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Kucinich: ‘Heads They Win, Tails We Lose’ (Update: Transcript)

Posted on Mar 9, 2010
AP / Jason Reed, pool

President Barack Obama greets Rep. Dennis Kucinich as he leaves the chamber after his speech about health care reform before a joint session of Congress.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich tells us why he isn’t buckling under pressure to vote for the president’s health care reform bill: “Every plan that’s put forth by our government ends up benefiting the health insurance industry.”

This interview was recorded Tuesday, March 9.

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Peter Scheer: This is the Truthdig podcast. I’m Peter Scheer. Earlier today my brother Josh and I spoke with Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who explained why he opposes the president’s health care reform bill. He also told us about his own bill calling for a full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Here now is our interview.


Square, Site wide
P.S.: So Congressman, you had on Monday an interview with “Countdown” that got lots of headlines where you said that you would not vote for the health care reform bill. You didn’t vote for the first health care reform bill. Is that a firm “no,” is there something that they could put in the bill that would get you to vote “yes” for it?

Dennis Kucinich: I have had several meetings with the president on this bill. And I have indicated my concerns. No effort was made to address the concerns that I raised. I offered to come to the health care summit. The White House wasn’t interested. Even at this late date I have suggested that they resurrect a robust public option, and protect the legal right of states to set up their own single-payer system. They’re not interested. You know, I’m still open to the White House’s efforts to continue to make the bill one that can be supported. But I just don’t know if any further efforts on their part can be expected. And you have to keep in mind I’ve led the way on health care in two presidential campaigns advocating Medicare for all. With the help of a California delegation in 2000, and again in 2004 and 2008, I brought the issue of Medicare for all to the Democratic platform and ask them to take a position on it. When I supported in committee a public option that was a compromise. But that public option was stripped. When I attached an amendment in committee to protect the rights of states to set up their own single-payer, for a Medicare-for-all program, and to protect a legal attack on the insurance companies, that amendment was stripped. I’m still waiting to see if the White House has any interest in changing any of the provisions of the bill to make it worth supporting.

P.S.: It must be awfully frustrating that they are stonewalling you and yet they seem to be making gestures to the pro-life congressmen who are threatening not to support the bill.

D.K.: I can tell you that I think that our country has not properly dealt with the abortion issue. We can move very strongly to make abortions less necessary by having prenatal care, postnatal care, childcare, universal health care, and a living wage. That would help create a culture of life, and I think that would do more than anything else that could be done to create conditions that would help heal the divisions in this society over the abortion issue. But efforts to try to deal with it in just the ordinary give and take of the legislative process are always going to be difficult.

Josh Scheer: I am going to jump in real quick. The bill that they are bringing up, is that the insurance companies are going to get what they want and we, we as the government, are going to spend trillions of dollars, right?

D.K.: Well, 70 billion dollars a year, in terms of subsidies. And the problem is there’s no control of premiums. We’ve had five consecutive double-digit increases in premiums by the insurance industry. In the last five years. And there’s no end in sight to the increase in premiums. And why would they limit their rapaciousness in premiums when the government is going to be subsidizing health care?

P.S.: Well, isn’t the president or his aides, what have they said to you in these discussions?

D.K.: Well, they want my vote, I understand that. But they’re not really going to change the bill. When you force people to buy private insurance and you’ve got a situation where the government on one hand isn’t going to negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies, which means that pharmaceutical costs are going to be driven up, and we’re subsidizing the insurance companies, on the other hand, to the tune of 70 billion a year. This can only drive up the overall costs of health care and put Medicare in jeopardy. I think that the suggestion that “we don’t have the votes for what you’re advocating, Dennis,” which is what I’ve been told over and over, I haven’t’ seen any example where they really tried. I haven’t seen the fight, I haven’t seen the stand. I haven’t seen anyone really stake something on trying to cover everyone and to minimize the role of the insurance companies. At this point right now what we have is insurance care, more than health care. And just because someone’s insured doesn’t mean they’re going to get health care. Half the bankruptcies of the United States are connected to people who are insured. Why is that? Because just having insurance doesn’t solve all your problems. If we keep this thing locked in the framework of private for-profit health care, I don’t think we can ever get out. We intensify the hold that private insurers have on the country.

J.S.: Your amendment wasn’t also a straight-government program, right? It was allowing the states to have the option, in a way in competition to the insurance companies, whereas the Obama plan does mandate, could force us to get health care from a private insurer, right?

D.K.: The amendment that I had was to address [the] condition where currently insurance companies are challenging regional and state plans to set up health insurance programs using the Employee Retirement Income Security Act as a basis. What I wanted to do was to create a waiver so that any state that would apply to the right to have a single-payer plan would waive the “risk of pre-emption,” which is being used by insurance companies to attack the rights of states to set up single-payer plans. That amendment passed the committee; it was stripped after it passed the committee. As was the single-payer provisions of the bill. I’m sorry if I said single-payer, the public option provision was stripped out. I keep thinking about single-payer because the single-payer proposal that’s embodied in the bill I wrote with John Conyers, HR 676, isn’t a government takeover of hospitals, it’s the government paying the bills that all the health care assets in the country be converted to not-for-profit. Except for the financial structure, everything stays the same as far as the bill. The government doesn’t go into the business of owning real estate.

P.S.: We’ve seen throughout this debate huge majorities of the country favoring a public option and yet the president’s never really fought for it, even though he said he favored it. In fact, it’s the first thing to get dealt away. Why do you think that is?

D.K.: The insurance companies have enormous influence. Every time we have seen, whenever the House proposal came through, when the Senate proposal came through, the White House proposal came through. Each time health care stocks went up on Wall Street. And investment analysts recommended that people buy health care stocks. Because that’s the nature of business. On one hand you can look at that system and say “they’re in it to make money, what do you expect?” But on the other hand, if you think that health care is a privilege based on an ability to pay, you have every right to make that observation. If you think that health care is a fundamental right in democratic society, that’s an outrage that every plan that has been put forth by our government ends up benefiting the health insurance industry. It’s like heads they win, tails we lose. We have to do better than that. And that’s why in this debate I’ve tried to keep alive the hope for policies to be brought forward even at this late date that could create real competition. Such as a public option, even though I didn’t come into it favoring the public option because single-payer is much more extensive than public option. But at least you create some competition. Without the competition, we’ve got huge increases in rates.

J.S.: Do the Democrats want, I know you said this on MSNBC about building it by sand … Why can’t you pass this weakened health care bill and try to get something better in the future? Could you maybe go a little deeper on that? Is it better to not have anything?

D.K.: People which way? Here’s the thing. If we have 31 million people declared to have private insurance, what we would have done, effectively, is to privatize further our health insurance system. And this is a step in the direction of the insurance companies moving more and more into the Medicare program itself. A few years ago we had to fight back an effort to privatize Social Security and I see this as opening, permitting the insurance companies to put themselves within the circumference on an attack on Medicare itself. With the government providing the subsidies and guarantees of profits. There are people who are framing this as a fight, in moral terms, as a fight for principle. And what’s the principle? The principle of private, for-profit insurance which gouges people. And which makes money by not providing health care. To me, this isn’t about left or right, this isn’t even about Democrats or Republicans; it’s about up and down. And there’s another game going on over our heads. Insurance companies are playing to win whether the insurance bill passes or not. You have to look at the stock market quotes on health insurance companies. I have been ready to compromise by supporting the public option. And once that was stripped, it was a confirmation of the power of the insurance companies in order to prevent any kind of competition. And without competition what you have is a rigged game. They’re in a position to collude, there’s no indication that the antitrust exemption, which the insurance companies lost in a vote in the House two weeks ago, is going to pass the Senate. There’s no hope of being able to control insurance companies premiums with the government having to subsidize the rates. I’m just saying we need health care, not insurance care. And if the national government can’t step up to the challenge, then the states are going to move forward. That’s why it’s important to protect the rights of states to create single-payer systems without the private insurance companies using ERISA to block single-payer. Even at this late date I’m still listening very carefully to what’s being said, but unless there is a dramatic change being brought forward in the next week, I don’t see how this bill deserves my support.

P.S.: You’re at the center of another great moral issue of our time, which is the war in Afghanistan. You have a bill calling for a return of all troops from Afghanistan within 30 days or a year, as I understand it?

D.K.: Right.

P.S.: And is that coming up for a vote soon?

D.K.: We’ll have a vote on it tomorrow. It’s the first time that we would have had a vote and debate on Afghanistan since the war began with the attack on the al-Qaida training camps after 9/11. We, as a Congress, have a responsibility to the American people and to the troops to debate this war, and an article that was published in The Washington Post last month revealed that 1,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan, and 30 percent of them had been veterans in the war in Iraq. So there’s an impact on our troops that’s not being discussed, there’s an impact on innocent civilians which has escaped discussion in the Congress. There’s an impact on the federal budget. Hundreds of billions of dollars being spent for a war where there is no end in sight, and where every historical analysis indicates Afghanistan is not a country to be conquered. We are in a war supporting a state that has been charitably described as a narco-state and uncharitably described as a kleptocracy. You have the [Hamid] Karzai government engaging in crony capitalism using money presumed to be from the U.S. to help set up their friends in business through a favored bank, and with Karzai’s friends and family building villas in Dubai. So of course this is an issue which demands a debate. And my bill would favor a timeline for withdrawal, it invokes the War Powers Resolution, and it is intended to secure Congress’ constitutional responsibilities within Article 1, Section 8, to decide whether America goes to war or stays to war.

J.S.: And you’re going to get three hours’ debate tomorrow.

D.K.: There will be three hours of debate on the floor of the House.

J.S.: So every member can come voice their concerns.

D.K.: And members who want to take a position on this will be able to. And it’s important that members of Congress, whatever their position, be heard from. We cannot continue to drift into a war that keeps moving far towards the horizon that is deepening with a surge that is costing more, that has yet to produce any results that would suggest those who were advocating the war have been able to rescue the legitimacy of their position.

P.S.: Is it possible that your bill will be used as a way for members of the House to register their protest against the war but also support the war financially?

D.K.: Well, this has been a consistent problem in the Congress of the United States. The course has held that ultimately Congress’ power of the purse can end the war. But this bill certainly could end this war if people decide to vote for it. We’ve just taken an important step in the direction of getting out of Afghanistan. But what keeps the troops in Afghanistan is the funding. So Congress will have a second chance to vote against a supplemental. This is why I vote against the supplemental. Congress fuels the war with money.

P.S.: You know throughout the health care debate and the debate about the war, it seems that the House is a lot more responsible to the will of the public. How do we get rid of the Senate?


D.K.: The only way you can get rid of the Senate is not to run for it.

P.S.: Josh, you want to follow that up?

J.S.: I think the design of the system, right, is the balance of representatives of the people’s body, it’s a long six-year term, so a little old. ...

P.S.: More responsive to the will of insurance companies.

D.K.: We cannot sustain this health care system, it’s financially unsustainable, and it’s morally unsustainable. The reason why there’s 47 million Americans out of health insurance is that people can’t afford it. So the government is going to subsidize private insurance to enable people to be able to have health care. Why don’t we just cut out the middleman? It’s a novel idea. Cut the insurance companies out of the business. Use the money for people.

P.S.: At some point does this feeding frenzy on the government, with the bailout and the giveaway to insurance companies, and the military-industrial complex, at some point doesn’t it have to come crashing down?

D.K.: Well, it has, the subprime meltdown, the bailouts to Wall Street, the tax breaks that have gone to the top 1 percent, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the expanding military budget, is all about the acceleration of the wealth of this country upwards into fewer and fewer hands. Not only 15 million people unemployed, 12 million people underemployed, 8-10 million people in danger of losing their homes. One-quarter to one-third people underwater in their mortgages. Commercial real estate collapsing. Regional small banks in trouble. We have a financial system that is falling apart when Wall Street is giving out multimillion-dollar bonuses totaling billions of dollars. And this divide between Main Street and Wall Street keeps growing. And this health care plan is an intensification of the divisions; we have to really decide if there is such a thing as government of the people—because right now Wall Street is calling the shots. The Fed is calling the shots on behalf of Wall Street. The Fed is putting money and banks have taken it and parked it and not loaned it to businesses. The government loses its ability to be able to chart a course that would protect the interest of the public. Our monetary policy is wrong. Our trade policy is wrong. We should have a full-employment economy. We don’t. We should have health care for all. We don’t. We should have a right to own a home in this country, there’s no such thing. People should have a decent education. Education has been shoved aside. All of these fundamental assumptions about what it means to have a chance to take part of the American dream are just being trashed—with war and with the financial excess of the speculator class on Wall Street. It’s a very trying time for our nation and I think that America can recover from all of this, but we can’t do it by asking for interest groups to be involved in the allocation of health care, of jobs, of credit, of housing. There has to be a fundamental defining role for the government to play as an arbiter, as an advocate, as a regulator, and as a force for public good.

P.S.: Well, Congressman, thank you so much for your time and good work.

D.K.: I appreciate the chance to talk with you. Good day, Josh.

P.S.: Bye, Dennis.

D.K.: Bye now.


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By ofersince72, August 11, 2010 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

Well Garth,  I believe that is pretty much the way
it works..

  we’re screwed and there ain’t NO DOUBT ABOUT IT ! ! ! !

Report this

By garth, August 11, 2010 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

I am getting a feeling that the next victim of the Obama masquerade is organized labor, namely, teachers unions.

Hillary’s Assistant Secretary of State declared the US supported organized labor here and abroad.

Aha! I said to myself, that’s how they do it. 

1. Come out in support of some Liberal/Progressive cause, Cause A.

2. Declare that the history of US has always been for that particular democratic/Liberal/Progressive cause.

3. When a bill comes up in Congress or some hot- button issue hits the news cycle, Obama is to run for cover and hide under his desk until he gets word from his Wall Street and Corporate supporters.

4. Give all the meaningfull gains away in negotiations with the Republicans.

In the end, the Republicans take a minor political hit, Obama acts as though he is a fighter, ‘bloodied but unbowed’ and he skates.

The union people get the shaft.

BTW How’s the selection for the new Consumer Protection agency going?  Still trying to avoid the obvious and pick someone else with a name who is also vertical and mobile.

I see Sheila Baird refused the appointment.

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By ofersince72, August 10, 2010 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

As Bobby Gibbs little rant proves….

The Administration is getting frustrated..

I hope so.

They are wondering why they are loosing supporters!!!!

Go Figure…...Shows what dumbasses they are for even
  wondering why.

Report this

By garth, March 18, 2010 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

I can’t blame Kucinich for changing his mind.  I think: What would I do if I were talking to the Man-Child on Air Force One when he suddenly excuses himself to go the Men’s room and Rahm Emanuel accompanied by three Israeli commandos enters the cabin and grabs me around the throat and threatens to throw me out of the plane if I don’t change my vote?  Would I give him a speeches?  Could I dazzle him with my fancy footwork?  I don’t think so.
Or they said, “Look at Eric Massa, “The Tickler”  If we can get him elected in a Republian district, think what we could do to your election plans. 
But if you do our will, we can do great things for you.  To paraphrase Dick Gregory, “Stay in Congress and get our laws passed.  If they can penicillen out of rotten cheese, we can make something out you.”

Report this

By general jinjur, March 15, 2010 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

By John Ellis, March 10 at 7:51 pm #

General Jinjur
      “he came across as comical with all his
      hopping up and down and gesticulations.”

Bow in reverence, the voice of our upper 51% voting majority has spoken.
So concentrate we must only on who looks best in public, for we are to be
kept emotionally addicted to the handsome good looks and manly bearing
of the hand picked paid actors who were hired to fool us the public.

Yeah, image IS important to *most* people no matter how irritating it may be to acknowledge that fact.  I’d have voted for Kucinich if he’d stayed in the race, but ended up supporting Nader.

Report this

By garth, March 15, 2010 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

Healthcare Shmelthcare the passage of this vote is of no real import.  The biil won’t be activated til 1014.  The system’s gonna fail beforehand.
When you think about system failure, you have to take a lot more into account. 
This isn’t like the resignation of some bozos in Congress who want to take their profits—their campaign war chests—and go back home.  This is the complete falure of a significant part of the U.S. Economy—the health insurance, the phrma guys.

I agree with Kucinich. I would’ve voted for him in the MA Primary in 2008 if he stuck around long enough.  But the big money challenged him in his district, so he high-tailed back to Cuyahoga County. 
Maybe, it’s best after all that he did and remained a liberal voice in what has devolved into the only representative body of the U.S voters.—We vote them into office.  They conduct our business while we toil at other jobs.  Jobs where we have to catch the early bus.

Read Kucinich’s dealings with the powers of Cleveland a few years ago.  He posted an article on Truthdig.  It’s an eye opener.  The power elite of Cleveland that at first opposed him and then tried to destroy him are gone.  All gone. 
But at this time, Kucinich alone is not enough, and we are not Cleveland.
We are in a miasma. 

Nemesis, as Chalmers Johnson predicts, we are in a miasma, if that is the correct usage.
Chomsky, points out in a talk with Amy Goodman, that the military directs our economy.  We pay Unverstities to do the research and the the patents are rewarded to to private companies.  I know, I know, as a red-blooded American you might ask yourself, “How do I get in on this deal?”

And that is the miasma.

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By JessAD, March 15, 2010 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

I find Obama’s presidency thus far to be a disappointment—and while I understand that he came into office with the best of intentions under completely terrible circumstances, we need someone like Kucinich in office—someone who will do what’s best for all Americans without worrying about harmony among the two parties. 

Jess, pro-universal health care despite working for

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By ofersince72, March 13, 2010 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment

They don’t care about our vote they got the money and
control of the primaries.

Also, Dennis had his day in “court”


Half of the 65 would have voted the other way if the vote
would have been close.

Report this

By Laurie Corzett, March 13, 2010 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If we really want immediate relief, and not an
ongoing bipartisan debacle on national healthcare
insurance coverage, why not legislate by
reconciliation a simple Medicare buy-in for all
option, sliding scale based on income, continue
payroll tax but without a cut-off and at a lower rate
to keep the buy-in cost low; those without means for
any buy-in get government subsidy. Private insurers
who want to continue in that business can give better
service/coverage beyond Medicare or whatever they
think the customers will buy from them with whatever
conditions they choose.

Since the Medicare infrastructure is already in
place, it could more quickly and easily work than a
whole new scheme. It could be a job booster by
putting more money into low income pockets (people
most likely to spend) and giving small business a
break from the drag of providing healthcare. Medicare
would have even more volume for cost-cutting clout
and a greater income stream to stay solvent.

Still, we must continue to work on the underlying
problem of high medical cost: seriously look at best
practices both medically and fiscally and better
promote what works, including treatments that are
considered nontraditional in this culture; expand
access to medical education (on all levels, not just
MDs); expand efforts to educate the public generally
on positive health practices and self-treatment

Let’s let our Congressional Representatives know now
and enthusiastically: We demand a strong public
option; and we vote!

Report this

By ofersince72, March 11, 2010 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

The primary season will start for the 2012 elections
even before the 2010 congressional elections.  At that
point, most of the president’s time will be spent
campaigning for re-election.  It has been pointed out that
his re-make has already started.  I am sorry Kucinach
hasn’t made federal primary reform one of his fights.
After the last primary fiasco, Senator Bill Nelson co-
sponsered a bill that would address this money making and
wasting process.  It would have made three different
dates for all of the states to cast their ballots. I don’t
recall whether it included using the popular vote rather
than the way outdated delegate process, that would be
a big improvement to what we like to call a democracy.
Our presidential primaries stink, cost too much money
and last way tooooo long.  That bill was heard of on just
one occasion,  I believe right after the DNC took Florida’s delegates away, there was some kind of back
door compromise that shelved this bill.
Speaking of make over,  I won’t watch this years acedemy
award movie on the Iraq war…There will of course be more
They will all be designed to do a make over of our invasion, destruction, genocide, and occupation of Iraq.
I believe Mr. Sheer addressed this well.  They are designed to ease our conscience and to accept as everyday
life to permanent occupation which was their intent from
the beginning as witnessed by the permanent bases that
have been constructed and still are under construction
and the gross costly embassy built right in the middle of

Report this

By john from ojai, March 11, 2010 at 11:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When Kucinich was running for reelection to Congress, I noticed a small rancorous group in his district kept writing nasty letters to the local paper. “LJL” would fit in very nicely with that group. Mr. Kucinich keeps getting reelected because the people with heart, wisdom and vision know that he has the integrity and courage to fight for what is right. Passing bills that hurt citizens is not a gauge for success. Initiating and fighting for bills that will help citizens is a gauge for success. Name calling doesn’t prove arguments and usually is a projection of the antagonist’s shortcomings onto someone else.

Report this

By garth, March 11, 2010 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

Consider Evan Thomas’s piece which is on the cover of this week’s News Week, “We the Problem”.  He puts forth the argument that Congress is all right: we’re all wrong. 
We need to give up so that others may live.  We need to starve, live on the street, suffer from uncovered diseases so that Himself and the Ruling Class can get ahold of this economy and set aright the ship of state.  In short, trust them, they’ll do right by your grandchildren.

Things, so far, are going swimmingly for these sexual perverts, these diddlers, these greed-heads, and half-baked old white men who intrude into our everyday lives and who are driven by corporate wealth, family wealth, and for some of these poor new comers, by newfound campaign wealth. Yes, they can keep whatever is in their campaign coffers should they choose not to run again.

Look out for yourself. 

It’s Spring but the Winter is coming.  If the Evan Thomases in this country get to maintain the forum, (Evan Thomas, that godammn trust fund baby, that rat bastard who has lived of the fat of his inheritance), and if they do get their way, the Obama-Geithner-Summers-Sachs austerity program will be adhered to, and it will begin when that silly man, Alan Simpson of the Commission issues the report.  Simpson is by the way a layabout from WY who stood as bulwark for the Cheney idea old Government.
This supposed report that was put into motion by Obama in his State of Union Adress after the comission was rejected by a vote in the Senate, and, by the way, has no legal standing. 
But legality and Constitutionality do not matter anymore.

This nation is now a Free Floating Anxiety.

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By Stencil, March 11, 2010 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kucinich is one of the few voices in US politics that give me hope for a better tomorrow. Now if only we could get a few hundred more of him in the house.

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By mlb, March 11, 2010 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

The only reason the US doesn’t have a single payer health care system like every other advanced nation in the world, the only reason we have to suffer this excruciating farce of a debate, and health care “reform” legislation designed to help the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries to screw us even worse, is that capitalism has been allowed to destroy democracy in our country.  We’ll never get anywhere on any of the big issues until we start addressing that problem.

Obama says business has been the engine of growth in the US.  Sure, it can be, but his idiocy is believing that therefore it follows that corporate America should be given whatever it wants.  (The fact that he publicly pretends to be doing the opposite only makes things worse.) Corporations lobby for whatever they believe will help their profits, not for the good of the country.  Those two goals are frequently in conflict.  When money is allowed to buy political power, the government ends up serving the wealthy few at the expense of everyone else.

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By garth, March 11, 2010 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

I support Kucinich’s position. 

The fact remains that we cannot continue paying these extortionary rates for a product that does not work. 
You pay premiums week after week, month after month, year after year, and when it comes your time, the health insurance companies send your claim to a department whose sole purpose is to get them out from under their contracted commitment. They ain’t gonna pay.

My brother ran up against it with Charlie Baker, the CEO of Harvard-Pilgrim Insurance and the current Republican candidate or Governor of MA.

My brother was bitten by a rabid dog. My brother’s Dr. was on vacation, so an associate gave him some rabies shots to the tune of $600. 

Charlie Baker said that since it was not the physician they recognized, my brother would have to foot the bill.  He replied, “What the hell am I paying all these premiums for then?”

I hope Dennis, becomes Dennis the Menace.  Kill this bill.  We cannot go on with the current state of affairs. 
We can, however, go back and refute Obama’s claim about Single Payer: namely, that it is so new that the Amercian people are not ready for it. I say, “Well, duh, has he heard of Medicare?” 

Whatta dummy.

Aswiper, (note the correct use of comma in address. You’ve got a lot to learn.) minutae might fill the cracks but it doesn’t mend the wall.  There is something lacking in your world view.


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By LJL, March 11, 2010 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

John Ellis, aren’t you even a little bit ashamed of alibiing Kucinich’s failure as a legislator by saying he’s just so damn good and moral that the corrupt institution won’t let have his way? This is like the silly excuses pimply faced boys give for flunking school and broken old codgers use for a life time of under-employment.  What I am beating around the bush trying to say, John Ellis, is that I really admire people who do something, even a little something, and I definitely do not like people who talk about doing everything but never manage to do anything.  It takes no brains and no talent to talk a bunch of moralizing BS.  Over half the old folks in nursing homes do it real well, all day long without the need of a congressional salary.  Dennis Kucinich is as worthless as the proverbials on bacon.

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By ofersince72, March 11, 2010 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

in the 111 congress with democrat control

in the House # of speaking appearances
9 republicans in top ten…. 1 democrat

in the Senate # of speaking appearances
7 republicans in top ten   3 democrats

We see who really is in the majority !!!!!

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By NYCartist, March 11, 2010 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

Thanks so much for the transcript.  It allows those of us who like reading online to read and those who listened to more carefully review the material.

I was interested in what Kucinich (who I supported and voted for in primaries, including 2008- he dropped out the day after I mailed my absentee ballot for homebound disabled) did not say about supporting abortion rights.  I do recall that he came to prochoice but wasn’t always prochoice.  I started supporting him when he became prochoice.

Again, thanks for the transcript.  Worth waiting for the update.

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By ofersince72, March 11, 2010 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

I forgot to thank the Sheer Bros. for the interview
thank you…

Dennis gets very little press coverage for obvious reasons
I hope he dosen’t run for pres. again.
We need his voice where it is…It only makes him look
a hypocrit when has to turn around and support the media
darling of the Democrat Party.

Let an independent carry his message…
I doubt many will vote Dem anyway

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By prgill, March 11, 2010 at 3:56 am Link to this comment

To PS + JS, the Sheer Bros…

Thanks for this. Dennis Kucinich is very convincing and your interview asks some tough questions. It is disheartening to think that this might “go down” without a fight.

Where’s our champion when you need him (her?)?

Obama may be the president of all Americans but does that mean he should cave-in when it comes to making corporations accountable to the society that allows them to function, that provides the infrastructure that makes them productive?

Bah humbug!

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By ofersince72, March 11, 2010 at 12:42 am Link to this comment

LTL yes it is a shame… is a disgrace..

It is a disgrace to the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
who all have their hands out to WALL STREET.!!!!

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By LJL, March 10, 2010 at 11:51 pm Link to this comment

Kucinich is sort of a putz.  During 13 years in the House he’s managed to sponsor only three bills that became laws:  1) to get a USIA video screened at a museum, 2) grant honorary US citizenship for some guy who died 200 years ago, and 3) change the name of a post office in Cleveland.  Looks like this guy’s got wwhat it takes to make over turning the insurance industry and setting the medical establishment on the road to socialized medicine a piece of cake.  Face it he talks a real good game, but in the end that’s all Dennis can manage to do, talk.

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By Liberal Warrior, March 10, 2010 at 11:45 pm Link to this comment

Clearly Dennis and Bernie Sanders are the moral centers and voice on this issue in their respective legs of government.

While I had my doubts about Obama, I had hoped he would be something other the what I suspected and stated that he is.  My first concerns have proved only to valid. 

He created expectations in the electorate and has failed to fight for and deliver on those expectations.

Obama has built his own road out of town and I don’t see how he will reverse that unless he acts as a true representative of the people ..and quickly.

We need to completely revamp the political process in America and do away with partisan political situations entirely. And that means that Democrats and Republicans ave to go.  They no longer represent their ideals or us.

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By liecatcher, March 10, 2010 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


There are many ways to tell if a person is

E.g., when you know more than the liar.

Having a good profile of the individual.

Knowing the persons crime family affiliation.

Comparing promises with deeds.

Sometimes the lie is as obvious as a steaming cow pie

fresh snow with the animal standing there with tail
still up.

When Markos Moulitsas vented his rant: “And I’m going
to hold people, like Dennis Kucinich,
responsible for the 40,000 Americans that die each
year from a lack of health care…”,

the truth is that over one million people die each
year with so-called health care as
a result of iatrogenic mistakes by doctors

in & out of hospitals. Dennis Kucinich knows that
Bush3 is a

and that not settling for the proposed trash will
actually save over a million lives.

“Medical system is leading cause of death and injury
in US”

by Gary Null PhD, Caroly Dean MD ND, Martin Feldman
MD, Debora Rasio MD and Dorothy Smith PhD

Google this article for details.

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By LJL, March 10, 2010 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment

Kucinich is a world class light weight.  He talks, talks, talks and does nothing, nothing nothing.  In his thirteen years a Representative he has sponsored 97 bills (good) and 93 never made it out of committee (oops,) but three were passed into law (not really too good).  Unfortunately the laws Mr Conscience of the Congress got passed were, 1) getting a USIA video shown at a museum, 2) got retro-active honorary American citizenship for some guy who’d been dead for 200 years, and 3) renamed a Post Office building in Cleveland.  Just the guy you want to get all your progressive stuff done like abolishing the insurance industry and socializing the rest of the American health care establishment. I’m sure a guy with the legislative expertise of Mr Kucinich could do that in a blink of the eye. . . NOT.  My god,silly Sarah Palin got a hell of lot more done during her truncated Alaska career than Dennis has in Washington.  But then she hustled earmarks like a beaver.

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By general jinjur, March 10, 2010 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

C Span covered Dennis Kucinich’s presidential campaign speech (once, as I recall because I kept looking to see if it would be repeated as were the campaign utterings of the other candidates and couldn’t find any re-airings) and he as much as I admire him he came across as comical with all his hopping up and down and gesticulations.  Too bad that image really is so important!  Also, I was less than impressed that after he withdrew from the race he urged people to vote for Obama which gave a lot of us the impression that the two of them saw things much the same way.

Btw, if Kucinich votes ‘no’ on the Health Insurance bill it’s a lot more honest than Obama’s ‘present’ votes of the past which, according to reports, were based on ‘principle’ but actually gave him political cover.

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By john from ojai, March 10, 2010 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s so refreshing and empowering to see a politician speak from the heart with moral conviction. Most of our politicians and the Kucinich critics on this sight would benefit from being in touch with their heart. Finally,it’s important to notice what Obama does, not what he says.Even though I love his speeches and voted for him, his actions have been wrong on most major issues. Drone killing of civilians, escalation of the war in Afghanistan, stocking his administration with Wall St. bankers, not allowing debate on single payer and public option health care, kowtowing to an Israeli lobby that perpetuates a war crime blockade on innocent Gaza children are all wrong. Like most politicians, he’s in the pockets of lobbyists. Kucinich is a rare man of integrity that could be a savior of this country if the people could evolve enough to appreciate him.

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Not One More!'s avatar

By Not One More!, March 10, 2010 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

People who care about Health Care should not support the Insurance Company Care promoted by Obama and the majority of congress.

And while there are some things that I admire about Kucinich, he serves the democratic party more than he serves the principles of peace and justice.

And clearly the democratic party (and republican party) do not serve the interests of peace, justice, compassion, especially when it interferes with the obscene pursuit of corporate profits.

Hell, we killed more people in Iraq in the last 10 years than Saddam would have.

You have to care about health before you can have real health care.

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By Mestizo Warrior, March 10, 2010 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

Of all the Democratic congressmen, Kucinich is the only one that I have respect for! He states what others are afraid to say; “the healthcare corporations are the true culprits of our disastrous and inferior healthcare system!”

Kucinich is also right on with his fierce opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq! Is it any wonder that the Republicans along with their allies in the Democratic Party want him defeated?

The people of the United States deserve better and Dennis Kucinich is the only one with BALLS enough to fight for it!

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By gerard, March 10, 2010 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

Sorry, no sound.  Bult then it’s better that way—more common sense, less fury?

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By NYCartist, March 10, 2010 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

I’m surprised that it’s not close captioned video from a tv show.  Very sad.  Transcript please, if possible.

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By ofersince72, March 10, 2010 at 11:02 am Link to this comment


well said John Ellis

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By garth, March 10, 2010 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

A guest on the Bill Moyers Show last Friday night, a Doctor and a Professor at Harvard said that this health care bill should fail.  For those who claim that it won’t come up again, she replied that it has to.  This current situation cannot go on, and the path that Obama is going down will lead also to disaster. 
Emily Rooney interviewed “The Jonathan Bush, the animated head of a health scheme in MA and he could not answer her question directly.  The question was about a worker in MA who is earning $25,000 a year and his insurance premiums just went up to $2000 a month.  The question was how is he going to pay for it?  Jonathan, mi’ boy, with his gesticulations could not answer the question.  My question was, “Where did they get this Bozo?”

Evan Thomas of Newsweek says that “We the People” are the problem.  We should gladly give up Social Security, Medicare, and any other good that the US Government provides. He’s no doublt thinking that we should give up safe drinking water, trust that the food you eat won’t kill you, roads and highways that are safe to drive on, automobiles that can be recalled, and now, the American School syrtem.  If he succeeds in this endeavor with Arne Duncan, his Sec of Education, the country you grew up in (If you are over 30) will not be the country your children will grow up in.
Back to Evan, that knock-kneed, dink-toed trust fund baby lived off the fat of Cambridge Rent Control program for years, living in a read brick apartment building overlooking the Cambridge Common for about $300 a month.  He didn’t stumble upon it either.  The apartment was passed on to him. 

But didn’t he squeal like a pig when Rent Control was being debated in the Cambridge City council.  It was rescinded.  Poor Evan, no more comfortable apartment, saving his family trust what must’ve seemed like to them a boatload.
Evan, you are, as Truman Capote said about Jack Kerouac, a typist.

It’s sort of what he’s accusing the rest of us of doing now.  That is the rest of us. the people.  Congress and the puppeteers are doing fine.

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By ElkoJohn, March 10, 2010 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

If Obama is so brave and doesn’t care about the politics,
then why didn’t he come out of the gate for single payer
way back when.
Because he cut deals with the big corporations,
to extend insurance to some of the uninsured
using government subsidies.
To hell with regulating the insurance companies.
Let them service the wealthy.
Give the rest of us the option to buy into Medicare.
Case closed.
Thank you Dennis Kucinich.

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ron_woodward's avatar

By ron_woodward, March 10, 2010 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

Any reform short of single payer and the nationalization of health insurance companies delays our recovery. If we allow SCOTUS to expand campaign contributions, the special interests will end any chance of reform or of economic recovery.
Americans failed to notice the fall of the Republic [1950] or the demise of the Bill of Rights [2001]. How much liberty must we lose before we become aware of the loss? Pundits discussing these matters remind of the rats arguing the best ways to desert the sinking ship.

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By Maria, March 10, 2010 at 6:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kucinich, who is a vegan, should be able to understand this argument from a fellow vegan and animal rights advocate:
Better cages or no cages (metaphorically and literally)?
Although, in principle, nothing short of abolition of cages for animals will do, the animals currently in cages will vote for better cages now than no cages in a future animal utopia.
Taking the moral high ground is hypocritical when somebody else is already in the cage and waiting.

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By FiftyGigs, March 10, 2010 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

1) Kucinich can’t see the forest for the trees.

2) Liberals who whine about President Obama don’t deserve him.

Obama is not only a master organizer—something liberals (ne progressives) have traditionally been terrible at (I give you Dennis Kucinich)—but he also works within the bounds of what America is all about and what it means to be the Chief Executive (and not monarch).

Progressives sound like they want a leftist Bush.

Count me out.

If you support Kucinich, fine. Do something. (Something besides merely under-cutting Obama.) You complain because Reid can’t get the necessary votes in the Senate, fine. There’s nothing stopping Kucinich from doing it, except his zeal to play the victim.

If you “demand” the public option, get the votes.

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By the worm, March 10, 2010 at 5:32 am Link to this comment

If only our President was a man of principles….

Here’s what the people wanted when Obama started:

“A mere seven months ago (that would be around June 2009), The New York ?
Times/CBS poll found that 72% of Americans ‘supported a government-?
administered insurance plan—something like Medicare for those under 65—?
that would compete for customers with private insurers.’”

Here’s where Obama has put us:

1.  Rejected single payer; ?
2.  Stiff-armed the government option;
?3.  Mandated individuals and families pay premiums to private sector insurers; ?
4.  Assured billions in tax payer subsidies for private sector insurers; ?
5.  Stipulated actual health care service at 80 cents of every dollar, while ?
insurers can spend 20 cents of every premium dollar on lobbying,
‘sympathetic’ ?candidates, CEO bonuses, ‘administration’, fighting claims for
treatment and, ?now we can add, participating on the new Federal ‘rate review’

The substance of the President’s proposal is the current costly, inefficient and ?
ineffective insurance system on Federal steroids.

The process, which the President invited on himself, is resulting in little more
than the public pillorying of the ?ineffectual President since Jimmy Carter.

Obama looks up to Reagan in part because he inspired with principle and
vision, neither of which Obama has exhibited. A cheap, but shiny, pol, who
fashions his back sliding as ‘pragmatism’. What a lie, what self-deception.

If Obama wanted to cast himself as a leader, health care was surely his last
chance, and he blew it with a plan to keep the current system in place, while
supplementing it with taxpayers’ money in the form of mandated premium
payments and Federal ‘subsidies’. 

Hopefully, this bastardized mess will fail and we can get on with trying to elect
a President who can inspire with vision and principle (though they differ
radically from Reagan’s) and who is a Democrat in the American tradition of

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By pundaint, March 10, 2010 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

It’s tough to argue against Mr Kucinich.  He must be silenced, mocked, or
the subject needs to be changed, otherwise he will prevail.  The debate
sponsors knew that, the MSM knows that, Obama wouldn’t let him sit in
on his conspiracy sessions either.  We deserve Obama and Baucus.  Thank
goodness Cleveland has better sense.  If only the rest of us would
demand better leaders.

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By Peters Ship, March 10, 2010 at 12:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


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By mdgr, March 9, 2010 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment

I always appreciate a man of conscience, Dennis. What I’ve never understood is how, unlike Bernie Sanders, you continue to thump your chest even while reiterating the wish to become (be still my heating heart) “the conscience of the Democratic Party.”

Now, I have always appreciated your heroism but isn’t it long past time to give up the illusions of childhood? I mean, do you really not know that this is not a party of hypocrites, enablers and high paid pimps of lobbyists of every kind. 

So please stop with the grandstanding and do what’s right, even though it’s tough. Renounce the party openly and stop taking its blood money. Call yourself an Independent and begin fighting the two party shell game for real.

News flash, Dennis, the quotation below defines the name of the Democratic Party’s own leader, their unscrupulous but very charismatic Oreo-in-Chief. No need for further editorial. Forget the original context or Obama’s trance-inducing rhetoric.

Really, doesn’t it pretty much encapsulate the total ethos of that despicable political party with which you even now continue to be so earnestly affiliated?

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

(Obama, from “The Audacity of Hope.”)

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By ofersince72, March 9, 2010 at 10:54 pm Link to this comment

Where were all you Obama and Clinton supporters

when Kucinach was out there taking them on in
the campaign,,,,,the debates weren’t even close,
he smearded them every time…

yet all you Obama and Clinton supporters
let the major media control you and make you believe
he was unelectable.
Just like you all are now….You bad mouth
major media and go lock and step with it…..

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By ofersince72, March 9, 2010 at 10:51 pm Link to this comment

There you go .......

This plays out funny to me…sorry
been following these dems long time
love to watch them shoot their foot

Kucinach does stay consistant…

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