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Harkin goes right up to the line on single payer and drops the ball

The Hill via PNHP:

Sen. Tom Harkin, one of the co-authors of the Affordable Care Act, now thinks Democrats may have been better off not passing it at all and holding out for a better bill.

“We had the power to do it in a way that would have simplified healthcare, made it more efficient and made it less costly and we didn’t do it,” Harkin told The Hill. “So I look back and say we should have either done it the correct way or not done anything at all.

“What we did is we muddled through and we got a system that is complex, convoluted, needs probably some corrections and still rewards the insurance companies extensively,” he added.

But he believes the nation might have been better off if Democrats didn’t bow to political pressure and settle for a policy solution he views as inferior to government-provided health insurance.

He believes Congress should have enacted “single-payer right from the get-go or at least put a public option would have simplified a lot.”

AAARGH!!!!!! Single payer the the public option are NOT THE SAME. Single payer is just that: Single. Payer. Not one of multiple options. One more option of many won't simplify squat. What's wrong with these people?

“We had the votes to do that and we blew it,” he said.

This is one of the many reasons I, er, strongly dislike Democrats. Because "had the votes" for single payer isn't at all the same as "had the votes" for public option. All he does is muddy the waters, and perpetuate perhaps the worst and most dishonest and destructive policy disinformation campaign on the face of the earth, carried on, as one might expect, by "progressives," and confuse the Public Option Magic Sparkle Pony with single payer and Medicare.

Harkin and other liberals are now faced with the bitter irony that the centrists tried to placate five years ago by crafting a labyrinthine market-based reform are now all out of the Senate.

“So as a result we’ve got this complicated thing out there called the Affordable Care Act,” he said.

He believes Congress should have moved legislation in the first 100 days after Obama’s inauguration, which drew over a million people to the National Mall on a frigid January day.

“There’s this old saying, ‘If you have the votes, vote. If you don’t, talk.’ We had the votes but we talked,” he said.

Well, yeah. Hey Democrats! I've got a solution! Stop sucking!

No votes yet


Barmitt O'Bamney's picture
Submitted by Barmitt O'Bamney on

Oh, but WHO COULD HAVE POSSIBLY FORESEEN that a law written by an insurance mafia consigliere company Vice President would have preserved the wasteful profit skimming of the private insurance sector, along with the unjust, unaccountable power of life and death they wield over the heads of millions of citizens? And who -WHO?- could have ever guessed that a new health insurance law, a thousand pages long, dividing the public's health into an infernal maze of at least 50 separate markets, with different classes of citizen-consumers in each of them, hacked out between federal Medicaid and Medicare at the extremities, would prove to be an savagely expensive, heinously complicated, opaque and relentlessly unfair, lobbyist written cock up?

There's a good reason to dislike Democrats. THEY ARE ALL LIARS. Harkin included.

Submitted by Dromaius on

Yawners. Now Mr. Harkin(g), how is your mea culpa going to get me and mine anything even vaguely resembling a middle class standard of living increase or even affordable health CARE (not health insurance).

Tap, tap, tap, I'm waiting.

Apparently the Dems have sent out minions to try to save them. They're thinking, "if we say we screwed up, it will help (us)". Sorry, this isn't some dumb law that affects us on a "spiritual" level. This law impacts our daily lives. We can't get away from it, so therefore, neither can you...DEMOCRATS.

But what brings this apology right now? Did the insurance companies make big undelivered promises in exchange for the Democrats little "screw up"? (Probably) Did the Democrats suddenly grow a spine and a conscience? (No).

Well sorry, unless you're going to write me and the rest of the Obamacare "losers" a check for the huge insurance cost hikes your law has brought and also compensation for any economic policy that you didn't enact so you could pass this garbage law, I have nothing to say to you.

You are scum, Mr. Harkin. You and your party are SCUM.

And this is an interesting poll. According to Gallup, Cost Still a Barrier Between Americans and Medical Care

But of course, even Gallup appears to bow to the insurance industry lords because they hide the real lede. That is, while people in general are increasingly avoiding SERIOUS (yes, Gallup says serious) medical care due to costs, as people get further outside of subsidy range, the number who are avoiding care accelerates. (And BTW, Gallup, $75,000 for a family, especially in metro areas, is not big wages). Basically, what this tells me, (and of course, they didn't ask people WHY) is that the reason for this increased avoidance of medicine is that Obamacare has increased people's premiums and coinsurance. Even though people have insurance, they can't afford to actually get CARE because they can't meet the exorbitant deductibles....just as we've said forever.

Anyway, off to go scream, punch a wall and have myself another cup of decaf ;-)..

Submitted by Dromaius on

That doesn't give me any pleasure, either. It's hard to have schadenfreude when the policy is detrimentally affecting me personally, something I feel every day...

They had the votes and they didn't act, so f-'em and watch 'em burn.

The only difference between Dems and Repubs is what they pretend to be about. And he is pretending now, playing lip service to actually caring about the reality of the horrific law. He didn't care in 2010. Why the change? Because the law hurt the Democrats.

All he cares about is Democratic power.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

"It's hard to have schadenfreude when the policy is detrimentally affecting me personally, something I feel every day..."

Exactly and ditto. The pivots in the Democratic Beltway yammering are irrelevant to the concrete material harms they brought upon millions of real citizens who cannot afford health care nor health insurance and thus live every day one "medical event" away from bankruptcy and/or premature death.

To hell with them indeed. May they burn in a bank with their FIRE masters.

Submitted by lambert on

.... and "Why do you hate ObamaCare?" types all the time, as my own very small part of getting policy to a better space. And so, for me, I've just been handed a big stick. What you you mean, "We never had the votes?" Harkin says you did, and he's a Democrat!

It's not about schadenfreude for me at all; it's about tactical advantage in the discourse. I read this thing the other say in a normal, mainstream place ("The Week," I think) about how the Democrats need to provide "concrete benefits." Remember "concrete material benefits" from Anglachel? We've been hammering on that since, like, 2010. Four years. And that's about how long it takes. Look at lets' on the coin...

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

Reid was being asked to eliminate the filibuster or use reconciliation from the day they regained the Senate, so all of that was BS, and now we hear that their primary excuse was to placate Joe Lieberman et al....but somehow they STILL had the votes to do something positive. I really don't understand why they are in a quandary as to what happened in the last two mid terms.

They got the votes of those they were actually representing, what do they think they have to bitch about? It is a numbers game, and ten percent of the electorate is not going to give them the majorities they claim to seek.

McDee's picture
Submitted by McDee on

I expect a lot of pseudo-confessions and Populist rhetoric between now and 2016 from the Dems. It's safe now because there is absolutely no chance that anything helpful to the 99% getting through this Congress.
Now if, and it's a big if, they regain power in '16 they will then do what they did in '09. Sell Us Out! That's what they do.
Pay no attention to what they SAY now that they are out of power. Look at what they DID when they had power. With Obama and with Clinton.
Worthless, just worthless!

Submitted by lambert on


The post-mortem will feature a cross-section of party loyalists and activists, including Beshear, who was first elected in 2007 in GOP-leaning Kentucky; Schmidt, Google's former CEO and an informal adviser to Obama's team; Donna Brazile, the DNC's vice chair and a veteran of presidential campaigns; Colorado party chairman Rick Palacio and Lee Saunders, the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.

I wonder if anybody will be discourteous enough to ask about Eric Schmidt's involvement in a wage-fixing cartel.

Great catch. You read HuffPo so I don't have to.

It's a meta-clusterfuck!

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Hilarity ensued indeed.

Another welcome discourtesy would be to ask AFSCME dude Lee Saunders:

"What concrete material benefits have Obama and DNC helped you deliver to your dues-paying members since GFC - for example, wages keeping up with (real) inflation, health benefits improved to reverse cost-shifting, shoring up of pensions, and, of course, increasing employment in government sectors."

BWA-HA-HA-HA. More like: "Hey Saunders, as chief of AFCSME how do you feel about Obama and DNC throwing tens of thousands - 100s of thousands - of your members under the bus, out of jobs, or reduced pay, and health care and the destruction of pensions, and kicking many into jobless poverty? While you collected your giant salary and perks and did nothing."

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

and even then I wondered what my dues were for. I spent ten years getting my benefits cut and getting one percent raises. I calculated that were I to cease paying dues I would get the best raise ever, immediately.

When I brought it up at a meeting the powers-that-be were unamused.

I think I can actually picture the scenario you imagine, but the fashion sense in yours would be on another higher level.

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

Well, if anyone needs an expert on the finer points of screwing its' employees, er, base, it would definitely be the Democratic Party at this point. Their moves have apparently become stale enough that even they have begun to notice their less-than-orgasmic performance of late.

ION, I think you should consider becoming an advisor to the Bernie campaign! We could all sign a recommendation for you to append you your application...or whatever. Seriously, you could be valuable to him, he could be lucrative for you and you wouldn't even need to leave the house!

Splashoil's picture
Submitted by Splashoil on

That "cross-section...." Must be the same one working lame duck magic to cut defined benefit pension benefits to retirees. That just showed up on the radar at NC links. Will spare everyone some explicit language for now.

Submitted by lambert on

And this is schadenfreude. Donna Brazile:

[BRAZILE: ]Well, Lou, I have worked on a lot of Democratic campaigns, and I respect Paul. But, Paul, you're looking at the old coalition. A new Democratic coalition[1] is younger. It is more urban, as well as suburban, and we don't have to just rely on white blue-collar voters and Hispanics. We need to look at the Democratic Party, expand the party, expand the base and not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

In fact, the Obot takeover was all about throwing the babies out with the bathwater:

[BRAZILE: ][Obama's] going to have to put things on the table that perhaps many of us would not like to see a Democratic president put on the table in terms of cutting back on spending, freezing hiring and making some real tough decisions. So, I think he will be constrained by the deficit and also by the fact that we're still in two major wars.

So there you have it. Brazile got everything she wanted, and Obama shat the bed (we call that "tough decisions"). And here we are.

I will look forward with great interest to the report. I venture to predict they will double down on fail. Schumer -- and I can't believe I'm saying this -- told them what to do. They won't do it.

NOTE [1] It isn't clear to me, and it's not clear to many, how there is an Obama "coalition," when there is no Obama.