Sunday, November 08, 2009

Who Voted Against Health Care Reform-- And Why?


Bipartisanship: anti-health care clowns in Georgia & Wisconsin

I lived-tweeted last night's historic session of the House of Representatives as it voted to pass the health insurance reform bill. Despite countless attempts over nearly a century, no chamber of Congress has ever before passed comprehensive health reform. This is history. Tragically, 39 Democrats, mostly corrupt, bought-out Insurance Industry shills, crossed the aisle and found themselves on the wrong side of history. Only one Republican, Anh Cao-- ironically the Representative from New Orleans who was elected in response to a major corruption scandal-- crossed the aisle in the other direction, to stand on the right side of history.

Within moments of the final vote, the DCCC was out with a press release to media outlets in Milwaukee, Kenosha, Racine and Janesville pointing out that junior Republican congressional leader Paul Ryan-- the worst shill for the Medical-Industrial Complex ($730,315) and most nortorious lackey of the Insurance Industry ($518,051) in the history of Wisconsin-- was a leader of the mindless obstructionism that led the GOP to refuse to take a serious and constructive part in the debate, instead of just villifying the entire process. The headline: Representative Paul Ryan Just Says No To Affordfable Health Care For America's Middle Class. Although much of the media in his home district reflexively works to shield and protect Ryan from "bad" news, this is what they were reading this morning:
The House of Representatives took historic bipartisan action this evening by passing health insurance reform. Putting big insurance company profits before struggling middle class families in his district, today Representative Paul Ryan said no to reforming health insurance in America. 
Jennifer Crider of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said:
“For years, middle class families have seen their health insurance costs skyrocket, while insurance companies have made enormous profits by limiting coverage. Representative Paul Ryan put big insurance companies first by opposing a bipartisan, common sense solution that will guarantee folks with stable, affordable health insurance they can count on. Ryan said no to ending pre-existing medical conditions, like pregnancy, no to controlling costs for small businesses and middle class families, and no to closing the prescription doughnut hole for seniors.”
"Representative Paul Ryan has the peace of mind of knowing he has tax-payer funded health insurance, but today Ryan didn’t hesitate to cast a partisan vote to block reform that would give the families he represents that same peace of mind that they too can see a doctor when they’re sick."

...For Wisconsin's first congressional district, the measure will:

• Improve employer-based coverage for 506,000 residents.

• Provide credits to help pay for coverage for up to 153,000 households.

• Improve Medicare for 112,000 beneficiaries, including closing the prescription drug donut hole for 9,400 seniors.

• Allow 16,000 small businesses to obtain affordable health care coverage and provide tax credits to help reduce health insurance costs for up to 14,000 small businesses.

• Provide coverage for 26,000 uninsured residents.

• Protect up to 1,600 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.

• Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and health care providers by $41 million.

Great work from the DCCC, right? And state Democratic Parties sent out press releases too. Here's one I got from former Florida Congresswoman Karen Thurman, now chair of the Florida Democratic Party:
Last night the Affordable Health Care for America Act was passed by the House of Representatives, an important step towards ensuring every American has access to quality, affordable, stable and secure health care coverage.  This legislation will finally rein in the insurance companies' worst practices while extending coverage to 36 million Americans and cutting the deficit by $104 billion in the next ten years.  The bill was supported by a wide range of groups including doctors, patients, seniors, consumers and Americans across the country.  All but one Republican voted against the bill. Reacting to this news, Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman released the following statement:

"Last November, Americans voted for change, and today, that's what they got. Nearly one hundred years ago President Teddy Roosevelt called for health care reform, and today, we have come closer than ever to making it a reality.

"The Affordable Health Care for America Act will provide long overdue reforms to the insurance industry and important protections for Floridians.  It will also provide more quality, affordable choices while bringing down the sky-high costs for families and businesses and lowering the national deficit.  Because of this act, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions or cancel coverage because of illnesses.

"Today I thank President Obama and Congressional Democrats for their strong leadership on health insurance reform. While this isn't the end of the process, it's a critical step towards finally passing comprehensive health insurance reform."

Seven out of nine of Florida's Democratic members of Congress were part of last night's big victory. But neither the Florida Democratic Party, nor the DCCC, is going to mention that Suzanne Kosmas and Allen Boyd cast the same "no" vote against this historic measure that Paul Ryan did. Kosmas is kind of an embarrassment to the Florida Democratic Party and to the DCCC. Her voting record is down in Blue Dog territory and she's regularly crossing the aisle to vote against the best interests of the working families that sent her to Washington. The insurance industry lobbyists on K Street singled her out early as an obvious mark, someone who would sell them her votes as long as the price was right. Only one freshman member of Congress got bigger pay-offs than Kosmas this year-- Jim Himes ($60,787), from a Connecticut district that houses half the insurance industry-- and he voted against them and with the middle class families of Connecticut anyway! Kosmas, a joke in DC for missing committee meetings so she can spend time with K Street lobbyists took in a staggering $55,516 from Big Insurance this year (almost the same amount as Paul Ryan). Eric Cantor announced early in the debate that Kosmas was in the bag and would be voting with the Republicans against health care. And, judged by the same standards as Ryan, the Florida Democratic Party or the DCCC could have pointed out that Florida's 24th Congressional District would profit by passage of the bill mightily. In fact the House Energy and Commerce Committee research shows that in Congresswoman Kosmas’s district, the Affordable Health Care for America Act will:
• Improve employer-based coverage for 463,000 residents.

• Provide credits to help pay for coverage for up to 176,000 households.

• Improve Medicare for 122,000 beneficiaries, including closing the prescription drug donut hole

• Allow 21,000 small businesses to obtain affordable health care coverage and provide tax credits to help reduce health insurance costs for up to 19,800 small businesses.

• Provide coverage for 92,000 uninsured residents.

• Protect up to 1,400 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.

• Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and health care providers by $12 million.

Many observers say that Kosmas is a political coward who is a typical Creigh Deeds follower, doomed to lose in 2010 by discouraging voter turn-out among Democrats. Like Deeds, she tries appealing to Republicans-- and like Deeds she is likely to lose by a massive landslide as Republicans vote for their own candidate and Democrats sit on their hands and hope for a better nominee in 2012.

It wasn't a press release, but I got an interesting e-mail this morning for state Senator Regina Thomas, the progressive who took on reactionary Blue Dog John Barrow in Georgia's 12th CD last year-- and plans to finish the job next year. Like Kosmas and Ryan, Barrow is a corrupt tool of the special interests who sells out his constituents-- he has no roots in teh area and was gerrymandered into teh district, which is foreign territory for him-- at every opportunity. One of the Blue Dogs who votes most frequently with the GOP against working families, Barrow has taken $428,428 from the Medical Industry special interests and another $86,450 in thinly-veiled bribes from the Insurance Industry CEOs and lobbyists. Unlike Kosmas' district, Georgia's 12th CD was Obama territory and the people there voted for Change and for Hope. This is what Regina had to say this morning:
I am not surprised that Congressman Barrow voted against the Health care bill. The 12th District needs to pay attention to his entire voting record. When Bush was president, Barrow voted with the Republicans more on crucial issues that has devastated America (and the 12th) and no one noticed. Congressman Barrow gave Bush's agenda an opportunity to pass. Can't he give this President the same courtesy?
Please keep in mind that this is not the final vote. My summation is: Barrow is voting this way so that the Lobbyist/Industry can continue to pour money into his campaign coffers. Then when the final version of the Health care bill comes to the floor for a final vote he will vote for the bill. My reasoning: the 12th is 44.5% African American. Barrow cannot afford to vote against this bill for fear of losing that block of votes. I will give him credit for one thing-- he knows how to court these voters, some of them believe in him.
All one has to do is look at his 5 year record. Count the times that he has held open Town Hall meetings on any of the crucial issues. Does he stand up in front to take the "heat?" Can he say the same thing to his minority constituents that he says to the Chamber of Commerce and to businesses interests? This is another reason why he needs opposition in the Democratic Primary in 2010. We need a congressperson who will be true to who they say they are and vote for the people-- do the right thing no matter the consequences from Industry.
For these reasons and many more, I gave up the Georgia State Senate so that the voters in the 12th could pay attention and have an opportunity for real change. "Not For Self, But For Others." Let's take the 12th back-- Let's take our country back!

The DCCC didn't mention that in Congressman Barrow’s district, the Affordable Health Care for America Act he voted against last night will:
• Improve employer-based coverage for 346,000 residents.

• Provide credits to help pay for coverage for up to 187,000 households.

• Improve Medicare for 90,000 beneficiaries, including closing the prescription drug donut hole for 6,300 seniors.

• Allow 15,700 small businesses to obtain affordable health care coverage and provide tax credits to help reduce health insurance costs for up to 13,700 small businesses.

• Provide coverage for 90,000 uninsured residents.

• Protect up to 2,100 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.

• Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and health care providers by $69 million.

The DCCC is certainly correct about the need to defeat Paul Ryan-- but, aside from sending out press releases to a local media that he has in his pocket-- they're not lifting a finger to oppose him in any substantial way. Blue America is going to try to raise money to help the grassroots candidate, Paulette Garin, Wisconsin's state coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America and for the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care and an outspoken member of the National Single Payer Alliance. You can help here. As for Suzanne Kosmas and John Barrow, the DCCC will "punish" their perfidy last night by taking any money you send to the DCCC and putting it into their races, races made impossible to win because grassroots Democrats are sick and tired of betrayal by cowardly and corrupt Insider Democrats. Barrow will be a major target of the Blue America Bad Dogs effort in this cycle.

I love Donna Edwards. Her short speech about why she was voting for health care reform made me cry last night-- and not fake Glenn Beck tears. Like Donna, there was a time in my life when I couldn't afford health insurance-- or health care-- either. Americans deserve better than predatory insurance companies thriving on misery. This is why America needs more members of Congress like Donna Edwards and less like Paul Ryan, Suzanne Kosmas and John Barrow:

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At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was not a "health care" bill. It was an insurance industry bill.

As Eric Massa said, ""At the highest level this bill will enshrine in law the monopolistic powers of the private health insurance industry. There's no other way to look at it."

Here's Dennis Kucinich:

"Clearly, the insurance companies are the problem, not the solution. They are driving up the cost of health care. Because their massive bureaucracy avoids paying bills so effectively, they force hospitals and doctors to hire their own bureaucracy to fight the insurance companies to avoid getting stuck with an unfair share of the bills. The result is that since 1970, the number of physicians has increased by less than 200% while the number of administrators has increased by 3000%. It is no wonder that 31 cents of every health care dollar goes to administrative costs, not toward providing care. Even those with insurance are at risk. The single biggest cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. is health insurance policies that do not cover you when you get sick.

"But instead of working toward the elimination of for-profit insurance, H.R. 3962 would put the government in the role of accelerating the privatization of health care. In H.R. 3962, the government is requiring at least 21 million Americans to buy private health insurance from the very industry that causes costs to be so high, which will result in at least $70 billion in new annual revenue, much of which is coming from taxpayers. This inevitably will lead to even more costs, more subsidies, and higher profits for insurance companies - a bailout under a blue cross."

This is why Massa and Kucinich voted against the bill. Like TARP and the Wall Street bailouts, this is another industry give away.

Physicians for a National Health Program:

"But this bill is not good enough to pass. It will not make a big enough difference in addressing the three main problems requiring reform–containing the spiraling costs of health care, providing universal access to affordable health care, and improving its quality. If we look at the provisions of this 1,990-page bill concerning just the first two of these three goals, we see that it will fail to deliver real reform.

"After all of the political compromises along the way that have led to the introduction of the new bill (HR 3962), on the positive side we can say that it will introduce some limited reforms to the health insurance market, expand health insurance to some of the uninsured (primarily by expansion of Medicaid and by often-inadequate government subsidies to individuals and small employers for the purchase of private insurance); and help to address some other problems, such as the growing shortage of primary care providers.

"But the negative side far outweighs the positive...."

You can view some of these negatives here:

You won't get the health care you're looking for from these conglomerates. Sorry to disappoint, but you've been misled. Again.

At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, well, well, A democratic President, a democratic majority in congress and a woman democratic speaker and the Republicans achieved what they were unable to do during the Bush years! They thre women under the Bus .......

At 3:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in a European country with goverment held health care. You do not know what you are getting into.

In a great country like yours, freedom do not die easily; this is just a first step in its demise.

At 7:44 AM, Blogger 52XXL said...

First time at your blog. Let me get this straight, changing one sixth of the economy using an unfinished bill with parameters to be written in later, forcing you to buy insurance, whether you want it or not, being fined exorbitant $$ for noncompliance, dipping into your income to pay for other’s health care, including paying for abortions required by folks who haven’t figured out how not to get pregnant . . . . . .and on and on . . . . . you don’t consider that tyranny? Above it all, the bill is not reformation of the Heath Care System, it’s reinventing the wheel.

At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog is titled 'DownWithTyranny' yet this bill brings us drastically closer to more governement control! It is a bill that potentially takes away our freedoms.

You may want to step back, open your eyes and look at where your devotion to your political party is taking you. Democrat or Republican, this bill is unconsitutional and I hope it doesn't make it past the Senate.

At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sec. 224 (p. 118) provides that 18 months after the bill becomes law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will decide what a "qualified plan" covers and how much you'll be legally required to pay for it.
That's like a banker telling you to sign the loan agreement now, then filling in the interest rate and repayment terms 18 months later.
Instead of rushing through a bill that has "fill in the blanks later" clauses, shouldn't the sponsors have a clear-cut understanding of what they really want - and then vote on it? Maybe they know that what they want is NOT what "We the People" want.

At 2:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dennis kucinich, who calls for healthcare for all, voted against the bill !! He is sad that this bill provides for the transfer of tax payer funds to the insurance companies in the form of premiums for those who cannot afford such premiums; he is disappointed that this bill continues to transfer monies to the insurance industry that contributes NOTHING to healthcare of sick patients, except analyze their conditions to deny this or that treatment. Until there is medical care ( MEDICARE ) for all citizens of the USA, the healthcare reform is broken. Any bill that is less than that should be defeated.

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Cmyr said...

How can Medicare be cut just as the LARGEST generation EVER is about to sign up for it? That will lead to medical rationing with absolutely no doubt

At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

funny...but i think government control sounds like were backtracking a step in the right direction....if you think americans as a majority are not controlled by the corporate world then you are fooling yourself..lets get back to dealing with the government..then start looking for ways to find our freedoms again...right now were the power groups controlling or attempting to control us is much more than mere least we elect our government

At 8:56 AM, Anonymous America's Youth said...

I'm 23 years old. I have struggled to get out on my own and pull myself up in this world. I've lost YOUNG friends to war, to suicide (mostly money issues), and I have a lot that are just struggling to survive. Just to get a stable roof over their heads, and eat this month. And they want us to pay for everyone?! WE CAN'T EVEN PAY FOR OURSELVES!! I don’t have cable (nor do my friends) I don't drive a new car, and I don't know if I'll be able to keep my job this year! Last month I gave my brother my last 10 dollars because he hadn't eaten longer than I hadn't. What happens when this whole "Ponzi scheme" falls apart? When the next generation finally wises up and they reform to NOT pay for our health care when we're old?? (I would if I was them!!) Then we're stuck, old, with no money because it was sucked out of us for the generation before!! No! No no no! Please! Youth of America, look at what this really means for us, and how it's going to affect OUR future. Obama doesn't care about OUR future cause he won't be in office! Let some other president worry about us when the time comes... He just sees us as a way to put a quick patch on the situation! Don’t let him make us the patch on the Titanic! IT SHOULD NOT SOLEY RELY ON US!! He needs to build a NEW ship, not force us youth to hold together the leaking one until we break ourselves.

At 4:49 PM, Blogger Henry said...

The How to;

President Obama, asked for the help, of a way to cover the sick. And it is a simple concept that is presented before all to see. Health Care Insurance Companies will not cover the sick, {This will not make dollars for them.} Our tax failure within our system will not be able to carry the load because of cost.
Within this United Forum, as Health Care Insurance Companies do join and earn money by helping the pay in form and the Health Care Tax Forum within our Medicare Tax system all ready in place, the concept of the dollar is like this in a low ball figure, { $10.00 x 250 million people, per week x 1 month} as stated before you do the math.
Now this is the part that Government Officials do not like, because of the constant failures before 9/11/2001 to 2/15/2010, all government Officials should be penalized
10% off of their pay. And that money should go to the Health Care Account. It is a recorded fact of history that our Officials we elected / hired to do a job have failed to do their jobs. The lives of the people have become in dangered and lives lost. They fight over this Health Care Dollar as if it is to be split up between 52 States. Our goal is to Unite The 52 States Of the United States Of America, as it should be.
Health Care Companies have also failed, and it is also a part of documented history, of their failures. This concept of profit under a Health Care Responsibility is the biggest lie before the people and we offer one last chance to theses Insurance Companies to Unite with the Peoples Government and earn money. Fact; 0ne Insurance Company can not maintain the dollar cost of a few people, so what happens when a Nation Wide Out Break takes Place ?
Some how Government Officials failed to understand that the American People have a common sense about them to see that around 173 Million people still jobs out of 373 million legal American People and there are around 125 million Illegal People in the U.S.A. It would only confirm the failure of Government Officials if they admitted this information.
Some have asked how I know that this is a $100 Trillion Dollar Health Care Package that Officials fight over, I called and asked Insurance Companies. And to my surprise 70% of those I talked to stated that this concept of a United Health Care Forum Built By The People in our Government System hold a honest approach of how to cover the sick that cant be covered. And Laws built to protect this money from miss use.
I wanted to Save this for page 100 but I will only show part of the building block of a Health Care Reform Stimulus Package. It is of a interest to many people to see the ideas that will come forward.
So again I ask all to Help President Obama to get this Job concept under way, and at the same time build this Health Care reform. Do not set it into action and not keep track of it, I am talking about a 10 year month to month data read out to see if scams are in the works.
Henry Massingale
FASC Concepts in and for Pay It Forward

At 8:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who are you kidding? Have you studied history? Where will the money for this "great" bill come from? Senator compared it to Medicare and Social Security..which are both blown up by government "deals" with pharmacies and blown the cost of health care out of the water? Wasn't our country MADE and CREATED by SELF made Men and Women..not groups of men and women looking for the government to bail them out...but people looking for FREEDOM to use their own hands to create their future..not relyiing on "Uncle Sam" to provide for them..Did those people who crossed the mountians look for governemtn health? Did those who rushed to CA look for the governement to held them when the search for gold resulted in nothing? NO they looked for ways to "make it" anyway...THIS is SOCIALISM..NOT Democracy. Our forefathers would roll over in their graves....WE NEED health care reform like this Like we need another war...this does NOTHING to control costs but will result in inflating taxes and going now into QUADRUPLE taxaxtion...WAY over and above DOUBLE TAXATION..that caused the Tea Party. I am middle class (lower end) single mom who lives on a budget and still manages to create the money to cover insurance...

At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Laura Patterosn said...

This is a tragedy such as America has never seen. The day our elected representatives vote against the will of the people. We will not go away. November is approaching quickly!We the people will be heard.

At 7:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed, November cannot come fast enough. The will of the people is the greatest asset this country has (given our freedoms are quickly being stolen from us).

At 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL Liberals!


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