The "break the bill in two" concept
Single payer advocates argue that the only way forward with health care is to pull out the good parts that help people right away, declare victory, and reboot with an open and transparent process -- this time, for real. Naturally, the "progressive" access bloggers never refute these arguments directly, since that would give oxygen those who advocate the only policy on offer that can be shown to save money and lives, but apparently they've been talking privately among themselves about it. Here's the implicit "progressive" response and strategery (via Ackroyd at Eschaton):
The problem is, you give up on this and what do Democrats have to exclaim about doing for healthcare reform in 2010?
Who gives a shit?
Individual mandates? Making people buy crappy insurance from the same old insurers that will continue to find ways to exclude their claims and jack up their premiums?
Which none of the bills change.
Giveaways to the insurance industry of upwards of $600 billion in the form of the subsidies and credits given to the people who are forced to buy the crappy insurance?
Which none of the bills change.
The problem is, as Greg Sargent points out, is that Lincoln, Landrieu, Nelson, and Lieberman share a characteristic of the Republicans: they just don't really give a shit that people are suffering.
Bollocks. That's not the problem at all.
If Democrats, and "progressive" access bloggers, gave two shits about caring whether people suffer -- as opposed to congratulating themselves and their clients on being seen as caring -- they would never have pulled the bait and switch on [a|the] [strong|robust]? public [health insurance]? [option|plan] in the first place, or stood by as it got whittled down from 130 million enrollees to 9 or 10 or 6 million or 2 percent of the population or whatever. They've never been straight with the American people on how many enrollees there would be, they've never been straight on shit like "Day One" being in 201
34, they've never been straight on how the exchanges would actually work, and on and on and on.
They have no problem "letting the whole thing come crashing down, with potentially catastrophic consequences for their party and, by their own lights, the country as a whole."
Translation: They know how to bargain. Either (#1) "progressives" don't, or (#2) they don't really care. Since I don't accept Democratic narratives of weakness, I'm going with door #2.
And the remainder of the Senate, and the vast majority of House members who do care are hanging on to the shreds of a hope that they can make this whole mess just a little bit better, even if just for a sliver of the population.
Translation: "Just a sliver" means that to this very day, public option advocates don't know -- or won't say -- what they're advocating for, or what their bottom line is -- except, possibly the semantics or optics of getting the word "public" in the bill.
The alternative, of course, is for progressives to be just as willing as the ConservaDems to blow this thing up. Sherrod Brown says he's still committed to the public option, and that it will be difficult to maintain the support of progressive Senators if this gets watered down any further.
"Difficult." Now that's telling 'em, "progressives!"
The most obvious solution is to break the bill up into two, pass the insurance reforms through regular procedure and the public option and other financial pieces through reconciliation.
Translation: Pass the parts that everybody agrees on, then shove the shit sausage down our throats with reconciliation.
And all for "a sliver"? Are you shitting me?
It's the Rube Goldberg health exchange contraption, and saving no money, and forcing us to buy junk insurance, and the IRS acting as a collection agent, and making us pay up front for benefits that don't kick in 'til after the next midterms when 45,000 are dying every year, and using the tax system to claw back plans that unions won through bargaining, and turning the right to universal health care into a fucking welfare program with Medicaid expansion, and legitimizing health care for profit --- those are the problems! And that's what you're going to pass with reconcilation? It's a sure-fire political winner!
That's our excrementalist "progressive" caucus in action. Sucky on policy, sucky on politics, and setting themselves up for a loss in 2010 and 2012. Not that it matters to them anyhow: They're made in Versailles anyhow...
NOTE More of the same, except with over-the-top framing.