Howard Dean changes his tune

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.

Howard Dean softens his opposition to the health care bill

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.

Dylan Ratigan is a douchebag

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.

Ezra Klein sums up why liberals should love this bill, even with its deficiencies

He also explains why conservatives naturally hate it. It will, over time, lead to more government as the notion of universal coverage becomes expected by Americans.

Ezra Klein has made a name for himself during this health care debate. He’s one of the most sensible writers out there, and he’s great with the details and the big picture.

Here’s the latest big picture argument as to why liberals should move the bill forward.

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.

Ezra Klein blasts Howard Dean and rebuts one of his objections

Ezra Klein has it right – Howard Dean has become a “hostage-taker” in the process, threatening to blow everything up on one or two points. How does this make Dean any different from Joe Lieberman?

Klein also goes on to explain the prudent purchasers language in the bill and why it should be sufficient. As Dean acknowledged, this was John Kerry’s issue, and Kerry is very happy with the language.

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