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Ear to the Ground

Health Care Repeal Shot Down in Senate

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Posted on Feb 2, 2011
Harry Reid
Wikimedia Commons

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada cast his vote with Democratic colleagues Wednesday to keep the health care reform law intact.

As expected, the Republican-backed plan to take down Obama’s prized health care reform law didn’t enjoy the same traction in the Senate that it picked up in the House, as senators voted Wednesday along party lines to block the push for repeal.  —KA

Reuters via Google News:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scoffed at Republican efforts, saying: “They want to replace patients’ rights with insurance companies’ power. They want to replace health with sickness. They want to replace the promise of tomorrow with the pain of yesterday.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell countered: “The case against this bill is more compelling every day. Everything we learn tells us it was a bad idea. That it should be repealed and replaced. The courts say so. The American people say so.”

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By CC, February 5, 2011 at 1:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The health “deform” bill is a boon for the health insurance cartel and Big Pharma.
This is what REAL reform looks like:

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By ardee, February 4, 2011 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

call me Roy, February 4 at 12:48 am

I believe that HMA’s require one to estimate health care costs for the year and one loses the unspent dollars in the account at years end. Am I misled?

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By BarbieQue, February 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

3 questions:

Why did Barack Obama bash Hillary about her mandatory health insurance plan and say he was not in favor of such a mandate?

As seen here on the Ellen Degeneres show:

quote (from above link)
““Both of us want to provide health care to all Americans…. But, she mandates that everybody buy health care. She’d have the government force every individual to buy insurance and I don’t have such a mandate because I don’t think the problem is that people don’t want health insurance, it’s that they can’t afford it.

So, I focus more on lowering costs. This is a modest difference. But, it’s one that she’s tried to elevate, arguing that because I don’t force people to buy health care that I’m not insuring everybody. Well, if things were that easy, I could mandate everybody to buy a house, and that would solve the problem of homelessness. It doesn’t.”—Senator Barack Obama, February 28, 2008, on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

2. Why has he never been asked about this huge flip flop by the Major Media?

3. Does the Federal Government have the power to order every citizen to purchase anything they can get 60 votes for?

When you ask yourself these 3 questions, many more will arise

Get Up Stand Up, Stand Up For Your Rights—
The Honorable Bob Marley O.M.

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By Shenonymous, February 4, 2011 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

Since the Republican repeal failed, the provisions are still in place…
at least for now:

Case in point: One of the most important provisions of the Health
Care plan is about pre-conditions.  In mid-January results of a
survey from the Dept. of Health and Human Services announced that
on the order of 50% of all Americans under 65 suffer some kind
of pre-existing medical condition which could make them unqualified
for health insurance. That is about 129 million, say it, 129 million. 
Not a small number, right?  Furthermore, it predicts that in less than
a decade those who are currently healthy will develop a pre-existing
condition. Could you be one of them?

These reports might be dubious were it not for what Robert Zirkelbach,
a lobbyist for the America’s Health Insurance Plans organization said
(TWP, Jan. 18, 2011 Amy Goldstein): “Look, we’ve long supported
reforming the individual insurance market so that everybody can have
access to health-care coverage, regardless of their preexisting medical
conditions. But this report exaggerates the number of people who are
impacted.”  Not exactly true, as he went on to say, “Most of the
Americans included in the figures currently have insurance, and they
would be at risk only if they needed to change coverage and buy it on
their own.  People who get insurance through their jobs are guaranteed
coverage.”  Cool. Right?  No!

This paid mouthpiece for the nation’s leading health insurance lobby
without hesitation blatantly contradicts himself when acknowledged that
there are millions upon millions of people with pre-existing conditions
who could essentially be denied health care coveage.  He was actually
saying, “we need not worry” about them because as long as they
continue to get their insurance through their job everything will be all
right!”  This is a Seven Beauties “Oh yeah” moment.

But! But what if for some good reason they want to leave their job? 
Mr. Zirkelbach, a special interest representative, unintentionally made a
faux pas. He directed our attention to the nasty reality that up to a half
of all Americans may not have the option, the freedom, to create
their own future and fortune as they choose.  Why not?  Because they
essentially are held hostage in their jobs by the threat of losing health
care benefits!

The Zirkelbach revelation, more or less provided those in support of
health care reform with ammunition to decimate the project. As things
happen when in the hands of the those who themselves need not
worry, would deny those in a time of most vulnerability, who need
health care security would not be eligible because of, for instance, a
pre-condition as nothing more harmless than childhood diseases, such
as a common but temporary rash or having once had a sore throat.

Think about it. The fact is, and this fact is the crucial conclusion of any
argument, there are millions who for whatever reason a person leaves a
job would fail to meet the medical requirement to qualify for an
individual health insurance policy due to what is malevolently and
strategically defined as a pre-conditon and this is what the insurance
companies count on.  This is not arcane knowledge.  We all know
it. Those millions can only be sure of sufficient coverage as long as
they remain employed by a company providing the same coverage. How
likely is that?  What if one is laid off, or fired, or the company goes out
of business?  What if one wanted to start their own business, you know,
pursue the American Dream?  Are you one of these people? 

There are those in Congress who wish to repeal health care reform who
promised that they will not oppose coverage for pre-existing conditions
and have promised to provide a better alternative to make health care
available to all Americans. Ought we to believe them? Can we
afford to?

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By bEHOLD_tHE_mATRIX, February 3, 2011 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:  Call Me Roy

Thanks for making the argument for a single payer system.  We have the most affordable and most widely available automotive transportation system in the world.  Why should our health care system be any different?  Aren’t we supposed to be the most innovative and forward thinking nation on the planet…. or has conservative Tea Party ideology embracing the ordinary gun totin’, tobacco spittin’, Bible thumpin’, FOX Trottin’, Shaira law fearing Okie Heartlanders taken us back to the Wild West 1800s steam locomotive days…. only with crumbling railroad tracks?

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By call me roy, February 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

Let me get this straight. We’re going to be “gifted” with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don’t, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn’t read it but exempts themselves from it, signed by a president who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that’s broke. What the hell could possibly go wrong?

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By call me roy, February 3, 2011 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

While meddling in health care is NOT a constitutional function of the Federal Government, Independents have had an excellent alternative to HMO mindset – HSAs. HMOs are not really insurance – they are more like an all you can eat health care buffet, hence the skewed incentives among the insured. The reason people have HMOs is because companies can offer them as fringe benefits with tax savings. (The other reason is that they think it is “free” because it isn’t listed on their paycheck – sigh.)
Currently, an individual can buy real (high deductible – ~$5000/yr) medical insurance, and open a Health Savings Account. The HSA is tax free, just like an IRA, and can be used for qualified medical expenses and even retirement income. The cost of the high deductible policy, plus funding an HSA sufficiently to cover the deductible for a year, is about the same as an HMO for the same coverage – and it has similar tax benefits. The difference is that if you DON’T get sick, you get to KEEP your money (for retirement, anyway). Thus, the incentive is to stay healthy and not spend HSA dollars needlessly.
Since the policy is individually owned, this also solves the problem of losing coverage when you change jobs.
What it DOESN’T solve is:
1) changing insurance companies with pre-existing conditions. (Once you get a chronic condition, your carrier has a monopoly and can jack your rates with impunity.)
2) preventative care for the poor – providing “free” insulin is cheaper than patching up the result of not having it at the hospital.
Here is an idea: while the Feds can’t constitutionally do anything about (2), they *can* issue “guidelines”, laying out a national consensus on what states ought to provide. If a state is too poor to meet those expectations, it would be a charity case instead of an unfunded mandate. If a state is too rich, greedy, or fiscally irresponsible (Hi CA!) to meet those expectations, it would be a subject of scorn instead of an unfunded mandate.
HSAs are the way to go for many people. And yet, Obamacare does away with them entirely and runs the opposite direction- into covering people for every little thing. That is extraordinarily wasteful, because most preventive care (with a few fairly well-known exceptions) DO NOT lower overall costs.The insulin issue you described is not actually preventive care- it’s cheap outpatient care to avoid expensive inpatient care, and yes, there needs to be a way to cover that.
I agree that the pre-existing conditions exclusions need to be eliminated, and they can be even without mandates. There are such things as waiting periods and defined enrollment periods that strongly encourage people to purchase health insurance before they get sick without making them do it. But if you don’t buy coverage even if you get sick you’ll eventually be covered- but you’ll pay for your gamble.
The thing is, Obamacare completely takes the individual and his choices out of the equation. It doesn’t allow us to choose what is best for us as individuals. Some people need the money more than they need the coverage, yet that option will be completely gone.

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By ardee, February 3, 2011 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

Big B, February 3 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment


It is unfortunate that nearly every progressive in this debate has once again “settled” as we so often have since the days of Ronny-Rayguns, for crumbs when what we needed was the whole cake.

We could take the crumbs or get nothing. A wise man once noted that a journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step.

Of course the law is mostly a sop to the insurance industry, we all know this. But it allows parents to keep their adult children on their health coverage and it does eliminate , or at least make more difficult, the cancellation of ones insurance for pre-existing conditions. It further reduced the numbers of folks without coverage to 25 million from a high of almost 50 million.

Our gutless, soul-less reps like Reid and Pelosi (and yes, pres Barry too) need tossed to historys dustbin, and replaced with a true liberal movement that will no longer “settle” for the pittance tossed to us from the limo of corporate america. We can clearly see who our supposed democratic reps chose to stand with when push came to shove. And it wasn’t us.

No argument from me.

Single payer was within our grasp, but when push came to shove, we saw who our president really stood with, and it sure as hell wasn’t us. And now, in the next few years, we will see the war on social security and medicare, for the enemies of entitilements have been emboldened by the democrats lack of leadership and vision in this realm.

No, sorry, single payer is not yet in our grasp. It just was not going to happen, too many defecting democrats and idiotic republicans.

As to the wars on entitlements, where you been? They have been under attack since Reagan. Bush 43 tried his damnedest to privatize SS and failed. Reagan prattled on about that fictitious “Welfare Queen” with the Cadillac, remember?

Look BigB, it isn’t very big of you to surmise that which has no basis in reality. You may speechify all you wish, it is a right, but the facts remain as they are. Our work is ahead of us, and I say this after forty years in the trenches. I now work for the growth of the Green Party, as my recent dialogues with Shenonymous indicate plainly.

It seems rather obvious, at least to me, that we need fewer Republicans AND fewer Democrats in our legislature, replaced with those pledged to shun corporate money and the strings that go with it. I think that, as the aforementioned attacks commence, as they will indeed, more and more of us will awaken, fewer and fewer of us will continue to drink the kool aid and perhaps we will see that the current events in Cairo are a precursor to events here.

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By Mike, February 3, 2011 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes, the law is flawed and leaves the U.S. behind in healthcare in many ways, as usual.

But why are the Republicans so desperate to repeal the law?  Because if the State exchanges come in, or the Feds operate an exchange in States that won’t play, it will completely change the private insurance industry and will very likely lead to single-payer. 

Big companies/groups have the power to negotiate good rates and their members aren’t denied care or dropped because of the power of their numbers.  So the individual-insureds and small businesses, who can be denied coverage and dropped/discontinued with few consequences when a few people get real sick, provide most of the profits. 

The exchanges will change all that for the individually-insured and small businesses and they will then comprise the largest groups by far.  The insurers will then have to raise rates on every group to maintain profits and then the current big groups, who typically feel the status quo is fine, will find it impossible to provide this benefit.  The 30 percent cost benefit provided by single-payer will be attractive.

If this is how it will unfold, the current law can defintiely be considered much better than nothing.  Too bad this won’t start until 2014, but it is surprising any change is on the table, given the money and power interests involved.

Single-payer (everyone pays, everyone benfits) has always been the system for so much that has provided an advanced society - education, water/sewage/garbage, roads and other transportation systems, defense and police, courts, etc.  It was a failure not to remind people that single-payer is not a discredited approach - but when have facts been involved in political issues?

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By mindful, February 3, 2011 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

I find it hard to accept the HC bill as written, because it is nothing less than an out right wet dream for private insurance. We should have had only one legislation; one that introduced single payer HC for those who need coverage.

Seniors are stuck paying a HUGE part B that is deducted from their small social security allowances.
And, to add insult to injury, part B pays only after the senior has paid 170 dollars in a yearly deductible.
Some public health care system , and even as is its going broke because of waste, frauds and over use.

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By rob, February 3, 2011 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

anything is better than nothing. does anyone really think obamacare is going to make healthcare cost go down and quality to stay the same? i hope no one really believes this. gov’t doesnt do anything effeciently. mandated to buy insurance and costs of insurance go down….laughable. most americans will be able to afford the monthly premium or the fine when they dont get it. so called entitlement programs are not as good as most liberals believe. one on these programs the gov’t has you. they keep you poor.. democrats love poor people and they like keeping you that way. people on welfare after yrs of assisted living are much worse off. usually by then they are unskilled, un-educated and entering the work force late in life. once these poeple reach there 40-50 they cant work at all. its better to live on hard times when your young and solve your problems than to be dependant on the gov’t. if programs were designed to make people self sufficient that might help but they dont. i know people will read this and say thats easy for you to say. i know what im talking i grew up poor. if the working poor and living paycheck to paycheck then people on gov’t programs are living hand to mouth

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By Shenonymous, February 3, 2011 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

Why Harry Reid did not keep the repeal vote off the floor.  Check Health care repeal fails to pass in the Senate -
February 3rd, 2011 Those with questions like this ought to try
doing your own research sometime.  What?  Are you just
lazy-brained?  My guess is yeah. 

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was determined to bring
the repeal to the floor of the Senate for a vote. In order to bring the
repeal vote to the floor, Sen. McConnell submitted the repeal motion
as an amendment to a currently pending Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill.

Initially the Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had promised
to block any Republican effort to bring the repeal bill to the floor.
However, after Republicans agreed not to filibuster the FAA bill, the
majority leader agreed to allow the vote.  Noting that Republicans
have made health care “repeal and replace” an important part of their
agenda, Reid said:  ”Republicans obviously want to do something on
healthcare. And so we want to get this out — we want to get this out
of their system very quickly.”  Democrats were anxious to get the FAA
bill passed as a part of their own agenda to create jobs.

There is more to the article but this is enough, check it out yourself
if interested in trying to understand what was going on.  But it does
illustrate that legislation is a give and take proposition and those of
you who do not like that, will just have to lump it or work for a change
in enough politicians to make a difference.

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By mitchum22, February 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

Oh, great! Great. Things are so much better than two years ago. Obama is great.


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By Norm, February 3, 2011 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why did he allow this on the floor for a vote in the first place. This type of leadership is what is wrong with the party.

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By Shenonymous, February 3, 2011 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

The complaints are moot.  If you are not happy with the bill as it is,
and thank goodness what we have is “better than nothing,” then it is
up to you to stop wailing and baying at the moon about it and work
through the Congressmen from your state to enhance it to the degree
that will make you happy. You beat your computer keys to death in
the comfort of your own home and have the gall to sermonize your
paltry invectives. 

Yes, those who are conscious of the destitution of those not as well
off as yourself, single payer would have been the best choice, but
with the lethal spikes of conservative Republicans, here is a reality
moment:  whats we has is whats we have.  For the underprivileged
who do get benefits from the less than perfect health care bill, they
are at least as saalvaged as much as they can be with medical attention
they would never get otherwise.  Those who doggedly and stubbornly
“stand on principle” of the perfect health care bill or take nothing
don’t have to worry about getting medical care so just fuck those
who do.  Right?  Or you agitate because secretly you are a right-wing
nut.  If not, your aim is off the “right” mark.  Get rid of the conservative
Republicans and you will get what you want.  If you are really interested
in change, cultivating Democrats is the only way to achieve that in your

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By Amon Drool, February 3, 2011 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

i do realize there are some good things included in the health care bill and i do realize that i need to get a better handle on the constitution’s commerce clause, but it doesn’t take much for one to see that the dems have hung a millstone around their neck by supporting a mandated individual purchase of insurance from private companies.  the mandate fed into the dems losing the House last year.  if things don’t take a turn for the better by 2012, the Senate may be lost and if the repubs figure out a way to put a reasonable sheen on their 2012 presidential candidate, the presidency may be gone, too.

i’m not shedding any tears for the dems.  their handling of the potential power that they gained in the 2008 elections has been handled so ineptly that one can see them as having become all but useless.

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By Big B, February 3, 2011 at 9:42 am Link to this comment


It is unfortunate that nearly every progressive in this debate has once again “settled” as we so often have since the days of Ronny-Rayguns, for crumbs when what we needed was the whole cake. Many progressives have taken the stand that Obamas health care reform is “better than nothing”. My contention is simple, if we keep settling for next to nothing, someday soon nothing will be right around the corner.

Our gutless, soul-less reps like Reid and Pelosi (and yes, pres Barry too) need tossed to historys dustbin, and replaced with a true liberal movement that will no longer “settle” for the pittance tossed to us from the limo of corporate america. We can clearly see who our supposed democratic reps chose to stand with when push came to shove. And it wasn’t us.

Everyone should realize that 2010’s elections were not an abberation. The idea now that democrats will somehow have the political capital and influence to further “tweek” healthcare reform in the forseeable future is laughable at best. Since nothing has been done in this faulty law to address price inflation, this entire act is going to prove to be nothing but a sick joke, as the mandate to purchase healthcare, even with the help of government “grants” will ultimately prove difficult, if not impossible, to americas working class.

Single payer was within our grasp, but when push came to shove, we saw who our president really stood with, and it sure as hell wasn’t us. And now, in the next few years, we will see the war on social security and medicare, for the enemies of entitilements have been emboldened by the democrats lack of leadership and vision in this realm.

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By rollzone, February 3, 2011 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

hello. do they feel they have gotten their money’s
worth for reinstalling Handy Harry? is health care so
important in the present form- of pages nobody wants to
have to read; where there may be more government
encroachment upon civil liberties, buried within
obscure language; that it must remain intact during the
present administration: without being laid at the door
of the White House? it is clearly the p resident’s
baby, and should have been sent for him to defend. that
would have better represented the will of the people.

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By ardee, February 3, 2011 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

Big B, February 3 at 3:26 am Link to this comment

What a shame.

I completely agree. It is a damn shame that your animus towards Reid, for whom I share a certain dislike, takes you to the extreme of wishing ill health ,even death, upon the forty five thousand of us who live without any health care other than the emergency rooms. That is, after all, what your wishing for the defeat of this law for whatever personal reasons entails.

That the law is flawed is a moot point. That your dislike for one player in the game manifests itself in such a seemingly careless and offhanded remark seems a bit more than petty. I am certainly no fan of Democrats in general and Reid in particular but I am a fan of my fellow Americans and I support our need for much better health care.

“For those keeping score, 12 federal district court judges have dismissed challenges to the law, two have found the law to be constitutional and two have found the opposite,” Durbin said.:”

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By Shenonymous, February 3, 2011 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

The vitriol has a strong smell here.  Yup, it looks like a few
ultra-right wing nut shills haunt Truthdig.  Makes me wonder
how long it will be for such vehemence to take its toll on their
physical health as much as it already has on their mental health. 
Hope you have your own insurance plans.  Health insurance that
is, not the way Giffords in Tucson was treated.

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By Big B, February 3, 2011 at 8:19 am Link to this comment


It’s simple dude, who has sold out liberal causes at every turn in the last 10 years more than this spineless scumbag?

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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, February 3, 2011 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

Big B
Hmmm boy do you have a hard on for this guy - what is your problem.

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By peggycox, February 3, 2011 at 4:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Companies will be barred from instituting caps on
coverage when your costs for treatments goes up due to
sickness, you can now get insurance with out caps on
coverage at “Wise Health Insurance” search them online.

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By Beltwaylaid, February 2, 2011 at 11:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Dems actually stuck together.  Unbelievable.

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By Big B, February 2, 2011 at 10:26 pm Link to this comment

What a shame.

I really wanted to see this fucking loser (Reid) get one last kick in the nuts before he faded away into political obscurity.

I’ll bet this sell-out prick doesn’t even cast a reflexion in the mirror.

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