Coburn's Obstruction Wins the Day in the Senate
by Charles Lemos, Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:58:00 AM EST
Early today Senator Tom Coburn, a member of the Grand Obstructionist Party from Oklahoma, objected to a request to dispense with the reading of an amendment offered by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont proposing a single-payer system. Though normally a courtesy that is almost always granted to fellow senators, the petulant Tom Coburn forced the Senate clerk to read aloud a 767-page amendment to healthcare reform legislation, paralyzing action on the chamber floor as Democrats approach their self-imposed Christmas deadline. It would have taken at least eight hours to read the amendment.
Senator Sanders has now withdrawn his amendment. From The Hill:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday withdrew his single-payer healthcare amendment after Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) initiated a procedural maneuver to shipwreck the measure.
Coburn earlier in the day forced the Senate clerk to read aloud Sanders's 767-page amendment to the Senate healthcare bill in an effort to halt the healthcare debate.
Sanders, a self-described "democratic socialist," spoke on the Senate floor to announce the withdrawal of the measure.
"The day will come, although I recognize it's not today, when the U.S. Congress will have to vote to stand up to ... all those who profit every single year off of human sickness," Sanders said. "That day will come."
Sanders's decision to withdraw the amendment will stop the reading and allow debate to continue.
The amendment would have extended Medicare coverage to all who wanted it.
Their obsession with free markets, that aren't free, will destroy this country. To protect the narrow interests and profane profits of the insurance industry, they are willing to condemn thousands to an early grave. Their lack of empathy for the rights of the poor and their disregard for the decline in American living standards under their rule is beyond comprehension. Here's their record:
When Clinton left office nearly 11.6 million children lived in poverty, according to the Census. When Bush left office that number had swelled to just under 14.1 million, an increase of more than 21 per cent.
The story is similar again for access to health care. When Clinton left office, the number of uninsured Americans stood at 38.4 million. By the time Bush left office that number had grown to just over 46.3 million, an increase of nearly 8 million or 20.6 per cent.
The trends look the same when examining shares of the population that are poor or uninsured, rather than the absolute numbers in those groups. When Clinton left office in 2000 13.7 per cent of Americans were uninsured; when Bush left that number stood at 15.4 per cent. (Under Bush, the share of Americans who received health insurance through their employer declined every year of his presidency-from 64.2 per cent in 2000 to 58.5 per cent in 2008.)
When Clinton left the number of Americans in poverty stood at 11.3 percent; when Bush left that had increased to 13.2 percent. The poverty rate for children jumped from 16.2 per cent when Clinton left office to 19 per cent when Bush stepped down.
It is probably pointless to note that the most effective healthcare programs in the United States are single payer systems. The best kept secret in the country is the healthcare provided by the Veterans Administration, a single payer system. So extending a successful program that saves lives and cuts costs is a naturally an object of GOP disdain simply because it is government-run. Their love of free markets will kill us all.