Sunday, December 06, 2009

Weekend Heathcare Debate


The Insurance Industry's dynamic duo-- in case Sen Showboat (I-CT) falters

After Lieberman gave up his Sabbath to be sure to be there to protect the interests of his generous Insurance Industry CEO pals, the rest of the Senate will follow suit today with an extremely rare Sunday session, devoted to making believe they're working for the American people on healthcare reform (instead of preening, posturing, and acting like psycho-drama queens in the late stages of senility).

Obama's dropping by, presumably to tell the Democrats to drop the public option, insuring that even the parts of the Democratic base that aren't ready to sit out 2010 because of his escalation in Afghanistan will completely lose all faith in a Democratic Party ready to abandon working families despite majorities in both Houses and control of the White House. Keep in mind that the troublemaking centrists who keep crossing the aisle and voting with the Republicans-- the way almost VP Evan Bayh (IN), currently petrified by an electoral challenge from far right teabagger John Hostettler, Blanche Lincoln (AR), shaking in her boots from attacks from both sides on her sleazy lobbyist connections, and Ben Nelson (NE), the Insurance Industry's pointman in Congress, did yesterday when Mike Johanns duplicitous motion to "protect" the GOP's beloved Medicare came up for a vote-- happen to be the very senators with whom Obama regularly voted with most frequently when he was a member of that august body.

Or maybe I'm wrong; I sure want to be! Maybe he's coming over to tell them to just make it Medicare for all-- the simplest, cleanest and most feasible proposal-- or perhaps a national health plan like the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan, which members of Congress and federal workers have. It's nonprofit and administered by the Office of Personnel Management, something the Republicans and ConservaDems couldn't possibly be willing to embrace (although there was a rumor going around last night that Blanche Lincoln was saying she liked it. Presumably she hadn't heard from the Insurance lobby yet. I'm sure she has by now.)

McCain, easily the Senate's worst hypocrite and certainly one of the most corrupt members in terms of taking lobbyist dollars and slavishly serving corporate interests, keeps ranking and raving about deals between Democrats and lobbyists. His entire career has been built on just that kind of sleaziness. Watch him castigating Max Baucus, a ConservaDems who is nearly as corrupt as himself.

In his career McCain has taken $33,422,021 in legalistic payoffs from the Financial Sector while Baucus has taken in a hefty $4,757,318 from the same sleazy corporate interests. And each has done very well at the hands on the Medical-Industrial Complex-- McCain at $8,739,566 and Baucus at $2,905,731. In terms of the lobbyists themselves-- not their clients-- McCain is the most beloved member of Congress (either house) with $1,626,075, while Baucus has been given a less grand $756,484. It was like pigs wrestling in the mud to watch McCain fighting with everyone today. And it goes a long way towards explaining why Blue America will not be endorsing any incumbents in 2010 who aren't co-sponsors of the Fair Election Now Act (S. 752 or H.R. 1826). And we will only be endorsing challengers who explicitly agree to co-sponsor the bill once they are elected. If there's one thing we've seen from the sordid messes of Wall Street reform and healthcare reform, it's that the campaign finance system has the deck completely stacked against working Americans and our families.

UPDATE: Blanche's Amendment Fails

All the Republicans but Olympia Snowe (R-ME) voted against it and Lincoln allies like Lieberman, Ben Nelson and Tom Carper crossed the aisle and voted with the GOP. Normally on a vote like this it would be entirely reasonable to expect to see Lincoln voting against her own bill and with the GOP. The final vote on limiting deductibility for Insurance companies for executive compensation was 56-42.

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