Howard Dean no longer wants to kill the health care bill. He finally figured out what every progressive should have known (unless they were so consumed with anger and emotion over the loss of the public option) – that this bill is a good start.
It appears that most Democrats in the House feel the same way. Now, will other hysterical lefties like Keith Olbermann come along? We’ll see.
I just watched Howard Dean on Meet the Press, and while he’s not supporting the health care bill, he’s no longer arguing that we should “kill the bill.”
Dean acknowledged that a number of improvements have been made the the Senate version over the past week, and he insists more improvements need to be made in conference. Many of his points might be attainable, so we can expect more improvements as the conference gets underway.
He doesn’t support the bill, and he may not support the final compromise, but his arguments are now much more constructive in how the bill can keep improving. He didn’t mention the reconciliation process once, and he refused to repeat his suggestion that Democrats should kill the bill.
I stopped watching MSNBC in the mornings because Dylan Ratigan is incredibly annoying. He has some good points at times, but he’s only interested in repeating his own opinion . . . over and over again.
Here’s a clip of Ratigan at his worst with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Even Chris Matthews rarely gets this annoying.
If he wanted a real discussion, he could have gotten an answer. Insurance stock went up after the public option was dropped for very obvious reasons – yes, the public option would have resulted in real competition. Fine. End of story. That does not mean, however, that the bill is a “giveway” to the insurance companies as he implied, because as the Congresswoman tried to explain, the bill does include robust regulation of the insurance companies.
Is this perfect? Of course not. Would a public option be better? Of course. But Ratigan just wanted to yell and scream about his simple point that the insurance companies are now better off than if the public option had stayed in the bill.
Of course, a child could probably figure that out as well, but Ratigan thought he was making a big point, so he acted like an ass.
I still believe health care will look more similar than different when the day is done. A good bill will pass, if not a sufficient one. A sum of money will be appropriated, and a basic infrastructure constructed that will be, in the long-run, understood as a tremendous, even unlikely, political victory. The next steps will be easier, because $80 billion is easier to find than $900 billion, and because the argument over whether America has a universal health-care system and whether government provides some of the funding and scaffolding will be over. The money will be there. The scaffolding, too. The universal structure, built around the mandate and the exchanges and the subsidies, will be firmly in place.
At this point, an odd dynamic has developed, in which most all of the right, and some on the left, believe they’d be better served by the defeat of this bill. It is unlikely that they are both correct. But the right has had substantially more experience than the left opposing government initiatives before they can take root and grow into popular entitlements.
Look at the development of Medicare and Social Security, of Medicaid and S-CHIP, the Swedish and Canadian health-care systems, public education. Social Security was designed to exclude African Americans. Medicare didn’t cover prescription drugs. Medicaid was mainly for pregnant women and their young children. Canada’s system was limited to a single province. There was no University of California at Los Angeles.
It’s difficult to conclude that these things slip backward rather than marching forward. The $900 billion for people who need help, the regulations on insurers and the exchanges that will force them to compete, the structure that will make health care nearly universal and the trends that suggest more people — and more politically powerful people — will be entering the new system as employer-based health care erodes — it all makes this look even more like the sort of program that will take root and be made better, as opposed to the sort of common opportunity people should feel comfortable rejecting. It doesn’t feel like that now. But then, it rarely does.
Every liberal should read this. There’s a reason the Republicans are abusing every stall tactic they can muster in the Senate to delay this bill. They want to kill it all costs. It will lead to everything they despise, and everything liberals want. The details now really don’t matter. Once this is set in motion, they’ll never be able to turn back the clock.
In that context, it’s stunning to hear people like Howard Dean and Keith Olbermann play into the GOP’s hands by arguing that the bill should be scrapped. In one sense, as Kos pointed out, it’s healthy to have a real debate on the left. But Dean and Olbermann have taken it too far, risking everything.
There’s enormous disappointment among progressives about the emerging health care bill — and rightly so. That said, even as it stands it would take a big step toward greater security for Americans and greater social justice; it would also save many lives over the decade ahead. That’s why progressive health policy wonks — the people who have campaigned for health reform for years — are almost all in favor of voting for the thing.
By all means denounce Obama for his failed bipartisan gestures. By all means criticize the administration. But don’t take it out on the tens of millions of Americans who will have health insurance if this bill passes, but will be out of luck — and, in some cases, dead — if it doesn’t.
The hysteria gripping the progressive movement is out of control, capped by Keith Olbermann’s melodramatic comment last night. Get a grip, keep negotiating, and pass a bill.
Here’s another example of why progressives can’t govern. If they don’t get what they want, many of them get self-righteous and go home. It’s pitiful.
I’m watching Keith Olbermann, and he’ll soon be giving a “special comment” and it looks like he agrees with Howard Dean. Dean’s notion that we can just go to reconciliation or take this up again next year or in two years is the dumbest thing I’ve heard in years. Killing the bill is a political disaster for Democrats, and for President Obama.
It’s a good bill. Get it passed.
Olbermann is arguing that reconciliation is a real option. It’s not. It’s a last resort for a reason – you can’t get much done with it. It’s messy as hell and will hold up a host of other progressive priorities. If this deal blows up, of course I support reconciliation, and if the threat of it helps move the last Senator now, then I’m all for the bluster. But the best option is to pass the bill now.
Fortunately, congressmen like Anthony Weiner are not rushing to side with Dean. That’s been left to the blowhards.
UPDATE: Markos was on Olbermann and sounded much more balanced on this issue. Surprisingly, he didn’t join the “kill the bill” chorus and expressed some hope the bill would be improved through the conference. Of course he was pessimistic as hell, but at least he’s not being as unhelpful as Howard Dean.
UPDATE 2: This is Olbermann at his worst. He’s focusing on the name-calling coming from the right. He’s lost in the politics. In his mind the bill will “cost Obama the left.” Really? He’s completely lost his mind.
“It’s nonsense. And it’s irresponsible. And coming from him as a physician, it’s stunning. And he’s wrong. Does that answer your question?” Rockefeller responded. He ticked off the good things that were still in the health care legislation. “This’ll be good for people. Am I angry that the public option appears to have been dropped? Of course I’m angry about that,” he said. “I proposed the original bill on the floor that was the tough one. … Was I for the Medicare buy-in? Of course I was. … So what do I do? Do I take my football and run home and sulk and complain?”
Mitchell cut in, but Rockefeller wasn’t done. “I’m a grownup, you’re a grownup,” he added. “We’ve been around this business for a long time. And you never get everything you want. You don’t sulk about it. You try to keep improving the bill.”
Unlike other progressives who are taking their football and going home, Nate Silver explains why progressives are batshit crazy to vote against the Senate health care bill, even after the public option has been stripped from the bill. The posts looks closely at the economics and how it will affect a typical American family, and Nate is convinced that “for any ‘progressive’ who is concerned about the inequality of wealth, income and opportunity in America, this bill would be an absolutely monumental achievement.”