( – promoted by TocqueDeville)
Crossposted at Daily Kos
The ONE Senator that I can safely say is NOT bought off, the one Senator that we can be certain is NOT owned by the banks is Bernie Sanders (I-VT). It looks like good ole Bernie is putting his left foot down on the public option and threatening a filibuster of his own if there isn’t a ROBUST public option that is available to everyone in the Senate version of the health care bill.
I think this is GREAT news, and I’ll explain why below the fold, where you can find a full transcript of this video as well.
Ed Shultz: “When it comes to health care reform, if the choice is between a bad bill and a delayed bill, I gotta tell ya, folks, I’ll take the delay. I don’t think liberals should give away the store on this one if the bill isn’t what they want, they should wait, we should wait as Americans to get it right.
Now Bernie Sanders, the Senate’s other Independant member, is suggesting that he might filibuster the helath care reform bill if it doesn’t include a public option. He’s showing the left isn’t afraid to play hardball either. Senator Sanders joins us tonight from Capital Hill. Senator, good to have you with us.”
Sen. Sanders: “Good to be with you”
Ed Shultz: “Are you drawing a line in the sand? Are you saying that this has to have a public option?”
Sen. Sanders: “What I’m saying is that if the bill ends up being nothing more than hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies for the insurance companies and the drug companies, if it’s not affordable for the middle class, if we don’t have the public option widely diverse so that people all over this country can enjoy it, uh, then I think it’s not worth proceeding, and I’m going to fight very hard, I think, to make sure that we have that we have those, uh, those aspects of the bill in there.”
Ed Shultz: “Okay, fight hard to get those things. I commend you for that, and so do a lot of Progressives around the country, a lot of Americans who need health care across the political spectrum. But if you don’t get it, you’re willing to say ‘I’m not going to go there.’, and, and, and you’re now really taking the position of a Joe Lieberman in a different way of doing it. What do you think?”
Sen. Sanders: “Well, let me just say this, I’m a member of the HELP committee, and I voted for, worked on and supported what came out of that committee. If I were on, had been on the finance committee I would have voted against that bill.”
Ed Shultz: “Yup.”
Sen. Sanders: “Now, the bottom line is there is not a bill yet, but what the American people want among many other things is a public option all over this country, widely dispersed, so that they can choose between a private insurance company or a public plan, and that’s important not only from the individuals point of view, if we’re serious about cost containment. How are you going to keep private insurance rates down if there is not strong competiton?”
Ed Shultz: “Well, you’re not going to, and that’s the fallacy in all of this, the House bill doesn’t go far enough in my opinion. Six million people to the public option? Could you embrace that?”
Sen. Sanders: “We have got to expand that very substantially. Most Americans today are of the impression that they will be given that public option, that they will have the choice between a . . . “
Ed Shultz: “I know it. Yeah.”
Sen. Sanders: “And they are gonna be in for a big shock when it’s just a small minority, so we are going to fight hard very hard to expand that as well.”
Ed Shultz: “And are you for this mandate, if a mandate comes out of the Senate, will you go along with that?”
Sen. Sanders: “If, in fact, we had a strong, affordable plan that provided people with a public option, yes. If not, no.”
Ed Shultz: “Senator, switching gears, the news out tonight reported by CBS news is the President is gonna send 40,000 troops to Afghanistan. A quick answer on that, do you support that?”
Sen. Sanders: “No.”
Ed Shultz: “That’s a quick answer. Senator Bernie Sanders, good to have you with us tonight.”
Sen. Sanders: “Good to be with you.”
Ed Shultz: “You bet. Earlier I asked you, should Senate liberals filibuster the Health Care bill if it doesn’t have a public option. 86% of you said Yes, 14% of you said no.”
First of all, I think this is a brilliant maneuver by Senator Sanders, because it forces Senate Majority Leaner Harry Reid to choose between a filibuster that he can’t afford on the right from Lieberman or one from the left from Sanders. Already it appears that we can not afford to lose any votes in the Senate, so Bernie Sanders can force the issue from the side where we CAN get votes, rather from the one where we can’t with Joe Lieberman. Senator Sanders said much of the same later on at night on the Rachel Maddow show, where he emphasized the need for a public option that will contain costs, so I don’t think he is bluffing because he wouldn’t put himself out there twice on a bluff, let alone in the same day.
Second, by threatening his own filibuster from the left, Bernie Sanders is forcing Senate Leadership to pursue reconciliation that only needs 50 votes and VP Joe Biden to pass. This is VERY good, in my opinion, because it accomplishes three things. It helps pass a bill but requires review in 5 years, it keeps the health care debate in play during future elections AND it allows use to fine tune and fix mistakes in the bill 5 years from now, of which there will certainly be many if we can use the House version as any indication of the sausage that will be coming out of the Senate one way or the other.
The fact remains, and is undeniable, that the ONLY way to contain costs for the American people is if there is STRONG competition for the private insurers, and that can ONLY be accomplished with a Robust Public Option that is available to EVERYONE. Triggers, opt outs and every other trick in the book will not do that, only robust non profit competition can. Further, the American people now EXPECT a public option to be availavle to them if/when this bill passes. To deny them this is not only folly, but exactly what the private insurance cartels want in order to keep safe their stifling monopolies. Simply put, without a Public Option that is available to EVERYONE, this bill is FUBAR, and might as well be called the 2009 Bailout Insurures Act. Without a Strong Public Option that is available to everyone, this bill is BAD policy, and in many ways we are better off passing nothing than something that makes things worse, and to those who have been denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions, I ask you, what is worse, being denied coverage for bad insurance and bankrupted, or being forced to buy junk insurance and bankrupted. Either way they will say NO because you will not be able to afford the coverage that you’ll need, it will just be a matter of being told NO for a better reason.
And finally, I would like to offer a hearty and heartfelt STFU to those who have poo-pooed Ed Shultz for saying mean things about Democrats and Democrats like Dennis Kucinich who have done EXACTLY what should be expected of them, to vote their concious and for the best interests of their constituents, becuase the facst remain that this bill is GARBAGE without cost controls that can ONLY be created through a non profit public option, and the ONLY people in Congress and the media who have been fighting day in and day out for this are people like Ed Shultz, Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders and Anthony Weiner. When you kick them you make Joe Lieberman smile, and we all know that when Joe Lieberman smiles a wingnut gets his wings.
I think the BEST thing that we hope for is that Bernie Sanders sticks to his guns and forces Harry Reid to choose between a battle he can’t win between Lieberman and Sanders, or reconciliation and passing the best bill he can with the options he has available. Anything less would be uncivilized, and the bill that would result would stink to high hell for working class Americans, even though it would make the Insurance Cartels happy and Joe Lieberman smile.
So count me in with Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, Ed Shultz and the many, many other Americans who still want to fight for the best bill possible instead of compromising for less. I’d rather fight for the best that I can get and make a scene over it than to eat the Shit Sandwich or Starve, as many of these compromises are not really anthing more than offering.
Please call or write your Senators TODAY and Demand that they LEAD, FOLLOW or GET OUT OF THE WAY on a Public Option for EVERYONE
A strong PO as part of comprehensive healthcare reform is simultaneously: more liberal, more progressive, more moderate, and more fiscally conservative than a weak/no public option and individual mandates.
Tell your senators—no matter where they are on the ideological spectrum, this is the right thing to do.
Write/call your senators and tell your neighbors to do the same; it makes a difference!
~ H/t to DKos User GN1927 from the comments below
Also crossposted at The Progressive Electorate.com