Saturday, November 07, 2009

Today's Health Care Reform Debate


This evening the House will vote on whether or not to pass the historic-- if very imperfect-- health care reform bill. It could have been so much better. But to appreciate how good it is, just look at the Republican alternative joke bill that John Boehner, Roy Blunt and Paul Ryan put forward. We don't often laud Debbie Wasserman Schultz here but she hit the nail on the head when she dubbed it the "Health Insurance Company Protection Act." Here's what the GOP is offering in the place of meaningful health care reform:
• The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says it would barely make a dent in most of our premiums, and could lead to higher premiums for older Americans.

• It doesn't stop insurers from refusing to cover you because of a pre-existing condition.

• The CBO's research shows that the GOP plan would likely cut the deficit by just $68 billion over the next ten years-- far less than the Democratic bill, which cuts the deficit by $104 billion over the same period.

• The CBO also estimates that under the Republican bill the number of uninsured Americans would actually increase to 52 million by 2019.

• And Politico writes that the Republican's so-called plan doesn't keep insurers from dropping you when you're sick-- it just makes them let you know that you're being dropped.

So how is it that the Democrats are having so many problems passing a real health care bill when they have such a big majority in both Houses of Congress and when the vast majority of the American people are clamoring for meaningful health care reform? The simple answer is the corruption of the status quo to buy out the mass media, an entire political party-- not one Republican will vote for reform today and were watched all day on C-Span using parliamentary procedures to obstruct the proceedings-- and far too many Democrats (i.e., the Blue Dogs). Let's leave the GOP pup tent to their own irrelevance and take a look at the Blue Dog caucus and how it's lining up for today's vote.

Going into the debate Saturday morning 20 Blue Dogs had already declared they are opposing health care reform on behalf of their corporate donors. The first figure next to each name is the amount of money each has taken from the Insurance Industry just this year and the second figure is what they've taken this year from the Medical-Industrial Complex.
Jason Altmire (Blue Dog-PA-$23,400/$118,346)
John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA-$24,600/$99,577)
Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK-$12,000/$12,000)
Allen Boyd (Blue Dog-FL-$38,830/$116,538)
Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL-$8,300/$28,650)
Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS-$24,017/$32,700)
Lincoln Davis (Blue Dog-TN-$6,750/$5,750)
Bart Gordon (Blue Dog-TN-$10,500/$90,750)
Parker Griffith (Blue Dog-AL-$8,500/$110,028)
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (Blue Dog-SD-$7,000/$14,650)
Tim Holden (Blue Dog-PA-$1,250/$4,500)
Frank Kratovil (Blue Dog-MD-$5,250/$43,900)
Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA-$250/$8,250)
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT-$20,500/$161,349)
Charlie Melancon (Blue Dog-LA-$43,050/$86,763)
Walt Minnick (Blue Dog-ID-$38,517/$52,350)
Glenn Nye (Blue Dog-VA-$5,000/$66,878)
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN-$6,800/$1,000)
John Tanner (Blue Dog-TN-$47,800/$70,963)
Gene Taylor (Blue Dog-MS- $0/$1,000)

Blue Dogs now claiming they will vote FOR health care reform include Leonard Boswell (IA), Henry Cuellar (TX), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA), Gabby Giffords (AZ), Dennis Moore (KS), and Earl Pomeroy (ND). There are also a dozen Blue Dogs who say they are on the fence. Some, like Baron Hill (IN) and Heath Schuler (NC) are well-known to be avid opponents of health care. Others are on the fence are actually on the fence, like Patrick Murphy (PA) [he endorsed the bill on the floor this afternoon], Marion Berry (AR), and Loretta Sanchez (CA).

The first two resolutions voted on today were procedural votes to get the show on the road. The first passed 247-187. No Republicans voted for it, of course, and 9 mangy Blue Dogs and a Creigh Deeds loser from Alabama joined the GOP, as they regularly do: Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK), Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL), Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS), Artur Davis (D-AL), Parker Griffith (Blue Dog-AL), Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA), Charlie Melancon (Blue Dog-LA), Walt Minnick (Blue Dog-ID), Loretta Sanchez (Blue Dog-CA) and Gene Taylor (Blue Dog-MS). The second procedural vote passed 242-192, again not one single Republican voting for health care. This time, the ten reactionary Democrats above were joined by 5 more ConservaDems: Jason Altmire (Blue Dog-PA), Brian Baird (WA), Frank Kratovil (Blue Dog-MD), Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC), and Ike Skelton (MO).

Defeating Blue Dogs should be a major priority to anyone interested in progress and in a better country for ordinary American families, not just for multimillionaires. Please take a look at the Blue America Bad Dogs page.

[UPDATE: Pelosi's got the 218 votes]

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At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Wellescent Health Blog said...

This bill really highlights the hidden divide that exists between the members of the Republican party and its "ruling class" policy makers. The Republican party claims to support traditional and conservative values, but in large part, it serves business interests at the expense of individuals. Instead of limiting big government, it is about limiting government competition with private enterprise and limiting restrictions on business activities.

These two objectives are frequently at odds with the needs of everyday citizens and it is truly astonishing that so many traditionally minded members of the party buy into an approach that puts them at the risk of policy intended to support the actions of sometimes morally limited businesses.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger hotpotato said...

At 6:46 PM, Blogger whitecollargreenspaceguy said...

The government already has the money to pay for universal health and at the same time reduce the carbon footprint of office buildings by 50%.
The Federal government pays for almost one billion square feet of office space. Most office space is very expensive yet it sits unused 70% of the time because most white collar work is scheduled for only one shift per day or only 45 hours out of a 168 hour week. 30% efficiency is completely unacceptable in today's economic and ecological environment. Most buildings are open for 12 hours each day from 6 am to 6 pm. By keeping buildings open an additional 4 or 5 hours each day, we could schedule 2 shifts of white collar workers, thus increasing our efficiency by 100% and reducing our carbon footprint by 50%. We could cut the cost of overhead for each employee by 40 to 50%, half as much infrastructure, half as much office space, half as many computers and supplies. With the overhead for each of our 2 million Federal workers approaching $50,000 per year, the potential savings could be $50 billion per year, enough to pay for health care reform.
This simple plan will help our government and private industry in the following ways:

•Save federal gov a trillion dollars in next 10 years
•Exactly amount needed for universal healthcare
•Reduce white-collar overhead costs by 50%
•Reduce carbon footprint of office space by 50%
•Reduce budget deficits for most state governments
•Reduce our dependence on foreign oil
•Make workers competitive in the global economy
•Improve profits for all businesses and
•Increase tax receipts for state/fed governments
•Businesses can hire more employees & lower prices
For details and comments see:


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