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Health care: Bipartisanship in itself is not a goal (period)

Bob Dole: The man with a plan . . .  Oh, really?

Bob Dole: The man with a plan . . . Oh, really?

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that when most of us think of “health care reform” we assume the reforms will be helpful (at least in some minimal way) to all of us — but, should we be counting on that?

The Republicans made their proposal for sweeping reforms — making it clear that after all these months they aren’t compromising an inch:

The four-page Republican health care outline lays out a plan that would allow states, associations and small businesses to pool together to offer health insurance. It would give tax credits to low and modest income Americans to help them buy health insurance. It would also let dependents under twenty-five stay on their parent’s health insurance. (CBS News)

(blinking) That’s it.  Republican’s have been screaming, “Listen to us!!!!” for months and THAT’s what they come up with to cure our health care crisis?  You can keep your kids on your plan even if they aren’t in college.  Woop-de-f*ckin-do!

But Wait — There’s more:

The kicked-out Majority Leaders want THEIR say too!

Along with former Republican Sen. Howard Baker, another former Senate Majority Leader, Daschle and Dole have created a set of recommendations for achieving bipartisan health care solutions. Speaking to CBS News political consultant John Dickerson on CBSNews.com’s politics Web show “Washington Unplugged,” the two men shared their idea of “bipartisanship.”

“I’d like to have 20 Republicans” in the Senate vote on the health care reform package, Dole said.

Daschle concurred. “It has to be something where you have a double-digit number of Republicans and Democrats,” he said.

The two men explained how they compromised on hot-button issues like a mandate for all Americans to have insurance and a government-sponsored, plan (or “public option”), to produce their report for the Bipartisan Policy Center.

. . .

The report does not recommend a public plan, a sticking point for many Democrats.

“We compromised on that substantially,” said Daschle, President Obama’s first nominee for the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services. Daschle withdrew his nomination in February amid tax problems.

(CBS News, Political Hotsheet)

Let me repeat, “The report does not recommend a public plan, a sticking point for many Democrats.”

A sticking point?  — that’s it?

Folks, “a public plan” is a COMPROMISE for many Democrats — not a “sticking point” ! What we want is Single-Payer.  But, we’re so desperate to get access to health care (not insurance) that we’re considering a compromise with the (totally unexplained) Public Plan.

And it’s not just a wild-eye’d-flaming-haired-blogger saying this:

The Bipartisanship of Fools
By E.J. Dionne

WASHINGTON — Where did we get the idea that the only good health care bill is a bipartisan bill? Is bipartisanship more important than whether a proposal is practical and effective? And if bipartisanship is a legitimate goal, isn’t each party equally responsible for achieving it?

. . . .

Most Democrats believe that fixing the system will require increased government intervention to guarantee universal coverage and to contain costs. Most Republicans oppose an expansion of government’s role and believe an even more market-oriented system would pave the way to health care nirvana.

Trying to achieve full bipartisanship by squaring those two views is a recipe for incoherence.

As it is, President Obama and the Democrats have already compromised a great deal. They are not proposing a government takeover of health care financing, as single-payer advocates would prefer. Instead, they are working within the confines of current arrangements.

If we want to look back on the Great Health Care Compromise of 2009 then we should look back at the leadership of the past and take a closer look at the Dole-Daschel recommendations.

Me?  I’m turning my back on the failed compromises of the past and looking forward to making real change.  What I want is a Single-Payer health care system that delivers health care for everyone.  But, I’ll compromise on a public plan that (although wildly more expensive) delivers the same.

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44 Responses

  1. EJ Dionne dissed bipartisanship?

    That is blasphemy for a Village idiot to say!

    (and EJ is a Village idiot)

  2. What is Single Payer

    I think many folks are fearing the Boogie Man of Health Care and need to realize that it is not. I would be happy with Medicare being the Single Payer, since most Americans know it, and know it is not A BOOGIE MAN out to get them.

  3. I think the plan is to give us the Mitt Romney form of health care. Mandatory insurance for everyone and fines if you don’t purchase it. Kind of like car insurance. The Gov will subsidize the lowest income people. The problem is that the Gov has no idea what the current cost of living is for people. What they believe we can afford is usually disconnected from reality.

    These mandatory, forced insurance plans are a windfall for the insurance industry. Myself, I already have to pay mandatory homeowners insurance, mandatory car insurance, mandatory business insurance. We don’t have a lot left over to live on.

    • This is my fear! That we’ll get these reforms and I’ll be one of those that will have to apply for a waver because the new plans will be even less attainable than what we’ve got now.

  4. I have always hated the notion of bipartisanship for its own sake. What’s the point of winning an election if you are going to do what the other side would have done? I am so sick of Obama and the Democratic Congress giving air time to blowhards no longer in power. They can only be doing it as an excuse to say to the American people that they had to compromise, which means they want compromise. It’s such a pack of lies. For anyone who is still a Democrat, it is really time to resign from the party. As an newly minted Independent (since May) I can still vote for local Dems who support what I hold dear, but I will never hold my nose and vote for another senator, congressman, or president because of party.

  5. The only health care system that can provide “universal care” and have money to pay for it is Single Payer. There isn’t enough money in the treasury to pay for universal care and also cover the 35% that the insurance companies suck out of the system. All industrialized countries have some variation of “single payer” and it not because they all all “commie, socialist governments” it’s economics.

    Rationing is the scare tactic of the insurance industry. Health care is severely rationed now; by the insurance industry. If you have had significant medical bill recently, you know that the insurance company only pays a portion and “dis-allows” the rest. Also if you lose you job and you are over 50 and/or have a pre-existing condition, good luck finding health insurance.

    Unfortunately, it appears that the fix is in with Obama and the Dems and Sebelius “spilled the beans”………

    Today, on NPR, Secretary Sebelius said that single payer is not only ‘off the table’ but that the President is considering measures to make sure it does not happen now or ever.”

    Can’t be any more clear who Obama is protecting with his health care “reform”.

    • SHV — if you’re still around, which NPR program was Sebelius on? I need proof to Obot friends/family that Obama never meant single-payer hc when he talks about health care reform.


  6. (blinking wide eyed with a blank stare) but but but, hopey-changy is playing 11-dimensional chess, you just wait, he’s more clever than you know, he’s a genius and he’s going to do some sort of legislative jujitsu to get us what we need and they won’t know what hit them, just you wait…

    Super majority in senate, house, and controlling the WH. There’s no excuse of course. This is the best the Democratic party can do for us with the best possible numbers. Which means in the final analysis, the Democratic party is in no way shape or form a liberal party. Period. They are not on our side. Period. They are the same as the Republican party. Period.

    So we said O was another dubya, they said no, he’s the one we’ve been waiting for, we said just watch and see. Sigh. We’d rather not be right, but we are. How the f*ck are they going to spin this one. Damn delusional obots.

  7. Good grief, now there’s buzz going around that health Care reform may be DOA because of the way it was rolled out and because of that CBO report:


  8. if anyone is still trusting what the obama administration will do at this point with health care or anything, i have to wornder????????????

  9. I do not want Single Payer, I know there has to be away to help folks like Katiebird without screwing the rest of us. The trouble is our leadership on both parties are bankrupt.

    • I’m genuinely curious – what would be your objection to Medicare for everyone – perhaps phased in over time?

      • Let’s see – spend the same or less than you are now and cover everyone.

        Sounds like a terrible idea.

      • Also no reason to eliminate private supplemental insurance plans for those who want/need more coverage than Medicare provides. And, it’s what many seniors have to make sure a serious, long-term illness doesn’t break them. That’s the way it’s done in Australia, I know.

        Oddly, my dad has to pay for Medicare premiums even though he is a disabled veteran from WWII and has all his medical available to him for free through the VA. I’m sure all retired vets are the same.

    • First of all, I’ve said right in my post that I’m willing to compromise on “The Public Option” — but I don’t see why it shouldn’t be clearly labeled as a compromise.

      On the Single Payer issue, Why would opening Medicare up to everyone be screwing you? As WMCB says, change doesn’t have to happen overnight. It could be phased in.

      But, I know that A LOT of people feel as you do. Even in my own family.

      • Is this perchance another imposter commenter? The real NH isn’t confrontational.

        • This NH was not confrontational. She/he merely stated a minority opinion, quite politely.

    • If that is a serious question, then I suspect that you haven’t had a serious illness recently. Unless you are wealthy, a serious illness will bankrupt you, even with “good” full coverage health insurance. The insurance company will disallow portions of hospital charges and Doctor charges. You will then be balanced billed for tens of thousands of dollars. If you can’t write a check for $40-50 thousand and can’t work out a long term payment schedule then it’s collection agency and eventually bankruptcy court. Even with the busting real estate bubble, 60% of bankruptcies are precipitated by medical bills. Most of those people had health insurance. You can work your whole life, be financially responsible and be ruined by illness or accident.

    • how would single payer screw you? It would be less expensive than any for profit insurance company cost and cover more and you wouldn’t have to fight to get your bills covered. This idea that we would all have long wating periods for necessary care is garbage.

  10. My family almost went broke caring for a relative with severe mental health issues. They were too “proud” to “take charity” so it nearly brought my father and partner to bankruptcy. Finally she applied for an got Medicare and Medicaid. She now has to lie and say she doesn’t have Medicaid b/c no doctor will see her b/c they don’t take Medicaid, and if they don’t take it, and they accept her as a patient, they have committed “fraud.” So we just laid out $700 of our money, yet again. We need more than Medicare, because it is an 80/20 plan. For people with jobs, Medicare is great. But there needs to be mandatory acceptance of Medicaid, not the cuts to it Obama wants to make. Seriously, we spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars, a lot of it on credit cards or second mortgages, caring for this person. I don’t think we are alone in that. My own parents were on food stamps when they died because medical bills wiped them out, that’s with an 8/20 plan. A single-payer system, universal health care, modeled on Canada or New Zealand, call it socialist or whatever I don’t give a damn–we need it. My family is middle class and we can barely make it.

    • {{chimera}} I’m so sorry — I have relatives with similar experiences and it’s totally heart breaking.

      I’ve been accused of making abusive comments about this subject in the past. But, I really don’t understand how anyone thinks this current system (of denying access & requiring the bankruptcy of families) is workable.

  11. My own parents were on food stamps when they died because medical bills wiped them out, that’s with an 8/20 plan. A single-payer system, universal health care, modeled on Canada or New Zealand, call it socialist or whatever I don’t give a damn–we need it. My family is middle class and we can barely make it.
    People who say “we don’t want socialized medicine” are either shills for the insurance companies or have never had to deal with expensive medical care.

    • People who say “we don’t want socialized medicine” are either shills for the insurance companies or have never had to deal with expensive medical care.

      Actually, that’s an untrue, very blanket statement. Many people have genuine objections and fears, and some of those people do realize how bad it is, and have had to face crushing medical bills themselves. They want a solution, but are not convinced UHC is it. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming evil or selfish motivation for anyone and everyone with doubts about UHC. You only insult the sincere and harden opposition that way.

      If they have concerns or objections, treat those (and them) with respect. People can be convinced by logic and reason. They will likely not be convinced by dismissing them as merely the selfish privileged, or “insurance shills”.

      One of the many things I always loved about Hillary is that she knew this basic fact. She never dismissed and insulted voters. She convinced them.

      • I appreciate your willingness to moderate our comments. Thank you very much!

        • Thanks. I was hoping no one would think I was getting all morally superior or anything (not my intent at all.) I get just as frustrated and emotional over this issue as anyone, since as a nurse married to a doc I have seen the ghastly results of our current system every day for over a decade now. It angers me and breaks my heart.

          But I try to keep the goal in mind, which is persuading doubters, not alienating them. Some really are selfish assholes mindlessly spouting RW talking points, but not ALL are. They deserve to have their reservations addressed honestly.

      • I think many people are overcomplicating the issue because of ideological preconceptions. (This comment is not directed at WMBC.) The truth is, no system is without problems, but when I lived in NZ for a 5-year period, I had the best medical care I have ever had. And that included an incident where a doctor (an American who got his MD at Yale, interestingly enough) really gave me inappropriate treatment. So I did have a bad experience, but it doesn’t amount to the many terrible experiences I and my family have had with the US system. In NZ you can buy insurance that will allow coverage for medical treatment the national health system doesn’t cover, or that it won’t cover entirely if you make too much money. So I had private insurance while I was there, but its cost was minimal. The US has models of workable systems around the world but feels the need to reinvent the wheel b/c…why? Americans are better? I don’t understand it and I wish someone could explain to me why we can’t do what so many other countries are able to do. Of course, our military budget might need to be, gasp, cut.

  12. If they have concerns or objections, treat those (and them) with respect. People can be convinced by logic and reason.
    I agree…the ratio of shiil to haven’t been victimized yet by the insurance company is probably 1.0 to 99.0. However, even if the fears of “socialized” medicine are the result of decades of brainwashing by the insurance industry, they are still “working” for the interests of the insurance industry. I think it is a similar situation to the saying, the a “liberal” is a person that hasn’t been mugged yet…Well a person who is against single payer is a person who hasn’t had big medical bills yet.

  13. just curious, but what is the chip thing that tobacco smokers’s taxes are covering now, i mean, hell
    if im helping paying for it, can we see some results
    is there any data out there

  14. I’ve got some logic for you right here *opens a can of whoopass* /snark. Yea, good points about being open and trying convince. I’ll try to be patient… ah, who am I kidding, where’s my nerf bat, time to whack some people…

  15. The word “socialist” triggers amorphous nightmares for such a large percentage of Americans that is should be recognized as a weapon, not a descriptive.
    Single Payer Universal Health Care addresses the “common good” of a society. It stops the process of punishing people financially for suffering the misfortunes of ill health.

  16. NH I’m really curious. Could you please elaborate on how you’ll be “screwed” by the adoption of single payer universal health care?

  17. My thing is, there just hasn’t been enough of a serious debate on health care reform, period. Hillary started it and ran with it during the primaries, but its been sidelined when the Lightbringer took office. Now I’m supposed to just follow whatever Obama says is going to be good for me/us? So I’m really against this mega Obama infomerical that supposedly is based upon his town hall meeting with the people tactics… BS … especially without counter viewpoints, and not just those from the republican side but all sides involved. I’d like to hear some commentary from proponents of natural health as well and other green economists.

    One thing that keeps getting ignored is how this would affect govt employees. A bit of snark here, but what kind of compensation will govt employees get to receiving better single-payer health care? Since we make lower pay on average to those jobs in the private sector, what incentive would that provide to stay working for the govt, cause the biggest incentive — super bennies — has been removed? Will they get a rise in pay? This is part ~snark~ but also something no one has an answer for.

    • That’s a good point… and you are right about the lower wage , but decent bennies deal that has been adhered to before . But govt employees future benny will be they may keep their jobs if they are lucky. I speak as a spouse of one….because I can see govt employees being canned and then offered their jobs back in a private company for less and no bennies. oi

  18. testing … my comments aren’t getting through ;=

  19. Hillary’s single biggest mistake in ’93 was believing the GOP demands were in good faith and trying to work in what they wanted. When it became a bit more complicated as a result , the GOP then screamed ” It’s unworkable!”. The GOP’s only real demand is to kill off public health care anyway they can. This bipartisan shit is helping them to do so. You don’t listen to them on this topic if you want something decent. Back then Hill needed their votes….why is Barry courting them now ? Why are we pretending this shrunken public plan is any great shakes, as you say so well

    Folks, “a public plan” is a COMPROMISE for many Democrats — not a “sticking point” ! What we want is Single-Payer. But, we’re so desperate to get access to health care (not insurance) that we’re considering a compromise with the (totally unexplained) Public Plan.

    Increasingly I can see why Hill left the Senate.

  20. Bob Dole – a man of action.

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