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Why we need to shallow hard and suppoprt the Senate Health Care Bill

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The only thing worse then the Senate Health Care Bill is the political consequences of its failure. It is all fine and dandy to stand on principle when you already have health care, but is myopic to believe that the Status Quo is preferable to the Senate Bill. Pass it and then improve it is my motto!


I have been feeling overwhelmed and bummed out over the past month or so, between my job, my debate team travels and the news on health care reform.

Just when I think it can't get any worse, it does. Let me be clear, I am a realists. I knew Obama was not the second coming of FDR, I knew he was a centrists, compromiser with delusions of bipartisanship. In fairness I underestimated the bipartisan part.

So, when the line out of the White House came down as make the deals, get it done, I was not totally surprised. Health care reform is and always was a high stakes gamble that had to be done first and had to succeed, however success finally is defined. That means even if we must take a quarter of a loaf and call it a feast, we have to do it." title="enemy is us by lightseekertexas, on Flickr">click here" width="422" height="443" alt="enemy is us" />

Here is what I mean. The Democrats have spend so much time and effort on this issue that failure is NOT an option if they wish to keep the Republican maniacs from taking over the asylum. If you think Republians are obstructionist now, wait till they send health care reform down in flames and they use this defeat to gain traction in the mid terms.

But wait , you say, the public wants health care reform, surely they will be punished if they end up killing it!

Well consider this....

click here">Tea Party more popular than Dems, GOP
Posted: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 5:00 PM by Mark Murray
Filed Under: Democrats, Republicans, Polls

From NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro
Just how angry is the public with the country's two leading political parties? Angry enough that the conservative, libertarian-leaning Tea Party movement is more popular than either the Democratic or the Republican parties, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

The Republican Party maintains its net-negative favorable/unfavorable rating in the poll, with 28 percent viewing it positively and 43 percent seeing it in a negative light.

For the first time in more than two years, the Democratic Party also now holds a net-negative fav/unfav, at 35-45 percent.

By comparison, the NBC/WSJ poll shows the Tea Party movement with a net-positive 41-23 percent score.

So, who will they punish in November 2010? It could very well be that the Tea Baggers run as Republicans or he Republicans cave to the Tea Baggers and use them like they used the poor souls of the Religious Right come election time.

click here=fpb">Michael Steele Brews A New GOP: The Party Of Tea
"I think we are a natural home," Steele said. He acknowledged the tea partier's complaints with the Republicans and he promised that the party would work hard to keep its loudest constituents happy. Steele said he offered a "mea culpa" to tea partiers since the beginning of this term, agreeing with them that the party had abandoned its conservative "principles."

But that's all over now, Steele said. Tea is the party's drink now. "We are moving back, head first, in that direction," he said. "Because that's where we should be.

The Republicans are waging, No Quarter, Brass Knuckles political war over health care reform, if they prevail health care reform will be dead for at least another decade, if not for a generation. Who will want to fight the bruising battles all over again in light of the cost and the well entrenched and successful interest opposing.

The big swing against health care reform in public opinion is very much fueled by liberals and progressives who just don't think that the reforms left in the bill are worth its passage.

I love Howard Dean, in this case I think he is wrong in calling for the rejection of the bill. AS Nate Silver over at click here">fivethirtyeight asks:

click here">FiveThirtyEight: Politics Done Right: 20 Questions for Bill Killers
1. Over the medium term, how many other opportunities will exist to provide in excess of $100 billion per year in public subsidies to poor and sick people?

2. Would a bill that contained $50 billion in additional subsidies for people making less than 250% of poverty be acceptable?

3. Where is the evidence that the plan, as constructed, would substantially increase insurance industry profit margins, particularly when it is funded in part via a tax on insurers?

8. How many years is it likely to be before Democrats again have (i) at least as many non-Blue Dog seats in the Congress as they do now, and (ii) a President in the White House who would not veto an ambitious health care bill?

9. If the idea is to wait for a complete meltdown of the health care system, how likely is it that our country will respond to such a crisis in a rational fashion? How have we tended to respond to such crises in the past?

10. Where is the evidence that the public option is particularly important to base voters and/or swing voters (rather than activists), as compared with other aspects of health care reform?

11. Would base voters be less likely to turn out in 2010 if no health care plan is passed at all, rather than a reasonable plan without a public option?

20. How many of the arguments that you might be making against the bill are being made out of anger, frustration, or a desire to ring Joe Lieberman by his scruffy, no-good, backstabbing neck?

Further, here is a question I would like to pose to my fellow progressives, could we have gotten the good things still in the bill without a "public option" provision to act as lightning rod for the opposition? In other words, was there ever enough votes for it in Congress? Is it a bad thing that the opponets have spent all their heavy artillery on this one provision instead of the transformational new public policy frame work that is the heart of the bill?

In other words , if the Senate bill passes, with or without some of the more progressive elements in the House bill, the whole landscape of public health policy is changed forever. This means that future reforms and changes will start with the premise that Government has a significant and proper role to play in the provision of health care for all Americans.

Ezra Klein:

click here">Is the Senate health-care reform bill still worth passing?
This is a good bill," Sen. Sherrod Brown said on Countdown last night. "Not a great bill, but a good bill." That's about right. But the other piece to remember is that more than it's a good bill, it's a good start. With $900 billion in subsidies already in place, it's easier to add another hundred billion later, if we need it, than it would be to pass $1 trillion in subsidies in 2011. With the exchanges built and private insurers unable to hold down costs, it's easier to argue for adding a strong public option to the market than it was before we'd tried regulation and a new competitive structure. With 95 percent of the country covered, it's easier to go the final 5 percent. And with a health-care reform bill actually passed, it's easier to convince legislators that passing such bills is possible.

On its own terms, the bill is the most important social policy achievement since the Great Society. It will save a lot of lives and prevent a lot of suffering. But moving forward, it also makes future improvements and expansions easier.

The enemy of the good is not the bad, it is the pefect. Let's get this done and then work like hell to get more progessives elected and MAKE IT EVEN BETTER IN THE OUT YEARS!!!


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