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The Big Lie About ‘Reconciliation’

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Posted on Mar 3, 2010
White House / Pete Souza

President Barack Obama meets with bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate, including from left, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Republican Leader John A. Boehner, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

WASHINGTON—For those who feared that Barack Obama did not have any Lyndon Johnson in him, the president’s determination to press ahead and get health care reform done in the face of Republican intransigence came as something of a relief.

Obama’s critics have regularly accused him of not being as tough or wily or forceful as LBJ was in pushing through civil rights and the social programs of his Great Society. Obama seemed willing to let Congress go its own way and was so anxious to look bipartisan that he wouldn’t even take his own side in arguments with Republicans.

Those days are over. On Wednesday, the president made clear what he wants in a health care bill, and he urged Congress to pass it by the most expeditious means available.

He was also clear on what bipartisanship should mean—and what it can’t mean. Democrats, who happen to be in the majority, have already added Republican ideas to their proposals. Obama said he was open to four more that came up during the health care summit. What he’s unwilling to do, and rightly, is to give the minority veto power over a bill that has deliberately and painfully worked its way through the regular legislative process.

Republicans, however, don’t want to talk much about the substance of health care. They want to discuss process, turn “reconciliation” into a four-letter word, and maintain that Democrats are just “ramming through” a health bill.


Square, Site wide
It is all, I am sorry to say, one big lie—or, if you’re sensitive, an astonishing exercise in hypocrisy.

All of the Republican claims were helpfully gathered in one place by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in an Op-Ed in Tuesday’s Washington Post. Right off, the piece was wrong on a core fact. Hatch accused the Democrats of trying to, yes, “ram through the Senate a multitrillion-dollar health-care bill.”

No. The health care bill passed the Senate last December with 60 votes under the normal process. The only thing that would pass under a simple majority vote would be a series of amendments that fit comfortably under the “reconciliation” rules established to deal with money issues. Near the very end of his article, Hatch concedes that reconciliation would be used for “only parts” of the bill. But then why didn’t he say that in the first place?

Hatch grandly cites “America’s Founders” as wanting the Senate to be about “deliberation.” But the Founders said nothing in the Constitution about the filibuster, let alone “reconciliation.” Judging from what they put in the actual document, the Founders would be appalled at the idea that every major bill should need the votes of three-fifths of the Senate to pass.

Hatch quotes Sens. Robert Byrd and Kent Conrad, both Democrats, as opposing the use of reconciliation on health care. What he doesn’t say is that Byrd’s comment from a year ago was about passing the entire bill under reconciliation, which no one is proposing to do. As for Conrad, he made clear to The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein this week that it’s perfectly appropriate to use reconciliation “to improve or perfect the package,” which is exactly what Obama is suggesting.

Hatch said that reconciliation should not be used for “substantive legislation” unless the legislation has “significant bipartisan support.” But surely the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, which were passed under reconciliation and increased the deficit by $1.7 trillion during his presidency, were “substantive legislation.” The 2003 dividends tax cut could muster only 50 votes. Vice President Dick Cheney had to break the tie. Talk about “ramming through.”

The underlying “principle” here seems to be that it’s fine to pass tax cuts for the wealthy on narrow votes but an outrage to use reconciliation to help middle-income and poor people get health insurance.

I’m disappointed in Hatch, co-sponsor of two of my favorite bills in recent years. One created the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. The other, signed last year by Obama, broadly expanded service opportunities. Hatch worked on both with his dear friend, the late Edward M. Kennedy, after whom the service bill was named.

It was Kennedy, you’ll recall, who insisted that health care was “a fundamental right and not a privilege.” That’s why it’s not just legitimate to use reconciliation to complete the work on health reform. It would be immoral to do otherwise and thereby let a phony argument about process get in the way of health coverage for 30 million Americans.

E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)

© 2010, Washington Post Writers Group

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By Marshall, March 9, 2010 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

By AmEx, March 9 at 10:11 am #

AmEx -publicly available information tells a far more accurate story than our
personal anecdotal experiences.  Just because I’m happy with my healthcare
here in the US doesn’t mean everyone else is.  So I would rely on instead on
studies that rate overall satisfaction based on research since my experience
alone isn’t a valid statistical sample.

To your point about patient experience; Canada and the US are exactly equal in
patient satisfaction with healthcare, though remember that both have private
delivery (i.e. the “healthcare experience” is comprised of 1) Coverage, 2)

Canada has also been trending overall towards further privatization of its
system, not the other way around.  Prescription drugs, for example, often
aren’t publicly covered and are part of the reason that 65% of Canadians have
additional private coverage.  And the delivery side of Canada’s system is
primarily private.

It’s widely known that Canada is struggling with numerous issues from access
to the latest technology to long wait times and availability of specialists,
especially in rural areas (which is most of the country).  And it varies greatly by
province - further proof of why limited anecdotal evidence is not very
representative.  As Canada begins to address some of these issues (as with its
2010 wait time mandates), the per capita costs of their insurance will increase
and likely be more in line with those of the US.

Re: my “expensive” point - yes, I was referring to the cost to the employee, not
the total cost.

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By amex, March 9, 2010 at 6:11 am Link to this comment


So if I am to understand correctly, you have no experience and thus no real knowledge of what other health systems are like.  You have your sources which tell you things but NO experience.

I have used the American health system when I needed it as an employee being provided for, as an employer providing my employees, and a broke, poor, out of money and job, bum when I was younger.  Until I saw with my own eyes the level of technology, care, and cost control here, I would have agreed with all flag waving Americans that care in the USSA is the best and most sought after in the world. However, this belief just doesn’t ring true once you EXPERIENCE another firstworld nations health care.

By the way, you are dead wrong on your statement that health care can be more expensive when you don’t have a job (I think you mean an employer paying for your benefits).  When I was insuring my employees, the cost of health care for each was more than if they went out and found the same coverage for themselves personally.  Why?  because the insurance companies cannot deny health insurance to anyone within a business group policy.

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By johncp, March 8, 2010 at 1:06 am Link to this comment

“...God has given all of us different levels of talents, intelligence, and abilities, etc., etc ...”  So, rollzone, god’s to blame for the “innate” and gross inequalities you imagine you see everywhere around you.  I suspect you have some blind prejudices.  I see very few differences between people, usually miniscule, if not non existent.  I think your statement was precisely opposite of the truth.  We are certainly not “allowed equal opportunities to be successful,” and this, in spite of our largely negligible differences.  In fact, often, the people with the fewest, genuine, abilities have cornered all the wealth and power in this world, for themselves.  Now that some of the most worthless gangsters have this monopoly, they appear most generous in the largesse they distribute to those of their servants assinged the task of keeping that monopoly where it is.

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By ofersince72, March 8, 2010 at 12:21 am Link to this comment

He is not the only one like that on here
Peetawonkus,,  I believe all the ones that are
defending the democrats are as equally as
dangerous as the tea baggers.

They are putting blinders on,  there is just as
much criminal activity and lawlessness now as ever.

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By Peetawonkus, March 7, 2010 at 10:02 pm Link to this comment

Sad little tea bagger, beating his little tin drum, shrieking about Socialism. Sad, soulless, morally bankrupt apologist for the excesses of corporate America. A self-loathing peasant turned hit man for the rich. Didn’t your daddy give you enough love? Is that why you’re a shoe shine boy for the insurance companies? If you lick Big Daddy’s shoes clean he’ll give you a shiny quarter? That’s worth selling out your fellow man for.

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By rollzone, March 7, 2010 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment

hello again. 1st, allow my opinion that the big lie about reconciliation is that by the time it gets to reconciliation- it is already a done deal. once it passes the House of Misrepresentatives, the Senate is only a formality. this garbage bill must die on the floor of the House of Misrepresentatives. it is a cancerous growth of government taxes needing surgical extermination. reclassify marijuana and forget about health care. 2nd, i can usually read the names on a thread now and notice the subversives, but this thread made interesting twists. the personal attacks continue. points about figures regarding facts all pale to experiences, of which medically i have many; Medicare included. doctors are correct in no longer taking Medicare, and their ranks are exponentially growing. i agree the system has been abused, politically and industrially; it remains a safety net. personal insurance policies (protection money) are better for catastrophic injuries: which i have had- but not worth the costs for regular visits. administrators are bilking the public as bad as the pharmaceutical industry. ask Michele Oboymamma- that’s her history. someone asked. ‘will the real Constitution please stand up’. i am no legalese, but my understanding has been that we are trying to live together in a society (the ordering of human lives), and that is half of it. the other half is: we are all allowed equal opportunities to be successful. that is impossible, as God has given all of us different levels of talents, intelligence, and abilities, etc., etc ...and somehow we are trying to live together peacefully in equilibration. we keep adjusting the Constitution to more completely bring together all of God’s human creations. the original writing of our Constitution has proven itself to be a lasting foundation into perpetuity. if we embrace the spirit of the document in the intent it was written, it is a beautiful thing. that is the real Constitution. kill this crap on the House of Misrepresentatives floor. start over without backroom Bluesmen, and do it right.

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By Marshall, March 7, 2010 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment

By Peetawonkus, March 7 at 6:47 pm #

“We are ready to sacrifice our souls, our children and our families so as not to give
up [socialized medicine]. We say this so no one will think that America is capable
of breaking the will of the [socialists] with its [free markets].” —Saddam Hussein
with a Marxist twist

Peeta - your manifesto-ready prose is certainly entertaining if not a bit derivative. 
keep it up.

I would ask you what you think is wrong with the Advantage program but I don’t
expect you’d dip down to the level of an issues based discussion so I won’t.  so
yeah, i’ll run along to another discussion now thanks.

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By Peetawonkus, March 7, 2010 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

Facts? That’s a good one. You wouldn’t know a fact if it sank its fangs in your ass. You use facts like a drunk uses a lamp post. You’re such a Stockholm Syndrone slave you don’t even know what class you belong to. You don’t even know how to act in your own interests. As the old saying goes, “It’s hard to fight an enemy that has an outpost in your own head.” Run along, little doggie. You’ve served your masters at Advantage well. Now you can have your doggie treat. Good boy…

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By Allan Krueger, March 7, 2010 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment


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By Marshall, March 7, 2010 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

By AmEx, March 7 at 7:37 am #

Amex - yes i’m aware of the WHO rating.  If you look closely at the rating it
becomes clear that the primary influence on the five criteria it uses to rate
country’s healthcare systems is the number of uninsured.  This contributes to
lack of preventive care which in turns contributes to higher incidents of certain
diseases and lowers overall life expectancy.  What the WHO rating also shows is
that among those in the US who have healthcare, they rate our system the
highest of all countries in responsiveness and satisfaction.  We also have high
access to latest technology and short wait times - explaining Canada’s use of
our system as a backup when theirs is overbooked and under-resourced.  And
your Slovenian friend’s opinion makes for a nice anecdote but is hardly
conclusive.  So while your experience abroad may be a good one, neither
statistics (nor the WHO) agree with you about quality of coverage in the US.  I,
for example, am very happy with the scope, availability, and quality of my
coverage; but i have a job.  That’s the difference between the US and other
countries.  Without a job in the US, your healthcare expenses can be high.

We too have an additional single-payer-ish system in place that competes with
private insurers and it’s called Medicare.  It will be running out of money within
the decade, fewer and fewer doctors accept it because of shrinking payments,
it is the target of massive fraud and corruption, and it doesn’t cover everything
including a giant gap in coverage if costs exceed a certain amount.  To make
up for this, the US added a private system called “Advantage” which has none
of those problems and is growing in popularity.

By Peetawonkus, March 7 at 12:44 am #

I’m no supporter of Sarah Palin or the Tea baggers thank you, but neither do I
support the collectivized vision of the US you seem to be waiting for.  But I do
appreciate the colorful Saddam-esque hyperbole you employ in the service of
your socialist fantasy.  Throw out a fact or two and you can even call it a point.

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By Peetawonkus, March 7, 2010 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

By Peetawonkus, March 7 at 1:34 pm #

Mekhong Kurt,
You asked me where it says in the Constitution health care is a basic right? Well, you got me there. It doesn’t. It doesn’t mention anything about Social Security, Medicare, or Unemployment Compensation. It also doesn’t say anything about dropping the bounty on killing Native Americans, freeing black people from slavery, giving women the right to vote, preventing children from working in factories or coal mines or instituting the eight hour work day. Democracy, it would seem is an on-going, evolving process, and we determine what is right and in the public good as we continue to grow as a society. The Constitution isn’t a static and unchanging document and it’s framers didn’t intend it as such. It really comes down to two fundamentally different ways of looking at the world—and the framers of the Constitution (Jefferson, for instance) themselves often embodied both poles.. You either believe that it’s right and natural that a wealthy, elite class of people should rule the world or you believe that the people who do all work in the world ought to have a say in how things are run. These are questions about 1) what is civilization for? and 2) what is to be the fate of the mass of humanity? Should the human race call the shots for what is in the best interests of the largest number of people, or is the human race simply there to carry a small number of people in wealth, power and luxury? You can find defenders of both viewpoints everywhere, including here, and they both quote the Constitution to support their positions. Not unlike how right-wing Fundamentalists and Liberation Theologists both quote the Bible. Will the real Constitution please stand up?

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By johncp, March 7, 2010 at 5:14 am Link to this comment

Mehkhong Kurt
Though you’re certainly not alone in having done it, isn’t it interesting, that you sought to bring your deepest concern and wounded outrage, to that remark of mine, to which I had assigned the least importance, and which I threw off in a moment of mindless discontent.  Now wasn’t that “...a perceptive, logical, factually-based observation” on your part.

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By amex, March 7, 2010 at 3:37 am Link to this comment


Have you actually experienced another health care system?  Anything?  The world health organization has declared the USSA to be #37, one in front of Slovenia. I even have a very good Slovenian friend that says she would rather be in Slovenia if she had an emergency.

I can say, not by reading selective right or left bending news, that compared to where I have health care, the USSA looks like Africa.  I can state for a fact that the insurance that I have is from a for profit company - that is simply regulated heavily but is not allowed to swindle its clients.  I can tell you for a fact that government single payer is sitting right next to my for profit insurance and is cohabiting without issue.  I can tell you for a fact that I pay $270/mth for my whole family. And lastly, I can say that in general the locals are happy with this health insurance set up because everyone is taken care of.

My visa is going to expire soon and if I can’t convince my host country to renew it - I have to come back to the USSA.  Every time I think about my kids having to live in that nightmare system, I break out in cold sweats.  Forget that I will no doubt be rejected, again, for cholesterol that sits at 230.

When you declare that you can find many people from other countries that are unhappy with their healthcare, maybe it’s those that are unhappy with their system not knowing what kind of a nightmare the Americans are living with.  I have heard many people from different countries declare unhappiness until we discuss each system and they walk away happier that they have their system and not ours.

One last thought - The US health care system is not operating in a free market environment.  It is colluding at the highest levels to ensure that there isn’t any competition.  Government and big business have been legislating away any chance of competition for years. This is true of other industries as well. Before I left the USSA I experienced first hand how far government and big business will go to protect each other.  I took them to court, hoping and praying that the last prong of government would ensure fairness and enforce law.  I was wrong - they sided with their big business partners and said it was ok for big business to break at least four laws when it was not in their best interests.

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By Mekhong Kurt, March 6, 2010 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment

BarbieQue, just where in the Constitution does it say words to this effect: “Health care is the sole province of the private sector. Therefore, any and all government health care assistance or provision, be it directly of indirectly through the states, is contitutionally forbidden”?

I can’t find that part, so I don’t see where contitutionality or lack thereof comes into the actual picture, though it is a major talking point in certain quarters.

Later you wrote, “The Democrats have had the Presidency, the House and the Senate for 14 months now, most of which has been spent not to help the average bloke get a job but to force that bloke to contribute to the salary of the latest Health Insurance CEO that needs a multimillion dollar bonus.”

There’s just one problem with that analysis: NOTHING has come out of Congress, including NOT A DIME for ANYONE—not us, not insurance companies/hospitals/private doctors/etc. So, we haven’t contributed “to the salary of the latest Health Insurance CEO that needs a multimillion dollar bonus. Not at all.

AmEx, I’m no fan of Orrin Hatch, but for anyone to say to him “Go to Hell you bastard!!!!!” is to descend to the depths of mindless, vicious ad hominem attacks. We see those from both end of the political spectrum, i.e., the “Lonny Left” and the “Rabid Right.”

Neither contribute to the discussion at hand, as neither addresses actual issues—though in the earlier part of your post, you DID bring in real issues, to be fair to you.

And later *still,* you refer to the New American Century withOUT mentioning some of the moving forces behind it were (it’s defunct) are neocons, or that some of those are at least controversial if not discredited (Cheney, Perl, etc.). Here’s a contrary look at the NAC project:

John Ellis—what’s your point? You attack Utah for being a church state, then quote passages from the Bible. But you attack even those, if they differ from the original Greek. BTW, can you read ancient Greek fluently? I sure as heck can’t, and have known only one person who could—a priest specializing in studying ancient languages relevant to the Bible.

In citing the Bible, you give an impression (to me, at least) that you would have us ruled by Christian principles—as defined by you and your references to “ancient Greek.” Hm. Condemn a church state then turn right around an advocate one. Interesting.

Peetawonkus, an interesting take on Obama. Reminds me of a book that came out some years after JFK was assassinated; the title was something like “JFK{ Cold Warrior.” Or that was it’s basic point anyway: the author did a re-take on JFK and concluded he was, in fact, a Cold Warrior in the common sense of that label.

And in another comment, you speak of health care as a basic right. While I asked BarbieQue [see above in this post] where the Constitution where it says we *can’t* have public health care, in the interest of fairness, I have to ask you where it says we’re *guaranteed* such care?

The Contitution says neither; it’s silent on the subject.

LJL and others interested in the Medical Catastrophe 19080’s law, see:

Infolplease is the apolitical speacialized information source; KFF is the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-care group.

Incidentally, when the legislation originally passed (in 1985, not 88), the Republicans controlled the Senate and White house. That’s right—the Republicans controlled two of the three. And it looks rather like current proposals, which includes several Republican ideas.

johncp, your take on the majority of your fellow voters in the 2008 election is, um, “interesting. As I recall, about 60% of voting age voted,and Obama won by about 53-46%. But in your view, the 53% are all, each, and ever one dimwits. What a perceptive, logical, factually-based observation.


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By Peetawonkus, March 6, 2010 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

I knew if I jerked your chain the real tea bagger would emerge from behind the skirts of Sarah Palin. Another of one of the Capitalism-is-the-State-Religion pukes who confuses a rigged casino for some fantasy called the “Free Market”. A professional butt licker for the rich. “Look at me, Big Daddy, I’m so clever, I’m helping keep the peasants in their places.” People like you make me sick. Selling out your fellow human beings so some CEO can pat you on your wittle head. Even Judas got 30 pieces of silver. Just wait until somebody you care about gets sick and your insurance buddies suddenly can’t remember your name. Sad little slave who thinks because he shines the Master’s silver he gets to sit at their table. Pathetic.

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By Marshall, March 6, 2010 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

By Peetawonkus, March 6 at 11:02 pm #

Another free-market-hating-socialist fairyland dupe who ignores rampant
govt. corruption and fraud and believes private industry is the devil. 
Government is not your savior peeta and if the ongoing corruption scandals
and mindless political decision making is not enough to convince you then
you’re simply thick.

The sweeping Moore-esque generalization you make about all those “better”
socialized systems avoids the facts; each has its faults because there is no
perfect system.  Our public/private system is flawed but apparently not enough
to stop our maple-leaf neighbors from relying on it in times of need.  Tell me
whose system you want and i’ll show you a shit-ton of dissatisfied customers,
rising costs, deficits, lack of technology, lack of access, long waits, and the
emperor’s new clothes.  Cuba?  France?  Canada?  You name it.  And while your
pie hole spouts federalized collective nonsense i’ll address the actual issues
with supporting data while you wait around the rest of your life for your
messiah of socialism.

..ahhhh… much better now

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By Peetawonkus, March 6, 2010 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

Another private-market-is-better-than-government shill for the private insurance industry who will talk you to death…

Private industry is infinitely more corrupt than government. Indeed, it is the private industry which loots government like…well, as if they thought they owned it.

Every decent and civilized nation on this planet has some form of socialized health care. Time to join. And time for people like you to shut your lying pie holes.

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By Marshall, March 6, 2010 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

By drum4one4all, March 6 at 8:50 pm #

In actuality Advantage is a popular program and the opt out rates are very low,
so your example is theoretical not practical.  How are Advantage benefits more
restricted than regular medicare?  No gaps, no need for additional gap or part
D policies, built-in preventive coverage, often lower out-of-pocket costs. 
Medicare is minimal coverage fee for service, but Advantage provides more
coverage at lower cost.

You show no evidence derivatives hurt medicare, but I showed you evidence
medicare hurts itself through fraud.  The numbers again: $60B.  The 60 min.
link is there (copy paste entire link to your browser since clicking will fail). 
Obama acknowledges the fraud, as has govt. accounting report, but govt.
waste/fraud never gets fixed - only talked about.  There are no providers to
pay it back: most is lost to fictitious entities.  Reporting it is useless when no
enforcement infrastructure exists.  That’s why expanding the program is bad.  Private insurance overhead is higher because they institute extensive anti-
fraud measures.  What private insurance adds is competition (which Dems say
is good).

Your other examples of pooling are primarily state/local run, unlike medicare,
and more easily monitored.  All commonly sub-out to private firms as well. 
You seem to think that public programs have no middleman, but the govt. is
the middleman and largely unaccountable.  Just because Medicare still exists
doesn’t make it successful.

No question current system needs reform, but substituting another broken
system is not the answer.  Polls show high satisfaction with private coverage in
the US - but costs are going up (in all countries).

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By drum4one4all, March 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

Hi Marshall,

Medicare advantage AND the proliferation of private insurance administering medicare is too a problem.

It is a huge problem for the seniors themselves, as their benefit is much more restricted than is regular medicare. 

The problem with enrollment periods is…what happens when you have a critical event early in your enrollment period and then have to wait a year to opt out.  For people with stroke and other devastating illnesses…a year is too loate, so is 6 months, so is 3 months.

When signing up for any program…people rarely understand the limitations in coverage.  They often discover too late that this, that this that this that is not covered through the private plans, including advantage.

Yes, private health insurance and derivatves and other speculative gambling that is wall street, is hurting medicare and moreover the people who would benefit from its services.

I am not seeing any numbers in your response regarding medicare fraud…and yes, I am aware its out there.  ANd all of us should be aware of reporting suspected fruad to local state atttorneys and to the federal office of Inspector General. 

Private insurance is just as fraudalant…AND medicine for profit drains a third of our dollars on its porfit on non medical based benefit to its consumers.  Frankly…Insurance adds NO VALUE to healthcare.  Having insurance is like having to pay the mafia to do business.

We pool our money together to have fire depts, highways, parks, police depts, schools, security, why not also for health care? Why have a middle man gauging us.

Medicare has been a successful program…and it can easily remain so and include all of us AND we can all do more to reduce fraud….whether medicare or any thing else.

Medicare is absolutely wonderful for our elderly.  ANd it should be that way for everyone.  Period.

The biggest fraud perpetrated on us is our current financial debacle…not medicare.  And to me…a bigger fraud is that of the health insurance kicking their insureds of their rolls and denying payment of care.  That to me is fraudalant.  And, when fraud is discovered in Medicare…that provider is forced to pay it back.  And sometimes even penalty and jail.  When insurance companies deny care…who puts them in jail?  What fine do they receive?  Who pays for their denials?  We do.  With our very lives.

Sorry…you will be unable to sway me for private insurance.  There are 36 countries you have adopted a more universally based heathcare system that are managing way better than the U.S. is…so…what is being pushed to pass…is absolutely harmful.

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By Marshall, March 6, 2010 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

By ofersince72, March 6 at 5:56 am #

You describe perfectly the reasons for not putting important programs like
healthcare in government hands; politicians will ALWAYS get their hands on
them and corrupt them.  The fact remains, medicare is going bankrupt and is
riddled with fraud and will continue to be.

By drum4one4all, March 6 at 5:31 am #

Medicare Advantage was passed in 97 and does not undermine regular
Medicare, it offers a reasonable choice which has become very popular.  You
can switch back to regular medicare during enrollment period if you choose.

Can’t argue with your conspiracy theory about medicare bankruptcy being a
derivatives fraud - it’d be up to you to prove that.

Medicare is already regulated but the fraud is estimated at $60B annually
despite this.  It’s because govt. is bad at regulating itself so fraud will continue
and only get worse if Medicare were expanded.

Many patients are happy with medicare as you point out, just as many are
happy with it’s private version Advantage.  But the fact remains: fraud,
corruption, and poor govt. stewardship will do it in.

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By Peetawonkus, March 6, 2010 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

You can list all day long the reasons why Obama is a disappointment and a failure and I’ll probably agree with you. But the point is, was, and remains—WHAT WAS THE ALTERNATIVE? Let the Republicans come back into power for another 4 years? And this time come back with an even crazier cast of characters? After two stolen elections I think even diehard Lefties voted for Obama because they wanted to make sure there was such an absolute avalanche of votes that even the Republicans and their voting machines cronies couldn’t fix the election. My vote was one of expediency not one of starry eyed illusions about either Obama or the Democratic Party. So after 8 years of Bush/Cheney, yes, I voted for Obama and I really resent being called a “dimwit” for it. You call me names, I’ll call you names. You want to fight, I’ll be happy to jump in and start swinging. But maybe instead of starting fights you should try figuring out who your allies are instead of wading in with insults. You might find out there are more people posting here who are closer to your wavelength than not.

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By ofersince72, March 6, 2010 at 2:33 am Link to this comment

Hey ,  all you Damnocrats….....

They have control of both houses and the white house….......

Why can’t they get this legislation through?????????

Make it illegal to recieve any campaign finance
money outside your district…...
What would be so hard about that and it should
pass the constitutional test…..
That would be simple enough legislation….
that NO one has proposed….
I don’t know how it is now…..but I checked on
the congressional office (not same congressperson)
back in the early ninties and 90% of his campaign
money came from outside his district, and most of
that was from outside the country…The very same
thing that they accussed Slick Willy of,...........

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By ofersince72, March 6, 2010 at 2:23 am Link to this comment

But not to worry…...

we have good ole Sanders Levin now the


Rangal was bad….this guy also never met a war
            he didn’t like !!!!!!!!!!!

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By ofersince72, March 6, 2010 at 2:06 am Link to this comment

The truth is that there is almost enough money
collected in SS right now to give the universal
coverage…..They don’t want this exposed.

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By ofersince72, March 6, 2010 at 2:04 am Link to this comment

That is the real reason that they have kept the
public option off the table….It would expose the
SS fraud they have done and the myth that it is
running out of money….Not only a myth, but a LIE..

If they were to put universal health out there
they would once again have to make SS its own entity
again. This would not only expose the lie but also
they couldn’t get their nasty fingers on it to spend
on their wars.
Besides,  I don’t believe our creditors would allow
it.  They would start calling in their loans.
THEY ARE IN A CATCH 22 with the public option….
They don’t want us to know about ...they believe we
are the dumbass’ they are…

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By ofersince72, March 6, 2010 at 1:56 am Link to this comment

medicare and medicade come out of SS funds…

SS funds never were apart of the annual federal
budget until around the mid-eighties, they were
an entity of their own. That is why on your paycheck
stub, you have fed tax deductions and fica….

They always ran a huge surplus, even with any graft
there might be….The surplus’ were in a bank or
some sort of federal account thay couldn’t be used
for anything but SS.

Tip O’Neil and Ronald Reagon drooled at the mouth
at all the surplus ,  they wanted that money, also
they wanted to incorporate SS into the Annual Fed
Budget to disguise how much of the Annual Budget
that military expeditures took up, which at the time
was almost two thirds of our annual federal budget.

They had to pass a low to do this. They did , a
Democrat Congress and a Republican president.
They quickly went through all of the surplus that
the SS had accumilated and started borrowing on the
projected surplus’ that always had been there.
Thats where we are at..  If they would take
SS back out of the annual fed budget like it is meant
to be and always was,  it would be in the green again
very shortly.  They can’t now because we owe so much
money to foreign and domestic lenders.

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By drum4one4all, March 6, 2010 at 1:31 am Link to this comment

Clarify your comment Marshall..not sure where you are going with it.

Expanding the rife with fraud insurance system is currently undermining medicare.  Or didn’t you know that?

Under whichever administration it was…the Repubs/Dems allowed insurance companies to sell private insurance to seniors which then terminated the seniors right to actual medicare.

The patients that have pure medicare have much more access than the ones that have private insurance carrying their policy. 

The myth of Medicare running out is a fraud perpetrated on us.  More than likely they have squandered those funds in the derivative market which we bailed out.

If you are saying medicare has fraud in it…then by all means regulate it….Spend just a fraction of the blazenly grotesque military budget for more fraud patrol in medicare claims.

Now…you tell me…who the hell is going to patrol the insurance companies who have gotten away with exactly MURDER for the past 50 years.  Insurance companies = death panels.

So please, if you are rooting for the expansion of privatized insurance hostage taking…then better get real on stating some facts to support your medicare in ruin plan. 

To me, your comment remains ambiguous since you don’t state any stats.

As a healthcare worker…I very much see patients being very happy with medicare…and I see them very dissatisfied with insurance.

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By ofersince72, March 6, 2010 at 12:47 am Link to this comment

johnCp ....just make a really, really, good post.

of course thats just my opinion….for what it is..

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By johncp, March 6, 2010 at 12:27 am Link to this comment

You fell for his crap.  You voted for him.  I don’t care if you’re a genius in all other areas of your thinking, insofar as this vote for Obama is concerned, you’re a dimwit.  I’m in favor of a society that takes it upon itself to insure that all its members receive universal, yes, government paid for, health care.  Before the election, Obama was already professing to have “reasons” why his health care proposals denied care to 15,000,000 Americans. 

As for you LJL, I’m not a cynic, nor do I hate society or government.  But government is quite a different thing from “society.”  99 out of hundred governments are made up of tyrants and gangsters; societies, on the other hand, are made up of common people, nearly all of whom are deceived, robbed and degraded by these government criminals.  LJL, do you expect me to bow to “government,” any government, without complaint?  Yes, it seems you do.  We don’t yet have anything approaching a completely “democratic” government, but the fight continues; but, I suspect, not if you have your way.

Obama in his hunger for the vain grandeur and power of the presidency, lied about everything he promised to the American voter.  Obama would probably make a fairly good mayor of a small town in Illinois.  But…president?  From among these corporate controlled candidates, I preferred Hillary.  Yes, I preferred her to hollow, empty suits like Edwards, Biden, Richardson, and Obama.  By the time Obama had muscled Hillary out of the way, with the help of corporations such as Goldman-Sachs, which gave him nearly a million dollars for his campaign, and help from media, the most corrupt and regressive institution in our society, beating McCain was a foregone conclusion.  Now I’m expected to give Obama credit for fighting for his health care bill?  Now that he’s given the republicans everything they’ve demanded from him in health care?  Now he’s ready to fight?  Fight for what?  After he lied about his objection to the Iraq invasion, pretending to restraint, while he campaigned about Hillary’s hawkishness and “poor judgement,” once in office, he turns out to be a rabid war monger.  Hillary, can make a convincing argument, buttressed by facts, that she won the popular vote against Obama.  But there’s no question that she won a sizable majority of democrat votes against Obama.  I can just hear the words spoken behind closed doors.  Do as you’re told, and we’ll make you “appear” to be, the most powerful man in the world.

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By LJL, March 5, 2010 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment

The great majority of the posters here, whether professed progressives or conservatives, are armed with vitriol, disdain and opinions.  Their cynicism unites them across ideological boundaries in a hatred of society and government.  They form an anti-democratic front that, if it had its way, would tear America down and call the rubble “the a new Somalia.”

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By Marshall, March 5, 2010 at 8:09 pm Link to this comment

By drum4one4all, March 5 at 11:25 pm #

“And when the Dems, let alone the Repubs, don’t expand Medicare…vote every
single last one of them OUT. “

Why would we want to expand a system that’s rife with fraud and is going
bankrupt in the next few years?

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By Peetawonkus, March 5, 2010 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

johncp, March 5 at 11:27 pm #
“It may make good media theatre for Obama, and may enhance his chances for reelection with many of the dimwits that voted for him in the first place, but the health bill is a piece of the worst garbage, so that Obama’s fight to get it passed, is painfully obvious deceit and posturing.”

I voted for Obama, and who are you calling dimwit, buttwipe? What would you have had people do, vote for McCain and the crazy bitch from Alaska? Or maybe vote Green Party, which is to say, throw your vote away?

As to the rest of it, yes, Obama sold us out and the Health Care bill is a piece of crap. Here’s the deal. You want to tear down Obama, fine, but you damn well be on the side of the people and arguing for more Progressive legislation. If not, let’s thrown down. Dickwad.

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By johncp, March 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

Interesting that Obama is now “fighting” for “his” health care bill.  What bullshit.  It may make good media theatre for Obama, and may enhance his chances for reelection with many of the dimwits that voted for him in the first place, but the health bill is a piece of the worst garbage, so that Obama’s fight to get it passed, is painfully obvious deceit and posturing.

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By drum4one4all, March 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

I agree with you heavyrunner.

And when the Dems, let alone the Repubs, don’t expand Medicare…vote every single last one of them OUT. 

They are not working for the people.  They are working for those who fill their pockets.

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By heavyrunner, March 5, 2010 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

They should be ramming through an expansion of Medicare to eliminate the insurance for profit industry.

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By rollzone, March 5, 2010 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

hello. another articulate misdirection of reality. LBJ was a very honored, and powerful Leader of Congress; before assuming his role as President. that is a giant wrong comparison to Oboymamma. i suggest they ignore him.
  the misdirection about the House of Representatives having to endorse federally paid abortions, on a promise during reconciliation to doublespeak to the stupid American public how better for them to understand the simple miscommunicated nomenclature of something already laboriously worked out only to benefit their need to pay a trillion dollars to government after their terms are over, is something learned from President Bush.
  misdirecting the backroom deals that cost so many cigarettes, and bottles of booze to complete- honestly, it has to be life threatening to contemplate having to do it all over again in public, one issue at a time.
  none of this tax bill makes it easier for middle “class” people to obtain insurance. nothing brings down administrative medical costs, or holds them responsible for updating files into electronic media to reduce doctor time and costs. nothing is more misdirected than the pass given to the pharmaceutical industry.
  every House of Representative seat holder voting to pass this piece of crap into law will be voted out of office. spending has to stop, and eliminating 1,090 pages of this crap would be a step in the right direction. start over and do it right.

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

3rd party voter
Wow. I did click the link. Both of them. And…?

Yes, I have heard of PNAC. And…? New American Century is a piece of junk neo-con con job masquerading as “analysis”. Same as it ever was. I do not stand corrected. If New American Century has anything to say about anything it’s either a lie or a distortion. Republicans, right-wingers, tea baggers and their fellow travelers love to quote from articles from the NAC, apparently to give their BS some shine of credibility because it has Beltway think tank stink all over it. I suppose it’s brilliant stuff if you’re a member of the ruling class, or one of their minions, or their water-carriers, their butlers, butt-wipers or hit-men. Or one of those peasants you can find in any historical period who see their job as apologizing for the aristocracy, or a slave defending property rights. Pathetic that passes for “information”. No wonder there are so many righties who believe in the modern equivalent of the Divine Right of Kings.

Such as whom rule America today. A Corporate Aristocracy with an ever thinner layer of Democracy veneered over it. And to get back to the article at hand, one of the reasons why we don’t have universal Health Care in this country, despite the fact that the peasantry seem to want it quite badly.

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By LJL, March 5, 2010 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

Budget Reconciliation may just manage to get HCR to Obama’s desk.  But that is only the proverbial tip of the problem.  Submerged and imperfectly seen is the seething discontent fueled by pathological cynicism.  I don’t believe, as the Republicans are saying, that all the American people hate HCR.  Nonetheless, a wild minority from right, left and center are sniping at the health care bill and President Obama himself.  Even if the bill emerges from the Congress and is signed, this noisy discontent could still hobble it.  The WH is cognizant of what happened to The Catastrophic Coverage Act which was passed and signed into law in July 1988.  By December 1989 Congress repealed the law, because a noisy minority incited by the AARP did a Tea Party like job on it.  What Obama is doing now has more to do with calming public opinion about the Bill than getting the Bill through Congress and on to his desk.  The longer the debate spins out the deeper discontent.

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By 3rd party voter, March 5, 2010 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

Peetawonkus, March 5 at 12:24 pm:

“New American Century is a piece of junk neo-con con job masquerading as “analysis”.”

Wow. Perhaps you didn’t click the link.

It’s PNAC. You haven’t heard of PNAC?

I think the poster was trying to make the point that the illegal 78 day non -UN approved bombing of Kosovo was a PNAC war, similar to IRAQ. Almost a dress rehearsal, both for the bombing and to see what they could get away with. Since there was no genocide (in Kosovo) as Clinton and that ingrate Cohen said. The poster is invited to correct me if I’m wrong.

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By Peetawonkus, March 5, 2010 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

No, I do not think Republipukes are the only ones who lie about war. Or spending. Or taxes. Or anything else. In my view, there is only one political party in this country. It is The Corporate Party, which has two wings: Business Uber Alles and The Slightly Nicer Corporate Party. Democrats, with some praise-worthy and principled exceptions, are basically enablers of Republican politics. One Republican growl can bring a roomful of Democrats to their appeasing knees, quaking in fear. The 2003 Iraq War votes and Patriot Act Provisions come to mind.

New American Century is a piece of junk neo-con con job masquerading as “analysis”. If this is the best you can do, get offa my cloud.

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By drum4one4all, March 5, 2010 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

I can now scratch EJ Dionne off my list for journalists to read.

We need single payer period.  Mandated insurance is not “free market” and I would question it’s constitutionality. 

The Republicans wanting to scrap this plan are correct but for the wrong stated reasons.  But they are correct for wanting to scrap it.

One year, after paying into health insurance for years and years…I had an actual health issue.  Because the issue took a year to resolve…I ended up paying three deductibles to 3 different companies in order to restore my health.  First, the employer switched companies, so I paid a deductible to company one then to company two.  Then, I lost my job, (I believe because of the health issue) then found a new one…and had to pay yet another 3rd deductible to the new company.  This does not even count the Exceptionally high premium that I had to pay to Cobra inbetween the time of the two jobs. 

And now I am to “want” to have enforced “private” insurance” ?

This health care bill is a sham.  And it’s robbery by our corporate greedy insurance industry.  To defend Obama’s health care reform is to wage war not only on the 30 million people who don’t have it, can’t afford it,  but now on the rest of us who keep getting royally screwed by the health insurance industry.

At the end of 2007…effectively, the whole purpose of having insurance, to cover exorbitant catastophic loss, essentially, I paid every dime of the catastropy.  The health insurance industry, receiving decades of my premiums, paid NOTHING, during my catastrophy. 

E J Dionne, this will be the last article I read of yours.  Obviously, you have never experienced a medical challenge nor are you in touch with millions of Americans who are sick and tired of insurance companies denying, hking prices and gauging their customers.  With this bill, along with no regulation to scant regulation,  you, yourself are one medical emergency away from losing everything.  Oh…and the stress that goes along with that…

Our Country sucks for all the ways it does not give a flying f—- for its people.  And because Journalists like EJ Dionne want to keep beating the drums for the status quo and the status quo getting worse and worse and fascist…the rest of us suffer.

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By BarbieQue, March 5, 2010 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

Hi Wonkus!

Speaking of lies, I’ve a special linkey-link just for you. You may not understand it, or how it fits into your last post, but maybe someone who’s watched politics for a while can help. I’ve got to run off now, because I’ve got taxes coming up, and the $20,000 or so that I’ll voluntarily (and *gladly* :D ) pay the IRS this year is needed for approximately 20 seconds of the Afghanistan war that the peacenik is conducting (war is peace, a helpful saying in these times, no?) and the Chinese are getting cranky about all those $ they’re lending us.

Here’s the linkey link, but remember: Your $20K of taxes=20 seconds of war!

Do only (R)s lie about war, Wonkus?


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By Peetawonkus, March 5, 2010 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

So you’re saying Democrats are equally culpable? I’ll buy that. But those Republican pukes engineered the lies, sold them like used cars and continue to sell them through the efforts of their brain dead tea bagger brownshirt army. The Democrats are guilty of gutlessnes and not standing up to them.

Yet, some still think that being Republican means never having to take responsibility for the crap they created, marketed and sold as truth, justice and the American Way. It’s really quite something to behold.

Have a great day, BarbiQtip

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By Bud, March 5, 2010 at 6:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Personally,I would rather have a sister in a whorehouse,than a brother in the republican party!

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By BarbieQue, March 5, 2010 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

The Democrats voted for the IWR. Clintoon and Kerry and the gaggle of top DLC Dems all said Saddam was going to turn up in your closet and rape your sister.

The Democrats voted to fund both Afghanistan and Iraq wars every single time the vote comes up.

Bush had his testosterone laced surge, O has had his testosterone laced surge.

The Democrats have had the Presidency, the House and the Senate for 14 months now, most of which has been spent not to help the average bloke get a job but to force that bloke to contribute to the salary of the latest Health Insurance CEO that needs a multimillion dollar bonus.

Yet, some still think it’s the other parties fault. It’s really quite something to behold.

Have a great day, wonkus

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By Peetawonkus, March 5, 2010 at 5:48 am Link to this comment

What I love is how Republicans wring their hands over Fiscal Responsibility—AFTER lying us into two disastrous wars they had no trouble finding the money for. Oh but where O where will we ever find a penny for Health Care? Well, whatever we do, we mustn’t touch a red cent of the largest military budget in the history of the world, more than the next 30 most powerful countries on earth put together. Cut the military to pay for programs that should have been a Fundamental Right decades ago? No, that’s just crazy talk…

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By Marshall, March 5, 2010 at 4:40 am Link to this comment

Problems with this article:

1. Tax cuts are easily reversible and are not “substantive legislation” the same
way permanently restructuring 1/7th of our economy is.  Tax cuts are solely
directed at the budget (for which reconciliation was intended), not at
establishing a morality based entitlement program.  There is no comparison,
therefore the Hatch position still stands.

2. Tax cuts weren’t “for the wealthy” as Dionne so eagerly, and wrongly, states. 
Tax cuts were progressive (just like our taxation system) and benefitted those
who’d already paid higher taxes more.  How else should it have been?

3. Obama himself decried the use of reconciliation during his campaign in
2007 and said he would not use it:

4. Many on the left have given up on the senate bill altogether, so why would
they support putting this frankenbill through instead?  No public option.  No
waste/fraud prevention measure.  No universal coverage.  Those were their
reasons for stated “no” votes in the sentate, yet now they’re

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By ofersince72, March 5, 2010 at 12:29 am Link to this comment

I just am lovin this American Comedy Show.

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By John Kace, March 4, 2010 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment

I suspect that every person in this country would willingly give five to ten percent of their earnings to support their neighbors in a time of a health-care necessity. Why is this so difficult? AHHH- Assholes….

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By diamond, March 4, 2010 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

Go Obama! You finally remembered you won an election.

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By Peetawonkus, March 4, 2010 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

Obama is an appeaser. He can make a pretty speech but Nancy Pelosi has more guts—and that’s not saying much. We could have had good Health Care Reform. The Public overwhelmingly favored it. But the Insurance companies and Hospital Conglomerates didn’t want it had to go. Obama saw to it that Single Payer was killed before it even was debated on. He’s show only the most tepid leadership on the subject and that only for a “Health Care” bill where even the Public Option was killed off. Let’s face it. Obama is the second-coming of Bill Clinton and the whole Third Way, which is to say he’s the best Republican President we’ve had. Good Lord, even Nixon was to the left of Obama. I wish we had a president who was even a fraction of the Socialist that right wing fantasies portray him as.

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By balkas, March 4, 2010 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

Mad gods=mad rabbis,priests, mullahs. One can expect a lieberman, orinowitz also to behave at leasta bit like they live on another planet.

And, of course, mad gods:yahweh, god-jesus, and allah=3bn mad christians and moslems + a few ‘jews’ who think they are of hebraic ancestry.

Well, so am i! I am 0001% shemitic; Thus, this proves that i cannot ever be antishemitic- but only a selfloving s[h]emite.

But i am also 00001% zulu, apache, yamomana, musqueam, lapp, gypsy, gorilla, chimp, etcetc.

And what is even worse or better [depends on u my readers and not on me] i am 000000000001% croc,dog, ass.

The difference btwn me and orinowitz is that he’s 0001%ass and i much, too much, less assy than he is.

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By Vic Anderson, March 4, 2010 at 8:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ah ... JFK! Which is why BS (Bush Shadow) heir apparent Obama will do ANYTHING
to sabotage that Kennedy-sanctified “right to life”, like they physically did to its

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By balkas, March 4, 2010 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

As far as i know, only a few congress people agree with kennedy.
Thus, it seems to me,most want to reform a deformation. Sorry to say, i don’t know that the reform [pols love a positive label]wld not amount to a further deform!

Pols also love “free”  market. The word “free’  sure soothes some raw nerves. There are other baby soothers such as Greatness of America, God Bless America, Our Great Country, Founding Fathers [please don’t ask what mothers did in those days] Defense of US interests, Public Servants,Bipartizanship, Reconciliation, Viagra, Geronimo, etc.

But in the end it wld be like always before: cheques and balances wld balance out just right, Great Nation once again restored. Public Servant wld have nice and fun parties; be jovial to each other at least for a few days after HISTORIC HEALTH CARE BILL passes into law.tnx

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By amex, March 4, 2010 at 5:38 am Link to this comment

I lived in Utah with that extremest fascist Orin Hatch there.  He comes out and tells you that Utah has an extremely good and reputable insurance program but takes lots of money from those corporate thugs - United Health that is based there.  That was the place that three creepy insurance companies denied me health insurance because my cholesterol was 230 - Jesus H Christ!!!! 230!!!  I managed to get the rest of my family insurance for them at $10,000 deductible each and it only cost me $800/month - 7 YEARS AGO.

I also got a good dose of the sheep living there as well, and it was so sickening to me to have them bleat what their hypocritical church told them at their private little meetings that I yanked my family from that place and ran and didn’t stop until I was here - in a better place.

Orin Hatch - you are a fascist thug and you are not there to do for the people of your state, you are there to line your corrupted soul with more money - Go to Hell you bastard!!!!!

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By SFHawkguy, March 4, 2010 at 2:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What lies. 30 million people will not be “covered” under Obama’s bill.  They will be forced to buy a terrible product they can’t afford.  The middle class is being bled dry to feed the rapacious leeches, otherwise known as health insurance companies, that own Obama and the Dems.

And what’s with blaming the Republicans?  We always knew they would object.  So why is Obama passing the worst industry-friendly sell-out possible?  The one Mitt Romney proposed?

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By BarbieQue, March 3, 2010 at 11:50 pm Link to this comment

If McCain had won by 6 or 7%, and had campaigned on no mandatory insurance, and talked of a public option (yes O did!) and then, once elected, had Single payer advocates *arrested* (, staged closed door meetings (Cheney anyone?) with insurance company insiders, and then demanded a mandate without any of the good things,

If all that had happened…

Surely most all Democrats would favor such a bill, just as they favor this unconstitutional monstrosity.

Wouldn’t they.


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