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Jul 19 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

If we see health care reform pass this year, it will be no thanks to the following fucktards:

Yesterday, six Senate “centrists” insisted that any momentum health care reform might have had come to a complete stop. The group — two Republicans, three Democrats, and Joe Lieberman — said lawmakers need more time. It wasn’t entirely clear what they intend to do with more time, but they want it anyway.

Paul Krugman thinks these “centrists” have the capacity to kill the entire reform campaign.

Will the destructive center kill health care reform? It looks all too possible.

What’s especially galling is the hypocrisy of their claimed reason for delaying progress — concern about the fiscal burden. After all, in the past most of them have shown no concern at all for the nation’s long-term fiscal outlook.

Case in point: the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which denied Medicare the right to bargain for lower drug prices, locked in overpayments to private insurance companies, and did nothing, nothing at all, to pay for its proposed outlays. How many of these six self-proclaimed defenders of solvency voted no on the crucial procedural vote? One. (Joe Lieberman, to my surprise.) [...]

If the Gang of Six really does kill reform, remember their names; they will bear the responsibility for vast, unnecessary suffering over the years to come.

Krugman’s point about the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 is of particular interest, because the votes are illustrative. This was a terrific example of the wrong way to tackle any kind of health care reform — Bush demanded the change and asked Congress to act quickly; Republicans didn’t even try to figure out a way to pay for hundreds of billions of dollars in new costs; insurance companies made a bundle; and “centrist” Democrats, hoping to prove how bipartisan they are, went along.

But, y’know, now that there’s a chance for real heath care reform, five of the six want no part of it. The sixth, Ron Wyden (D-OR), might have a plausible excuse for wanting to stop the train, as he’s got a far more progressive plan in the works. Alas for him, it’s progressive, which means it has absolutely no fucking chance. I haven’t heard a good excuse from the rest.

It’ll be interesting to see what the little deficit hawks squawk come Monday, because the CBO released their numbers Friday night, and whaddya know – there’s no deficit here:

CBO Scores Confirms Deficit Neutrality of Health Reform Bill

Washington, D.C. — The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released estimates this evening confirming for the first time that H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, is deficit neutral over the 10-year budget window – and even produces a $6 billion surplus. CBO estimated more than $550 billion in gross Medicare and Medicaid savings. More importantly, the bill includes a comprehensive array of delivery reforms to set the stage for lowering the future growth in health care costs.

Net Medicare and Medicaid savings of $465 billion, coupled with the $583 billion revenue package reported today by the House Committee on Ways and Means, fully finance the previously estimated $1.042 trillion cost of reform, which will provide affordable health care coverage for 97% of Americans.

That whoopee-cushion sound you hear is the wind being sucked from the Gang of Six’s sails. Oh, and Politico? You may want to put your reporters through reading comprehension courses – they apparently didn’t understand that the CBO’s estimate did not, in fact, “deal another blow to House health plan.” You guys’ve been hanging around with Cons in upside-down land too long, haven’t you?

For the punters in the cantina, I’m taking bets on how long it takes Cons to a) ignore, b) attack, or c) flat-out lie about the CBO’s most recent estimate. You know they only love the CBO when it tells them what they want to hear.

Zappatero at Daily Kos has some sound advice for senators (h/t)

A simple word of advice from me to our United States Senators on health care reform and their “centrist” colleagues: just say “No” to Ben Nelson if he comes a-callin’ with scary stories about getting all our citizens covered by health insurance this year:

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said he planned to urge the president not to force an arbitrary August deadline on health care reform.

Arbitrary?

Because 15 years after the last attempt at meaningful health care reform is too soon?

Maybe the 44 years after Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare Act is rushing it for Senator Nelson.

Arbitrary could be the 64 years since Truman said this:

[snip]

Millions of our citizens do not now have a full measure of opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health. Millions do not now have protection or security against the economic effects of sickness. The time has arrived for action to help them attain that opportunity and that protection.

Excellent advice, and I do hope our saner Senators take it. They might also ask Ben Nelson this question: “How much longer, exactly, should Americans have to wait for health care reform? Another 15 years? 44? 64?” One gets the sense that “never” is an adequate amount of time for Ben Nelson and his Merry Band of Fuckwits.

I wonder how soon that timeline would change if they were forced to enter the private market themselves? If those poor idiots had to shop for health insurance on their own, I do believe we’d have meaningful health care reform by early tomorrow morning.

Speaking of health insurance,
the great Con think (sic) tank Cato Institute wants you to know that Cons do too have health care reform ideas:

Maha found this gem at the Cato Institute:

I have discovered a proposal for “fixing” health care on the Cato Institute website that is an absolute hoot.

The plan (see PDF) is to eliminate employee health benefit insurance and all government health care support, and throw everyone into the private insurance market. Insurance companies would be allowed to risk-rate premiums, so that as people got older and/or sicker their premiums would go up.

However, Cato says, this doesn’t have to be a problem. The solution is … wait for it … insurance insurance. They call it “health status insurance,” but essentially it’s insurance insurance. It’s a separate policy you take that will insure you against catastrophic increases in your health insurance.

I’m not kidding. That’s the brilliant plan.

[snip]

If that doesn’t work out I assume there will soon be a market for insurance insurance insurance, for those who are under covered and over charged by the first two, which would create yet another market for insurance insurance insurance insurance.

Oh, yes, indeedy, they have ideas – really bad ideas.

And, really, Cons – when you invoke Godwin’s Law, at least try to get some of the historical details right. Sen. DeMint, I’m looking at you:

And while promoting his new book on the G. Gordon Liddy show yesterday, DeMint agreed with Gordon — who ironically has a history of expressing sympathetic views to Nazis — that Obama has created a government like that under Hitler:

LIDDY: But there’s something else that I remember because I’m a lot older than you are and it’s called national socialism and that’s where the government allows private people to continue to own industrial capacity and what have you but tells them what they may — must do with it. You know, you will make Messerschmidts, etc. That was national socialism. That seems to me the way we’re going.

DEMINT: You’re right we’ve got national socialism, national paternalism and our form of socialism seems more benign than the classical form that we noted in Europe.

[snip]

This isn’t the first time DeMint has used this incorrect analogy. As Matt Yglesias previously wrote, “Look, comparing your domestic political rivals to Nazis is a time-honored tradition. But confusing the Nazis and Germany’s Social Democrats is a scandal. The Social Democrats were the main source of opposition to Hitler at a time when the Communists were bizarrely maintaining that there was no difference between the two and the mainstream parties of the center-right decided that it made sense to form a tactical alliance with Hitler. Social Democrats stand for a generous welfare state and active labor market policies. Nazis try to conquer the world and send people to the gas chamber.”

That’s a simple little paragraph that any common idiot could grasp. Too bad DeMint’s so uncommonly idiotic.

And, finally, here’s an example that should explain rather succinctly why anyone who takes Ann Coulter seriously suffers instant credibility loss here in the cantina:

She has some nutty theory about the hierarchy of being a victim and what it means to be Black and Liberals and, and…..I’m kind of speechless.

Beck: Does everybody wanna be Black?

Coulter: Liberals do because that’s the official, the top victim status so that being Black trumps being an insect and ahhh, huh…

Beck: I think this has spiraled out of control…

When even Glenn Beck thinks someone’s liberal-bashing has spiraled out of control, you know they’ve sailed past madness at Mach 95 and accelerating.