Let’s be honest. Who here thinks they’re ultimately going to fuck up healthcare reform? There’s so many ways for this to go wrong, I hesitate to even speculate. The noises coming from the administration recently have all been of an oinking quality. Obama has downplayed the importance of the public option, as did Gibbs and Sebelius on the sunday yakathons. Seriously, how crappy must the likely bill be if the insurance industry, AMA, and Big Pharma are all on board with it?
It’s just amazing to me how something that should be a political no-brainer (universal coverage) could be transformed by Democrats from gold into lead. I’ll grant, the opponents of reform are vocal and angry and batshit insane, but it’s the weak-kneed opportunism of mushy Democrats that fills me with the most contempt.
Fortunately, this seems to be the week that progressives are finally getting some pushback on the narrative. I suspect the lefties may have put their heads together for some strategery at last weekend’s Netroots Nation conference, but the Gibbs and Sebelius statements provided the perfect opening for a burgeoning shitstorm. Here’s a typically insightful post from Digby responding to Dean Baker’s claim that mandates without a public option will inevitably be portrayed as “the insurance companies’ employees [Congressmen] … taxing workers to line their bosses pockets.”
That’s certainly how it will be framed by the right — and I can’t see how anyone could argue with them. Insurance “reform” will end up being defined as the government acting in concert with the insurance companies to force Americans to buy their expensive product — and it will play perfectly into the right wing populist argument that’s gaining currency. Without a public plan as a low cost option, this thing looks a lot less like reform and a whole lot more like a shake down. I could see the new Newtie Populist Republicans using that against all these Blue Dogs and Corporate Senators in their districts next time and taking them out. Personally, I’d be hard pressed to say they were wrong.
It was never going to be easy to sell mandates, but they are making it substantially harder if they tank the public plan. They’re another bullshit compromise anyway, made before anyone even got to the table, just like single payer — health care should be paid for by higher taxes on the wealthy scumbags who are the only ones winning in this godforsaken economy anymore and the elimination of health insurance’s obscene profits. But in the interest of “going to the middle” the reformers went with mandates and now, without the public option, they’ll be stuck with a regressive tax that’s going to be very politically difficult to defend.
Couldn’t have said it better. Let me close with a solid clip of Rep Anthony Weiner making the STRONG case for single payer. Relish the moment when he nails witless Joe on the question of what insurance companies actually bring to the table for their $230 billion profits. Note that his single payer bill will actually get a vote when Congress reconvenes, something you may like to call and remind your Congressman about.
See how easy it is to make the case when you have a plan that makes sense?
UPDATE: More fun and games on Morning Joe…
Plus, Taibbi’s latest post is cathartic as well. The armchair pragmatism coming from liberal pundits is fucking-a ridiculous. These process geeks all write like they are the politicians, worrying about where the votes will come from and that kind of nonsense, when they should be using their writing platforms to APPLY THE PRESSURE. Instead we get a bunch of cautious wizards roleplaying Dungeons and Dragons: Healthcare Reform!