When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi led the heroic majority in passing a healthcare reform bill that would begin taking America's vast uninsured population toward eligibility for treatment by doctors and medical facilities, she could lose up to 39 of her democratic party members and still have the votes to win.
Pelosi's victory for the American people was worth the enormous political risk to House of Representatives members in her party. On Veteran's Day we were sadly reminded that the lack of health insurance contributed to the deaths of 2,266 American veterans last year alone. Harvard Medical School researchers estimate that deaths of Americans in general associated with the lack of healthcare insurance have now climbed to 45,000 a year.
When I first began my legal fight in 2002 against the healthcare industry stakeholders under our nation's antitrust laws, my former attorney Bret Landrith alleged from the best current data that 20,603 deaths a year would result from the increasing loss of healthcare coverage as unemployment rose.
Senator Harry Reid cannot afford to lose one senator in the Democratic Party majority. Senate rules also make Reid's job more difficult than Speaker Pelosi's. Reid will not have Ms. Pelosi's forewarning of amendments being brought to the floor, or even the Speaker of the House's power to limit the duration of the debate. The New York Times on November 8th, pointed out that the familiar divisive political issues of abortion, immigration, and even gun rights will appear in proposed amendments to the healthcare reform legislation. The debate can easily postpone the vote on the bill till Christmas Eve.
While the Senate leader is attempting to build the 60 unanimous votes to overcome a Republican filibuster, the healthcare industry stakeholders benefitting from the existing system of artificially inflated healthcare costs resulting from a complete lack of competition in both the $2.1 Dollar hospital supply market controlled by the hospital group purchasing organization or "GPO" duopoly of Novation LLC and Premier Purchasing Partners and the insurance industry which benefits in the similar absence of competition in health insurance will take all those billions of dollars looted from Medicare and Medicaid and use them as a bottomless war chest to pick off Harry Reid's Senators.
Senator Reid knows this because this same money has whipped up fear and resentment of taxes and of an increased federal government role in healthcare even in Reid's state of Nevada where the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), long on the front lines of healthcare reform had previously been representative of Nevada's majority of citizens seeking increased access to medical care. As the key target of the healthcare industry stakeholders, Senator Harry Reid can see he is now trailing in polls behind two Republican opponents, one of whom is a physician jockeying for Reid's seat as reported in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. And of course, Reid's predecessor as Senate Leader, South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle who in many ways is the architect of the new healthcare reform was targeted in the same manner.
Despite having the strong force of healthcare industry stakeholders in reach of voting the Senate Leader out of office in next year's elections, Senator Harry Reid is valiantly trying to craft a bill that will hold the Democratic Party together and not suffer the defections of Progressive senators in red leaning states. These senators are already feeling the heat of healthcare industry stakeholder funded Astroturf grassroots campaigns and town hall meeting mass protests coupled with over a quarter of a billion dollars spent lobbying in just the first six months of this year. The US Senate is historically the strongest rampart to storm for coalitions seeking to legislate democratic and populist inspired social programs.
Hard wired into our bicameral system is the Senate's resistance to change including the identification of Senators over their longer careers and far more expensive to campaign for seats with the established big business interests that have supported them over the years. And no businesses have been bigger or bigger political contributors in the history of the world than the hospital industry stake holders-Big Pharma, Big Insurance and the Novation LLC hospital supply cartel.
As the forces of healthcare reform have been arrayed on the field of battle in preparation to overcome this one last obstacle and help President Obama complete the great social safety net envisioned by the most celebrated Democratic Presidents Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Johnson; Senate Leader Harry Reid has had the help of Missouri's Senator Claire McCaskill, once known nationally as then Senator Obama's Presidential Campaign Chair, she was forced to distance herself from the president elect to remain viable in her otherwise red state.
McCaskill came to office after having only narrowly defeated her social conservative Republican predecessor on the issue of healthcare insurance in the aftermath of the tragic "Insure Missouri"-the real GOP plan for healthcare reform, the elimination of Medicaid and diverting the federal tax dollars to the usual healthcare industry stakeholders including the state's Novation LLC cartel hospitals and the healthcare billing software cost concealment giant Cerner.
The Pro-Choice Democrat wonder woman who was able to take on an incumbent Pro-Life Republican in a Red State and win was a good face for Senate Leader Harry Reid to put out in front of his caucus. McCaskill did her part, often appearing on the early morning network and cable news shows and in the same evening appearing again to defend the administration and the Democratic Party Senator Claire McCaskill was carefully maneuvered into the ranks of the so called "Blue Dog Democrat" senators where Reid knew the defections on the central and defining legislation of the modern Progressive movement would come.
Senator McCaskill endured the innuendos aimed at the Blue Dogs by progressive journalists like MSNBC's Rachel Maddow who had become frustrated with a Democrat President and a Democrat controlled Congress seemingly unable to implement Progressive or even Democratic policies, much less dismantle the prior Republican administration's unconstitutional police state abuse of the Justice Department, Court System, detainees and warrantless wiretapping programs. However, it was on the issue of abortion where Senator Claire McCaskill played her foil to Senate Leader Harry Reid on November 13th by attempting to model a compromise strategy for the Blue Dogs. McCaskill was attempting to describe a healthcare bill Blue Dogs could vote for without losing their seats to Republican challengers in 2010 and 2012, when she inadvertently exposed the tragic flaw of Reid's plan.
In Missouri, Senator Claire McCaskill under the direction of the Senate Leader Reid's grand maneuvers to position his Democratic caucus was sacrificing the strength and accomplishments of the state Democratic Party which had managed to recapture the governorship, hold on to the Missouri State Attorney General's office (albeit with a recently convert from the Republican party). The Missouri Democratic Party was even poised to elect a second progressive woman senator, Robin Carnahan, the current Secretary of State and the daughter of former Governor Mel Carnahan and his widow and successor into the Senate, Jean Carnahan.
Certainly Senate Leader Harry Reid didn't make Senator Claire McCaskill choose between the spoils of patronage in pork barrel spending for her state and loyalty to her Missouri Democrat supporters. Despite its importance as a necessary swing state for President Obama's coming reelection campaign, few Missourians can point out a recent high profile federally funded project. McCaskill, a mature and wise political leader knows the statesmanlike thing to do is to fully participate in Reid's only strategy to secure healthcare reform.
Very few realize how severely Senator Claire McCaskill, a former prosecuting attorney and a former state auditor, has been tested. The willingness to compromise on abortion as Reid's secret accomplice was visible. It was as if Karl Rove himself had been directing McCaskill and the Democratic Party to de-energize its base. The compromise on abortion for Progressives was the last straw. Democrats were being inspired not to go out to the polls in 2010. Similarly, Republican voters who have been excluded from press coverage of the early shaping of the House and Senate bills, which necessarily involved secret negotiations with healthcare industry stakeholders, tend to be as receptive as they were to Hillary Clinton's 1994 failed healthcare reform attempt.
The real command decision of Senator Claire McCaskill was her hidden sacrifice of elected officials in the lower tier of the Missouri Democratic Party. The national media has effectively spun the Bush era "wrongful attorney firings" into a non-event. McCaskill however as the former Jackson County Prosecutor in Kansas City is at ground zero for what Karl Rove and the Bush administration were really doing.
1 | 2