So much for Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown’s election in January ringing a death knell for health care, which suggests that projected Democratic destruction could prove an equally errant guess.
The legislation passed despite Washington’s politically acrid atmosphere and dire predictions that its provisions surely will bring us down.
Because it serves citizens and cuts the deficit? Because it forces insurers to cover sick kids and adults, regardless of pre-existing conditions?
Because it changes rules and allows small business and middle-class families to join larger insurance pools to get better-priced coverage?
Because it allows parents’ policies to cover children up to age 26? Or ends lifetime caps on benefits? Or offers free preventive care?
Or maybe because its $940 billion price over 10 years buys protection for millions without it, and, daggummit, I don’t want my taxes helping them that don’t help themselves!
Again, get a grip.
Who do you think pays for “those people” now? The government, health-care providers and the insured; and since those with no coverage often end up in ERs, their care costs more.
Insurance for those who can’t afford it is good policy, ethically and fiscally.
Oh, no, the bill’s too big, we can’t pay for it!
Yes we can, according to the Congressional Budget Office, Congress’ independent fiscal ref, which says that it cuts the deficit by $13.8 billion a-year.
It’s paid for with taxes on the wealthy – households making $250,000 and up (which is 2.6 percent of us, according to the national Tax Policy Center) – and cost-savings in Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs.
And, yeah, some “Cadillac” benefits get taxed. But if your plan costs less than $27,500 a year (and I’d note U.S. Census data shows Philly’s median income at $37,090) it won’t be. And for those that will, the tax doesn’t kick in until 2018, by which time everything could change.
You don’t buy any of this? You think it’ll sink us? That’s what they thought in ’92 when a Democratic Congress pushed President Clinton’s tax hike/deficit-reduction through. Instead, there was an economic boom.
The bill’s imperfect, has pork and government can screw up anything. But it’s mostly about better access, lower costs and helping fellow-citizens.
Why does it draw such anger?
I don’t recall rage over budgeting $144 billion more last year for two wars halfway around the world. Or over foreign-aid costs, which grew from $17.5 billion in 2000 to nearly $42 billion in 2007, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.
I don’t pick up similar sniping over spending on the misguided, seven-year-old folly in Iraq, the long-term cost of which the Congressional Budget Office puts at $2.4 trillion – enough to twice pay for the health-care bill, with $520 million left over for, say, children’s cancer research.
No, siree, Bob. So focus, people. The only thing to be angry about regarding health-care reform is that it took so long to get it started.
Yes, of course it’s bad. But if they had this much trouble pushing what is really a REPUBLICAN, market-based version of healthcare reform, what do you think would have happened to single payer? Would it even have gotten to a vote?
I think this is a first step in the inevitability of single payer. It’s the only thing that makes long-term economic sense and there will be a lot of pressure to fix it. (Not to mention, the insurance companies will now escalate their abuse of their clients.)
I don’t care what the handwringers are saying this morning, the Republicans know this is the beginning of the end. Even Noam Chomsky says he would have “held his nose” and voted for it.
Obama’s not a liberal, but Nancy Pelosi is. Let’s see what she does with this.
I’d like to point out that in the middle of all the praise for Obama, we’re missing an obvious truth: It was Nancy Pelosi who dragged this bloodied carcass of a health bill across the finish line and got the job done.
I’ve had my problems with Speaker Pelosi (lack of BushCo accountability for war crimes is just one) but she believed in a broad bill when all the party pragmatists had given up. And even though it’s not the bill I wanted to see, it really is the beginning of something historic. And for that, Madame Speaker, I salute you:
The knock on Pelosi was simple: To anoint a “San Francisco liberal” as a party icon would simply affirm the caricature of Democratic leaders that Republicans had been peddling for years – to devastating effect. Better to pick her less strident, more pragmatic rival, Maryland’s Steny Hoyer, their thinking went. But Pelosi had the votes and won what remains the longest leadership campaign in House history (more than three years of starts and stops) by a 118-95 count.That verdict led directly to Sunday night. Because the ideological ambition that separated Pelosi from Hoyer is probably what saved the concept of wholesale healthcare reform when it seemed destined for the trash heap just two months ago.
Pelosi, we have learned in recent days, was instrumental in prodding the White House to press ahead with its push for large-scale reform after January’s special Senate election in Massachusetts – even as Rahm Emanuel, once a House man himself, urged the president to radically pare back his vision. And it was Pelosi who then somehow struck a deal with the Senate and found a way to convince 219 of her fellow Democrats to vote “yes” on a bill they hated.
It’s impossible to know for sure how Hoyer, had he been the speaker, would have responded to Scott Brown’s Massachusetts triumph. But his political history shows him to be much more of an incrementalist than Pelosi. It’s hard to imagine his instincts would have been any different from Emanuel’s – and that Democrats, under a Speaker Hoyer, would on Sunday night have been able to boast of expanding coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans.
Fittingly, just minutes after the final vote, Hoyer himself hailed Pelosi as “the single most responsible person for this night’s success.”
The passage of healthcare reform is not just a triumph of Pelosi’s liberal idealism, though it is partly that. It’s just as much a triumph of her underappreciated legislative savvy – mastery, really. In the ’01 leadership race, Hoyer was supposed to be the skilled tactician. Pelosi was supposed to be the clueless ideologue. But as speaker, she’s adeptly mixed her idealism with the deft touch of a seasoned congressional insider.
You need look no further than the healthcare saga for confirmation of this. Who else could have pulled off what Pelosi just did? For more than a year, she carefully balanced the wildly disparate interests of her caucus’ various coalitions – the progressives who demanded a “robust” public option, the Blue Dogs who cared mainly about deficits, the pro-lifers who made abortion their make-or-break issue, and on and on. She gave away just enough to each group to keep reform alive – without sacrificing her own bottom line of near-universal coverage.
She also went to war with the Senate after the Massachusetts special election – and won, forcing that chamber’s leaders to embrace the reconciliation process they’d been shunning.
Oh well, McCain is facing a primary challenge from an even wackier wingnut, and has to descend to his level. (He only has to drop an inch or two.)
In other words, this healthcare bill is, as everything else, “good news for John McCain”!
WASHINGTON – Sen. John McCain said Monday morning that Democrats have not heard the last of the health care debate, and said he was repulsed by “all this euphoria going on.”
Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” McCain, who was President Barack Obama’s GOP rival in the 2008 presidential campaign, said that “outside the Beltway, the American people are very angry. They don’t like it, and we’re going to repeal this.”
McCain, who is in a tough Republican primary fight in his home state, said the GOP “will challenge it every place we can,” and said there will be reprisals at the polls, in Congress and in the courts.
On the cusp of succeeding where numerous past congresses and administrations have failed, jubilant House Democrats voted 219-212 to approve legislation that would extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans, reduce deficits and ban insurance company practices such as denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Via John Kerry:
“As Ted Kennedy said, across the decades, in the best and the most discouraging hours, health care was the cause of his life. Tonight that cause becomes more than a dream, it becomes America’s commitment.
“This landmark moment belongs to President Barack Obama, to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the courageous members of the House, and to the colleagues he cherished in the Senate. Most of all, it belongs to America — and it is one of the rare legislative achievements that belongs to the ages.
“When Ted stood with Barack Obama in 2008, he said he had new hope that we would break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American — north, south, east, west, young, old — would have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege. And now they do and from now on they will.
“In the last words he wrote, Ted said that ‘if you persevere, stick with it, work at it, you have a real opportunity to achieve something. Sure, there will be storms along the way. And you might not reach your goal right away. But if you do your best and keep a true compass, you’ll get there.’ Ted knew we would get here, and all of us who loved him and shared his hopes for America are deeply grateful.”
The dream will never die….
The conservatives are in deep mourning tonight over the passage of the healthcare reform bill. I have some empathy (not sympathy) for how bad they feel, considering how so many things the Bush administration did (starting with the bombing of Iraq civilians) made me sick to my stomach.
And like most liberals, I’m aware of the bill’s many weaknesses. But I also know how craven politicians are, and I’m convinced they will react to constituent complaints. (Because they like to keep their jobs.) That’s why I predict the 2020 version of this bill will be a helluva lot better than this one. The fight to fix it is just beginning.
In the meantime, here are some representative conservative comments on Twitter:
The DEMS have brought shame on America Abort the DEMS NOW
PLEASE #killthebill for my 12 year old who wants 2b a doctor! With Obamacare she might choose 2b a vet instead!
Paul Ryan just gave the best speech of the night. The guy is a freaking rockstar
Re: pelosi… Is this bitch for real? I bet she groups herself with Lincoln, MLK, Jesus
healthcare is not a right Nazi Pelozi!!
PIMP NANCY IS PASSING THIS BILL BY COMMITING BRIBES THAT SHE FINANCED WITH MY MONEY!!!! WTF!!!
And no, I don’t thank @BarackObama. Except for RUINING my country.
We are selling our heritage for the lies and empty promises of a handful of radical liberals.
I have one word to describe this legislation “tyranny”.
Monday take your money out of the banks
N. PigLosi looks like a “babbling idiot” who uses random Hand Gestures like a swinging monkey
Nancy milking the pre-existing conditions issue. Extend competition across state lines and watch pre existing conditions go away.
You are witnessing the death of the Democratic party
Good Job Nancy, Chairman Mao would be proud.
NOT MY PRESIDENT! NOT MY CONGRESS! NOT MY GOVERNMENT!!!
I’m not sympathetic to Pelosi’s old guy in Michigan 2embarrassed 2ask his kids 4help. He doesn’t mind stealing from mine!
March 21. Happy dependence day!
Listening to Pelosi live makes me want to puke. How could anybody of right mind believe a single word? Wicked witch.
This vote tonight is nothing short of a declaration of war by Dems & their freeloader base against responsible self-reliant Americans.
Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994 …
No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage …
We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.
Will they learn? Nah. Now Frum will be on the shitlist.
Waiting to see what Obama promised Stupak in his executive order….
Yes, Democrats are fighting to pass a Republican version of health care reform. Wheee! E.J. Dionne:
Here is the ultimate paradox of the Great Health Care Showdown: Congress will divide along partisan lines to pass a Republican version of health care reform, and Republicans will vote against it. Yes, Democrats have rallied behind a bill that Republicans or at least large numbers of them should love. It is built on a series of principles that Republicans espoused for years.
[. . .] Republicans always say they are against socialized medicine. Not only is this bill nothing like a single-payer health system along Canadian or British lines. It doesn’t even include the public option that would have allowed people voluntarily to buy their insurance from the government. The single-payer idea fell by the wayside long ago, and supporters of the public option sadly, from my point of view, lost out last December. [. . .] Democrats, including President Obama, are so anxious to get everyone health insurance that they are more than willing to try a market-based system and hope it works. It’s a shame the Republicans can no longer take yes for an answer.
The corporate sell-outs, the abandonment of core Democratic principles, the willingness to prop up the insurance industry – no, none of that weakened Obama’s presidency:
Last week alone, Mr. Obama called or met with 64 lawmakers. He scored the vote of one reluctant Democrat, Representative Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, after an Air Force One ride from Cleveland.
On Saturday he went to Capitol Hill to make a last-minute appeal to House Democrats, telling them: “We’re a day away. After a year of debate, after every argument has been made, by just about everybody, we’re 24 hours away.”
In his private sessions with lawmakers, the president has drawn the consequences for himself in the starkest terms. In a meeting with members of the House Progressive Caucus, who are angry that the bill lacks a government-backed insurance plan, the president warned that his other priorities — jobs and immigration — would be tougher to achieve if the health bill does not pass. There was silence, Mr. Grijalva said, when Mr. Obama laid out the risks.
“If we fail at this,” Mr. Grijalva recalled Mr. Obama saying, “it’s going to be harder for us to pull the line on this other stuff. It is going to weaken our presidency.”