30 November, 2009

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

Congress is back in session, and Cons are outdoing themselves on teh stoopid.

Rep. Mark Kirk's busy fearmongering over mammograms.  Do these people know how to do anything other than lie and fearmonger?

You're right.  They don't.  Forget I asked.

Cons have a brilliant new idea: fuck health care, let's kill people, instead!
The policy debate in Washington is currently focused on two topics: a possible escalation of the war in Afghanistan and health care legislation. Both a troop escalation and health care reform carry significant price tags — roughly $100 billion and $80-$100 billion a year respectively. (It should be noted that health care reform, unlike a troop surge, would cut the deficit.)

When it comes to these two debates, hawkish senators have laid out their priorities. They are more than willing to fund a risky troop surge that is increasingly opposed by both Americans and Afghans, yet remain stalwart opponents of health care reform that could save the lives of the 45,000 Americans who die every year because they lack access to health care.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) demonstrated this preference for war over health care and other essential domestic priorities during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” yesterday. He heartily endorsed “a new surge of forces” in Afghanistan while dismissing a war surtax proposed by Rep. David Obey (D-WI). Graham suggested that we “trim up” the health care bill to pay for the war, prompting Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to remark that Graham and other senate hawks have a “poor set of priorities”:
GRAHAM: We’ll be evaluated by some pretty tough characters in the world by how we handle Afghanistan. … We’re gonna have the troops in Afghanistan to win the conflict. [...]
STEPHANOPOULOS: Does [Obey] have a point [about the war surtax]? If we’re going to fight a war, shouldn’t the American people pay for it?
GRAHAM: Well, I’d like to have an endeavor to see if we can cut current spending…to pay for the war. … Can we trim up the health care bill and other big ticket items to pay for a war that we can’t afford to lose? [...]
SANDERS: What Senator Graham is now saying as I understand it is, hey we can cut back on education, so middle class families can’t afford to send their families to college. We don’t have to rebuild our infrastructure. We don’t have to invest in sustainable energy, so we stop importing $350 billion a year in foreign oil. Let’s just spend more money in Afghanistan while Europe and the people of China and the people of Russia watch us do that work. I think that is a very poor set of national priorities.
I think Bernie's right.  And I think anyone listening to Cons on anything at all is an idiot of the highest caliber.

Oh, and you know how Cons wanted transparency?  Now that their amendments to the health care reform bill may come under public scrutiny, they're suddenly not wanting transparency at all:
"In light of some of the trust problems and transparency problems we have, while this appears to lead to greater transparency, we can also see ways that this can limit the ability for the minority to offer amendments," said Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), and, therefore, I object."
Why would that be, you ask?  Probably because of antics like this:
But to touch things off, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will likely introduce Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) who will offer a women's preventive health care amendment, according to a Senate Democratic aide--the first amendment of the process.

By contrast, the first Republican amendment will come from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who will propose that the bill be recommitted to the Finance Committee, which would be instructed to strip it of its Medicare cuts. At a 60 vote threshold, the amendment won't pass, but if it did, it would likely be the end of health care reform this Congress.

In other words, we're dealing with two very different species of amendments.

Indeed we are.  All they're doing is the usual, delay and attempt to kill.  No wonder transparency would make it harder for the minority party to offer "amendments."

And, lest you think McCain's some sort of hero for wanting to prevent Dems from cutting wasteful spending from Medicare and Medicaid, remember that this is the same man who wanted to cut three times as much from Medicare last year.

Meanwhile, Con Rep. Simmons, who totally opposes the "government takeover of health care," wants his constituents to know they can count on Medicaid if they lose their jobs.  Hypocrite much?

Everybody's girding their loins for battle.  Judging from the Cons' opening shots, it's going to be a long, ridiculous ride.

Meanwhile, the public option's been so watered down that folks are seriously reconsidering whether it's worth fighting for.  I think it is simply because I'm a spiteful bitch who'd like to force the not-so-fantastic-four to hold their noses and vote for the thing.

At least there's one thing for sure: as long as health care reform passes in relatively decent shape, folks will be paying lower premiums.  If we have to start small and build, so be it.

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