When God is in the mood for a morning shrill, God heads for the mountains of Bush beer cracks the pages of the K’thrugmanomicon. The brilliance of the shrill burns even The Almighty’s eyes. Or whatever it is Shakira’s Ass uses to read with:
The question now is whether we will nonetheless fail to get [health care reform], because a handful of Democratic senators are still determined to party like it’s 1993.
And yes, I mean Democratic senators. The Republicans, with a few possible exceptions, have decided to do all they can to make the Obama administration a failure. Their role in the health care debate is purely that of spoilers who keep shouting the old slogans — Government-run health care! Socialism! Europe! — hoping that someone still cares.
The polls suggest that hardly anyone does. Voters, it seems, strongly favor a universal guarantee of coverage, and they mostly accept the idea that higher taxes may be needed to achieve that guarantee. What’s more, they overwhelmingly favor precisely the feature of Democratic plans that Republicans denounce most fiercely as “socialized medicine” — the creation of a public health insurance option that competes with private insurers. […]
Yet it remains all too possible that health care reform will fail, as it has so many times before.
I’m not that worried about the issue of costs. Yes, the Congressional Budget Office’s preliminary cost estimates for Senate plans were higher than expected, and caused considerable consternation last week. But the fundamental fact is that we can afford universal health insurance — even those high estimates were less than the $1.8 trillion cost of the Bush tax cuts. Furthermore, Democratic leaders know that they have to pass a health care bill for the sake of their own survival. One way or another, the numbers will be brought in line.
The real risk is that health care reform will be undermined by “centrist” Democratic senators who either prevent the passage of a bill or insist on watering down key elements of reform. I use scare quotes around “centrist,” by the way, because if the center means the position held by most Americans, the self-proclaimed centrists are in fact way out in right field.
What the balking Democrats seem most determined to do is to kill the public option, either by eliminating it or by carrying out a bait-and-switch, replacing a true public option with something meaningless. For the record, neither regional health cooperatives nor state-level public plans, both of which have been proposed as alternatives, would have the financial stability and bargaining power needed to bring down health care costs. [extra shrill added]
I don’t think I’m being too Dirty a Fucking Hippie to point out that there are some Democratic Senators out there that could use them some primary challenges. If this is the best that the “centrist” Democrats can do, then let’s get some Democrats that can do better. If we can’t get Feingoldian progressives in every state, at least we can get moderate candidates that at least recognize that the vast majority of Americans want this kind of public option – they want what the governments in such economic powerhouses as Mexico, Poland, Peru and Costa Rica have managed to provide their populations.
And a note about costs: Sometimes, my fellow Americans, we really suck.
A few trillion (more actually) to kill a bunch of foreigners in a couple of wars that have yielded almost nothing but instability and suffering? It would be unpatriotic to bring up the price tag.
A couple of trillion in tax cuts for the insanely wealth heir and heiress set? Opposing them would be class warfare.
$1.8 trillion to cover American citizens who (frequently) must choose between food and medicine, their kids welfare and medical treatment, life and death…?
Well, that is a lot of money. Government needs to be more fiscally responsible. Let’s not get carried away. Looks like socialism to me. Just think of the deficits. Does David Broder think the bill is bi-partisany enough?