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The People Deserve Better: Scrap Both Health Care Bills and Start Over

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With the opposition party and even the more radical factions within the Democratic Party excluded from the debate on health care reform, the bills which have been produced in the House and Senate are terrible examples of public policy, developed in an echo chamber where bureaucratic micromanagement has replaced creative lawmaking.

Rather than boldly sitting down with all of the parties and thinking through the nation’s health care needs from top to bottom in order to come up with a clear and coherent plan, these bills were produced by a torturous process of agglomeration, gluing together disparate and contradictory ideas into an unwieldy mess.

The objectives were simple. Bring down health care costs, make sure everyone, including the uninsured and those with preexisting conditions, had access to care. Yet despite thousands of pages of rules and loopholes and complexity, the resulting bills both leave a significant number of citizens uninsured and will increase health care costs and the tax burden for citizens substantially.

Worse, they include section after section of unnecessary regulation, burdensome mandates and special exemptions and benefits for privileged groups from unions to those lucky enough to live in Nebraska.

With simple objectives, the solutions ought to be equally simple. Comprehensive measures like a single-payer system or a public option were rejected but would have cut through the clutter and solved many problems. A simple examination of the more successful national health care systems in other countries could have provided a practical model. Australia has managed to provide universal coverage while preserving private insurance and keeping costs at a reasonable level. Why not start there?

What is quite clear is that with single-party control, the dynamic forces which would produce creative solutions were shut down, and there was no effort to produce real alternatives or new ideas. Neither the House nor the Senate bill is an acceptable solution, and no combination of the two will be any better.

The American people need real, comprehensive health care reform. We will only get it if we stop trying to rush through poorly conceived legislation and go back and start over from scratch. We’ve gone for over two hundred years without comprehensive national health care. Surely we can spare a few months to sit down some experts, some industry representatives and even some concerned citizens, and come up with better ideas. That hardly seems like too much to ask on such an important issue.

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About Dave Nalle

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

    Good one, Dave! Unfortunately the dems and this administration just want to control everything, including our health care…the S word applies here.

  • Mark

    …finally I agree with Christine on something — ‘swine’ is appropriate.

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

    Ahhhhh, Mark I am so honored.

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

    I’d pick a different S word which describes what they produced with these bills, and it smells quite rank.

    Dave

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

    LOL, there are many S words we can use for the crap the Dems came up with!

  • macdoodle

    What was clear is the BLUE DOGS LIE BERMAN AND GOP
    got lots of lobbyist $
    $ stole the show.

    A YEAR LATER NO COMPREHENSIVE PROPOSAL by GOP AND NOT ANY real cooperation..

    and no public option with private choice WILL USA most expensive medical care but only
    #37 IN WORLD HEALHT CARE RANKINGS
    Even move up to #36?

    Will Slovenia #38 take over our spot?
    WILL we have to cheer Worse than Slovenia, YAY USA?

    THE PARTY OF NO proposed a couple bad ideas on a a couple pages of nothing
    and many times TORT REFORM OPTIONS for A LEGAL MANeUVER to allow corp insurance and pharma attorneys to win over citizen attorneys.

    All the 36 countries doing it cheaper and better.
    France does it best overall.
    Switzerland did a complete switch over ECONOMICALLY fast and WELL.
    and USA CAN’T?

    BI PARTISAN WORK WAS
    MANYin CONGRESS and SENATE using the bill to get buzy with collecting lobbyist $ form insurance and pharmacy and then

    screw it up for the people with only special interest
    bi-partisan bickering.

    USA #37 , Yay ? {:>( ]

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    #6 reads less like a comment and more like some kid’s notes for their Speech 1 final.

    Even then it doesn’t make much sense.

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

    He’s also very poorly informed on the existence of GOP counter proposals of which there were many offered, with very little recognition in the media or in the comic books he reads.

    Dave

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

    Those were bullet points, Dreadful, no other way to read it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    The GOP counter proposals? Oh, those were SO good that the non-partisan CBO determined that the GOP proposals would result in coverage for an additional THREE million presently uninsured Americans…out of nearly FIFTY million.

    And wait, there’s more! The GOP proposal would have also cost billions more taxpayer dollars than the Democratic proposal!

    Yeah, but since it came from the Republicans, it’s automatically better and more patriotic, too!

  • Zedd

    I agree Dave.

    Christine: You may be demonstrating a pronounced callowness if not unintentionally proclaiming an insipid intuitive quality with your statement that the Dems want to control everything including health care. Do you really believe that? If you do, I’d suggest that you go a little deeper in terms of trying to understand the public landscape. That world view is extremely undeveloped. It’s difficult to imagine that an adult would actually adhere to such notions. Do you think you can be a little bit more nuanced in your assessment?

    I’m more concerned about that mindset more so than the health care bill actually (even though it ranks high on my areas of concern). I find the vacuous nature of our public discourse to be more dangerous than anything being proposed by our legislators.

  • Zedd

    Glenn,

    I blame the Dems. The GOP is at the height of ridiculousness. The Dems, fit as Achilles, cant seem to wage a decent battle against Spongebob Square Pants.

    They need to go.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Blame the Dems? Blame the Repubs? There’s our first problem. We have ourselves to blame. Every single person who bitches and doesn’t get involved in the process by at least VOTING shares equal blame.

    I blame the conservatives in the GOP for their blind greed. Instead of addressing the impending energy disaster foretold by Jimmy Carter, the Reaganites marched into the Middle East insuring our insatiable appetite for petroleum would be satisfied. When the Clinton Administration came in, they slept with the GOP and Wall Street, deregulating the entire structure to the point where we now have to pay dearly for their greed. There’s plenty of blame to go around — it’s time to stop it. We have remedies for the problem we face, folks, and it starts with us rethinking just how politics are accomplished in this land.

    There isn’t a sitting member of Congress today who is so crucial to our nation’s survival that they must remain in office. Barack Obama needs to grow a pair and start challenging members of his own party in public. The days for back room deals are over — the age of transparency is at hand. We’ve got to stop this health care bill from going forward. It’s got to be declared dead and we’ve got to demand REAL reform. It’s time for peaceful demonstrations, consumer boycotts and personal visits to our local Congressional offices. These people work for US and it’s time we became proactive employers.

  • Mark

    I blame Baphomet.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Where were the Health Care Reform Bills from 2001 – 2008?

    If this was such a pressing concern for the GOP, they certanly didn’t do it when they controlled congress and the White House.

    –Cobra

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

    It’s always a safe bet to blame Baphomet.

    And Glenn, the proposal you refer to was only one of many. Most of the better ones weren’t allowed to get far enough for the CBO to even look at them.

    Multiple individual Senators and congressmen had proposals which were never even looked at and a number of right-leaning think tanks also had comprehensive proposals which never went anywhere.

    There was certainly a great malaise because it was so clear that nothing proposed from that side of the aisle would ever get a fair hearing.

    Dave

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    And isn’t the root of the malaise the deep division which exists in Congress, Dave? The sad thing is that members of BOTH parties are being funded by the same special interests. Again, may I remind everyone the health care industry has spent $635 million in the last 24 months lobbying members of Congress. Do you have a loved one or know someone who died because of a health insurance issue? Well, that’s manslaughter by proxy. The death of every American who could not get health care insurance is on the hands of every member of Congress who accepted bribes, I mean “contributions” from health care lobbyists. For that matter, insurance company executives are equally as guilty if not more.

    I don’t think anyone disputes that there are flaws in our system. And I’d venture to guess that all sides are in equal agreement the system must be reformed. But there’ll be no comprehensive reform of anything until people wake up and realize that a good portion of the money we spend in insurance premiums goes to pay off members of Congress and greedy executives. Every member of Congress channels Jerry McGuire and shouts “show me the money!” As voters we have the power to create a political cataclysm, the problem is we don’t know it.

  • Cannonshop

    #17 Silas, as demonstrated in Washington State in ’04 and Chicago in ’68, it’s not the Voters who have that power-it’s the appointees who count the ballots and certify the Election. It’s “He who COUNTS the votes, has the power.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    Most of the better ones weren’t allowed to get far enough for the CBO to even look at them.

    So why is it, when the GOP senators and representatives were ASKED by the media what they would do, they gave NO concrete answers?

    Tell you what, Dave – since you know so much more about the GOP proposals that the rest of us haven’t heard about, how about listing them here? With references, of course….

  • Glenn Contrarian

    C-shop –

    It IS the voters who count – but only when paper ballots are used. That’s why in Washington State in ’04, after a HAND counting of paper ballots, the Democratic candidate won.

    Paper ballots are also why Al Franken is now a senator.

    But since you lean to the conservative side, perhaps you can explain why the conservatives are so hot-to-trot for completely-computerized (and PROVEN to be easily hackable) balloting?

  • Baronius

    More typical Baphomet-bashing.

    Cobra, the Republicans did reform health care in 2003. They created health savings accounts and Medicare Advantage plans, introduced means testing, and expanded the importation of medications. Unfortunately, they also created Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit.

    Macdoodle, if I’m reading the numbers at opensecrets.org correctly, Chris Dodd received 3x the money that Lieberman did from the insurance industry. Overall, lawyers and the health care industry contribute a lot more to Congressional campaigns than insurance companies do.

  • Cannonshop

    #20 Glenn, The problem in Wa. wasn’t electronic or paper-it was and is the voting of the dead, incarcerated felons, and double-voting, combined with “interpreted” ballots.

    Ballot-box stuffing.

    I can’t answer for the pseudo-conservatives who like voting machines-I despise them, and think that vote-by-mail is MADE to be corrupt. Absentee ballots should be limited to strict cases (out of the area on business, military service, or the truly bedridden) because if someone can’t take twenty minutes out of their day to go vote, they shouldn’t vote. (which is different from saying they shouldn’t have the right to-but there’s NO reason to make it so easy to manipulate, defraud, alter, or confuse.)

    IMHO, you should have to show up at the Polling Place, where a real person looks at your picture ID, sign your name on the register (twice), take your ballot into the booth, mark your choices with a non-washable sharpie, put the ballot into a box that’s being watched by a dozen cameras, and that’s how voting should be done-even if it means the results ARE NOT available on CNN inside of an hour.

    Fraud might still happen, but it’s a hell of a lot harder. I also think the whole “Dip your thumb in the indelible purple ink” is a great idea-it keeps people from voting as multiples-as long as they MUST show up.

    I also think you should have to register EVERY YEAR, or your name drops off the rolls. Again, if you can’t take twenty minutes out, then you probably have no business spending other people’s money or restricting the rights of other people, or awarding special considerations to others with the public treasury.

    in short, it SHOULD be a pain in the ass-that way, only people who actually KNOW and CARE about the outcome and have thought about it enough to have their own opinions, will vote.

    I Despise Electronic Voting.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    It’s “He who COUNTS the votes, has the power.”

    Well, under the United Nations Charter I believe we have the right to appeal to the U.N. for independent election monitors. After all what’s good for the rest of the world should be good for us, eh?

    So why is it, when the GOP senators and representatives were ASKED by the media what they would do, they gave NO concrete answers?

    The GOP won’t produce any answers, either. They’re counting on Obama’s failure as their strategy to win in the elections. And how will Obama fail? Like death and taxes, it is inevitable that Democrats will screw things up to the point where voters will elect any loser in opposition. In the meantime the GOP put up turncoat in Michael Steele to try and prove they’re the party of inclusion. Yeah, right. Even Steele himself is taking advantage of his unprecedented role as chairman and using the role to garner millions for his bank account. He cares about the GOP as much as a slave cared for his master. Sound racist? You bet it is! His very ascension to the GOP throne is indicative of how race plays a major role in the GOP back rooms.

    But since you lean to the conservative side, perhaps you can explain why the conservatives are so hot-to-trot for completely-computerized (and PROVEN to be easily hackable) balloting?

    Well now. Let me remind you folks of something. In a 2003 fund raising letter sent to Republicans on behalf of Mission Accomplished President George Walker Bush, from Diebold CEO Walden O’Dell he said, “I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president.” Diebold makes electronic voting machines of which are used in the state of Ohio.

    Wake up, America. We’ve been fleeced. It’s happening right under our noses and we’re sniffing the wrong dog poop.

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

    #17 Silas, as demonstrated in Washington State in ’04 and Chicago in ’68, it’s not the Voters who have that power-it’s the appointees who count the ballots and certify the Election. It’s “He who COUNTS the votes, has the power.”

    And in most states those counters are mostly democrats who have government jobs which give them the time off needed to do what they can to perpetuate the bureaucracy. And I say this from a position of authority as a trained and certified election judge.

    Dave

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

    Glenn, I’m not going to research all the different proposals made from the right. You can read my past articles for some of them, but here’s a link to information on three which were actually introduced as bills in Congress.

    Dave

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Baronius writes:

    “Cobra, the Republicans did reform health care in 2003. They created health savings accounts and Medicare Advantage plans, introduced means testing, and expanded the importation of medications. Unfortunately, they also created Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit.”

    That’s not reform. “Health Care Savings Accounts” are simply another government bone to Wall Street.

    One could say the Dem Proposals are entirely “reform” either, but millions more will be covered, pre-existing conditions banned, and lifetime caps removed. It’s certainly a change from the current system.

    This is why I don’t buy the argument that the GOP wants health care reform. They had opportunities when they were in power, and came up with solutions that didn’t address the problems.

    –Cobra

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Cobra is right. Republican health care reform? Medicare Part D? Medicare Advantage Plans? I think the majority of Medicare recipients are impressed by G.W. Bush’s assistance to the Medicare community. These things were nothing more than conduits to hoards of cash being accumulated by corporate entities. Again, health care should be a not-for-profit enterprise, period. I don’t give a rat’s ass how that flies in defiance of the capitalist ideal. This government, which we the people placed into office, has made a mess of things and it’s time for us to clean it up. More regulation? Yes, if need be.

    It’s also time that we demand stockholder accountability. Take exorbitant executive compensations out of stock dividends and see how fast the stockholders revolt. And guess who will be among the stockholders? Union officials and union trust funds. While I am on the subject of stocks and trading can someone please explain to me why Bernie Madoff has not been given the death sentence? It seems to me China knows how to deal with these scalawags. Is death by lethal injection such a cruel and unusual price tag for what so many on Wall Street have done to us? I think not.

  • Zedd

    Silas,

    I agree with what you are saying but again the problem is that we are an ignorant electorate. All we want to see is “hot dogs, apple pie, John Wayne, a flag and baseball” and we are satisfied.

    We’ve known for quite some time that the Reps are useless. They’ve been spinning for so long that they believe their own mythology. Simply useless. They have nothing to offer. We know that. The reason Im so hard on the Dems is because they are the majority AND they are supposed to be the smart ones (so we thought). THey are so tantative about EVERYTHING. When the Reps were in power, they were stalled from doing anything and the collaborations of yesteryears between the parties were dismantle in exchange for partisan fervor. However it seems that now that they are in power, they don’t know how to Legislate. They behave like a minority and are still dodging the phantom bullets of the Newt era.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The reason Im so hard on the Dems is because they are the majority AND they are supposed to be the smart ones (so we thought). THey are so tantative about EVERYTHING.

    Spot on, Zedd. It’s the most maddening thing about them. It’s just as bad as the Reps’ smug self-righteousness.

    They need to frickin’ grow 315 pairs.

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

    You guys paint an almost unrecognizable portrait of the “rule or ruin” democrats that we see on Capitol Hill today.

    It’s nice that they’ve frustrated all the lefties, but they’ve come awfully close to passing this abominable legislation and that seems frighteningly competent to me.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    C-shop –

    If you truly despise electronic voting without a paper trail, remember that it’s the Republican congressmen who are FOR it, and it’s the Democratic congressmen who are AGAINST it. Also, check out bradblog.com, where you can find a wealth of information on voter fraud, voter caging, ACORN, and election fraud, all of it verifiable by anyone willing to do the research.

    When it comes to voting in WA, I live there and I use the ballots-by-mail…which are matched up with verifiable registered voters at verified residences…and I remember NO credible accusations or evidence of ‘ballot-box stuffing’ in our elections here.

    In other words, C-shop, someone’s telling you the truth, and someone isn’t. I recommend you find out who is lying to you, and then stick with those who ARE telling you the truth.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    And in most states those counters are mostly democrats who have government jobs which give them the time off needed to do what they can to perpetuate the bureaucracy. And I say this from a position of authority as a trained and certified election judge.

    Soooo…how many states did you perform as a certified election judge? I’m only asking since you said you saw this in a ‘position of authority’.

    And should we then restrict the counters to only otherwise-unemployed people? Oh, wait! Those are all actually part-time ACORN workers! It’s a vast left-wing conspiracy to perpetuate the bureaucracy! It’s a new spin on Rove’s “permanent Republican majority!”

    Ooooh! Scary!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Well, Dave, that’s very good. The first and the third links listed in your reference didn’t work, and the second – DeMint’s S.1324 – would have established a nebulous committee to work toward eliminating the health insurance industry’s tendency to deny people coverage due to pre-existing conditions. That, and (unlike the Democratic plan) does NOT specify how the federal government would have made up for the loss of revenue due to the tax credits in the bill…which is a fancy way of saying, ‘no apparent way of paying for the tax cuts’.

    I Googled the first link – the Patients First Act of 2009 – and saw that like DeMint’s bill, it does little or nothing to protect those with pre-existing conditions, does NOT show how the tax credits would be addressed in the federal budget…BUT it does include something called ‘health insurance exchanges’ – something that IS in the Democratic bill that just passed the Senate.

    And I just got finished reading the Empowering Patients First Act of 2009 – which ALSO does little or nothing to protect those with pre-existing conditions (it ‘encourages states to have ‘high-risk pools”), and does NOT show how the tax credits would be addressed in the federal budget. Like the insurance exchange contained in the current Senate bill (and the Patients First Act of 2009), it would “expand the market by creating pooling mechanisms” that work across state lines.

    The last one does have ONE thing the Senate bill doesn’t, however. It would establish in each state administrative health care tribunals, also known as health courts, and add affirmative defense through provider established best practice measures. Now that’s good…but the fact that this ONE good thing isn’t in the Senate bill doesn’t justify the conservatives’ paranoia about anything proposed by the Democrats.

    In summary, the three bills you pointed out that the Republicans proposed failed in three ways: (1) none of them ensured that those with pre-existing conditions (like my oldest son) would be covered; (2) none of them ensured coverage for all Americans, but only gave ‘tax credits’ so they can buy insurance from agencies who had NO further restrictions on their ability to drop coverage; and (3) none of them had a solid description of how they would be paid for, how they would be implemented without adding hundreds of billions more to the deficit.

    So…Dave – got any more miraculous Republican proposals that we oh-so-evil Democrats have prevented from being heard?

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

    Soooo…how many states did you perform as a certified election judge? I’m only asking since you said you saw this in a ‘position of authority’.

    Just one, but I’m in touch with judges in several others and the pattern seems to be consistent.

    And you may joke about it, but I’m firmly convinced that there is an effort to influence the electoral process in exactly the way you describe.

    Dave

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

    Glenn, the question was not whether the Republicans had plans which you liked, just whether they had proposed plans. And clearly they have.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Dave,

    The problem is that it not the bill that THEY want. Nothing near it. Passing a ridiculous mess just for the sake of seeming productive (I guess) is confounding at best.

  • Zedd

    Oh you know what I meant to say….

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    If Rush Limbaugh survives this episode in Hawaii, the GOP will use his recovery as their central argument that under ObamaCare, Rush would have died. But then again there are reports springing up that he is already passed on. Personally, reports of Rush Limbaugh’s demise are premature obituation — and most “premature” conditions are prevalent in right wing white males.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    And you may joke about it, but I’m firmly convinced that there is an effort to influence the electoral process in exactly the way you describe.

    Do you realize just how silly that sounds? Do you have any understanding of just how many people would be involved in such a nationwide, fifty-state conspiracy…and how each and every one would be resisting beaucoup bucks that would go to anyone who would open up to Fox News about it.

    I mean, hey – think about it. The Cosa Nostra was able to maintain a code of silence…but only because of what the mobsters and their families faced if they opened up. That said – and I know this might come as a shock to you – the Democratic Party is NOT the Cosa Nostra. That’s why organizing Democrats is likened to ‘herding cats’.

    Stay away from the Kool-Aid, Dave – it’s not doing you any good.

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

    Glenn, I know exactly what it would take. It would take the same thing that it has taken for the GOP to send out memos to all of their state organizations which then send them out to all their county organizations, encouraging them to find volunteers to become election judges to keep an eye on the Democrats.

    And it doesn’t mean that the Democratic Party said to all of their adherents go out and steal elections. It just means that they made the effort to be sure to have their people in the key positions where if there were opportunities they could take advantage of them. That positioning is all that it takes to open the door to corruption.

    This isn’t something new. It’s something the unions and urban political machines have been doing for more than 100 years. It’s pure Tamany Hall.

    Remember what Joe Stalin said: ”
    The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.”

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    When one sees a particular group of people that one doesn’t like or doesn’t trust, one tends to see more of them then what is really true. This is true of pretty much anyone, whether due to racism, homophobia, political leaning, whatever.

    It stems from the fear (or distrust or whatever) of those who are different. You are subject to this human psychological trait, and so am I, and so are all humans…and, I suspect, all primates.

    THAT IS WHY, when I hear someone make an assumption of other groups of people, I demand EVIDENCE, proof of that assumption…because without proof or evidence, the assumption is ONLY an assumption, and likely wrong. That’s why I most strongly call into question your assumption that Democrats are deliberately inserting themselves into the vote-counting process, because you are presenting no proof, but only your own observation of a group of people that you don’t like and/or don’t trust.

    While it’s good to be confident in one’s own abilities, it’s bad to be overly sure of oneself. A healthy does of self-doubt, of humility, keeps one from the danger of being too sure of oneself.

    Again, this applies not only to you, but to me and every other human being as well.