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Now is NOT the time to point fingers, assess blame, or sit on our hands.  Healthcare reform is hanging by a thread, and we here at Daily Kos need to decide how to proceed.

With Scott "Cosmopolitan" Brown now the senate-elect in Massachusetts, Congressional Democrats have a short window to act while they still have 60 votes.  The question is, what action should they take?

The options:

  1. Pass the Senate Bill as is, send it to President Obama for his signature, and use reconciliation to improve the bill as much as possible in the next few months.

Advantages:  Healthcare Reform, as watered down as it is, gets passed.  Obama and the Democratic Party can say that they got something done.  The bill would establish a base that can be improved upon with time.

Disadvantages:  The Senate HCR Bill is extremely, perhaps fatally flawed.  Republicans would campaign on the Dems rushing HCR through before Brown is certified.  There are no guarantees that Congress and/or Obama would have the stomach to re-visit this issue and improve the bill.

  1. Continue to negotiate and try to pass an improved bill ASAP.

Advantages:  We could end up with a better HCR bill.  Dems would project strength and organization.

Disadvantages:  We could still be undecided by the time Scott "I'm not a Teabagger (wink!)" Brown gets certified, and thus lose the 60th vote in the Senate.  Dems would project weakness and chaos.

  1. Scrap the current HCR bills, start over using reconciliation.

Advantages: No need to pretend that Republicans are interested in bi-partisanship.  No need to court LIEberman, Ben Nelson, and other conservadems.  Can improve certain aspects of HCR as opposed to what's being offered now.

Disadvantges: No guarantees that Dems will have the stomach to re-visit HCR, or to use reconciliation.  Certain aspects of HCR can't be enacted by this process.  Republicans will campaign to some of the gullible that the Democrats have gone "nuclear".

I'm not sure there's a clear-cut choice; maybe you think there is.  What should Congressional Democrats do about Healthcare Reform?

[EDIT: 2/4/10]   If you've read the comments, you'll notice that I made a wager with fellow Kossack anothermavoter.  I thought that Congress would get a Healthcare bill to President Obama prior to the swearing in of Scott Brown.  anothermavoter believed that the swearing in (at?) of Brown would take place first.  Guess who won?

That's right, NOT me.  That's what I get for banking on the "leadership" of Harry Reid.

So since I honor my bets, and as it's for an outstanding cause, I did in fact just make a $10 donation to the American Red Cross, designated for the relief efforts in Haiti.

Originally posted to StonyB on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 08:48 PM PST.

Poll

With the certification of Scott "Curling Iron" Brown looming, what should Congressional Dems do about Healthcare Reform?

42%64 votes
7%11 votes
31%48 votes
12%19 votes
6%10 votes

| 152 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ShempLugosi, catchaz, TKLTKL94, CMYK

    Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

    by StonyB on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 08:48:25 PM PST

    •  I like this as well, but two questions. (0+ / 0-)

      Will there be 60 votes to pass a Medicare buy-in for 55+?

      If not, is this something that can be passed via reconciliation?

      Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

      by StonyB on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 09:24:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It probably would get filibustered too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        catchaz

        but it's an idea you can defend easily in a quick statement: we tried to help all Americans between 55 and 65, and they stopped us with a filibuster. No crap about taking effect in 2013, forcing you to buy from private insurers, etc.

        •  Medicare buy-in is a scam to preserve (0+ / 0-)

          the insurance companies death grip on American's throats. Or so says a well known Harvard health expert on the PNHP web site.

          "Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told a radio host Wednesday morning, "One of the better provisions of the reform legislation was that it prohibited charging older people more than twice (or thrice in the some versions) as much as you charge younger people in the individual market. But by saying everyone over 55 in the individual market can be picked up by Medicare, you’ve really let the insurance industry off the hook."

          Woolhandler continued: "That is, the highest-cost patients in the individual market will be taken off their hands and paid for by the taxpayers; and private insurance will remain the only option for people under the age of 55 and for anyone who gets their insurance through their employer. Another way of saying that is: if you now have private health insurance and you don’t like it, you’re forced to keep it.

          "The buy-in to Medicare is only for those 55 to 64 and it’s only for people who are not offered private health insurance through an employer. So it turns into just a subsidy to private health insurance: the taxpayers will pay for the high-cost patients and the health insurance industry can take the lower-cost patients."

          Medicare for ALL - the Canadian paid for by taxes model is WILDLY POPULAR with both sides of the aisle, when speaking to REAL PEOPLE.

          Read more about that here.

          Single Payer Works! NO SNEAKY WTO GATS Article XXI LOCK-IN TRAPS! Plus, we don't pour 50% down the maw of the insurance and billing monster

          by Andiamo on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:48:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  No bill will pass without 60 votes. (0+ / 0-)

        Republicans are not interested in governing, and they are not interested in dealing.  Their only goal is picking up seats this November.  

  •  One more diary with "Not time for blame game" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Truffle, CMYK

    and I am calling bullshit and starting a BlameGame(tm) panel of celebrity blamers.

    Oh yeah and I think we also need one more diary with a "call to action" in it as well.

  •  Whatever gets it over with fastest (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dharmafarmer

    At this point, every day still spent talking about health care hurts the Democrats.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 08:56:33 PM PST

  •  Reach out in a spirit of bipartisan comity! nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tiggers thotful spot, CMYK, StonyB

    "99% of the battles and skirmishes that we fought in Afghanistan were won by our side." ~ Marshall Akhromeyev

    by ActivistGuy on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 08:57:29 PM PST

  •  The House should pass (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dharmafarmer, StonyB, RomanNumeral

    the senate bill and pass the adjustments negotiated between the White House and the unions re the excise tax via reconciliation. We MUST pass healthcare now and move on to jobs, jobs, jobs. All this bloviating by house democrats about not passing the senate bill is downright ludicrous. They need to suck it pass the bill so we can put 100% focus on the economy. Now is not the time for the blame game and pontificating and whining on cable news.

    "We don't throw the first punch, but we'll throw the last." Barack Obama, October 6, 2008

    by jessica69 on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 08:59:23 PM PST

    •  Pass the neo-segregation bill? (0+ / 0-)

      So most Americans are never exposed to those who have even marginally adequate European-quality healthcare?

      Prevent troublesome information contamination?

      Single Payer Works! NO SNEAKY WTO GATS Article XXI LOCK-IN TRAPS! Plus, we don't pour 50% down the maw of the insurance and billing monster

      by Andiamo on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:00:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think what will happen is theyll end up passing (0+ / 0-)

    a very striped down bill with stuff like pre-existing conditions, tort reform,... some of the other small stuff.

    They may break the bill apart too and try to pass the controversial stuff (medicare for all, public option,...) separately. But I predict that stuff wont pass.

    •  MOST Americans aren't protected (0+ / 0-)

      Insurers discriminate against companies all the time. If an employee gets sick, they jack the rates up and that employee loses their job.

      That of course, won't ever change under Obama's "American style healthcare"

      The insurance companies refused to change it.

      Single Payer Works! NO SNEAKY WTO GATS Article XXI LOCK-IN TRAPS! Plus, we don't pour 50% down the maw of the insurance and billing monster

      by Andiamo on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:02:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reminder (0+ / 0-)

    They no longer have 60 votes - Brown was elected tonight making the sitting interim Senator a lame duck.

    •  Until Brown is certified... (0+ / 0-)

      ...lame duck Senator Kirk still gets to cast votes.  That's why the battle hasn't been lost, but also why time is of the essence.

      Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

      by StonyB on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 09:13:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can't be serious? (0+ / 0-)

        Do you really think with all the attention paid to that possibility that this will happen?  Election will be certified on Wednesday and the blowhard will be on his way to cast vote 41.  

        There is no other option - mark my words.

        •  I respectfully disagree. (0+ / 0-)

          The Democratic machine in Massachusetts still controls the certification process.  Pressure or not, if they get the word from party leaders to stall, they will stall.  My understanding is they legally have up to 10 days to sign.

          And to all the Republicans, teabaggers and bloviating mainstream media types who will protest, two words: Norm Coleman.

          Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

          by StonyB on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 09:32:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I bet it won't happen (0+ / 0-)

            And I'll make a deal with you. If they stall the certification for ten days I'll make a donation to Haiti charity IN YOUR NAME>

            •  How about this? (0+ / 0-)

              If the Democrats pass HCR (in other words, send a bill for Obama's signature) before Brown gets certified, make a $10 donation for Haiti in my name.  Tony Lazaar.

              If Brown gets certified before an HCR bill is presented to Obama, I'll make a $10 donation for Haiti in YOUR name.

              Deal?

              Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

              by StonyB on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 09:42:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I will make the donation (0+ / 0-)

                In your name if that's the case.  I won't disclose my name so your donation can be made anonymously.

                It won't be sent before he's certified.

                •  Deal. (0+ / 0-)

                  So if you're right, what do you think will happen?  Is HCR dead, or will the Dems regroup and pass some stuff via reconciliation?

                  Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

                  by StonyB on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 09:48:57 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I haven't gotten my (0+ / 0-)

                    brain wrapped that far around it right now. What I am certain of though is that you will not see it before Brown is certified.

                    My guess: (uninformed/unthought of til now) is that they will try to pass something that will be more watered down.

                    •  And for the record (0+ / 0-)

                      Here's how the bill in MA was structured - deliberately:

                      On September 24, 2009, Patrick appointed Paul G. Kirk, former Democratic National Committee chairman and aide to Ted Kennedy, to serve as a temporary replacement whose term expires on Jan. 19 when the special election is held

                      So his term is OVER he cannot vote.

                      •  If the House accepts the Senate bill as is... (0+ / 0-)

                        ...there is no need for an additional vote.  The Senate bill, as is, can be forwarded to President Obama.

                        Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

                        by StonyB on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 10:26:17 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  How could they accept THAT? (0+ / 0-)

                          It preserves the insurance system that sucks more than 50% of every healthcare dollar we spend away on insurers, billing, and brokers who ADD NO VALUE WHATSOEVER..

                          Ask your doctor how much of his/her budget they spend on billing.. Its a lot. Insurance companies also suck off 30-50% Borkers get what 5-10%?

                          Do the math!

                          Single Payer Works! NO SNEAKY WTO GATS Article XXI LOCK-IN TRAPS! Plus, we don't pour 50% down the maw of the insurance and billing monster

                          by Andiamo on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:45:51 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

    •  If you have a million dollars to invest.. (0+ / 0-)

      But then, you might be able to actually afford Canadian-quality insurance.. (It costs around $40k/year in the US.)

      Single Payer Works! NO SNEAKY WTO GATS Article XXI LOCK-IN TRAPS! Plus, we don't pour 50% down the maw of the insurance and billing monster

      by Andiamo on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:47:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Go to war! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catchaz

    Fuck bipartisanship.It is dead and we are fighting evil undead.

    In committee, voter down every GOP motion on party lines.No exceptions. On the floor use reconciliation for every bill with a financial component, especially HCR.

    Do not allow GOP any pork at all.

    Time t say Fuck You to the GOP and get down, dirty, and as nasty as we have to be.

    Us the Great Dinosaur Hunt to get rid of any DINOs who won't toe the party line. Purge them all and work to elect progressives.

    Document every death caused by lack of health care and accuse the GOP bastards of murder.

    Draw media attention to all GOP hypocricy and personal faults. Do not spare their families or contributors.

    This is War!

    Is it not written "There's a lot goes on we don't get told."? (Lu Tze)

    by MakeChessNotWar on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 10:10:43 PM PST

  •  You forgot a poll choice (0+ / 0-)
    * Dump it before it completely destroys the the party

    •  Well, that might fall under... (0+ / 0-)

      ...."Scrap the current HCR bills, start over using reconciliation".

      But maybe you mean dump HCR, forget about it, leave it in the street like roadkill.  If that's the case, considering how close we came to passing something, how much time, effort, resources and political capital went into this, how do you think that's going to go over with the voters in 2010?  And 2012?

      Dumping it now WOULD completely destroy the party, at least for the next several years.

      Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

      by StonyB on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 10:32:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Medicare4all thru reconcilliation= Dem landslide! (0+ / 0-)

    but, they won't do it. because they're not anywhere near progressive enough to WANT this for America. they want what the people with the money want. and we lose.

    secession = treason. Haters are Traitors!

    by catchaz on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 10:26:25 PM PST

    •  Just make sure we avoid the SCAM ARTISTS (0+ / 0-)

      who are everywhere trying to derail it into some corporate give away.

      Our President is clearly in that category.

      Best that we bring in some experts who have experience in same, and no or minimal conflicts of interest.

      Perhaps bring in REAL PUBLIC SERVANTS from other countries that have successful systems.

      Have a two week conference to decide the best way, NO SENATORS ALLOWED.

      Single Payer Works! NO SNEAKY WTO GATS Article XXI LOCK-IN TRAPS! Plus, we don't pour 50% down the maw of the insurance and billing monster

      by Andiamo on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:57:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My friend, I want Single Payer too... (0+ / 0-)

        ...and I agree that we should continue to work to make that happen.  But considering all that has taken place in the past year, do you really think we can get a majority of both the House and the Senate to vote for it?

        As for your previous comment about Medicare for 55-64 being a "scam", I understand your point to a degree.  However, wouldn't it at least result in a fairly substantial expansion of a single payer system?  As more and more people become eligible for Medicare, and see how well it works for them, wouldn't that push public opinion towards a further expansion of Medicare down the road?  And then eventually, to all Americans?

        Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

        by StonyB on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:07:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My friend, your defeatist attitude is GUARANTEED (0+ / 0-)

          to lose us everything.

          Arguing for corporate welfare "plans" that weren't plans at all, and instead were GIVEAWAYS is what got us where we are now.

          Single Payer Works! NO SNEAKY WTO GATS Article XXI LOCK-IN TRAPS! Plus, we don't pour 50% down the maw of the insurance and billing monster

          by Andiamo on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:49:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ha Ha (0+ / 0-)

            I didn't know I was personally responsible for the failure of healthcare reform.  Sorry everyone, it's my fault.  My bad.

            You didn't answer my question.  In this current political climate, do you see a realistic possibility for single payer to pass in the short term future?  Wishing on a star, or even working hard, doesn't make it so.

            Remember 1994?  President Clinton's attempt to reform healthcare went down to defeat - and so did the Democratic party in the mid-term elections.  By a landslide.

            If you pass something, even a crappy bill like the Senate bill, you have legislation in place that can be improved upon.  If you pass nothing, you hand a victory to the Republicans, teabaggers, Big Insurance and Big Pharma, who want nothing more than to kill HCR and see Obama fail.

            Medicare and Social Security started out as weak and half-assed policy.  In time, they became what they are today.

            Look at the big picture - or don't.  Your choice.  

            Again, I favor single payer as well, but I'm willing to take a small step in that direction rather than holding my breath for the whole enchilada, or nothing at all.  That would be political suicide.

            Moderates don't change the world. They sit and watch as the world changes around them.

            by StonyB on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:33:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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