Sunday, December 20, 2009
I apologize, dear Readers, for the lack of posts in the last two weeks. I have been sitting on my hands, and trying to let the legislative process run its course. I have tried, truly tried, to let the Senate work the health care reform bill through. I have attempted to have a little faith in the ability of the Senate, and even in the behind-the-scenes negotiations of the present Administration. I have even hoped for what could only be classified as a Christmas miracle - the passing of a bill that would actually cover working, middle class Americans, provide them with a strong choice, and place strict limits on the insurance giants that control the market and thus, our financial future as a nation. I have held my tongue - and you know how hard that is for me - but cannot remain silent any longer.
And now, here we are, with no public option. We have restraints in place that limit a woman's right to choose that are the worst since the Hyde Amendment. The age limit of Medicare won't be lowered to increase the number of insured Americans. If you already have insurance, you won't have the option of buying from an exchange, so you will see no cost savings. And the working middle class are left in the lurch once again.
Now, a lot of people I respect say that this is a great first step. They say Medicare started the same way and was tweaked to become the great program it is today. They say that this is the only way we could have gotten health care reform through. I have to respectfully disagree.
Our Democratic Party has managed to piss away the political capital that was so hard-earned in this election. We've managed to negotiate away much of what we wanted in this bill from the very beginning by bargaining with ourselves. And now, we're left with a watered-down bill that even Howard Dean cannot support, and given a big fat Christmas bonus to an insurance industry that's got plenty to celebrate at their luxurious staff parties this year.
Why did our Democratic House, Senate and Executive Branch allow this to happen? The one thing I have asked repeatedly through this entire legislative process is why not allow the filibuster to occur? Why not let the GOP stand there and read the phone book? Let them demonstrate their lack of regard for the American people and their obstructionist principles! Alternatively, why not run two bills, one through Reconciliation, to cover the needs of our citizens for affordable health care? Why not shut the Rethugs down over the Stupak Amendment (and why was Stupak so stupid as to do Pitt's bidding? Amazing how the Republican's name was left out of this whole debate, huh?) And what exactly is in the bill at this point? Does anyone really know?
So now, we wait. We wait to see if any of the nonsense can be beaten out of the bill (an act now, not a bill, technically speaking) in its final stop in committee. We wait to see if any sense can be made out of these measures to help the working middle class families that our Democratic majority promised to help. For God's sake, we own a majority in all but the Judicial Branch of our government! Why is this so horribly difficult???
The Hubby says we should get what we can and fix the rest later. I just don't understand whywe can't get solid Democratic legislation through when we have a majority and own The White House. I don't understand why the DNC doesn't threaten to withhold support for the Conservadems and get them behind the party line on this one. And I am continually amazed by the Democratic Party's ability to use the GOP's messmaking to get into office, and then to lose all hope of pushing its own agenda through, the agenda that we were promised when they were given a mandate by the people. Our party kicks butt in the playoffs and then chokes during the big game. Every time. Ya gotta hand it to the Republicans: once they are in, everyone is on message and following their marching orders. why we can't do the same, I have no idea...
I can't be alone in that I wouldn't mind waiting this out while we allowed the GOP to make asses out of themselves filibustering. I can't be alone in wanting us to do the right thing for working Americans and for the uninsured in this nation. And yes, there are some provisions there that still remain and are vitally important, such as losing your insurance for a preexisting condition. But there are other provisions, such as caps for treatment ("Sorry - no more chemo for you until your new benefit year kicks in...good luck with the cancer!") that are not right nor just. These issues need to be resolved. I still believe that government can do great good, and that it is a moral imperative to do so. A chance to get health care reform right will only happen once in our lifetime; now is our time to make remarkable change that will help Americans live longer and better, the insurance industry be damned. And if that makes me naive or a Pollyanna, so be it.
What do you think? (Annette, my friend, are you willing to talk me down???) I'd love to hear other perspectives, especially if you have a link to a site that might give a readable, up-to-date outline as to what is now in the Act? WIll our nation have health care reform for Christmas? Have your say, fellow Politicos, here at Momma Politico!