Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"Centrists" threaten health care reform

I am not sure what a "Centrist" actually is. So far as I can tell it's a social liberal or social moderate who believes that big corporations have more rights than ordinary people. These Centrist Democrats in the Senate are a real threat to health care reform. They must be taken to task. Please everyone call the office of your senators and find out where they stand on the inclusion of a public health care plan as part of health care reform. If they do not support a robust public health care plan, then tell them they will not be re-elected; tell them they have lost your vote.

These senators are a real obstacle. They are playing with people's health and lives. Please, let them know that this will not stand. We cannot let them ruin our lives to fill the pockets of the health insurance industry.

Here is a video clip in which Senator Bernie Sanders explains the problem with "Centrists" Democrats:

As you can see, this is scary. The Republicans will probably filibuster this. Republicans do not want to help people; then only want to hurt people. They will stop at nothing to be sure health care is defeated. So these Centrist Democrats who might side with the Republicans must be told that they will not be re-elected if they do so.

A fine article in the Milwaukee Express list a number of Democratic Senators who oppose the public plan, and that they do so because they are bought off by big health insurance companies:

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has simply stated, through her flack, that she refuses to support a public option. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who has tried to fashion a plan that will entice Republicans, warns that the public option is a step toward single-payer health care-not much of an objection, considering that it's a model that serves people in every other industrialized country with lower costs and superior outcomes. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) feebly protests that her state's mismanagement by a Republican governor must stall the progress of the rest of the country. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) says he has a better plan involving regional cooperatives, but they would be unable to effectively compete with the insurance behemoths or bargain with pharmaceutical giants.

The excuses sound different, but all of these lawmakers have something in common-namely, their abject dependence on campaign contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations fighting against real reform. Consider Louisiana's Landrieu, a senator from a very poor state whose working-class constituents badly need universal coverage (and many of whom now depend on Medicare, a popular government program). According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan watchdog outfit, she has received nearly $1.7 million from corporate medical interests, including hospitals, insurance companies, nursing homes and drug firms, during the course of her political career.

The same kind of depressing figures can be found in the campaign filings of many of the Democrats now posing as obstacles to reform, notably including Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who has distinguished himself in the most appalling way. The Montana Standard, a news outlet in his home state, found that Baucus has received more campaign money from health and insurance industry donors than any other single member of Congress. "In the past six years," the Standard found, "nearly one-fourth of every dime raised by [Baucus] and his political-action committee has come from groups and individuals associated with drug companies, insurers, hospitals, medical-supply firms, health-service companies and other health professionals."

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  1. With all due respect, sir, I wish to comment on your post. Let us imagine the political spectrum as on a continuum. Moving from left to right we - for purposes of simplification - can imagine 4 groups: left, center-left, center-right, and right. We can also add far left and far right if you wish, but I'm not sure that is helpful here. In any case, as you can see, there are 3 groups to the proverbial "right" of the position of being a solid leftist.

    Now, as you have pointed out in your post, there is resistance from the center-left to public health care. Obviously, there is the same resistance from both the center-right and the right. So what you are essentially asking for here is the imposition of the will of one group - the core left - on the rest of society. This does not make sense to me on any level, and I think the polls reflect it. While there is wide public support for health reform in general, there is a lot of public resistance to massive public involvement.

    It seems clear that more of the center-lefts recognize this and, as they want to stay in office, are putting up the resistance you note.

  2. "Republicans do not want to help people; then only want to hurt people. "

    I meant to mention this in my previous comment. I take umbrage with this comment, and declare it to be incorrect on its face. I am a Republican. I wish to help people. I do not wish to hurt anyone. Your comment above is not only petty, but it is the type of dialogue that makes it harder to reach any kind of construcive concensus.

  3. Dear Anonymous,

    Two points. First, Public Opinion polls are crystal clear on this matter: The Public wants a Public health care plan. Check out the N. Y. Times/ CBS Poll. Something like 80% of the Publc wants a public option. So The idea that this is a "radical leftist view," is jibberish.

    Second, the Heath Insurance industry hurts people badly. Keeping 50 million uninsured and refusing to cover - often - even the fully insured. Other countries have government funded plans and they spend less of their GDP and everyone gets great coverage.

    The "Republicans" I spoke of are not any and all republicans, but Republicans in congress. They opposse health care reform, and want to keep the health insurance industry in full power. In short they wish to keep up this horrible situation in which people are hurting, dying, and going bankrupt for medical costs and lack of coverage. To wish that to be maintained, is to wish to hurt people.

    To opposse a public option is to wish to hurt people. All research shows this. To pretend a desire for a public option is a fringe view, when it actually the view of more than 2/3 of the country is silly.

  4. I will, however, add his. I should have specified that I meant "Republicans in congress want to hurt people (as do "centrist" democrats)." I did not mean, and do not think, all Republicans wish to hurt people.

    For instance, you say that you are a Republican and you want to help people. I believe you. There are other Republicans I know of who support the Public Option (I personally know several of these). So I don't mean to implicate all Republicans - many of whom I respect, but I do mean to implicate the ones in congress.

    I mispoke, and I apologize for not being more precise in my language.


Comments from many different points of view are welcome. But I will not publish any comments that are hateful, insulting, or filled with profanity. I welcome and encourage dialogue and disagreement but will not publish any hate speech.