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      Saying that humanity is currently the best off it has ever been (a dubious proposition in any case) is like saying “I’ve never been warmer” as you burn down your house. People like Pinker have been trotting out stats to claim that we’ve never been better off. Those stats are questionable, based on a definition […]
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We’re being played (again)

paul-newman-and-robert-redford-the-sting


Single payer is off the table and now that ObamaCare is going down in flames they are trying to stampede us into supporting something they call “public option” that isn’t really public option.

When hustlers are running their scams and the mark (that’s us) is getting cold feet, one trick they use is to have an associate appear eager to take the deal.  The mark (that’s us) is afraid they are going to lose a good bargain and takes the bait.  So what are we seeing right now?  A big push for us to take the deal before it’s too late.

I ain’t buying it.

Marc Ambinder:

An administration official said tonight that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “misspoke” when she told CNN this morning that a government run health insurance option “is not an essential part” of reform. This official asked not to be identified in exchange for providing clarity about the intentions of the President. The official said that the White House did not intend to change its messaging and that Sebelius simply meant to echo the president, who has acknowledged that the public option is a tough sell in the Senate and is, at the same time, a must-pass for House Democrats, and is not, in the president’s view, the most important element of the reform package.

I’ll give credit where credit is due – the Obama Permanent Campaign is very good at message control.  That’s why I find it highly implausible that Kathleen Sebelius went off script yesterday.  That leaves two possibilities – she was either floating a “trial balloon” or she was part of an attempt to manipulate us.

If there is one thing that the OPC excells at it is manipulation.

From what I’ve seen this “public option” is gonna be an option for about 10 million people that can afford health insurance but can’t get it because of pre-existing conditions.  Those pre-existing conditions mean they will probably incur higher costs, which means their premiums will be higher or the plan will have to be government subsidized.  Meanwhile the private plans can focus on the most profitable categories of clientele – the young and healthy.

A true public option would be open to everyone and would prohibit private insurance companies from dumping people (or raising their rates) because of pre-existing conditions.  I’m not saying that offering insurance to people who can’t get it elsewhere is bad, but it isn’t public option.

I’m gonna have to disagree with the Big Dawg and others who think it is important that something, even a bad bill, be passed so that Obama can claim a victory on health care reform.


NOTE: My trip to Netroots Nation



You may have noticed my absence over the weekend. On the spur of the moment I decided to attend the annual blogging convention in Pittsburgh.

I had a great time listening to the speakers, rubbing elbows and having my picture taken with the elites and hoi polloi of Left Blogistan. Then I sobered up and realized I was at a Denny’s in Bakersfield.

Better luck next year.

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Chuck Schumer Might Need to Watch His Back

You tell 'em, Chuck!

You tell 'em, Chuck!

Wow! In an interview with Huffington Post over the long weekend, Chuck Schumer said that with Franken seated, there is no more need for compromise on health care legislation.

Schumer offered a detailed and frank assessment of the political landscape of the current health care debate. Predicting that the final bill will include a public plan, he painted the Republican Party as rigid to a fault when it comes to negotiations.

“This is where we are going to end up,” he said of a health care overhaul that included a public plan. “And I think, it would be much better for the Senate Finance Committee if we did it in the committee… I think the Senate HELP committee compromised already, because you have a lot of members on the HELP committee who would’ve liked [the public option] to be much closer to Medicare. The idea seems to be catching everybody’s imagination, and sense of fairness. And the only holdouts are sort of ideologues on the Republican side of this saying no government involvement whatsoever.”

Schumer didn’t add, but I will that we have a President who is too wimpy to stand up to the Republicans and fight for a public option and who opposes singer payer because it would “suddenly upend” the current health care system.

Back to Schumer:

“My bottom-line criteria is that it has to be strong, national, and available to everyone on day one, to keep the insurance companies honest and I’m not sure we can get there,” Schumer said. “I’ve been talking to [Sen.] Olympia [Snowe] about this,” he added, referring to the trigger option’s main proponent in the Senate, “but I’m not sure we can bridge that gap.”

Similarly critical remarks were offered for the idea of replacing a public plan with health care co-ops, which Schumer described as insufficient and unpractical.

“[Sen. Chuck] Grassley hasn’t closed the door, but it seems in general that his model of co-op is little co-ops popping up like they do in farm country,” he said. “And the model that we are saying we need is they have to be strong, national and available everywhere from the first day. And I think we are very far apart on this.”

I wonder if the Senator from New York has discussed this with the big boss. Hasn’t Obama been making noises about compromising on the public option in order to get Republication votes? And then when people keep complaining, “expressing concern” about grass roots effort to get single payer health care?

Can Schumer withstand the presidential blowback? I just hope he sticks to his guns, even after Obama returns from his latest trip and starts talking about compromise and trying his best to make sure his buddies in the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations are well taken of. I’m not going to hold my breath, but I do have hope.

And maybe Shumer has been hearing from his constitutents. Today’s Washington Post has an interesting on-line post by Doug Feaver on the views of “health-care lobbyists vs. real people

Our Readers Who Comment are nearly unanimous this morning in condemning the news that more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress are lobbying for major health-care firms in the legislative attempts to reform the broken system.

Feaver provides a sampling of reader responses. Here are a few examples:

sashab1 wrote, “…Single-payer, universal health care is the only reform that will actually work. The insurance industry is going to water down the public option until it won’t work, and they will be back in business (and we will be wringing our hands again) in a couple of years.”

lionelroger predicted that “Obama will most certainly be a one-termer if he falls in with a corrupt Congress and does not deliver a public option Plan or single-payer universal health care… It is a monumental travesty for Congress and Federal employees to enjoy a cafeteria-style Health Benefits Plan subsidized by taxpayers but not available to all our citizens. Enough of this injustice.”

texanrme said, “This a war for the survival of those that have profited at the expense of the sick and elderly for generations… They want to argue how government can not handle healthcare administration, but they have proven beyond a doubt that neither can they…”

Of course some commenters still think that Obama is looking out for their best interests, but it does seem that generally people are starting to wake up and smell the corruption.


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It’s Official…Al Franken, “Number 60” Should be/is on His Way to the Senate

al_franken

The long-awaited decision is finally in from the Minnesota State Supreme Court:

From Talking Points Memo:

The Minnesota Supreme Court has handed down its much-expected ruling in the heavily-litigated Minnesota Senate race from 2008 — and it’s a unanimous one — deciding against Republican former Sen. Norm Coleman’s appeal of his defeat in the election trial and affirming the lower court’s verdict that Democratic comedian Al Franken is the legitimate winner of the race.

This, in conjunction with Governor Tim Pawlenty’s promise

UPDATE:  This just in…Coleman concedes.  It’s really going to happen.

It’s going to be interesting to watch.