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Demonizing Dean Won’t Absolve This Health Care Sham

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Posted on Dec 23, 2009
AP / Charles Dharapak

By Robert Scheer

How dare a progressive suggest a vote against the Senate health bill? When Howard Dean did just that last week he was roundly condemned for casting aspersions on what even many of its more ardent supporters admit is an obviously flawed bill. Instead of focusing their wrath on the few obstructionists in the Senate who blackmailed the majority into dropping a much-needed public option in order to avoid a filibuster, they made Dean the villain for daring to suggest that passage of this deeply compromised legislation might make the nation’s health care system worse.

Dean deserves much better, and his concerns as a physician and a progressive politician are worthy of serious attention. As the former governor noted in a Washington Post Op-Ed article last week: “I have worked for health-care reform all my political life. In my home state of Vermont, we have accomplished universal health care for children younger than 18 and real insurance reform—which not only bans discrimination against preexisting conditions but also prevents insurers from charging outrageous sums for policies as a way of keeping out high-risk people. I know health reform when I see it, and there isn’t much left in the Senate bill. I reluctantly conclude that, as it stands, this bill would do more harm than good to the future of America.”

The devil is in the details, and the devil’s scribe here is Joe Lieberman—and, by extension, the insurance companies he so faithfully represents. Lieberman was responsible for striking a public option and Medicare buy-in from the Senate legislation that now includes no effective restraints on the power of the big insurers that have created our health care monstrosity. The insurance companies know they have won big, as reflected in the dramatic increase in their stock valuations in recent weeks as the Senate bill came to exclude all forms of the public option.

The likelihood that even the anemic public option will not appear in the final bill was made clear Tuesday when President Barack Obama dismissed the option provision, which the House bill still includes, as nothing more than “a source of ideological contention between the left and right,” adding in an interview with The Washington Post, “I didn’t campaign on the public option.” True, but he did campaign against Hillary Clinton’s plan to mandate insurance coverage as the Senate bill does. As Obama put it in Wisconsin in February 2008: “I believe the reason people don’t have health care isn’t because no one’s forced them to buy it. It’s because no one’s made it affordable.”

The biggest problem is that the legislation passed by the Senate forces Americans, under penalty of law, to make a decision about an expenditure of their own funds that they may not feel is in their interest. The carrot of a publicly financed option has been eliminated, and thus tens of millions of Americans are left with the stick of an expensive insurance obligation that they may not be able to afford. In criticizing the Massachusetts law, which is close to the Senate bill in conception, Obama said on a campaign stop in Cleveland in February 2008, “We still don’t know how Sen. Clinton intends to enforce a mandate, and if we don’t know the level of subsidies that she’s going to provide, then you can have a situation, which we are seeing right now in the state of Massachusetts, where people are being fined for not having purchased health care but choose to accept the fine because they still can’t afford it [insurance], even with subsidies.”

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That’s what concerns Dean about the Senate bill: “The bill was supposed to give Americans choices about what kind of system they wanted to enroll in,” he said. “Instead, it fines Americans if they do not sign up with an insurance company, which may take up to 30 percent of your premium dollars and spend it on CEO salaries.”

Hopefully, if the bill is passed, Dean will be proved wrong and I respect the man enough to expect that he would welcome a positive outcome. But I fear that the opposite will occur, with the cause of health reform given a bum rap as costs increase, the public feels ripped off and Obama is held responsible for the health care mess he insists he can correct without getting to the heart of the problem: providing a publicly accountable alternative to the proven greed of medical industry corporations.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By KDelphi, December 23, 2009 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

Quinty—where does the bill expand Medicare? that was taken out for Lieberman..if you meant expanding Medicaid to 15 million, I am all for expanding coverage, but, trust me, Medicaid is NOT the way, and it amounts to an unfunded mandate to broke states (unless you live in Nebraska)Most Medicaid is privately owned by HMOs now..there are very many necessary services that they do not cover…it might be better than nothing, but, since Dems said that they supported universal coverage , why settle for substandard care now??

My surgeon at a major clinic says that this will reduce poor peoples’ access to good care…he is on salary and dosent have a reason to lie…if this is the best that the Dems can do, they will lose in 2010…but I am not a Democrat anymore, didnt even vote for Obama.

It has to be better than this…when peopel start writing checks to Aetna, Cigna, the very people who have let them down, they will be very angry.

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By Thong-girl, December 23, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

Obama has been hurt seriously but the reason you aren’t seeing much screaming for his head is because of the Bush lag and the reality of what it would take to move him.  This bill is indicative of his low expectations platform.  The casual announcement of Gitmo being postponed, indefinitely is what I read, and his invasion of Yemen and cold-blooded, murder of children have been magically whisked away. No one wants to call him the child-killer that many were eager to call Bush for similar stupidity.  He’s a calculated guy who seems like his new address.  I didn’t vote for him the first time, so not sure how those who did would be inclined today.

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By P. T., December 23, 2009 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

Obama Is A Huge Liar

From the Democracy Now website:

As the Senate moves closer to passing its healthcare reform bill, President Obama is distancing himself from supporters of the creation of a government-run health insurance program. Senate Democrats recently removed the public option from the healthcare bill in order to gain enough votes to break a Republican filibuster. On Tuesday, President Obama told the Washington Post he never campaigned on the public option.

President Obama: “It is true that the Senate version does not have a public option, and that has been—become, I think, a source of ideological contention between the left and the right, but I didn’t campaign on a public option. I think it is a good idea, but as I said in that speech on September 9th, it just one small element of a broader reform effort.”

As a presidential candidate, Senator Obama touted the benefits of a public option. On his own campaign website, Obama promised that under his health plan, “any American will have the opportunity to enroll in [a] new public plan.” As the president Obama said in his weekly address that any plan that he signs must include a public option.

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By Quinty, December 23, 2009 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

What you say, KDelphi, about this being the worst mistake the Democrats ever
made might be true…... I don’t know.

Will a day ever come when Americans, and their elected representatives, accept
Medicare for all? Or a single payer system? And join the rest of the civilized
world?

At least this bill allows the possibility for expanding Medicare. Some think the bill
should be reworked.

But there will probably be even fewer votes for it in the near future. There is no
progressive super majority in the Senate. And there will probably be fewer liberals after 2010. No, it doesn’t look good.

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prole's avatar

By prole, December 23, 2009 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment

“Hopefully, if the bill is passed, Dean will be proved wrong”…and all the good little boys and girls in political Pollyanna-land can go on believing in Jolly Ol’ Obama the same way that they do in Santa Claus. Just close your eyes and trust to higher powers to make everything come out alright in the end. But still there is that nagging fear, “that the opposite will occur, with the cause of health reform given a bum rap” and worst of all that Christ-child Obama is “held responsible for the health care mess.” Obama “held responsible” for something?! Unthinkable! So while we can respect Dean enough to “expect that he would welcome a positive outcome”, we all must expect such a positive- outcome phantasm in the first place in order to spare the Teflon-shrouded St. Barack from being, in any way,“held responsible” for anything. As for some critics, “Instead of focusing their wrath on the few obstructionists in the Senate who blackmailed the majority into dropping a much-needed public option in order to avoid a filibuster, they made Dean the villain for daring to suggest that passage of this deeply compromised legislation might make the nation’s health care system worse.” And instead of “focusing their wrath” on the obfuscationists in the White House, and their apologists at Truthdig and the liberal press, they tried to turn it into a showdown between Dean and the Senate. “When Howard Dean did just that last week he was”…doing exactly what pussyfoot Obama should have been doing himself if he had any political gumption. Mealy-mouthed Obama is the one who should be “roundly condemned” for NOT “casting aspersions on what even many of its more ardent supporters admit is an obviously flawed bill.” “How dare a progressive suggest a vote against the Senate health bill”?…only if he really is a ‘progressive’! Which is why it took Dean – who stretches the definition of ‘progressive’ almost to the breaking point himself – to say what the craven Obama would never utter. Instead of a forceful display of principles, all we get from the spineless Obama is the ultimate statement of unconditional surrender, that it’s nothing more than “a source of ideological contention between the left and right.” Exactly the point! It’s nothing LESS than the principles involved. Dismissing these all-important contentions is, in a nutshell, what the unprincipled presidency of the opportunistic Obama is all about. So, Demonizing Dean Won’t Absolve This Health Care Sham, but demonizing, or at least, demystifying Obama might!

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By KDelphi, December 23, 2009 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

Quinty—yes, but Sanders, unfortunately , caucuses with the Dems (I was hoping he would block this bill).

Let the GOP fillibuster till they fall down dead…its better than giving it all away to corporate masters. When this bill goes into effect, it will be the biggest mistake theat Democrats ever made, in my opinion (if it goes thru as the Senate version)It will hang around their necks like an albatross…

diamond..you STILL believe that the only way to change the system is by voting GOP out and Dems in?? Obama and Clinton are the two main persons to doom the Democratic Party for at least a coupla decades..talk about blowing historic chances…the world stands amazed…

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By Quinty, December 23, 2009 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi

Well, technically the Democrats do not have a majority, since two members of
their caucus are Independents. At least one is left leaning - a socialist, in fact -
while the other, Lieberman, well - Lieberman is for Lieberman and Hartford.
That appears to be clear.

No, the Democrats do not have a progressive filibuster proof majority. If they
had then some version of the public option would be in the Senate bill. Let’s be
realistic.

There about five or six Democrats who might join Lieberman in opposing the
public option, though that would still leave a small majority which could pass a
government public option if there were no filibuster.

I like your idea though for regulating the insurance industry. Non profit
insurance companies seem to offer decent healthcare benefits in some
European and Asian countries. But here….. we.., dream on.

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By Xntrk, December 23, 2009 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

Like most other campaign promises, Health Care Reform finishes dead last when matched against the interests of Capitalism and the Gods of Corporate Greed. But, if you want to read a good analysis of Obama’s ability to parse the word ‘Is’ go to: http://www.counterpunch.org/avnery12212009.html

Uri Averny’s article is one of the better ones I’ve read. It’s about the Noble Prize Speech, but the topic we seem to be discussing in real time is the inability to believe anything Obama says he said, “Once upon a time…”

There are similar opinions being voiced in the International Press since the demise of the Copenhagen Conference. It appears that many people have noticed Obama’s feet of clay…

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By diamond, December 23, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

But demonizing Obama will solve everything, of course. Look at how well that worked when the Clintons were demonized for wanting to bring some kind of civilized health care system to America. If the political system isn’t fixed, and it can only be fixed by voting Republican Senators out and Democrat Senators in (who are prepared to change the system of patronage and corruption that has paralyzed American politics for decades), then there’s very little point in complaining about what one individual did or failed to do. I think Howard Dean was being short sighted. The main thing is to start to change the system of how health care is done: the main thing is to admit it needs to be changed. The rest will come.

Montanawildhack Palin will never be President and war with Iran would finish America off and the Pentagon knows it.

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By TravelerDiogenes, December 23, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

PART 2:

(...cont’d from PART 1…)

  I will be HAPPY to pay for REAL medical coverage, not the fraudulent system we have now, where they take our money and take our money and take our money and we don’t know at all if we will be covered for whatever befalls us and don’t know that next month we won’t get a letter terminating our coverage altogether.  It is the only purchasable item in the world where it is legal to not deliver what was bought.  In any other industry they’d be in court every day, battling fraud charges.

  Most people look at Europe and the first thing out of their mouths is, “HIGH TAXES!”  But when we add our medical costs on top of our own taxes, we aren’t that much below Europe.  THEIR taxes cover their national health systems; ours doesn’t - in order to get something like apples and apples we have to look at both.  It isn’t quite the same, because theirs also covers great public transportation and a few other things.  But it is at least somewhat the same to add taxes and medical and then compare.

  Here, Medicare took a few times to improve it, to fix things that didn’t work.  If this one isn’t perfect, now that the Dems have not self-destructed over this, have dug in their heels and FOUGHT for a change to WIN, THEIR IS A BETTER TOMORROW.  TOmorrow is NOT going to be the GOP stealing seats from those wimp-ass Libruls in the 2010 election.  Right now it will be a holding pattern or better for the Dems in Congress.  If the GOP had shit-eating grins all through this election cycle, it was all downhill from there - to a party that had NOTHING going for it two months ago.  The only way to lose for the Dems was to wimp out on this.  They DIDN’T, and that is a VERY good thing - Dems with balls.

  Being even REMOTELY realistic, going from where we ARE (insurance companies being the elephant in the room) and where we want to be cannot be done in one fell swoop, not without 60 Progressives in the Senate or a 50% + 1 Cloture rule.  So what are our freaking options?  None of them are great.  And if we can get PART way there, we would be stupid to let the chance pass and give those GOP fucks a reason to smirk - for the next two decades.

  I side with Evan Bayh.  Fuck those assholes in the GOP. 

  THEY AREN’T laughing now, are they?

  THAT IS A WIN, FOLKS!  WHOOP IT UP!  We are at least going down the right road.

  And who in their right mind 40 months ago would have thought this possible?

  BE GLAD!

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By TravelerDiogenes, December 23, 2009 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

PART 1:

  It will be able to be fixed along the way, including in Conference.  It will take time and it will take effort.

  I usually respect Robert Scheer’s opinion, and I do on this.  But respecting and agreeing are not always the same thing.

  There WILL be some mixing of Senate and House versions.  From what I’ve read, though, in Conference Committee they can NOT add something that was not in either bill, not without risking sending it back to the full Senate or House for approval, and if I am not mistaken it takes SIXTY votes in the Senate to do that.  Any one committee member can force that, if I understand it right - IF they try to add anything new in.

  So, for now, there is limited choice as to what goes in.

  Howard Dean had his heart in the right place.  I love the guy and wish he were President.  He’d be Harry Truman reincarnated.  I respect his opinion, too, but I disagree that defeating this bill would be have been a good thing.  It would undo all the good that Dean’s 50-state strategy - the most brilliant political strategy reversal of my lifetime.  THAT IS TOO HIGH A PRICE TO PAY.

  However, there was a LOT more going on than just giving Progressives and the citizenry everything right now.  After the Clinton fiasco with health care, which took 15+ years to get past, the Democrats simply could NOT afford a defeat on this.  Evan Bayh’s take - that he was only really for it to keep the shit-eating grins off the GOP’s faces - says so much:  IT IS NOW OR NEVER/FOREVER.  To get a bill that heads somewhat in the right direction became the only option.  There just were NOT enough votes to pass the one everyone really wanted, not with a 60-vote Cloture rule.  The Blue Dogs had to be fed their raw meat.  IT IS REALITY.

  I myself was advocating that they just withdraw the bill and put gazillions of dollars into the 2010 election, to get more votes to pass the bill we all really wanted, to get the Senate to 65 Dems, so that the Blue Dogs couldn’t extort anything at all.  But I was wrong: ANY non-success now was a loser for the next 10-20 years.

  Let us stop bitching about the things that ARE NOT in the bill and start focusing on what IS in it.  I am a freelance machine designer, in a manufacturing sector that is all but kaput, and right now I have no medical insurance.  Fortunately my health is excellent (knock on wood/bone/organs).  Am I looking forward to putting 20-30% of what little I earn into medical care that I won’t be able to use for 4 years?  Hell no.  But I’ve been advocating for a decade we get a national health care system something like the rest of the civilized world has, and I know it doesn’t come free of charge.  Until we get 100% universal Medicare coverage (it might be coming someday), we are stuck with the insurance industry in the middle of it.  FOR NOW. 

(cont’d in PART 2…)

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By KDelphi, December 23, 2009 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

Quinty—Lieberman and Nelson “stand in front of”
nothing…the Dems didnt want Medicare for All..or they would have it (they have majorities)

DLT—You didnt even read my post, did you? I will bet dollars to donuts that Kucinich will vote Dem as he always does—and which f*cking bill are you talking about anyway? I know Kucinich and have met him…he cant vote on the Senate bill and that is the one that is being discussed…he wil vote yes on the House bill, I guarantee it. I like him but hes’ a Dem!

It is NOT ‘difficult”, people..every civilized country in the world has some form of it. People pay taxes….drs get a salary…when you are sick you drawn on the money..when you are well and can work, you pay into it…..its not that hard.

Alternatively, treat insurance as a utility and regulate the hell out of it…this bill moves in the opposite direction…

Set up more community health centers and non-prift hospitals…dont let drs buy into hospitals or Pharma or medical products..

as long as “health insurance” is traded on Wall St , it will never serve the good of the people. Making health care a traded stock in unconscionable.

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lastdaywatchers's avatar

By lastdaywatchers, December 23, 2009 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

I thought I would leave you truthdiggers a note on a
thread in the USAToday section in a article on Health
Care

“For those of you who thought the Republicans
would be powerful enough to stop health care had
better understand the Curse God has place on the Bush
Administration and his political house

he who have eyes let him see
——————————————————————————
GOP unlikely to derail health care passage -
Fortunately for America the Constitution will derail
the bill in court.
——————————————————————————
The pawn of Satan George W Bush killed the
Constitution!!
——————————————————————————
the greatest threat to this country - as it was in
1776 - is government tyranny
——————————————————————————
You should have thought about that when you elected
George W Bush then .

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By lmttd, December 23, 2009 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

mpgarr59:  It really does get me—for those on the right—-who profess to have this great “love of life” when it comes to protecting fetuses—-but when it comes to just about every other aspect of life—they follow a path that is anything other than “life friendly.”

So true. The label “pro-life” is a misnomer.  As you state their concern is with “protecting fetuses” so “pro-fetus” more aptly describes their position as they are also against any exceptions as in the case of rape, incest, or when a women’s life is at risk.

And of course, as you point out the pro-fetus crowd also support policies that are pro-gun, pro-war, pro-death penalty, against aid to mothers w/dependent children, pro-murder (when it conforms to their belief system) such as the murder of abortion providers, and of course against funding substantive health care reform by “We the People” a.k.a. “The Government”. The depth and breadth of their denial and hypocrisy is beyond comprehension.

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By ap, December 23, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Scheer—IMO, one of the problems in our political process is the tendency
to hysterically scapegoat one or two individuals—and regardless of whether
it’s Joe Lieberman (who I deeply disagree with) or Howard Dean (who I agree
with, but seems to be more recently changing his tune).  If you asked the
Democrats to take a 50+Medicare Buy-In to reconciliation where it could pass
with many less votes—we would see that Joe Lieberman has very little to do
with it at all.  Just as Howard Dean doesn’t either.  The Democrats are bought
out by the insurance industry, and are selling us off to Mob, whereupon we will
pay for “protection.”  I think this legislation will make real reform more difficult
—i.e. a single payer system that guarantees quality health care to all and
regardless of socioeconomic background.  We need to hold our politicians
accountable as a group, and not allow them to pretend otherwise.  Let them
pass a Medicare 50+Buy-In as a show of where they’re really coming from,
with or without Howard Dean and Joe Lieberman, before we support anything
else.  Stop protecting our Congressional whores, Mr. Scheer.

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By Flummox, December 23, 2009 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

Yes how dare a progressives? Fighting for what you want is childish and egotistical. Having any standards whatsoever means you are entirely inflexible and unwilling to compromise.

What rot.

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By HereGoes, December 23, 2009 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

I wonder what the lag time will be before Americans learn what this proposed legislation will do to their budgets, not to mention their individual rights.  To be forced to purchase a product from a corrupt industry while being told it is good medicine for what ails them, is the height of hypocrisy.  Will Obama acquire President Reagan’s mantle and become Teflon President the Second, because he is a swell orator and a hopeful guy? Having lost all faith in him, I suppose there is always a chance he will be visited by the ghosts of Christmases past, and will ... change?

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By Quinty, December 23, 2009 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie -

What can be done?

Lieberman stands in front of it the way the iceberg stood before the Titanic.
Stupak and Ben Nelson hold it by the other end.

One vote in the Senate.

Lieberman must feel like the most powerful man in America right now. Maybe
Ben Nelson feels that way too?

So progressives in the House are making ominous and warlike noises that they
will improve the bill. That would be great. Let them.

But there’s Joe Liberman, like the iceberg facing the Titanic.

I don’t see a way around it. Maybe you do?

Putting off the bill is no answer either, I don’t think. In 2010 there will probably
be less liberal Democrats in the Senate and House. This “60” mark at the
present minute is probably as good as it will get, for a good long time.

But if conditions improve? Well, then, expanding Medicare to more Americans
can always be added to the current legislation. And that can be done at any
time.

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By Anarcissie, December 23, 2009 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

I doubt if Dr. Dean was demonized by anybody but the Democratic Party establishment and its kept media flacks.  He seems to be quite popular among the rank and file.

The real issue now, though, is not what the situation is, but what you’re going to do about it besides cry.

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By Alan MacDonald, December 23, 2009 at 11:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I respectfully disagree with President Obama.

Supposedly ‘rescuing’ the economy was NOT the most important task—- since it’s still not rescued and still held captive by the EMPIRE.

Nor is this ‘Health Care’ (sic) bill, which reminds me of the illogic of the Vietnam War:  “It became necessary to destroy the bill in order to save it”

The most important agenda task for any American president is to expose and confront the ruling-elite Global corporate/financial/militarist EMPIRE—- which controls our country by hiding behind the facade of its two-party ‘Vichy’ sham of democracy (aided by the equally ‘Vichy’ MSM).

Obama did not do this most important task.

But, hey, he never claimed that he would confront the EMPIRE that actually controls our country—- in fact he never even mentioned this hidden EMPIRE. 

So I guess it is right to say that he didn’t overtly lie about this, although he, like all U.S. presidents has lied by omission in not leveling with the American people about the EMPIRE that controls our country.

The last U.S. President to actually talk about this reality was Eisenhower (as he left office), although JFK quietly worked behind the scenes to confront the ruling-elite corporate/financial/militarist EMPIRE (as he also left office—for doing so).

F. Scott Fitzgerald knew and famously wrote about the end the American Dream,—- “where the dark fields of the republic (turned to EMPIRE and) rolled on under the night”.

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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By mpgarr59, December 23, 2009 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

I have to say—I hold the view that Howard Dean is correct on his position that this health care “reform” bill should die—-for many of the same reasons he stated and others.

The mandate that requires everyone to purchase health care without forcing true, “Free Market” competition in the choices we have to buy health care insurance from—-here where I live in SW Ohio—we have only two main choices—-Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield or United Health Care—but Anthem is the big gorilla here since most of the hospitals in the area are “in their system.”

It is also BS that we Americans are still barred-at least legally—from driving into Canada to buy the same quality medications we get here in the US—-for a fraction of the price we pay here.

It is obvious that most of our elected “representatives” don’t care much about “we the people”—they are brought and paid for—Lock, Stock and Barrel—-by the many large special corporate interests—that the health care insurance companies and pharma are but one part.

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By austintatious, December 23, 2009 at 11:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dr. Dean was courageous and correct, in particular morally and ethically, to call a spade a spade: the bill called healthcare reform is not that. More holistic and thus more elucidating is Robert Scheer’s essay on Dean’s demonization by Democratic pundits and the corporate controlled mainstream media. The problem with the legislation is obvious to the most casual observer, as so many posts attest. The bill is truly a step backward in what the American people understand as an attempt to fix, or replace, or reform our broken healthcare system. The line has been drawn, People, and it demands a straightforward, direct solution: we Americans must either kill the bill, force Congress to amend it to make it a good deal for ordinary Americans, or defy it’s mandate en masse after it is forced into law by the private health industry. There is just no other way to deal with this, and big industry knows it. It demands all of us to stand up and hold their representatives to account whether through a face-to-face challenge, a 10 million man march on the Capitol, or a 200 million member day of boycotting healthcare. It requires DIRECT ACTION, something Americans aren’t very comfortable with because we’ve been taught from our earliest years not to confront the status quo. In addition, we have been fed a diet of fear every time we pick up a paper or turn on the TV. Every other approach will waste time we don’t have, and thousands more will needlessly die in the meantime: your grandma, your father, your sister, your brother, maybe you. Let’s get out there together and demand our healthcare! Not through vigils, not by praying, not by writing a letter to your representative, but by physical confrontation of those putting the stamp of approval on egregious laws, or at the very least calling and speaking directly to your representative or their aid with no hint of waver or capitulation to the status quo, and demanding they follow up with you about their position. It must be a dialogue. Anything less will saddle us with another burden about which we cannot reasonably complain.

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By Quinty, December 23, 2009 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

How to fund helathcare for one and all?

It really would be quite simple. Obviously simple. But as most of us here know
it won’t happen.

Take one or two hundred billion from “defense.”

Tax the rich.

That should do it. Expand and strengthen Medicare for all and eliminate the
complications protecting the insurance industry and Big Pharma. And we could
have a healthcare system as good as France.

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By Mark, December 23, 2009 at 11:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kudos to you, 3rd Party Voter re: six broken promises

Thanks for the refresher.

BTW, Mr. Scheer, stop worrying. After all, Barack Obama is a product of that meritocracy you referred to in last week’s column. As the POTUS I presume Obama sits atop of the meritocracy. If the pending legislation appears to you to be a POS, it’s only because you can’t appreciate what the meritocracy is trying to do.

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By mpgarr59, December 23, 2009 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

It really does get me—for those on the right—-who profess to have this great “love of life” when it comes to protecting fetuses—-but when it comes to just about every other aspect of life—they follow a path that is anything other than “life friendly.”

There are many examples of that—but the one that stands out the loudest comes to the dictomy between funding of war and funding for things like health care.

Go to war—for any reason, in any place in the world and they have no problem in writing blank, open ended checks for that—-but try to spend a fraction of what is spent on our warmaking—and they respond:  “What??? To provide health care to everyone is simply too expensive. Do you think we are made of money???  NO WAY!!”

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By Quinty, December 23, 2009 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

Besides the hot passions of the times (look at some of the comments here) the
strident response to Dean’s turn around may have also been caused by a fear
of killing the bill entirely. After all, it hangs on by one vote.

One vote.

Wherein lies the drama. Were it not for the filibuster, a far more progressive
bill could have been written, one retaining Dean’s eager backing.

I at least admire and respect Dean. And think his thoughts are important.
Perhaps those defending the bill in its present state do too. Which is why they
fiercely leapt on him.

One vote. Change one vote and the bill is dead. Feingold, Burris, Sanders, some
others - if one changed his mind that’s it.

Passions are fierce. But I think Dean should be listened to and respected. He
certainly deserves that respect.

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By DanE, December 23, 2009 at 11:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This bill is FASCISM when it forces unemployed people trying to pay rent and put food on the table to use that money to pay off an immoral insurance company!  It’s no better than the mafia.  I think I know what Gandhi would do.  He would say DON’T BUY THE INSURANCE, and when they fine you, DON’T PAY IT.  And when they come to get you, YOU GO.  IN MASSES.  They will have the whole unemployed population in prison costly billions of dollars to imprison them.  This is a disaster and, again, they are trying to see how much the American people will put up with.  SO how much, Americans, before we take back our country and get these scoundrels out of our government?  They will dig their own graves.  People in prison COST money and pay no taxes and nothing to insurance companies.  They will make themselves bankrupt because of their lust for greed and no one deserves it more.

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By DLT, December 23, 2009 at 11:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

K Delphi -

Kucinich will probably cave????????

You don’t know Kucinich.  He will NEVER cave to this bill, and if I could, I would bet you my entire month’s paycheck on it.  I know the man and have worked hard for him.  This bill is CR*P for the American people, and Kucinich WILL NEVER VOTE FOR THIS.

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By phreedom, December 23, 2009 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Thank you Bob,

The mandate is a function of forcing, at gun(health) point, that some 35 million people rearrange, trim, their completely tapped personal budgets, to indirectly bail out a militarized system of economics, a military economy that has gone bankrupt.  Really this is cloak and dagger, money-multiplier-artificiality, an incredibly devious form of forced labor, through “we are really doing you a favor” financial-dance-deception. Some kind of calculation to force superficial productivity to increase directly in proportion to the real productivity lost because of the current unemployment crisis. Smoke and mirror, value-less productivity.

And besides, the 35 million citizen group being targeted by the mandate, no doubt, has been determined to have a huge “be responsible reservoir” spread/margin to exploit. This “responsibility-lacking pool, can be made to believe, due to their “responsible-guilt-iq, well, that they owe it to a system that abandoned them long ago to somehow buy insurance they cannot afford. 

The greatest freedom, really, is individual citizen control, in an essentially-qualitative-manner, of their personal cost of living. I really thought recently failed attempt to manipulate productivity and multiply money in a dis-valued way, well, was through the disaster of the housing bubble. The horribly wrong minded attempt by Wall Street to finance a militarized economic. Well, I thought this bust would allow American citizens to take back some control of their cost of living.

But now, we got the health insurance bubble to take up the slack. To suck out all the leeway to control one’s personal cost of living, created by the real estate bubble burst. Mandated insurance only encourages Wall Street to chop up these required insurance policy purchases,  and their dictated & guaranteed premiums,  well, the mandate creates huge incentives for Wall Street to conjure up more super-risky investment vehicles, to once again set the stage to bring our economy to its’ knees.

This mandate has not worked in Massachusetts, and it was forced through with what are know to be made up numbers. Maybe its just that the Massachusetts’ model, which is really been secret & blacked out in Massachusetts,  was able to be implemented in the first place. It seems that what really was successful about it, is that a certain political process was tested and found to work, allowing it to pass.

Until recently, I think there was great pride in making the courageous sacrifice and calculation to do without health insurance, in order to live according to a, more or less, personal and instinctual actuary table, so some level of day to day dignity could be actualized/afforded. This mandate is designed to “multiply” money in a heinous way, in a system that no longer spends money to increase value for the sake of its’ people, but rather instead decrease value at their expense.

Would it not be more in line with American freedom, to make the health insurance industry actuary tables software available to normal citizens so they could calculate when they should have health insurance. You know, if we must continue to run the road block of health insurance companies to get healthcare? Simply socialize the medical testing for disease, and socialize any costs associated with healthcare requirements due to injury/disease from accidents or genetic propensities.

Health insurance reform has nothing to do with mandating its’ purchase, this is a gift to Wall Street to begin a new era in financial magic & scams, a new way to multiply money value-less-ly.

Rhuen Phreed, 11 Marlborough Street, #22, Boston, MA 02119

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By lucky, December 23, 2009 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

” “I didn’t campaign on the public option.” True, “
True? I think this is flatly wrong. He DID campaign on the public option - Robert please correct this…

http://news.firedoglake.com/2009/12/22/obama-i-didnt-campaign-on-public-option/

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/12/22/obama-repeatedly-touted-public/

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By Tom Semioli, December 23, 2009 at 10:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If millions of Americans refuse the obey the law, then the law will become meaningless.

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By KDelphi, December 23, 2009 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

The bill forces citizens to purchase a product from an immoral industry that may have, in the past, denied them or their loved ones care that has led to longterm disability or death…that is abhorrent

Another provision that is unbelievably disgusting, is the one where you can “get a waiver if you can prove youre too poor to buy”—-WTF?!! Obama said this was about making it “affordable” which cant be quantified (and we all know that Congress has a totally different idea of what “affordable’
is than the working classes) and “quality” (unquantifiable , also—-I want the same care Michele get and kids to get the same care Sasha and Malea get)

So, if youre too poor to afford it, you dont get it. That alone tells you that health care for Americans was a side issue for this bill of bribery

ardee—I had read that about Dean, and, now Sanders has caved to recieve $10 million for community health centers in Vermont…I think Kucinich is still committed to voting against it, but, he will proabably cave..if this doesnt tell people that we cannot trust Dems, I dont know what will…also, I was in a live chat online with Rep Wiener (formerly for univeral Medicare) last night and he danced rapidly, trying to explain how he might vote for it and “later improve it”—he sounded like Obama!

montanawildhack—dont break your fricking arm patting yourself on the back (unless you have really good insurance) Plenty of progressives have “predicted” the same things you have , but, nobody likes and “i told you so” type of person. Neo-cons may win the Senate back, but, their “accomplishments” are certainly nothing to crow about.

BTW, Obama didnt campaign on anything! He NEVER commits himself to anything—but he strongly implies things—this made alot of progressives think he was a “man of peace” , “progressive to the core” “wants universal health coverage” “with the same care that politicians recieve” and would move on climate change—-Dems all believed that, as far as I can tell…I never saw it in him, never saw this great compassionate, libveral “leader”—people should think back over what they think they heard him say. Otherwise, he will collect plenty of money and just do it again in 2012 (insurance industry will be a major donor, just as it was before)

SoTexGuy—actually, when you think about it, the “mandate” is not much different than paying taxes (which is how we should pay for universal care)for any program…this difference, I think, is that this is a private medical industrial complex which no one trusts….we’ve never done that before, that I can think of…car insurance? But you dont have to buy a car to survive…but I’m sure Obama will provide public transit very soon, producing “green jobs”...right…It is certainly not Socialism, which would tax people, proportionate to their income, progressively, and drs would be paid a salary, removing the incentive to adjust care to profit…it is not democracy, which would regulate utilities necessary for life…

NYCArtist—excellent links and thanks

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By altara, December 23, 2009 at 9:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

HEALTH CARE SUMMARY

Looks as though we’ll get a Senate bill, now that unprincipled Senator Nelson and perfidious Senator Lieberman have agreed to let the Senate do its job and vote. No Republicans would do the right thing for our country. In fact, they complain about rushing this bill through although it has been an endless struggle all year.

The legislation has some reform but has been watered down at the behest of those most influenced by insurance company lobbyists. With 30-40 million new customers mandated to buy health insurance, and no public option, insurance company executives and the lobbyists are toasting each other with the finest champagne.

Also winning are the drug companies. No strong pricing pressure and no importation of reasonably priced drugs from other countries.

Our whole system is strange - and costly. It started innocently enough with employers providing health insurance as a benefit during World War II in order to get around pay restrictions. But this led to most health care availability being dependent on where you worked. Not acceptable.

But why should heath care be dependent on insurance at all?  A nation must provide for the health of its citizens. It’s not like insuring against fire, or flood. Everyone has to receive health care. So it’s like insuring against the need for food.
The systems resembles a layaway plan, paying in advance for a product with an insurance back—up.

So why should profit making insurance be inserted between a citizen and health care, or between a citizen and food? It’s too late to eliminate the present system entirely but these insurance entities should at least be treated as utilities and regulated as such. Like water and electricity. We’re moving a little bit in that direction,which is good, particularly in the absence of a single payer system.

But as long as we have a filibuster, along with an obstructionist opposition, and no complete public campaign financing, all major reform or public interest legislation is in jeopardy.

homer http://www.altara.blogspot.com

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By felicity, December 23, 2009 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

so left I am right - I’m with you.  And, yes, prisoners do get free medical care AND if what I read recently is true, male prisoners also get free VIAGRA (at least in some state prisons.) No comment.

So we’ll get fined if we don’t buy health insurance.  Chances are if one can’t afford insurance, one won’t be able to pay the fine. 
Garnish wages? Unemployed?  That won’t work.  Jail time is it.  For how long.  Until he pays the fine or buys health insurance. We’re right back where we started from.  Law makers in DC have once again proven what we all know - they’re completely out of touch with reality.

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By Quinty, December 23, 2009 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

Thanks for defending Howard Dean.

Perhaps because we live both in highly troubled times and in an environment
of instantaneous hard reactions, even strident overreactions, Dean’s
independence and concern about the bill received such a violent response. The
mass media always reacts as if the tiniest daily event has transcendent
consequences. (If it bleeds it leads, keep ‘em glued to the set.)

The left, such as it is, or liberals and progressives, are highly divided over this
bill. That Dean has revealed some independence and honesty on the issue
should not be held against him. (Though I wonder if the heat didn’t become
too great? Since he has since reversed his position.)

There is much uncertainty out there. Huge issues and problems. And little
sense of true direction while the Republicans offer a veritable three ring circus.
And the Democrats fight among themselves.

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3rd party voter's avatar

By 3rd party voter, December 23, 2009 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

6 broken promises made re: Health *insurance* reform told by Barack Obama:

Biggest promise:
Universal Health Care:
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, seeking support from labor union members in New Jersey, vowed Monday to make health insurance available to all Americans by the end of his first term in the White House.

‘‘We can have universal health care by the end of the next president’s first term, by the end of my first term,’’ Obama said, bringing 600 union workers to their feet during a question-and-answer session with members of AFL-CIO affiliated unions.
http://www.suntimes.com/news/elections/385287,051407obama.article

When he was campaigning, he also promised us this:

1. No Individual Mandate.
In this transcript of his Jan 31 2008 debate with Hillary, he was against a mandate, saying she was for it.
“if, in fact, you are going to mandate the purchase of insurance and it’s not affordable, then there’s going to have to be some enforcement mechanism that the government uses. And they may charge people who already don’t have health care fines, or have to take it out of their paychecks. And that, I don’t think, is helping those without health insurance. That is a genuine difference.”

********* Well, the bills have mandates.

2. Complete Transparency

Candidate Obama promised that health care deliberations with Congress and special interests would be transparent to the extreme.

“That’s what I will do in bringing all parties together, not negotiating behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are,” Mr. Obama said during his Jan. 31, 2008 debate with Clinton. “Because part of what we have to do is enlist the American people in this process. And overcoming the special interests and the lobbyists who—Senator Clinton is right. They will resist anything that we try to do.”

********** But deals were cut with Big Pharma in private meetings at the WH.

3. Enable the Government to Directly Negotiate Drug Prices

In the Jan. 31, 2008 debate, Mr. Obama said, “If a drug company—if the drug companies or a member of Congress who’s carrying water for the drug companies wants to argue that we should not negotiate for the cheapest available price on drugs, then I want them to make that argument in front of the American people.”

“We’ll negotiate with the drug companies for the cheapest available price on drugs,” Mr. Obama said again in an Oct. 15, 2008 debate with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

********* Nope….not happening.

4. Allow Drug Importation

During the campaign, Mr. Obama said his plan would “Allow consumers to import safe drugs from other countries” because “some companies are exploiting Americans by dramatically overcharging U.S. consumers.”

******* Nope…part of the secret deal with drug companies was no importation.

5. Lower Premiums by $2,500 for a Family of Four

“If you’ve got health insurance through your employer, you can keep your health insurance, keep your choice of doctor, keep your plan,” Mr. Obama said in his Oct. 15, 2008 debate against McCain. “The only thing we’re going to try to do is lower costs so that those cost savings are passed onto you. And we estimate we can cut the average family’s premium by about $2,500 per year.”

******* Both proposed bills will reduce employer coverage, and dramatically RAISE insurance bills, on top of the rapid premium increases we have seen already.

What do you call 6 broken promises *on one issue*?

People are catching on…

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, December 23, 2009 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

Dean is doing what president Obama should have done all along. Providing leadership, and backbone.

Mr. Obama’s election message was clear as a bell, that politics as usual in Washington, was finished.

Now the cold hard truth of this bill is here in the light of day. Of course they went after Howard Dean, because he’s standing in the way of a big payday, for everyone from congress to their owners, the corporate right.

It should be understood by now, that our government no longer works, and that politics in this country is a failure.

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By Stencil, December 23, 2009 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

I still like that whole “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” line. Of course the premise “good” is highly flawed in the intended use of this bromide.

But if you look at it from the big health insurance provider’s perspective it makes a lot of sense for once. Don’t let the perfect (our current H.R. bill) be the enemy of the good (single payer). Instead just let the perfect pass unopposed.

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By RdV, December 23, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

As the justifications for cheering Obama erode away, the final rationale is the “Republicans are worse” claim.
      How so?
Seems like we are getting the McCain plan which taxes the Union negotiated health care plans in place of salary increases instead of begging a red cent from the millionaire set.
  But then,it would be unlikely that McCain could get away with hitting Medicare—targeting the programs for the poorest elderly and framing it as “waste”.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, December 23, 2009 at 7:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This was never about health care reform.  From the
start it was a crime bill meant to criminalize those
who can’t afford health insurance.  So now that the
working poor are going to be fined for not buying
insurance they will be even less able to afford decent
health care as is happening in Massachusetts.  They may
as well bring back debtors prison.  We have regressed
to the social conditions of 18th and 19th century
England.  Dickens would feel at home.

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By melpol, December 23, 2009 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

It is not fair to blame only one political party for corruption when bribery is
common on all sides. It costs lots of money to get elected and politicians never
bite the hand that feeds them. Most industries have lobbyists in Washington
where billions exchange hands—-that is the American way. Those that want
clean government should get a job sweeping floors in the White House.

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RAE's avatar

By RAE, December 23, 2009 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

I’m sorry, folks, but in my view, BASIC health care should be considered one of the FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS of citizenship right up there with the expectation that the country will be defended by armed forces when necessary. And as with armed forces the cost should be borne by ALL through the universal tax system because the good health of each citizen benefits everyone, one way or another, just as a successful defence of the country benefits everyone. Come to think of it, defence of the country IS a form of universal “health care,” isn’t it?

(As an aside, wars such as Afghanistan and Iraq, are NOT “defence of the country” enterprises. Those wars should be funded entirely by those who profit - you know who you are.)

BASIC health care includes basic dental, basic optical and basic pharmaceutical services and supplies as required. The “as required” part should be determined by a partnership between a certified health care professional and the patient. No bean-counter bureaucrats should have any veto over funding the decisions made by the professionals.

Certainly oversight and audit of the transactions must be put in place. There will be abuses of the system by a tiny minority and these should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Those who claim it would cost too much are idiots. For the amount of cash doled out to shore up the banks in the last year or two, America could provide 24-hour doctor, nurse and hospital room services for every citizen in the country. Cost too much? Bullshit.

The private, for profit, corporations role must be restricted to providing “insurance” for all the OPTIONAL/COSMETIC services - gold crowns, designer eyeglasses, breast enhancements, hair replacement, etc.

At least that’s the way it would be in any country where I was King for a Day.

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knobcreekfarmer's avatar

By knobcreekfarmer, December 23, 2009 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

Does anyone know if prisoners get health care provided? I think so.

I say we all go turn ourselves in. “Arrest me please! I’m going to
break the law by NOT buying health coverage.” Then once in prison
we’ll get health care provided. Plus three squares!

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By Caro, December 23, 2009 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

From the Liberal Democratic Party, via email:

How bad is the bill?

• Forces you to pay up to 8% of your income to
private insurance corporations—whether you want to
or not

• If you refuse to buy the insurance,  you’ll have to
pay penalties of up to 2% of your annual income to
the IRS

• After being forced to pay thousands in premiums for
junk insurance, you can still be on the hook for up
to $11,900 a year in out-of-pocket medical expenses.

• Massive restriction on a woman’s right to choose,
designed to trigger a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the
Supreme Court

• Paid for by taxes on the middle class insurance
plan you have right now through your employer,
causing them (employers) to cut back benefits and
increase co-pays

• Many of the taxes to pay for the bill start now  
(at passage of the bill), but most Americans won’t
see any benefits—like an end to discrimination
against those with preexisting conditions—until
2014 when the program begins.

• Allows insurance companies to charge people who are
older 300% more than others

• Grants monopolies to to drug companies that will
keep generic versions of expensive biotech drugs from
ever coming to market.

• No reimportation of prescription drugs, which would
save consumers $100 billion over 10 years (this huge
unfair cost is borne by seniors under Medicare Part D
right now).

• The cost of medical care will continue to rise, and
insurance premiums for a family of 4 will rise an
average of $1000 a year—meaning in 10 years, you
family’s insurance premium will be $10,000 more
annually than it is right now.

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

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By Beer Doc, December 23, 2009 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

In this the winter of discontent the truth-seekers discover the deep cave of betrayal and it wounds the heart and psyche to the quick. Whether it is Rep. Frank on the banking committee, or (alas) Senator Sanders going along with the gag known as the health insurance industry stimulus package, makes a person whether all so-called positions are merely just political posturing.
When it comes to reaching a political consensus, the actual needs of the people are not even a consideration.

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By NYCartist, December 23, 2009 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

I was never “high” on Dr.Dean.  His interviews with Amy Goodman on http://www.democracynow.org were tepid to nil on the single payer.  This bill is and always was crap (a credit to “Grandpa” Al Lewis for that word he loved to use)in the House and Senate. 
For good analysis of the bills and the movement for
single payer - health care for all:
http://www.blackagendareport.com
http://www.pnhp.org  Physicians for a National Health Program
http://www.phimg.org  a coalition of groups - nice short video of
    demonstration in Grand Central Station, NYC

For extensive review of Pres. Obama’s first year, see Paul Street essays on Znet over the recent and
he and Black Agenda Report had Obama’s “number” for years: http://www.Zcommunications.org/znet

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By glider, December 23, 2009 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

Truedigger,
I to am extremely disappointed in Sanders and Weiner sell outs.  Either alone might have been able to force this issue to reconciliation, and to inject some strength into the progressive movement.  Instead they chose to crystallize the unwillingness to fight for the people in the Democratic party dna.  The whole party is a pretty much a corporate puppet joke.

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By KISS, December 23, 2009 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Once more Howard Dean tells us how it really is. “The biggest problem is that the legislation passed by the Senate forces Amerikans [sic], under penalty of law, to make a decision about an expenditure of their own funds that they may not feel is in their interest.”
Instead of the Amerikan people’s interest, we are funding Big Insurance interests, all with Obama’s[the shill] blessings. Will it boil down that protesting will bring the Army out with bayonets? Will the Army stationed up north doing maneuvers on how to quell civil unrest, be marching on Amerikan soil, to the commander in chief’s bidding?
So the first Amerkan dictator is upset by the dissatisfaction of the people over the ins. give away.

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By StPete, December 23, 2009 at 6:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dems who attack our legislators for this wobbly cobbled together health care bill
aren’t considering the power of a million dollars a day combined with armies of
lobbyists.

Mountains were moved to get this far and it is a triumph.

Now I hope Reid and Pelosi went to school on the GOP and will jam this bill out of
conference with a public option and taxing tools making it the insurers’ and
Republicans’ worst nightmare.

51 Senators and enough Representatives would support such changes. As I
understand it that’s all they’d need to pass a reconciled bill.  Of course if they did
that they wouldn’t get much else passed this session, and that must be the
dilemma they face.

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By truedigger3, December 23, 2009 at 6:07 am Link to this comment

Dean, Feingold, Sanders ..etc etc… are all politicians of the status quo. They talk the talk but when it is time to walk the walk, they back down, wiggle,invent all kind of execuses and do all kind of back room deals.
For example, Sanders could have single handedly stopped that piece of crap of a bill, but he got bought by a sweet deal and he voted for the bill which contains nothing of what Sanders was shouting about and demanding all along.!!
That is one example of many many examples of many politicians.

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By glider, December 23, 2009 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

Obama’s campaign of populist lies to win the election is classic “bait and switch”.  I find it difficult to comprehend the harm done to the young voters his campaign brought into the fold.  Democracy can not function with such a disconnect between platform and policy.

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By SoTexGuy, December 23, 2009 at 5:51 am Link to this comment

Dean was right in his opposition to the legislation as it now appears to be poised for passage. I respected him for his honesty. Why he would mollify his remarks on air with Maddow is something only he knows?

The idea that the government can make a law requiring citizens to give their money to private corporations or face penalty (and not at least offer a public alternative) is something outside the Constitution I’m sure. I’m unsure if that’s Socialism, or Communism as the chattering and sneering mob would claim.. but it’s abominable. Call it ‘Corporatism’.

That’s how I feel about that.

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By the worm, December 23, 2009 at 5:50 am Link to this comment

Health Care Reform: Quick Comparison Pre & Post Reform: You get $80 of
health care for $100.

Currently, we pay our health insurance premium. The insurance company takes
our premium and covers administration, markets & advertises, pays bonuses &
lobbies against your interests, and uses a portion to provide health care should
it believe it is required. What’s different in the Senate’s ‘reform’ package?
Answer: In the future, by law, we are mandated to pay health insurance
premiums, our taxes will subsidize the health insurance industry by paying the
premiums for those who cannot afford insurance and insurers can use 20% of
our premium by law on non-health care (see administration, etc. above).
Comment: As with the financial industry, the bill promises ‘heavy regulation’ of
the insurance industry. Health Care We Can Believe In.

In the media (if you’ll pardon the expression), I have found only one report of
the ‘pork’ dispensed to the insurance industry (Im sure the insurance industry’s
significant media advertising expenditures accounts for the absence of
coverage). But, as the Washington Post reported Saturday:

“And all insurance companies would be required to spend at least 80 cents of
every dollar they collect in premiums on delivering care to their customers.”
The 80/20 ‘Compromise’ is by far the most blatant admission that Reid et al
have crafted yet another corporate bailout at the citizens’ expense. Now, get
this: 20 cents of every dollar - that’s 20 cents of every 100 cents - by law (at
least by the Senate ‘compromise’) can be retained by private sector insurers to
pay their bonuses, lard their bottom line, expand their ?investments, fight
appeals to the ‘independent panels’, contribute to ‘sympathetic candidates’,
etc.

The Senate bill as now written provides that everyone in ?America pay for
private sector health care, in short, wasting 20 cents of every health care
dollar, piddling it off to middlers, who deliver no health care whatsoever,
require mind numbing paper work, jerk you around with ‘co-pays’ and ?
‘contributions’, etc, but do not ever in any shape or form deliver health care
services to you.

This is what the Senate “Reform” has brought us.

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By stonemaster, December 23, 2009 at 5:30 am Link to this comment

Dean caved, Sanders caved, the progressives in the Senate have abandoned us.  It is time for a new political party.  It is time for real change.  By any means !!!!

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By Bubba, December 23, 2009 at 5:10 am Link to this comment

Bob: [Obama] “I didn’t campaign on the public option.” True, but ...

Actually, not true. 

http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2009/12/22/obama_public/index.html

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By montanawildhack, December 23, 2009 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

Dean’s full of it…  The only way for this bill

to have been successful is for it to have started out

with one simple mandate: Provide health

care for all Americans….  Then the job would

be to figure out how to make that a reality!!!

My predictions on this site have never been wrong.. 

Here’s another one for ya…. Nothing, repeat,

Nothing of value to the American people will come

out of this bill…  It is not an entitlement like

Medicare people…  That means they can cut it out

at any time because they need money for more WAR..

And the meat and potatoes of the bill don’t go

into effect until 2014…..  Jesus god in heaven

people do you know that in 2014 Palin could be

President and we Will be at war with Iran….

(Another prediction to come true)

What do you think will happen to the Pre-existing

Condition Claus then????? 

We are left with one simple question folks….

Are we as a country to continue fighting Perpetual

Wars for Greater Israel or stop that madness

and start taking care of the needs at home????

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By Inherit The Wind, December 23, 2009 at 4:35 am Link to this comment

Dr. Dean holds no elected office, and, as far as I know, is not running for any office.  Therefore, there is no reason he cannot speak his well-educated opinion freely.

Plus he’s probably right.

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By ardee, December 23, 2009 at 3:30 am Link to this comment

Per Dean’s visit to Rachel Maddow last evening he has apparently had a change of heart claiming last minute alterations to that Senate bill now make it palatable to him.

Smoke filled back room deal making anyone?

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