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Health Care: Main Street Is Out Of Touch With Washington

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Like elves rushing to meet the Christmas Eve deadline, the United States Senate met on a snowy day in our nation’s capital and overcame the hurdle of pushing health care reform forward. Anyone remotely familiar with the machinations of Washington politics knows that two inches of snow on the ground virtually paralyzes the District. Yet this weekend, under a heavy blanket of new winter snow, the 100 sitting members of the Senate debated a bill which all knew would pass along party lines.

The pundits this morning are applauding the “courageous” efforts of Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, for getting the 60 votes he required. In the dead of a cold winter night, during a hectic pre-Christmas weekend, the members of our illustrious United States Senate executed their duties in the darkness of night. And we, the American people, are supposed to be grateful. At what price?

Pundits this morning are heralding the deal made to secure the vote of Senator Nelson of Nebraska. Yet the Republicans who have voiced legitimate concerns are being shut out of the debate. "It's one of the great Bernie Madoff gimmicks that anybody's ever seen," Senator John McCain said today on ABC's Good Morning America. "Republicans were never brought in to the negotiations. This is what you get – a split country – when American people are opposed to what we're doing." He’s right. While the GOP is quite guilty of their own political deviance, it cannot be discounted that Senators Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman prostituted themselves for their own political gain with no regard for what’s really at stake today in America. How is it that a Conservative Democrat from the state of Nebraska, in the heart of the country, can wield so much power? How is it that a whiny, self-serving, “gnomadic” creature like Joseph Lieberman can virtually twist the political scrotum of Harry Reid until Harry blinks? And, in the end, were the American people served?

After watching the Senate debate last night, I retired for the evening with the vote ever present in my mind. As I lay staring at the ceiling in the dark, I kept asking myself how is it that Washington is out of touch with Main Street. And, like an angel appearing on a cold winter’s night, it dawned on me. It is not that Washington is out of touch with Main Street. It is the reverse. We, Main Street, the heart and soul of the American economy, are completely out of touch with Washington. We haven’t taken the time to scrutinize the work of those who we elected to serve us. This is a government by the people, for the people, and from the people — until certain people get there. Seduced by the surreal world of Washington, politicians get sucked into a system of greed, corruption, and bureaucracy which confounds even the most intelligent observer. I listened with great intent to the speeches of John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, and Tom Harkin. I don’t doubt their sincerity; however, I do doubt their motivation.

This morning I learned $635 million has been invested by insurance lobbyists over the last two years as they peddle their influence through the halls of Congress. The fact insurance companies are exempt from antitrust laws notwithstanding, I need to ask some very simple questions:  How many people have died from lack of health care because insurance companies spent two thirds of a billion dollars wielding their power in Washington? How many children have died? How many women have died from breast or ovarian cancer because greedy insurance executives would rather spend insurance premiums on influencing politicians than providing health care?

Insurance company executives are responsible for involuntary manslaughter and any politician who has accepted even one penny from insurance interests are willful accomplices in carrying out the death sentence. We don’t need Sarah Palin’s death panels — they exist. They thrive in the atmosphere known as the Beltway. And we, the American people, need to accept responsibility for creating this environment of rampant corruption and power.

While those on the left deride Joe Lieberman as a turncoat to the cause, let us not forget the demographics of his home state. According to a 2007 summary report issued by then Associate Legislative Attorney Janet L. Kaminski, Connecticut’s economy depends primarily on the insurance industry:

  • There are 72 insurance headquarters in Connecticut.
  • There were more than 65,000 insurance jobs in Connecticut in 2004. The Connecticut Department of Labor projects a 4% growth rate through 2014, the slowest rate within the insurance and finance sector.
  • Connecticut has three times the U.S. average of insurance jobs as a percent of total state employment.
  • Connecticut has the highest U.S. concentration of insurance jobs.
  • The average annual Connecticut insurance industry wage is $ 61,846, with average wages ranging from about $ 33,000 to $ 118,000.
  • Annual state insurance industry payroll exceeds $ 6 billion.
  • The total value added by the insurance industry in Connecticut in 2004 was about $ 12. 2 billion.
  • Insurance companies purchase almost $ 1 billion in goods and services from other industries in Connecticut annually.
  • One new job in the insurance industry results in an additional 1.35 jobs in the Connecticut economy. 
  • Connecticut insurance companies paid $ 210 million in personal income taxes in 2004 and $ 244 million in premium taxes in 2004-2005.

So, now do you understand the dynamics behind Joe Lieberman’s behavior? This isn’t about improving the lives of regular Americans. Joe Lieberman is in the fight of his political career as he barely maintains hold of his office. He will stop at nothing to remain Senator and if pandering to insurance companies sweetens his political war chest, then so be it. Unfortunately, there are 49 remaining states that have to pay the price for Senator Lieberman’s actions. And, unbeknownst to most of us, the deals cut with Ben Nelson benefit Nebraska while the remaining 49 are left out in the cold. This isn’t forging beneficial legislation. This is politics as usual. And, when all is said and done, the so-called Health Care Reform of 2009-2010 will go down as the biggest political farce in our history.

So, what are we to do? First of all, we need to accept a simple premise: it is not that Washington is out of touch with Main Street. Unless we as a society become actively involved in the political process, it is Main Street which is out of touch with Washington. The collapse of the financial industry over the last 14 months is another example of how we have failed our country. Again, Wall Street is not the one out of touch. Again, it is Main Street. We have been remiss in monitoring legislation which affects our everyday lives. We have failed our children in insuring that they would inherit a country in better shape than it was left to us.

As each generation passes the torch, the torch slowly dims. Not for lack of fuel, but for lack of caring. So, my fellow Americans, let’s try and come up with some New Year’s Resolutions that we will actually believe can be accomplished. There is an election in 2010. Both political parties know what is at stake and they will pull out all the media stops in advancing their respective agendas. But are either agenda worthy of adopting? Under the present political structure, in a word – NO. So, here are a few suggestions for taking back our government and, more importantly our destiny:

  1. Campaign finance reform must be at the top of the political wish list in 2010. This means reform which excludes special interests from pumping dollars into a corrupt system. And, if we cannot mandate public funding, then how about this? Why doesn’t Congress legislate a cap on how much corporations can pump into the system? Why can’t insurance companies be prohibited from laundering insurance premiums into Congressional payoffs? That’s what they’re doing , folks. If they can afford over a half billion dollars for lobbying, imagine how many lives could have been saved if they were not allowed to use more than .5% of insurance premiums for political gain.
  2. Term limits. There’s no doubt that the structure of Congress is such that those who serve longest get the political clout and capital while those who are newly elected are virtually shut out of the process. If a President is not allowed to serve more than ten years, then it is time for members of Congress to be on the same bandwagon. I think 11 years (5 ½ terms) for members of the House is more than reasonable while 15 (2 ½ terms) for members of the Senate are sufficient.
  3. Health care. This bill in its present form must not be allowed to become law. It is time to accept that comprehensive health care reform should not be accomplished in this session of Congress. It is time to take the battle to the streets in political debates across every state in the land. And, like it or not, we capitalists must devise a way to create a health care system that is confined within the not for profit paradigm. Taking care of our own is not a for profit venture and never should have been allowed to develop.
  4. Public education must require public involvement. Children must be taught the lessons of personal civic responsibility from kindergarten forward. They must be educated in the way government operates and how they can affect the process by getting involved. This includes mandatory national service of no less than two years either in the military or in some government agency where the talents of the young would be an added commodity. And, parents who choose to send their children to public school must be held accountable as well. This means active parental involvement in PTA and school activities. Parents cannot expect excellence from educators if they cannot exhibit excellence in proactive involvement in their child’s education. Teachers within the public education system must also be accountable and unable to hide behind the terms of their respective union contracts. For that matter, no union should be allowed to spend more than .5% of their union dues on political spin.
  5. Too big to fail? Time to get back to basics folks. No company should grow so large as to have a monopoly. Rupert Murdoch shouldn’t be allowed to have control of entertainment and news. Mickey Mouse should not be allowed to control movie theaters, television programming, and more. Like Nixon broke up the telephone monopolies, it’s time to break up the multi-media conglomerates in a BIG way. We need to encourage more competition. If a giant bank or corporation fails, then the stockholders must take the loss not the American people.

These are just five suggestions on what I would like to see us accomplish next year. But we can’t accomplish a damn thing in this country if we don’t take the first step and get involved!

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  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Great article, Silas. If only there were anyone listening.

    Dave

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Indeed, Dave. One comfort is knowing that next year at this time, I’ll be writing an article entitled, I Told You So…

    P.S. Happy Holidays, Dave, to you and yours.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Silas, great article. And Dave, I’m listening. My head is exploding from all the poltical insanity; so taking a bit of a “blog break”! But 2010 is just around the corner and we have lots of work to do, if you know what I mean.

    Merry Christmas to you both.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I’m not sure that’s actually a comfort, Silas.

    Dave

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I guess Christmas wishes are in order for those of you reading this fine article Mr. Kain has written.

    Silas, as excellently written as this piece is, as succinctly as it states its case, it is 16 years too late. This article needed to come out in late 1993 to have been of any possible good. Most of the economic problems we see today, and a number of the foreign policy problems we see were clear that long ago.

    That is not criticism. You were not the man you are today then, just as I was not the man I am today. Neither of us could see what evil the Clintons would work in the white house (and mind you, I voted for the man – twice).

    The changes that Bill Clinton made in how Americans did business were the critical ones; the subsequent years have just been reaction. The weak foreign policy of the Clinton administration (and his weak-jawed idiot of a secretary of state, Warren Christopher) set the stage for terrorists to view the world as their oyster – and they have been enjoying the meal ever since.

    The problem is that Main Street has been unwilling – and is still unwilling – to listen to guys like Pablo, who dig up and attempt to expose the real controllers of the American economy. It is not comforting to read or learn that the two major political parties are just one mafia with barely any difference between them. It is not comforting to realize that the Saudis offered Clinton $1 billion to sell out Israel entirely (he did succeed in getting a prick like Barak elected – but this did not weaken Israel sufficiently). It is not comforting that Smedley Butler was right on the money about corporate America using the military as its own private goon squad – and still is.

    Finally, it is not comforting to understand that the system you live under now is rigged – it was rigged in 1993, but a bit less so.

    Getting involved today may mean a lot more than joining a political party and screaming at school board meetings, or even getting a fellow elected to office. It is getting that bad. To be blunt, I do not see the dollar surviving as a viable currency beyond March 2011, when the full impact of all those trillions of worthless dollars shoved into circulation over the last year start to make themselves felt.

    But good writing is still good writing, Silas, and you have put things well – if only it could work….

  • Doug Hunter

    The numbers are against you.

    1) In a nation of 300 million the vast majority can’t ‘know’ their leaders besides what is fed to them on TV.

    2) You’re unlikely to have a good image on the TV unless you pay $$$ for it.

    3) People that fund your campaign are looking for return on investment.

    4) Getting a $300million windfall is much more of a motivating factor for a person or small group than is 300 million people getting fucked out of $1 each.

    I don’t see how any of those things can change. I used to believe you could cut government by cutting taxes, but instead they just borrow more against your kids future and send them further into servitude to the Chinese.

    *As to your issues, people do seem to prefer rationing healthcare based on government resources rather than their own. I’d as soon pay for it myself rather than have the government take my tax money skim some off the top, redistribute a portion, and then give me what care they feel I need.

    Education again is about families and communities, not a federal government program. If you want public education to be a good experience for your kid (move them out of the inner city) then it’s up to you to make it so, not President Obama and congress. On ‘too big to fail’ and the others you’re right on!!!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I do believe it’s too little and too late, Silas. And Doug may be right. It could be the numbers. There may be a certain point beyond which it’s no longer possible to thrive as a viable society or community. If the individual input doesn’t count, it’s no longer a community in any true sense.

    Yes, that’s what the future foretells, not just for America but the world at large. There will come a time when our political instinct may become, for all intents and purposes, extinct.

  • Bernie Kleinstein

    The five steps sound nice.
    But I didn’t see anything new.
    Do you have time for all five of them? Seems others have been trying for years on some of those suggestions you made….to no avail.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Perhaps I remain a bit idealistic in my fifth decade of life, but I refuse to accept the notion that it is too late. I’ll use myself as the example. After 45+ years of one pattern of living I’ve morphed and “found the way” so to speak. I still think we have opportunities to change the way we do business but it can’t be achieved unless there is involvement.

    Education again is about families and communities, not a federal government program.

    If you thought I implied that education should be administered on a Federal level let me make a few things clear. I agree that public education is about families and communities. However, there has to be a model set by which there is a homogeneity to education devoid of geography. And, if parents choose public education (as most will out of economic considerations), there has to be parental involvement. When I was a kid, my folks, grandparents, aunts and uncles were all involved in my education. That was true when I first started in public school and moved on to parochial school. Back then the local parish to which we belonged was required to pay 90% of my tuition. That’s how it was before the American Roman Catholic Church became a corporate entity and got out of social services. Back then a Catholic kid’s parents had choices. But, then again, back then I could go to any hospital operated by the Catholic Church and get free health care. Once the Diocese sold off the hospitals to private corporations, health care changed for the worse. But, I digress.

    The bottom line is we can change course if we just open our eyes and get involved. Think about it. The media and politicians keep saying that Washington is out of touch with Main Street. That’s false reporting, folks. They’re lying to us right out of the starting gate. It’s kind of like “truth in lending”. We need “truth in politics” and “truth in legislation”. In this age of instant information, every bill considered by Congress should be more than available online. It should list every amendment along with its’ sponsors and state which states are directly affected by the same. It’s time to take House Committee hearings out on the road again. And, what’s so bad about members of Congress meeting from their respective local Congressional offices via video conference? We also should have online access to attendance records. If a member misses a vote, a debate, or a regular session – we should be able to see those absences recorded in a very public way. It seems to me we hire these people to represent our needs in Washington and we’ve no mechanism to insure that they’re doing their jobs as WE hired them. Regardless of political affiliation, I think most of us could agree that members of Congress must be accountable and justify the paycheck and health care they receive while doing our work.

  • Zedd

    I keep shaking my head with every report on this bill, thinking “have I entered the twilight zone?”

    I find myself chanting “they all need to go” on my way home from work while listening to the news on the radio. In the past I’ve associated that type of thinking to kooks who didn’t understand the complexities of policy making and the two party system. Now, I find myself drained and chanting to myself like… a kook, sigh. No one is listening.

  • Zedd

    Silas,

    I agree. We have to find another way.

    This bunch however has to go. They are stuck on an outmoded way of doing business.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Zedd, spread the word. We have got to tap into the anger that brews just below the surface. I see anguish on people’s faces as they shop this Holiday season. I hear the uncertainty in the voices of small business people who really aren’t sure what’s in store for 2010.

    A decade ago I remember the thrill of celebrating the dawn of the New Millennium. Here we are, completing the turn of the century with much less hope and anticipation. In many respects we have advanced technologically but somehow fell into a divisive trap. Isn’t it amazing that with the explosion of “color” in our world, we have become so black & white in our thinking?

  • Zedd

    Silas,

    The problem is that we the people aren’t ready. We’ve become so used to being spoon fed (garbage) that we don’t know what the real issues are and what solutions are available to us. We certainly aren’t mature enough to work to find solutions through collaborative methods.

    We’ve been told for too long what is good and what (or who) is evil. We’ve simply gone along without question. At this point we don’t have the qualifications to choose good leadership.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    So what is the solution? Shall we succumb to the “new world order” way of thinking? Are we inevitably heading into a world government? Can regions of the globe continue to survive autonomously? Without active political involvement on a grand scale, can this country survive?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Yes, we are. It’s beyond countries now. But don’t despair. There’s another world awaiting: United Federation of Planets. Think Star Trek and Jim Kirk.

  • Zedd

    Silas,

    I believe that it will be vital for excellence, curiosity, and engagement to become in vogue. Instead of getting people to get mad and act, it would be better to promote a “new” way of thinking. Perhaps a renaissance of sorts. It may be inevitable with the economy forcing us towards a different value system.

    Our current reality can either force base responses (Teabaggers) where people are mad, but about he wrong things (none issues like Tsars in the White House) and the wrong people (a foreign born Muslim as President) and they become attracted to an even worse type of leadership (Sara Palin, et al).

    Those that have not been dulled by the noise (talk radio, partisanship, etc.) and still exercise their right to think creatively, can change the landscape. They can contribute to the blogosphere, and punditry by demanding civility, and a higher bar for discussion and leadership.

  • Baronius

    I wish I could support term limits.

    However, ideologically, I can’t justify telling a voter who he’s not allowed to vote for. Look at the poster child for term limits, John Murtha. He’s contributed nothing to society as a congressman, but the people in his district keep sending him back. I think they’re wrong. Is it my place as an outsider to forbid them from supporting him?

    That’s the ideological side. On a practical level, the biggest source of bad ideas in our country today is a recent graduate from the Illinois legislature. There’s a chance he’ll be running against someone who served as governor for 2.5 years. Look at them and tell me with a straight face that inexperience is a virtue in politics.

    Lastly, there’s the anecdotal evidence. At the presidential level, we’ve seen that people are considered successes if they’re reelected, failures if they’re not. The priority of the first term is to get a second term, so they do things. The second term has no priority. They become lame ducks the moment they’re reelected. I’ve also followed Virginia politics with their one-term limit on governor. The term limit creates a talent drain, where each popular politician takes a shot at the brass ring, then ends up in early retirement.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    The collective American LAZINESS has led to this crossroads in the health care debate. Zedd, with all the press time that has been devoted to this side show, I am incensed by the lack of interest on the part of the rank and file. The more I dig, the angrier I get. What the hell is wrong with this nation? Our system is broken. We bellyache that it’s the government. Bullshit. It’s each dulyt qualified citizen who fails to get involved who is at fault. I’m not mad at politicians any longer because we’ve allowed them to become the way they are. If folks just want to debate birth certificates, religious dogma and tea bag parties while they pull the rug out from under us on health care — so be it.

    It dawned on me this morning that with all my hot air about teaching accountability in schools, there’s something missing. We haven’t held ourselves accountable for 40 years. What makes us think we can change the game now? Perhaps it is time to talk about dissolution of the Union and joining a world government. Seems to me like we squandered the gifts of our forefathers.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Good points, Baronius. Then if there are not Congressional term limits, why not change the structure which rewards a few for seniority and ignores the rest? My beef with the seniority system lies in the fact that it promotes concentration of power in the hands of people like McConnell (Kentucky), Ben Nelson (Nebraska) and Max Bacchus (a Dakota).

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Take a look at these commonalities, Silas. You see that Americans haven’t held themselves accountable for the last 40 years. Go count back – that’s 1969, the year that the square values of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s got tossed out the window. The “me generation” did not begin in 1980 – with contemptible skits by Al Franken – it began with tossing strong moral values out the window. It began when the teenagers took seriously the attention that Madison Avenue paid them and basically told their parents to go to hell and let them live their own lives.

    I was one of those teenagers, Silas. I remember this well.

    And that generation, my generation, has produced a bunch of pigs who obviously all need to go.

    Zedd, who was just a little girl in 1969, says “they all need to go” as she disgustedly listens to the radio in her car.

    As I said up thread, involvement will be a whole lot more than screaming at school board meetings or putting some guy into office. Your nation is too far down the road for that to work anymore.

    You need a whole different form of governance, Silas – one that gets rid of the debt you have racked up since 1981 as its first order of business. One that can stabilize a currency backed on something solid that you and your business partners can rely on. These are your first priorities. Everything else, barring putting down a violent revolution or stopping foreign attack, must take a lower position on the totem pole of what must be done in America.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Take a look at these commonalities, Silas. You see that Americans haven’t held themselves accountable for the last 40 years. Go count back – that’s 1969, the year that the square values of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s got tossed out the window. The “me generation” did not begin in 1980 – with contemptible skits by Al Franken – it began with tossing strong moral values out the window. It began when the teenagers took seriously the attention that Madison Avenue paid them and basically told their parents to go to hell and let them live their own lives.

    I was one of those teenagers, Silas. I remember this well.

    And that generation, my generation, has produced a bunch of pigs who obviously all need to go.

    Zedd, who was just a little girl in 1969, says “they all need to go” as she disgustedly listens to the radio in her car.

    As I said up thread, involvement will be a whole lot more than screaming at school board meetings or putting some guy into office. Your nation is too far down the road for that to work anymore.

    You need a whole different form of governance, Silas – one that gets rid of the debt you have racked up since 1981 as its first order of business. One that can stabilize a currency backed on something solid that you and your business partners can rely on. These are your first priorities. Everything else, barring putting down a violent revolution or stopping foreign attack, must take a lower position on the totem pole of what must be done in America.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ruvy –

    On the ‘me generation’…what, exactly changed?

    Not the kids.

    Times change, technology changes, societies and cultures change, but human nature does not. Kids have been showing disrespect to their parents at least since Deuteronomy…hence the law given by the Levites that a disrespectful child shall be put to death.

    Yeah, we gotta pay down our debt – and one party has a track record of doing just that, and the other party has a longer track record of doing anything BUT that. Funny thing is, in your posts, you’re usually against the party that DOES strive to pay down our debt!

  • Baronius

    The House had 6-year term limits on committee chairmen for while. The Republicans implemented them in 1995 and actually stuck with them when 2001 rolled around. They were in place until earlier this year when another political party (I don’t want to point fingers, so I won’t say which one) eliminated the rule.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    I’m afraid you are spot on, Ruvy. We only have ourselves to blame. As we enter Christmas 2009 weekend, I am very discouraged. I’m frustrated that I’ve been unable to make my case. Perhaps I’m too passionate. Perhaps I care a bit too much. Perhaps I should just let it all go and decide if I want to repatriate to Poland, Prince Edward Island or Ireland. While it’s nice in theory, I know I can’t consider the alternatives, time is too fleeting.

    Ruvy, the bottom line is I love the United States. I love what it has stood for and I am proud of our history. I am proud that my g-g-grandfather fought in the Civil War. I am proud that my maternal side of the family actually went into small communicates throughout New England, New York and Pennsylvania establishing the first R.C. Churches which continue to flourish today. I think of what my Polish ancestors suffered in their journey to this land and how they overcame all odds to insure a good life for their children. I love the fact that we can gather on this site and debate issues without the fear of governmental reprisals. Sure, the founders were not at all like us but we share the same core values in liberty and justice. We’re a young nation by many standards and today we are in our “teen years”. Unfortunately for me, my time on Earth is running out. I honestly pray that before I draw my last breath I can say with satisfaction that I did make a difference in some small way and am leaving behind a land which was better than it was when I arrived in 1955. Politics is a dirty game which turns people off but at what point do we wake up and realize that it is we at the street level who can really facilitate change?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Here is one reason that Zedd (or any intelligent person) might mutter, “they all need to go” while listening to the car radio, and why you correctly see that the half a loaf of health care offered by the idiots in the Senate is stale and filled with worms. Note that what is completely protected against is “accountability”!

    Have a gander at this, courtesy of (oh, this is rich) the dominionist Christian who is so contemptuously put down by so many at this magazine.

    From the link, a quote from a Facebook page:

    No one is certain of what’s in the bill, but Senator Jim DeMint spotted one shocking revelation regarding the section in the bill describing the Independent Medicare Advisory Board (now called the Independent Payment Advisory Board), which is a panel of bureaucrats charged with cutting health care costs on the backs of patients – also known as rationing. Apparently Reid and friends have changed the rules of the Senate so that the section of the bill dealing with this board can’t be repealed or amended without a 2/3 supermajority vote. Senator DeMint said:

    “This is a rule change. It’s a pretty big deal. We will be passing a new law and at the same time creating a senate rule that makes it out of order to amend or even repeal the law. I’m not even sure that it’s constitutional, but if it is, it most certainly is a senate rule. I don’t see why the majority party wouldn’t put this in every bill. If you like your law, you most certainly would want it to have force for future senates. I mean, we want to bind future congresses. This goes to the fundamental purpose of senate rules: to prevent a tyrannical majority from trampling the rights of the minority or of future congresses.”

    In other words, Democrats are protecting this rationing “death panel” from future change with a procedural hurdle. You have to ask why they’re so concerned about protecting this particular provision. Could it be because bureaucratic rationing is one important way Democrats want to “bend the cost curve” and keep health care spending down?

    The Congressional Budget Office seems to think that such rationing has something to do with cost. In a letter to Harry Reid last week, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf noted (with a number of caveats) that the bill’s calculations call for a reduction in Medicare’s spending rate by about 2 percent in the next two decades, but then he writes the kicker:

    “It is unclear whether such a reduction in the growth rate could be achieved, and if so, whether it would be accomplished through greater efficiencies in the delivery of health care or would reduce access to care or diminish the quality of care.”

    Though Nancy Pelosi and friends have tried to call “death panels” the “lie of the year,” this type of rationing – what the CBO calls “reduc[ed] access to care” and “diminish[ed] quality of care” – is precisely what I meant when I used that metaphor.

    Be wary of this woman. She knows exactly what to say to the public. Enjoy….

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    I wonder if my impending demise will be hastened by the degradation in the quality of health care I will be receiving next year. $635 million paid by Insurance interests to fight health care reform — $0 paid by Insurance interests to improve health care. Priceless. Ah, the irony of it all.

  • Boeke

    Blaming the victims?

    Most ordinary citizens simply don’t have any time to monitor politics. The average work week has increased steadily over the past 30 years, AND now it takes two incomes to sustain a household.

    And I can attest that people are working harder in their daily jobs than they were 40-50 years ago.

    We’ve squeezed all the slack out of the average Americans work day and work life. (What a shame: all for the enrichment of banks). When an American worker goes home he is physically and mentally exhausted.

    We made a serious mistake by not reducing the work week back in the 60s and 70s. The FHA should never have ruled that BOTH incomes be considered in mortgage applications.

    Besides, anyone who does find a few moments to make a political fuss will quickly find himself marginalized by very powerful permanent forces within the political establishment.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    You’re right, Boeke. And it doesn’t take two incomes any longer, it takes three or four!

    When an American worker goes home he is physically and mentally exhausted.
    Well, maybe we need to consider a workers’ revolt which does NOT include the unions who have been complicit in the enslavement of working Americans.

    Besides, anyone who does find a few moments to make a political fuss will quickly find himself marginalized by very powerful permanent forces within the political establishment.
    That kind of thought only exacerbates the problem. We have to continue the mission of wholesale political reform.

    With all the people out of work in this country, surely there must be someone available who will stand up and make a fuss. Oh, I forgot, this is America land of the free, home of the slave.

  • Clifford Bryan

    Lobby industries choke hold on health care will not change until voters attack the Culture of Washington. Vote the Congressman with revolving doors on the staff out.

  • Zedd

    Baronius,

    Your comment is part of the problem. What you stated is not the issue at all. You totally overlook the fact that during that period there has been the worst bottle neck political play in the history of our legislative processes. I’m guessing that you don’t know that because you don’t make it your business to know anything real, just stances that some guys tell you, you need to take. You skipped over the fact that we are frustrated largely because of what took place during this time period that you are trying to promote as being ideal because of your partisan, brain-numbed state. THINK for goodness sake. Its free.

  • Zedd

    @26 Silas, lets not take it too far. You will keep your health care coverage, however there will not be an improvement or decrease in premiums. I’m paying a ridiculous amount and am healthy as can be and I am steaming about it!!

    Get them all out!!!!

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Zedd, I haven’t taken it far enough! And you are right — GET THE ALL OUT!

  • Zedd

    One of the problems is that Americans believe in Americanness instead of Humanness (or true freedom), Libertarians included. They believe in group thought and assume that they need to fall into “American thinking” so they seek out broad concepts (a bill of goods)that they are told represent Americanness, in order to feel patriotic and therefore good and righteous. They believe being “un American” is synonymous with being ungodly. The clincher is that any one with a good tale (with baseball, a mention of the Lord and John Wayne references along with a tinge of nicely disguised racist innuendo or an out right lie) can have the hearts of the American public. What ends up happening is that no real issues are addressed because you can’t get too productive with baseball and old western imagery. Anyone who wants to discuss issues that haven’t been prepackaged as “American”, is thought to be basically ungodly.

    Americans are good hearted people, just terribly duped… and stuck.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    All that’s about to change, deary, as soon as the Titanic sinks.

  • Zedd

    Roger,

    You sound as if you are looking forward to it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    In a way, yes. I view it as a kind of liberation.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    I’m sorry, but there’s nothing new under the sun here.

    Many politicians are corrupt and money calls the shots when it comes to government?

    Didn’t Jesus throw the money changers out of the Temple? How is this new?

    Newsflash to my well meaning posters:

    There hasn’t been, and never will be a Utopia. There was no “golden age” in America when everything was great. There were always groups getting the shaft.

    I’m actually quite amazed that this Health Care Legislation may get through DESPITE $600 Million in opposition by the Insurance lobby. If anything, it renews my faith in the AMERICAN President (“Hawaii” is NOT a foreign country, birthers.) Barack Obama, who knew that the pathway to success was not simply stamping his feet demanding liberal ideology, but stepping back, letting Congress work within the flawed, current system, muddling through, and kicking a field goal in overtime for the win on at least some of the changes that were sorely needed.

    Are Insurance Companies going to come out ahead right now? Sure. But that’s the system we have that not enough people had the guts to stand against during those “greatest generations” decades ago.

    –Cobra

  • Cannonshop

    Cobra, are you familiar with the story of Br’er Rabbit?

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    If anything, it renews my faith in the AMERICAN President (“Hawaii” is NOT a foreign country, birthers.) Barack Obama, who knew that the pathway to success was not simply stamping his feet demanding liberal ideology,…

    Oh, like Barack Obama’s Presidency is going to be a success. It’s destined to fail and has been on that track since he took oath of office. This Congress, regardless of the Democrat majority, is Barack Obama’s political nightmare. And when they lose horribly next November, they’ll blame Obama as opposed to themselves.

    The only way Mr. Obama can circumvent these members of Congress is by going to the nation and making this a national referendum on the course this country should take. The Administration should only support those running for office who will assist in advancing the Obama agenda — reagrdless of party. Barack Obama is a class act and so much more capable of achieving greatness than we realize. He needs a legislative branch that is free of lobbyist funding and focused on rebuilding this country. Unless Mr. Obama begins the year on the offensive — reaching out to the rest of us, he’s toast.

    But that’s the system we have that not enough people had the guts to stand against during those “greatest generations” decades ago.

    So, Cobra, are you implying that they are not the “greatest generation” after all? Or have you reached the conclusion that we’re the “victims” of the greatest generation’s suffering during World War II? And, in the final analysis, were the so-called World Wars all that big proportionally based on the number of the planet’s inhabitants? Wouldn’t wars in ancient times be considered “world wars” based upon the number of humans in contact with each other?