For Your Consideration: The Health Care Fight That Was Never Fought

 Jane Hamsher at FDL took more hyperbolic criticism at GOS for calling out Lynn Woolsey on her political naivity Lynn Woolsey: Closing Barn Doors Since 1993

Lynn Woolsey writes an op-ed in Roll Call today on her commitment to a public option, pandering to liberals who would indeed have to be “f*#king re#!rds” for it to make any sense.  It comes on the heels of her public announcement that she will break every single pledge she’s ever made to vote against a health care bill without a public option.

It’s a paean to the importance of said public option, but the kicker is at the end:

   Piecemeal tweaking of the health insurance system will not address this growing problem. We need to reform our health care system, and the public option must be included.

   I will fight to include the public option in the final version of the health care reform legislation.

   If it is not included, however, it will rise from the dead once again.

   The day after the health care legislation is passed, I will introduce a bill calling for the public option.

   Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) is co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Well, I agree with Jane. If either Woolsey is that politically naive about the Senate or thinks that progressives are that stupid to believe that a stand alone bill with a public option has a snowball’s chance, then she should step down as the chair of the Progressive Caucus.

But there is more that really had me amazed at those who so loudly claim that this bill is the beginning of health care reform

President Obama has said that this bill will make health care insurance competitive but as Jon Walker at FDL points out the bill no longer does that because there is not only no public option but the bill does not remove the anti-trust exemption nor a national exchange. Those three things would have made the bill only slightly more palatable. But considering all the other bad provisions such as restrictions on a woman’s reproductive right to choose an abortion, the so-called “Cadillac Tax” on policies that actually do provide health care but are expensive and the mandate that criminalizes the uninsured, this bill is just one of the worst pieces of legislation that I can remember.

Why did this happen? It’s because the so-called progressives don’t fight for what they want. Look at the difference between how Bart Stupak got his anti-choice amendment pushed through compared to Lynn Woolsey’s weak plea for a watered down public option.

Bart Stupak put together a small coalition and decided to fight  for his abortion restriction language. Fighting requires one to make use of every tool and hardball tactic at your disposal. Stupak’s gang became an immovable object, which gave Democrats only three choices: go around his group, accept being stopped cold by his group, or move heaven and earth to find a way to meet their demands.

As was pointed, Woolsey’s response is to pass the bill because she is going to resurrect the Public Option in another bill the next day.

Does she think she’s Jesus? Raise it from the dead? Is she serious? Does she think we are all that stupid?

How has she fought? Did she even try to beat Stupak at his own game? Did any of the progressives? Are they really progressives?

These health insurance companies are reprehensible, possibly criminal, as they raise their rates to push more sick people off their rolls and keep the profits from the healthy insured who can afford to pay their exorbitant premiums until they get sick. President Obama says they are evil then why is he forcing us to buy their insurance? Why is he not strongly advocating for a public option? Why isn’t the Democratic Congress?

There is only one way that this bill would work as is. The one provision that no one has even mentioned except for Jon Walker. Take out the profit motive, like the Swiss, and force all  health care insurance companies to be non-profit.

The messaging would make sense of Obama were pushing for a Medicare-for-all system that would completely marginalize or eliminate the private insurers. It would make sense even if the bill only had a simple public alternative, like a public option or Medicare buy-in. I could understand the message even if the bill had a broad state waiver provision that would allow for states to possibly create single payer plans. I might even except the messaging if Obama was pushing for what Switzerland did by forcing all private health insurance companies to become highly regulated non-profits. It might even be accepting if there were only the new consumer protections but no individual mandate.

Why must life and death be profitable? What is wrong with the American value system that there must be a dollar figure on a person’s life? There is no problem funding weapons of mass destruction, unjust wars and killing indiscriminately, American’s look the other way.

It is time that voters all over the country, not just in Massachusetts, send a very loud message to the DNC/OFA and the White House that we aren’t going to take this any more and we are not ready to make nice.

h/t to ek hornbeck who had two of the links in yesterday’s Afternoon Edition



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    • TMC on March 11, 2010 at 02:10

    who says there are 50 votes in the Senate for the Public Option contradicting President Obama

    Sanders said he thinks Democrats have 50 votes in the Senate to pass a bill “certainly to include a public option.” It was a bit of good news for progressives, who have turned their attention to using reconciliation in the Senate to bolster a reform bill with the addition of a public option.

  1. always comes with assertions that wouldn’t make sense to a ten year old?

    If they could not pass a good bill with 60 votes what makes people assert that they could pass corrections to a bad bill with less than 60?

    I mean this is simple, common sense reasoning.  Yet we are to believe that somehow the common sense reasoning just is not correct.  And then technicalities and the bizarre Machiavellian working of the rules of the Senate are thrown in our faces to show how in some byzantine world these rules would suddenly work in favor of progressive change, when what we have seen to date indicates that the rules of the Senate are invariably used to stymie progressive change!

    And when this is brought up, the people who brought it up are poo-pooed as either just not understanding the way things work or as being purposefully perverse .. but it is not the nay-sayers that this could in any conceivable reality would work.

    And then, five or ten years after the fact, we will be told by those self-same truthspeakers that no one could have predicted their efforts would fail and that we need just five more Democratic Senators to get the pony that everyday progressives are supposed to want but who predicted would never be forthcoming!

    • rossl on March 11, 2010 at 02:29

    thinking all they had to do, in general, was send letters and they’d get what they want – but I think we could see something good out of Dennis Kucinich.  I’m waiting.

  2. but I have one point about “these health insurance companies are reprehensible.” I fully agree that insurance companies are repulsive but their job is about creating profits for the shareholders they serve and that gives them somewhat of an excuse.

    Now in the case of Barack Obama who was elected to serve the people and made it his job to undo the damage caused to these insurance companies by Michael Moore, I can’t come up with an excuse for that. Well I can come up with close to 19 million excuses but I doubt those are the sort of excuses that will leave me thinking the insurance companies are the real bad guys.

    I guess I’m the unforgiving sort.  

  3. Per Hamsher on “Yes, We’ll Whip on Health Care … If It Ever Comes to That (But I Doubt It Will)” and my response:

    91.7% think it’s “important” or “very important” that a health care bill include a public option, and 76.3% think members of Congress who break their pledge to vote “no” should face primary challenges. A full 79.7% think it’s “important” or “very important” that the health care bill contain no restrictions on abortion coverage, and 82.3% think that any member who casts a vote to restrict abortion coverage should face a primary.

    So Jane, how about the Full Court Press? Your talking big here, and I appreciate that. But are you bluffing or aren’t you? Will healthcare be a fond memory in 2012 and you’ll have other fish to fry? After all, at one point you were talking about opposing anything that didn’t have a “robust” public option. Then any sorry excuse for a public option was good enough, and you didn’t give a damn about Stupak or Nelson amendments being part of it. Now you’re talking tough again, and the abortion restrictions are big again because they give you leverage.

    Endorse the Full Court Press ( )– 435 Democratic congressional primaries in 2012 — and we’ll know you mean business. Because you know it’s no longer a matter of what if they … They’ve done it and they’re going to do it again. When if ever does the “or else” kick in?

    No response, of course.  Her bringing up abortion now is because she wants to defeat the bill.  But when it mattered, when Stupak’s ugly mug first slithered over the horizon, she couldn’t care less, she was part of the crowd.  Not like I had all these expectations.  Her heart is true ActBlue.

    • banger on March 11, 2010 at 20:02

    would be right to be “pragmantic” and fight another day. But recent history and a rigorous examination of the balance of power in Washington and how it works would tell you that the pragmatic solution is not pragmatic but merely foolish.

    I’ve said this so many times and American leftists rarely understand this (except some to over here) is that power is the ability to put a hurt on someone. If the right (Republicans) and center-right don’t fear the left there’s no reason, given the realities of politics, to consider the views of the left. If the left was organized and could say, tie up the internet for a day, or organize a general strike, or get thousands of people to lay down on interstates all over the country (and hire musicians, jugglers, clowns, actors to entertain the stuck motorists) then the right/center-right would pay attention to concerns of the leftists. Nothing else can work. Also good, is what is beginning to happen which is to send money to primary opponents of conservative Democrats though I don’t think that’s a particularly good use of resources but why that is is too long a story to get into right now.

    The President and congressional leaders and the media will continue to ignore the concern of the left as long as it is toothless.

  4. not about Obama and the party machine, that has been apparent since the primaries and his FISA vote. Yesterday was a bad one as I have now lost all ‘hope’ in the progressive Democrats, with the exception of Kucinich. who kos wants to primary as he’s the new Nadar. lol.

    I watched Rachael Maddow try to hijack Micheal Moore’s points that the Democrat’s were equally responsible for the farce of financial reform and health care reform. I was appalled at Lynn Woolsey on the TV. I even got a big mad on at Bernie S. for being a rally monkey. Rachael has taken to calling this ugly mess ‘health reform’, which is the new OFA term of preference. Her talking points coming directly from OFA. These points make as little sense as the mushroom clouds of the Bushies. Health care itself is no longer the issue it’s just about deficit reduction and bolstering up the insurance industry by delivering us all up to their tender mercies.  

    Coming up next is the new reform were going to get. The Banksters are in line to get reformed and Chris Dobbs want’s it by-partisan. Here we go again. The progressives will cave and call it compromise the pres. will talk of too bigs and wealth creation, and the loonies will take to the streets with signs proclaiming Obama is a socalist, Hitler. The next circus will began and I just wonder what they will mandate next.

    Actually Bernie is probably one of the better guys. Here he is talking to the ‘progressive’ press.

    The harshest indictment (certainly when it came to assessing the job done by the president) was delivered by Sanders. The Vermonter proclaimed that it was a tactical error to start the health care process by stressing the need for legislation to get 60 votes. And he called it only practical that constituencies — most prominently the nation’s youth and its union members — will sour on the president after he backtracked on campaign promises.

    “I happen to believe that Obama ran the best campaign I’ve seen in my lifetime,” Sanders said. ‘I think the mistake was made after the election — that we forget about the grassroots in this country, we forget about the trade unions and we say to them, ‘Well, when we campaigned we [were] telling you we were opposed to McCain’s tax on health care benefits, but now we have changed our mind.'”

    “I think what we have got to re-engage in, is a progressive clear agenda,” he added. “I think we have got to go out and rally the American people, get the young people involved again… and engage the grassroots in this country in a significant political battle as we bring forward simple straightforward progressive legislation that takes on the special interests.”

    So why are they then advocating for passing this bill? Why is it now or never? and why didn’t they stand up and speak out before it got this far. Messaging, rallying and inspiring are not the solution and at this point neither is voting Democratic including progressives, who are now keeping the gates closed. Simple straight forward progressive legislation is no where in sight because the Democratic majority in power doesn’t want it.      


  5. who are supposedly on our side –

    aristocrat-fascists have been around since there was an agricultural surplus to steal which funded the thugs to steal the food so the fucking pigs at the top could stay on top and be pigs.

    Jim McDermott is my congresscritter out here in happy happy seattle, he can go to hell. IF they’re not sold out, they’re so politically incompetent that it is nauseating.

    THE Crazy thing ??

    IF YOUR Healthcare, Retirement, and Unemployment / Retraining were completely independent of your job

    THEN you’d be free, free, free of your back stabbing boss.

    You’d be FREE FREE FREE of ass kissing your boss.

    Ya $ee, when it come$ to competing with Bill Gates crowd, we’re just bottom feeding worker bee$. Apparantly it would make toooooooooo much $en$e for u$ bottom feeding worker bee peeee-on$ to be more than peeee-on$.


  6. is a foot.  

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