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AdLib On February - 20 - 2010

Here’s the audio for the trailer of the new horror movie (for the GOP), “Night of the Living Reform”

NARRATOR: It was hacked into pieces! It was smothered alive! It was buried and left for dead! Now…it’s b-a-a-ack!!!

HOWARD DEAN: “When ya kill a bill, ya better make sure it’s dead!”

LINDSAY GRAHAM: “No! No! Don’t shove it down my throat! Yes! I mean no!”

MITCH MCCONNELL: “What he said!”

(GROWLING SOUNDS OF A BEAST)

RUSH LIMBAUGH: “Get out of here! Get away! I’ll sit on you! I’ll eat you! Get away!!! YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD! NOOO!!!

(SOUNDS OF PRESIDENTIAL HOPES CRUMBLING)

SARAH PALIN: “But…I killed you…you can’t be alive…I stabbed a death panel right through your heart! You can’t…Y-A-A-AH!!!

(SOUNDS OF A TAN TURNING WHITE)

JOHN BOEHNER: “This isn’t happening! This can’t be happening! I know how to stop you! ‘NO’! ‘NO’! It’s not working! Then eat filibuster!

(SOUNDS OF A FILIBUSTER GOING LIMP)

JOHN BOEHNER: “NOOO!!! Stop! For corporation’s sake, stop! You can’t roll over me! I’m TAN!!! ARGH!!!

NARRATOR:  Sometimes killing what a majority of Americans want…isn’t enough! HCR is back from the dead…and this time, it’s reconciled to kill the opposition! Night of the Living Reform! Coming soon!

Yes, momentum and possibly even reason has returned to the minds of Democrats in Congress. Their brilliant minds seem to have recovered from the Scott Brown election mentality of “Only 59 seats now! We’re helpless!” to “Hey…if we can’t do anything with 59 seats, how can I win re-election by saying keep us in the majority?”

So, a growing number of Dems in the House and most importantly, in The Senate are championing bringing back real HCR including a public option and using reconciliation to get through the changes to the Senate bill that couldn’t pass a filibuster. Just as many of us have been hammering them to do for a long time.

The House is 100% right not to sign the Senate bill until its horrible provisions have been overridden by the reconciliation bill…which needs to include a Public Option. If that is done, public opinion on all of this will turn around.

The main reason most opposed the bill was because the public option was killed and there would be mandatory purchase of policies from insurance companies who can, as Anthem tried, raise premiums 39% at a time and bankrupt citizens who would be breaking the law and penalized for not allowing themselves to be bankrupted.

This two step approach is so simple and reasoned. Pass the aspects that all can agree on then pass the aspects that favor Americans over corporations by 51 Dem votes.

Aside from reforming the filibuster, reconciliation is the only path for the Dems and Obama to turn around the perception of a gridlocked and helpless government. It is an absolute.  And they must not stop here, just as the GOP is using the filibuster to block everything, the Dems must use reconciliation to pass everything they possibly can through that method.

That means a jobs bill, bank and Wall Street reform, energy and carbon emissions bills, etc. Of course, there must be a budgetary element to any bill to qualify for reconciliation but how difficult would that be to have financial elements involved in each of these bills?

To me, it’s very simple. If the GOP is going to pull the emergency cord on every bill, the Dems should be prepared to pull their emergency cord in response. They are in the better position and could even use that as leverage to make agreements that if the GOP won’t filibuster, they won’t go around them with reconciliation and let them be part of the process.

I doubt this would work for a while but do they want to go 8 years without having any influence on any legislation? If public opinion turns around to support the progress occurring under Obama and Dems in Congress, what will they have to campaign on? Not one vote for anything?

I am FINALLY encouraged again that momentum is on our side but we need to keep it up and keep hammering any of our Senators and Congresspeople who are not already on board.

BTW, MoveOn.org is collaborating with DailyKos and a number of other sites and groups on Feb 24th to organize a 1 million message protest which I recommend to all members here to join. Here is a link to their site, click the article to sign up if you wish: http://moveon.org/

This can really happen if we fight hard enough against the GOP and corporations and for real health care reform, for all Americans, current and future!

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

46 Responses so far.

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  1. javaz says:

    WOO-HOO!

    Almost 784,438+ for the virtual march!!!

    Check out the counter -- http://pol.moveon.org/virtualmarch10/action.html?rc=p_fix

  2. bitohistory says:

    From CREDO:Can you also help us bombard the Senate with phone calls? Here’s a list of Democratic Senators and where they stand on the letter to Harry Reid asking him to give the public option an up-or-down vote: http://act.credoaction.com/call/oneoffs/results_21.html

    Use this in conjunction with all the other actions

  3. AdLib says:

    This might be a bit hard for the GOP to publicly oppose…heh!

    Obama to propose limits on insurance rates

    WASHINGTON

    • KQuark says:

      This is a good political play but both bills have language that is geared toward limiting premium hikes in the exchanges. But of course the stricter the rate hike limits the better.

      Like I’ve said before you really can just legislate a good and lower cost healthcare system no matter what entity is used to pay providers. The Dutch system is a perfect example where they had single payer and opted to go 100% private to let controlled competition lower costs. They just told all the private companies that wanted to provide insurance that they will provide basic insurance programs at a cost the government specifies with the benefits they specify. Then they mandate that all citizens have insurance. That way risk is spread, basic premiums and coverage is set. If you want extra coverage you pay a little more and if a company wants a little more profit it’s up to them to be more efficient while never going below mandated government minimums. Right now we have the worse of all worlds because there are few laws to govern premiums and less that say companies have to cover people even when they pay premiums.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      This proposal appears to be a back-door way to fix the problem without enacting real reform, and I think that’s one way to go about it if all else fails.

      But there is a part of me that says: No, let the insurance companies do their worst, let it become unbearable to everyone. That seems to be the only way change occurs in the US--extreme crises. It’s kind of like the old union organizing theory-- at some point people won’t take it anymore. But I’m probably naive and wrong.

      • KQuark says:

        So how bad is it suppose to get for uninsured Americans like me?

        I wouldn’t call you naive or wrong but it sounds like some of the nihilistic arguments I’ve heard from both sides lately. Like the Republicans saying they want Obama to fail so they can get back into power again.

        I know the backroom deal angle is something the right and left have been hammering of late but for the first time in a while the public is going to hear about HCR from both sides with the up coming summit. Legislative details and yes deals are always worked out behind closed doors. If they weren’t we would not have SS or Medicare now. Before legislation is voted on then it’s debated.

  4. javaz says:

    My husband also signed up, and I was wondering if there’s a way to find out how many people have signed up so far?

    It would be awesome to get the 1 million.

    I recall the Dubai incident a few years back, whereby Dubai -- was it Dubai or the Saudi Emigrates -- that wanted to work at our ports and Congress and the Senate was inundated with angry emails and phone calls and that worked on crushing that from happening.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Hi Javaz-- I was just there and it’s not even close to 1,000,000. There is a map that you can roll your cursor over for each state here:

      http://pol.moveon.org/virtualmarch10/#

      Only Calif. has close to 20K and if I’m figuring correctly, it would take 20K from ALL 50 STATES to make a million. Most states are in the hundreds. :-(

      • javaz says:

        We sent the message from moveon to friends and family that we think will be receptive.

        Our friend Dick, who would most likely sign it, we cannot send it to him because the minute he sees moveon’s name, well, he’d think we infected his computer with libural propaganda!

        Even though he voted for Obama and hates McCain, his open-mind has its limits.

      • AdLib says:

        I don’t think they’ve given it a full push yet. Between now and the 24th, I expect to see a lot more attention given to it and a burst of people signing up on the 24th.

    • AdLib says:

      They have a map on the sign up page, you can roll over it with your cursor to see how many have signed up from each state and get a ballpark idea.

  5. Chernynkaya says:

    Adlib, I am 100% in favor of your position on using reconciliation to pass legislation in view of the Republican

    • AdLib says:

      I don’t believe there’s an issue here because the pre-existing conditions issue and other patient protections are contained in the Senate bill that currently exists.

      Those do not need to be contained in the reconciliation bill, which would be a second, connected bill. Only budget related items, such as a Public Option and allowing patients who receive subsidies to pay for abortions, would be contained in a reconciliation bill.

      Once that is passed, which would have aspects and terms that would override the Senate Bill, the House can then pass the existing Senate bill which would include patients rights…all without 60 votes needed.

  6. AdLib says:

    Just an update, with the addition of Jeanne Shaheen there are now 20 Senators signed onto the letter asking for the PO to be added back in under reconciliation.

    And as noted already, Harry Reid has acknowledged his willingness to support it if it can get passed.

    If your Senators haven’t signed on yet, press them to do so. It is making a difference and the numbers are growing!

  7. KQuark says:

    It’s still dead.

    Umm… Adlib you do realize this is just a tweak to reconcile the two bills? Most of the “horrible” things you are railing against will still be in the legislation. They are not going to pass two huge new “real HCR” bills just a reconciliation bill if they do pass it. In reality it’s just like the House passing the Senate bill and tweaking it later. They just want to have the Senate go first because the House does not trust the Senate.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/

    “Real HCR” ended when the public plan was not open to all Americans without Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP. Since then this bill has always been a start to end healthcare insurance company abuses.

    No insurance company will be able to raise rates 39% with either pieces of legislation if they want to be part of the exchanges. All they will do is price themselves out of the market. One of the biggest problems is there is too little Federal law reigning in abuses because laws are left up to the states.

    They will probably tweak taxing Cadillac healthcare insurance plans by making an exemption for collective bargaining agreements. It always was a good idea to tax Cadillac plans because it’s the best way to disrupt the employee based system and lower costs. Then the House will probably use the more fair abortion compromise in the Senate bill. Hopefully they will bring reimbursement rates closer to the House bill.

    Just a tiny portion would change even with a public option. Less than 5% of Americans who cannot get insurance any other way will be able to buy public insurance that has to use provider reimbursement rates similar to private insurance.

    Like I said before politically this is all about either side feeling they won or lost and has very little to do with what the final legislation will mean for reform from a policy standpoint.

    That’s why to me it does not make much difference if a public plan is passed now or not in it’s current form. In fact if you dig down to the details, the public plan could be the high risk sink for all people with preexisting conditions making it cost more than private coverage. The CBO estimate predicted that would happen.

    Pass the first step now and serious tweaks will be made in the future like it was with SS or SCHIP.

    I still think HCR has a very small chance of passing just because people don’t understand the issue and both sides will boil it down to things they don’t like in the bills.

    • AdLib says:

      The reconciliation is a completely different bill that will add new aspects and change aspects in the Senate Bill.

      Check out Vox Populi, ChoiceLady explained her insight on this Friday night.

      This is why 18 Senators have signed the letter for a PO through reconciliation, because they can indeed add new provisions in it such as the Medicare provision.

      Maybe I misunderstood your post but these would not be minor tweaks.

      I don’t blame you for your hesitation to believe that this will mean robust HCR or even that it will pass.

      As I’ve expressed, if it doesn’t pass the Dems and possibly Obama will not be re-elected, they will be conceding that they can’t pass meaningful legislation that’s desperately needed and the claims of Repubs to be able to do so will be much more appealing.

      I am more optimistic that they will pass it and that there will be a public option of some kind, hopefully the Medicare plan. The public opposes the plan if there is no PO involved so passing it without would be as politically disastrous.

      • KQuark says:

        If you look at the raw numbers unless the public plan is available to many more people AND has Medicare type reimbursements the only part of the bills that will bend the curve are the mandates. The only common denominator in every country in the industrialized world that has cheaper and better universal healthcare is the universal availability and financial burden of some kind of insurance coverage by state or private insurance, most systems have some kind of hybrid where the state insurance, individual copays and private insurance pay the providers. Spreading the risk is the key to making healthcare costs lower for most individuals.

        I’ll post this link one last time. Even with the public plan universal coverage was always the key factor that would reduce cost increases to the highest degree.

        http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/Fund-Reports/2009/Jun/Fork-in-the-Road.aspx

        With no universal healthcare costs will rise 6.5%
        With only private universal healthcare costs will rise 5.8%
        With universal healthcare with public option costs will rise 5.6% (again keep in mind this is only true if everyone had access to a public plan)

        Keep in mind nothing lowers costs even in systems that have universal healthcare costs. Even in Canada healthcare costs as a % of GDP have doubled in 40 years but of course in the US it has quadrupled over the same time.

        My case is a prime example why the universality of coverage is the most important goal of any HCR package. For example my last hospital stay was in the low six figures. Since I had my treatment in a not for profit hospital I ended up paying less than 10% of my bill because the hospital wrote off most of my bill and costs. So what’s happening now is everyone who has insurance is paying for my stay much much more than I did. Worse yet with no universal coverage in this country many people pay virtually nothing into the system, save for payroll taxes.

        You do seem to make my point that the PO has all become about politics then with your last statement. The only disaster would be passing nothing from a policy standpoint and the politics aspect is your opinion.

        But if you really do care about the politics what happens if the bill does pass with the current public option?

        Most on the left cheer yeah! Most Americans will probably like it in theory as well. Then when 90% plus of the public who does not already have Medicare, Medicaid or VA care finds out they are not eligible to buy into the public plan then they will be quite pissed off.

        All the public will care about in the end is if their personal taxes go up and if they are paying less. With both bills as is most working families will pay less.

  8. Kalima says:

    Oh for goodness sake, pass the final bill already and fix it along the way once it is implemented sooner I hope rather than having to wait another few years.

    There must be good things hidden in there somewhere or your President wouldn’t sign the darned thing. It is bound to be much better than what you have had for decades, congress needs to pull their bloody socks up, stop thinking about rewards and just get it done.

    I have friends in your country who’s next hospital stay could be their last, they are all in their 40’s, their families love them and don’t want them to die, I don’t want to lose them either.

    This whole process reminds me of a person who has never eaten a certain food and therefore say they don’t like. How can you complain about something that you have never tried or even make the effort to at least try once?

    The dilly-dallying is costing lives, making families live in fear, afraid to seek medical attention, is this what everyone wants on their conscience for the rest of their lives, that is assuming that they have a conscience that is.

    I was catching up on my Rachel and KO podcasts the other day, one guy said that if congress wanted to, they could pass this bill in 24 hours. Food for thought.

    The time for talk in over, now you should be screaming for action. I’ll bet all I own that the loud protest from all sides, especially in the media and on the blogs about this bill, comes from people who can afford to be negative because, hey, they are covered and those who are not are on their own. This thoroughly disgusts me because they are no better than the Republicans.

    Here is a link I posted on the 8th on MB. It is 35 minutes of photos and audio about President Obama’s road to the WH and well worth watching/listening to. iI might also explain his insistence so far in reaching across the “aisle.” If you have time please watch it, it may make you understand Obama the man and Obama the politician better.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2008/nov/05/obama-road-to-white-house1

    Oh and [email protected] the Repubs!!!

    • AdLib says:

      That is what is going on right now. Obama is holding a summit to touch the base of publicly asking the Repubs how they plan to insure 30 million uninsured Americans. When they show they have no plan, the Dems in the Senate will use reconciliation to bypass the Repubs with only 51 votes needed.

      With only 51 votes needed, no pandering to Blue Dogs or Snowe or Lieberman is required. They can pass a PO, they can undo the harsh anti-abortion provisions, etc.

      This is a positive and constructive development.

      There are political obstacles to get around but it is moving forward and with a much more viable path.

      • Kalima says:

        I sincerely hope so AdLib because up until now from before the summer of last year, all I’ve ever heard is a long list of excuses from the Dems and the biggest, stinking pile of BS and lies ever uttered from the party of NO and their henchmen, with little or no reaction from your side.

        • AdLib says:

          The problem from the beginning and that doomed the previous process was the falsehood that the Dems had 60 votes in The Senate for HCR.

          They never had 60 votes so the reality was that the Dems had to spend months of corrupting the bill, bribing and cajoling to get to 60 votes.

          What they had to do to get there was disgusting and gutted robust HCR including a PO.

          Now they finally realize that reconciliation and 50 votes is the only way to get the bill passed and add back in aspects that will turn public opinion around on it and the Dems.

          This is a far different dynamic than having to bribe and accommodate the enemies of HCR to get their votes.

    • KQuark says:

      Thanks for the link.

      I’m with you. Just pass the freaking legislation already.

      Replace “just play the bleeping note” with “just pass the bleeping bill”.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9IW7mdph4E

      • Kalima says:

        Another 60 days of arguing like little schoolgirls and wanting “pork” for their own districts while the “ugly” Rebubs continue to demean the President of the United States in the media “without balls” and the side who voted for him whines without giving solutions on their daily blogs.

        1 million virtual march on Washington, good Lord. Isn’t that just too little and too late, sort of like closing the stable door after the horse has already bolted.

        Thanks K, I can’t get “Father Ted” over here and it wouldn’t play on my little IPod toy, I hope the IPad works better, early birthday present from the mister when it comes out in Japan. :)

        • AdLib says:

          Kalima, I think what you’re missing is that we never had a chance to pass meaningful reform before, when we needed 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.

          Necessarily, HCR was smothered because Blue Dogs and asses like Lieberman had to be satisfied.

          Now, REAL reform could be passed through reconciliation with 51 votes.

          That’s the reality, it never had a chance before, now it does so now is indeed the time to fight hard for it.

          • Kalima says:

            As I said above, I really, really hope so with all my heart, you know that my love for my friends, especially for the chronically sick and uninsured friends, plays an important part in my life and therefore even though not a citizen, it is of the utmost importance to me to see this chance of insuring at least 30 million Americans, to be followed by amendments to cover the remainder as soon as possible after the bill is passed, signed and hopefully implemented before too much time has passed. A few years will be too long for many people to wait if they are not getting the treatment they need to keep them alive.

            • AdLib says:

              That’s one provision that pisses me off, no matter what passes, it won’t fully kick in for 4 years.

              Why the hell is that? So people who die over the next 4 years from not having health can die content in the fact that they almost got it in time?

            • Kalima says:

              I thought that there were provisions in the bill that allowed and encouraged individual States to start much earlier if they wanted to. If that is the case, I should imagine that there would be enough pressure in the highest uninsured States to do just that, although why a State gets to play Russian roulette with the lives of it’s population is beyond me.

  9. boomer1949 says:

    I signed up this morning @ DailyKos; have I mentioned lately Sherrod Brown is my Senator? 😎

  10. choicelady says:

    Well said, AdLib -- great post! I especially like the “tan turning white” since that’d be worth paying money to see!

    As a lobbyist (yes -- I am. For the Good Guys and Gals, meaning us all here and around the nation) I have been briefed by Congressional staff that this is ON, it’s working, and what we all want should emerge. There will be low points. We cannot reform the hateful omission of legal immigrants (what part of taxpayers do we still fail to see?) but many programs such as the PO can and will be part of Reconciliation. I am VERY hopeful.

    That said, we have to press on with raising our voices. We got Dianne Feinstein to sign on early in the renewal, and that probably proves that America is going Commie, but her phone calls are running 4 to 1 AGAINST reform and especially against the PO. So we need the Virtual March (faith community people are doing a Virtual Vigil in the same spirit) by keeping on contacting our Congress and Senate officials.

    How often is too often? No such thing. Does someone do what we want? Call ’em again and thank them. Is there a minute nuance change in some aspect of the bill? New “ask”. Every single day we can call, write, or even visit the district offices if those are nearby.

    The one thing that offsets Big Money is VOTES. We as constituents have real power over money! Democracy is very hard work, but what’s the alternative? Oh. Wait. We can SEE the alternative, and it’s a RW theocracy. With President Sarah.

    I believe it’s well worth the effort to work for that democracy thing.

    So keep on keepin’ on, Planateers. WE have the moxie, the info, the voice, the inclination, and probably the allies to make this work. Last count 119 Dems said no public option, they will NOT be re-elected. It’s not that Dems or even Independent will vote Republican. It’s that they won’t vote at ALL, and that let’s the wolf in the door.

    Thank you so much, AdLib -- this is just great. Not only can we keep most of our states Blue, we can turn Boehner white (whiter than he already is philosophically) as his face pales from total failure, and his Man Tan bottle fails him under the klieg lights.

    As I said -- that’s well worth seeing.

    A big, virtual hug to you all. You lead the way!

  11. escribacat says:

    Reid says dems will finish healthcare in 60 days using reconciliation

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/82461-reid-dems-will-use-50-vote-tactic-to-finish-healthcare-within-60-days

    YABBA-DABBA-DOO!!!!

    I think Obama had a little chat with him.

  12. javaz says:

    This is so encouraging and I prefer to take an optimistic view and believe that we will get HCR with a Public Option.

    Thanks for the link about the virtual march, AdLib, and I have signed up!

  13. nicole473 says:

    As always, excellent article, Adlib!

    I’ve been calling senators re the PO, and have already signed up for the virtual march.

    I am very hopeful that this thing will fly! :)

  14. PepeLepew says:

    Ha, ha, funny.

    I wrote Jon Tester yesterday.

    It’s encouraging, but after being knocked down so many times, I hate to get my hopes up too much.

    • AdLib says:

      I’m with you but this push right now is very important. After Obama’s summit, it will be clear that the GOP is hollow and dishonest on HCR and the Dems must move ahead on their own.

      If we can pound on them hard and only need 50 + Biden to pass something, it really is a different ballgame than it ever was before.

      No Lieberman, Nelson, Bayh or Snowe to pander to. Just moderate and progressive Dems and we do have enough in the Senate to pass this.

      I’m urging everyone to put the past aside, this is a new game with new rules and we can get what we want this time without compromising key provisions.

      Let’s do this!


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