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Bullshit from Pelosi: "Single payer now can be disruptive to Medicare"

Crooks and Liars has the audio from Nancy Pelosi's conference call with some bloggers on the House health care bill.

Kudos to Chris Bowers for asking about the Kucinich amendment.

Chris' question was whether the Kucinich amendment was in the bill.

Short answer: No.
Longer answer: The Republicans supported it, and "this is probably one of those issues that they would like to use to take down the bill."

I'm really and truly happy whenever Democrats reject bipartisanshit, but golly gee whillikers. I can see why there seems to be no love lost between Kucinich and Pelosi [Kucinich has been critical of her move on the Weiner amendment].

Then there's this on the Weiner amendment...

Ryan Grimm's [HuffPo] question on the Weiner amendment [and I paraphrase a bit]: "... a vote on the Weiner amendment to make the case that people think this is a government takeover, so let's vote on the government takeover, and then move on to the real bill."

Gah. That's bad enough, but then there's Nancy Pelosi's answer...

Pelosi: "We can't take something to the floor that isn't scored, and we're trying to figure out how to score single payer. I told the caucus I've been for single payer for 30 years. When I first started out being for single payer, Medicare was 14 years old. [...] Now it's become such a formidable part of the life of our seniors, so single payer now can be disruptive to Medicare. [...] People come and say "We want single payer' and we say "well, you understand what this does to Medicare? [...] So we have to have a score for that, in order to have a score for that, we have to have a real understanding about what it is that is being put forth."

Single payer would be disruptive to Medicare, but experimenting on these same old folks with unproven concepts like accountable care organizations, and with concepts that have been tried but shown to be lackluster at best, like pay for performance, or deciding based on questionable research that less care is more?

Those are all going to strengthen Medicare, not disrupt it.

No votes yet


Submitted by lambert on

... of what they themselves plan to do, that means Medicare is in trouble.

Of course, if Obama had appointed a Medicare Administrator, they might have been able to straighten Nancy out.

And I'm glad, so glad Nancy's been for single payer for 30 years, and I'm wishing her luck being for it, but not enacting it, for another 30. These people make me want to throw up.

UPDATE Hipparchia, where did the transcript come from? Did you make it, or is there a link? AmericaBlog's live notes are different, quelle surprise. I downloaded the audio, so we have it.

UPDATE I made the headline a little more vivid.

Submitted by hipparchia on

... if Obama had appointed a Medicare Administrator, they might have been able to straighten Nancy out.

i'm not so sure about that. obama has bought the less is more mantra, so probably his appointee will have too.

Submitted by hipparchia on

that's my typing/transcribing, from listening to the audio. i did the stop/start thing for the disruptive-to-medicare paragraph, but the rest is more my paraphrasing [to cut down on typing, and because not all the audio is very clear].

all the single payer stuff starts at about 11:00.

as for the title, maybe you could have used the suggested horseshit...


eta: his notes aren't too far off from mine. we each left out a couple of sentences that the other left in it looks like.

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

Horseshit horseshit horseshit horseshit horseshit!

Submitted by hipparchia on

that about sums it up for me too.

Submitted by lambert on

The Top 10 Changes and the Implementation Timeline release by the Dems don't say the same thing.

Top 10:

To fill the gap before the Exchange is available, the revised bill immediately creates an insurance program with financial assistance for those who have been uninsured for several months or denied a policy because of pre-existing conditions.


IMMEDIATE HELP FOR THE UNINSURED (INTERIM HIGH-RISK POOL): Creates a $5 billion fund, modeled after the President’s plan, to finance an immediate, temporary insurance program for those who are uninsurable because of pre-existing conditions.

So, which is it? Do the unemployed get to join the interim high risk pool or not? Screwing up the detail on this shows who and what the Dems care about, eh? And how much does it cost? And how will the unemployed pay for it?

NOTE Via Jeralyn.

Submitted by hipparchia on

people are going to be able to keep their cobra until the exchange opens in 2013 [normally cobra is only good for 18 months].

high-risk pools are for people who are already completely uninsured, and cannot buy insurance on the individual market because of truly serious pre-existing conditions. an example: if you've had cancer, even if you've been pronounced cured, insurers just will not sell you an individual policy [or will price it out of reach] until you've been cancer-free for 5 years.

the insurance available people in high-risk pools is generally prohibitively expensive and usually comes with both high premiums and high deductibles. the legislation says that high-risk pool insurance premiums cannot be more than 125% of regular insurance premiums, but good luck enforcing that.

and yeah, nobody ever explains how the unemployed are going to be able to afford having/keeping insurance. there's always medicaid if you get poor enough, but generally you have to not only have very low income, you also have to have no assets to speak of, although you generally don't have to sell your house. if you die while covered by medicaid, though, medicaid can go after your estate to try to recoup some of what they spent on you.

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

most state high-risk pools have an exclusion period absent continuous coverage. Top 10 should probably read "and" instead of "or."

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

No, I mean that truly. In terms of managing outcomes and preventing the American people from getting what they want - or even demanding it - the Democratic leadership has been and continues to be brilliant. Someone who knows more than me Jeff W should look at it through the lens of inverted totalitarianism with its managed democracy and the privatization of public services.

Contrary to being weak and incompetent (that's liberals, IMO), the Democratic Party is actually very adept at managing the populace while serving their corporate masters. At least they have been so far. We'll see how that 15%+ real unemployment rate treats them.

Submitted by lambert on

They aren't weak. They are doing exactly what they want, and servicing the constituents they really care about. The use of that narrative is a real litmus test for, well, being serious or not.

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

BDBlue, thanks—I just read that review the same as you did (although I would like to read Sidney Wolin's book).

I think, on the one hand, as lambert says, the narrative of "weakness" works well for the Democrats (or, as one person says, "For now, we cannot do any better.").

And, on the other, as Wolin says, if you bore the electorate to such an extent that it gradually fails to pay any attention to politics; divert it with trivial, peripheral issues (ranging from "hissy fits" and hysteria over "death panels" to, as I mentioned before, non-balloon boy exploits); and manage to convince everyone that, as Bill Moyers says

these narrow [economic] interests seem to win, determine the outcomes, no matter how many Democrats are elected, no matter who has their hands on the levers of powers, these narrow interests determine the outcomes in Washington, even when they have to run roughshod over the interests of ordinary Americans.

you have a lot of the components for a disengaged, apathetic populace. ("That's the best we can do" articulates that resignation pretty succinctly, as in "That's the best we can do in this corporatocracy/kleptocracy of ours.")

I doubt that the two parties are "managing" these techniques per se in the same way the CCP in China might—they don't strike me as all that competent, frankly. But I think that, as the loony rightwing fringe freaked out during the summer, the Democratic leadership was probably more pleased than dismayed because (1) the circus diverted what little attention there might have been away from the actual policies to delusional ones and (2) some people being scarily binary in their thinking (and otherwise not engaged) probably thought, "Well, if those people are against it, I must be for it." In other words, the parties are not exactly going out of their way to combat what Wolin calls "inverted totalitarianism" and probably happily piggyback on it when they can (which is often). The last thing the Democratic leadership wants, of course, is people fighting for real health care reform.

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

Love that! That's the best thing I've read all day! Thanks, lambert! I'm such a naïf 'bout these things. (I'll toss in a link for good measure.)

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

I, too, want to read the Wolin book. I just hope I can understand it.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

which is essentially condemning some people to death. i am still amazed we've allowed ourselves to have reached this point. i guess i'm naive. i just can't understand how people can allow, let alone craft and implement, policies which murder people for having been sick. i would think this affects rich people too, in at least some ways. but such a blatant formulation of "sick person doesn't deserve life if no one makes money" is obscene on every level, and legislators should be dying of shame for not rushing en masse to make this illegal.

we need a video stream. constantly updated. open source. "this is who insurance companies murdered, today." a montage, at the least.

healthforall's picture
Submitted by healthforall on

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Michael Wilk's picture
Submitted by Michael Wilk on

Oh, and I'm so glad that Bowers asked about single-payer. Too bad he can't, you know, pipe and demand that it be part of the health care reform debate and use his blog as an organizing tool for progressives in general to add pressure.

SinglePayerCentral's picture
Submitted by SinglePayerCentral on

Really, Nancy - you've been a supporter of single payer for xyz years bla bla bla? Well that's news to YOUR CONSTITUENTS and THE ENTIRE CALIFORNIA legislature which passed SB840, California's single payer bill TWICE now only to be vetoed twice by Arnold without a WORD - a WORD, mind you - of support or consternation towards Arnold - from you.

And let's see, how long has it taken for you to PERMIT the bill (676) to get scored? And what happened to your PROMISE on film to Weiner - what, you get to just go and "change your mind" re that promise?

Fine. Be a snake (although snakes behave much more approvingly than you) but don't pretend to represent your own San Francisco district's residents with this kind of behavior and attitude.

Pelosi is just another sellout.

This is why I will NEVER return to the Democratic party. Never ever.

Expanding Medicare to all would bring the costs down, Ms. Pelosi. And hello - MOST of the activists supporting single payer ARE seniors so please don't try to convince us that seniors don't want single payer. You want to blame somebody? Look in the mirror and look at your friends.