On Monday, Jon Walker of Firedoglake asserted that state-based exchanges as formulated in the Democratic Senate’s health care bill, which divides state-based exchanges into two and provides states with the option of further dividing them, are designed in such a way that they would not effectively control costs and thus, Jon says, are “clearly doomed to fail.”
Because of the undemocratic nature of the United States Senate and because the current Democratic supermajority Senate is occupied by wannabe emperors and presidents like Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu, efforts to reform our health care system have been reduced to this, a provision for the creation of piecemeal exchanges that won’t control costs.
Well, there is also the House’s bill. On Nov 7, 2009, the House passed H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, which called for the creation of a public health insurance option. Even though the version of the public option that the House finally settled on is weaker than others that were proposed, when combined with the national exchanges that are also in the House bill, it would have done far more to bend the cost curve than what is in the Senate Democrats’ bill. Put simply, the public option is foundational to real health care reform.
And so now attention turns to the conference between House Democrats, Senate Democrats, and the Obama administration, where a final bill will be forged. As everyone believes that the public option is off the table, Sam Stein at HuffPost reports that, for House Democrats,
“the main issue on the radar is to try and ensure that newly created health insurance exchanges are national (the House version) and not state-based (the Senate version).”
(Of course, many on the right, left, and center, including Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake and Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos think that the focus should be on removing the individual mandate, which turns American citizens into customers of private insurers, requiring us by law to buy insurance companies’ low-quality products, but…)
Because the Obama administration has to be able to say that 30 million Americans will experience the joy of having quality health insurance new customers will be forced by law to buy low-quality products in order to sell the Democrats’ bad joke to the American people, House Democrats appear to be gearing up to wage instead an epic battle in order to ensure that the type of exchanges that will work best worst for the American people will win the day.
Yes, as House Democrats lightly draw their latest line in the sand, which they will yet again move, we can rest assured that the confrontation between these weak failures in the House and the sellouts in the Obama administration and the Democratic Senate will end with great success with yet another – their final – failure.
According to Stein, among our champions will be Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn), who said:
“I’m going to give you my own view, which is the House view, which is that I think we need a federal insurance exchange…. I think we’ve got to look closely at this. I think that it’s much easier… to keep insurance companies in check — it is simpler to administer. We’re going to have a checkerboard here [with the Senate bill]. And also I think you have to take a look at the political reality. Implementing reform is going to be much more difficult in some states than in others.”
Now, how reassuring is that! This is indeed the same Rep. Rosa DeLauro who has done such a great job slapping lipstick on Nelson’s anti-abortion pig.
And this is what far too many on the left want to put their faith in, right?
Well, Stein quotes one unnamed health care reform activist as saying:
“It’s hard to imagine how Ben Nelson would get on board with national exchanges.”
Translation: we won’t even get national exchanges.
If Nelson doesn’t abuse Senate procedures to single-handedly screw us all over yet again, Blanche Lincoln, or Mary Landrieu, or Emperor Joe Lieberman will.
So suck it up, America.
And be sure to whip out your wallets when the DCCC, the DSCC, and the OFA come calling to ask you for campaign contributions so you can help elect even more ineffective and/or sellout corporatist Democrats.
Here’s a thought: by the time Obama and congressional Democrats are done screwing up what was supposed to have been health care reform and condemning millions of Americans to become the customers of unprincipled and untrustworthy private insurers, we’re all going to regret that we ever empowered these failures to screw us all over in the first place.
This isn’t what I voted for in ’06 and ’08.
Happy New Year, btw.
[Originally posted at Circleparkforum.]