ / 0-)

    Eliminate the filibuster?  Change the way elections are funded?

    How do we get from here to some place where government actually works again?

    Progrsssive -> Progress; Conservative -> Con

    by nightsweat on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:28:26 AM PST

  •  The Chicken $hit GOPers (5+ / 0-)

    won't have the cojones to do as you suggest because they are out to politically & personally humiliate President Obama; that's all they care about.

    Dems, get some guts, or we'll KICK YER BUTTS!

    by CityLightsLover on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:28:34 AM PST

  •  This is still giving in. (0+ / 0-)

    It is as lousy without the mandate.

    2.5 trillion dollars have been "borrowed" since the [SS] system was "reformed" in the 80s and they simply don't want to pay it back. - dKos Blogger -

    by Silverbird on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:28:41 AM PST

    •  disagree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aquarius40, ColoTim, beltane

      not if some of the subsidies and banning pre-existing condition refusals are held in place.

    •  Not Really (0+ / 0-)

      As I understand it, the insurance companies get fucked without the mandates because the only thing left in the bill will be subsidies for some if they want to use them and some regulations on the industry.

      "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 Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:49:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, it's settling for a field goal. (0+ / 0-)

      Instead of going for the Hail Mary on fourth down and hoping like hell for the TD.  It is not "just as lousy" without the mandate.  It becomes an incremental measure upon which we can build what we eventually want.  Of course, don't tell Joe Lieberman that, or he'll find some other reason to be an asshole.

      Want to get more work done? Punt Harry Reid in '10.

      by Steaming Pile on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:03:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is not a game. (0+ / 0-)

        I want a bill that makes it clear that there are other ways to obtain health care insurance and care that having to go to private insurance corporations.  There is nothing good enough in this bill to give that away.

        2.5 trillion dollars have been "borrowed" since the [SS] system was "reformed" in the 80s and they simply don't want to pay it back. - dKos Blogger -

        by Silverbird on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:13:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh yeah? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybersaur

          The Republicans seem to think it's a game.  To win, you have to understand how the game works.  The problem is, the Democrats showed up at a football game wearing white sweaters and sneakers and carrying badminton rackets, and the sooner they realize that, the better.

          Want to get more work done? Punt Harry Reid in '10.

          by Steaming Pile on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:17:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, then that is just too bad for Democrats. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cybersaur

            Scrap this corporate-friendly bill and start over.  We need something that works for us people, not a feather in the hat of the Democratic Party that shovels money at the insurance companies.

            2.5 trillion dollars have been "borrowed" since the [SS] system was "reformed" in the 80s and they simply don't want to pay it back. - dKos Blogger -

            by Silverbird on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:25:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Absolutely right. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo

    Just made my calls to Reied and my two senators.  Note that the numbers in the DFA email for Reid and the SB don't work!

    This machine kills fascists!

    by Zotz on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:28:49 AM PST

  •  CAN WE DRAFT BURRIS? (10+ / 0-)

    He wants the glory and has indicated he may be up for a fight!

    "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist" --- President Barack Obama, 1-20-2009.

    by tier1express on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:28:57 AM PST

  •  a much better solution than "kill the bill" (6+ / 0-)
    And yes, it forces them to either cave in (so something gets passed, and less shitty at that), or reveal themselves for what they are... the Party of No, determined to obstruct at all costs.

    Almost nobody hates freedom. Almost everybody fears freedom.

    by Orbital Mind Control Lasers on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:29:00 AM PST

  •  It's time to start a Draft Dean movement (15+ / 0-)

    for 2012.

    My favorite color is orange, love long walks on the beach, and I enjoy kicking Republicans right in their canards!

    by MacJimi on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:29:26 AM PST

  •  I hate it when I agree with Republicans (12+ / 0-)

    But they are correct in theory (not facts) about the mandate.

    Kill the mandate and taxing benefits... and this bill may be worth passing.

  •  I'd LOVE to see Frankin get in on this. /nt (8+ / 0-)

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    -Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:29:32 AM PST

  •  You don;t buy insurance for yourself (0+ / 0-)

    and your family from private health insurance company? If you don't you have a point. If you do then let us face it- what is good for you is good enough for 45 million uninsured Americans.

    •  Nothing stopping them now (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zogren

      Or do you really believe the subsidy fairy is going to go in effect in a few years?

      •  Really? Vast majority (0+ / 0-)

        of uninsured either do not have money to buy insurance or they have pre-existing conditions. Like you, they'll buy insurance for their families if they can afford to. This bill brings roughly 15 million poor into the medicaid fold or has substantial subsidies for anyeone under 250% FPL. Mandates are a red herring and they are only there to control costs.

        •  I don't believe the subsidies will ever kick in (0+ / 0-)

          They put them to far off down the road.  To see them happen you would need a happy public, a Democratic congress and a Democratic White House.  It would be nice to believe, but unless they were to kick in immediately they won't survive.  

          Besides I don't trust them to survive the non elected commission to gut all the social programs next year.

  •  The 'Pubs will vote--near unanimously--no (6+ / 0-)

    on anything labeled "Health Care Reform."  It's Obama's Waterloo, remember?

    But, yes, by all means, pull this wretched mandate.

    Finally, some new songs up at da web site!

    by Crashing Vor on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:29:42 AM PST

  •  Yup. Strip out the mandate. (12+ / 0-)

    It's not even remotely possible I'll be in favor of what's left of this bill, any other way.

    Or, leave it in and lose EVERY "centrist" voter in the good ol' US of A.

    "Doing My Part to Piss Off the Religious Right" - A sign held by a 10-year old boy on 9-24-05

    by Timbuk3 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:29:46 AM PST

  •  Nice one Kos. (7+ / 0-)

    But Harry Reid has shown himself to be not that bright.

  •  That would be too mean (9+ / 0-)

    of the Democrats to embarrass the GOP like that.

    Be safe every day, President Obama.

    by Grumpy Young Man on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:30:00 AM PST

  •  Perfect (21+ / 0-)

    Democrats are going to own that mandate whether we realize it or not, and it's going to absolutely kill us in 2010 and 2012.  At least give individual Dems a fighting chance of voting against it and saving their political skins in upcoming elections.  

  •  NIce - and can't wait to see this move. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley, Crabby Abbey

    No Robust Public Option - No Reelection - No Kidding!

    by dr fatman on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:30:09 AM PST

  •  I just love having my medical care being used (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pompatus, sulthernao

    as a political football.  

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:30:15 AM PST

  •  I've been thinking about this exact "win win" (5+ / 0-)

    for the Republicans, and how they must be gloating about it. That, more than anything else, makes me want to kill the bill.

  •  If the teabaggers had been more vocal (7+ / 0-)

    about the mandate than about teh soshalism or killing granny, they would have gotten a lot more traction. The mandate aka the corporate ownership of every man, woman and child in America is the most toxic idea to come along since privatizing social security, especially as the plans we will be forced to buy are pure, unadulterated crap.

    The weak in courage is strong in cunning-William Blake

    by beltane on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:30:39 AM PST

  •  It's a green eyeshade bill without the mandate (11+ / 0-)

    which is fine by me. Don't know how they're going to sell this horrible shitpile of a bill, but at least the middle class wont get kicked in the balls.

    Strip out the mandate, or kill the whole thing.

    What a fucking disaster this is.

  •  better yet, take out the anti-trust exemption! (12+ / 0-)

    that opens the free market...what conservative would vote against that?

    I'd love to hear the tapdance

    The Seminole Democrat
    A blue voice calling from the deep red

    by SemDem on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:30:54 AM PST

  •  The best idea I've heard all day (5+ / 0-)

    Well played.  

    I bet it will not happen though.  

    Reid finally gets a disciplined Senate now that the only happy constituent will be the Insurance Lobby.

    The Americans Forced to buy Crappy Product and enrich Evil Scumbags Act will most likely pass without such an ammendment.

  •  It won't work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mogolori, eztempo

    send a mandate-less bill to the CBO for scoring and watch what it projects the average cost of insurnance to be in 2015.

    None of the reforms work without a mandate. The answer is to regulate the insurance industry.

    All my IP addresses have been banned from Redstate.com.

    by charliehall on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:31:09 AM PST

  •  Markos YOU ARE BRILLIANT! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, filby, beltane

    I love this idea.

  •  Just for fun, take any old Republican thing... (4+ / 0-)

    ...put a "D" label on it, get Howard Dean to say he likes it, and see if they recognize it, or if they rail against it and get Limbaugh to denounce it.

    Change TX-32, Change the Nation. Send Democrat Grier Raggio to Congress.

    by CoolOnion on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:31:23 AM PST

  •  I'm betting NO ONE steps up. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irmaly, eztempo, beltane, agito

    Color me pessimistic and disenchanted  ;-(

  •  Fine and dandy ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftneck

    ... but then what's left in the bill?

    Anything? Kinda a ban on discriminating against those with preexisting conditions? A few cost controls?

    Seriously, what's left after taking out the bits about covering everybody one way or another?

    -5.38 -4.72 T. No public option? No mandate.

    by trevzb on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:31:42 AM PST

  •  the question is (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrississippi, DanD, TheMomCat, Timbuk3

    whether the democratic leadership wants it to go away.

  •  Kos, after this the ONLY thing you should (11+ / 0-)

    be focusing on is campaign finance reform.

    Until we get corporate money out of our politics we are never going to get any real meaningful legislation passed that is good for the average American.

    There, I said it.

    My favorite color is orange, love long walks on the beach, and I enjoy kicking Republicans right in their canards!

    by MacJimi on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:31:52 AM PST

  •  Will there be enough democrats to support it? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftneck

    I mean yeah you might be able to round up a bloc of republicans willing to remove the mandate, but will it get enough votes to actually get stripped?  Let's face it this bill is looking more and more like the original senate finance bill, and I think the White House wanted that bill all along.

    We all went to heaven in a little rowboat, and there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt. --Radiohead

    by Tzimisce on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:32:13 AM PST

    •  Dems? meh-- the republicans might (0+ / 0-)

      Will there be enough democrats to support [removing the mandate]?

      I can see the republicans voting in favor of stripping the mandate as a sort of poison pill geraed torward torpedoing the whole thing. If the mandate gets stripped the Murder-by-Spreadsheet lobbyists will get on the horn to their bought and paid for Democratic Senators and the whole thing will go down in flames. The repubs can then put it in their 2010 campaign commercials that they did all they could to prevent the Democrat Congress [sic] from forcing families to buy insurance they can't afford during these hard economic times.

      AG Holder is obstructing justice by actively refusing investigation of war crimes.

      by cybersaur on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:59:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  of course (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, divineorder, Crabby Abbey

    it's what I have been saying on all my phone calls to DC today - drop the mandate

    "We're creating instability that could lead us into wider war."....Dennis Kucinich

    by lisastar on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:32:26 AM PST

  •  Thank God (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo, beltane

    Someone still remembers the concept of political cover.  Especially when you're proposing to screw over millions of voters for a corporation.

  •  I've said before I have some things in (4+ / 0-)

    common with the teabaggers.  What strange bedfellows politics creates.

    My disappointment in Obama's leadership defies description, my disgust for Rahm Emmanuel almost causes my hands to shake.

  •  NOW you're thinking like a politician! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo

    (who can win the long race!!)

    this is how the game is played.... and how the democrats will finally be able to take out the needed republicans in 2010.

    Totalitarian tyranny is not based on the virtues of the totalitarians. It is based on the mistakes of the liberals - albert camus

    by edrie on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:33:04 AM PST

    •  This isn't the Super Bowl. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      edrie

      It's more like the old NFL Championship game, which was played in one of the two participating teams' home fields.  Sometimes it was Wrigley Field.  Sometimes it was Yankee Stadium (or the Polo Grounds).  Since there were few NFL teams in the South in those days, the weather was usually brutal, which made for a kick-ass, get dirty, blood in the snow kind of football game, which was usually won on the ground, not on 45 yard passes on Astroturf in 75 degree weather.  Getting into field goal range is a big deal.

      So yeah, I agree with Kos.  Strip out the sucky parts of the bill, like the PO-free mandate, and send the good parts to the President.  Put the three points on the board, and make the next election a referendum on the parts you didn't get to pass, like the public option, or the Medicare buy-in.  Give those guys out there on the campaign trail something to campaign about other than "the Republicans are frickin' nuts!"  That's how you win pre-Super Bowl football.

      Want to get more work done? Punt Harry Reid in '10.

      by Steaming Pile on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:13:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you hit it out of the ballpark! (0+ / 0-)

        this is a strategy that will stop the 60 proof nonsense in the senate!

        here's hoping people on the hill listen.

        seems like the greater strategy is being lost in the din of screamers who are not happy they didn't get the whole game by the other team defaulting.

        and, one more curiosity... when did the rec list turn into the wreck list of opinion instead of reasearched and well thought out fact?  guess that's what happens when you get over 200,000 people in the pool (or on the field, to stay with your analogy...)

        Totalitarian tyranny is not based on the virtues of the totalitarians. It is based on the mistakes of the liberals - albert camus

        by edrie on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:07:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Can someone please link me to the article (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, TheMomCat, eztempo

    where they bargained away the stripping antitrust item? This was one of the main drivers for reform I thought.

    There are only 2 things in life I believe about religion: There could be a God and I'm sure as heck not him.

    by Irixsh on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:33:07 AM PST

  •  cadillac plan tax needs to be addressed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, cybersaur

    many of the plan that would fall into this category are those offered public employees.  I do not know if those are exempt from tax, but if they are, that will make those in private plans livid.  The tax seems intended to LOWER coverage for those of us who have good coverage.

    As for the mandate -  I really wonder if it would hold up in court.   You are a lawyer, even if not practicing, kos, what do you think?

    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:33:21 AM PST

    •  It would just be a shame if (0+ / 0-)

      anything happened to EFCA.  I think cadillac plans are being taxed because it is an additional club held over labor in order to get their support for this turd of a bill.  Fall in line or be punished.

      So here's the argument about the mandate being unconstitutional.  The States have most of the police powers, the ability to regulate the health, safety, morals and welfare of its citizens.  The Federal Government has used the commerce clause in Art 1 in order to enact legislation that regulates many of those same state areas.  This is Constitutional mostly because even the most remote of products has the ability to enter into the stream of commerce and become interstate commerce.  The mandate has a few problems 1) insurance is done state by state and there is NO risk of the product (the policy) entering into the stream of commerce.  The counter to that could be that its not the policy, but the service (actual healthcare) that is the interstate issue, 2) next citizens are essentially being taxed in a way that directly benefits a private entity, which is somewhat addressed in the Kelo case, where private property is seized by the government, and given to private industry (held constitutional).  3) maybe a combination attack where you show a) that the person is not getting Due Process (taking of property without just compensation) which a terrible plan could be no compensation and b) that one is being forced to purchase a plan from a company that enjoys anti-trust exemption.

      Honestly there is an argument to be made, but I have no clue how the Court would rule on it and it's by no means a slam dunk.

      We all went to heaven in a little rowboat, and there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt. --Radiohead

      by Tzimisce on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:48:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Cadillac plan tax is a tax on luxuries. (0+ / 0-)

      This is in a long tradition of taxing luxuries.

      It seems that relatively few people would be affected by this luxury tax. Those affected could choose to avoid it by changing to a plan that doesn't incur the tax if they don't feel it's that important to run to the top heart specialist in the country at the first sign of a slightly increased heart rate.

      These Cadillac plans drive up average health care costs by over-utilization.

      Remember that those paying extra for private insurance right now due to preexisting conditions will see their rates drop, in some cases dramatically, with the elimination of preexisting conditions as a factor in acceptance and premium level. Those faux-Cadillac plan holders won't necessarily be paying Cadillac level anymore.

  •  Or pass the mandate (0+ / 0-)

    knowing full well that it will likely be declared unconstitutional before they go into effect several years from now, or strip out the mandates with future legislation once some of these conservadems are out of office.

    "A vote against cloture is a vote for Die Quickly"
    --@jameskass

    by ThatsNotFunny on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:33:23 AM PST

    •  This isn't the court to rely on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cybersaur, arlene

      for striking down anything that is pro-business (using the term losely there).  It's made up of a couple liberals who are wary of weakening the commerce clause because of the good progressive legislation based on it and a bunch of fair-weather "originalists" who are invariably in lockstep with the GOP.

      "While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free!" -Eugene V. Debs

      by leftneck on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:46:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  THANK YOU for noting this, Markos. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo, cybersaur, FishBiscuit

    ... and bails out a failed industry (that doesn't even need a bailout)

    People keep talking about this as a "bailout" for the insurance industry -- but in reality it's even worse than that.

    Unlike banks and the auto industry, the insurance and pharmaceutical industries don't even need a bailout.  They don't need help at all.  They're doing great.

    This isn't a "bailout" in any sense of the word.  It's a great big gift of even more billions of dollars on top of the zillions they're already making, wrapped up in a big bow with hugs and kisses from the Senate and the Obama Administration, just in time for Christmas.

  •  a strategy based on logic (0+ / 0-)

    doesn't seem to work for dems.

    unless it's a strategy to capitulate.

  •  Yep The mandate has to go (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, leftneck

    No alternative to private insurance, no mandate, period.  That has to be the progressive line in the sand.

  •  Removing mandate would remove SOME market power (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, leftneck

    from insurance companies: with a mandate, they not only are able to act as a monopoly, but as a monopoly that nobody can refuse.  Without, they can only charge so much before people do without insurance altogeether.

    But that
    s where we are now: hoping people will do without insurance altogether.  Sigh.

    Subsidies without cost controls, regulatory reform means that citizens get a little more awful insurance at a huge cost to taxpayers. Like Part D but worse.

    by Inland on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:34:26 AM PST

    •  But, without a mandate... (0+ / 0-)

      ...there is a tipping point past where insurance companies will just effectively stop issuing private policies and stick to the group insurance business (actual insurance or just administration of self-insured employer plans). ('Affinity' groups where people can join at little cost, such as IEEE, would likely be treated as private policies as more and more people run to that refuge).

      I know I'm restating the obvious, but once insurance companies can't charge higher rate or (more effective) deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, they will likely have to do one or more of the following:

      1. Accept losing money.

        [We know this won't happen because the alternative of just exiting the private insurance market is more attractive.]

      2. Raise rates on everyone.

        [They will have to do this to some extent to accommodate previously "uninsurable" individuals. However, without a mandate, as rates go up the healthiest individuals will begin to drop their insurance either because they can't afford premiums any more or they decide to take a risk of going bare - knowing the ER will treat them in an emergency and knowing they can just buy insurance if they are diagnosed with something less urgent and possibly chronic. This of course results in yet higher rates as the average claims cost goes up per insured. There is a very real risk of reaching a horrible tipping point here where most people who can reasonably afford insurance are those that could rationally self-insure (probably around $10M in liquid discretionary assets?) so don't even choose insurance - this is effectively the point that an insurance company would exit the private insurance market as there is virtually no demand for their product above their break-even price.]

      3. Reduce claims payouts by more careful and exhaustive pre-approval scrutiny and/or post-treatment denial.

        [They will try to do this, but they have probably squeezed most of this out already so it seems unlikely this will help address the expense:income imbalance much. Also, getting too aggressive here is likely to result in more legislation preventing them from doing so.]

      4. Increase efficiency.

        [Possibly. But this is bounded (some administration costs are inevitable) and they already have tried to do this. Reductions here may delay reaching the tipping point, but probably not prevent reaching it.]

      5. Reduce compensation.

        [Very limited potential, very little, as a percentage, of the revenue goes to those who could be effectively targeted with this strategy. Reducing the compensation of customer service reps, for example, is likely to result in them just seeking similar jobs in other industries (once the economy rebounds that is). Again, at best would probably slightly delay, not prevent, reaching the tipping point.]

      6. Negotiate lower reimbursements to providers.

        [There probably is some hope here. However, providers won't consistently accept reimbursement below their costs of providing the service plus the overhead of providing un/under-reimbursed care.]



      The whole scheme of eliminating discrimination based on pre-existing conditions seems to require a mandate - regardless of if there is PO or not. I don't know where the tipping point is, but I'm pretty sure it's within sight and must be avoided unless the goal is to force "single payer" in response to a horrific meltdown of the private insurance policy market.

  •  I like it! (0+ / 0-)

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:34:34 AM PST

  •  I feel like it's all inside baseball now. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inland

    People wanted the public option.  It was stripped.  Now people don't want it.

    Doin' a mandate two-step won't solve Democratic disillusionment with this health care reform debacle.  It's baked in.

  •  F*ck Joe Lieberman. Let's Kill the Mandate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lisastar

    diaried here

    not an altogether new idea

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:35:15 AM PST

  •  Would the mandate even survive a Court challenge (0+ / 0-)

    With the RATS and Kennedy would the mandate to buy insurance from a private entity without a public option survive a court challenge?  It doesn't seem like it to me, but IANAL.

    The mandate is really just a tax by other means, because the Congress is too wimpy to just raise a tax and use it to provide health care.

    Progrsssive -> Progress; Conservative -> Con

    by nightsweat on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:35:18 AM PST

  •  Damn straight (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishBiscuit, leftneck

    If this bill is soo fucking good, why allow its survival to hinge upon the individual mandate? Isn't all that other stuff supposed to put a stop to some of the evil shit the insurance industry has been doing? Or is the bill really about the huge giveaway to the insurance industry?

    Time to put up, or shut up.

    "I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's." - William Blake

    by Tod Westlake on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:35:43 AM PST

  •  I like the way you think, kos! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur

    It's similar to how expanding Medicare (with the Buy-In proposal) put the GOP in a bind (i.e. How can you be against strengthening Medicare, when you just railed against funding cuts?)

    And, as you noted before, stripping the mandate is the biggest hurdle to making this bill even remotely palatable.

    Joe the Plumber, Andy Warhol called. He wants your fifteen minutes back!

    by shaf on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:36:06 AM PST

  •  Well does getting rid of the (4+ / 0-)

    mandate mean you also have to get rid of the ban on pre-exisiting conditions and community rating?

    If so, what's the point of even having a bill?

    •  to save the president's butt? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FishBiscuit

      "We're creating instability that could lead us into wider war."....Dennis Kucinich

      by lisastar on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:40:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It does (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethyeah

      That's the trade-off. Get rid of the mandate, and the insurance system collapses under the weight of people signing up the instant they need insurance and dropping it the instant they don't.

      Like it or not, insurance can't function if it only pays out. It needs to take money in, to spread the risk and cost around. That's how insurance works by definition.

      Of course, the alternative is mandate-through-taxation, otherwise known as single payer. That works fine, functions the same way, but is largely invisible. Let's hope we get there when it's time for a real reform push.

  •  This mandate crap... (11+ / 0-)

    ..will never survive.

    Why?

    Can you imagine a teabagger being forced to buy "Obamacare insurance?"  Multiply that clusterfuck by 20 million & you see what a shitstorm this mandate foolish will cause if it is passed.

    BTW, just for the record, I am with the teabaggers on this:  There is no way in hell I am buying government mandated insurance, & there is no way in hell I am going to play a $750 fine for refusing to.

    If you want to see literal riots in the streets, & if you want to see this country ripped apart at the seams, let this mandatory insurance purchase crap pass into law.

    Thank you Fox News, for keeping us infromed.

    by wyvern on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:36:41 AM PST

  •  I like it. (0+ / 0-)

    (I haven't said that a lot the last two weeks. The blizzard we had was a factor as well as a lot of other things everyone knows about. It's weird to say that again.)

    We work in the dark. We do what we can. We give what we have. Our doubt is our passion. Our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.

    by cultural worker on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:36:43 AM PST

  •  Make a new amendment to add the PO (0+ / 0-)

    let them filibuster it or cave and let it in.  Nothing is passed, it is not over.

  •  Great call kos but we don't have the personelle (0+ / 0-)

    to execute that play.

    We have Jay Cutler at QB....he just keeps throwing it to the other team!!

    I was never warned. I was just suddenly locked out. -TocqDville'

    by dakrle on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:37:00 AM PST

  •  BTW: Reconciliation will indeed work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, DanD

    Contrary to what we've been hearing in the comment threads on this site, reconciliation can and will work.

    Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

    by Phoenix Woman on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:37:04 AM PST

  •  Hear, hear! (0+ / 0-)

    Now just who -- on either side of the aisle -- has the cajones to go high-profile against the insurance industry, f' real?

    I'm doubtful that any of 'em in the Senate are willing to do it, but hope springs eternal.

  •  I would be "for" this crappy bill passing w/o it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, leftneck

    As long as we could get a second bite at the apple on the public option, expansion of Medicare or other paths to getting universal coverage that is not based on criminalizing those who can't afford insurance in the first place.

    Now that it looks like there would be no price controls, the most offensive part of the whole debacle to me is mandatory purchase of a defective and ever-more-expensive product.  

    I still remember when Candidate Obama argued that people weren’t uninsured because they didn’t want to get coverage but because they could not afford the coverage being offered to them.

    Candidate Obama in February 2008:

    The mailing that we put out accurately indicates that the main difference between Senator Clinton's plan and mine is the fact that she would force, in some fashion, individuals to purchase health care.

    If it was not affordable, she would still presumably force them to have it, unless there is a hardship exemption, as they've done in Massachusetts, which leaves 20 percent of the uninsured out. And if that's the case, then, in fact, her claim that she covers everybody is not accurate.

    Now, Senator Clinton has not indicated how she would enforce this mandate. She hasn't indicated what level of subsidy she would provide to assure that it was, in fact, affordable. And so it is entirely legitimate for us to point out these differences.

    I still agree with this stance. And I don’t see how the current piece of sh*t legislation resolves this problem.

    As long as there is a mandate and no way to rein in the insurance companies' price hikes, all this bill does is deliver more victims to the insurance industry.

    The fact of the matter is that the insurance industry ADMITTED/ GUARANTEED/ PROMISED us that they would raise premiums over the next 7 years by a minimum of 80% --- even without a HCR bill.

    With the threat amped up to premium increases of more than 110%  if a bill passes.

    Accordingly, the mandate MUST go if the current version of the bill survives.

    "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist" --- President Barack Obama, 1-20-2009.

    by tier1express on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:37:37 AM PST

  •  Back in the real world no uprising vs. mandates (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Irons33, Steve Simitzis

    In Massachusetts there has been no popular uprising against mandates. But go ahead Kos and do your best to keep tens of millions of Americans from getting health insurance ever! Go ahead and try to destroy a Democratic President because a bill that you would write cannot get through the Senate.

    •  Joe Lieberman destroyed the President (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maxschell, leftneck

      When he made him come out and give him a fluff job on camera then said he still wasn't certain he would vote for the bill and wouldn't rule out running as a Republican in 2012.  Like it or not that fight was already lost and Obama didn't throw a damn punch.

    •  It's not a question of "not good enough" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DanD

      anymore, though.  We're not talking about rejecting something because it doesn't have a public option, or a medicare expansion.  Nobody is being greedy here, we're just refusing to violate core progressive principles.

      "While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free!" -Eugene V. Debs

      by leftneck on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:51:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh please...what a strawman (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DanD

      That's right, Kos is keeping "tens of millions of Americans from getting health insurance..."  

      Ridiculous.

      Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

      by maxschell on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:54:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This tells me two things: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo
      1. Citizens of Massachusetts don't mind being forced to buy products that are known to be fraudulent
      1. You don't understand that the mandate their is small potatoes compared to the one in the federal bill.
  •  Tell Obama what you think (4+ / 0-)

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

    I just did. I told him I helped get him elected and have not been able to afford health insurance in more than 15 years. I asked why he wants to mandate fining me for what I can't pay? I asked why I can't buy prescription drugs in Canada where it is affordable.

    Why is free trade laudable only when it benefits big industry?

    No Public Option, No Mandate. Period.

    by skywriter on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:37:55 AM PST

  •  The mandate is good policy (0+ / 0-)

    It pushes people to signup for policies that they CAN afford, even low income people who qualify for Medicaid but don't realize it. And without a mandate, guaranteed issue doesn't work and recision creeps back in. You need a mandate and guaranteed issue together. The fine is only $750 and can be waived. So it's theoretically possible to go without insurance and sign up if you get really sick. (Though, don't take my advice until you've done your homework.)

    That said - Kos's proposal is good politics. Who will step up? Getting everyone on the record for the mandate will take away a potent reelection issue, and it could also help build public support for a REAL reform (ie. Medicare for all or some other public plan) push in '10 or '12.

    I support the bill as is, but only as a "health insurance assistance" bill. It will help millions of people. But it's not reform.

    •  Let me guess... you already have insurance? (5+ / 0-)

      Because for those of us who don't have insurance, the mandate is akin to a 33% monthly income tax.

      •  $750 per year, not per month (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, I have insurance, but it's still good policy either way. If you must know, I pay for it out of pocket on the individual market, and my premiums go up about 20% every 3-6 months. I'm not happy with the status quo for my own reasons.

        But the mandate will add millions of people to the system, including Medicaid, and it's the piece of the puzzle that makes guaranteed issue possible. It will save lives, and that's at least something.

        I'm sorry that this bill isn't going to help you. It's not going to help me, either. I want a completely different bill, and I don't consider this one to be reform. It's a package of subsidies and regulations which will have to be revisited over and over again like Groundhog Day. I want a real reform push as soon as we get Lieberman out or more progressives in.

      •  Yeah... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hdaman, cybersaur

        If I don't find a job this year and if my insurance runs out (two very likely propositions) $750 is not "only," it's "food."

        •  Then you'd get a waiver or subsidies or Medicaid. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WillR

          Or if you're young enough, you can get on your parent's insurance.

          It's not a terrible bill. It has assistance to help people in bad situations, that's the whole point. But it's not reform. It's assistance. Which means that progressives aren't anywhere close to done.

        •  No income = eligible for Medicaid (0+ / 0-)

          According to this Kaiser Family Foundation health insurance subsidy calculator - http://healthreform.kff.org/... - you'd be eligible for Medicaid if your income is up to 133% of the federal poverty level.

          All individuals and families with incomes at or below 133% of the federal poverty level will be eligible for Medicaid.  

          The wording on the calculator seems to imply that the various state restrictions on Medicaid eligibility beyond just income will no longer apply but I don't know the details on how they can make that work.

          Californians: The Courage Campaign is working for changing the 2/3 budget rule and for ending Prop 8. Go!

          by tmo on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:41:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  No Pre-Existing Conditions == Mandate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott in NAZ, Steve Simitzis

    You really can't do one without the other, otherwise you simply can't sustain coverage.

    Mind you, a whole raft of other regulations on insurers need to go in and actually be enforced too, and I don't see that happening in the slightest.  So yes, we're fucked.

    "I have only ever made one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it." -- Voltaire

    by sproingie on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:38:54 AM PST

    •  And bankrupting insurance companies is bad? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wsexson, cybersaur, leftneck, sethyeah

      Why?

      •  Think about it a second (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sethyeah

        Who's paying?

        Yes, I would personally like to see every executive of each of these companies out on the street, begging for food.  I would like to see the whole criminal enterprise dismantled.

        I'm also quite aware there has to be something to replace it.  Single-payer is nice, and it of course has an implicit mandate in the form of taxes.  In the end, you don't get something for nothing.

        "I have only ever made one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it." -- Voltaire

        by sproingie on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:27:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm willing to accept a mandate (0+ / 0-)

      if there is a shelter in the form of some sort of public program.  You could maybe even talk me into it with a public program that I personally don't qualify for, like the medicare expansion, on the grounds that it is at least something to build on.

      But it is a package deal, I will never accept a mandate without a public program, nor vote for anyone who votes for it.  If that means this country isn't ready to reform health care yet, so be it.

      "While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free!" -Eugene V. Debs

      by leftneck on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:55:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Four words: No option? NO MANDATE! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, bartcopfan, geez53

    It's that simple, folks

  •  Good idea...puts republicans on defense (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, FishBiscuit

    It's like the dems just don't know how to do this move. We just keep playing catch up reacting to them, instead of being proactive in getting our objectives met. It's maddening.

    I like the idea...cause Nelson has already said he is holding out...and the republicans would be forced to block us again.

    Without the mandate...I could live with the bill.

    The greatest gift you can contribute to the goal of world peace is to heal.

    by wavpeac on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:40:31 AM PST

  •  Not the mandate that is the problem... (0+ / 0-)

    but the whole damn thing.  Never should have been a partnership with the insurance companies.

    And why was there never a real effort to look at all sides of the issue from the start?  I thought Obama was so much started than everyone, yet he did not look at every option.

    Perhaps the answer is because the result was pretty much pre-determined once the first appointments to the Administration became known.

  •  LOL (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irmaly, Silverbird

    That would be well and good if the Democrats were not as bought and paid for by the insurance company as the Republicans are.

    "I'm living in an age that calls darkness light." -The Arcade Fire

    by electricgrendel on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:41:06 AM PST

  •  Just stripping the mandate won't get support. (0+ / 0-)

    Strip the mandate, and you lose Lieberman, and maybe some other Democrats who are bought and sold by the insurance industry.

    In return, I doubt you'll get any Republican support.

    Why?  Because to get any Republican support, you'd have to strip out the subsidies, the new bureaucracy, the new taxes and fees.

    Limit it to insurance reform, pooling and exchanges -- and you might get 60 votes.

    Warner 2016! (Premature? Naaah!)

    by elchip on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:41:24 AM PST

  •  scrap it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird

    instead of trying to recreate the wheel, they need to scrap it all and go with the foundation that is in place to build upon, medicare...rotating enrollment by age or alphabet...over x amount of time...cheaper and much easier than the three ring circus going on.

    "Conservatives care about children from conception all the way up until birth." Barney Frank

    by on2them on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:42:15 AM PST

  •  Sounds good. Has the Amendment hit the floor yet? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm eager to turn this debacle into something worthwhile.

    "Won't you try just a little bit harder? Couldn't you try just a little bit more?" - R. Hunter

    by mungley on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:42:51 AM PST

  •  I pay 387/monthly with 2500 deductible... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on2them

    IF I get sick to the point that I have to seek medical attention, I will pay for the year before which that occurs almost 10K before I get coverage.

    I should be FORCED TO BUY THAT CRAP?

    Dammmmmmmit!

    No, the GOP is going to bear this cost. NOT the Dems, even if they pass this ridiculous bill, the way it now stands.

    Imagine. To get treated, you gotta go 10k out of pocket before you get treatment.

    1. I can't see my doc, 'cause it costs me too much, with all the tests he wants that I can't pay for.
    1. I dare not mention heart, gut, lungs or head if I feel something funny, 'cause he writes everything down. He has a BIIIIG Mouth!
    1. If something hits me after midnight that I am not sure about, will I have to decide between "this is nothing" and "this could be something"?
    1. My rate has gone up 100% in the last 5 years. Can you guess which provider? It ain't Santa Claus!

    Dear Reader,

    Would you pay $10k for a year to see IF you ever get sick, when you feel pretty-all-right. Oh, but wait, what is that funny feeling...?

    Ugh. --UB.

  •  Democrats seem to self-derail (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IndyScott, Silverbird, FishBiscuit, admill

    so easily while Republicans seem to stay on track.

    Why did Republicans have a plan to stop health care reform but Democrats seemed to have no plan to actually pass health care reform?

  •  And the final rallying cry of progressives: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sethyeah

    "Dont get sick.  If you do, die quickly!"

  •  Lead in the Water (0+ / 0-)

    It's the only thing I can think of to explain the explosion of stupid around here.

    There will be no progressives drawing lines in the sand.

    There will be no stripping the mandate, which is a good policy in any case.

    There will be no killing the bill.

    Reality-based community, right?  Oh, right.

    •  The mandate (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wsexson, SoCalLiberal, cybersaur, sethyeah
      was always risky politically, which is why I suspect Obama did not run on it (and I recall getting beaten over the head about it repeatedly as a Hillary supporter in the primaries).

      But the mandate is stupid policy if there is no comprehensive scheme that will truly bring down costs overall.

      The mandate is bad policy after nearly everything that would have imposed cost restraints on insurance companies has been stripped away.

      It has been reduced to a giveaway.  And voters across the spectrum (except fro 20,000 Village moderates) will be mad as hell, albeit for different reasons.

      And, reality-based?  Hell yes. The skeptics are not the ones chasing the bipartisan unicorn off a cliff.

      "To be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true." -- Bayard Rustin

      by Joelarama on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:55:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama prescient again. (0+ / 0-)

        18 months ago, the main difference between Obama's health plan and Hillary's was that Hillary's had a mandate and Obama's didn't. I recall some pundit pointing out that Hillary's plan worked better as economics, but Obama's worked better as politics. Without a mandate, the opposition has no wind in their sails. Don't like healthcare reform? Then just stay out of it. Simple.

        Obama looks smarter and smarter all the time.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:34:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sen. Bernie burning up the chamber (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irmaly, geez53, sethyeah, zapus

    has withdrawn his amendment.

  •  Obama RAN AGAINST the mandate. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, cybersaur, Benintn

  •  Terrible idea--this will drive premiums sky high (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Turtle Bay, ruascott

    If you strip the mandate but require insurers to take all comers, you shift the pool of insured people towards the sicker end of the scale.  Since rescission would no longer be allowed under the bill, insurers would have to raise premiums.

    So without a mandate, this bill won't control costs.  All else being equal, I'd rather have the mandate and keep premiums down.  The mandate has worked out pretty well here in MA.

    I left my heart in NAZ.

    by Scott in NAZ on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:48:05 AM PST

    •  What's stopping them from raising premiums now? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cybersaur
      •  Nothing. But... (0+ / 0-)

        if you do the math, with a sicker pool of insured folks and no way for insurance companies to cut sick people off their rolls, they'll have to raise premiums to make the same profits.  So, as high as premiums are now, they'll be higher with an HCR bill that doesn't have a mandate.

        I left my heart in NAZ.

        by Scott in NAZ on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:53:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That assumes they would find a moral compass (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybersaur

          and not raise rates as fast as they can with a mandate.

        •  I don't think you understand capitalism. (0+ / 0-)

          Price is not determined by cost, except indirectly. It's determined by market value -- aka, what people will pay.

          The indirect cost is that folks abandon the business if market value is below cost, thereby giving the surviving business better leverage over their customers.

          So, either way, prices will go up exactly the same. With or without mandates, but if there is recission.

          The only way that there'll be a price difference is if the insurance companies start to go bankrupt or their stocks tank. That would be a good thing -- we would then get to see the entire accounting scheme directly.

          •  I understand capitalism just fine (0+ / 0-)

            Read this, and you may, too:

            http://voices.washingtonpost.com/...

            I left my heart in NAZ.

            by Scott in NAZ on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:27:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No you don't -- (0+ / 0-)

              From that post, Ezra Klein apparently doesn't understand how markets function either. He thinks that prices and market value are directly linked!

              It's a kindergarten mistake. If he knew what he was talking about, he wouldn't argue directly about costs -- he would talk about insurance companies going out of business, and thereby decreasing the customer choice pool that would be the death spiral.

              We would end up with no insurers, not with a price death spiral per se.

              Now -- that would actually happen in a crisis, and not in a spiral. The insurers are committed to the market -- they have huge sunk capital, but little year to year capital demands. With a mandate, they can simply collude to raise prices. On top of it, there really aren't very many competitors in most markets, and there are huge barriers to entry keeping out new competitors for many years down the road.

              We should want a crisis in the insurance industry. It's the only way that this mess will get fixed. We should want a full and honest discussion of the actuarial situation -- not bullshit kindergarten capitalism about "price spirals".

          •  Well (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RandomSequence

            if market value is below all of the market's marginal cost, all insurers would exit the market.

            However, I don't understand how you can say marginal revenues vs marginal costs are identical if there either is or isn't a mandate.

            •  'Cept you can't determine "marginal cost" (0+ / 0-)

              for anything but commodities. You can only determine marginal revenues.

              So basically, if you end up short at the end of the year -- then you leave. Those who don't have better leverage in the next round.

              Except, of course, again already there are only a few players. So unless we have a crisis of the few insurers leaving, no one is leaving.

              In fact, if you have mandates, you have better leverage over your customers -- your marginal revenues will go up as you have the freedom to increase prices (since folks are trapped in the market).

              When the total cost crisis does arrive -- well then, we have another bite at the apple. That's a good thing, not a bad thing. At that point, the racket's up.

    •  Your intelligent comment will be rejected (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scott in NAZ

      The only thing that's important is to call the president a sell-out and characterize the remaining bill as a cross between Wal-Mart and the Nazi regime.

      Kill the bill!  Kill the bill! Kill the bill!

      That'll show em.

      •  Funny, but I don't think that's it. (0+ / 0-)

        characterize the remaining bill as a cross between Wal-Mart and the Nazi regime

        Hilarious.  But not quite what we are saying.  What I think is being pointed out is that the current Senate bill will make the American people substantially worse off over time.  I believe this based on my experience representing people denied coverage for healthcare by insurers.

        The current Senate bill is a windfall for insurers and will make Americans substantially worse off.

        So for those reasons, I say:

        Kill this bill!

        Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

        by maxschell on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:02:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nothing will control costs except (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maxschell

      choice and competition, or price controls.

      The Senate Bill contains none of those.

      "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

      by Benintn on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:55:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Then tax us (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silverbird

      Or offer a public plan.  And if those things aren't possible, then health care isn't possible--you can't blame the left for this just because we're not willing to use government power to enrich private companies.

      "While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free!" -Eugene V. Debs

      by leftneck on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:58:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  if you think (0+ / 0-)

    a Republican would cooperate with this, you haven't been paying attention for the last 11 months

  •  Breaking: Sanders just withdrew Amend. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NMRed

    Gets 30 min. to cuss. Should get an hour.

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

    by geez53 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:49:26 AM PST

  •  Noooo Kos! (0+ / 0-)
    Good idea to minimize the political damage that mandates without cost controls will cause.

    But the Republicans will vote "no" no matter what.

    Ans because you support it, Lieberman will veto!!

    "To be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true." -- Bayard Rustin

    by Joelarama on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:49:30 AM PST

  •  But all the actuaries in suburban Chicago (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brillig, Benintn
    would be upset if we did that.

    Schaumburg would burn!!!

    You could see the Sarbanes-Oxley documentation bonfires from Lake Michigan if you got rid of the mandate. :)

    Everyone should have the opportunity to hear Shakespeare in the original Whale. (Bloop!)

    by cskendrick on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:49:33 AM PST

  •  BREAKING: Sanders just pulled his amendment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, Six Joe Pack

    On cspan Sanders in eviscerating the gop "the day will come when the us congress will finally proclaim that health care is a right not a priviledge...some think medicare for all is a fringe idea.

    Insulin in Ca public schools ruling STAYED during appeal. Great ruling for 15,000 diabetic students. http://preview.tinyurl.com/dxafql

    by foggycity on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:50:30 AM PST

  •  OT (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, marina

    Petition to Sec. Vilsack

    USDA is buying meat for school lunches that KFC / McDonald's won't touch.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:50:50 AM PST

  •  Interesting idea. (0+ / 0-)

    ONly problem is that mandates are required for HCR to work, otherwise people will freeload until they get some emergency and those paying all along will have sky high premiums as a result.  Hillary and Edwards were right on that during the primaries and Obama was wrong.  He now admits that.

    Now as for the political gamesmanship, it reminds me of your post in Sept 2008 where you advocated that the Democrats in Congress should let the banks fail to score political points before the election.  Totally irresponsible.  This sounds like more of your politics before policy modus operandi to me.

    •  Also, if people are able to buy the same plans t (0+ / 0-)

      currently offered to federal employees, thus finally fulfilling the long standing battle cry, "People should have access to coverage that we in Congress get", is that really so worse than buying a PO plan?  There's no evidence that a PO would be better or cheaper than those plans.  Why is being forced to buy a PO an OK idea but being forced to buy from a set of plans that includes the federal employees plan (some of which are imlplemented by non-profits, for those who have a distaste for paying for-profit companies) so horrible?  Is it not just ideology at that point?  Some are ideologically predisposed to favor government over the private sector, so they'd be willing to pay for a government plan even though its no cheaper or better than particular private plans.  I don't see how that's a big issue or a worthwhile difference.

    •  Does no one understand how capitalism works? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, The Nose

      There is only a secondary relationship between production costs and price. Insurance companies set their prices by what the market will bear -- not by what their costs are.

      Now what the market will bear ultimately depends on their freedom of choice -- so if revenue goes down relative to costs, in the long term insurance companies will either leave the market or demand higher payment to satisfy their stockholders. But at that point, we have a whole new political game -- the accounting will have to be open on how insurance works, and why a for-profit racket won't.

      But in the meantime, with mandates you have no choice to get out -- which means that prices WILL go up, regardless of their costs. And you'll hide the essential insolvency of the system.

      What's totally irresponsible is living in a capitalist economy without understanding the very basics of how markets cost. I don't sell apples on the basis of how much they cost me -- I sell them on how much I think I can get you to pay, or I get in another line of business.

      •  Importance of antitrust exemption. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bartcopfan, RandomSequence

        Insurance companies set their prices by what the market will bear -- not by what their costs are.

        Only if insurance companies need not compete with each other. If they have to compete, then they have a powerful incentive to cut both costs and profit margins. Thus it's important not to give them an antitrust exemption in HCR.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:40:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's important but more complicated... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HeyMikey

          since there exist barriers to entry and structural elements that limit competition even in the face of anti-trust.

          We almost never see "true" markets -- in those, the profits are close to zero, so capital naturally runs and funds markets that for some reason or other have limited competition.

          Unless, of course, we provide the capital and regulation of a kind that enforce "perfect" competition...

          in which case we have a non-profit market as in other countries. I don't see that on the table.

    •  One step at a time. (0+ / 0-)

      ONly problem is that mandates are required for HCR to work, otherwise people will freeload until they get some emergency and those paying all along will have sky high premiums as a result.

      1. Give everyone access to healthcare, but no mandate.

      2(a). Premiums are high. Next round of reform: either we have a mandate, or a lot of people lose their healthcare. THEN there will be widespread support for a mandate. OR, even better . . .

      2(b). Premiums are high. Next round of reform: get rid of premiums. Yes, you read right, eliminate premiums. Point out that while it's easy to avoid paying healthcare premiums, it's hard to avoid paying taxes. So institute a tax to pay for healthcare. This could be an increase in income tax rates; a VAT; a carbon tax(!); whatever. If the Dems are still in power, it will be progressive, and if the Repubs are in power, it won't. Either way it will probably beat a mandate.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:47:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree 100%. nt (0+ / 0-)

    "The United States is not going to fire nuclear warheads at Decepticons."
    (-7.25, -6.72)

    by gougef on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:51:23 AM PST

  •  Since you are suggesting it... no it won't happen (0+ / 0-)
    When Lieberman realized that LIBERALS were supporting the medicare 55 and up provision and the Health care lobby was against it, he turned against it.

    Republicans or Lieberman will never go on board with anything LIBERALS are suggesting.

    I am for everything you Kos are for, but I disagree in how to obtain it and above all I believe that some ideas and suggestions should be discussed behind closed doors. I believe in poker faces and triangulation. I believe in playing the game and changing the rules of the game over time only ever so slightly that nobody notices it.

    As R. W. Emerson said, "Fear springs from ignorance."

    by healthy on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:52:05 AM PST

  •  As a fan of the Detroit Lions let me offer advice (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, greendem, IndyScott, Silverbird

    Just get used to your team (The Democrats) sucking, and losing. get used to them turning the ball over in the red zone, and giving up game clinching sacks or blocked punts.

    Get used to them getting blown out and quitting.

    Then, turn off the TV and move on with your life.

  •  The mandate on individuals is a sure route (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias

    to the legislation being found un-Constitutional.  It's not just Republicans who are expert at putting together legislation that's designed to fail.

    After all, McCain/Feingold was a bi-partisan effort by people who are keen to regulate everyone but themselves.  

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

    by hannah on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:52:45 AM PST

  •  That (0+ / 0-)

    is the sanest idea yet that I've read regarding what appears to be in the Senate version of the bill.  This is a great idea to put forth.

    http://www.thehamandlegsshow.com

  •  I wonder if Al Franken would do it. (0+ / 0-)

    We should all call him. I know I'm not a resident of Minn, but I did contribute to his campaign early and often.

  •  Great. Another important issue reduced to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird

    just being the medium to score cheap political points.

    It's pretty amazing that we're getting an expanded war, with no debate at all, and basically nothing else.

    Change?  

    When Sarah Palin said to Boycott Copenhagen, half of her supporters switched to Skoal.

    by Beelzebud on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:53:05 AM PST

  •  Sherrod Brown gets my vote. (0+ / 0-)

    Or Kay Hagan

    "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

    by Benintn on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:53:28 AM PST

    •  Brown won't do it (0+ / 0-)

      Don't count on any help from that front.  

      •  Thanks - why do you say that? (0+ / 0-)

        Are you familiar with Brown's stance on the issue?  Do you live in OH?

        Appreciate any background you can share.

        "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

        by Benintn on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:59:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Live in Ohio (0+ / 0-)

          Just watched him do a 180 on this bill over the last several days.  He looks like someone kicked his dog when he talks about how for this bill he is, but buys into the argument that he has to support it.  He was for standing up and fighting Lieberman a few days ago and then the White House called him in.  Since then he has changed his tune and lost all fire and drive.  Right now I think you can roll him for his lunch money, but you won't have him risk this bill not passing.

  •  If there is a mandate (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, wsexson, cybersaur, leftneck

    I am dropping my coverage.  The last time I used it was 5 years ago and keeping my wife and dropping me will save 3-400 a month.

    I will force their hand on this.  This is not reform it is a joke.

    •  there will be so many mandate legal policies (0+ / 0-)

      you will probably get one with your cable subscription.  with your iphone.

      you don't have to have medical care just an insurance policy.

      it will be a race to the bottom.

      Fox - Crapture from Farmageddon

      by 88kathy on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:00:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This one I can agree with (0+ / 0-)

    At the very least we need to see who votes for the insurance companies - and therefore can expect people like me to unite against them, even it means joining forces with the teabaggers (shudder).

  •  Sanders has withdrawn his single payer amendment (0+ / 0-)
    because of GOP obstruction.

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

    by Drdemocrat on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:54:24 AM PST

  •  Is the mandate constitutional? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, Six Joe Pack, sethyeah

    It long used to be pretty well established constitutional doctrine that, under the 5th Amendment, private property could only be taken under law for public use (provided compensation was paid), not private use.  That doctrine was eviscerated in the Kelo case, which allowed a taking to be put into private hands for a public purpose.

    But this mandate is arguably much more clearly not for a public purpose than was the case in Kelo.  And the 5-4 Kelo decision, which was the work of the liberal justices joined by Kennedy, has been a very unpopular decision, especially on the right, and 43 states have passed legislation to prevent it from having an effect within their jurisdictions.  In addition, the whole scheme of the City of New London in Kelo has since failed.  The development on the seized land was never built, the firm at whose demand the development was to be built (interestingly, a pharma firm, Pfizer) has left New London.  

    I think the likelihood is extremely high that the U.S. Supreme Court would find the individual mandates in the health care bill unconstitutional.

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:54:54 AM PST

    •  Yes, unfortunately. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethyeah

      Its modeled after the requirement in most states that drivers purchase auto insurance.

      •  Haven't those state laws been upheld on the (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wsexson, hdaman, cybersaur, leftneck, sethyeah

        grounds that driving is a privilege, not a right?

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:00:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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

          It's an interesting question.

        •  I think Some states have a health ins mandate. (0+ / 0-)

          Possibly Massachusetts. I believe that's been upheld, if I'm not mistaken.

          Ion any case, its highly unlikely this gets struck down, unless the conservative majority on the Supreme Court gets partcicularly frisky. It would, however, require them to find that health care is a fundamental right. I doubt they are willing to go that far.

          •  Ezra Klein brings up the MA example in (0+ / 0-)

            his piece linked to below (by ruascott), and says it has not been challenged in court.

            The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

            by lysias on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:06:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, it'd mean that *living* is a privilege. (0+ / 0-)

            And that's what the court would logically have to find in order to uphold the health insurance mandate.

            You must buy collision liability insurance in exchange for the privilege of driving an automobile. If you don't buy collision liability insurance, then you are not allowed the privilege of driving an automobile.

            The direct parallel to health insurance here would then be that you must buy health insurance in exchange for the privilege of drawing breath as an adult American citizen.

            The issue here, where this auto insurance analogy is concerned, is not whether health care is a fundamental right or a privilege. It is whether being alive over the age of 18 in this country is a fundamental right or a privilege, as driving an automobile is.

      •  Liability insurance is mandated (0+ / 0-)

        I have no problem with a mandate that requires me to get insurance that covers any damage that my lifestyle causes others.  

        •  I find it hard to beleive (0+ / 0-)

          that the mandate will stand up in court

        •  Citizens are not obliged to buy liability (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, cybersaur

          insurance just because they are alive.  They are only required by government to buy it if they are doing something (like practising a profession, or driving an automobile) that they are free not to do.

          My landlord requires me to buy liability insurance for my apartment, but my landlord is not the government.

          The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

          by lysias on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:04:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  That's not remotely applicable (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lysias, elfling, cybersaur

        Auto insurance mandates are
        a.) issued by the states, not the federal government
        b.) requirements for the use of public roadways, which legally is a privilege not a right.  "Existing" is different.

        Personally I think the current Supreme Court would probably justify it by torturing the commerce clause some more, but when/if it happens it will be a shitty decision made more for political reasons than legal ones.

        "While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free!" -Eugene V. Debs

        by leftneck on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:02:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I said this in a previous diary.. (0+ / 0-)

      ..something is "constitutional" if the Supreme Court says it is, therefore something is "constitutional" if Scalia likes it.

      They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin, Feb 17, 1755.

      by Wayward Son on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:20:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Would you rather be stabbed or shot? (0+ / 0-)

    Either way, it ain't gonna be pretty.

  •  Never would have happened if Ted were healthy (0+ / 0-)
    There is no way in hell this bill would be such a disaster if ted Kennedy were alive and healthy throught this process. None. He would have been the man who Obama could rely on for strategic advice and counsel. Obama had no one of his capabilities in that chamber who could aid him. Harry Reid is a fucking joke.
    •  I'm so sad that I was too young to follow most of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hesiod

      his career.  I've only really gotten into Congressional business this year, and he's gone :(  He sounds like an awesome guy.

      Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous-George Bernard Shaw

      by Ashley Gleed on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:06:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  on the other hand... (0+ / 0-)

    ...maybe we should adopt a "br'er rabbit" strategy, in order to confound Joe Lieberman. You know: 'whatever else happens, PLEASE do not eliminate the mandates! We liberals really, really love mandates....'  :)

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

    by sgrAstar on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:56:12 AM PST

  •  Tiger Woods: "Did someone say 'strip'?" (0+ / 0-)
  •  I like this idea.. (0+ / 0-)

    It is better than killing the whole bill. Just gut the parts that really suck. If we are not going to get what we want and need anyway let's make sure the Insurance Cartel does not get what they want either.

    •  This is how we always get backed into (0+ / 0-)

      accepting what is not good for us.  Crumbs of what we originally hoped for are still crumbs.

      2.5 trillion dollars have been "borrowed" since the [SS] system was "reformed" in the 80s and they simply don't want to pay it back. - dKos Blogger -

      by Silverbird on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:03:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  32% favor Obama's HCR (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, DanD, cybersaur

    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/...

    This might be a lead story on MSNBC tonight.

    It's not clear to me how much of this comes from the right (reflexively opposed to anything Democrats propose) or from the left (unhappy about PO and Medicare buyin being dropped).

    Either way this is a pretty brutal poll for Obama and HCR.

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    by looty on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:58:07 AM PST

  •  if WE were the change we were waiting for... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hesiod, Silverbird

    then how come WE, the people are the only people NOT being listened to in the debate about healthcare reform?

    "Republican 'truth' is undisturbed by actual Reality"

    by KnotIookin on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:59:55 AM PST

  •  There is a lot of babbling (0+ / 0-)

    about the mandate being unconstitutional.

    I don't think there is much basis for that, from what i've read on it:

    HERE

    I'd encourage those to read the two links from Ezra's page before continuing that argument.

    •  There is an argument to be made for sure (0+ / 0-)

      But yeah I would not pin my hopes on this being ruled Unconstitutional by this Court.  I mean where are the votes?  Maybe Scallia being all pro states rights, Thomas as a textualist?  Are there enough votes on the left-leaning side of the Court?  I do not think Sotomayor will torpedo major legislation passed by the White House that nominated her.

      We all went to heaven in a little rowboat, and there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt. --Radiohead

      by Tzimisce on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:04:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The 4 conservatives voted for Kelo against (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tzimisce

        New London (i.e., against the taking for private use) in Kelo.  They might want to stick to their guns, especially if it looks as if there's any chance of getting Kelo overturned in a health mandate case.

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:10:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  New conservatives (0+ / 0-)

          there are three new members of the court, Roberts, Alito and Sotomayor.  First, I'm not sure if Sotomayor is willing to go against the first major policy initiative enacted by the president that nominated her.  Second, I have a feeling that Roberts likes the Kelo decision, maybe its just me but I think Roberts is pro-business all the way.

          We all went to heaven in a little rowboat, and there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt. --Radiohead

          by Tzimisce on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:16:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I'm not much of a court watcher (0+ / 0-)

        but it seems to me that Scalia and Thomas would be the only two strict 'constitutionalist' types that would have a problem with it.

        I know the mandate in MA is being challenged, but I have no clue where it is in the pipeline.

  •  Mandate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias

    The mandate should have been removed the same time as universal health care went down the tubes.
    To require payments, in advance to a for profit company for services that may not be needed and may be denied if needed is a travesty.

    It must go and any bill with has that kind of rip off in it should die a quick death.

    If the spineless Dims voted down a bill with that type of provision they would still come out ahead PR wise simply by claiming that such a requirement is abhorrent and they voted to protect the public.

    Any effort of tax payroll health care deductions should also fall.  How can money that I never access be taxed?  It is no benefit to me until I become ill or injured, at that point it becomes a benefit, only if the insurance company pays out.  However, then it becomes a tax on illness.

    •  Mandating denial of health care (0+ / 0-)

      To require payments, in advance to a for profit company for services that may not be needed and may be denied if needed is a travesty.

      That's what pisses me off about the mandate. If the government is going to force people to by shitty insurance that they can't afford then they need to force the goddamn Murder-by-Spreadsheet industry to actually give the people the care they need. No more recisions at all. Period. No more Murder-by-Spreadsheet industry drones telling doctors what type of care the patient can or cannot have. Period. This craptacular bill simply does NOT do that.

      AG Holder is obstructing justice by actively refusing investigation of war crimes.

      by cybersaur on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 02:13:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't strip the mandate. Strip the PENALTIES... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tzimisce, appledown, Ashley Gleed
    ...for not purchasing health insurance. in other words, require everyone to purchase HI, but do not penalize anyone who chooses not to.
    •  The toothless mandate? (0+ / 0-)

      Heh who would think that the American people would get a policy where there is a mandate without enforcement?  I thought those kind of policies are only reserved for the corporate elite.

      We all went to heaven in a little rowboat, and there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt. --Radiohead

      by Tzimisce on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:10:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, Republicans would still run it against Dems (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cybersaur

        Even without penalties, it could still be stated that the bill 'forces you to buy insurance'.

        Part of the need to remove mandates is to remove some of the nails from the baseball bat we are handing the Republicans.

        They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin, Feb 17, 1755.

        by Wayward Son on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:18:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  call it (0+ / 0-)

      voluntary compliance.  Like we give to polluters, and lobbyists.

  •  Excellent reasoning, Markos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    Truly incisive. I agree completely with your assessment of the situation. The problem is lack of affordability, coupled with mandates to force purchasing a flawed and overpriced product, with no effective mechanisms left in the bill to bring down prices to something akin to levels seen in other Western countries.

    This solves nothing, leaves the Dems exposed, and will piss off uninsured people like me when the mandates take effect.

    I say pass the bill, but only if mandates are removed. Otherwise, the bill spells disaster.

  •  All it would really need is for a few-3? 5? to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur

    pledge to not vote for it if it has a mandate.  Love it.

    It is still not a great bill, but without the mandate a lot better than nothing.

    So happy is la Palin. A smug little Mz. Methinks she is a moran. B'god she truly is.

    by maybeeso in michigan on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:01:43 PM PST

  •  50 + Biden. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DanD

    That's all that matters.

    Seriously.

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

    by vets74 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:04:54 PM PST

  •  Shorter Kos: "Leave the Gun. Take the Canoles." (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, Phoenix Woman, Tzimisce
  •  Whatever Happened to Single Payer? (0+ / 0-)

    It got sold out to public option which got sold out to mandatory, obscenely expensive buy-in with private insurers writing the rules and an outrageous fine (and possible prison) for failure to subsidize health insurance executives' multi-million dollar salaries for the privileged of being denied health care in your most desperate moment in life because it adversely impacts the corporate profit margin.  GOD Bless Amerika!

  •  No Mandate Without A Public Option (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, TomP
  •  Now THIS is productive (0+ / 0-)

    and sensible.

    Let's get Al Franken on this: he's on a roll!

    Jennifer

    I am part of the "Obama base"

    by jhw22 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:08:25 PM PST

  •  Better yet. File a federal Class Action Lawsuit... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo
    ...arguing that individual mandates to purchase PRIVATE health insurance are unconstitutional and seek an injunction against the implementation of the mandates from the federal courts.
    •  Would have to wait until passage (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lysias, cybersaur

      There is no claim until there is a (potential) violation.  To file an injunction prior to passage is to ask the federal judiciary to make an advisory opinion, something they do not do.

      We all went to heaven in a little rowboat, and there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt. --Radiohead

      by Tzimisce on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:12:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  An addendum to the suggestion (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Nose, cybersaur, bartcopfan, Tzimisce
    ...If you go with the "strip the mandate out in January" strategy, rename the original Senate bill the "Joseph Lieberman Health Care Mandate Act of 2009."

    The Shrub Has Been Uprooted. Time to plant anew.

    by Randomfactor on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:11:27 PM PST

  •  Thanks Kos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur

    I agree great idea.

  •  2010 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, Tzimisce

    Kill this bill and have force a battle royal in 2010. An election year? You don't say ...

    Start with the anti trust exemption exclusively. For the GOP to vote against the free market.

    Force DC to make uncomfortable votes May - October. Are you for a high profit monopoly or for the little guy?

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:14:46 PM PST

  •  Pull the mandate, pass the bill (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur

    I had this conversation just this morning.  Why not eliminate the mandate.  Obama ran on not having one.  It only makes sense, at this point, to remove it.  The bill will work much better without it.

  •  Borrow some balls, and make it happen. (0+ / 0-)

    Write the damn bill so it gives all Americans affordable health care, then STEAMROLL THE MOFO THROUGH PASSAGE without giving a crap who says what.  They can come on board or fall under the wheels.  I don't give a damn about anyone's political career.

    STOP BEING NICE WHILE PEOPLE ARE DYING.  GET THIS SH*T DONE.

  •  Ban all Ins. Co's from HQin in Connecticut. (0+ / 0-)
    That is eminently constitutional under the commerce clause. Any health insurance comoany that does business across state lines shall not be permitted to be incorporated, or otherwise permitted to be headquartered or domiciled in the State of Connecticut.
  •  GOPers will run ads w/Obama attacking the mandate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, cybersaur

    ...during the primary against Hillary Clinton. This is political suicide.

  •  This ain't a game (0+ / 0-)

    The strategy is sound, but the motivation is questionable.

    The risk to being so political is that you can bet being political will reduce public interest and support.

  •  CBO will score the bill much worse (0+ / 0-)

    without a mandate, because adverse selection, especially if the pre-existing filter is removed (as currently proposed), will be rampant.  But the insurance industry will never agree to such a thing anyway (accept all comers without mandated insurance).

  •  This would be a brilliant move (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur

    I don't know why the mandate is in there, except to appease the insurance companies for whatever regulation they would be subjected to.

    Get rid of it, and look like heroes to poor young people who are un- or under   employed. The ins. companies want them in to up the quotient of healthy payers.

    Get rid of it, now.

  •  Will Liebermann be on board (0+ / 0-)

    with dropping mandates?  That is the question now.

    "To the corruptions of Christianity, I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself." Thomas Jefferson

    by meatwad420 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:30:12 PM PST

  •  In a world of honest brokers... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geez53

    ...we would have first had extensive Congressional hearings that would have exposed the specific means by which insurance companies have utterly failed to own up to their own corporate charters, foregoing ethics for "enhanced shareholder value" and thus failing their customers, American society, as a whole.

    ...later, a bi-partisan Congressional commission would have defined the scope of the moral - and mortal - consequences and laid out the specific solutions which would have led to the objectives laid out by the President.

    But we live in a world of corporate campaign contributions that absolutely cripple our elected representatives, and virtually no so-called retired 'expert' in the investor class would have been eligible to participate - barred by conflicts of interest.

    Still, we do have truth-tellers, and it will take another 50 years for true affordable universal coverage to pass.

    The villagers really don't care that so many are dying. Population control, whispered softly among them as a deep dark secret, is the more important - and, to their way of thinking, the more moral - long-term goal. Death by attrition is the means. It's the American way.

    That doesn't mean we shouldn't 'sharpen our pitchforks.' On the contrary, disruption is the only available tactic left.

    Feed America and Support HR 676 Healthcare For All Now!

    by ezdidit on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:31:20 PM PST

  •  I'm sorry; I agree with Dean on this one. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, geez53, standupguy

    Mandate or no, this bill is now merely a health insurance bailout.  Kill it and try again next cycle...if there ever is one.

    No public option, no healthcare reform.

    by IlGreven on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:34:12 PM PST

  •  Obama Will Have The Amendment Dorganed (0+ / 0-)

    He'll passively-aggressively kill it just like how he did drug imports

  •  Best idea I've seen all week. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    ------- Dear GOP and Blue Dogs: Grab a Mop.

    by Fast Bike on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 12:45:18 PM PST

  •  why not just kill the bill and start over in 2010 (0+ / 0-)

    that will put the Dems on notice as well as the GnOPers.  This POS doesn't merit our endorsement.  We can pass legislation with 51 senators and plenty of new Dem freshmen reps.  All Obama has to do is admit this bill is crap and not what he wanted...

  •  I love the strategy (0+ / 0-)

    This is something Republicans are masters at doing to Democrats.

    On the other hand, if we strike mandates, then expect the insurance companies to really jack up costs for the rest of us, including those in the ranks of the uninsured who really do want to be able to have insurance.

  •  Forget passing it with the mandate... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wsexson, cybersaur
    ...rip the mandate out now!

    No public option or Medicare buy-in, no mandate!

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:02:12 PM PST

  •  Brilliant tactic, all the more because (0+ / 0-)

    no Republican would likely sign on to co-sponsor it. They know that they would be hanging most of their fellow Republicans out to dry since they would not in a million years vote to strip the mandate. The insurance companies are more than their pals, they are their cousins and brothers and lovers and the Republican Senators are doubtless shareholders and they are in turn owned outright by big capital. So the one that sponsors it, if there is one that would, would never hear the end of it.

    Still: yes, yes, yes do it. It only takes one Democrat to move the amendment and put everyone on the record. If they do not the Republicans will trash us for three or four elections to come as more and more people have to choose between breaking the law by not buying insurance and paying their mortgage. That will happen I am pretty sure if there is nothing there to effectively prevent runaway prices for insurance.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:05:19 PM PST

  •  Non wall st GOP senators are C Streeters (0+ / 0-)

    non-Wall Street Republican to join him, be it Tom Coburn or Jim DeMint

    Is that who is left to negotiate with, then we're fucked?

    If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever.' ~ George Orwell, 1984

    by MinistryOfTruth on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:22:12 PM PST

  •  take out the mandate and I will support this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur

    turd ... not enthusiastically, not willingly, I won't talk it up, or the Dems or Obama - but I will cease yelling about this turd of a bill.

    bcause I don't want this turd hurting my daughter any more than the lack of health insurance has already hurt her.

    Don't want to pay for the uninsured? You already are! All You MoFos are Going to Pay!

    by Clytemnestra on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 01:28:53 PM PST

  •  Kos: Worst. Pundit. Ever. (0+ / 0-)

    And then we should elect some more Blue Dogs! And then go vote for Romney to gum up the primaries! And then vote for a "libertarian" Republican!

    Kos has major delusions of kingmaking. Epic Fail.

  •  I am so disappointed with the Democrats.... (0+ / 0-)

    We give them the chance to do something right and all they do is give it away to the Right.

    All it takes is a little backbone like Sen. Franken showed yesterday.  Just speak the truth.  Stop trying to appease those that would like nothing better than to bury you.

    We've been through this for the last 9 years.  When are the Democrats going get a backbone?

  •  Don't waste your breath! This reqires the Dems (0+ / 0-)

    to actually do something strategic that would benefit them, the people, and hurt the hypocrits!!  When monkeys fly out of asses...


    We the People in order to establish Justice, Defense, Welfare, Liberty do establish the US of A. That is what America is about!

    by FightTheFuture on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:12:28 PM PST

  •  I really REALLY (0+ / 0-)

    Don't want to seem like I am "attacking" Kos who's my respect for knows no bounds but the mandate isn't only supported by those that want to "bail out the insurance industry." Every wonk I truly respect (Klein,Cohn,Volgsky) say a mandate is a GOOD thing because it would lower everyones premiums since we are paying for people who go into ER's WITHOUT INSURANCE. The more people insured, the lower the premuims. Now, I can definitely see why people would be against the mandate (I am iffy on it personally but, Cohn especially, makes a great case for why it's needed)but this white and black good guy bad guy shit needs to stop on DEBATABLE policy options.

    "I don't want a line in the Sand lines can be moved. They can be blown away. I want a six foot trench carved into granite."

    by theone718 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:50:18 PM PST

  •  Please Kos, (0+ / 0-)

    This is the bill Obama wants, and we don't need Russ Fiengold to point it out either....

    "This bill appears to be legislation that the president wanted in the first place, so I don’t think focusing it on Lieberman really hits the truth," said Feingold. "I think they could have been higher. I certainly think a stronger bill would have been better in every respect."

    They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20. ~~ Dennis Kucinich

    by dkmich on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 03:53:06 PM PST

  •  This is exactly what I told my senators (0+ / 0-)

    I called this morning before I read this and said, "If the bill will do nothing to control costs--as it appears this will not--then don't add insult to injury by making me buy the overpriced insurance products now available. I am currently grossly underinsured because I can't afford more than the minimal insurance I now carry. Soon I won't be able to afford that either. Charging me a penalty because the Senate won't do anything to control insurance costs is unfair. Without the mandate to purchase insurance, the bill is simply tinkering around the edges and I have no objection to it. But please remove the mandate."

    I don't expect that to have any more effect than my other requests. But at least I asked.

  •  GREAT IDEA!! (0+ / 0-)

    I hope some Democrat takes it up. Great politics. For some reason though, I think the Democrats will take the high road, and I an fed up with it. They SHOULD STAND UP AND FIGHT AND EXPOSE THESE REPUBLICAN BASTARDS FOR THE AMERICA HATING CORPORATE SCHILLS THEY ARE.

    Give the people a choice between a Republican and a Republican and they will vote for the Republican every time - Harry S Truman

    by mr market on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 05:06:22 PM PST

  •  Same tactic as the Wall Street bailout (0+ / 0-)

    When Wall Street scheduled it's "crisis" to coincide with the almost certain election of a Democratic President, the Republican corporatists scared shit out of the Democrats by telling them the sky was falling.  The economy was going to collapse if nothing was done, so let's open up the Treasury to save Wall Street and save the country.  Democrats couldn't stand the thought of the country plunging into depression on their watch, so they took the bait.  And the Republicans voted against it when they knew it would pass.  They railed against it, but would have gone nuts if it hadn't passed.

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