The more that comes out about this bill, the more unhappy I become. When the Nevada Leg Hound, Harry Reid, humped LIEberman’s leg, he may have lost one of the Senate’s best members.
In what may be a huge setback for the Democratic leadership, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said Wednesday on the Fox Business Network that "as of this point" he cannot vote for the Senate health care bill after the concessions recently made to Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT).
"He wants to strengthen the bill," Michael Briggs, Sanders' Communications Director, wrote in an e-mail to Raw Story. "With the public option and Medicare buy-in off the table, he is focused on strengthening provisions on community health centers."
"He wants to dramatically increase support," Briggs added, "for the primary care facilities that provide doctors, dentists, mental health counseling and low-cost prescription drugs on a sliding-scale basis -- and he is working to improve a provision that would let states experiment with single payer or other innovative programs to deliver comprehensive, affordable health care more efficiently and economically."
But the Senator made no promises about how he'll ultimately vote, saying "we'll see" what happens.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid removed a Medicare buy-in option from the health bill on Monday, following Lieberman's announcement that he would join a Republican filibuster of the bill if it included the Medicare expansion. Lieberman's vote was seen as crucial to getting the 60 votes needed to overcome filibuster.
But Sanders' comments Wednesday indicated that the Democratic caucus may have gained the support of one of its most conservative members at the price of one of its most liberal. (Sanders, a longtime favorite politician in Vermont, is a self-described "democratic socialist.")
"As of this point, I'm not voting for this bill," Sanders told Fox's Neil Cavuto. "I’m going to do my best to make this bill a better bill, a bill that I can vote for, but I’ve indicated both to the White House and the Democratic leadership that my vote is not secure at this point. And here is the reason. When the public option was withdrawn, because of Lieberman’s action, what I worried about is, how do you control escalating health care costs? How do you give competition to the private insurance companies who are raising rates outrageously every year?"… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <Raw Story>
Bob Cesca argues the other side well.
If I stop being pissed off long enough to take a good look at what remains in both the Senate and House bills, there aren't necessarily fool-proof solutions to these problems, but there are regulations, subsidies and reforms that will ameliorate a significant chunk of the present crisis. For example, the Senate bill will reduce the cost of insurance for a family of four earning $54,000 from around $19,000 per year to around $9,000 per year.
To put this a bit more sharply, if I could construct a system in which insurers spent 90 percent of every premium dollar on medical care, never discriminated against another sick applicant, began exerting real pressure for providers to bring down costs, vastly simplified their billing systems, made it easier to compare plans and access consumer ratings, and generally worked more like companies in a competitive market rather than companies in a non-functional market, I would take that deal. And if you told me that the price of that deal was that insurers would move from being the 86th most profitable industry to being the 53rd most profitable industry, I would still take that deal.
So would I, even though I'm pissed off about it. But it undeniably makes sense to take the deal. If progressives successfully convince enough Democrats to kill the bill, do we really want to be the group that plunged the last blade into the back of reform?… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <Huffington Post>
Cesca is correct that there are god qualities left in this bill. But is it enough?
Yesterday, I qualified my support for the bill with the condition that with neither the public option nor the Medicare buy in to contain costs and provide choice, that the bill would be acceptable only if the mandate were removed. Now I seriously doubt that he read Politics Plus and used us as a basis to form his conclusion, so I can only surmise that great minds often fall in the same ditch.
As they always are, this Olbermann special comment was compelling. He agreed with me on the mandate. He also inspired me to reevaluate a couple other things. The Nevada Leg Hound has given the Republican, Traitor Joe, and the DINOs a free ride. Every time one of them has so much as farted, he had moved to gut the bill further. Looking ahead to 2010, the Democrats will own whatever passes. Do we want that to be a bill that helps some, but harms more than it helps? No. And if this bill is to be killed, do we want it to be a progressive like Bernie Sanders that kills it? No. Should we just go back to reconciliation as Dean suggests? No. Put either the strong public option or the Medicare buy-in, or preferably both, back into the bill. End the free ride. If this bill is going to be killed, let it be the Republican Reich with their wannabe Traitor Joe and the DINOs that kill it. Make them pay the price for opposing their voters at the polls. It may well be that Traitor Joe and the DINOs will not be so bold in their opposition, when they can no longer get what they want for nothing. And if they kill the bill, they own health care. We should immediately go the reconciliation route, if that happens.
If Reid and the Senate Democrats continue their cowardly ways, I will still support this bill, if and only if the mandate is removed.