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What ARE We Fighting For?

Sarah's picture
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EDIT TO ILLUSTRATE MY POINT MORE CLEARLY:

If we oppose the public option, if we feel the current bills are so bad that it's better to have no bill at all, how are we different from the Fox fanbase and the Limbaugh Nation? We're not. We're saying the same thing they are, even if we think we're saying it for different reasons. We're out to make sure nobody's situation's any better in the future, for fear our own won't be the best it can be. What makes me say this?
Today's NYT profiles a couple, just too young for Medicare, who listen to Limbaugh and Fox and read Drudge. Not too surprisingly, they want their Representative to vote against the health care reform bill currently before Congress. They think people like themselves -- dependent on insurer-provided coverage and stuck with a $63,000 bill after their insurer determined breast-cancer therapy the wife underwent was experimental -- will be forced onto waiting lists, and denied care, if the bill passes.

What prompted the Colliers to attend a Congressional district meeting for the first time was an almost solemn sense of the magnitude of the health care issue, and its place in determining the scope of American government.

“We both think this is the most important thing we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes,” Mr. Collier said the next day in an interview at his family’s four-bedroom house, overlooking a fishing pond. “I mean, the Vietnam War, which was a big deal in my early formative years, pales in comparison to the way this thing could turn our country.”

“I know we need some reform,” he said, in a deliberative drawl. “I’ve just got questions about how we’re going to do it.”

Ms. Collier, 60, an interior designer, said she had wanted Mr. Bishop, a soft-spoken centrist Democrat who has yet to take a formal position on the legislation, to understand that there were deep concerns.

“I wanted to make sure we were represented,” she said.

The Colliers are committed conservatives who have voted Republican in presidential elections since 1980. They receive much of their information from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh’s radio program and Matt Drudge’s Web site. But they said their direct experience with the health care system had persuaded them of the need for change.

When Ms. Collier’s breast cancer was diagnosed three years ago, Mr. Collier’s employer-provided insurance paid for her office visits, a biopsy and three surgeries. But the insurer covered only a small fraction of her radiation treatments, which it considered experimental, leaving the Colliers with a $63,000 bill. To their great relief, the charge was later written off by Emory Healthcare, whose doctors had recommended the regimen.

How in the world can anyone support such a system? Had not Emory Healthcare, the PROVIDER, written off the cost of the care, how would this couple pay that bill?

Oh, wait ...

There must be a safety net, this man who's held the same job for 39 years says, but it mustn't be too broad. He and his wife shouldn't be able to use it, for instance, perhaps.

Mr. Collier’s employer, Buccaneer Inc., which is based in Atlanta, pays 100 percent of his health premiums but requires $509 a month to cover his wife. That cost has been escalating by at least 15 percent a year, and the couple’s deductibles have quadrupled.

Furthermore, Mr. Collier recognizes that were he to lose the job he has held for 39 years, his wife’s pre-existing condition might well make her uninsurable.

“We’ve got to do something about those people who can’t get insurance,” he said. “There has to be a safety net there. But I don’t want that safety net to catch too many people.”

Of course, if the PROVIDERS weren't writing off huge bills that INSURERS DENY, and were instead receiving payment for all care given (albeit not at the inflated rates on original bills, perhaps, but at something like actual cost plus a living wage for those involved in the health care rather than in providing multimilllion-dollar packages to insurance company executives and bonuses for care denial to insurance employees) wouldn't that be better for the hospitals, the doctors, the nurses, and the scientists working on better ways to treat and cure disease?

Evidently not, and apparently the left and the right agree on this.
So what, exactly, ARE we fighting for?

I'd like to think we're fighting for something better for everybody.
I'd like to think we're fighting for a system where you're not an insurance slave.

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mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

I'm fighting with this woman for something that will actually help people, people like me, for example. I'm fighting against enslaving more people in the private for-profit health finance system. What are you saying?

The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism.---FDR

Submitted by lambert on

That would be how we're different.

I'm fighting for single payer. And I think no bill is better than the current bill. For different policy reasons than, say, Rush Limbaugh, of course.

* * *

And if we support the Ds just because they're Ds, how does that make us different from the Rs?

I'm on the side that the other two sides are trying to suppress.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

"We're out to make sure nobody's situation's any better in the future, for fear our own won't be the best it can be."

Huh? No, I don't think so. I'm calling my rep. talking single payer, or just some modest Medicare expansion to people 55-65, many of whom will never be gainfully employed again. I don't even fit into this group and I would like these folks to have honestly affordable health coverage before I do. I'm posting everywhere telling people we need to broaden the debate, there are other ways to do this. You seem to be saying on health finance reform, you are either with the Democratic leadership or against basic health coverage for every resident of this country. Nothing could be further from the truth, and how utterly insulting. And, yes, I have to worry about myself. I DON'T HAVE BASIC HEALTH COVERAGE.

The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism.---FDR

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

this is nuts, sarah.

What is currently on offer is utterly disasterous -- its welfare for the health care parasites that will force people into expensive health insurance plans that have extremely limited benefits (covering, if we are lucky, 75% of medical expenses).

If it goes down to defeat because the left refuses to support a sell-out to the parasites, there is an excellent chance that we'll be able to get real reform passed in a year or two. Keep in mind that the most important provisions don't go into effect for a couple of years under the current bills -- in a year or two, we can insist upon immediate implementation.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

If it goes down to defeat because the left refuses to support a sell-out to the parasites, there is an excellent chance that we'll be able to get real reform passed in a year or two. Keep in mind that the most important provisions don't go into effect for a couple of years under the current bills -- in a year or two, we can insist upon immediate implementation

What if in the 2010 elections the Democrats' refusal to do anything gets the GOP back control of the House or the Senate? We had no advocate for Medicare for All in the Senate with more power or eloquence or drive than Ted Kennedy. Without him -- and even he, in his most recent bill in the Senate, had adopted the incremental adjustment of Medicare enrollment -- whither do we look for a good bill? On whose shoulders do we lace the burden of starting afresh, from nothing?

what about the loss of the first step toward the goal?

what about not letting an insistence on doing nothing imperfect be the enemy of acting at all?


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

I'm nuts, because I want employers not to go broke or lay off workers to pay insurance premiums?
I'm nuts, because I want clinicians -- doctors, nurses, surgeons, physical therapists, mental health care professionals, dentists -- to get payment for all the care they provide without having to hassle with multiple insurance companies' paperwork and go on feeding the beast that makes its living off death?
I'm the one who's nuts because I think waiting a year or two for improvements is letting people die needlessly?

Clearly, I do not agree with y'all's definition of nuts.


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

legislation, including the proposed public option, which isn't anything like the public option some supporters say they support. The term public option is deliberately amorphous exactly to invoke this kind of illogical support for a bill that does none of the things you say you don't want to wait for.

The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism.---FDR

Submitted by lambert on

... the orange is also an imaginary orange.

What we already know is that HR3200 is nothing like what you want. You write:

I'm nuts, because I want clinicians -- doctors, nurses, surgeons, physical therapists, mental health care professionals, dentists -- to get payment for all the care they provide without having to hassle with multiple insurance companies' paperwork and go on feeding the beast that makes its living off death?

So, yes, you're either nuts or not paying any attention at all -- unlike many here, who keep track and post often on these topics -- if you think that under HR3200:

1. There'll be no hassles with insurance companies -- in fact, public option, exactly because it's an option, is just one more of the many.

2. The bill doesn't feed the insurance company beast -- in fact, the mandate guarantees them a market.

If you want to show that HR3200 nets out better, go ahead. But if it was all about saving lives, then the implementation wouldn't be put off 'til 2013.

I really don't give two shits what Limbaugh thinks or says, and just because the devil can quote scripture to his purpose doesn't mean that everybody who quotes scripture, and even the same chapter and verse, is the devil. Eh?

UPDATE You say you want Medicare for All -- and yet you class "us" (which I assume means the forceful and hardworking, and effective, Medicare for All advocates on this blog -- as the same as Limbaugh. That doesn't compute. The words of the old joke, it's not even wrong.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I'll take a rain-check on hashing this out, to prevent yet another fight between us.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I don't have time for people who treat me like an idiot. The laughable errors of fact and logic of this post have been pointed at repeatedly by numerous posters at numerous times at this very blog, yet this million word essay (I exaggerate intentionally and for obvious reasons, less that be used to ridicule this comment) runs counter to almost all of that, in addition to basic common sense.

I'm not one to think the poster in question is as intellectually light on facts and logic as the post indicates.

Only tyrants rig elections.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Raincheck, indeed
By gqmartinez on Tue, 08/25/2009 - 7:32pm

I don't have time for people who treat me like an idiot.

Nor do I, so ... I'll take that raincheck dealing with you.


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

Submitted by lambert on

It's really a lose-lose here, because people who do engage seem to be wasting their time as well.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

but as you pointed out that you think I am "just wrong," I can't expect to change your mind.

You seem to expect to be able to force me to change mine.

I do not apologize for refusing to cooperate.


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

Submitted by lambert on

... a very simple question.

"Are" we Limbaugh, as you wrote in your post, or do we "sound like" Limbaugh, as you wrote in comments? Since this is the foundation of your post, I'd expect you to be able to answer. Which is it?

* * *

1. Please indicate where I asked you to apologize.

2. Please don't take what I write out of context.

I just searched on "just wrong" and it's not in the the thread. When I assert that you're wrong, I give evidence and reasoning. For example:

I think this just plain wrong. There are very, very few voices -- other than those on the ground, locally -- standing up for single payer and the blog contains many of them. We are doing the very opposite of melding into "the crowd" (whatever crowd is meant here). It's extremely difficult for me to see how this blog, or its commenters throughout the blogosphere, could ever be confused with Rush Limbaugh. Do you have any evidence whatever that anybody besides yourself has done so?

3. No, I don't expect to "force you" to change your mind. I do expect, when I invest time in responding to your points, that you respect the discourse -- and the readership -- enough to respond to them. And if you have no response, why not just admit that you're wrong?

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

If we oppose the public option, if we feel the current bills are so bad that it's better to have no bill at all, how are we different from the Fox fanbase and the Limbaugh Nation? We're not. We're saying the same thing they are, even if we think we're saying it for different reasons. We're out to make sure nobody's situation's any better in the future, for fear our own won't be the best it can be.

With all due respect.

First of all, you are not in a position to declare a brighter future for others, because, like the rest of us, you have not seen what is to come out of Senate Finance. It will likely be a lower subsidy level than 400% FPL; a trigger on Medicare to automatically cut costs in the event that "savings" targets are not met, and the framework for new payment methods that will discriminate against those needing chronic care, the poor and the elderly. See what is already happening in MA for more details:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massach...

You DO understand that this is just an experiment, right? How did you like the experimentation by the financial industry? How's that working out for you?

Second, like the rest of us, you surely are aware that current legislation is getting drafted by the insurance industry and for the insurance industry. Despite themselves, the MSM is making it perfectly clear that we're getting sold down the river by the millions flowing through DC. Out-of-control premiums will not help anyone. People with their new and shiny insurance who can't use it because the out-of-pocket is too high are not well-served.

You are lecturing us based on the "health insurance reform" of your dreams, not what is currently on the table, to the extent that we're permitted to know the details.

Surely you are not looking for thoughtful back-and-forth as you open your screed with an inflammatory attack. It comes across as posturing, at best, and trolling, at worst. I hope I have misjudged your intentions.

scoutt's picture
Submitted by scoutt on

to defend our "team" even though the game they are playing is NOT in the public's interest and clearly to the benefit of the corporate crooks, how are we any different than the republicans?

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

Sarah, HR 3200 is not just a bill that doesn't do what proponents of a "public option" promised—as Kip Sullivan calls it, a "bait and switch," although that might be reason enough to oppose it.

HR 3200 acts as a giant subsidy to insurance companies. Sullivan describes how:

The Democrats’ legislation calls for subsidies to people under a certain income level (probably 300 or 400 percent of the poverty level) so all Americans can afford to obey the proposed law requiring them to buy insurance from either the insurance industry or the “public option.” These subsidies will probably amount to a trillion dollars per decade. If the “public option” doesn’t survive, or survives but never insures more than a tiny percent of the population, that will mean that all or nearly all of that trillion dollars will go to the insurance industry.…

A well-fed insurance industry is bad news for both single-payer and “public option” advocates. An insurance industry strengthened by a trillion dollars per decade of new tax dollars will not only be in a better position to oppose single-payer legislation, it will also be in a stronger position to lobby Congress and the regulators to ensure the “public option” remains stunted.

That's a major reason why it's arguable that the current bill is worse than no bill at all. (The original proponent of the "public option," Jacob Hacker, did not envision subsidies to the private insurers.)

In addition, on the one hand, an enfeebled public option would tend to discredit the entire idea of publicly financed health care. On the other, even impoverished remedies tend to be taken as adequate solutions (e.g., the claim that "everyone has access to health care" because they can go to emergency rooms). Both these effects, even without the trillion-dollar subsidy, and certainly with it, would stymie efforts at effective health care reform.

Every apathetic citizen is a silent enlistee in the cause of inverted totalitarianism.—Sheldon Wolin

S Brennan's picture
Submitted by S Brennan on

This has to be the worst post I've ever read on this site, you don't know me, but you say I'm the same as Limbaugh? Who are you?

This bill is being sold the way Iraq was sold...I opposed that POS, when serious bloggers said otherwise...see Josh M, Kevin D, Matt Y, Juan C, Ezra K..et al.

This bill is being sold the way TARP was sold...I opposed that POS, when serious bloggers said otherwise...see Josh M, Kevin D, Matt Y, Juan C, Ezra K..et al.

This bill is being sold the way Obama was sold...I opposed that POS, when serious bloggers said otherwise...see Josh M, Kevin D, Matt Y, Juan C, Ezra K..et al.

This bill is a blank contract...you go ahead and sign it if you think that's smart, but don't whine when I and everybody else calls you a fool two years from now.

We do need insurance reforms, because health insurance is raping US taxpayers. But this bill is like a rapist tell an apprehending cop..."hey, I wouldn't rape these women if you would procure prostitutes for me".

WORST POST EVER ON THIS SITE

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

And I thought the audience this afternoon at Randy Neugebauer's town hall was hostile.

Well.

I did get to ask my question. My Congressman said he wasn't familiar with HR 676 and that he'd look at it and let me know.

I didn't get hauled off to jail.

I didn't told to sit down and shut up.

I was actually pleasantly surprised at how civilly the town hall behaved.

I'm in the same shape I was in the day I was an alternate delegate, but this time I'm going to go eat before I post.


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

We don't tell lies.

Some of us think that both HB 3200 and the Senate HELP bill will leave people worse off. They will have the practical consequence of sabotaging the employer based system that at least protects some of the people most of the time and will replace it with a mandate that we all buy insurance and the only policies that we will be able to buy will be junk insurance.

just because we both oppose the proposed legislation does not make us the same.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

You and others have pointed to good evidence suggesting how and why the current legislation will leave people worse off. There are reasons we "think" that and its important to make it explicit to propaganda peddlers that our theory is based on something concrete.

Evolution may be "just a theory", but the evidence validating the theory is immense and unquestionable.

Only tyrants rig elections.

realpolitik's picture
Submitted by realpolitik on

...or just post after coming back from some alternate reality, or a three week bender on the FKDP blogosphere?

Its hard to take seriously this post, as well as your 'shock and suprise' at the community's reaction, when you write something that has been debated, settled, and discussed so frequently at the VERY site you have posting privileges.

Neoliberalization has led to the financialization of everything. (Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Chapter 1).

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

stand convicted that Democrats, especially the current President, are worse than Republicans, especially the immediate past president. So if you're asking if I'm part of the anti-Democratic party cult that's grown up into the insular chorus against all things undertaken in the last six and a half months, no, I'm not. I've objected to the Obama-sux fest holding sway at Corrente before; I object here and now and formally to the "Dems Suck!" fest that continues.

I thought Chicago Dyke was overstating the importance of the matter a few months ago in suggesting that we might want to reconsider how stridently we beat that drum, as well as hammering on how awful Obama was going to be. I owe her an apology. Here it is, CD, in front of FSM, Ceiling Cat, all the gods and everybody:

You were right. I was wrong. I apologize.


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

Submitted by lambert on

... how, exactly?

And may I suggest that the best way to deal with a perceived cult is not through specious reasoning?

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

I'm not a cultist. I see no cultist here. That Republicans are worse is a given, at least to me. But that hardly matters. I've never voted for a Republican. I've never canvassed for a Republican. I've never donated to a Republican. I've never tried to advocate a Republican proposal. I've never argued for Republican ideals. My assessment of the current crop of Democrats doesn't use Republicans as a standard for which to measure. I have always supported the Democratic Party. I expect things from THEM, not Republicans, particularly when they hold the White House and super majorities in Congress. I think even a cursory reading of the last six and a half months of policy from the Democratic leadership suggests they are squandering a moment that we can not afford to squander. I'm not alone in this. It's been suggested by Serious people, including Paul Krugman, James Galbraith, Nouriel Roubini, Marcia Angell and others.

The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism.---FDR

Submitted by hipparchia on

ot1h, i know what you mean about the sux-fest. it's tiring to read, and it's tiring to do, and it does sometimes make me want to crawl into a hole and pull the ground over me.

otoh, when i go out and read blogs that are friendlier to obama and the democratic party, the love-fest alternately depresses and scares me. yes, obama is better than bush, and i'm seriously happy we didn't end up with mccain -- happy enough that i went around with a silly grin on my face for all november and december and most of january.

but there's still a lot of work to do, including countering the insidious hold that mongo-mega-corporations have on the rest of us, be it health care, finance, warmongering, you name it.

hr 3200 is just one microcosm of this whole big job we've got in front of us. it's got lots of good stuff in it on the surface, and we're told that it will work like the netherlands, or like switzerland, but we're not told that they're leaving out some very important protections that all those other countries have. kinda like jumping out of an airplane with a complete parachute rig that's missing only 1 item: the rip cord. you've got 99% of the rig there, but that missing 1% is sorta important.

back during his campaigning, obama invoked the spirit of fdr -- telling us to make him do it, to hold his feet to the fire -- and i'm taking him up on that. it's worth remembering that people held fdr's feet to the fire not with small-dollar donations to act blue, or with incessantly shrill opining, but with rioting in the streets.

Submitted by lambert on

The Dems should stop sucking.

Passing HR676 is one obvious way to do that. I can think of others.

And of course Obama's "better" than Bush; I knew he would be in August 2008. This, however, is August 2009. I don't want "better." I want good. What's come from this administration on health care has not been good from the very beginning when single payer was taken off the table at the same time the process was being called open and transparent.

NOTE I like the parachute analogy.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by hipparchia on

when a teenager wrote to her advice column back in the day, whining: my mom nags me to pick up my room, take out the trash, help with dishes... how can i get her to stop nagging me?

the entire answer was: pick up your room, take out the trash, help with the dishes...

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

It's weary-making, and disheartening, and in light of Ted Kennedy's death from brain cancer ... I am just not willing to go on participating, nor letting it slide.

Yes, we need to hold the Dems accountable. We must, because we're citizens. But a ceaseless drumbeat of NO! from progressives is very difficult to differentiate from the ceaseless drumbeat of NO! from Republicans, Libertarians (the other party my Congressman named today) and that's for ME, and I'm not one of the uninitiated public who pay attention for a few days every four years.

I listened today to claims about everything from environmental toxification via Chem Trails (I kid you not, spraying metal oxides in jet contrails to poison the atmosphere on purpose) to ACORN's head getting appointed a czar (my Congressman had a funny answer: he didn't think the President would go for his idea on the 44 czars who don't have to answer to the American people, but if the President would name him Czar over all those czars, he would order them all to resign!) despite having a criminal record.

I don't even know who "The Apollo Group" are (that used to be the NASA program headed for the moon). And I'm NOT one of the people who finds health care reform too "inside baseball" to follow.


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

Submitted by hipparchia on

you did have a day, didn't you?

agreed that the ceaseless drumbeat of no sounds the same from all sides, but if 2/3 of people polled want medicare for all, you know that has to include some republicans and independents.

i would dearly love to turn all the energy into a ceaseless drumbeat of we want medicare from all sides, but i've recently become convinced that we've first got to say a flat no! to the present legislation, stop it in its tracks, while at the same time continuing to build up the demand for medicare.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

and I have an email address for his legislative chief as well, so I'm at least going to bang the HR 676 drum in one more spot.

I have this congressman, okay?

He used to be a city councilman here in Lubbock.
We had a special election in 2003 and he won.
He's been handily re-elected ever since.

I live in this part of Texas.

W wasn't conservative enough for the 19th Congressional District.


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

Submitted by hipparchia on

all i can say is joe scarborough, yes that joe scarborough, used to be my congress critter. and yep, i haven't made any headway with his very republican replacement on hr 676 either.

that district is shaped like a number of our south florida districts.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

with you. Can you move to Texas? Lloyd Doggett's good, and his district in the Hill Country is beautiful. Also, there are horses ... and rivers ...

Our district is shaped like that thanks to Tom DeLay's desire to rid himself of the troublesome Charlie Stenholm, who'd done yeoman work for Abilene for donkey's years (puns intended).


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

Submitted by lambert on

... I would like to know how it is on point.

I also asked a second question.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Let me say that it's on point this way: If we join our voices -- progressives are being urged to vote against the bill, even though right now there isn't a bill, and the last official word before the recess was that Speaker Pelosi had agreed to a floor vote on single-payer -- to the voices of the Free Republic / hate radio crowd, we're not distinguishing ourselves on policy. We're not making clear what we're FOR; we're just melding into the crowd AGAINST.

We're just getting rolled into the cacophony of voices against the President, the Democratic Party, and health care reform.

So I'll restate the premise I asked everybody to think about and respond to in the original post:

Of course, if the PROVIDERS weren't writing off huge bills that INSURERS DENY, and were instead receiving payment for all care given (albeit not at the inflated rates on original bills, perhaps, but at something like actual cost plus a living wage for those involved in the health care rather than in providing multimilllion-dollar packages to insurance company executives and bonuses for care denial to insurance employees) wouldn't that be better for the hospitals, the doctors, the nurses, and the scientists working on better ways to treat and cure disease?

Evidently not, and apparently the left and the right agree on this.
So what, exactly, ARE we fighting for?

I'd like to think we're fighting for something better for everybody.
I'd like to think we're fighting for a system where you're not an insurance slave.


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

Marcia Angell has said this plan should be "scrapped". And, has proposed expanding Medicare downward at least a decade and improving upon it rather than passing this bill, which is what I and many others on this site have done. Is Dr. Angell one of the voices "just getting rolled into the cacophony of voices against the President, the Democratic Party, and health care reform"?

The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism.---FDR

Submitted by lambert on

Got a link on that? Is it in the Bill Moyers interview, because if so I missed it.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by hipparchia on

here.

Q. [NY Times] If Congress is reluctant to cut out the insurance companies, is that partly because they, like the major banks, are too big to fail?

A. [Marcia Angell] A nonprofit, single-payer system would lead to job losses in this sector, which constitutes 17 percent of the economy. But what about the other 83 percent of the economy? They’re being bled to death. Businesses can’t compete globally because the cost of providing coverage to their workers is so exorbitant. Whatever loss of jobs you might see would be more than offset by benefits and job gains in the rest of the economy.

[As for the insurance companies,] you could introduce the program incrementally. You could do it state by state. Or probably better, you could do it decade by decade. Medicare kicks in at age 65. In the first stage, you could take it down to 55. Between 55 and 65, people are vulnerable. They’re losing jobs, losing health care. They’re starting to have more medical needs. After a few years, you could drop it to 45, then 35. It would give insurance companies time to adjust.

Submitted by lambert on

You write:

If we join our voices -- progressives are being urged to vote against the bill, even though right now there isn't a bill, and the last official word before the recess was that Speaker Pelosi had agreed to a floor vote on single-payer -- to the voices of the Free Republic / hate radio crowd, we're not distinguishing ourselves on policy.

Well, you didn't write "appear to be no different." Rather, you wrote "how are we different from the Fox fanbase and the Limbaugh Nation? We're not." Bolded and underlined. Specious was the word I used for that, and specious it is. If Arthur Silber says he wants to end the empire, does that make him not "different" from Ron Paul, who also wants to end the empire? If Andrew Sullivan, bless his heart, is against torture, does that make him not "different" from Glenn Greenwald, who is also against torture? If the lunatic fringe of the Republican party is against TARP because it lacks transparency and accountability for the banks, does that make Yves, or Simon Johnson, or me a right wing lunatic? No, no, and no. These are all "strange bedfellow" situations, and if the two-party system collapses, as I devoutly hope it does if the Dems don't deliver big-time on health care, then expect more such cognitive dissonance. It's really not my problem what Rush Limbaugh says, and I'm not going to tune in to him to figure out what not to say. And, as I said above, because Limbaugh wants a legislative outcome doesn't mean we share desired policy outcomes.

You write:

We're not making clear what we're FOR; we're just melding into the crowd AGAINST.

I think this just plain wrong. There are very, very few voices -- other than those on the ground, locally -- standing up for single payer and the blog contains many of them. We are doing the very opposite of melding into "the crowd" (whatever crowd is meant here). It's extremely difficult for me to see how this blog, or its commenters throughout the blogosphere, could ever be confused with Rush Limbaugh. Do you have any evidence whatever that anybody besides yourself has done so?

Next, it's important for single payer to have any chance of success that HR3200 not pass. I will not be satisfied with a symbolic or token vote for HR676 and one way to work diligently toward making HR676 a real vote is for HR3200 to go down to a well-deserved defeat. (I won't repeat here the many posts that make the case that a bad bill is worse than no bill; for the purposes of this argument, I'll assume its true.) It makes no sense to wait for the final text of the bill, which will only result from reconciliation anyhow, to make this point; if we wait, it will be too late. And it's quite likely that HR3200 is the best possible bill this year, given what the Senate will do to it, so we don't need the full text.

Further, even if HR3200 does pass, it's important to set the record straight in real time on its suckitude -- just as with WMDs in the runup to the Iraq war. That provides the platform to immediately go to work improving or destroying it ("destroy" because I'm with the Canadian who said "Trying to get there incrementally is like trying to cross a chasm in two steps).

Finally, of course we're fighting not to be insurance slaves. We've been doing it for a year now on a daily basis. How on earth could you imagine that's not what we're doing?

UPDATE Two blogs that are pro-single payer and also got the political dynamics very early were Black Agenda Report and Reclusive Leftist. Ya know, I'm finding it a little difficult to imagine anybody confusing either of them with Rush Limbaugh. And certainly not both of them together.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Instead of lumping them in with Limbaugh or calling them cultlike. You have yet to address the substantive details put forward that discusses whether the current bill is worse than no bill.

Given the amount of time and effort spent addressing the content of your post LOOOOONG before you posted it (anyone who even casually reads this site will see that) do you expect people not to be a little annoyed at someone who is wasting their time by ignoring weeks (months?) of work on this very issue? Just like its annoying to have to lay out the case for human induced global warming to "skeptics", so too on this issue.

Only tyrants rig elections.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

e.g. The Most Conservative Member of Congress, with whose happy audience I spent most of my afternoon.

If we want to be heard, if we want to be understood, if we want to be perceived as NOT being just another scream in that hideous cacophony, we have to stand FOR something. We have to be FOR something. We have to be IN FAVOR of something.

If that's not substantive, if that's specious ... color me guilty.


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

Submitted by lambert on

To summarize what I wrote above:

1. In your post, you wrote "is," you did not write "sounds like." That is, you wrote that "we" -- and by "we," should I, or should I not, include myself, as one of the members of the "hideous cacophony? -- were Rush Limbaugh, not that we "sounded like" Rush Limbaugh.

Is there no difference between "is" and "like"?

2. I argue, and give reasons, why it couldn't be more clear what "we're" FOR -- single payer. Have been since at least May 2008, with daily coverage of people, events, and reasons FOR single payer since then. I don't see how it's possible for anybody who reads the blog to see this.

Where's the evidence I asked for?

3. You add another layer of speciousness to the argument by writing:

If that's not substantive, if that's specious ... color me guilty.

First, as I've said over and over again, people are not the same as their arguments. Your arguments are colored about as speciously as they can be. That is not the same as you, yourself, being specious.

Second, the premise of your argument is wrong ("we are Limbaugh") and you give no evidence at all for the point you're trying to make ("We're not FOR something"). That's specious reasoning. Posts that reason from wrong premises without evidence do tend to lack substance. I don't think it's uncivil to point that out.

Finally, let's talk about the "hideous cacophony" for a minute. Is it really your contention that if only "we" ... take some action that shows we're FOR, which is unspecified but I assume, and please correct me, means STFU about something, do you really believe that the "cacophony" will go away? Is there no distinction to be made between forceful advocacy of policy and the noise engineered and emitted by the Conservative propaganda apparatus?

And do you really believe that only if we'd been quiet, our voices would be heard?!

We were censored and excluded from the beginning, and not only by Obama, but by the bloggers whose voices dominated the discussion!

Things were nice and quiet then, weren't they?

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

I am not responsible for how you interpret what you read.

Not responsive?

I have put it as simply as I can.

Screaming "NO!" is the same thing, no matter who does it.

If you find that this does not address your concerns, perhaps you should consider updating either your tactics or your strategy; or better yet you should try using tactics AND strategy that differentiate you from Limbaugh et al.


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

Submitted by lambert on

"Simple", alas for us all, doesn't mean right. And like the old joke goes, this post isn't even wrong. Nor does "simple" mean responsive.

* * *

1. How is a critique of HR 3200 "screaming NO"?

2. Were it true, how would that make us the same or like Limbaugh, when our desired policy -- as opposed to legislative* -- outcomes are different? I give many examples, to which I can only assume you do not respond because you cannot, to demonstrate the ludicrous character of your claim.

3. Were it true, how would that make us the same or like Limbaugh, when our methodology is different? Are you claiming that we just make shit up because it will move units for advertisers?

4. So far as I know, you are quite literally the only one to make this argument; I asked for evidence that anyone else shared your (unfounded) feelings, and you provided none. We've been doing this for quite some time, and I would have expected at least one other person to have noticed our Limbaugh-like nature, were it evident; and it's not like we haven't taken heat for our stance, so if the weapon were there, I assume somebody would have used it by now. Again, I can only assume that you do not respond because you cannot. Therefore, on purely tactical grounds, remind me why I care?

5. We were certainly among the first blogs to take aim at HR3200 and its flaws. And for a long time we were one of the few to speak up. Now many are, including Marcia Angell of the NEJM and, today, Atrios. Do they all sound like Limbaugh? Should they all STFU? And is this not evidence that, in fact, our tactics and strategy were correct, and we led, while others followed?

6. It couldn't be more clear to a regular reader of this blog what we're fighting FOR: Single payer.* It is also completely clear what we're for on the several A list blogs where we redress the balance in favor of Medicare for All in the comments sections. And if the focus here isn't clear enough for you, then it is, and has always been, completely within your power to alter the focus by writing the kind of posts that you would prefer to see.

In summary, a post as ill-written**, poorly evidenced, sloppily reasoned, and ineptly defended as this post is shouldn't cause anyone to question tactics or strategy even for a heartbeat.

There are always reasons to question, of course, but this post doesn't provide them.

NOTE * Above, I meant legislation in this session. Sorry!

NOTE ** For example, the headlines in our "Today in Health Care Reform" feed read:

  1. Marcia Angell: Opposing "Health Insurance Reform", Supporting Reforming Health Care
  2. Canada to Obama: 3 words -- Medicare. For. Everyone.
  3. Single-Payer Meeting in Upper Manhattan
  4. National Health Expenditures, OECD countries, 2007, in pictures
  5. Thank you Louise Slaughter
  6. Good news from Pennsylvania about the fight for single payer

It's really rather hard to imagine a series of headlines more wonky, less Limbaugh-like, and more evidently FOR single payer.

NOTE *** You also ignore your own shifts in logic when you first claim "we" "are" Limbaugh, then shift to claim that "we" "sound like" Limbaugh. Which is it? Since this is the basis of your argument, I'd expect to be clear. It isn't. "Is," needless to say, is not the same as "like," and even the likeness is tenuous.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

you think people here support Medicare for All. This screed is very confusing. from what I read here everyday, everyone passionately supports expanding and improving Medicare, while having genuine concerns about passing a health plan that mandates the purchase of private insurance like MA, for valid reasons, which many people have written about.

The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism.---FDR

caseyOR's picture
Submitted by caseyOR on

Most of the people who post and comment are for actual reform of the health CARE system. Single-payer is the popular choice, but the driving concern is that whatever comes of this tangle in Congress be something that does more to improve the lives of the American people than it does to improve the profits and bonuses of the health insurance industry. To that end, I support, as the minimum reform, a real public option. One that is open to anyone and everyone who wants in, that is based on Medicare reimbursement rates or is a simple expansion of Medicare eligibility, and is available immediately (no waiting until 2013 to get things started).

To me this all sounds like people saying "YES." Yes to a health care system that serves people not profits. It is quite a positive message. Nothing Limbaugh-ish about it.

That is what I am fighting for.

Submitted by lambert on

As if it weren't fucking obvious all along. For pity's sake.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

in my original post.

As we did with so very many topics between January and November 2008, we have posted and discussed and rehashed and commented and hammered aspects of the health care reform that the country so clearly needs, ours can fairly be termed an exhaustive coverage of the issue.

Has anybody mentioned Congressman David Scott yet? He's got the text of the bill and a PDF of a "plain language" summary on his web site, *and*, despite being a blue dog, he's got a refutation of the wingnut "what's in the bill!" talking points.


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

Submitted by lambert on

Here's the summary of the mandate:

Sec. 401. Tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage. Provides for a two percent additional tax on the adjusted gross income of an individual who does not obtain acceptable health coverage for the individual or dependents claimed on the individual’s tax return. Authorizes the Department of Treasury and the Exchange to establish a hardship exemption from the additional tax. Acceptable coverage includes grandfathered individual and employer coverage, certain government coverage (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, coverage provided to veterans, military employees, retirees, their families), and coverage obtained pursuant to the Exchange or an employer offer of coverage.

On problems with the mandate, see here. On the implications, see here.

And on the grandfather clause, see here; it's essentially a gift to Wal-Mart..

So, a couple of thoughts:

1. Let's not confuse "plain language" with clarity on the issues. After all, Limbaugh's language is plain!

2. Just because a Blue Dog refutes a wingnut talking point, that doesn't make what the Blue Dog says correct (or even complete!)

I mean, if a winger says "It's raining!" and a Blue Dog says "It's snowing!" do we get out the skis, or do we at least look out the window?

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

And, I've been following the comments, and the justifications for the take you have still make no sense to me.

Kinda reminds me of the time when, after I visited friends for Thanksgiving, I set out to drive home, and ended up driving 150 miles in the wrong direction on the interstate before I cottoned on to it, when I thought hmm... Reason? I was so totally enthralled by listening to the AudioBook "Interview with a Vampire", I didn't pay attention to the direction I was driving.