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ObamaCare Clusterfuck: What might have been

If Obama and the Democrats had passed single payer Medicare for All in 2009, every American would have had guaranteed coverage for two years by now; it took LBJ only a year to get all 65+ citizens covered in 1965, and that was in the days before computers. Back then, the Democrats controlled the House and the Senate, and could passed the bill.

But wait, you cry. The filibuster!

Well, Senate rules can be changed by majority vote in odd-numbered years; 2009, 2011, 2013.* The Democrats could have changed the Senate rules when Obama had just been elected with a huge mandate for "hope and change" (remember that?) and the Republicans had been thoroughly discredited under George W. Bush. They chose not to. (Every Obot, without exception, has fallen silent when I show them this is true.Because it means the Democrats all totally complicit in all the Republican resistance. They enabled it! This is called kayfabe.)

Now, you can argue that abolishing the filibuster that way would destroy that comity we've got so much of now, or that "We might need the filibuster ourselves one day." Those are both reasonable points, but what you are really saying is that there are more important things than leaving at least $400 billion in savings on the table with single payer, or saving the lives and ending the suffering that comes from being denied needed care under the system.

NOTE * This fact is known by every insider in Washington, for those who came in late. The whole logic was laid out in the discussions of the "nuclear option" during the Bush administration, and the idea originates from a Democrat, Majority Leader Byrd, as the link above shows.

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Submitted by lambert on

I'll add that to the quiver.

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

Joe's right, that's the real nuclear option. In 1891 Sen. Nelson Aldrich always got his "Force bill" passed (called that because it'd force Southern states to let black citizens vote) t will almost exactly the procedure. I believe he only lost by a vote or two and that was the last time a civil rights bill had a shot in Congress until the 1950s.

Another way to take a bite at the apple would be to simply amend Title 18 (i.e. Medicare) of the Social Security Act, say, by dropping eligibility age to zero, expanding benefits package and eliminating monthly premiums (which Sam Gibbons's 3 page 1991 universal Medicare bill would have done). Congress has used a filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bill to amend the Medicare law at least half a dozen times in the last 30 years.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124009985

Its kind of absurd the true believers think Obamacare was the best that could get through the Senate when in fact it needed 10 more Senate votes than simply expanding the tried and true Medicare program It was exactly the same issue with climate change. 50 vote (+ VP) carbon tax rejected and Dems went for 60 vote carbon exchange, which didn't have a prayer. And don'tt me started on the mystery of why they're not using stiff excise taxes-- which always qualify for a reconciliation bill-- for gun control. Seriously, if they WANT to lose, why do they even bother trying?

Submitted by lambert on

Kayfabe.

I'm off at NC this weekend but on next. I know this is wrong of me... But if either if you will remind me, I'll expand on these ideas using that bully pulpit.

Let's do the platinum coin thing again!

Needs a cute name and a hash tag though....

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

Hmm, here's something to ponder...
Perhaps Washington Generals analogy should be updated to reflect their arch-nemesis, the Harlem Globetrotters, is now led by Dennis Rodman.
:o)

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

OK, here's something else to ponder... Maybe the answer to Obamacare lies within Obamacare.

The folks in Libby Montana were left dreadfully exposed to absestos and their senator, one Max Baucus, figured the best way to get them all healthcare coverage was to make them eligible for Medicare. So he added a section to the Obamacare bill to do just that, regardless of age. The first step to Medicare for All is amending that statute to make everyone eligible for Medicare.

"To qualify, you do not need to be age 65 or receive disability benefits. In addition, there is no waiting period, and you do not need to have worked and paid into Social Security or Medicare."
http://www.ssa.gov/libby/

Submitted by lambert on

These are really great suggestions.

I wonder if it's possible for me to become a resident of Libby. I wonder if it's possible for 30 million people to become residents of Libby.