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Chernynkaya On December - 15 - 2009

The Washington Monthly has a very good article about the health insurance reform debate over whether or not to scuttle the House and Senate bills and start over. They characterize it as a battle within the battle between the Left activists and the Left policy wonks. A really good read:

The Fight Over the Fight

The conclusion of the WM is that we should not start over, but remain focused on future legislation, and they use past legislative history to remind us it ia a process. I’ll repost my history of Social Security here, because it is a kind of revelation.

The Social Security Act was passed by Congress as part of the New Deal and signed by Roosevelt on August 14, 1935. Most women and minorities were excluded from the benefits. Jobs that were not covered by the act included workers in agricultural, domestic service, government employees, and many teachers, nurses, hospital employees, librarians, and social workers. The act also denied coverage to individuals who worked intermittently.

__1950  After years of debates about the inclusion of domestic labor, household employees working at least two days a week for the same person were added in, along with nonprofit workers and the self-employed.

__1954   Hotel workers, laundry workers, all agricultural workers, and state and local government employees were added in.

__ 1956   Disability benefits were added; women were allowed to retire at 62 with benefits reduced by 25%. Widows of covered workers were allowed to retire at 62 without the reduction in benefits.

__1961 Retirement at age 62 was extended to men.

__1962   Benefits of covered women could be collected by dependent husbands, widowers, and children.

—1965 MEDICARE was added, part of President Johnson’s Great Society program. The age at which widows could begin collecting benefits was reduced to 60. Widowers were not included in this change. When divorce became the major cause of marriages ending, divorcées were added to the list of recipients.

__1972   The bill also set up a cost of living adjustment (COLA) to take effect in 1975. Amendments also established the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Immigrants who had never paid into the system became eligible for SSI benefits when they reached age 65. SSI is not a Social Security benefit, but a welfare program, because the elderly and disabled poor are entitled to SSI regardless of work history.

__1977-1990’s Amendments regarding the indexing of payments and dealing with the Trust Fund were enacted.

And here’s a short few paragraphs in The New Republic trying to cheer we progressives:

What Public Option Supporters Won

Categories: News & Politics

Written by Chernynkaya

I am an artist and have lived in Los Angeles all of my life, except for a brief hippie period when I lived in SF. I am currently (semi-unwillingly) retired, but have had several careers.

96 Responses so far.

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  1. Chernynkaya says:

    Howard Dean on Morning Joe-- he’s found more wrong with the Senate bill:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789/ns/msnbc_tv-morning_joe#34461661

  2. bitohistory says:

    FYI: Bernie Saunders is on C-Span2. Wow great speech!
    Oops! sorry

  3. bitohistory says:

    FYI: Bernie Saunders speech is on and it is GREAT! C-Span 2, (he was forced to remove his amendt.)

  4. cognoggin says:

    FYI: Just called Maria Cantwells office in my state of Washington today to ask how are the 30,000 million people who have no health insurance are going to be covered if there is no public option. He said that they are trying to figure this out now. He said they are thinking of doing something like the Basic Health program in WA. state. My family of four was on this program four about five years when we had a struggling business. We were paying anywhere from $30 to $90 a month for good health insurance. It is based on income. The staffer said that people within %300 possibly %400 of the poverty level could be covered. Right now the program is struggling because of the economy. We were very grateful for Basic Health when we needed it. We never would have had health insurance otherwise.
    Who Knows what will come of this. I think we need to demand affordable health coverage for everyone.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      What worries me --and I’m not saying this is how it would work-- is that Medicaid is run by the states. If the bill provides for Medicare expansion, I know California doesn’t have the money to take any more people. How will this help people if the states are broke?

  5. bitohistory says:

    This is legislating, this is the making of the sausage. Have many here watched many bills this long this much with such intensity?

    Right now Coburn is making the clerk read the whole 336 page amendt. of Bernie Saunders (medicare for all). What an ass!

    Edit: the estimate by the clerks office this maneuver by Coburn is going to take 8 hrs. to read the whole thing. This is the GOP’s idea of governing! Constuctive, Eh?

    • javaz says:

      Morning, b’ito.
      Hope you are feeling better today.

      Here’s a little health care story that hopefully brightens everyone’s day.

      A Nurse’s Tale

      “Of course I won’t laugh,” said the nurse. “I’m a professional. In over twenty years I’ve never laughed at a patient.”

      “Okay then.” said Fred, and he proceeded to drop his trousers, revealing the tiniest bit of goods the nurse had ever seen. Length and width, it couldn’t have been bigger than a AAA battery.

      Unable to control herself, the nurse started giggling, then fell to the floor laughing. Ten minutes later, she was able to struggle to her feet and regain her composure.

      “I am so sorry,” she said. “I don’t know what came over me. On my honor as a nurse and a lady, I promise it won’t happen again. Now, tell me, what seems to be the problem?”

      “It’s swollen.” Fred replied.

      • bitohistory says:

        Morning j’avaz, good joke! After spending the last few days not doing much, I need to get some chores done today. Need to make to the Groc. store. Hope all is well with you.

        • javaz says:

          The husband and I are getting ready to jump on our bicycles and ride off into the desert.
          Lots of horse trails out here, so it’s not too bad a ride except for the hills.
          My head hurts from trying to follow all this politics.
          Hope you have a good afternoon and hope to see you later.

  6. nellie says:

    I’m changing my vote.

    I was thinking we should go with reconciliation or go back to the drawing board, but after listening to some very sensible arguments, I don’t think we should kill this bill. I’m asking a different question, which is, “Is this a good start?” And I have to say, yes, this is a good start.

    This bill will help a lot of people, and that’s a good start. It won’t do everything we need or everything we want, but it will put a stop to some of the most egregious practices of our insurance industry. Policies we’ve been trying to stop for decades. And that’s a good start.

    Once we have something on the books, we can add to it.

    We need to channel progressive anger into making sure we throw out all remaining obstructionists so that we can ensure reform continues in the coming years.

    • escribacat says:

      I’m tending in your direction also. Last night I watched Howard Dean and thought, Dump the bill. Then I watched Wyden and thought, Don’t dump the bill. Gawd do I feel like a teeter-totter. Am I the only person who is exhausted?

      On second wind, there STILL isn’t a final bill. They STILL have to pass something, go to committee and come up with the final bill. What I don’t get is why they aren’t talking about regulation of premium prices.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Me too, E’cat. I am changing my mind hourly! My latest leaning is this: Kill the Senate bill, but take something into reconciliation, and then blend it with the House bill--which still must be blended with he Senate bill anyway.

        Isn’t that possible? I am lost in the procedurals.

    • javaz says:

      Sorry to disagree, nellie, but if Howard Dean is correct, the bill will hurt some of the most vulnerable -- the elderly -- by charging higher premiums.
      Plus, according to Dean, it will not stop insurance companies from canceling insurance for pre-existing conditions.

      http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/HealthCare/howard-dean-health-care-bill-bigger-bailout-insurance/story?id=9349392

      • nellie says:

        We seem to need a list of pros and cons on this bill — that’s what I feel like right now. Like the lists people make when they’re trying to make a decision. We don’t have access to any copy of this bill yet, do we?

  7. Chernynkaya says:

    Good morning!

    A great blog from over at 538, Nate Silver’s site. I think this says a lot:

    The title of his blog is Why Progressives Are Batshit Crazy to Oppose the Senate Bill. And the image above is why he thinks so.

    • escribacat says:

      Cher…to clarify…those numbers reflect costs WITHOUT a reform bill, correct?

      • Chernynkaya says:

        The column on the left is what it will cost a family of four earning $58k/year for insurance if the Senate bill is passed = $9,000

        The middle column is what it costs a family for insurance if Congress does nothing = $19,576

        The column on the right represents what this family would pay for insurance with the Senate bill plus supplemental insurance for their 2 kids = $13,690

        So the conclusion is that the Senate bill saves a middle-class family over $10,000 a year for health insurance.

  8. FeedUp says:

    Good Morning Friends,

    Just finished watching Washington Journal this morning. One of their guests was Senator Kay Hagan “DEM” from North Carolina.

    Who is she ????

    She has a big “D” behind her name. She just stated she was a fiscal conservative. Then stated that the European Union has problems with counterfeit drug importation and people are dying
    from taking these so called “illegal” drugs.

    I have two very close friends that live in the European Union and they have never heard of people dying from these drugs. Let alone of a illegal prescription drug problem in their countries.

    The two countries my friends are in are Ireland and Germany.

    Has anyone else heard of this ? Or is this just another sack of lies, the mantra of tell Americans anything (the dumbing down continues).

    • bitohistory says:

      C’mon people, Kay Hagan is not the demon many of you make her out to be. Is she a rabid progressive? No. Is she a rabid blue dog? No. Neither of the drug importation amendts. passed and she was not a leader pro or con on them. she is not standing in the way for a good HCR bill. Is she a fiscal conserv? She has to represent North Carolina. She has to get elected. Do you think Bernie Sanders could get elected there?

    • javaz says:

      I’m disgusted with the Democrats.
      So many promises made, so many broken.
      I feel betrayed.

      I am hoping that President Obama doesn’t break his promise on providing affordable health care for all.

      http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i7pIgy2ugWrNRwWJXRsdLjuMiwwgD9CK2L6O2

      • nellie says:

        She’s in North Carolina — so it’s not too surprising she’s a conservative in Dem’s clothing. Progressives have a lot of work to do, getting people to see the truth of how their representatives don’t represent their interests.

        We have a lot of work to do developing good progressive candidates, too. And getting them elected. Ned Lamont should have won in CT.

        Good morning javaz! I hope your morning is starting off with some sunshine.

        Morning, FeedUp!

        Thanks for the link, javaz. The more I read this kind of thing, the more I think the filibuster has outlived its usefulness. Dems never use it, anyway. It has devolved into a GOP obstruction machine.

        • javaz says:

          I’m not giving up hope yet, but if by chance the Democrats and President Obama fail to deliver on their promise of affordable health care for all, and if they instead pass legislation that is a bonanza for the insurance and pharmaceutical companies, then all of them deserve to be voted out.

          If the Democrats are going to act like Republicans in rewarding corporations, then what difference is there between the 2 parties?

          • FeedUp says:

            Javaz,

            Other than a small handful of Dems, there is no difference.

            FlipFlop Lieberman, was a democrat, then had his head up McCain’s arse, now an independent.

            A true patriot and champion for the American people. He is a FRAUD.

        • FeedUp says:

          Nellie,

          You are so right another “fiscal conservative” disguised as a DEM.

  9. Chernynkaya says:

    Um, it seems I am the last one here. I’ll turn out the lights!

  10. Gretel1or2 says:

    Okay something about this health care debate has become amiss in the last few days, and I’m not sure who to believe about anything. The series of events listed below have been puzzling.

    1. First the senate dems come up with a medicare buy-in plan, and they state that they have sent it to the CBO for scoring.
    2. Lieberman comes out and says he doesn’t support any public option
    3. The WH supposedly tells Reid to cut a deal with Lieberman, then WH denied it.
    4. Senate is poised to remove the medicare buy-in before the CBO comes in. WHY?
    5. Wyden now seems to change his tune about what’s in the bill and seems resigned to not have a public option.
    6. Lieberman is out there grinning on every news station, claiming that he is concerned about costs (but the medicare buy-in has not even been scored)!!
    7. Lieberman has the audacity to publicly state that he doesn’t support the mecdicare buy-in because Weiner & Dean seemed to happy about it????
    8. Obama comes out and claims he’s excited that all his guidelines have been met in the senate bill?
    9. Dean comes out and says to “kill the bill” and wait until two years down (when there will be even fewer democrats in the house/senate) to put in the more progressive amendments?

    Is this a trick? What is going on? Are we being kept in the dark about something?

    • escribacat says:

      Gretel … Is there method to this madness? Your list is an excellent description of what seems to me like mayhem and sheer looniness. Lieberman sure is making it easy to hate him…almost too easy. I posted yesterday, “He is looking almost too bad to be true.”

      But then again, sometimes an asshole is just an asshole. We shall see.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Thinking about Dr. Dean

      • Gretel1or2 says:

        Yes, you may be right about Dean bluffing. I’ll keep that in mind. I’m just just waiting for the CBO report in the medicare buy-in option to see how Lieberman tries to spin his way out of this. If it comes out cheaper, then Lieberman and the blue dogs would have to chuck their non-arguments about costs and deficits.

    • kesmarn says:

      I’m beginning to suspect that we may have a game of Good Cop/Bad Cop going on.

      But I’m so tired right at the moment, that I’m going to have to take a page from Scarlett O’Hara’s book and “think about that tomorrow…”

      Good night, friends!

  11. Khirad says:

    So did we get to the teabagger “Die In” on Rachel? Sorry. I just thought that was super classy, yet again.

    Speaking of, I remember bringing up how there was all this tempest in a teapot over Specter how many months ago? He hasn’t been one of the problem senators in this, and was on Rachel. Just sayin’. Read into that what you will.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      I had the same thought when I saw him. Guess he’s just not a turdy as Lieberman-- may he rot.

      • Khirad says:

        Probably a lot of good sayings and proverbs to be mixed here. Don’t count your chickens, taking the eye off the ball, it’s never the one you suspect.

        Okay, so it is the one we should have suspected, but, all I’m saying is, between all the other senators, the story that isn’t being told is how Specter has been a better Democrat than these folks.

        I think I’m gonna call it a night. Not a definite thing, but I’m just not on my game after driving the desert today.

  12. bitohistory says:

    Wish I could read some more but….
    Good Night all.
    Keep the Planet Spinning….correctly!

  13. FeedUp says:

    The argument that the importation of drugs isn’t going on in this country is a not true. I have noticed that many prescription drugs are now made in many other countries.

    The vote was 51-48, short of the 60 required. In the complicated politics of the moment, that was counted as a victory for the health care bill, since the drug industry opposes importation but is working with the White House to pass the overhaul effort.

    Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who had pushed the change, said it was a loss for consumers. “This is not over and it’s never going to be over as long as American pay the highest prices in the world” for drugs, he said.

    Importation of drugs by the mega-pharmaceuticals manufactured in foreign countries is okay ? ? Then ramping up the price to Americans. Why is this okay ?

    This isn’t change, it is just more people talking out of both sides of their mouth.

    At least Sen. Dorgan is being honest.

    • Khirad says:

      Well said. I wish I could add more, but I’m just not feeling very focused tonight. Heck, people are even taking their chances with La Farmacia.

    • AdLib says:

      Excellent points. It is a joke, the excuses Pharma gives for not importing drugs.

      How many people have died from taking pharms in Canada? Shouldn’t even ask the question, it’s validating the obvious bullshit excuses.

      How could the Repubs pass so many horrible bills and the Dems can’t pass anything without it being hugely corrupted?

  14. choicelady says:

    Cher -- it’s 7:44 in Sacramento. Nice to know we’re in the same time zone!

    I find all of your arguments against killing the bill very persuasive, and I do agree.

    I would like us ALL to take up the mantra about one thing, however -- if there is no public option by which premiums etc. are truly made more affordable, then THERE MUST BE NO MANDATE TO HAVE INSURANCE. Forcing people to buy the excresences out there and incur god-know what costs is utterly immoral!The Schwarzenegger effort and the Mass Connector both planned and do have pretty low, subsidized premiums. However, to keep the premiums low, the deductibles are $5000 with out of pocket up to $10,000 -- PER PERSON PER YEAR. That is outrageous! It makes YOU pay that, not the insurance company! It’s a total gift to Aetna and Hartford!!!! People in MA who have it are using it as catastrophic insurance because they do not HAVE the $5000, so they are paying for insuranc they can’t afford to USE.

    So -- here’s my rap: No public plan, no mandate. Simple as that.

    Do you know that government-mandated purchases of commodities in the private market has no TERM in modern economics??? The closest I can come is feudal tribute. I don’t think that’s progress, do you?

  15. Chernynkaya says:

    It is 7:00 PM in L.A. and this is an update on my hourly waffling on whether or not to kill bill.

    Thinking about Dr. Dean… To be clear, he is recommending reconciliation--not he same as throwing the whole thing out. And here’s what I think: He’s bluffing. He is sending a message to the Senate that this could be a failure and they should be prepared to deal with the repercussions of that. I think he might be playing chicken. Maybe.

    About that wonderful ban on excluding those with pre-existing conditions in senate bill-- ins.cos. can charge what they want to cover you.

    Also, Dean says that he disagrees that we won’t revisit this for another 20 years because this crisis will force reform much sooner than that.

    Another thing I’ve been noticing is how overt interviewers and Congresspeople are in stating that lobbyists have bought our reps. This is a change in the acknowledgment of that by so many in Congress and a positive unexpected plus.

    • Janus says:

      I am still convince that the purpose of the bill in question is to get some limits on insurance companies.

      They have backed down so quickly on the public option and now on the medicare buy-in, that it makes me wonder if they don’t intend to fix that part in reconciliation after the initial bill has passed.

      Ron Wyden was pretty specific about the insurance company reform part being completely necessary but impossible under reconciliation, but the public option being completely possible.

  16. Kalima says:

    It’s at times like these that I wish all who oppose and opposed the PO would miraculously lose their healthcare insurance plans and get a taste of what 10s of millions are going through when they get sick. I hope that karma will reward them sooner than later for not doing what is right for the American people. They disgust me.

    The Stupak-Pitts amendment should be burned at the stake and those guys should get pregnant once in their lives.

    Hi to everyone.

    • kesmarn says:

      Kalima, a very belated hi back to you. I was in the middle of one of my long-winded posts when you arrived and missed the chance to greet you.

      Now it’s 11:30 and I’m just about to head off to bed. But before I do… You mention the Stupak amendment: maybe it should be modified to provide free condoms for all. And mandated use of them, except for guys who want to be parents. And a large fine for failing to follow the mandate! 😮 Whadya think?

      • Kalima says:

        Hello kesmarn and it seems I’ve missed you too, it was a busy morning.

        Your suggestion sounds like a good idea to me and aren’t these people also in a tizzy about birth control, they conveniently forget that it takes two to tango.

        Good night and I hope you sleep well.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Agree 1000000%!

      Hi, Kalima-- did you get a little rest?

  17. Tiger99 says:

    There are no guarantees that a “Bad Bill” will be tweaked to become better within a workable time frame for most working class Americans… Sometimes in life you get only one shot and that is the time to take you best shot…
    Your timeline shows 15 year gaps for major changes… 15 years is unacceptable in my book…

  18. PatsyT says:

    Today on the ED Show…..

    Sherrod Brown & Leo Gerard (Labor) put it very well on the Ed Show
    and
    guess who else starred on this program today
    Yes that Right —ARRRIIAANNNAAA
    at this point I am for any thing she is against!
    AH wants to Kill Bill!

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/34437931#34437931

    I am with Joan Walsh on this but I can’t find the video link from today’s Ed Show
    Wonder Why?????
    maybe because Joan made sense
    and called out AAARRRIIIIEEENNNA
    Joan says to fight on no matter what!
    I will keep looking for a good Joan Walsh link…..

    It’s not over….

    • Gretel1or2 says:

      If Arriana is for killing the bill, then I will have to consider that it may be worthlwhile to push it through. I don’t trust AH for anything.

    • KQuark says:

      Thanks Aryanna. I know you have your healthcare coverage but the uninsured like me who have preexisting conditions cannot wait another 15 years.

  19. Gretel1or2 says:

    Some of you may haven seen article, which I pulled from another blog. This was written several months ago detailing the strategy employed by the WH to obtain the best possible outcome for health care reform. It makes sense to me based on what has transpired so far, but I would hope that Obama is going to maintain a bottom line as he stated here.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2009/10/26/13159/249

  20. KQuark says:

    Why, so Lieberman can kill any good public plan again?

    So insurance companies can go totally unchecked for 15 more years?

    It is what it is, a good healthcare insurance reform bill.

    There are good things in the bill I never thought would be included in this legislation like forcing public insurance companies to pay a set percentage of premiums on claims and having no lifetime caps.

  21. escribacat says:

    The critical piece in the article is still that there is no final bill yet. I don’t know what cost controls there are in the bill. I don’t know what kind of interim plan it provides for those of us without insurance. I don’t know how much insurance is going to cost someone like me or someone like my 22 year old nephew (who works in a restaurant). Until I know these details on a final bill, I am still reserving judgment.

    Having said all that, I would like the chance to make that judgment. I think they should pass a bill, even without the MediCare buy-in or public option. From what I read about the MediCare buy in, that was going to be too expensive anyway. If they put in appropriate cost controls, then that will serve the purpose that the public option would have served.

    And having said all that….I think we all agree that the end goal is to get the profit motive out of our health care lives and until we do that, we will still be living in a barbarian state.

  22. KarateKid says:

    Thanks for the article, Cher. I remain ambivalent about this; I see the arguments for both sides being valid. I think this whole thing stunk from the beginning, an overreach by the Democrats, raising expectations then deflating the balloon. The demise of the expansion of Medicare is another disappointment, an ever bigger one for me since I thought it was a better way to go than a watereed down public option, which I never liked.

    So now, we have only a few crumbs, but no one has mentioned the mandate, which I also feel stinks, especially without an expanded Medicare or a public option. This could turn out to be a real boondoggle for the insurance companies if the mandate stays.

    I can’t wait to go on Medicare in three years and seven months, but I feel sorry for the younger generations.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Honestly, KK I don’t know what to think. Right now, I am too emotional about it to really think clearly. When I see the name “Lieberman” for example, my brain sounds like a siren.

  23. javaz says:

    Howard Dean believes the bill should be killed and I agree with his reasons and suggestions for the next step --

    http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/health-care/howard-dean-kill-the-senate-bill/

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Thanks for that link! Oh, jeez!Now I’m muddled.

      • escribacat says:

        Yes…*sigh*. I’m tired! But I do agree with Javaz that Howard Dean makes a good case. If they decided to go that route and put the bill through on reconciliation, I would be in favor of that. But that’s not quite “killing the bill” so I’m not sure why he stated it that way.

    • nellie says:

      So, he’s not saying to just drop health care reform or even to start over. Just to go to reconciliation.

      I’ve heard a lot of people say the dems should pass everything that Lieberman will agree too in a separate bill, and then put everything else in a budget bill that can go through reconciliation. I could support that idea.

  24. Obama20082012 says:

    I don’t think we should kill it and start over. If it’s killed now, it won’t come back being that next year is an election year. The Repubs will frame the arugement that this is Obama’s Waterloo if the bill is killed now. And a whole year wasted! And thousand’s more dead and broke.

  25. nellie says:

    Another great article, Cher. I especially appreciate the “Fight over the fight” article. Whether or not to scuttle this bill seems to me a very legitimate debate. I’m torn, honestly, but I get the feeling that being this close, we’d better hang on to what we have, because we might not get another chance like this for a very long time.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      I am leaning that way too. As Obama2008 says above, it will be this president’s Waterloo. But I am afraid a very poor bill might prove to be too.


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