Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 17, 2009

THURSDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* Trying to give the Copenhagen talks a shot in the arm: "With time running out, the United States sought Thursday to inject new momentum into talks here aimed at reaching a global agreement to control greenhouse gases, backing a proposal to create an international pot of money for developing countries that could be worth more than $100 billion a year by the end of the next decade."

* In addition, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the talks, reminded China that it must agree to monitoring if a deal is to be reached. An international agreement, Clinton added, would be impossible "in the absence of transparency from the second-biggest emitter" in the world -- in other words, China.

* China doesn't sound like it's ready to strike a deal.

* At least one right-wing member of Congress is on China's side on this.

* House passes jobs bill, 217 to 212: "Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) muscled a $154 billion jobs bill through the House on Wednesday evening just before Congress departed for a holiday recess. With the vote in serious doubt until seconds before it was gaveled to a close, Pelosi worked the floor furiously, imploring her caucus to stick with her and move the measure through." It received zero GOP votes.

* The AFL-CIO is really unsatisfied with the Senate health care bill. SEIU President Andy Stern doesn't like the bill, but nevertheless believes "it is time for the Senate to send this bill on to conference."

* Perhaps today's single most gratifying moment was watching Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) cut off Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), not letting him finish a speech.

* The Senate Banking Committee approved Ben Bernanke's Federal Reserve nomination, 16 to 7.

* Paul Krugman wants the reform bill to pass: "By all means criticize the administration. But don't take it out on the tens of millions of Americans who will have health insurance if this bill passes, but will be out of luck -- and, in some cases, dead -- if it doesn't."

* John Podesta makes the progressive case for the reform bill.

* David Plouffe is weighing in, too.

* I've seen some commenters ask how the Senate bill controls health care costs without a public option. Ezra offers five good examples.

* Lee Fang raises a compelling point about Howard Dean's evolving standards on what constitutes "real" reform.

* Taking the gamble out of student loans.

* Some on the right are calling for an immigration moratorium. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis slammed the idea.

* Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was asked about his former friendship with Al Gore. Perry said he'd personally seen the light on carbon emissions, while the former vice president has "gone to hell."

* And for some in the political media establishment, it will always, always be 1998.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (44)

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With the vote in serious doubt until seconds before it was gaveled to a close, Pelosi worked the floor furiously, imploring her caucus to stick with her and move the measure through."

And to all of the Harry Reid apologists we have on this Board, I ask if you really believe he could or would have done the same in Pelosi's position? and give me an example of when he really has.

Nancy Pelosi is the most underrated asset of the Democratic team. The wingnuts were right to try and preemtively villify her. She's their worst nightmare.

Posted by: zeitgeist on December 17, 2009 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

More Anti-Dean BS. He didn't have a mandate in his bill. That really makes all the difference. Getting a piece of crap incrementalist bill was guaranteed. It would have been true with or without the public option. If a bill has mandates, we won't get a second bite at this because nobody will come to the table. that means we need a whole lot more than we would need without them.

Stop pretending mandates are a made-up issue and start taking the people who disagree with you seriously. You keep acting like we're children, and you wonder why we keep treating you like pond scum.

Posted by: soullite on December 17, 2009 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

What Zeit said!

How come straight sex is such an aneurism enducing thing to goopers? Yeah, Clinton is a dog. We get it. So? That's between him and Hils and always has been.

Ten years later! Notice Ensign and Sanford have mostly dropped off the radar. Hypocrites. Nothing less.

Posted by: MsJoanne on December 17, 2009 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Robert Reich is not at all pleased with the piece of crap that the senate is trying to foist off on the american people.

Slouching Toward Health Care Reform


Posted by: Robert Reich on December 17, 2009 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

"Perhaps today's single most gratifying moment was watching Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) cut off Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), not letting him finish a speech" - SB

    "Lieberman was giving a ten-minute speech on health care reform. Franken, who was presiding over the Senate, cut him off when his ten minutes were up. When Lieberman requested unanimous consent for an extra few minutes to finish his speech, Franken, in his capacity as a senator from Minnesota, objected. And, in his capacity as presiding officer, Franken honored the objection" - Rachel Slajda/TPM

I'll but Connecticut is sorry they didn't have the balls to elect a real senator, like Minnesota did. SCHMACK!!

Posted by: Marko on December 17, 2009 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

How surprising that you bullet point Nate Silver's 20 questions, but not any of the responses.

And in other news, here's someone else explaining how not taking whatever thin gruel you're given kills puppies...

Posted by: tatere on December 17, 2009 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

China not ready to strike a deal.
Joe Barton (R-Tex. and global warming skeptic) on China's side.
Quick. Give them both exactly what they want to get a deal.

Posted by: Chopin on December 17, 2009 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

The world is not ready to admit that we all share a fragile biosphere, too many folks still live in the
nationalistic era.

The moment Apollo 8 took that first Earthrise picture of our pale blue dot, there was no escaping just how special our orb is.

To the folks in Copenhagen, think about 50 years from now. That should be the goal. We'll have a bunch more people on the planet then, so it makes sense to evolve beyond a carbon fuel-based world.

I know it's hard for many people to comprehend how much humans have contributed to climate change.

But we have. No climate-gate, no amount of ranting and raving, can deny the fact that we have unleashed trillions of tons of sequestered carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere.

We can pontificate all we want about "natural" cycles of global warming, but we cannot ignore the fact that humans are polluting every single ecosystem on the planet. In a way, our C02 emissions are the lesser of many evils.

What the world fears, is the realization that we have to take care of each other.

That is the problem.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on December 17, 2009 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Fuck the Senate bill and anyone who supports it.

Posted by: par4 on December 17, 2009 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Al Franken: The Change I Can Believe In!

Posted by: John Henry on December 17, 2009 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

If we end up getting a better bill is there any doubt to whom pathetic moderates will give credit?

Posted by: Michael7843853 on December 17, 2009 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Josh Marshall posted this comment from one of his readers. She's unemployed, COBRA runs out next year and she has a pre-existing condition. She writes about the personal consequences that she will face if HRC is killed. Now, think about how many unemployed people there might be that are in a similar situation.

I bet I can name fifty individuals that the Senate legislation will help to afford health insurance. Most have probably never had health coverage in their lives. Ask them if something is better than nothing.

Posted by: AK Liberal on December 17, 2009 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) & Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)

That was beautiful. This had the potential of being LIEbermans first clue as to what the chamber will become. Out with the old, in with the new.

And McCaint as shrill as ever. Stick a fork in him, he's done.

Posted by: Kevin on December 17, 2009 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

If Washington is the place where "good ideas go to die," then the Senate is the slaughterhouse. This white millionaires' club where the biggest egos on Earth tell us how goddamn important they are has just screwed the middle class in this country -- a middle class that is reeling after years of being beaten down by these Senators' masters in private industry.

Look at what they did to the "public option." After their masters from the health insurance industry sent in their army of lobbyists the Senators responded like trained circus dogs! Mandates? Who the hell thinks that "mandating" cash strapped middle class families to shell out more of their hard-earned money is something we can call "reform?"


Posted by: Joe Palermo on December 17, 2009 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

At least Klein is looking for cost control factors in the Bill, but I'm not sure. REM that without a mandate, insurers know that if prices are outrageous many people just won't buy, as dangerous as that is. But if people *have* to buy from you, what is your incentive to make the price reasonable? There's some competitive forces, but the elephant in the room here is the exemption from anti-trust. Is Congress going to take that away?

Podesta? In bed with the insurance industry so his opinion is worthless. Obama should have kept him out - too much Clintonian influence, now even worse when they got into the usual Washington track:

Second, it is hard to get a good bill through when you have 60 Senators in today's climate, so I wonder if reconciliation or nuclear option is doable and they chickened out, or not so easy as is to threaten.

I'll grant this much: we shouldn't take a simple-minded approach to thinking if this bill is rubbish, but there are enough good thinkers against it to give pause.

Posted by: neil b on December 17, 2009 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

BTW folks, please don't sign as the author unless you are (and it may be Joe Palermo, I'm just making the point.) NBD, but it's confusing and I'd like to know if the real one is here. I've seen "Kos" here, but I think it was just a clip and link.
(BTW, "Keanu Reeves, no really" used to comment here sometimes. God only knows who "Al" really is!)

Posted by: neil b. on December 17, 2009 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Kill the Bill

Posted by: some guy on December 17, 2009 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Tiger Woods: Player of the Year.

Posted by: Anomaly on December 17, 2009 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Lee Fang raises a compelling point..." Steve Benen

Not really. The point is, apparently, that Dr. Dean was willing to settle for lower standards for community pricing WHEN THE BILL CONTAINED THE PO. The present Senate legislation does not. Therefore there is no point, "compelling" or otherwise in Fang's argument.
Once again, unless there are rules/standards that are REQUIRED to be met and are ENFORCED, then the insurance industry will simply treat this as another big business giveaway. And that is exactly how it will be portrayed in 2010.
What I fear most is that this legislation WON'T focus the minds of Congress members on containng costs at some hypothetical future date; rather it will simply become another item to be reduced during the upcoming push for "deficit reduction".
Until I see that the legislation contains strict accountability rules and the means (and will, naturally) to enforce those rules, I remain unconvinced that this legislation is any "Change I Can Believe In".
Sorry, it's still a "fail".

Posted by: Doug on December 17, 2009 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Nancy Pelosi is the most underrated asset of the Democratic team.

Not by me.

Posted by: shortstop on December 17, 2009 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK
She's unemployed, COBRA runs out next year and she has a pre-existing condition. She writes about the personal consequences that she will face if HRC is killed. Now, think about how many unemployed people there might be that are in a similar situation.

Sorry, but it’s just not their time.

I am sure people like them will come to understand their role in the inevitable forward march of progress, and will understand. Progress has its price, and people like the woman mentioned are the heroes of the progressive revolution,

Later, when we all have single-payer we can have, a day of commemoration for them. Or something. Maybe a stamp.

The prospect of such a memorial I am sure will provide them with great comfort in their present, and eminently preventable future, suffering.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on December 17, 2009 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

What is Sen. Nelson wanting in terms of the Stupak amendment and what I have heards is a rollback on the rights of women? Commenters? Mr. Benen?

Posted by: mickster on December 17, 2009 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK
Steve: "Lee Fang raises a compelling point about Howard Dean's evolving standards on what constitutes 'real' reform."

Lee Fang has completely lost focus over what constitutes true health care reform. Apparently, we don't understand that it's all a game.

But if that's the case, I don't know any coaches who'd dare define victory in terms of an underperforming team merely beating the spread.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 17, 2009 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

It looks like the most popular attendee in Copenhagen is Hugo Chavez.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 17, 2009 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

My take? If the Senate passes crappy mandate legislation, some people might get health care who didn't. but more will lose the health care they already have. And democrats lose tons of seats. It is bad policy, politics and optics. The bill is a huge tax. I wonder who would spin that to their advantage? Really, the wonks have really lost their bearings on this. I don't trust conference committees to fix this stuff either. Because this bill is so bad for democrats and so good for insurance companies, I fear it will pass. And for God's sake, thank Howard Dean and just sit down. We were all too stupid to listen to him in 2004.

Posted by: Sparko on December 17, 2009 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

This policy wonk vs. activist distinction is utter nonsense up to Bill Clinton happy talk standards.

Take the war on false pretenses. The hem hawer Yglesias-Drum crowd was officiously considering a host of psudeo intellectual arguments, whatever people in their circles were chattering about. Yet the Yglesias-Drum crowd ALWAYS was sticking to the party line topic. Without exception. In marked contrast there were millions of people who, on their own and following no party line, by reading the available information, KNEW it was a false pretense war. Guess what, they were RIGHT. Guess who was full of shit and has yet to repent? The policy wonk vs. activist distinction is utter, self serving, self excusing, evasive, bullshit.

HCR presents the same real difference. One group of people are repeating what they are fed and calling this policy. Another group of people have, on their own, independently, from a host of different political and social starting points, realized that HCR is being handled incompetently. It is those-breathing-one-anothers-farts vs. those in contact with reality.

The examples abound on this site. For example, the views of those who realize the HCR is being handled incompetently are consistently misrepresented. I see few that are saying kill the bill. I see many who are saying, get something better. Yes we can. I see many who are saying, we knew it was going to happen, but still not saying kill the bill. And the fart-breathers within HOURS start parrotting the untrue Rahm line. Not up to Rovian standards of course, but, still parrots, but parrots who say How Clever of Me to Be Such an Indepedent Thinker. Any person in good faith know the WH and the Senate leadership is treating the people who support what the public most wants like shit and insulting them as it has for months, while Lieberman and Nelson get off by having the WH
service them. It is pathetic and does not go unnoticed no matter how many lies are spun here.

And, the real reality test, public opinion polls revealing that the public wants medicare expanded, wants public options more than the other stuff.

So here is a story to illustrate the real difference between policy wonks and those against false pretense wars and false pretense HCR.

It is like i have a house and my refrigerator needs work. I don't know much about refrigerators so I call the Yglesias-Drum refreigerator repair outfit. They show up, share inside jokes and smirks, and when they are done, I go to check on the work. The refrigerator is still not oooling. And for reasons unknown now the stove isn't working either. When I say, when will the refrigerator work, they explain to me it really is working, I should appreciate what I have, and I don't understand refrigerators like they do. When I ask why the stove isn't working, they explain that is not a problem, and I don't understand stoves. They are right. I don't really understand refrigerators nor stoves but I do not that what I went to them for was to get my refrigerator working and now it doesn't work and my stove doesn't work. And I know they are full of shit. To sum it up in words that would make a true wonk to ashamed to show their face, their verbage NO EXTERNAL VALIDITY. In their closed little circle their verbage is neato. Outside, they are just full of shit and as much deniers of reality as the tea baggers. Reality here is simple.

The WH has fucked up and pursued an incompetent strategy. The public, not bloggers, has turne against WH HCR. The WH is being punked by punk senators because the WH has begged to be punked. The WH has treated the "progressives" with contempt, for which the democrat party will pay dearly in 2010. Obama's election wasn't about Obama, it was about faith in AMerican. ANd the WH is eviscerating that faith and it may destroy the ability to stop right wing nuts from taking over the Federal State which will be as dangerous a time as this country has faced. HCR is inconsequential to what is being risked. Republican strength is growing due EXCLUSIVELY to WH incompetence and punk senators and their refusal to stand for something or to stand up to right wing insantiy. And progressives are being held hostage to the threat of right wing Repubican control if WH incompetence is not supported.

So what do the wonks do? At this blog and others they faithfully and breathlessly repeat whatever the incomptent party line is without skepticism or thought. Just like with the war on false pretenses.

Prettying up the HCR catastrophe isn't lipstick on a pig.

It is putting a spritz of perfume on Lieberman and Nelson vomit and then telling progessives to eat it and say it tastes good. You fools have no idea how angry and or hopeless this has made the people you need by sacrifing them to the people who despise you. Not commenters like me who is mostly a libertarian or other bloggers, but people who don't read blogs but just listen to the news and are close to shock. You are clueless.

And notice i didn't even say kill the HCR bill. But you fools have about reached the point of no return. Nader was never fucking president. This is inexcusable. If Rahm stays, Obama is a sad footnote in history.

Posted by: razor on December 17, 2009 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Zeitgeist and Shortstop, regarding admiration for the Indomitable Nancy... I used to dream that Bush and Cheney would go duck hunting together and she'd end up as the first de facto female President of US. And she's at it again, it appears; almost as good as Franken's high jinks :)

To change the subject a bit...
In response to "razor", @22:30 and anyone else who thinks that removing Rahmbo would make all that much difference, because he's Obama's brain and/or puppetmaster, the way Rove was Bush's. Don't know how many of you are familiar with the name "Beria" but, for quite a while, he was Stalin's right hand and, supposedly, his evil spirit. All the evil that was perpetrated on the Russian populace was laid at his door, while benevolent "uncle Stalin" was considered blameless (fooled). There was a big push for Stalin to get rid of the sucker and, eventually, Stalin *did* remove Beria (if not in quite the same way we expect Obama to remove Rahm). And? Did Stalin's policies change in any way? Not.

When you have someone with a limited mental acuity -- like Bush or Palin - it's possible that someone else is manipulating them. But Obama is a looooong way from being that kind of stupid. I don't like Rahm. I don't like Geithner. I can't stand Sommers. I'd love to see them all go. But I'm not fooling myself into thinking that the situation would change all that much if they did.

Posted by: exlibra on December 17, 2009 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

on AK liberal and Josh's tearjerker whose COBRA will run out: the provisions for subsiidies, exchanges, and the mandate in the Senate bill don't start until 2014!!

AK is going to be in a world of hurt by then. Have some sympathy for the poor individual and get a good bill passed. Settling for this will kill AK.

Posted by: angler on December 18, 2009 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

As was posted in some of the comments. It was absolutely wonderful to see the idea that Al Franken was presiding over the senate. How cool is that!

Posted by: JohnK on December 18, 2009 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

Have some sympathy for the poor individual and get a good bill passed.

Your dickish comments aside, I'm curious to know how you propose to get a "better bill" through the Senate when we don't yet have the votes for cloture on the current legislation that you detest. How do you propose to bring conservative Democratic senators over to your way of thinking?

Posted by: AK Liberal on December 18, 2009 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

how you propose to get a "better bill" through the Senate when we don't yet have the votes for cloture on the current legislation that you detest.

Exactly. The denial of reality on the part of the bill-killers is puzzling. They seem to think that there is a magic wand somewhere that someone can wave and -- what? Make Lieberman change his mind? Or Snowe? Or Nelson? How do they think they will get to 60? What happened to the "reality based community"?

Posted by: JS on December 18, 2009 at 4:46 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder how much John Podesta's support for this crap bill is due to his brother's lobbying business. I've always liked Podesta but hey, Rahmbo is from the same team so I am sorry but every sorry person related to this scumball WH is beginning to look like a sleazeball.

Posted by: warren terrah on December 18, 2009 at 7:41 AM | PERMALINK

Warren, Podesta is compromised like a lot of the Clintonian establishmentarians. Was it his brother too, not just he and the sister? See http://washingtonindependent.com/26438/podesta-a-name-to-watch-on-the-new-k-street

Posted by: neil b. on December 18, 2009 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

Hey AKL and JS, we're not thinking you could get 60 votes for something better. We're saying, use reconciliation or some other way to get around the crappy 60 rule, which our Dems would at least try if they had more backbone. And it is still true, that if you can't get something acceptable then you don't foist crap on people just to "get a bill passed." Try mini-bills, amendments, anything else. You are so clueless now, I suggest you read razor and exlibra too.

Posted by: neil b on December 18, 2009 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

Denial of reality, dickishness. Snark right back at you both, but you ask the right question, how to make it better?

Reconciliation. Don't like that? Push for some give in exchange for the taking away of the p.o. and medicare buy in. These gives include Kerry's plan for state exchanges to act as "prudent purchasers," or to weed out inefficient insurance providers; Dorgan's just defeated and embarrassingly so ($80 bn from the pharmaceuticals buys a lot of good will) amendment to authorize drug reimportation; get rid of the loophole on upping rates according to pre-existing conditions by disallowing rate hikes by age.

If these can't get into the Senate version then work on the conference bill. While in conference restore elements of the House bill that beat the Senate version. These include swapping the Cadillac tax on benefits for the House version's surtax on incomes over $500,000. Move implementation up. If you can't stomach 2010 or 11, at least bring back the House deadline of 2013. Raise the Medicaid expansion from the Senate 133% of poverty to the House 150%; take the House's requirement for employer coverage of 65% of premiums over the Senate's $750 fine for not covering workers.

There's more that can be done to make HCR better. Some, if not all of these are trade offs for the death of a public competitor to private insurance. None of them is as good but the cave-in to the Senate bill lets industry lobbyists off too easy.

All of them help out the AKs of the country a lot more than the current Senate bill.

One thing that's been puzzling from the settlers in this debate is the fatalism of accepting the bill as is with no pushback. Push some of the above measures, get someone with a megaphone, say the president, to publicize them, and see if we can't put some vulnerable legislators in a tight place where they vote to make a better bill.

If you're wondering where these issues were, a lot had been stripped from the Senate measure before Lieberman pulled the Medicare buy-in, but most of the watering down was seen as the price of keeping public competition. With that gone, they are better than nothing.

Call your congress critters now.

Posted by: angler on December 18, 2009 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

razor, amen.

Posted by: kc on December 18, 2009 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

If Washington is the place where "good ideas go to die," then the Senate is the slaughterhouse.

The Senate is where good ideas go to be waterboarded, beaten, and shocked.

Posted by: kc on December 18, 2009 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

First off, I have rather good health insurance, so I'm not the one needing help.

Second, much of the point of passing HCR right now is to establish that access to health care is a right in the USA. My understanding is that reconciliation is a very limited tool and anything that will pass via reconciliation will be too limited to accomplish that. Same for passing things in small pieces.

I'm all for restoring things we like in conference, but first you have to get a a bill through the Senate. As for the big megaphone, that would be the President's job. However, the President seems to believe that it is better to make HCR Congress's problem. Whether that was the best strategy is debateable, but it is at least understandable given the current state of affairs.

As for calling my Senator, Begich is on board and Murkowski is GOP. Angler, you might be fun to talk to if you can refrain from the personal invective.

Posted by: AK Liberal on December 18, 2009 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

But costs aren't rising because insurance is expensive. They're rising because health care is expensive. ~ Ezra Klein's first of five supposed cost control arguments includes this line, without acknowledging that one of the cost drivers is administrative overhead in every hospital and doctors office for people hired to decipher multiple insurance company policies and reimbursement rates and to continually plead, beg, argue for coverage before or after treatment has been given and received. Healthcare is expensive in part because other insurance companies have a stake in charging outrageous liability premiums.

Two hospitals were visited, matched for size, type of hospital, coverage area and typical daily census. In hospital B, there were something like 300 people in billing. In hospital A, there were 3. Would you guess that Hospital A was in Canada and Hospital B was in the US?


Posted by: Nanuq on December 18, 2009 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

AKL, I think we're close to harmonic convergence. Please accept my unsnark. Healthcare should be established as a right for all, but there has to be some meat on the bones of that freedom to mean something (see the history of the 14th amendment and Jim Crow).

Murkowski occasionally shows rays of hope. Remind her of her better angels. Don Young is irredeemable, I'll give you that, but we can still write, call, donate in behalf of the AFL-CIO, SEIU, and the progressive caucus in the House that is trying to hold Pelosi to a conference committee.

Meanwhile don't give up on a Senate fix, pre-conference. Judging by today's headlines, Nelson seems determined to stall the bill into the next session, and they will quite possibly be back at this thing again. Could they at least move the phase in to 2013? Work on the medicaid caps . . you get the idea.

Posted by: angler on December 18, 2009 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

angler, you seem to think that this bill was put together hastily and hasn't already been negotiated to the nth degree among senators. But it has. What it contains includes what the Dems have been able to keep to get to 60. If everyone took the position you take (keep negotiating, keep asking for more ground on all fronts) no contract would even be signed by any two parties. Anyway, your position is very different from that of the other bill killers, who are unwilling to accept anything without a public option. So if you got all the things you ask for, you would then be the "settler".

And BTW, nobody has real health insurance today. If you are self-employed and get really sick, you will lose your insurance -- or it will become unaffordable. If you get insurance through a large employer, you get to keep it as long as you have your job. But if you cannot work because of a health condition, you lose your job and, soon after that, your insurance too. This bill provides real insurance to all, no coverage limits, no pre-existing condition exclusions, industry regulation of many kinds, and universal coverage. It would be much more reality-based to pass it and modify it later than to try to start from scratch.

The mandate is necessary because you cannot eliminate pre-existing condition exclusions without it. Most people realize this -- except Dean (whom I supported to the max when he ran for president) and Kos and their followers.

As for reconciliation -- if it were really possible Reid would have done it. But reconciliation is about saving money, and the argument that this will save money is stretched. A lot of Democratic senators don't like the idea. With a reconciliation precedent like this, the Republicans would cut EVERYTHING under reconciliation if they ever got a majority of 1 -- reconciliation is something we should be very fearful of.

Posted by: JS on December 18, 2009 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Two of Ezra's "five" are not good.

First, the Medicare Commission is nothing more than MedPAC on steroids, and MedPAC has been little more than an irresponsible joke for years. I detailed my experience over at TPM: http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/blogs/a/m/americandad/2009/08/please-mr-president-no-steroid.php

Second, bundling won't work until a lot of changes are made. Ezra uses home care vs hospitals as an example, and it's perfect because billing Medicare for hospitals is worlds apart from billing Medicare for home care. Most hospitals with affiliated home care agencies have given up trying to bring the home care billing into the hospital billing staff, because they're just too different. I can imagine that there are similar problems in trying to bundle hospital billing with other settings and other providers.

Posted by: Russell on December 18, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Murkowski occasionally shows rays of hope. Remind her of her better angels.

Sorry to say, but Murkowski is vulnerable to a challenge from the right. I can't see her going against her party, even if she is so inclined.

Posted by: AK Liberal on December 18, 2009 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Solis says now is a lousy time to enforce immigration restrictions because small fragile businesses would close up shop if they had to pay the wages demanded by citizens and legal immigrants.

During the boom times (see Clinton, Bill) we couldn't enforce immigration because the labor pool was so tight it would force wages to unaffordable levels.

Isn't this the BS we accuse the Republicans of regarding taxes?

We won't get reasonable legal immigration quotas until illegal immigration is enforced. The conservatives LIKE illegal immigration because illegals cannot unionize, sue, or vote. PERFECT proles to push around and abuse.

Why, oh why, do liberals not demand rigorous strict employer prosecution when they hire illegal immigrants? Why do we do Corporate America's dirty work for them?

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on December 30, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK
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