Bil Browning

Your health care is being held hostage by someone you can't vote for

Filed By Bil Browning | December 14, 2009 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: flip flopper, health care reform, Joe Lieberman, Joseph Lieberman, Mitch McConnell, President Obama

This is infuriating. If there was ever a reason for steam to come out of your ears, it's this... Senator Joe Lieberman is flip-flopping on his health care vote and will now oppose the legislation, leaving it vulnerable to a threatened Republican-led filibuster.

Democrats are desperately trying to round up 60 votes and conclude Senate debate on the health care bill before Christmas.
The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said that passage of the bill was looking less and less inevitable. The Democrats "are in serious trouble on this," he said, "and the core problem is the American people do not want us to pass it."

So let me see if I've got this right. A former Democrat Senator that left the party so he could keep his seat is holding the nation's health care hostage. Senator Lieberman represents Connecticut, the home of the insurance industry (think Hartford!) and the crooked politicians point of dispute is that he won't vote for a public option or even to expand Medicare to cover people 55 years old and older. Why not? Ask the insurance companies and their lobbies. After all, they're the ones who've been buying votes like they're buying up your TV ad spots.

Meanwhile, Republicans still haven't gotten the message that Obama was elected with health care reform as one of his major campaign planks. The people want it. We just can't vote to remove Lieberman and obstructionists like McConnell from office. Obama, on the other hand, hasn't figured out how to put a Presidential boot up an idiot's ass.

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In the end, it won't really matter whether Lieberman "flip-flops" on the vote. This health insurance reform debacle doesn't really do anything for 99% of Americans (the 1% it does help happen to work for pharmaceutical or insurance companies). My patients will still not have access to vital preventive healthcare services, and they will still die because of the capitalistic greed that underscores our nation's politics.

There really isn't much of value to hold hostage.

What's needed at a minimum is something much better than Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders Amendment No. 2837 but Reid seems reluctant to allow discussion on that amendment. The House version of the Obama/Democrat health care package parcels out a few minor reforms and adds to it a huge attack on the right to choice and a racist decision to exclude immigrant and imported workers from any coverage. It's a disaster.

The only part of the health care bill that has any real advances for working people is Amendment No. 2837 by Sanders, Independent of Vermont. Yey even Amendment No. 2837 is a compromise because it falls short of full federal coverage and only allows states to enact federally funded Medicare for health, mental, dental, vision, and long-term care. It does nothing to provide for full cost coverage, Medicare's worst flaw.

But even something as inadequate as Amendment No. 2837 is going to be blocked because key players in the health care debate in both parties were long ago bought off by pharmaceutical companies, HMOs and the insurance industry. The owner/managers of those industries are slamming it to us sans lube as they've done every time this subject came up for the last 60 years. The Democrats, especially Obama, want Congress to compromise until the objections of Lieberman, far right wing Democrats and the Republicans are satisfied.

But, led by Lieberman, that may take awhile. Lieberman and his rightist accomplices have no problems voting trillions for buyouts and wars. Lieberman says that even a minor non-reform like allowing people to buy into Medicare "... will add taxpayer costs. It will add to the deficit. It's unnecessary..."

What we really need is socialized Medicine.

"What we really need is socialized Medicine."

New York City rescue workers got better medical care in Cuba than they did in NY. That's embarrassing.

If you ever get a chance to see !Salud! the movie, take the opportunity.

Very honestly, at this point the bill needs to fail. No bill is better than this palliative opiate to the American people.

I agree, Maura. At this point the best thing possible would be to kill the bill entirely, blame it on the Republicans and Blue Dog democrats for holding it hostage, and then use that in the midterm elections against them. The Dems should insist that health care reform actually, well, reform our health care system.

I want Obama to stand up and do something instead of just listening to Rahm Emmanuel's advice to pussyfoot around the Republicans hoping one of them will throw him a crumb or two.

I just watched Sherrod Brown and Ron Wyden sell us out on cable television in order to appease Holy Joe Lieberman. It's a tribute to the progress I've made in serenity and temper control that my television and remote control are still both intact.

The Democrats seem to be doing the only thing that could possibly make the already fractured conservatives relevant in 2010 and 2012: proving that they are just as incapable of letting go of their greed long enough to legislate as the Republicans.

Angela Brightfather | December 14, 2009 10:29 PM

"It does nothing to provide for full cost coverage, Medicare's worst flaw."

And there you have it folks, Gap Insurance!!!

I have been saying this for months. If gap insurance rates are not capped for the next 25 years, then this bill is no more or less the "rape of the Sabines" and everyone who gets old enough under these pressures to get to the age of obtaining Medicare.

Gap Inusrance, unchecked, is the like leaving the back door wide open for insurance companies to reap huge profits.

First they get you on Medicare, then you have to buy inusrance that covers you on the things thatg Medicare does not cover you on, like any costs for drugs or hospital care over 30 days.

So the insurance companies get 30 million new customers who have to buy insurance and they get to charge medicare recipients whatever they want for gap insuracne to make up forany losses they experience due to some of the more less friendly aspects of the new law.

And then people wonder why Trans people are afraid of committee markups on ENDA? If they water down inurance law like the way they have done and in favor of the insurance companies, then ENDA is going to have as much teeth in it as a four week old baby.

This all makes me so mad. Why don't the ego issues ever cause people to flip flop from anti-health care reform to pro-health care reform? They always send people to the right!

It almost feels like a conspiracy! As if people don't want us to get health care! And I'll keep on writing in exclamation points!

Darrol Pierson | December 15, 2009 8:57 AM

As I recall the people of Connecticut did vote for him. That is how our system works, and that is how the rules of the Senate work. So I cannot quite see the point saying that I, a citizen of Indiana, cannot vote for a congressman in Connecticut.