Colin Gordon: As the House and Senate hammer together the controversial health-care bill, a historian of the issue warns that the new law may be doomed by the American system of treating government benefits as bought and paid for.
Paul Hogarth: California desperately needs to abolish the two-thirds requirement to pass a state budget, and even an amendment that does not include taxes would be incremental progress. But unless labor unions start putting real money in this effort, and the Democratic Party makes it the priority it must be, it’s going to get lost in the shuffle – and we won’t have what it takes to run a winning campaign.
Tanya Acker: Twice last week I was on panels with Republicans who expressed surprise about the “unseemly” tactics employed by Democrats in passing health care reform. The horsetrading was so “venal!” The process so “hyperpartisan!” Noble Americans, we should all be so very shocked! Well, not really.
Peter Dreier: It is incredibly irresponsible for some radicals and progressives to call for killing the health care bill. It is important to push for changes that would improve the Senate version of the bill. For example, the House funding plan (a tax on families with incomes over $1 million) is much better than the Senate version (a tax on so-called “Cadillac” health insurance plans). That’s what the labor movement, liberal and progressive Democrats in Congress, pro-choice advocates, and others will be doing in hopes of putting a better bill on President Obama’s desk, as Harold Meyerson discusses in his latest Washington Post column.
This week’s articles from Sherwood Ross, Ivan Eland, Richard M. Mathews, Jonathan Goldstein, Deborah Burger, Jill Johnston, Dick Price, Wendy Block, Brad Parker, Mark Bowen, Harvey Schwartz, Norman Solomon, Kenneth Weisbrode, Joseph Palermo, Lawrence S. Wittner, Sheri Fink, Gil Troy, Ron Wolff, Paul Hogarth, Charley James, Dr. Margaret Flowers, and Tracy Emblem.
Richard M. Mathews: With the death of the public option in the Senate version of the health care reform bill, more attention is being paid to the budget reconciliation process. The House-Senate conference could bring back the public option, but a filibuster could still kill it. The reconciliation process would allow the bill to pass with a simple majority of 51 votes rather than the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.
Something, anything, has to be done at some point to show that the Obama Administration is not just the latest group of good people with good ideas that are absorbed into a system that makes Hamid Karzai look like a clean government activist. The corporate money so clogs the arteries of our body political the whole damn thing is sclerotic, choked off from the life-giving oxygen of democracy.
I don’t recall how or when single-payer was taken “off the table” – except that Senator Max Baucus said it was. Without single payer, progressives focused on the public option – which although a compromise, could have held insurance companies accountable. Everyone knew it was tough and compromise would happen, but we were supposed to be part of that decision.
Obama’s Nobel Speech Comes Up Short. Pardon me if I can’t join in the fawning praise for President Obama’s Nobel address. “It was, as ever, a bravura performance,” one newspaper said editorially. That it was, but I can’t agree with those. -Carl Bloice Labor Secretary Solis Slams Down Right-Wing Call for an Immigration Moratorium. Last [...]
Real reform has moved from a Medicare-like public option open to all, to a public option open to 6 million without employer coverage (still in the House bill), to a public option open only to those same people in states that opt for it, or about 4 million (the original Harry Reid version of the Senate bill), to no public option but expanded Medicare (the Senate compromise) to no expanded Medicare at all (the deal with Joe “I love all the attention” Lieberman).
With the Democratic Party needing union money and volunteers for the November 2010 elections, it will have to start delivering for labor soon. This means that Congress will enact some changes in union election rules, though expedited elections rather than card check appears to be where the debate is headed.
Obama still has time to deliver for his base. But this will require activists and constituency groups to ramp up public demands for such a course, rather than thinking they are helping the progressive cause by making excuses for a president whose inspirational words about social transformation have not been matched by actions.
If the health care outcome shows that the U.S. Senate will not allow progressive change even with a 60-vote Democratic caucus, then what argument can the Obama team make to infrequent voters in 2010? If electing Obama and strong Democratic congressional majorities in 2008 did not bring real Change, why even bother voting?
House members, particularly Rep. Nydia Velazquez and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, were able to successfully block an immigration-related motion to recommit by House Republicans—a motion with the intention of forcing a tough vote on immigration that, if passed, may have resulted in the bill’s defeat.Health care reform now moves to the Senate, where battles over the 5-year bar, verification systems, and unauthorized immigrants’ ability to purchase health insurance are likely to continue.
Who other than His Nuttiness would praise nurses for their knowledge, care, and understanding when they tended to him after he was hospitalised following botched hemorrhoid surgery only to turn on them a year later for supporting health care reform so people who don’t have Fox News’ lush group plan can get insurance?
If Obama and the Democrats lose one or both houses of Congress in the midterms, it will be because the president learned only the most superficial lesson of the Clinton years. Health-care reform is critically important. But when one out of six Americans is unemployed or underemployed, getting the nation back to work is more so.
Humana is trolling college campuses looking for whores willing to accept money to be on-line promoters of an anti-reform policy that’s against the student’s own, best interests – or will be, once they leave school and are on their own. Given the state of the economy, no doubt Humana will be overwhelmed with applications.