Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 28, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

HEALTHCARE FOR ALL!....A advisory panel overseen by the comptroller general has recommended that "Congress should take immediate steps to guarantee that all Americans have access to affordable health care by 2012":

While leaving many details to be worked out, the panel declared, It should be public policy, written in law, that all Americans have affordable access to health care.

The panel was created by the 2003 law that added a drug benefit to Medicare. Under the law, President Bush has 45 days to comment on the recommendations and offer a report to Congress.

I'll bet Bush is just going to jump all over this. You know, compassionate conservative and all that. I can hardly wait.

Kevin Drum 1:59 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (108)

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Comments

When this came up with Clinton, I was really taken aback at the inability of the nation to talk about this in any sane manner -- to use logic, statistics, studies, other nation's experiences, weighing pros and cons, suffering, bankruptcy, work lost, emergency room overload, present day experience, even. All the opponents screamed was "socialism", "rationing", etc., etc.

Of course, the political climate is so much more mature now, I'm really looking forward to the lucid, informed and courteous debate.

Posted by: notthere on September 28, 2006 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

"nation's" = "nations'"

Posted by: notthere on September 28, 2006 at 2:58 AM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't be that surprised to see Bush actually talk up a national dialog on universal health care. Why not? This administration frequently promises vaporware ("vaporlegislation"?) on which they never even remotely intend to following through.

And hey, guess what, the Republicans could actually get a net boost over Democrats because Democrats have not made this, or anything really, THEIR issue.

Seriously, what do Democrats stand for? As best I can tell, Democrats stand for hiding silently in the political shadows during the worst constitutional crisis in generations in the hope that voters will elect them because they're not Republicans.

I'm afraid it doesn't work that way. No matter how much voters may turn against a party in general, voters rarely think their specific congressman is one of the 'bad guys'. The average voter also doesn't follow the issues closely enough to base their vote on an individual congressman's voting record (or for that matter a party's overall legislative agenda). If you want to get people to vote for a Democrat, you have to give them positive and compelling reasons other than "don't look at us, we weren't in charge".

Here's another lovely example of an issue that the Democrats should absolutely, positively own - and yet... aside from the efforts of Howard Dean (who most Democrats treat as a political leper), the party as a whole hasn't gotten on board with universal health care (not really). Sure, the DNC has it as a bullet point - but when's the last time you've heard a Democrat other than Dean talk about it? There may be some who mention it here and there. But there has been absolutely no coordinated effort by party leaders to push this issue into the mainstream consciousness.

There have been some great opportunities (e.g. Ford laying off large numbers of workers in no small part due to the costs of providing health care to their workers) to talk about how universal health care not only provides security to working class families, but also is good for corporate America as well.

Nope. The Democrats are busy slitting each other's throats over if and when we should withdraw the troops. Of course the winning strategy for a minority opposition party would be to pick a stance on the war and move on without the self-defeating internecine strife. But no. You almost get the feeling that the Democrats don't really want to win.

Democrats should seize this issue and run with it. Or do something! Anything!

Posted by: Augustus on September 28, 2006 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

I'll bet Bush is just going to jump all over this. You know, compassionate conservative and all that. I can hardly wait.

Hah? Bush has already jumped all over it. Remember Bush's Health Savings Accounts that he proposed in the 2006 State of the Union address? It does exactly what you want because it provides for Universal health care. The only thing is it does it through the private sector and the free market rather than through the big government socialistic method you prefer.

Link

"In his 2006 State of the Union address, President Bush mentioned Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and his priorities of confronting the rising cost of health care, helping people afford the health insurance they need, and making coverage portable so that people dont lose their health plan when they change jobs. HSAs, which now cover over 3 million people, are already lowering peoples costs, in many cases are totally portable, and provide powerful incentives that will reduce healthcare costs for all."

"The most exciting thing about HSAs is this potential impact they could have on the cost of health care. No system has yet been devised in the history of mankind that does more to increase quality and lower prices than a competitive market system."

"The other factor in play is the financial motivation the individual will have to stay healthy. The vast majority of health care spending today is due to degenerative diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and other modern ailments that are primarily the result of lifestyle choices. The consumer who wisely spends his HSA dollars on preventive care (which can be done tax-free) and pays attention to diet and exercise could be rewarded with a substantial amount of money in their Health Savings Account by age 65. As an epidemic of diabetes and other obesity-related diseases loom over us, it is nice to see the government setting up a system that rewards healthy behavior."

Posted by: Al on September 28, 2006 at 3:26 AM | PERMALINK

Al:

1) Healthcare is a necessity, not a consumer good.

2) Medical insurance is a captive market.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 28, 2006 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK

Augustus, what are your politics?

I don't see any "slitting each other's throats" or "internecine strife". Present day Democratic politicians are too supine to rise to that!

But I really think it goes back to the 90s when this item got hit out of the park without debate, and media lay down then, too, without asking any questions.

This country really is brain-washed. Many follow the screed and don't filter or criticize. They accept sound bites, not argument.

That is a generalization, but one the politicians follow with some success.

Posted by: notthere on September 28, 2006 at 3:35 AM | PERMALINK

Progressives make me sick, but I'm a good enough human to know it is not some one else's responsibility to cure me.

If you want socialized health care, move to Canada, Cuba or the UK. I'm serious. If getting some one else to pay for your health care is so freeking important to you.... If taking from others to help you with your snivels is so important to you, then leave. Just go. Please. Before you make me sicker.

Posted by: James Mabry on September 28, 2006 at 3:40 AM | PERMALINK

I note with some irony the title "Citizens' Health Care Working Group".

Obviously, if this vague proposal were made law, the Democrats would want to extend it to everyone in the U.S., including the millions of illegal aliens (see the CA Kuehl proposal for an example).

That would mean that U.S. citizens would be giving an even greater subsidy to corrupt corporations and that would mean even more illegal aliens coming here to take advantage of our generous benefits package. And, that would lead to massive financial problems as low-wage workers come to a high-wage country with socialized medicine.

OTOH, perhaps the way to get Bush's support is to note how much of a corporate subsidy this would be. (Note: if you reply, please don't offer a false choice and consider the possibility of enforcing our laws in order to reduce the numbers of illegal aliens here.)

===
Whether you agree with the above or not, I strongly suggest reading about recent documents obtained under a FOIA request:

"Documents disclose 'shadow government'"

Then, ask yourself, where are the MSM and the major bloggers on this story?

Posted by: TLB on September 28, 2006 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

Last week Krugman typed what seems to this adman to be the magic phrase: "Medicare for everyone."

Even the most superficial look at the universal systems in place in the other prosperous Western democracies shows that each nation's system is different, and grew from their specific history. Medicare's our precursor.

It solves a major political stumbling block. Call it "single-payer universal healthcare" and you've already lost a bloc of voters before you even finish the phrase. Another group will think you're talking about socialized medicine, and another will simply think there will be an enormous bureaucracy.

But Medicare is a fairly easy concept to grasp. And probably most voters actually know someone who's getting their health care through Medicare and know that seniors are pretty happy about it, at least with the part that was designed by Democrats.

And that, of course, is another part of the argument. Look at the part that was designed by Democrats, then look at the drug program designed by the GOP. Who has the donut hole?

So what I want to know is, has anyone seen a policy paper that runs the numbers for universal Medicare?

Posted by: Mark Paul on September 28, 2006 at 3:57 AM | PERMALINK

James Mabry --

You are not, obviously, a very communal person.

The rest of the advanced economies have found that it makes total economic sence to provide universal health care for real economic reasons. Not all the same solutions, but all at great variance with the US. Days lost at work, emergency room costs, etc. (It's really too boring since you haven't done any of the reading yourself). We pay twice as much per head on health care than some western universally covered nations (yes, I know there's more to it than that).

The large employers in the US are just beginning to realize what that cost really means, with health costs almost continuously rising at 2 to 5 times inflation. Every employee would prefer a job with health insurance. Few small company can afford it, but there is your source of growth and new future. You loose your insurance when you move jobs. Economically, how much friction in that?

All in all, you are a little picture viewer. "Me and only me."

Try looking at the big picture!

Posted by: notthere on September 28, 2006 at 4:05 AM | PERMALINK

obviously James Marby and Augustus are either idiots or paid trolls with the former also being a germophope
I am looking forward to Mr. Marby contracting smallpox and dying.

Posted by: Black Death on September 28, 2006 at 4:28 AM | PERMALINK

"If taking from others to help you with your snivels is so important to you, then leave. Just go. Please. Before you make me sicker.

Gee, James, you seem really, really upset at the idea that someone in need might get taken care of. Have you considered seeing someone about this? It sounds like a serious problem for you, and I understand psychiatric help is covered under some HMOsjust as long as you understand that no one else will pay for it. Or gives a flying fuck about your problems. By the way, you're sniveling!

Posted by: Kenji on September 28, 2006 at 4:36 AM | PERMALINK

It's kind of a no-brainer. France, for pity's sake, has excellent health care for everyone for less than we pay for care for a few. Switzerland's reputed to be the best, and even they spend less than we do.

In the U.S., our doctors spend more time trying to figure out payments than they do treating patients.

Too many people freak out at the idea that their money might help somebody else out. "Why should I pay for their education/health care/retirement"? It's YOYO v. WITT: "You're On Your Own" versus "We're In This Together". Unfortunately, we've been stuck on selfishness for so long that YOYO is self-evident to most people.

Posted by: bad Jim on September 28, 2006 at 4:39 AM | PERMALINK

I'm a good enough human to know it is not some one else's responsibility to cure me.

I'll remember that, James Mabry, when I see you beside the road bleeding to death. Not my responsibility!

You stinking piece of shit. Die.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 28, 2006 at 4:43 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: mmf铃声 on September 28, 2006 at 4:45 AM | PERMALINK

Every time I ask myself, "Why won't the Dems in Congress take leadership on this? The electorate is out way ahead of them on this one. Why don't they run with it? WHY?!" the answer comes back:

Because it profits them only slightly less than it does the GOP to protect the healthcare status quo. Duh, shortstop.

We keep thinking the Congressional Dems are our guys, and they're not our guys. If, after the Democrats' abject failure to meaningfully stand up against the outrages of the past five years, we needed further proof that in the current system the vast majority of citizens have no guys in Congress, this is it.

I'm not ready to waste my vote on a third party yet. But I am increasingly understanding why others do.

The state of healthcare in the U.S. is a moral outrage and a flaming indictment of our priorities as the (for the moment) wealthiest nation. How many more people have to suffer before we reach the tipping point on universal coverage? Another 47 million uninsured? 100? 150? How many more underinsured? What the fuck is wrong with this country?

Posted by: shortstop on September 28, 2006 at 5:08 AM | PERMALINK

shortstop --

Ooh! I love your moral outrage.

But where to go to now?

The US has suffered from the oligopoly of 2 parties for 200 years. They and the media have colluded against the rise of any 3rd or 4th parties; I don't know why. Meanwhile, those 2 parties have lately rolled to the right. It must reflect the people, no? Now, although some believe racism is no longer a problem in the US, I believe it not only to be rampant, but innured.

This administration is as fascist as any in any Western nation in the last 40 years, and many support their actions, not least those who swear by the Constitution, freedom, liberty. Yet these are the ones who are strangely blind to "their" President's intrusions. And noone calls it.

In "freedom loving" USA! Amazing!

Posted by: notthere on September 28, 2006 at 5:58 AM | PERMALINK

The same knuckle-dragging, brainwashed retards who fought against flouridation of drinking water and that have been trained to pull the "R" lever in the voting booth without thinking, will fight universal health care tooth and nail.

They will say, "It's socialism" or "It's my money" (even though many are on govt. assistance now) or "The government will take my gun next".

To which progressives should reply, "No, universal health care is an investment in a more productive society and a competitive advantage in a global economy."

Posted by: A Cynic's Cynic on September 28, 2006 at 6:06 AM | PERMALINK

Moral hazard! Moral hazard! If we make it less expensive to get medical treatment, more people will get sick--it's the magic of the free market at work!

[Caution: Sarcasm in Progress]

Posted by: rea on September 28, 2006 at 6:14 AM | PERMALINK

Comprehensive health care would probably aid the terrorists.

Posted by: steve duncan on September 28, 2006 at 6:29 AM | PERMALINK

In business school one learns that many would-be entrepreneurs fail to start their own companies because it is too risky. They cannot afford to cover their families and so they do not start their own companies.

Conservatives are always paying lip service to entrepreneurship - universal health coverage would make it easier for people of every age to start their own companies. But they always oppose it, creating a great deal of economic friction on normal employees, and preventing many of them from becoming 'owners'.

I never understood this. Conservatives should support universal coverage. It would take an enormous drag off the economy. Unless, of course, healthcare IS the economy. In that case we are in serious trouble.

Posted by: smoof on September 28, 2006 at 7:14 AM | PERMALINK

You guys don't get it yet. In the red states, only true believers are allowed to get jobs that provide health care. (Exceptions should be very careful with what they say and do, lest they lose those good jobs.) Non true believers will probably die off sooner and this has been the red state plan all along.

Non cynicism will lead you to clouded thinking every time.

Posted by: slanted tom on September 28, 2006 at 7:22 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Mabry do you hae medical insurance to help pay your health costs. because if you do, you are participating in one type of "socialized" medical cost expensing. Doesn't it make good economic sense to have every one pay into one large pool and spread the risks rather than to have thousands of smaller puddles where one large fish takes up all the resources and then there is nothing left for the rest? Eventually everyone loses in that scenario. And no one has ever been able to explain clearly and cogently why health care should be considered a marketable commodity.

Posted by: synecdoche on September 28, 2006 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

We don't need national healthcare! BETTER DEAD THAN RED!

Posted by: Wingnut on September 28, 2006 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

James Mabry, you are so right! George Sr. and I have traveled extensively in Europe and it is horrid to witness. There even the lowliest NOCDs (Not Our Class Dears) have 6 weeks vacation, health insurance, paid higher education and nursing home care. These NOCDs and common people have nothing to strive for. Even the poorest of the poor can obtain the very best education, healthcare and enjoy long vacations. It's simply not fair. Look what a mess our own Medicare system has been. I'll have you know George the First and I rightly opposed this from the beginning. Why, when I was at Smith I had to read that horrid enviro Thoreau, who wrote "most men lead lives of quiet desperation" and I have always thought that is as it should be. Taxpayer money should never go to this horrid universal healthcare - it belongs in the pockets of our corporate cronies and donors. Please, no more talk of this ghastly universal healthcare. Let the little people show up at the ER's when the wretches become too sick to stand. They may lose what few assets they have paying the bill, but after all they didn't have much to begin with, did they (LOL)!

regards,
Babs, former 1st Lady

Posted by: Barbara B on September 28, 2006 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

Progressives make me sick, but I'm a good enough human to know it is not some one else's responsibility to cure me.

If you want socialized health care, move to Canada, Cuba or the UK. I'm serious. If getting some one else to pay for your health care is so freeking important to you.... If taking from others to help you with your snivels is so important to you, then leave. Just go. Please. Before you make me sicker.

Here's hoping you never get cancer... then I bet you start singing a different tune!

But, I know, Republicans never get sick. It's only weak people that get ill.


BYW, do you own health insurance? If you do (and you probably do), you're already payin for others' illnesses.

Thanks,

Mike

Posted by: lord_mike on September 28, 2006 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

James Mabry is the best parody troll of the morning! Yay!

Posted by: Burns on September 28, 2006 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Medicine will be really expensive when it's free.
To quote someone.

Republicans and Democrats are both for government largess. There is not a dimes worth of difference between the two.

Posted by: hodgepodge on September 28, 2006 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Sen. Joe Lieberman has a 10-point advantage

in the last Q-Poll, lieberman was up 12 lamont is closing the gap, but just barely. he'll have to pick it up.

Posted by: benjoya on September 28, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Medicine will be really expensive when it's free.
To quote someone.

Republicans and Democrats are both for government largess. There is not a dimes worth of difference between the two.

Posted by: hodgepodge on September 28, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Ultimately, if done right, it will actually save money because of better preventative care, the efficiecies of the poor getting appropriate levels of care early on instead of running into emergency rooms at the last minute, etc. Speaking of doing it right: Repubs would ruin this just like they did Medicare Drug Plan, so more reason to get Dems back on top in 06/08.

Posted by: Neil' on September 28, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

I'm a good enough human to know it is not some one else's responsibility to cure me.

It must really suck to hate your fellow man with such a furious, white-hot intensity. I'd hate to have to go through life so angry. You must be miserable inside, harboring such malice for those less fortunate than you.

I pity you, dude.

Posted by: Winda Warren Terra on September 28, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

On this blog progressives who criticize the Democrats are routinely accused of trolling.

Pathetic.

Posted by: Lucy on September 28, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

As the left here in America blindly pushes the country towards a complete welfare state, Sweden begins there move away from it:


"After the Swedish elections: what hope for the left?

The victory for the right wing alliance was indeed historic. Never before have the Social Democrats lost power in the midst of an economic boom. The SAPs share of 35.2% of the vote was their lowest since the introduction of universal suffrage in the 1920s.

There was a large swing of white collar /private sector workers votes to the conservative Moderaterna which enabled them to go from 15.3% in 2002 to 26.1%. Moderaterna also won the votes of more 18-30 year olds than the SAP.

What will the rights election victory mean? The new government will carry out their election promises to cut taxes through cutting unemployment insurance (the current rate, which is the equivalent of 80% of previous earnings where a worker had been made redundant, will be reduced to 60%) and long term sick insurance levels. These policies, appealing as they did to the protestant work ethic, were the basis for Moderaterna calling themselves the new workers party. The new government also intends to sell the remaning state owned shares in the telecommunications and banking cartels. Other than this, the prognosis is likely to be business as usual for Swedish capitalism."

http://www.workersliberty.org/node/6948


Also, Nancy Pelosi just yesterday said that the Democrats will keep America safer. From what?

There's no threat.

Posted by: Jay on September 28, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

"On this blog progressives who criticize the Democrats are routinely accused of trolling.

Pathetic." - Lucy


Lucy, there is no room in the Democratic Party for diverse opinion. That's been clearly demonstrated. Just ask Lieberman.

Posted by: Jay on September 28, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Healthcare is a necessity, not a consumer good.

So are food and shelter. Should the government provide it for everyone? Or just help the poor who really need it?

So what I want to know is, has anyone seen a policy paper that runs the numbers for universal Medicare?

Look at the numbers for Medicare for only about an eighth of the American population. How are those balance sheets working out for the next thirty years?

France's vaunted medical system is going broke.

Posted by: hayak on September 28, 2006 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Thoreau, who wrote "most men lead lives of quiet desperation" and I have always thought that is as it should be.

Hilarious, Barbara B., thanks!

Posted by: Ace Franze, specific lunatic on September 28, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

I heartily agree, James Mabry, let them eat cake!

(and I didn't actually say that, you know)

Posted by: Maria Antonia Josefa Joanna von Habsburg-Lothringen on September 28, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

"45 days to consider"

Well, first Shrub will have to fly Tom Brosz in to confer, then..............

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 28, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

The report mentioned in the post can be found here.

Posted by: ein on September 28, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Moral hazard! Moral hazard! If we make it less expensive to get medical treatment, more people will get sick--it's the magic of the free market at work!

If all levels of health care are seen as "free," the market will not create more sick people, but it will create more people who will demand a much broader range of health services. Why CAN'T I get an MRI for my headache? This is already bad enough under private health insurance. Nobody thinks they should have to pay for anything, and that they should be able to get whatever they want, not just need.

No politician will want to refuse a voter anything. Who's going to keep things under control? The California proposal, vetoed by the governor, specifically covered illegals. So would any national proposal.

A lot of people, down deep, seem to think market forces are a right-wing conspiracy, not a law of nature.

If we get "universal health care," the only two directions it can go after that are heavy rationing or national bankruptcy.

Posted by: hayek on September 28, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Jay,

You forgot the part about how dissatisfaction among progressives with the Democrats cannot compare with the outrage provoked by the GOP. Of course Lieberman is entitled to his positions, but as an elected official he is all too often out of sync with his Democratic constituents.

Posted by: Lucy on September 28, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

"...but as an elected official he is all too often out of sync with his Democratic constituents." - Lucy

Wrong, Lieberman voted party line 95% of the time and is a very staunch supporter of Gay/Lesbian issues and abortion rights. The only issue where he parted ways with the left was on Iraq, and that was enough for the Dems to throw him out.

And because of that, the Dems will lose a Senate seat they didn't have to win Joe beats Ned in November. Not very smart on the Democrats part.

Posted by: Jay on September 28, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Jay is an ignorant little twerp. He's so pathetically stupid that he has to read "Ann Coulter for Dummies" because the original version has too many big words. It takes him a long time to type up his idiotic comments here because it's hard to type when you are sucking your thumb.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 28, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

A lot of people, down deep, seem to think market forces are a right-wing conspiracy, not a law of nature.

Market forces are only a right-wing conspiracy in that a lot of otherwise intelligent people seem to think, deep down, that they are embedded in us genetically and thus the only true determinate of human behavior, culture, and society. Which is quite silly on so many fronts.

But you post under the name of "Hayek". More like Hyack amirite?! He was a horrible thinker.

Posted by: Ack Ack Ack Ack on September 28, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Secular demonstrates the type of balanced, reasoned thinking that will carry the left to victory this fall.

Well done!

Posted by: Jay on September 28, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Hayek, we republicans prefer our national bankruptcy to be the result of my Georgie's war and fiscal irresponsibility and tax cuts for societies betters. We prefer to ration healthcare the old fashioned way - the best care only to the very rich.

Posted by: Barbara B on September 28, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

45 days to comment...40 days until the election...

Posted by: Don on September 28, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Lucy, secularanimist is a good example of the brain damage that has taken over the left. If you disagree with secular (or those of his ilk) he will personally attack and berate you. He will not tolerate diverse opinion, you must agree with their positions or they will not include you, much like fascists. In fact, secular is a fascist and many on the left are following right behind him.

Sad really.

Posted by: Jay on September 28, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, are you sure you're not describing Karl Rove?

Posted by: razorboy on September 28, 2006 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Thomas 0.9 (round up) You are just freekin nonsensical, dude.

P.S. shortstop -- why force young, healthy people to be insured who don't want it?

You might as well ask: Why force parents to put there babies in car seat; why force adult to were seat belts.

Why not force everybody to participate? I am confident tens of thousands of healthy young adults get gravely ill or seriously hurt every year.

Posted by: Keith G on September 28, 2006 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Iraq is the main reason voters turned to Lamont; after all, Iraq is an issue of towering importance. But CT Democrats have a litany of grievances against Lieberman. To take one example, Democrats were furious with Lieberman for voting to end debate on the Bankruptcy Reform Act, only to vote against the bill when its passage was assured.

But I don't want to argue over Lieberman/Lamont here.

Posted by: Lucy on September 28, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

"To take one example, Democrats were furious with Lieberman for voting to end debate on the Bankruptcy Reform Act, only to vote against the bill when its passage was assured." - Lucy

One last question. Was this issue big enough to lose a Senate seat over?

Posted by: Jay on September 28, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Oh come on Kevin.

With Bush, any bill will just be another donuthole disaster. You don't want Republicans writing heatlh bills that are as malevolent as their "we hate seniors" drug policy.


And it's looking more like Dems are not going to take back either the house or the senator - and since they refuse to stand up to anything, it's horrid thought that wants a donuthole policy.

Posted by: Cheryl on September 28, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

I will believe in a one healthcare system for all when Al Gore's, John Kerry's, and John Edward's grandchildren are attending public schools inside of the District of Columbia. The Democrat establishment had its chance to prove that it believes that the government can produce a great product when they could have sent their children to public schools. Instead, they sent their children to elite private schools like Chelsea Clinton attending Sidwell Friends.

It would take about two second for the system that Kevin proposes to have an out so that Kareen Gore or Vanessa Kerry will never have to sit in the waiting room with the poor or the middle class.

However, if you want to propose a law like they have in Switzerland where everyone is forced to purchase private health insurance, then he may have a point.

Posted by: superD on September 28, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Because the United States was not set up as a socialist government. Next question?

So no more car seats? No more public schools? How about fire departments? When this country was founded, fire protection was provided by private contract?

You are not making any sense.

Posted by: Keith G on September 28, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

"Lucy, there is no room in the Democratic Party for diverse opinion."

Jay, are you claiming to be a cric from within the Democratic Party, expressing diverse opinions? If not, shut up.

And as for you and Thomas1 being such bleeding hearts over Lieberman, I believe what happened was that CT voters decided that Joe had abandoned them, not the other way round.

Posted by: Ace Franze, specific lunatic on September 28, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, why force me to wear a helmet while riding my motorcycle?

Posted by: Ben R in Pittsburg on September 28, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

"One last question. Was this issue big enough to lose a Senate seat over?"

As you know, Lieberman's enthusiasm for the war is the main reason for his defeat in the primary. My point was that it is not the only reason.

Anyway, at worst Lieberman will keep his Senate seat, and we'll be stuck with the status quo.

Posted by: Lucy on September 28, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

"Why should those who don't want health insurance be FORCED to?"
Posted by: Thomas1

A very obvious parallel is motorcycle helmets- if you don't wear one and get injured, Americans are not going to kick you out of the emergency room. It's called "living in community," Thomas, which, unless you are posting from a dersert island, yuo do, every day.

Posted by: Ace Franze, specific lunatic on September 28, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

If all levels of health care are seen as "free," the market will not create more sick people, but it will create more people who will demand a much broader range of health services.

The bastards! Actually wanting treatment when they're sick!

Why CAN'T I get an MRI for my headache?

Really? Is there some vast untapped desire for MRIs that I haven't heard about? Do people really find them all that enjoyable?

This is already bad enough under private health insurance. Nobody thinks they should have to pay for anything, and that they should be able to get whatever they want, not just need.

So this poster seems to think the problem with Americans is that they have TOO MUCH healthcare -- that, if people get sick, they might actually try to avail themselves of treatment instead of going without, as many now do. Interesting argument -- let's see if it works at the polls: "Vote Republican and we'll guarantee you less healthcare! You already have too much as it is!"

Posted by: Stefan on September 28, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

UHC is the last New Deal pillar and there are considerable forces that don't want that to happen. I think a modern society ought have UHC. As a corp worker who recently had a bad stretch of kidney stones that cost about 30K to remendy (6k for 2 ER visit, 18K for surgery) the system works great. I paid minor co-pays but had good service and a successful outcome. What would UHC offer? Would I have to wait 6 months for surgery, meanwhile going to the ER for pain every month? It might be the same service. We are going to have UHC in this country soon because corps don't want to pay the heavy cost. Corp and thier political war chests will force this change. What makes HC so expensive is the deep pockets of corp paying for the insure.

Posted by: The fake fake Al on September 28, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Why should those who don't want health insurance be FORCED to?

Why should those who don't want auto insurance be FORCED to?

Why should those who don't want freeways be FORCED to pay for them?

Why should those who don't want property taxes be FORCED to pay them?

Posted by: forced on September 28, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Why should those who don't want health insurance be FORCED to?

Because the greater good of this society could be served if we are able to create way to be sure that all are covered by appropriate medical care.

Posted by: Keith G on September 28, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Why should those who don't want police be FORCED to pay for them?

Why should those who don't want a fire deparment be FORCED to?

Why should those who don't want sewers and running water be FORCED to have them?

Posted by: Stefan on September 28, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

"Because the greater good of this society......" - Keith G


Be very very careful of people claiming the "greater good". Those are words Stalin and Mao used.

Posted by: Jay on September 28, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Why should those who don't want health insurance be FORCED to?

Well, for one thing, it helps that when they get sick with a communicable disease they can actually afford to go to a doctor, instead of leaving it untreated and infecting the rest of us.

Posted by: Stefan on September 28, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: HEALTHCARE FOR ALL!....A advisory

Thanks for the advisory; now here's an suggestion: Fix your article's article!

Posted by: grammargram on September 28, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Be very very careful of people claiming the "greater good". Those are words Stalin and Mao used.

And, it seems, George W. Bush:

"Through the gathering momentum of millions of acts of service and decency and kindness, I know we can overcome evil with greater good." -- January 29, 2002 State of the Union address.

Posted by: Stefan on September 28, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Jay you are so right.

Like when Bush claimed the greater good of the world would be served buy the USA invading Iraq.

That was a Stalin-like load of crap.

Posted by: Keith G on September 28, 2006 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Be very very careful of people claiming the "greater good". Those are words Stalin and Mao used.

Well, if "greater good" is not politically correct enough for the rabid right wing, what about "the general welfare"?

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Posted by: Stefan on September 28, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Geez, and I thought Shrub was only using greater good when he spoke about Gitmo, secret prisons and torture. Well, Shrub, Uncle Joe and Mao - What a trio.

Posted by: stupid git on September 28, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

A trio.

Let's see - Shrub on drums, Uncle Joe on piano and Mao on Alto Sax. Of course, Shrub does still moonlights with Benito - What a duo.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 28, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1

I bet you look great in a powered wig. I hear those fancy buckled shoes aren't nearly as comfortable as modern running shoes. Of course, the slaves might make life more comfortable for you, if you have the money to buy them. If you don't you might indenture yourself for 20 years or so. I guess your master will let you sleep with the dog.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 28, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

I would be just fine with the level of "general welfare" our Founding Fathers were in favor of ; )

Once again your post as if you are a clueless partisan. The FFs in question purposely used extraordinarily vague language to describe notions of general welfare et al.

They were thoroughly aware that conditions of welfare or common defense would change over time and they wanted the American polity to be able to adapt to successfully face new conditions without having to change the Constitution every few years.

They knew what might work for them might not be helpful for subsequent generations.

Posted by: Keith G on September 28, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

They were thoroughly aware that conditions of welfare or common defense would change over time and they wanted the American polity to be able to adapt to successfully face new conditions without having to change the Constitution every few years.

"...[l]aws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the same coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."
Thomas Jefferson
Posted by: tjef on September 28, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers,

Did not know that leaders of the Committee of Public Safety wore powdered wigs. Ah, to be the purest of the pure; the most righteous of the righteous; the best boot licker of the boot lickers; the most Publican of the Publicans.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 28, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G

Thanks for spelling it out. I doubt Thomas1 will understand. America is a growing and evolving place. Things change.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 28, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie posting as "Thomas1" wrote: I would be just fine with the level of "general welfare" our Founding Fathers were in favor of ...

"Thomas1" is Charlie, who is a pathological liar. When he isn't pathologically lying, he's spewing inane drivel like this.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 28, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

I am glad to know that access to affordable healthcare coverage is being recognized as an important issue at the national level. According to The Borgen Project, the UN Millenium Development Goals are similarly working to provide basic preventative healthcare to human beings on an international level. If only the US would make this UN development initiative a priority on their political agenda...

Posted by: Amy1022 on September 28, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

From the National Coalition on Health Care:

A recent study by Harvard University researchers found that the average out-of-pocket medical debt for those who filed for bankruptcy was $12,000. The study noted that 68 percent of those who filed for bankruptcy had health insurance. In addition, the study found that 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses (12). Every 30 seconds in the United States someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem.

http://www.nchc.org/facts/cost.shtml

Posted by: Windhorse on September 28, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

"America is a growing and evoling place"

But, that is what makes it so scary for the authoritarians.

Posted by: stupid git on September 28, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

You know, all you posters who are dropping countless "examples" of government force in every aspect of your life may not be making the point you really want to.

What ever happened to "keep your government off my body?"

Hey, New Yorkers, had any illegal fat today?

Posted by: bart on September 28, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Evolving place - Damnable Snob Knob English Department.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 28, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

bart wrote: "Hey, New Yorkers, had any illegal fat today?"

Yeah, it is like so totally against Ayn Rand's teachings for the government to prevent people from poisoning other people to death.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 28, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

One misunderstanding, common among progressive circles, is that the Reagan and George W. Bush elections were about "personality" rather than anything substantive.

I couldnt disagree more. Look at the pairings over the last 30 years:

Carter v Ford
Reagan v Carter
Reagan v Mondale
Bush v Dukakis
Clinton v Bush
Clinton v Dole
Bush v Gore
Bush v Kerry

Tell me that its not about personality. For better of for worse, substance give you 30% of your hard core support. The rest shows up if you can tell a joke, smile a lot, and claim that you are Gods own.

The populist bull pin, unfortunately, is filled with humorless slugs.

Posted by: Keith G on September 28, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Damn! Wrong thread. I am so sorry.

Posted by: Keith G on September 28, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

I would be just fine with the level of "general welfare" our Founding Fathers were in favor of ...

You want American mothers to die in childbirth, Thomas1. Our Founding Fathers would have had people like you hung for treason.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 28, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Why should those who don't want health insurance be FORCED to?

Why should those who don't want car insurance be FORCED to? Why should corporations which don't want liability insurance be FORCED to? Why should doctors who don't want malpractice insurance be FORCED to? Why should those who don't want to use roads be FORCED to pay for them? Why should those who don't want to learn how to read be FORCED to? Why should those who believe that killing under any circumstances is a sin be FORCED to support the military? Why should those who oppose the existence of the United States of America be FORCED to pay taxes?

How utterly, utterly tedious is political life in a country that contains these pathetic excuses for human beings. When does waterboarding become legal, again? I want to get started on these assholes.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 28, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, having just returned from Lakoff's essay, I've had a change of mood...

The point of universal health insurance is this: we Americans take care of our own. The Islamofascists look at Bush's America and see a country that worships only wealth, a country that doesn't care about its children or its aging parents, that leaves its poor to suffer for lack of medical care, or lets them drown in hurricanes. They see an immoral country. And we are in danger of becoming an immoral country, if the GOP has its way. We have to prove to them that America is not an immoral country, that in times of trouble, we take care of our own.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 28, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, it is like so totally against Ayn Rand's teachings for the government to prevent people from poisoning other people to death.

Maybe the people you hang out with are too bloody stupid to know McDonalds is fattening, or to be able to pick out the salad on the menu. It's instructive that you think laws like this are a good idea. Question: How do you feel about marijuana being illegal?

You obviously wouldn't know Ayn Rand if she ground her cigarette out in your ear.

Posted by: monkeybone on September 28, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

monkeybone wrote: "Question: How do you feel about marijuana being illegal?"

Marijuana has never been demonstrated to have the negative effects on health that artificial trans fatty acids have. The scientific evidence is clear that artificial trans fatty acids are far more toxic to the human body than marijuana. Moreover, foods served in restaurants are not labelled as to whether or not they contain artificial trans fatty acids, so restaurant customers are not able to make an informed choice about consuming those toxic substances. Marijuana users know they are consuming marijuana and are therefore able to make an informed decision. I am in favor of legalizing marijuana. I am not in favor of giving marijuana to people who don't know they are consuming it and are therefore unable to make an informed choice.

monkeybone wrote: "You obviously wouldn't know Ayn Rand if she ground her cigarette out in your ear."

I read Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead and a number of Ayn Rand's non-fiction books, e.g. The Virtue of Selfishness, when I was in high school. Ayn Rand is an idiot and one of the worst writers in the history of English literature, and her fans are mainly overly-impressionable juveniles or adults who never outgrew being overly-impressionable juveniles.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 28, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Question: How do you feel about marijuana being illegal?

It's terrible. Marijuana should be available to be legally smoked in small quantities in clearly defined, licensed locations, along the lines of Dutch "coffee houses". They should be subject to strict zoning laws: not near high schools, not too many in one area, and not concentrated in poor areas of the city to prey on the underclass. Just like fast food restaurants should be.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 28, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

And SecularAnimist, that's a great nutshell description of Rand and Randoids. I read some piece of crap she wrote on the recommendation of a bicycle tourguide when I was 15. I found it idiotic. It was targeted at a younger age group, obviously.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 28, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Brooksfoe - How utterly, utterly tedious is political life in a country that contains these pathetic excuses for human beings. When does waterboarding become legal, again? I want to get started on these assholes.

Yes, and isn't that exactly the point? One of the things I hate most is this subserviant, servile, Republican notion that we should just trust the President. The implication of the argument that we should 'trust the president' is that we don't need laws or the constitution, just blind faith in our leaders.

Of course our constitution was set up specifically to prevent such arbitrary abuses of power. If there aren't institutional checks to prevent such abuses from taking place, you can pretty much guarantee that sooner or later someone will abuse this power.

If you think what Bush and company are doing now is bad, just wait - politicians will slowly but surely expand the definition of "terrorist" until it one day in the not too distant future we will have a bona fide police state where the federal government can do whatever they want, whenever they want, to whomever they want.

Posted by: Augustus on September 28, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

How do you feel about marijuana being illegal?

I am starting to think that we should fumigate the White House and the Capitol building with the smoke from some of that high-THC kind bud they are growing in Canada and on the west coast.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 28, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

While leaving many details to be worked out ... .

What's made available? What's not covered? How does the payment system work? Who pays?

Little things like that.

How could anyone object?

Posted by: papago on September 28, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Oh -- and, like marijuana coffeehouses, fast food restaurants should be prohibited from selling to anyone under 18. How's that, jerk?

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 28, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

If marijuana were legal, it would have little commercial value, since most people who wanted to consume it could easily grow enough high-quality marijuana plants in their back yards or on a windowsill to provide all the marijuana they would want.

Comparatively few people would be likely to brew up batches of artificial trans fatty acids at home.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 28, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, and a panel of housing experts fromn HUD, the department of Transportation, defense, etc etc all recommended we get affordable access to whatever they were in charge of.

Posted by: Matt on September 28, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK
If marijuana were legal, it would have little commercial value, since most people who wanted to consume it could easily grow enough high-quality marijuana plants in their back yards or on a windowsill to provide all the marijuana they would want.

Yeah, just like roses have no commercial value now.

Look, just because people could do something themselves doesn't mean they won't be quite happy to pay other people to do it for them and save the hassle.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 28, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, and a panel of housing experts fromn HUD, the department of Transportation, defense, etc etc all recommended we get affordable access to whatever they were in charge of.

Uh, we all do already get affordable access to the public roadways (Dept. of Transportation) and defense -- I don't remember getting a bill charging me for the protection I receive from the US Armed forces....

Posted by: Stefan on September 28, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, that's what I thought.

"Free choice on what I want to be able to choose, and force for everything else" is pretty much the whole ball of wax for liberals, isn't it? Conservatives too, now that I think about it.

Marijuana has to be at least as bad for you as smoking any other kind of cigarette, so declaring it "safer than fat" is inane.

For the record, I think you should be able to smoke a joint, chug back a beer, and then slake your ravenous appetite at any burger bomb joint you want. Just don't drive there.

Posted by: monkeybone on September 28, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: "Yeah, just like roses have no commercial value now."

I didn't say "no commercial value", I said "little commercial value."

When was the last time you saw roses selling for $200 to $400 per ounce or more?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 28, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

When was the last time you saw roses selling for $200 to $400 per ounce or more?

Valentine's Day.

Price-gouging bastards....

Posted by: Stefan on September 28, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

monkeybone wrote: Marijuana has to be at least as bad for you as smoking any other kind of cigarette, so declaring it "safer than fat" is inane.

No, it isn't "inane." It is based on sound science.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 28, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

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