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A  diary on the front page rec list makes a valid point on the one hand, when it asks "If we kill this bill, what then do we do?"

But the point that the piece also seems to make -- that therefore the suggestion to "kill this bill" is wrong, really needs some careful examination as to what is going on here.

Let's put aside for the moment whether the bill is good or bad (a succinct and cohesive argument is made here), and the fact that there are answers to the question as to what to do if this bill is killed.

Let's say the bill is bad. And that there are no answers if this is the case. (Not at all true, but just assume it for now.)

Think about what it then means to pass a "bad bill" because there is not a "better answer."  

What is the primary complaint about Democrats?

It is that Dems try to have government do too much that is well intentioned and that does more harm than good, or does some good while infringing upon people's freedoms unnecessarily.

Right or wrong, it keeps a lot of people Republican today who just based upon the basic facts of the many issues this country faces probably would not otherwise be. (Or at least for them to remain Republican, the party could not have moved so radically to the right.)  

And this same framing has a huge amount to do with the successful campaigns against Democrats over the years, even, again, as the Republican party has moved almost radically to the right.

So what then is passing a bad bill -- and one, it is argued, I think persuasively, that is somewhat overbearing without solving the problem that needs to be solved-- doing?

It is doing exactly what Republicans accuse Democrats of doing.

So now, afraid of "not having" health care reform, the argument seems like it may be starting to morph into "bad legislation is better than no legislation."

But it's not.  Bad legislation is worse than no legislation, and our country was founded somewhat on that idea.  

Regarding the argument that if this bill is not passed, then it will be "years" before it is considered again; this is poppycock. It will be considered again when it is brought up cohesively, coherently, and there is a need for it. Which is the case today, and which will continue to be the case tomorrow.

On the other side of the equation, there have been arguments that a "bad bill" can be improved.

Yes, they can.  But changing bad bills is more problematic, not less problematic, than simply creating a good one in the first place. And very often, does not even get done.

More importantly, if a bad bill can really be re-focused on in Congress and in the national debate, then the issue itself can be re-focused on in Congress and in the national debate.

But is "killing the bill" even the only option?  


Another option is to change the bill to address the problem. The problem is spiraling health care costs, caused mainly by for profit insurance over what is in effect routine, rather than economic life changing, health care needs. This current bill seems only to add to that.

Start the bill over, or change this bill to make it a good bill, not a bad one.

That Democrats have a decent majority in both houses and control of the White House, and can't get this done because of what Republicans think, is a travesty. It is also a classic reflection of how Democrats this decade have, and continue, to allow their opponents to control the public debate.

If a good bill, that does more while not infringing on people, not mandating things, not adding more intrusive regulations and burdensome paperwork, and which contains what have become absolutely absurd medical and medical related costs in this country (with enormous impact upon our federal debt as well), is passed, Democrats will not be as hammered on it.

They will get hammered even less if Democrats stop presuming that "everyone knows" what they know (or thinks or perceives things the same way) and instead of simply telling Americans, they show and sell them a better bill, they show and sell them why, and they show and sell them how once again their oppponents are either misleading Americans on the issue or do not understand it. (And we as Americans can not keep listening to leaders who wildly mislead or have no idea what the issues and facts are, such as this famous person.)

Yet Democrats in Congress and perhaps elsewhere are so afraid of getting hammered on this that they "compromised" in a way that is in essence a hand out to special interests; and which only increases, rather than decreases, the legitimate complaints and attacks that can be levied upon this bill.  

And thus, the big irony here is, they will be more hammered on it. Not less.

A bad bill is worse than no bill. A bad bill does not lead to improvements.  (That's only one step removed from the far right theory that if you "starve the beast" and cut receipts, Congress will temper spending, which never worked, and probably never will.)

Start over, or simply fix this bill. (I'd be glad to offer help to this White House, but the last time I offered help, on the issue in fact of how to frame things so that Democrats opponents are not always able to frame the debate, it was met, esssentially, with cries of "we get it, so screw everyone else if they don't" at the very same time that article after article popped up wondering how the rest of the country and media was responding in the (unfortunate) way that it was -- see update to the piece in particular.)

But please don't use the excuse that "nothing is going to happen" if a bad bill isn't passed. If Democrats want a bill passed (let alone with a majority and a White House), pass a good bill. It's as simple as that.

If it seems hard, go back to the framing issue and why this got so complicated in the first place: Because once again Democrats played right into their opponents framing, and worried about how they were going to look (And, in keeping with the "everyone knows what we know" idea, didn't successfully use their opponents lies and misrepresentations to define their opponents.)  

You look good when you do what you believe is right, and you sell why. You look bad when you worry about how you look.

It's time for Democrats in Congress to grasp this. Or stop passing bills. Particularly bad ones.

Originally posted to Colt45 on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 04:24 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Dude... you pass Bills with the Senate and (7+ / 0-)

      Congress you have. Not the ones you wish you had.

      The Bill that goes to the President will not be much more progressive than either versions are now.

      1. Pass the Bill
      1. Sign it into law
      1. Exploit the bump in the polls at the mid-term/general to elect more progressive Dems
      1. Amend the law
      1. Rinse and repeat steps 3~4 until you have a health-care system to be proud of
      1. Finally cede power after 50 years because the President got blown in the Oval Office

      I can do magic. If you want miracles, well... that's gonna take a little longer.

      by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 05:31:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  how does this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Have anything to do with the diary above.

        Oh,and by the way, you won't have a bump in the mid terms. You will lose seats. After that happens, you can probably say that this diary was wrong, and that was just a lucky guess,right?

        Sort of like far right Republicans will blame ensuing sea level increases that on "natura environmental cycles."

        Anything to keep adhering to your same view.

        So, dude. You pass good bills. You don't pass bad bills. You think this is a good bill, support it. I don't.  This piece addressed the very specific idea that this bill should be passed "even if it is a bad bill," which, I suggest, is bad strategy, bad policy, and bad politics.  

        •  You start with the premis that this is a 'bad' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Bill and go downhill from there.

          I assert that any Bill that improves the lives of millions of people is by default a 'good' bill.

          It can be made 'better' and ultimately 'best' (but there is really no such thing since no country's health-care system is perfect).

          So, you are left with making it better.

          Re: the bump in the polls? Ask those millions of people whose lives are changed by finally getting that tooth fixed, or their headaches treated who they are gonna vote for.

          I can do magic. If you want miracles, well... that's gonna take a little longer.

          by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 06:47:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with you Clive (0+ / 0-)

            I do start from that premise, and I was working only off the argument that even if is a bad bill, we should "pass it anyway" so as to "get something done."

            If that is not the argument, if "bad" in fact here is being taken to mean "better than nothing, but not as good as it could be" then that would be a different case.

            Yes, I do think it is a "bad" bill; bad meaning bad, not meaning "better than nothing."

            People can disagree on that.I articulate the reasons why I think it is a bad bill, rather succinctly, here.

            I think that the reasons I articulate resonate with a majority of Americans. I also think I could help craft a bill that accomplishes a lot more, and is not as problematic for nearly as many Americans at the same time.

            But then again, I'm not in Congress. I'm on this site, getting slammed.  

  •  This is about the most tortured logic (18+ / 0-)

    I have read in a very, very long time.

    Here are the questions, put simply.

    1. Can you get Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, and Co to vote for anything better than the current HCR plan?

    If yes, detail how.  If no, move to question 2.

    1. Is this bill better or worse than the status quo?

    If yes, pass the bill.  If not, don't pass the bill.  In either case, explain your position.

    Here is your structure, now see what you can do.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 04:31:04 PM PST

    •  Thank you, empty vessel. This bill (19+ / 0-)

      will provide an opportunity for my 23-year-old son, who is not longer a student, to get insurance. Without it, he can't get insurance. Tell me how killing the bill gets him health insurance.

      •  Whereas We, Who Are Solidly Below Median Income, (6+ / 0-)

        will be taxed for the rest of our lives for having sacrificed income all our careers to get good health coverage.

        Nelson has promised to sink the bill if I'm not taxed.

        The Democrats have in this bill institutionalized the concept that there can be too much health care. For most people your son's age, that will hurt them sooner than a medium term delay in coverage if a better bill could be worked out.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 05:18:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wait wait wait (2+ / 0-)

          I presume you are talking about the excise tax.

          You made a deal to exchange $100 of taxable income for $80 of non-taxable income. That's a recurring deal. Haven't you gotten the benefits for all your career? Year after year?

          So now it's time to make a different deal: take the taxable income. Except I'm guessing you're going to find the old deal still works for you. It's not unlikely that the insurance company is going to eat part of the excise tax, because your policy has been very very good to them. By how much does your policy exceed $23,000? Does 40% of the excess amount to even $10 a week?

          Deoliver47 was right and deserves some apologies

          by Clem Yeobright on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 05:33:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I agree w/ that objection. This cadillac care (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clem Yeobright, Dirtandiron, Renie

          concept was horse manure when McCain advanced it and his little contempous sneer in the debate where he belittled it helped torpedo his campaign.

          People like Grayson and Howard Dean need to fight back more on that one. They and Trumka have, but we need more push back on that issue.

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

        It's not this bill or no bill. The senate can go back to the drawing board.
        The senate can get rid of the arcane self imposed filibuster rule and pass a better bill.

        A better bill will provide what we all need without giving away the store.

        Is your son on his death bed, or will he die without it?
        If yes, I can see why you are arguing for this bill if it will provide him with insurance. I have been without insurance for 10 years and pay for all my care out of pocket. I want a better bill.

        If this democratic congress, senate and president think their careers hang on getting a bill passed, then it's up to them to do it right, or hang. We know they wont hang themselves. They will hang us though. To us, the real battle is the Money party vs; us. Between them it's R vs. D and who divides K Street spoils and maintains power after the elections. They could't give a shit less about us, unless it affects their re-election prospects.

        •  You are not going to get a better bill out of (9+ / 0-)

          this congress. You will have the same congresscritters next year as you have this year. The idea that if we kill this bill we will somehow get a better bill is just naive. If we kill it, we are likely to get a repeat of 1994 when no one wanted to touch healthcare for another 10+ years. Whether this is passed or not, we are likely to have a more Republican congress after 2010. I think that the chance of getting a better bill then is zero. The Republicans want to make this Obama's Waterloo. However you may feel about Obama, I think that he is far preferable to President Palin or President Huckabbee.

          •  It may rank among the weakest reasons (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blue jersey mom, LeanneB

            to pass this bill, but: a part of me would like to be able to turn that rhetoric around and proclaim passage of the health care bill to be the Republicans' Waterloo.

            Personally, I'm not sure that I'll benefit from this bill. I'm pretty sure I have one of those "cadillac" plans, and the benefit of getting it through my employer, a University, is that I get really sweet rates at the University's large and well-respected research hospital. I would be surprised if an analogous plan pops up on any exchange, especially if it's a national one.

            But barring any terrible accidents, I'm still among the temporarily able, and my need for medical attention is low and occasional enough that I should be able to ride out any bumps.

            Deoliver47 was right, and she deserves an apology.

            by James Robinson on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 06:23:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  How are they going to go back to the drawing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LeanneB, Empty Vessel

          board? How??

          It's taken them a year to get conservadems to go along. How will you get those conservadems aboard next year on a new bill?

          Of course you can't, only in your imagination.

      •  Why (0+ / 0-)

        Tell me why, blue jersey, and all the people who liked your comment, others who pay taxes should pay for your son's health insurance?

        Think that argument doesn't resonate so well on here, right? Well try in the outside world, in the world outside of the knee jerk democratic base online reverberating echo chambers.  

        Okay, so let's say its okay, because health care is a right, not a privelege, if that is your argument.  Then change the current status quo to get rid of, or lessen for profit health insurance that over covers people and sends billions to health insurance companies that is otherwise serving no purpose.  Provide real competition, lessen other onerous and big government health care paperwork regulations, and have people contribute a part of this themselves as well, and insure them for truly big things, not routine things that don't fall outside of the parameters of what is affordable for people who put a priority on their own health care.  

        •  That's the kind of thing that conservatives have (0+ / 0-)

          been saying for DECADES to argue against "socialized medicine."  I can't tell you how many times some redneck has said, "Why should I pay for your medical bills?" when the topic of health care-as-a-right has come up.

          So if we got past that silly argument enough to get this far, it sure doesn't hold up as a reason to shoot down this bill now.

          Deoliver47 was right and deserves some apologies.

          by LeanneB on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 07:13:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  As respectfully as possible (0+ / 0-)

            I invite you to re read my comment.

            "Why should I pay for health insurance" is a fair question and there may be fair answers, just as for some other things taxpayers pay for.

            It's not a reason to shoot the bill down, if the bill is otherwise a good bill.  If you think that is the case, no problem.  Other people don't think it is otherwise a good bill. I suggested some differences, just by way of example, between this bill, and what a good bill would do, in the comment above comment above

    •  Explain to me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      How it is that Republicans are able to block stuff that has less than 60 votes, with a Democratic White House, but for eight years, Democrats were never able to accomplish that?

      Re your second point, yes the bill is worse than the status quo.

      If you disagree, fine. But the argument that this piece was referring to was the argument that it was a bad bill (and thus worse) but should be passed anyway.  

      If you don't agree it is a bad bill, here here are the reasons why, very succinctly, I suggest it is.

      •  Bad bill--yes (0+ / 0-)

        Worse than the status quo--no.  Those are different questions.

        Its simple to propose bills that are better.  Here I will show you how its done.

        Single payer would be better than this bill.  I am not even being snarky--I truly support a single payer bill.

        But here's the rub, we ain't getting a single payer HCR bill, no way, no how.  Frankly, the house may get a little window dressing improvements, but little else.  You keep listing all the ways that we could make the bill better, but I have yet to any reasonable argument for how you will get Lieberman or Nelson to vote for a bill with those improvements.

        If you think that the bill is worse than the satus quo, fine.  But be prepared to keep the status quo for another 20 years.  If you are not prepared for that, you are back to square one, how do you make Lieberman and Nelson vote for a better bill.

        If your opposition to this bill is predicated on the belief that you can get a better one soon, you will be sorely mistaken.

        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

        by Empty Vessel on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 09:34:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It sounds reasonable to me (13+ / 0-)

    If you want to "Kill the Bill" you 've got to have a better alternative for the 30 million Americans the "flawed" bill helps.

    After all, this is about the uninsured not just having a progressive victory.

    "This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected". -Barack Obama

    by indepenocrat on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 04:33:52 PM PST

    •  Forcing people to buy useless insurance helps? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slinkerwink, nippersdad, Colt45

      Seriously.  If the proposed plans were actually covering people in a realistic manner then maybe it would be acceptable to further enrich the private insurance industry from the public coffers.  But the plans that any lower income people will be able to afford will be essentially useless due to the levels of co-pays and deductibles.  There may be some positives in this bill, but they are way overshadowed by the massive giveaway to the private insurance industry.  

      Nancy Pelosi said a few months ago that the insurance company's glory days were over, looks more like they're just beginning.  Why are we continuing to allow rich people to get richer on the backs of the middle class?  Why are we now institutionalizing our serfdom to Wall Street?  Forcing us to subsidize private insurers so they can show a healthy profit - at least SOMETHING will be healthy out of all this.

    •  This is a reasonable comment (0+ / 0-)

      Which at the same time pretty much illustrates the main point of the piece.

      That is, some people are uninsured, so a bad bill is acceptable because it solves this? In Russia communism was acceptable because "people needed bread on their tables." How is this thinking different?

      I'm not saying you don't have a right to it, I am just saying I vehemently disagree.

      Help the uninsured by decreasing all of the money going to for profit health insurance companies, providing a super expensive middle man for routine things that people should be paying for themselves, not by mandating more of it.

  •  On what planet do you "kill the bill" (17+ / 0-)

    people spend most of your time? We didn't get everything we wanted so now we're going to just scrap it, start over, and get it all next time? You and what congress?

    This bill is flawed, and it's nowhere near as progressive as it should be, but it is what we have to start with. Killing it simply kills it. It does nothing positive besides.

    I know theft is illegal, but look at all the cool stuff I got!

    by BoiseBlue on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 04:38:09 PM PST

  •  On the topic of HCR (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2, beltane

    did anyone else notice the right wing add that's been popping up paid for by patients first a project of americans for prosperity.

  •  The alternative is to put massive consumer protec (6+ / 0-)

    protections in this bill. Such as:
    -No annual or lifetime limits on coverage.
    -premiums based on income, and strict regulation of this. No charging sick or old more than young & healthy.

    - annual caps on out of pocket expenses including, deductibles, co-pay's, medicine
    -No rate can be raised for 5 years for new customers and only every 2 years for existing ones
    -Rate increases capped at 1% - Windfall taxes
    -Minimum fine of $100k if a customer in good standing is dropped
    -Cri m inal charges on the individual who makes the decision to drop a customer and the customer dies as a result.
    -if customer is unemployed or has taken a pay cut, then they have to keep the premiums as is or lower them (back to the income based rates)
    If you had these protections built in, it would almost be as good as a public option.

    •  Thank you for saying (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueyedace2, Johnny Q, Dixie Liberal

      The alternative is to put massive consumer protections in this bill,

       This is a fix-it-don't-kill-it alternative, which makes a lot of sense to me.

      Btw, are you in Winter Park, FL?

      Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain

      by SottoVoce on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 04:48:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Show me 60 votes. (2+ / 0-)

        They aren't there.

        •  probably not, but it's worth a try to put as (0+ / 0-)

          many protections as they  possibly can into the bill.  I am hopeful it can continue to be strengthened later.  My whole comment was really in support of fixing it as much as possible rather than killing it.

          Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain

          by SottoVoce on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 05:45:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Get Harry to twist some arms (0+ / 0-)

          Threaten to take away committee chairs, things like that.  Go to reconciliation for as much as possible and only worry about 51 votes.  The GOP got far more extreme bills passed with less than 60 votes.  With these numbers we should be getting Medicare for all. And you know what?  That is a policy supported by a great majority of Americans, Republicans as well as Democrats.  Problem is that none of those Republicans or Democrats are in the US Senate.

          •  Not this crap again (0+ / 0-)

            If Reid starts threatening committee chairs, he'll get himself replaced as Majority Leader. Going to reconciliation means giving up stuff like banning exclusion based on preexisting condition, and there's no guarantee a public option would fly. With these numbers -- a 60 seat majority only if you count Joe Lieberman as a Democrat, where every single Conservadem Senator has a veto, the Senate bill is the outer limit of what we can reasonably expect to get. And, yes, you're right that the public supports the public option. But we're a republic, not a democracy.

            •  Right, like Majority Leaders haven't twisted arms (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              before ...  If the majority of the Democratic caucus supports the policy direction he should have their support as ML.  This entire process has been nothing but a sham, a done deal from the start with the White House selling us out to Big Pharma and Big Insurance.  Change we can believe in?  Right, got a bridge to sell you.

              •  The majority of the Democratic caucus (0+ / 0-)

                supports retaining their prerogatives as Senators, not becoming like the House where the party leadership can tell them how to vote.

                The White House hasn't sold anyone out. They've gotten the best bill that's possible with the Senate as currently configured.

                Too many people here have had expectations completely detached from reality from the start. This garbage about Obama "selling us out" is based on blind faith that he and Reid have some kind of magic ability to make Senators do what they want. New for you: they don't.

                •  I think the Democratic Senators who stood in the (0+ / 0-)

                  way of true reform may have more than just their prerogatives to worry about.  They're actually SUPPOSED to have the best interests of the country in mind - naive I know.  This bill may well lead to a fundamental realignment of politics in this country.  This will likely not be a good thing.

                  If you think the back room deal with Big Pharma wasn't a sellout then fine, go on living in your fantasy world.

                  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                    The backroom deal with Big Pharma was smart politics. It, and others like it, neutralized the kind of opposition that killed the Clinton health care proposal. Sure, Big Pharma got a sweetheart deal; first to come on board gets the best deal. Basic negotiating strategy.

                    But the liberal attacks glide past a hard reality. By bringing industry players inside the room, Obama and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) holstered some of the very guns that defeated reform in 1994. PhRMA, for instance, will spend nearly $200 million on reform this year — and clearly it could spend it endorsing or opposing the bill.

                    Cutting deals to neutralize would-be antagonists was one of the Democrats’ key takeaways from the failed “Hillarycare” effort. And the Obama White House followed a basic tenet of negotiating: first in, best deal. PhRMA agreed to give up $80 billion over 10 years to pay for reform — a figure that infuriated some House members who thought it was too light and who tried to negate the agreement.

                    Conversely, tardy negotiators risked getting clobbered. Exhibit A: the medical device lobby, which misplayed its early hand and nearly got slammed with a big tax.

                    •  Your characterization of this process is a (0+ / 0-)

                      perfect example of what is wrong in American politics.  This should be about what policies are best for the country, not who got to the table first.  The Democrats have proven themselves to be every bit the willing toadies of their corporate masters that we always knew Republicans to be.  This is something that progressives always suspected, but after this debacle we have the proof.  

                      If you thought 2009 and the Teabaggers made for an ugly year, just wait.  The Democrats have managed to take a bill with 60-some percent approval and dilute it to the point where it has lost half its support.  And they think that is a prescription for electoral gains in 2010?  Talk about your delusional thinking ...  They have done everything they could possibly do to demoralize their base.  Those oh so cautious Blue Dogs - they're gone.  It doesn't matter how they voted on health care or anything else, without the base showing up in support of Democratic candidates across the board they will lose.  And given their role in destroying the value in this bill, good riddance.

  •  When the Dems tell us they can't (6+ / 0-)

    give us anything better than this, they are really saying, "The lobbyists made us do it." Until we understand this simple fact, we will never be able to fix this problem. It's corporate power and money at the bottom of this problem, plain and simple. They're just trying to hide it under the guise of "realism" and "pragmatism." That lets them continue on in the same vein forever.

    --Free thinkers shouldn't go around thinking just anything. (Terry Pratchett)

    by HPrefugee on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 04:48:49 PM PST

  •  I prefer to have at least a start on HCR (14+ / 0-)

    Killing the bill now will likely be it's demise for generations.  At least the insurance companies will be reigned in on pre-existing and no drop issues.  I believe that the next step is to extend Medicare to 55 buy in.  I think that can be done in an add on after this bill is passed.  By the way we still have to reconcile with the House bill and may make significant gains.  Not ready to ditch the whole process now because it falls short of expectations.

    "My brothers keeper"

    by Reetz on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 04:48:50 PM PST

  •  Why this is wrong (1+ / 0-)

    You've mis-identified the problem.

    The problem is spiraling health care costs, caused mainly by for
    profit insurance over what is in effect routine, rather than economic life changing, health care needs. This current bill seems only to add to that.

    No, the problem is 50 million uninsured. 45,000 Americans a year die because they lack health coverage. That's a moral crisis. Taking out the mandate or making other changes you suggest would fracture the coalition that's been painstakingly built to pass the bill.

    This bill would extend coverage to 31 million people (excluding illegal alliens and people who are exempt from the mandate). That would save many thousands of lives a year. Calling a bill that does that bad is offensive. It's a good bill.

    And you have not even tried to make the case that a better bill is possible. To do that, you need to address the questions in Norbrook's diary that you are criticizing.

    •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

      This bill would extend coverage to 31 million people (excluding illegal alliens and people who are exempt from the mandate). That would save many thousands of lives a year. Calling a bill that does that bad is offensive. It's a good bill.

      Calling my view that this is a bad bill offensive, is what is offensive.

      And it is a big part of the presumptous know it all what we say and believe is right and everybody else is wrong and beneath us and must have disgusting or evil or stupid motivations attitude that has kept Democras from repeatedly winning on numerous issues where they have the facts on their side, and has allowed the Republican party to continue to move to the right and yet still largely frame and control the national debate.  

      •  Offensive (1+ / 0-)

        Calling my view that this is a bad bill offensive, is what is offensive

        Your argument is that the bill is bad because you don't think it will control costs  (Your "assume for the sake of argument trick fools no one.). Assuming for the sake of argument that your cost control point were true, the bill will still save a lot of lives. I say putting cost control ahead of saving lives is offensive. Calling the bill bad on the grounds you provide does exactly that. It's offensive.

        The "improvements" your propose would kill the bill, leaving things as they are. You've failed completely to make an argument to the contrary.

        •  Let's try again (0+ / 0-)

          I had a view.  I am an American, and I am entitled to that view. I think it's a bad bill. The reasons are articulated here. That a majority of Americans probably agree with those reasons is beside the point.

          What you did is call that view "offensive." Not that you disagree with it, or suggest that it is wrong, but that is is offensive. You called my earnestly held view, one that says a bill that is going to insure more people and increase government intrusion should at the very least also lessen, not strengthen, the role of private health insurance, "offensive."

          You are really not getting how that itself is offensive?  What if Republicans called your view that we need health care reform, "offensive," as if you are not entitled to that view, as if there is something "offensive" about even you having the right to hold that view.

          But that is what you did. And you don't see it.

          That's classic for this site.

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

            Look, as an American, you absolutely have the right to hold whatever views you want, including offensive views. I did, in fact, explain why I disagree with it, as well as why I find it offensive. In case you missed it:

            I find treating cost control as more important than saving lives in evaluating the bill offensive. I'll add here that I think placing an ideological objection to private insurance ahead of saving lives is also offensive.

            Many Republicans would probably consider my advocacy of universal coverage to be socialist or something, and find it offensive. I don't really care.

            I am not denying your right to hold your views, or to argue for them. But I have an equal right to my own view, which is that yours offends me, and should offend others.

          •  Funding the MIC in excess of all other (0+ / 0-)

            countries combined, is offensive. Bailed out banks giving their CEOs insane bonuses, is offensive. Allowing one of your cities to remain mired in devastation years after the flooding, is offensive. Lying your way into a war, is offensive (and illegal).

            Allowing your fellow citizens to die for lack of health-care, is offensive (and morally repulsive).

            I can do magic. If you want miracles, well... that's gonna take a little longer.

            by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 07:23:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  It's not that the kill the billers . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    don't have a better alternative they have no alternative. They have no effective plan for a way to do it better. And each time we put it off it only gets worse it does not improve.

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 05:13:20 PM PST

    •  One alternative. (0+ / 0-)

      Since this is a moral crisis, not just a lack of heath care crisis,
      We should call for  all these pieces of shit congressmen and Senators to return the lobby money like they do when some other criminal donates toward their reelection, and make make them buy insurance on the open market as if they were unemployed.
      The senate can start over.

    •  Simply not true. nt. (0+ / 0-)
    •  I have an alternative (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Dont mandate health insurance for starters.

      Lessen paperwork requirements, next.

      Enforce and strengthen more anti trust regulations, third.

      Give a huge tax break to those with catastrophic coverage, so as to encourage what health insurance should really constitue, fourth.

      And that's just off the top of my head in 30 seconds.

      Give me a few days.

      But as to your point, if you agree on balance that the bill, disappointing to you as it is, is a plus not a minus, then by all means you should support it.

      I don't think that is is, for the reasons articulated here.

      You can disagree, that is fine.  But I was responding to the idea that a bad bill means a bad bill, but that a bad bill is better than no bill, which I think is not only incorrect, it legitimizes the Republican complaint about Democrats:That they want to throw government at everything, no matter if it is good or bad.

      That is not to say government could not manufacture a good bill. It is to say that the argument that a bad bill is better than none (bad not meaning "not as good as we hoped, but still good, but actually "bad") is doing exactly that. Throwing  more government at stuff anyway even when it is not a good idea.

      •  Nice list (0+ / 0-)

        so how do you get it done with the congress as now constituted? There are  many alternative that might or might not be an improvement, but my point was the kill the billers have no alternative to getting a better bill even considered let alone done and signed.

        In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

        by jsfox on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 07:03:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Elect me (0+ / 0-)

          To congress instead. For the same reaons you guys throw a conniption fit whenver I suggest something practical along the line that not everyone knows or "thinks" what active hard core democrats think, I also know a lot of Republicans are as much led by misinformation and lack of effective articulation by Democrats as by anything else, and that plenty of Republicans will be behind a bill that helps more Americans and reduces costs.  Or they will be out of office, when this becomes properly framed.

          Which it is not right now, and which almost nothing has this entire decade, by Democrats.  

          •  what conniption fit? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Empty Vessel

            I would love to see a better bill I just wold like to know how it gets done with the current make up of the Senate. Now if you are willing to wait in the hopes that the Senate will improve you will have a long wait.

            And do you honestly believe if this bill dies HCR reform will be taken up again?

            At this point folks want jobs not HCR. And jobs picture is what is going to drive the mid-terms not another protracted fight over HCR.

            In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

            by jsfox on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 07:21:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I actually think (0+ / 0-)

              That the bill should just be changed, it's easier and looks a whole heckuva lot better than scraping it and starting over.  

              But in my personal, humble opinion, it needs to be changed a lot. While I think health care is a debacle in this country, pretty much all around, I'm not a big fan of convoluted highly questionable bills that seem to add, rather than solve, what I see as one of the main problems -- the excessive amount we spend on health care for routine items, as well as the excessive paperwork and (often needless) government regulation now involved. That is just my opinion, I know others on here disagree, and that is fine.

  •  False assumptions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This logic is inverted.

    Yet Democrats in Congress and perhaps elsewhere are so afraid of getting hammered on this that they "compromised" in a way that is in essence a hand out to special interests; and which only increases, rather than decreases, the legitimate complaints and attacks that can be levied upon this bill.  

    I think they are compromised already, by taking money from special interests and now they are afraid of getting hammered in the elections.

    Oh, what a choice... untold riches or their constituencies mandates?

    ...Oh noes... what to do.. what to do..

    Another problem is that inside the parties are caucuses that act as voting blocks, and although the "blue dogs" are in the D party, the R party knows they own them, they even claim them.  Looking at it like this, the Democratic party is a false construct so there is no surprise they can't get anything decent passed.

    If you don' t believe me see the comments on Dan Perrin's posts at RedState. You may have to look in his other posts and comments.

    •  I agree somewhat (0+ / 0-)

      But I don't think it is inverted.  I think both statements are true. Yes, special interests pulled on them, but what made it a LOT easier was the fact that they were so afraid of getting hammered.

  •  That would be true... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2, kaliope

    if it was 100% bad legislation...there is a lot of good, some ehhhh so-so and some things frankly suck...

    But to say it is all bad says to me you have not read or understood the entire bill...

    For you know that under the bill and estimated 15 million people will essentially be provided health insurance for free in a single payor system?????

    Now how could that be bad...???

    Obama - Change I still believe in

    by dvogel001 on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 05:23:27 PM PST

    •  it's parasitic (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slinkerwink, Colt45

      Just because its not 100% bad legislation .. doesn't equal  "Now how could that be bad...??"

      The bad outweighs the good.  it doesn't achieve it's stated goal of "reform" just because it throws a lifeline to few more people. Where's the "Universal"coverage that we were supposed to get? Why couldn't we have modeled it on another country's successful program?  Because it wasn't an "American" Solution that would preserve the leeches.

      I'm all for the social aspect of good.. but there isn't much good. Too many people are left out, like the poor wretched souls that have moved up here from South America to pick our food because NAFTA has ruined their ability to farm in their own countries.

      It's just ridiculous that they are trying to protect the profits of an industry that brings absolutely no benefit to our society.

      They aren't enough controls on this parasitic industry, and in fact it has morphed into a predator.  Nothing's really changed, it's just moving stuff around and feeding different people into the machine..  

      We'd be better off with anti-trust laws, strict regulation and repeal of NAFTA.

      •  an estimated 41 million people... (0+ / 0-)

        is not a bad start for universal coverage...if you were expecting us to jump to 100%....nobody not even Barack Obama promised that...

        And getting 15 million people into a single payer program is a huge step forward as well...

        So are there problems with this bill sure...but there are lots of good things too...

        Obama - Change I still believe in

        by dvogel001 on Tue Dec 29, 2009 at 07:13:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Two things: (4+ / 0-)
    1. Negotiations are still ongoing. You can't effectively negotiate without a legitimate threat of a walk-away.
    1. At the end of the day, the essential question will be whether or not the bill represents an improvement over the status quo.
  •  Fixing the bill will be easier after (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue jersey mom

    the Senate and the House have "conferenced" and melded the provisions in their dissimilar "passed" bills and the President has signed it.

    Otherwise, it'll be like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    There is a lot of good even in the Senate bill. Once a HCR act is in place, with a working health delivery framework for as many people as possible, all kinds of "policy rewrites" will be possible without facing cloture votes every whipstitch.

    •  Why not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Just start from the right place, rather than the wrong place.  Consider that a lot of Democrats don't like this bill. What do you think Republicans, who see it as government intrusiveness and control (somewhat correctly, it seems, in this instance)think?

      What is so hard about addressing the real problem.

      Why are Democrats so afraid of simply making the case they believe in, and trying to sell it rathert than simply being contemptous of everyone who disagrees, and fighting for it, when Republicans do that all the time, often with things that are egregiously wrong?

    •  I don't agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      right now they know they have to do something.

      If they do something, anything, then they can congratulate themselves and move on to something new.

      There will be no motivation to 'fix' this after passage.  If it can be fixed afterwards, it can be fixed beforehand.

      •  Cats (0+ / 0-)

        Apologies, I'm not following. It seems like you are saying what I'm saying but you don't agree?

        There will be no motivation to 'fix' this after passage.  If it can be fixed afterwards, it can be fixed beforehand.

        I agree with this. It is part of the premise of this piece.  

        If you are saying it can't be fixed (which I don't think you are ) then if it is a bad bill, I am suggesting that it should not be passed. And I am suggesting it is a bad bill.

        And if it can be fixed, fix it before it is passed. Not on some irrelevant "promise" of doing so after.

        I am also saying that Democrats are becoming slaves to the framing of their opponents, by the way.That is half the point of the piece above.  What are these blue dogs against a better bill?  If they are more "conservative" then they ought to believe even more that this is an abominable bill.  They are afraid of how their opponents are going to paint them.

        And they are going to get hammered for this, because they are going to look bad anyway. In fact, they are going to look worse.  

  •  This says it all (0+ / 0-)

    "simply creating a good one in the first place."

    In Washington there is no "simply".
    You don't SIMPLY create something good
    You don't SIMPLY start over
    You don't SIMPLY improve something

    You work with what you have; you marshal those resources as best as you can. You try to build a framework on which greater and more expansive reforms can be added. You are dealing with the devil. You try to keep your eyes on the 150,000 people dying each year for lack of any access to medical care and to the many tens of thousands losing everything because of medical bankruptcy.

    You're entitled to think that expanding Single payer to include another 15 million (or perhaps as many as 20 million) new working people sucks or isn't a great thing.

    You're entitled to think that providing primary care, free of charge, or nearly so to up to 25 million people, especially in rural areas sucks or isn't a great thing.

    You're entitled to think and even proclaim loudly that making insurance affordable for the working poor for the first time by reducing their contribution for premiums by 70-80% in many cases sucks too.

    You can also pooh pooh Rockefeller's addition to the bill which ups the medical loss ratio to as much as 85%, reversing a 2 decade slide to below 80% in many cases and you can do the same for caps on out of pocket expenses.

    You can whine that a national exchange which allows my small business (of 2 people) to pool with millions of others is a bad thing too, as are tax credits I can get to encourage me to offer health insurance to my employees.

    You can tell us how a ban on denial for pre-existing conditions is just a charade (it's not, insurance companies can't raise premiums for these people) and how severe reductions on their ability to cancel policies is irrelevant to the many people who lose their homes due to....policy cancellations for not reporting their son's acne or some such nonsense.

    Look, we both want the same thing (I think..hope) single payer...Medicare for all. The roller coaster ride we've gone through with this bill is something you and I share. I too went through the grieving process for the PO. I too felt the rage bordering on nausea at the thought that insurance companies (the enemy) would be benefiting from this bill. I too was livid that one senator would hold this bill ransom just to make it nearly impossible for many women to get abortion coverage...and we all had to just stand there and take it; that really sucked too. In short, I am aware of everything that you hate that's in this bill.

    And I am also painfully aware of the repeated efforts to pass such a bill and of the results of these past efforts; failure for 70 years. This bill is the beginning of a new era. It will be remembered as such 100, 200  years from now. We WILL get a PO; we will get Medicare for all eventually. The momentum will be all ours as people see the benefits that can derive from National health care and the necessity of it. Once this bill is in place it will NOT be repealed. It will be built upon. The Republicans know that. They don't oppose this bill because they think it's so bad. They oppose it because they know it could spell political death for them, if and when the American public becomes comfortable with much of what's in it and wants more...Medicare 55 or...50 or...why not for all?

    Bottom line...I take the Bernie Sanders approach. He may not be God, but his heart is always in the right place. When you look at the benefits in this bill for those who are sick or have no access to health care, as Bernie said, while admitting that the Insurance industry will be partying all the way to the bank, then it's a no brainer. People will die without this bill. It will save lives and improve the quality of lives.

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