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One of the things that I hated most about the shrub was his refusal to ever blame anyone for screw-ups. 9/11 was a colossal screw-up, and no one lost their job over it. WMD was an even bigger one, yet there were no heads delivered to the President on a platter. The economic collapse -- same thing.

For the Democratic Party to lose Ted Kennedy's Senate seat at a time when we have (had) a one-vote margin of error to defeat the filibuster is a colossal fuck-up, I don't care how you cut it. Somebody needs to face the music here. We need to do a proper postmortem on this one and figure out where we've gone off the rails, and get back on track in a new direction.

Clearly the health care bill did not help. Massachusetts is the one place that already has an individual mandate, so if anyone should know about the benefits of the proposed bill in Washington it would be then. Yet they, Democrats by a massive margin, voted for the candidate who promised to kill the plan.

The health care bill is not popular. Sure it depends on how you ask the question, who you ask, etc., etc., but I haven't seen a single poll showing the majority of Americans in support of the health care bills currently under consideration, and I've seen plenty including the one linked above showing support in the 30's and opposition in the 40's.

The crazy thing is, the reason it's unpopular is not because it's too progressive. There are plenty of people who oppose it because it's not progressive enough -- it doesn't have a public option or a Medicare buy-in, and it does have an individual mandate.

So what gives? Why are the we falling on the sword for a health care reform bill that has already been compromised far beyond what many of us think is appropriate? If we are to fall on the sword for a cause, shouldn't it at least be for a good one.

I suppose there are those who truly believe that it's a good bill despite its unpopularity, and that after it goes into effect, and works wonderfully to reduce health care costs and expand access, then people will rally behind it and reward the Democrats for having passed it into law. This seems like a near-suicidal strategy, however, given that most of it does not go into effect into after the next two elections cycles.

OK, there were clearly plenty of other factors in play as well: the economy, the bailouts, the wars, terrorism, etc. And just campaign dynamics also, one candidate who shook every hand that he could find, the other not so much. Issues between Western Mass and Boston Metro.

But as far as I can tell, this election was a referendum on the proposed health care bill, and people just don't like it. Maybe I'm biased because I don't like it either, but I would think that it would be in our interest to listen to the voters in the bluest state in the Union who seem to telling us that this health care bill doesn't look so hot to them, and they are in a position to know from firsthand experience.

So who do I blame? I blame the architects of this health care fiasco, principally Rahm, Reid and Baucus, mostly. Rahm needs to be fired as Chief of Staff, Reid should no longer serve as majority leader and Baucus should be ignored whenever possible. We should start over with a new health care proposal that is based on a better foundation, something that really works, something that is not lobbyist-written monstrosity, something that doesn't require people to buy something that they cannot afford, something that recognizes the essential role that government should play in ensuring universal access to health care.

Hopefully . . .

Originally posted to pragprogress on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:13 PM PST.


The way forward on health care

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