Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Does The Most Corrupt Man In Congress Really Support Medicare-For-All?


The Republicans in each house of Congress have voted literally dozens and dozens of times over the past 7 years to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a top priority of an avaricious donor class that doesn't like the idea of helping to pay for poor peoples' healthcare. In all those years the Republicans were voting in lockstep to repeal, there was either a Democratic-controlled Senate to stop it or a Democrat in the White House to veto it. Now the Republicans control the Senate, the House and the White House. So where's the repeal? Reality is a bitch! The repeal is the most massively unpopular bill in living memory. Something between 12% and 20% of Americans approve of it. Bush's TARP Wall Street bankster bailout was more popular with American voters than TrumpCare. Republican legislators can't deal with it and are panic-stricken. Ha, ha, ha?

Let's look a little closer to home-- right here in blue, blue California where the Governor is a Democrat and both the state Senate and the state Assembly have massive Democratic majorities. Both houses of the legislature passed single payer legislation-- TWICE-- in the past-- when there was a Republican governor to veto it-- and now...

Tuesday, Lydia O'Neal and David Sirota, reporting for the International Business Times, points to similarities that Republicans in Congress and Democratic in Sacramento face in regard to healthcare. "Democrats,' they wrote, "are facing allegations from progressive leaders that after a decade of promising to create a single-payer health care system, the party is now succumbing to the kind of corporate fealty that national party leaders routinely ascribe to Republicans" and the scumbag and traitor to all things American who has managed to slip into the White House.
As many Democrats enthusiastically promoted single-payer to Golden State voters, the party indeed engineered a complete takeover of the state’s government, giving them unprecedented legislative supermajority power to enact the legislation-- even over a governor’s veto. Yet, as health care industry money flooded into the coffers of the Democratic Party’s candidates for California office, Brown has turned negative about the idea, and late last month, California Democratic Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon halted a single-payer bill in its tracks, preventing it from being voted on by his Democratic supermajority before the legislature’s self-imposed July 14th deadline.

Amid calls for Democratic unity in the Trump era, the party’s move in a deep blue state to block a health care initiative it previously supported has prompted labor movement protests-- and promises of primary campaigns or recall efforts to unseat recalcitrant Democrats. More broadly, eight years after Barack Obama mounted a populist presidential campaign and then did not prosecute any major Wall Street executives, the episode has resurrected progressives’ allegations that while Democrats may talk a good game, they are not nearly as committed to bold action as their rhetoric suggests.

“Talk about fake news-- this is fake politics: stick it to the Republican governor but we’re going to leave dear old Jerry untouched so he doesn’t have to veto this bill,” said Democrat Gloria Romero, a former California Senate Majority Leader who helped pass the single-payer bills in 2006 and 2008. “Probably most of these Assembly members ran for office supporting single payer healthcare. But now that what they ran around promising the people actually has a chance of passage, they don’t dare do what they promised. This kind of thing undermines any integrity from the Democratic Party that is supposed to stand up for the little guy. It creates a disconnect and a distrust.”

In an era that has seen voters enthusiastically respond to populist crusades in both parties, Brown and Rendon have offered technocratic arguments. Both have raised questions about how the most recent single-payer bill, SB 562, would be financed in California, where one previously passed ballot measure constrains the state budget and another requires a set percentage of the budget to be devoted to education.

...[A]n International Business Times review of campaign finance data found that in the intervening years, health insurers and pharmaceutical companies substantially boosted their donations to California Democratic candidates in gubernatorial election years.

In all, donors from the health services sector and major health insurers gave more than $16 million to Democratic candidates and the California Democratic Party in the 2014 election cycle-- almost double what donors from those industries gave in the 2006 election, according to data from the National Institute on Money In State Politics. Donors from those sectors collectively donated more than $3 million to Brown and Rendon since 2010.

In light of that history, longtime single-payer proponents argue that this is a watershed moment for Democrats in advance of the 2018 election. They assert that the California fight will demonstrate whether or not Democrats in the Trump era are willing to use the power they still retain at the state level to defy their major corporate donors and enact the policies they tell voters they support.

“We’ve been talking about this forever,” said Jamie Court, the president of Consumer Watchdog, which has supported the legislation. “When there’s a Republican in charge, Democrats take action,” he said, and with ostensibly pro-single-payer Brown replacing Schwarzenegger, “now it’s time to put up or shut up.”

“It’s a litmus test for whether progressive Democratic politicians can talk the talk and walk the walk,” Court told IBT. “This is about the soul of the Democratic Party as much as it’s about health care.”
Kia Hamadanchy, a former Sherrod Brown staffer, currently running for the House seat Trump's pet congresswoman in Orange County, Mimi Walters, holds told us that "Top to bottom the Democratic Party is in the worst shape its been since right before the Great Depression. Whether its Congress, state legislatures, city councils, or school boards we've continued to lose across the board and across the country time and time again. Donald Trump does not become President of the United States without a massive institutional failure by the Democratic Party. Whatever we've been doing its clear that its not working and we need a complete rebuild from the ground up, with a focus on what we actually stand for and who we actually represent. And as a party how can we possibly win the argument and actually convince people to come along with us if we're constantly running away from ourselves and don't strongly stand behind progressive policy, whether its single payer or whether its anything else."

Dotty Nygard is the progressive nurse running for the blue-trending Central Valley seat held by 100% Trump backer Jeff Denham. She supported Bernie in the primary and is running on similar policies and values now. She told us that "one thing is clear: we need more union members, women, and people of color elected to Congress. These underrepresented groups can better relate to the struggles working families face every day, and as representatives they are more likely to recognize the insanity of winding the income inequality divide amongst Americans, both through messaging and actions. Democrats are supposed to represent the people-- fight for the people-- and lift them up... Leadership cannot idly stand by while only those with money are elected into positions of power within a system that champions money over grassroots support. As Democrats, we must proactively fund, endorse, and otherwise work to elect working-class folks if we want the public to engage in politics again."

So who's the most corrupt man in Congress and what's he got to do with all this? Yes, time to talk about Queens County machine boss, Joe Crowley, a Wall Street scumbag and "former" chairman of the corporately owned and operated New Dems who Pelosi and Hoyer have selected as the next leader of the House Democrats. Crowley has never had a contested election. He was given his seat by a legalistic trick/inside job pulled off by the last Queens machine boss, Tom Manton, as he suddenly resigned from Congress and handed off the prize to his sleaze bag protégée, Crowley.

Progressives have been trying to pass Medicare-For-All since Truman was president. This year, when John Conyers introduced the latest version-- H.R. 676-- in a situation where Trump is president and McConnell and Ryan decide what gets voted on in Congress-- there were 51 original co-sponsors, basically all fervent progressives like Partial Jayapal (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Judy Chu (D-CA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA). That was on January 24. As the months rolled on more progressives read the bill and signed on as well-- like Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) in February, Mike Capuano (D-MA) and Karen Bass (D-CA) and Nanette Barragan (D-CA) in March. By April, even conservative Democrats from the Republican wing of the party started smelling the roses and signing on as co-sponsors, even slimy characters like Gene Green (TX), Lou Correa (Blue Dog-CA), Darren Soto (New Dem-FL), Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN), Vicente Gonzalez (Blue Dog-TX), and then on May 5-- soon after a progressive primary opponent, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez jumped into the primary against him, Crowley signed on as a co-sponsor too. What a joke! No one in Congress thinks Crowley supports single payer, Medicare-for-All or anything else remotely progressive beyond what he needs to work on his personal goals wrapped up in naked careerism and grotesque opportunism. But Crowley's signal was quickly picked up up conservative New Dem Adam Schiff who has Dianne Feinstein's Senate seat dictating every decision he makes. Maybe this is the kind of sausage-making it's going to take to finally get this passed. Or maybe opportunists like Crowley and Schiff will betray America as easily as Rendon and Jerry Brown betrayed California.

Let's go back to Lydia O'Neal and David Sirota for a moment. They pointed out that Rendon's Democratic and corporate allies lauded him "for blocking the single payer legislation, even after fellow Democrats had previously passed it."
“I think Speaker Rendon gets a lot of credit for protecting his members from a very stupid idea and making them all politically vulnerable for something that’s not going to happen anyway,” political consultant David Townsend, who works for Democrats and insurance companies, told the Sacramento Bee.

Assembly Democrats have set July 14th as the deadline for policy committees to consider legislation this year, and CNA is continuing to stage protests demanding lawmakers allow the bill to be debated.

Whether or not it advances this year, the legislation faces persistent questions about Proposition 98, which mandates a set percentage of spending on education, and the so-called “Gann limit,” which limits overall state spending. A senate analysis of the bill asserted that those measures “would prevent the legislature from creating the single-payer system envisioned in the bill without voter approval” of exemptions.

Rendon’s move, though, has effectively prevented lawmakers from voting the legislation onto the ballot. Kuehl, meanwhile, rejected suggestions that lawmakers could not find creative ways to work within existing constitutional limits.

“That theory won’t fly,” she told IBT, asserting that there is likely breathing room within the Gann limit. She said after a decade of debate over single-payer, lawmakers should be able to come up with ways to deal with Proposition 98.

“I don’t think it would actually be a problem,” said Kuehl, who is now a Los Angeles County Supervisor. “You would craft it so that it would not be part of the state budget. It would create a separate state health plan.”

As for the political dynamics, Kuehl compared the Democrats’ refusal to pass a long-supported health care policy to Republicans repeatedly voting to repeal Obamacare but now having trouble passing a replacement bill under their own party’s president.

“It’s much more realistic when you’re faced with having something happen or not happen,” she said.

Fabian Nunez, a Democrat who served as Assembly Speaker when Kuehl’s SB 840 first passed both houses, said he believes single-payer simply is not feasible at the state level.

“You could do some things at the state level to improve the quality of care, but you need the cooperation of the federal government,” he said. “The only way to do single-payer well is at the federal level.”

Nunez’s position exemplifies the Democratic Party’s shift on the issue now that it has full legislative power. As Assembly speaker in 2006, he supported the California single-payer bill.

Some single-payer proponents in California say that after multiple attempts to pass a bill, Democrats themselves have become the major obstacle-- and the only way to get the party to restore its credibility and act on its promises is through threats of revenge at the ballot box.

“There have to be electoral consequences for these Democrats,” said Michael Lighty of the California Nurses Association. “The whole basis of their politics is pro-industry, pro-Wall Street. Those folks are driven by their donor agenda and not by popular demand. There just in general has to be a greater grassroots surge to hold these elected officials accountable.”
Primarying Anthony Rendon is an absolute must. Drafting state Senate president Kevin de León to run for Feinstein's seat-- and not Adam Schiff-- is just as important. This is California, not Mississippi and if we let the establishment, primarily Democratic careerists, get away with this kind of crap here, they will be emboldened to rub our faces in shit for eternity. And nationally... Crowley is a DEAD end for Democrats. Contrast his incoherence on healthcare policy with what Ro Khanna, who represents the Silicon Valley and parts of the East Bay, (see tweets above) told me today:
"When Republicans mislead voters into thinking that a single payer health care system costs $32 trillion, Democrats must point out that our current system already costs $49 trillion. A single payer system would actually save Americans $17 trillion. A single-payer system reduces administrative costs and will lower drug prices and hospital costs through bargaining. Ultimately, a single payer system would help reduce our deficit and ease the burden on both businesses and middle class families.

"For decades, the GOP has made economic arguments regarding health care and Democrats have made moral arguments. But we shouldn't be afraid to make the economic case. Expanding health care through single payer isn't just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do. Let's not let the GOP get away with fake math, Democrats must point out that a single payer system is fiscally responsible."
Ro Khanna sounds like a credible leader, unlike Joe Crowley, who sounds like what he is: and opportunist and a careerist hack who will sell out the grassroots as easily as he yawns when a staffer tries explaining policy to him.

We've been mentioning that two of our old progressive friends, Mary Ellern Balchunis and Daylen Leach, are both running-- in a crowded field-- for the Democratic nomination to take on Ryan rubber stamp Pat Meehan in PA-07. But there's another excellent progressive in that race too, Paul Perry, a former Obama staffer and a school teacher. I was talking with him yesterday and mentioned that "It's deeply ironic that the DCCC released a series of stickers encouraging voters to 'look at the other guys' when our party would actually be best served by taking a good, hard look in the mirror and changing the cast of characters that we see in it. If we are to learn anything from this last election cycle, it's that Americans are hungry for a new generation of leaders to step up and take tough stances that deliver progress for Americans, like single-payer healthcare and tuition-free college. These are ideas whose time has come and we need the next class of progressive leaders to pave the way for this badly-needed change that most Americans favor by wide margins." Paul Perry knows something about messaging too. Just take a look at this incredible video:

Remind you at all of how Randy Bryce introduced himself? I have no double we're going too be hearing more from Paul as this cycle heats up.

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At 11:09 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Joe's feeling the pressure to sign on for the bill only because Alexandria is challenging him in his district his time is up she still has my vote.

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is he more corrupt than Fred Upton or Darrell Issa?

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

In California, propositions already in place have been a big part of the reason single payer will not work. Apparently, 40% of new taxes need to go to education so the tax increase for single payer would have to be enormous to account for this, and it would also have to be approved by a proposition that all Californians vote on. Furthermore, the federal government would have to approve continuation of medicaid money to the state - what are the chances the Republicans would ever agree to that in order to provide single payer? This would be nil. Am I get this all correct, Howie?

As I have commented before, it is absurd too me that the proposal is for everything to be totally free to everyone- all medical, dental, vision, etc. - zero cost to any individual. All costs would be from taxes. To me, a stupid and ridiculous approach. In Holland's single payer, people pay for their insurance on a sliding scale. There is nothing wrong with making people pay something - giving all this for nothing makes no sense and ruins the chances that the concept would work financially. People would be happy to pay small to moderate costs, compared to what health insurance currently costs, and that would surely help cover the costs to the state.

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul Perry comes off as a real person. Real people feel compelled to help other human beings, rather than see them as objects to be ripped off. And that's what a "leader" is. Not above us. What if everybody woke up to this: "What? I don't have to prop up billionaires? What? They're not my superiors? But how can that be?" What a strange new world we'd live in.

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crowley is not more corrupt than scummer, hoyer and probably a dozen others. He's just more obvious about it, though not so compared to scummer and hoyer.
Still, damning with faint... nebulous... imaginary praise.

Hone, if I pay tax for the RIGHT of health CARE, then I should not be further charged for it.
Tax on a sliding scale is appropriate. Taxing business is appropriate. Sin taxes are appropriate. I'd even consider tax on SSI payments and 401K distributions. But out-of-pockets violates the idea of SP.

At 6:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Purely arbitrary. Like asking if Louis gomert is the dumbest man in texas.
While you can make a compelling case, it's equally compelling for most of the rest.


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