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Dems Pull the Heathcare Football, Again

chicago dyke's picture

Not that it surprises anyone here, but health care is off the table for 2009. Sayeth the Democratic Whip:

A prominent House Democrat said he doesn't expect a comprehensive
healthcare reform bill to pass Congress in 2009, saying an incremental
approach to covering the uninsured would be better "than to go out and
just bite something you can't chew."

House Majority Whip James Clyburn's (D-S.C.) timeline on tackling
healthcare is at odds with the timetable proposed by Senate Democrats
and could represent a major shift in the House Democrats' strategy of
dealing with the uninsured.

During an interview on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" program that aired on
Sunday, Clyburn said he doesn't anticipate that comprehensive
healthcare legislation will be approved in 2009.

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.

Here's the part that annoys me most:

While noting he does not know exactly when President Obama want to
move forward with a universal healthcare measure, Clyburn said, "If
you take what we've done with [the State Children's Health Insurance
Program bill] and then you follow with [more spending] on community
health centers, you would have gone a long way to building a
foundation upon which to build a universal access healthcare program.

"I would much rather see it done that way, incrementally, than to go
out and just bite something you can't chew. We've been down that road.
I still remember 1994."

It's just so insulting. Clyburn really expects us to believe that he hasn't had (many) a discussion with the Obama administration about such an important issue like health care yet? Give me a break. After the ending the war, and perhaps some civil liberties issues, health care is only the most important pillar of supposedly Democratic aims and policy goals there is. Really, I'd respect Clyburn and the Obama Administration a lot more if they'd just come out and say, "Who do you think writes our campaign checks? We're not going to get reelected with ActBlue money, you twits. So long as insurance companies give lots and lots of money to us, you can forget anything approaching Universal Single Payer." But don't hand me a rotten tomato and tell me it's a it's a cup of gazpacho. It's ridiculous to think that the Leadership of the Party and our President haven't had long, serious, time-specific discussions and planning sessions on many health care related topics. Next time, Clyburn, be a man, and pass the buck, like a good Democrat. Just say, "Ask him, he's the President and Leader of the party, and he told me not to say shit."

It's funny how many Dems are stuck in the 90s, in so many ways. Hell, I don't blame them. I miss the 90s a lot; the fashion, the music, the parties, and the money I made. I even had health care back then, at a crappy working class job, no less. But it's pathetic, isn't it? As I'm fond of saying, the Superpowerful Insurance Company "Harry and Louise" ads, which clearly were some form of irresistable mind control that warped public opinion and brought about Republican majorities, and made lots of Dems pee in their panties, probably wouldn't have the same effect today as they supposedly did back then. If I recall correctly, the reasons that media blitz "worked" was because it emphasized things like "not being able to see your doctor" and "long waits" and "confusing government paperwork." Hello! Is there anyone, even rich people, who don't have to suffer that today, when dealing with private insurers? Last time I checked, only Congresscritters enjoyed total freedom of doctor choice, quick visits with actual doctors, and the convienience of quckly signing a simple form, knowing that all the required health care related paperwork was completed. The rest of us have been living in the insurance company mandated nightmare of "deny by frustration" for some fucking time now. I defy anyone to find a large group of people who are "really happy and satisfied" with their private health care company. Even rich people who can afford exorbitant rates complain about those rates, or the confusing limitations, or ridiculous beauracratic bullshit that they at the very least have to sign that their inferiors prepare for them.

I'm told that many staffers, of both parties even, are completely at odds with their bosses on the issue of health care. If you've ever worked for a campaign, you know why- health care for junior politicos is almost as much of a joke as health care for poor people. For trustifarian staffers with access to mummy and daddy's accounts, it's not so much of an issue. But plenty of younger Dems don't have such, or don't have acess to real money, and the stress of a campaign and working on the Hill can be devastating, even for a young, healthy A-type. But it's still a top down, money-oriented system on the Hill, and no matter how popular universal single payer may be with constituents, money is still king. And insurance companies know this. Today's Dem Congresscritters are damn cheap, as I was recently reminded in "Sicko," which I had to restart several times before finding the backbone to view completely. A few tens of thousands here and there, and insurance companies are confident knowing that a solid wall of heartless Republicans, nattering Blue Dogs, and cowed "progressives" will continue to kick the health care can down the road, leaving future generations to figure out how to deal with the myraid problems ~60m uninsured or underinsured Americans create for our economy, productivity, and nation in general.

Anyway, it's getting harder and harder to believe that we have a "liberal" majority party and President. Cowards, liars, thieves, and moderate Republicans a la the Reagan era? Sure. But representatives of the poor, working class, and majority in this country? Nope. I guess it's time for me to get back on my soapbox. Campaign finance reform (grassroots up) and primary challenges. Nothing less will dislodge those who serve the interests of the powerful above the interests of the people. Well, there is one other thing...

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connecticut man1's picture
Submitted by connecticut man1 on

or get burned in the primaries. Obama (or Daschle?) said as early as March. I have this feeling that Obama has a little more pull in the party (and the attack dogs to make that point clear) so I am guessing this story is one dumb politician writing a check he won't be able to cash.

I would worry more if it were Pelosi saying something as stupid as this. But even then, it would just be begging to get kicked from every side. The White House, the Senate and the people (not that the people ever seem to count for much?).

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Clyburn is listed as a cosponsor of HR 676. So this is pretty discouraging.

All I can say is that JFK did not run on a platform of civil rights and we still got civil rights. Just keep the pressure up.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I don't know about South Carolina in general, but at least one SC blogger things that minor changes in our system would be a complete waste of time.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

when it comes to health care. i was just speaking with a Mass. resident, about the increasing failure of their mandatory insurance program. basically, people who can't afford or don't want to participate aren't even paying the fines, they're just dropping off the radar entirely and causing massive funding problems for the program. and as much as i love SCHIP, it doesn't do much for the people in the economy who work and pay taxes, beyond relieving parents of some worry and burden. folks without kids aren't helped directly by it at all. whenever i hear a dem speak about "incremental changes" supposedly in the direction of universal health care, i recall that what most of them really mean is finding ways to give more money to insurance companies for "coverage" without changing any of the (lack of) rules and regulations that allow them to routinely fuck people out of actual care and coverage. how many times do we have to read about people getting fucked over so insurance companies can profit, a la Sicko, before our Leaderz understand that they just cannot be trusted and aren't helping the situation, and in fact cost more? a lot, i guess.

i may have overreacted in this post a bit, and i see now that this has been clyburn's schtick for a while. but what i'm really asking is: is he wrong? what is obama saying is "on the table" for this year? i can't seem to find so much, when it comes to health care.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Surely Daschle would not have had all those house parties and put out all that press if they had not intended to do anything.

Everything is complicated by Kennedy's illness. I can't tell what is going on. Oddly I think time is on our side, if they can't steamroll their non-solution in the first three months, pressure for a real solution will build.

connecticut man1's picture
Submitted by connecticut man1 on

the more that privatized for-profit will be exposed as the cancer that it is. And how many more suffer and die while we wait? Unacceptable, IMHO.

Americans used to be pretty pro-active when it came to stuff like this. I don't get why we haven't seen riots, like in France or Greece, over the crap they have had dropped on them in the last few decades? Especially the most recent piles of it. (Note to any FBI wasting my taxes following "us" around: Not that I am advocating for violence - Just a historical observation.)

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I previously mocked the idea of Daschle's little meetings but everyone's heart seemed to skip a beat at the thought. It didn't take much insight to know that the meetings were gonna be a farce and all about the show--fool me once, shame on you, fool me 500 times...

Kennedy is no excuse, its a scapegoat. In three months, unemployment will be higher, gas prices will be up again, and folks will be hurting even more than they are right now. Hell, there aren't really many retail jobs for PhDs like me to work at since so many places are going out of business. People will be just as worried about food as they will health care and I'll bet that desire for food wins that one. The truth is, a real health care solution is not just good for our health as physiological beings, it can help the economy as well. That Obama and the Dems are not making health care a priority in their economic game--instead fighting for tax cuts--should tell you a lot.

deniseb's picture
Submitted by deniseb on

is my worst fear. More of the same: a myriad of different programs with complicated rules, all having different coverage, that some people will qualify for and some not, with ever-rising costs for everyone, because the only way to bring costs down is to cover everyone.

I'm so glad I didn't get my hopes up.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

way to get people to think that our Leaderz care about what we think. they don't, clearly. there's never been a time when an effective, national health care system a la the UK could be used more effectively, politically speaking. that the dems don't tells you everything you need to know about them.

i'm reading about the tax cu- i mean "stimulus" bill, and obama seems to also be chattering about the desperate need to throw more money at banks, and i'm aware of some stuff that i can't really talk about but basically is a sign that we're going to get serious in afghanistan real fucking soon, like by march or april, and when i add all that up, what i get is: no real health care action beyond SCHIP, and perhaps not even that, this year.

Submitted by lambert on

... but this time, I think it's right. I mean to post later today on the White House health care page; it truly is just horrific (worse, even, than the abortive post I took down). I think they genuinely believe their own bullshit, and we could lose another couple of decades figuring out it is bullshit.

I'm picturing a "Make a Wish" foundation for desperate grown-ups where the action takes place on the Capitol steps. I know I would; why the fuck not? Make my life mean something.

Meanwhile, the only way we're going to "succeed" in Afghanistan is work the same dodge we worked in the "Anbar Awakening" -- pay the tribes a ton of money and credit the force of arms. I'd also venture to guess that somebody's going to have a real big heroin problem a year or two down the road -- if not us, say... China?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

OT, sorry CD but you started it. All the signs are pointing towards a major two-front squeeze on Waziristan starting in the early spring. The indicator I'm watching is Pakistani troop movements; Zardari moved the mass of the Pakistani Army in the direction of Kashmir and India after the Mumbai attack, but since has started shifing them back towards the Tribal Areas. If that westward shift continues, I am of the opinion that Zardari and Obama have an agreement in place to try and crush the Islamist elements that both harbor what is left of the al Qaeda leadership and are the source of considerable threat to stability in Pakistan.

Many difficulties there, political as well as with military strategy. If it works it may actually turn out to have been a "good" thing, insofar as war and death and destruction can be "good." If it stalls, the uproar over I/P will seem like a tea party disagreement compared to the riots that will erupt all over the Muslim world.

Risky business. So is just picking up and walking out. Our choices are bad and worse; which is which probably won't sort out until it is over.

Salmo's picture
Submitted by Salmo on

One of the things Bush did well was create so many issues during moments of crisis (and there were many) that the Dems couldn't follow and rally their troops to oppose them all. The Bush team left us with a crisis, and there are a lot of issues needing action. Now would seem to be the ideal time to divide up the work and put teams together to move on all fronts. It is hard to imagine that Obama's strategists have missed the effectiveness of this strategy or that now would be the time. While it's possible that they are doing exactly the right thing, and Clyburn is trying to become a player having not received the assignment he wanted, it would be more in keeping with traditional Democratic strategy that our leadership is missing the opportunity and preparing the ground on which it will capitulate.

connecticut man1's picture
Submitted by connecticut man1 on

But, quite frankly, I don't see'em? lol

1. Clyburn says the ultimate stupid.

2. Backlash is unreal.

3. We must have single payer NOW! NOW! NOW!

Got some spare backlash that we can spread around?

Bob Morris at Polizeros had this to say in one of his threads, the other day, concerning Obama's reaction to Oxy-Rush:

"There’s a story about FDR like that. Some people went to the White house to lobby for an issue. He said, ok, you’ve convinced me, now go out and bring pressure upon me.

Chess. Yeah. During the presidential campaign I noticed liberal blogs would get upset at Obama because something negative was happening and he seemed to be ignoring it. Then, a week later, you realized he dealt with it just fine without you really noticing what happened."

Wise words...

IOW: He has given use a reason to genuinely rage now. Backlash, Please... More backlash!