What Remains

December 15, 2009

According to today’s New York Times, the Medicare buy-in has walked off the plank blindfolded. Joe Lieberman, with his eye patch and hook-hand, has seen to that.

The goal of the Democratic Party, of which I am a sometimes proud and sometimes peeved member, seems to be getting a health care care bill passed in 2009. A health care bill. That most emphatically does not mean the same thing as a health care bill progressives can celebrate.

Does President Obama have a crystal ball that told him this really is the best we could have hoped for at this time, in this political climate? If the answer is no, why was he so willing to keep lowering the bar on this bill, as if he and the Congress were playing some kind of political limbo game? Picture Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL),  with his head bent back as far as it could go when he said today that liberals are deciding to “weigh on balance what remains.”

What does remain? The bill will do a lot of uninsured people a lot of good, but unfortunately it will not break the powerful hold of the insurance companies on the American public. So is it really, as Durbin said, “a once in a lifetime opportunity” to pass this bill?

That remains to be seen. John Nichols of  The Nation says it’s not real reform. I agree with him. MoveOn.org is asking its members to 1) call Barack Obama and ask for a public option, and 2) donate money to fight against Joe Lieberman’s re-election. I find their first suggestion naive and their second off-target. Getting revenge isn’t at the forefront of my mind right now.

What’s running through my head is, “How did this all happen? Was this a case of terrible mismanagement by the Democrats, incredible bullying by the Republicans, or a mixture of both? As Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) said today, “the system is what the system is.” Sad but pragmatic.

I guess that’s why I like most true Democrats; they’re philosophical rather than aggressive. But maybe if the progressives had been more aggressive, we could have manipulated the system so that what remains could have been . . . well, more.

Next time we get the chance (like maybe when this “reform” fails), let’s fight for single-payer as if we were fighting for our lives. I know many people have done that this time around, and they are the ones I feel for today. We, or at least I, didn’t do enough to help them.

Lesson learned, at great cost.

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One Response to “What Remains”

  1. John Says:

    We have witnessed the brutal truth that our new president cannot bring together people with diametrically opposed philosophies. We are still witnessing the art of compromise being the enemy of the people.

    I’ve written the DNC, my republican senators, and my president. It is my hope that someone will offer a substitute bill, or conference will put the Medicare buy in AND the public option (a strong one) back into the bill. Perhaps Medicare can be the public option.

    The question here is do we benefit more from a good bill failing or a bad bill passing. A good bill that would insure the uninsured, I believe would be a very difficult thing to vote against, as every senator and house member has his share of uninsured in his state/district. Blocking a bill that will insure those uninsured will make them angry, and anger is a great motivator come election day.

    It’s my opinion that blocking a good bill will excite the voters who support the bill to change the people in the Senate who blocked it. If we pass a bill that is actually found severely lacking, there is no reason to vote for democrats; they can’t/won’t deliver.

    My view is that a good bill fails this year, can pass in 2011. If we can wait that long to get out of Afghanistan, we can certainly wait that long for health care reform.

    HOWEVER, let us all question why, with the best options put on the table, single payer was never considered. All those other countries that get better results for less money have some form of single payer. ONLY we keep one’s health insurance connected to one’s job, while we wonder why those jobs keep going out of our country.


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