Monday, January 26, 2009

Healthcare Reform Too Inconvenient For Jim Clyburn And The House Democrats This Year?


During an interview on C-SPAN's Newsmakers yesterday House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) explained that he doesn't expect to pass a comprehensive healthcare bill in 2009. And for a man who was just on BET exhorting children that now that Obama has shown everyone that anyone can be president, there are no more excuses, he sure had some lame excuses to offer. First and foremost, the House timeline and the Senate timelines aren't in sync. I don't need a second excuse. Health care for members of Congress should be immediately suspended until the House and Senate sync up their timelines and pass a comprehensive healthcare bill.

See, that's the problem. These guys make their own rules. They work for us? Sure they do.
While noting he does not know exactly when President Obama wants to move forward with a universal healthcare measure, Clyburn said, "If you take what we've done with [the State Children's Health Insurance Program bill] and then you follow with [more spending] on community health centers, you would have gone a long way to building a foundation upon which to build a universal access healthcare program.

"I would much rather see it done that way, incrementally, than to go out and just bite something you can't chew. We've been down that road. I still remember 1994."

It's not a long way and it's not a foundation and I can't believe Clyburn is half as stupid as he sounds. Instead I believe he's lying his ass off and... making excuses. The time to pass universal healthcare is now when the Democrats have the votes in the House and Senate to do it and a president who will sign it. In fact, if they had any balls at all-- which they certainly don't-- they would pass single-payer healthcare and have done with it. Pelosi had no comment on her bumbling Whip's idiocy today. [UPDATE: Pelosi's office was forced to make an oy veh comment on the bumbling Whip's idiocy later in the day.]

Perhaps one of the reasons Clyburn doesn't feel a sense of urgency is because his gerrymandered district has no source of opposition to his long, lucrative career-- he won in November by 68% in South Carolina's most, and only, Democratic district (with a PVI of D+11). And then there's his own family's health care program: unlimited doctor visits, no deductibles and no co-pays-- and all for the bargain rate of a mere $35/month. During the campaign, Senator Obama kept repeating that Americans deserve healthcare as good as the healthcare members of Congress gets. We liked that. We elected him president. Democrats were saying the same thing and we sent them to Congress in great numbers. Now... they can't synchronize their timetables for 2009? Not Acceptable. And we don't even need healthcare 100% as good as what they get-- just something!
Members of Congress have their own pharmacy, right in the Capitol. They also have a team of doctors, technicians and nurses standing by in case something busts in a filibuster. They can get a physical exam, an X-ray or an electrocardiogram, without leaving work.

The goodies are not part of their basic coverage. These are optional perks that cost about $300 a month for House members and about $600 a month for senators. Taxpayers kick in another $2-million.

I recall when Democratic candidate Larry Joe Doherty declared that he's already "pledged that I'm not taking the national health care plan afforded congressmen until we pass a plan that's available for the public. It'll be the same for me as it'll be for them or I'm not going to have it... If you don't appreciate how suffering takes place until you've suffered a little then Congress needs to go without its medical plan until they can give one as good to the public." Larry Joe didn't beat Mike McCaul in their gerrymandered Texas district so he isn't a congressman. I do recall that a number of other candidates-- some of whom are-- made similar statements. Clyburn wasn't among them but I'd like to see some members of Congress stand up and say that until they fix the healthcare mess for all Americans, they won't accept the platinum-plated system the tax dollars underwrite for members of Congress. And this purported congressional pay freeze isn't half as much as what they should be doing.


His office # is (202)225-3315 and it sure would be nice if some polite callers mentioned that the American public elected Democrats because we want comprehensive health care reform, not incremental scared-of-their-own shadows excuses.

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