Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Via email:

"America stands at a historic crossroads. At last, we are close to making real health insurance reform a reality. We face one critical, final choice, between action and inaction. We know where the path of inaction leads to: more uninsured Americans, more families struggling to keep up with skyrocketing premiums, higher federal budget deficits, and health costs so much higher than any other country's they will cripple us economically.

Our only responsible choice is the path of action. Does this bill read exactly how I would write it? No. Does it contain everything everyone wants? Of course not. But America can't afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

And this is a good bill: it increases the security of those who already have insurance and gives every American access to affordable coverage; and contains comprehensive efforts to control costs and improve quality, with more information on best practices, and comparative costs and results. The bill will shift the power away from the insurance companies and into the hands of consumers.

Take it from someone who knows: these chances don't come around every day. Allowing this effort to fall short now would be a colossal blunder -- both politically for our party and, far more important, for the physical, fiscal, and economic health of our country."

The most important point here, and the point Bill Clinton can say better than anyone else, is that if healthcare reform doesn't make it through now it may be years until it comes up again. This bill isn't perfect, but it may be the best chance at reforming the system that there will be for a long, long time.

Tags: Bill Clinton, healthcare reform (all tags)



Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Why are they scolding us?  Regular Americans aren't the ones that made a hash of this bill.  It took some real Democratic leadership political malpractice to get us to the point we find ourselves now.

by TJ1 2009-12-17 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

The Big Dog said something important and you said something very stupid, but then again that's the internet for you.

by spirowasright 2009-12-17 12:44PM | 0 recs
As smart as Bill's backing of the Iraq war

Thanks for NAFTA, too, Bill.

Oh and throwing the poor off welfare, so the next time a financial collapse came along they'd be doubly screwed. (As would the newly poor.)

Oh, and weren't some of the loosening of those banking and/or Wall Street regulations done on your watch -- Thanks triple again, Bill!

You obviously have the welfare of the general public in mind, Bill.

by judybrowni 2009-12-17 01:45PM | 0 recs
a concerted, multimillion dollar campaign

The so called 'deal', in which we are mandated to have health insurance, but not given a chance to see real reform - is just a give-away to the insurance companies.

And they have launched a concerted, multimillion dollar campaign to make sure everyone knows how great it is to have something thats "not perfect"

It is not only imperfect, but the deep flaws that have been injected into the bill by the likes of the lieberdems make it untenable.

Jonathan is wrong on this. In a big, big way.
Instead of backing off and making concessions the Dems should press even harder for full reform. And then anyone who blocks it gets thrown out on their ears. Those that swept the dems into power in 2008 will do so again in 2010 and we will have reform worthy of Pres. Obama's signature on the table.

In fact, I would go so far as to point out two dangerous flaws. First, the hint that "this is our only chance".

Second, the implicit notion that the dems will lose power unless they compromise and drop the public option.

It is the exact opposite. They came into power because they supported it. And they are getting ding'd right now because they're waffling on it.

by Trey Rentz 2009-12-17 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: a concerted, multimillion dollar campaign

This is our only chance...  We've only been trying for the last 100 years or so with no success...

by LordMike 2009-12-17 05:56PM | 0 recs
How Is It Stupid To Oppose This POS!

Personally, I'd rather not have a mandate to buy crap insurance that I can't afford shoved down my throat just so insurance industry profits can be maintained, and I rather think that when they get a good look at it, this bill will be UNIVERSALLY HATED by the American people.

If we pass a mandate without a public option, we give the insurance industry everything they could want. When will it ever improve?

After 2010 when there are fewer Democratic senators and Obama is placating the Villagers by blathering about the desperate need for deficit reduction and war spending and more tax cuts for business are the only bills that Republicans will vote for?

Will it improve then? How about 2012 when Republicans will be campaigning with full media support to "block a public takeover of health-care!" by electing more Tea-baggers?

This is likely the one and only chance to do something significant all right, and Democrats allowed Joe Lieberman to destroy it!

by Cugel 2009-12-17 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Your right....they screwed the pooch on this entire bill.....mayeb if they took their heads out of their asses and their hands out of our pockets they coudl come up with a bill that makes sense. But, this just further proves how corrupt they are.....

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-12-17 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

The fact that it's hard to pass a real reform bill, and may take time, still doesn't justify passing a bill that's bad for America.

by TJ1 2009-12-17 12:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

this is not health reform and I am not interested in rationalization from another centrist about how it is.

by bruh3 2009-12-17 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Is Bill Clinton a battered wife too?

by fogiv 2009-12-17 12:16PM | 0 recs
You'd think the bruh would be used to losing

I'll take the Big Dog's word on this.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-17 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

 Just another President who isn't as smart as people who really know about policy, politics, and how 'practicality' is just a creation of oligarchs which is foisted onto weaklings and dimwits.

by QTG 2009-12-17 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

He is the ultimate batter wife since he comes out of the Democratic response to the rise of Reaganism. THat you think I would disown the comment is amusing. The whole victimology complex of the Democratic Party grows out of its belief that we are still under Reaganism. Well, that is amongst those who give a damn. Despite my issues with progressives, and some centrists, I still think many do give a damn. Some others- not so much. THe main point however is that it does not matter if they care. It matters what they do about it. In the execution, you always see the pathos of the last 30 years of politics in their behavior.

by bruh3 2009-12-17 12:23PM | 0 recs
Put the DSM-IV down...

...and slowly step away.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-17 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Put the DSM-IV down...

Yeah, I am going to take a statement on sanity from one of you. LOL. Right.

by bruh3 2009-12-17 12:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Disown the comment?!?  No, I was pretty sure you'd double-down.

by fogiv 2009-12-17 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

The interesting this is that you think you "got me." Double down. LOL.

This description of the Democrats is not original to me. It is something that many of the A list bloggers have been using since 2004 to describe the mindset involved in DC Democratic politics since the rise of Reaganism. Many of those same players are there now, and thus, it is not surprising that they would capitulate since this is their habit.  They are used to capitulating.  To not capitulate, would be the truly unique behavior for them. Everyone including the GOP and conservative Democrats knows this.  Blogs are just stating it aloud.

I know, I know- you will say that is a bad thing. That's why you are here too- you know the bloggers are bad thing and have no impact, blah, blah, blah.

The point is that this issue of Democrats giving in on issues is nothing new. capitulation is their preset  button. Clinton perfected it with rare exceptions in the 90s.  That's why SInger pointign this out is funny. I mean the stunner would be Clinton not supoorting the bill. The stunner is not him supporitng it. To be stunned by this is to not know that Obama's team  is mostly the same sort of Clinton's team form the 90s. Many of them like Rahm from the Clinton White House.

But, I know - I am crazy to think this post and the expected parade of nutjobs saying amen to Clinton is not exactly a surprise.

by bruh3 2009-12-17 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Actually, the most interesting thing is that you think you know what I'm thinking.  

by fogiv 2009-12-17 12:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Your behavior here provides evidence of your thoughts. It is funny to think how our system of law would grind to a halt regarding determining intent if it followed your approach to how we are suppose to determine intent or thinking.

by bruh3 2009-12-17 01:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Uh, okeedokee. As a fellow admirer of evidence and justice, I'd normally ask for proof of your assertion but it will likely cause the English language to 'grind to a halt'.

Spare the ether, shall we?

by fogiv 2009-12-17 01:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Apparently your definition of proof of your mindset does not include your behavior here so we are at a road block in terms of understanding what consittutes evidence and should leave it at that. Since I am such a bother for you, it remains unclear to me why you write about me  at all other than to change the subject from how Clinton's endorsement means little or nothing regarding what it says about the quality of the bill. Afterall, this is same man who deregulated Wall Street, and lead to the mess we saw last year.  but, hey, his policy judgement is perfect, and your changing the subject once again is "proof of that"

by bruh3 2009-12-17 01:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

There you go again.  My opinions on Bill Clinton's opinions (applied here, or to other matters) are what they are.  Truth be told, I agree with you that Bubba's endorsement of this bill doesn't speak much to the quality of the bill (he alludes to his own disappointment in the statement), but I'm glad you enjoyed kicking the snot out of that strawman you erected there. I once saw Bruce Webb respond to you over at OpenLeft as follows:


You raised yourself a strawman, lit it on fire and are trying to have a chuckle at my expense because it is burning. Dude it is not my scarecrow, and you are burning it in somebody else's field.

Sorry I hurt your feelings, but really you need to sharpen your analytical tools. Try not operating on the principle of 'Ready, fire, aim'.

by: Bruce Webb @ Wed Dec 09, 2009 at 17:22:44 PM CST

I'm not sure I can it any better than Bruce did.  Oh, and for the record, you don't bother me.  Hell, I'd miss you if you were gone!  You know, if your 'mindset' didn't pre-determine other people's mindsets, you might find more people agree with some of your ideas.  Even me.  Gasp!

by fogiv 2009-12-17 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

I have three words to add to your comment- Ricky Ray Rector.

by orestes 2009-12-17 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

I had to look that up. Can't say I am surprised.

by bruh3 2009-12-17 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

It was a craven act.  It will always be a black mark against him as far as I'm concerned.  

by orestes 2009-12-17 12:48PM | 0 recs
Re: black mark?

Seriously? Couldn't you come up with a perjorative with less historically insensitive overtones?

by QTG 2009-12-17 12:52PM | 0 recs
Do we just hate everybody around here?

I mean, is anybody worth admiring in politics?

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-17 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Do we just hate everybody around here?

If you are looking for someone to admire that may be the problem right there. Some of us are looki ng for policies that will help people out rather than people to idolize.

by bruh3 2009-12-17 01:02PM | 0 recs
Your Obama fixation continues

It's a rhetorical question, and still you can't provide an answer.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-17 02:00PM | 0 recs

One Mr Mandela comes to mind right away... I can think of a few others if I divert a few more neurons to the task...

by Ravi Verma 2009-12-17 01:33PM | 0 recs
Ghandi's pretty admirable too

But I'm looking closer to home.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-17 02:01PM | 0 recs

Close friend of mine from college is from South Africa (and black) and can give you about five things Mandela did that he considers "craven." On top of the list being his ordering the invasion of Lesotho, oh, and there's the whole "Mandela ignored AIDS" thing.

by ND22 2009-12-17 07:38PM | 0 recs
So what are you saying???

Nelson Mandela is a sell-out and turncoat?

Geez. I guess Barack Obama is in good company ;)

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-17 09:24PM | 0 recs
Oh no

Mandela was//is a great guy, but not without his disappointments in his home nation it seems.  

by ND22 2009-12-18 02:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

No its not.....and I am a conservadem.....I dont like this bill at accomplishes nothing.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-12-17 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: doesn't justify?

Does too! Re-read the Big Dog's explanation.

by QTG 2009-12-17 12:10PM | 0 recs
Re: doesn't justify?

Big Dog gives no explanation, he just gives an opinion with no facts.  

Look, the need for real reform won't go away.  Ambitious politicians get ahead by convincing Americans that they know the answer to solving the problem.  I was convinced Pres. Obama knew what he was doing when i voted for him, but that hasn't panned out well on this issue.  

But there will be others; and the worse the problem, the shorter time it will be before the matter comes up again.  

The "now or never" argument is total B.S.

by TJ1 2009-12-17 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: doesn't justify?

When the unions killed Nixon's universal healthcare program, they thought that they would get something better after a Democratic president was elected.

After 35 years, were' still waiting...

You aren't going to get something better in the future... in fact, you'll get much worse...

by LordMike 2009-12-17 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

I worked on HCR in 1994. When we were closing up shop, after the failure of that effort, Bill and Hillary Clinton personally promised us that they would not give up, eventually we would pass HCR. Nice to see Bill Clinton helping Barack Obama keep that promise.

by souvarine 2009-12-17 12:19PM | 0 recs
And hopefully, they will say this isn't the end

There are loopholes to close.
And cost control measures still to implement.

This is very bog of Bill Clinton. I hope he's invited to the actual signing, along with Hillary.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-17 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: And hopefully, they will say

can someone tell me if this bill will get the elements it needs in amendment later down the road? that seems to be the crucial question - whether or not the bill can be passed now - then the appropriate stuff added to it later?

by Trey Rentz 2009-12-17 05:44PM | 0 recs
Re: And hopefully, they will say

Ron Wyden made just that claim last night on Countdown.

by Strummerson 2009-12-17 06:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

He's more blue dog than bigdog

by TerryD303 2009-12-17 12:20PM | 0 recs
Who don't we throw under the bus at MyDD on HCR?

President Obama? Yep.
Bill Clinton? Yep.
Hillary Clinton? Yep.
Sen Rockefeller? Yep.
Ron Wyden? Yep.
John Kerry? Yep.

It's getting mighty crowded under there.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-17 12:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Who don't we throw under the bus

Add the chronically ill who can't get insurance at any price right now... I guess they should shut up and die quickly, too...

by LordMike 2009-12-17 02:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Who don't we throw under the bus at MyDD

Don't forget Paul Krugman.

by Lolis 2009-12-17 06:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Well, at least we're learning where the Democratic establishment lines up.  At present count, we have Howard Dean, Bernie Sanders (honorary member), Roland Burris on the side of the American people, willing to be honest about what is going on here.  On the other side, we have Obama (the economy will collapse if we don't pass this!), Harkin (we're building a moderate house- a real disappointment to see him on Maddow's show ashamedly hawking that sad story, with Rachel giving him the, you've got to be kidding, right? look), the obstructionist Dems (Landrieu, etc.), and now Bill (shame on you).  This is very illustrative, because it gives us, the party members, the choice of who we want to hitch our star to.  I am assuredly in the former camp.

by orestes 2009-12-17 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

When you look at who lines up where,  dispassionately, without preconceived notions about what is and what isn't possible, without assigning nefarious motives to those who don't line up with preconceived notions, then the only logical conclusion is that the Big Dog is right.

Sorry, it's just my practicality that causes me to be unemotional in my assessments.

by QTG 2009-12-17 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

We currently pay 2 to 3 times for health care and 35% - 50% more for prescription drugs than other countries.

If the Dems are really worried about the physical, fiscal, and economic health of our country, they would fix the problem rather than using federal funds to subsidize the grossly over priced status quo.

by MOBlue 2009-12-17 12:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

I will pass on this bill. This is not "real" reform. Clinton sets up a false choice. The choice is not between action and inaction anymore. It is between an untenable status quo and a situation that actually makes things worse that pretends that we are actually doing something when in fact we are only digging our grave quicker. This is a corporate giveaway. We can enact a healthcare system without a public option - both the Swiss and the Dutch have such systems - but this bill doesn't even go  enough in that direction. It is a Frankenstein monster of a bill that mandates coverage. This bill feeds lambs to wolves. The core problem is that the Senate bill will force people to buy extremely expensive insurance that provides sham coverage. It is neither fair nor does the bill address rising costs. The age ratios are frankly immoral. Medical bankruptcies are not solved by this bill. The bill ignores our underinsurance problem nor does it lead to full coverage. Moreover  the bill does not sufficiently nor effectively regulate the insurance industry.

Clinton is likely right that these chances don't come around often. Pity then that the Democratic party could not get its act together. This whole process should be an(other) eye-opening experience as to who runs this country and for whom.

We are a country of corporations, for corporations and by corporations. This is the essential truth that should be self-evident.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-17 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

I think we face two truly imperfect options here.  Whether or not we should have gotten here is irrelevant, but I agree with many of the critiques of Obama on this issue (though I am not sure I agree with Feingold's assertion that this is the bill Obama wanted from the get go).  No one here will be satisfied with this bill.  The question that remains for me regards which course will be more productive.  People like WJC and Wyden and Harkin think we'll have more opportunity for progress if we pass the bill.  People such as Dean argue that we are at an unprecedented point of crisis and thus letting the bill fail will not keep us from going back to the drawing board in short order.  That's the policy question.  As for the politics, there will surely be a price either way.  So we can bewail the relative political costs and repeat all of the clear problems with the bill and critique the process that led us here.  But I, for one, would like more clarity on which route preserves more possibility for progress.  And I would like Charles' thoughts on why he finds the Dean argument more convincing regarding that question, leaving the bill's flaws and the process flaws and the political costs aside for the moment.  Why does killing it preserve more opportunity than passing it?  And finally, are those who argue that passing it is preferable wrong or cynical?  

by Strummerson 2009-12-17 03:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Simple because you're not eroding corporate power, this bill enhances corporate power.

Furthermore, this bill rewards inefficiency. It is pissing money out the window. Why pay insurance companies to cover the uninsured at a monopolist's rate? To pay multi-million dollar salaries for CEOs? 27% of the monies in this bill will go directly to insurance companies.

Is this the way to go? I think not. You may have different objectives or a different perspective.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-17 07:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

I am quite convinced of the arguments against the bill's content and of Obama's and our legislators' insufficient leadership.  I remain undecided on the kill versus pass debate because individuals like Ron Wyden and Tom Harkin seem convinced that this bill creates better prospects for further reform than killing it will.  I do not know how to assess that position.  If they are wrong, I think it should be killed on the merits, which is what you address here.  If they are right, then it should be passed and we should keep moving the ball down the field.  

by Strummerson 2009-12-18 03:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

I am quite convinced of the arguments against the bill's content and of Obama's and our legislators' insufficient leadership.  I remain undecided on the kill versus pass debate because individuals like Ron Wyden and Tom Harkin seem convinced that this bill creates better prospects for further reform than killing it will.  I do not know how to assess that position.  If they are wrong, I think it should be killed on the merits, which is what you address here.  If they are right, then it should be passed and we should keep moving the ball down the field.  

by Strummerson 2009-12-18 03:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

I have officially stopped trying to change people's minds on this and am now just interested in trying to better understand folks' views who oppose the Senate Bill.  

As I understand it, and please correct me if I'm wrong (seriously), most progressives (including Howard Dean) supported essentially the same bill we have now when it had a weak, negotiated rates, opt-out public option attached to it.  Similarly, most progressives (again, including Howard Dean) supported essentially the same bill we have now when it had a relatively weak Medicare buy-in provision.  

According to Chris Bowers, the former was likely to enroll 4-6 million people over the next ten years and the CBO scoring suggested it would save in the neighborhood of 25 billion dollars over the same time period.  The latter was likely to cover a maximum of 2 million people, and I don't think we ever saw the scoring, but presumably it would have saved a bit less given the smaller anticipated enrollment.  As near as I can tell, it is the fact that these two provisions were dropped that suddenly have made people turn on the Bill.  I wholeheartedly agree that a bill with both Medicare buy-in and a public option (preferably a strong one tied to Medicare rates) would be better.  But I'm struggling to understand how their absence suddenly makes the bill not worth supporting.  

I'm sure I will probably just get slammed for asking the question, but if someone actually wants to explain their reasoning, I would be greatful.    

by HSTruman 2009-12-17 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

I am still waiting for those links that prove your arguments to be the case.

by bruh3 2009-12-17 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

odd request, considering....

by QTG 2009-12-17 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

If you care to explain what you're talking about, I will do my best.  

But my current question (it's not an argument) is simply why a bill with a weak public option or a weak medicare buy-in provision was worth supporting and a bill without one of the two is not.  I suspect your answer (with points for consistency) would be that a bill with one of those provisions STILL wasn't worth supporting.  But a lot of people only turned on this Bill after Lieberman attacked.  And I'm still struggling to understand the reasoning behind that position.    

by HSTruman 2009-12-17 12:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

I am not going to provide you answers until you start to back up your statements with links to give us insight into where you are deriving your thinking.

by bruh3 2009-12-17 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Again, if you clarify what statements you want support for, I will try to provide links.  At present, I have no idea what you're referring to.    

by HSTruman 2009-12-17 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

I think to answer your question succinctly is that the bill became a bridge too far.

Part of it is ask yourself this does this bill set us on the road to a single-payer system? I think the answer is no so that leaves me unenthused. Incremental reform is acceptable but I am not sure this is incremental. It does cover more people, I've heard 92% to 94% but with very basic coverage at a very high price. So it takes uninsured problem (not quite fully solving that one) and creates a greater underinsured problem. It puts, or perhaps keeps, us on the road to perdition.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-17 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Thanks for the answer.  

If the objection is essentially that we need to get to single-payer and this aint a step in that direction, then fair enough.  I can understand why eliminating even a weak public-option is a set-back if the only acceptable end-game is a single-payer system.  

But if the critique is focused on whether the uninsured will actually be able to purchase decent (if not gold-plated) and affordable coverage, I don't see what that has to do with a public option or a very limited medicare buy-in.  I agree, incidentally, that the subsidies need to be higher and that the bill should do more to address affordability generally (hopefully the HOuse will fight for higher subsidies at conference).  But dropping the public option, or a weak medicare buy-in only available to people buying on the exchanges, didn't mnake those problems any worse.

Anyway, thanks again for the response.  

by HSTruman 2009-12-17 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

The answer that Charles gave (the shifting of the chairs of the Titanic from the uninsured to expensive under insurance leading which leads to the same deaths by spreadsheet but using new techniques that create political cover of reform)  is the exact same answer everyone was giving you yesterday.

You simply responded with your own conclusions without any substantiation.  If you truly want to understand why I think the way I do, here's a start on the lack of true regulatory reform in this bill: 018/50#commenttop

What I don't find particular useful is where you do not substantiate your statements. Thus, I am left with one sided deal in which i must prove to you that you are wrong, but you must prove nothing of what you argue.

As said in the other diary, I was willing to accept the House compromise. But this bill is not a compromise. It is even trying to take out MLR so that premiums are not linked to health care cost.

by bruh3 2009-12-17 01:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

I understand why you don't support the Senate bill, which near as I can tell has nothing to do with it have dropped a weak public option and medicare buy-in.  As I stated very clearly, I am no longer trying to argue with anyone over whether that is the proper judgment.  

What I am interested in better understanding is why some people have decided that the bill isn't worth having only after a weak public option and medicare buy-in were dropped.  You have yet to engage that question, which is fine, but there's no need to simply keep repeating what you've already said and asking for (unspecified) documentation from me.  

by HSTruman 2009-12-17 02:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

a) If you actually read the diary I just linked to you would understand my issues with your positon over regulations being  enough.

b) A public option, even a weak one, is a foot under the tent to getting something better later. I wanted a public option as a market response , as I have written multiple times at this site, to the oligopoly issue in the industry so that we can use market forces to accomplish what regulation alone can not.  That if you are going to do this experiment, it requires the multiple moving parts of the bill as originally imagined to work or else it will fail.

Regarding the PO, you can't expand something from nothing as easily  as you can something from something.

You may also as I just pointed out want to read what I have written before in diaries. I remember your screen name. I know you have been around long enough to have seen it.

I said before I supported the House bill. That includes a public option. How you then conclude that I don't support one, even a weak  one. is beyond me.

Begala during the summer said that progressive should be willing to compromise. I found his comment insulting. Progressives are willing to compromise. It is the centrist who are not. Steve M put it best yesterday, we can compromise 10 times, but if on that 11th time we say something- then we got to get your sort of post telling us we are looking for perfection.

The only way you can come to your conclusion about what I am thinking is to conclude that I was looking for single payer and single payer alone out of this bill.  I am a moderate. What I am seeking is something that has a reasonable chance of working and is not just for show. Only centrists care about the show part of bills.

THe bill is not worth having because of the reasons I stated in the diary that I just linked to that you did not bother to read after claiming in 2 posts I was now 3 that i was not answering your question.

Now, can you provide evidence as I did in that diary for why you think this bill is more than just shuffling the deck of the Titanic by moving the issue from the uninsured to the under insurance with a high cost?


by bruh3 2009-12-17 02:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

We don't seem to be communicating very well.  I read your diary, incidentally, and had previously read most of the things you linked to.  Having done so, I continue to agree with you (as I always have) that a bill with a strong public option could do a TON of good and that any kind of public option would have been a welcome addition.  As you've said, many times, a strong public plan tied to Medicare rates could have exerted tremendous pressure on private insurers - which would be fantastic.  

What I didn't see in your diary, and if I missed it then I apologize in advance, was an explanation of why the Senate Bill was worth supporting with a very weak public option that Chris Bowers (he's my only source) estimated would enroll 4-6 million people, but isn't worth supporting with that taken out.  

Heck, evenhe House bill, which IS better, doesn't have a "strong" public option.  Sadly, we couldn't even get Medicare + 5% through the House, let alone a straight Medicare rates plan.  

by HSTruman 2009-12-17 02:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

a) Independent analysis suggested that upwards of 25 million people.  The house bill would lead to a bigger enrollment than the CBO claimed. That's why the Senate had to kill it.

However, regardless, I wanted the idea introduced into the electorate as practice rather than just an idea. The opponents knew that was something that could never happen or they lose.  That's what the Republican consultants wrote on this subject back in Dec 2008.

LIke me , they got the nature of what this battle was always about- definitions over what health care in American means. The rest is dressing that I would accept, but knew it was not a transformative idea to the health care debate.  It was never about size. It was about the competition over ideas and power.

I was willing to tolerate the lack luster regulations because I wanted the transformative idea introduced to shift paradigm. CHris Bowers seems to lack an appreciation of the big picture. He is all about what good can it do right now. I am all about strategically how can we make sure 10 years from now we beat these suckers in such a way that we make sure it is not a problem because we beat them at the definition game better than they were able to beat us.

Do you know that in 2005 or 7 (can't remember the year), when the health insurance industry realized they were losing the battle over "universal health care" they actually sought to redefine the word? So, they wanted to hollow it out to mean something other than universal health care but still call it universal health care. Sound familiar? It should. That's what we are doing now with shifting from uninsured to under insured.

b) Once the transformative ideas were thrown out last week, the bill became crap. What ever gains that were acceptable for the insurance companies to have in the short term were transformed into long term gains.  They were going to gain something in the short term, but my view of those gains were that they were sugar pills with poison inside. My description is hyperbole, but that's what was at stake throughout this process.

The only people who didn't seem to get that are progressives.

by bruh3 2009-12-17 02:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Thank you for your response - that actually does help me better understand where you're coming from.  I still disagree with you about the relative merits of the Senate bill, and whether its worth passing, but I certainly understand why you would oppose it if you think it's a hinderance to more transformational reform.  I tend to doubt we get something better than this without first taking this incremental step, but that's certainly a judgment on my part.  

As a side note, do you happen to remember where you saw estimates that the public option in either the House or Senate bill would cover 25 million people?  If you don't remember don't worry about it, but I have never seen a number even remotely that large.  Candidly, if that was what we were fight over with Lieberman, it would certainly make more sense to me that a lot of people changed their minds about the bill after we lost it.  

by HSTruman 2009-12-17 03:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Under the House bill, and I am going by memory, it would eventually open up to more people if a special appointment by the president allowed more people onto the PO inclusive exchange of of which they could choose the PO, and even if they subsequently found a job.

It was on Fire Dog Lake, but I found the reference at other health care sites doing analysis of what the provisions would mean in practice. That smaller number that you see is strictly based on some rather questionable assumptions by the CBO.

Part of the issue here by the way is that people are not discussing what provisions would mean in practice.  As I wrote in my diary, what regulatory reform means in practice is that you must first pass a law that's bullet proof, deal with regulations that is bullet proof, and then deal with conservative packed courts that are mostly looking for ways to undermine regulations. Pretending we live in some kind of perfect world where corporate interests are not trying to defeat regulation in its application is why I think the pro-regulation people miss the boat. Even if I did not know that health insurance companies are bad faith actors, I would know the culture of U.S. business promotes resisting regulations.

by bruh3 2009-12-17 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

No we need the public option strengthened more - get Nelson on board and strengthen the public option. Forget Lieberman - he's not even a Democrat so stop trying to appease him.  

by jrsygrl 2009-12-17 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

But this is the basic logical flaw with people who oppose the bill.  The real reason the public option was in there was to set the stage for an eventual move toward single payer.  If we all knew that, what made us think that any Republican or maybe 8-10 Democrats would have allowed such a thing?  Clearly, they understood the political dynamics as well as we did.  Probably better.

As it was, the Public Option did almost nothing to control costs and in fact probably would have served only as a dumping ground for low-income folks with poor health.  If anything, it could have been a poster child for why you don't want a single-payer system.

Far more Dems seemed open, at least in concept, to the idea of expanding Medicare.  Again, I don't really see the point of doing this unless we understand it as a move toward single payer.

In either case (including the bill currently in front of us) we're implicitly agreeing that this isn't the last word on the subject.  Sure, I would have liked to gain more ground in this round.  But we didn't.

by the mollusk 2009-12-17 01:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Because single payer may be the best way for reform, but no one claimed it was the only way. A strong public option over time that did not lead to single payer, but exerted enough market pressure to shape the cost of health care would have been real reform. A bill that included medical loss ratios such that premiums were tied to health care cost (an issue on life supports) may have lead to some kind of reform. A bill without real cost containment does not mean anything just because it has subsidies because the assumption correctly is that the cost of the subsidies would just be shifting the financial burden around rather than addressing it. We would still be faced with 17 percent of GDP going to health care costs and rising. We would still be faced with lost jobs due to health care costs. A lack of competition due to health care cost. On top of that, to add to the problem the bill does not even do the things it claims to be doing because it simply shifts the problem from uninsured to under insured.

by bruh3 2009-12-17 02:03PM | 0 recs
I cant answer your question...

I did not support the bill even with the PO (although I kept my mouth shut)

by Ravi Verma 2009-12-17 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: I cant answer your question...

Fair enough - thanks.

by HSTruman 2009-12-17 01:44PM | 0 recs
This bill sucks, but back it anyway

That's the position the Democratic leadership and Obama are presenting to the progressives.

At this point, I'm not even sure what's in the bill that's worth backing. I guess it's good to have subsidies and to end insurers ability to deny pre-existing conditions.

I'm very concerned about the ability to charge older Americans 3 times what younger ones are charged. Many over-40s won't be able to afford coverage.

It hits the lower and middle middle class very hard.

The bill really sucks. But is it better than nothing at all? Ah, me, that is the question.

by Coral 2009-12-17 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

It's simply not "health care reform". It's another in a long line of "reform" bills that does the opposite. This thing needs to be killed now. We have next year to get it right.

by Stoic 2009-12-17 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

when we have fewer Dems in both the House and the Senate?  how's that going to work out?  people are already sick of hearing about this (no pun intended).

by the mollusk 2009-12-17 01:50PM | 0 recs
And? This makes sense how?

We'd better pass this piece of shit... it may be a long time before we do anything else.

Is a piece of shit better than nothing?

More Clinton FAIL!  Clinton can kiss my ass just like all the other apologists for this shit bill.

by teknofyl 2009-12-17 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Well I trust Clinton, so I will go along with what he says.  However, there must be consequences for Joe Lieberman after this is finished.  He must be stripped of his chairmanships and we must fund his opponent when he is up for re-election.

by agpc 2009-12-17 02:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

I am pretty sure BC is focused strictly on the politics and not the policy here.  He may well be right, but I'm not surprised that some of the more policy-focused people are not persuaded.

by Steve M 2009-12-17 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

That's probably true about Bill, although I also think it's fair to say the guy genuinely cares about health insurance.

I actually think Paul Krugman's continuing support is more interesting though.  God knows he's never been an Obama apologist and it's hard to think of many prominent progressives wonks that have been focused on health care reform for as long as he has been.  Here's part of one of his recent posts, which I think is both honest and informative:

"Those who grudgingly say "pass the thing" -- a camp I have reluctantly joined -- aren't naive: by and large they're wonks who have looked at the legislation quite carefully, understand both its virtues and its flaws, and have decided that it's a lot better than nothing. And there isn't much careerism involved: if you're a progressive pundit or wonk, the risks of alienating the people to your left are at least a match for the risks of alienating people to your right.

Now, the pass-the-thing people could be wrong. Maybe hopes of improving the new health care system over time, the way Social Security has been improved, will prove to have been fantasies; or maybe rejecting this bill and trying again, a strategy that has failed many times in the past, would work this time. But it's a carefully thought-out, honest position. And arriving at that position has, in my case at least, required a lot of agonized soul-searching.

And maybe I'm being unfair, but I don't seem to see the same degree of soul-searching on the other side. Too much of what I read seems to come from people who haven't really faced up to what it will mean for progressive hopes -- not to mention America's uninsured -- if health care reform crashes and burns, yet again." 17/health-care-and-iraq


by HSTruman 2009-12-17 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

You may be right, but the non-policy people here are using the politics as a claim about the value of the policy.  I would also disagree with him over the politics. A crappy bill is not going to help the Democrats. This is not the 1990s.

by bruh3 2009-12-17 02:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

Look I hate what Nelson wants with the abortion clauses, but I'd sacrifice that over the public option.  It will be much easier to get abortion included at a later date than the public option for healthcare and without the public option this will be quite bad for us.  No contest - get Nelson on board, put back the public option end.of.story.  The bill without the public option needs to be killed.

by jrsygrl 2009-12-17 06:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform
"if healthcare reform doesn't make it through now it may be years until it comes up again"
the logic of this does not make sense. while we hear this alot, we also hear that we need this bill so Dems can win more seats in 2010.
okay. if Dems win more seats, why can't they revisit this? if dems are going to win, why wouldn't they want a better health care bill, (pardon me, a real healthcare bill?)
by joe in oklahoma 2009-12-18 07:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

I agree wholeheartedly.  My view is that when these kinds of stupid arguments (this is our only chance, it's this or nothing) are made, they are really telling you two things.  First, we don't have any better arguments to make; we know wwe can't sell you on the bill because it's a piece of crap, so we have to use these hollow appeals.  And, secondly, we don't care enough to fight for this until we can get it passed.  We're giving it one shot and that's it; take it or leave it.  It's clear to me there is no desire in the admin and the dem estabishment to pass a good, pro-people health care bill.  And that's shameful.

by orestes 2009-12-18 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

They aren't stupid... history shows that when a health reform initiative fails, it takes, on average, 18 years for another one to come up again.

History goes against your argument.

by LordMike 2009-12-18 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

That may be true, but the health insurance industry is breaking the backs of average Americans.  It has reached a crisis point and the course will not be reversed.  Necessity will compel that this issue is dealt with in the near future.  And now that the American people truly thought they were going to get reform it has become real for them.  People have contemplated how reform would affect their lives and won't forget it.  Health care reform has now become less abstract.  For example, my former assistant told me how she would retire early if the Medicaid at 55 provision passes.  That hope/desire will not die.  Of course, reform is dependent upon candidates promising to fight for it and then doing their best to deliver.  It needs to be a constant battle in the same way that corporate interests constantly battle for their perks until congress finally gives in.  

by orestes 2009-12-18 05:52PM | 0 recs
um, you made Clinton's argument

The argument is we NEED this bill to gain seats, without it, we lose seats, and probably the majority, and thus don't get to revisit this for a long long time

It passes and we have a chance to keep or add seats and revisit it in the next Congress.

by ND22 2009-12-18 03:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton Backs Healthcare Reform

"Take it from someone who knows: these chances don't come around every day"

I respectfully disagree with Clinton.

The chance to get ripped off by insurance companies sadly comes around far, far too often.

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 10:01AM | 0 recs


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