The Democrats' Five Stages of Grief Over Health Care

Liberals mourn the death of their top legislative priority.

Therapists looking to study the five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, in that order—need look no further than Washington Democrats struggling to come to grips with the fact that the health care overhaul they spent nearly a year crafting is now dead. Every stage but the last is well represented. The only step left for Democrats is to accept that, after Republican Scott Brown's win in the Massachusetts special election, their signature reform effort is now lost.

The facts are plain for any objective observer to see. Brown, who ran a campaign focused on opposition to the Democrats' plan to remake the health care system, represents the 41st Republican vote in the Senate, meaning that Democrats can no longer break a united GOP filibuster. Consequently, for any future bill to pass in the Senate, it must have some Republican support.

Both the House and the Senate have already passed separate health care reform bills. But these bills differ significantly in their financing mechanisms, their special interest deals, and their treatment of federal funding of abortion. For reform to become law, the two legislative bodies must reconcile their differences and each pass a unified bill. But given the Republicans' unbreakable filibuster power, it's unlikely any reconciled bill could get through the Senate. Meanwhile, as a result of both longstanding policy disagreements and an upswell in political pressure stemming from the Massachusetts election, not enough members in the House are willing to accept the Senate bill as is.

Yet some Democrats are still insisting that something will pass. Still in denial are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a few top members of Obama's administration, some of whom were, even as late as Sunday afternoon, still insisting that some type of health care reform—perhaps even the comprehensive Senate bill that was the final product of their year-long effort—would pass.

Their argument is that House Democrats could pass the Senate bill and amend it to their liking in reconciliation, a process which would allow the Senate to make changes without threat of a Republican filibuster. But this plan unrealistically expects House Democrats to agree to a bill that they oppose in hopes that the changes will go through later. Even more importantly, it simply ignores the fact that, as even Pelosi has admitted, there are not enough votes for this plan to work. The argument, then, is essentially a tautology—that if more legislators were willing to vote for the bill, it could pass.

But as is often the case in Washington, these official denials serve a political purpose as a face-saving mechanism designed to appease those who have moved on to grief's next stage, anger. Amongst the Democratic base of pundits, advocates, and activists, there is a widespread belief that the bill could be saved if only Barack Obama would exert more influence over Democratic members of Congress. But blaming the White House for its hands-off approach forgets that the strategy was far more successful than President Bill Clinton's distinctly hands-on micromanagement of HillaryCare in 1994.

Rather than blame the president, other Democrats have moved on to bargaining, floating the possibility that they might pass a series of scaled back reforms in multiple bills, likely focusing on popular insurance market regulations like prohibiting discrimination based on preexisting conditions.

That strategy, however, has two major problems. The first is that there is widespread agreement amongst health policy experts that, without unpopular provisions like a mandate, such a ban would be both costly and ineffective. The second is that drawing up and passing multiple new bills would take massive amounts of time and legislative effort, especially when one factors in the high likelihood that Senate Republicans would use all available procedural tactics to slow any bill's passage—and would, after that, still probably oppose such legislation entirely.

Given that the Senate has effectively washed its hands of reform, saying that it's now up to the House to move forward if it wants, and that the White House has signaled that it will move on to new legislative priorities, other reform supporters have resigned to depression. This response is particularly acute amongst the pundit class, many of whom seem to be vacillating back and forth between this and anger.

At this time, however, acceptance is still rare, and those who've flirted with it—like Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, who walked back a statement that "our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened"—have not yet fully embraced it. (No one ever said moving through the stages of grief was easy—or quick.)

If there is a lesson in the bill's collapse, and the ensuing anguish from disheartened Democrats, it is that those who put their faith in politics will most likely find that what they get in return is, in fact, more politics. So for those ailing Democrats whose belief in this bill has shaken their faith in the power of politics to produce political change, well, grief is a terrible thing, but as any therapist will say, it's never too late to get help. 

Peter Suderman is an associate editor at Reason magazine.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    You know, people always talk about the five stages of grief, yet you never hear about the five stages of schadenfreude.

  • ||

    Passing indifference
    Piqued curiosity
    Bubbling laugh
    Pointed guffaw
    Erectile joy

  • ||

    I stand corrected!

  • ||

    Just trying to help out.

  • ||

    You mean, erected.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    +1

  • Maverick||

    If it were up to me, I'd add "Poop Throwing" to the stages of grief. Metaphorically or literally. Take your pick.

  • Alex Forrest ||

    Let me know how that works out Dan Gallagher.

  • ||

    Personally, I think now would be an opportune moment to take advantage of the "bargaining" phase to manipulate them into passing some market-oriented reforms.

  • ||

    Given that the GOP is still actively trying to quash libertarian elements in its mix (as far as policy-setting goes, anyway--they'll keep the votes), I suggest that the Democrats reinvent themselves as the limited government, pro-liberty, fiscal responsibility party. Shit, they were once the pro-slavery party, so any kind of change can happen, right?

  • Old Mexican||

    Well, Mark Levin does hate libertarians.

  • Soonerliberty||

    Well, he says he is libertarian economically, but then he bashes the social stances. He's a typical conservative, really. He just doesn't understand the hypocrisy of advocating abolition of economical barriers while supporting the raising of an intrusive state in moral affairs.

  • The Man||

    Yes by all means---abolish the economical barriers---then all we'll have left will be those expensive, high tech, high concept barriers imported from France.

  • zel||

    You would hope this would be possible, but the Dems in spite are likely to quash anything market oriented that at least smells like it "could" come from the GOP.

  • ||

    Co-opt it! Make it yours!

  • ||

    Well, repealing McCarran-Fergeson has the support of progressives. We get interstate insurance competition, they get rid of the anti-trust exemption.

    Also, equalizing the tax deduction for individual insurance purchases should have bipartisan support. How can you be *against* a deduction for health insurance?

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    You always seem to make very good sense HM. I always look for your posts.

  • Paul||

    Democrats made the classic blunder of confusing broad concensus that something needed to be done with healthcare, vs. what needed to be done with healthcare.

    They were truly convinced that the what was whatever free-floating ideas they had rattling in their collective brains.

    They quickly discovered that the what is the most important part. And the most impossible to agree on. Because the what has real effects on peoples lives, their pocketbooks, and their ability to get quality care. And lastly, when Americans look at the systems that the Democrats and NPR keep touting as "models for an American system", the harder we squint, the less impressed we are at these so-called models.

  • kinnath||

    Democrats made classic blunder of getting involved in a ground war in Asia . . . . .

  • OMG||

    I hear a few of them even tried to match wits with a Sicilian

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    ...when electorial death was on the line, none-the-less.

  • Olympia Snowe||

    ...meaning that Democrats can no longer break a united GOP filibuster.

    You know, my name hasn't been in the news lately...

  • ||

    That raises an interesting question. If the GOP stays unified and helps the Democrats continue their appearance as the Crazy Incompetent Party, then all of those senior GOP members have chairmanships on their horizons. Wouldn't that fact alone help to retain unity, even with people like Snowe?

  • ||

    I don't think the Republicans have ceased looking liek a crazy incompetent party themselves.

    In fact, I think that right now is a golden opportunity for them to become white knights, riding to the rescue with their own version of health care reform. That would be more likely to help them win.

    I'm not saying that it would necessarily be a libertarian version of reform, unfortunately. But it's a crucial opportunity to reshape the agenda in a way that would make them look like heros.

    However, I suspect that R's will let their Team Red partisanship get the better of them. They'd rather see the D's fail than pass something that they actually want.

  • ||

    The Republicans are too scared that any action by them might somehow slow or stop the kamikaze plane that is the Democratic party from plunging into the wine-dark waters of the sea.

  • Maxwell||

    you have the most poetic snark

  • ||

    Too optimistic there. I don't think the Dems are in nearly as much trouble as you think they are.

    Just because the progressive have shut up for a bit doesn't mean they have ceased to exist.

  • smartass sob||

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I pretty much agree with everything except the tax deductions for charity work thing, but that is because I think the tax rate should be flat and not encourage or discourage particular actions.

  • Chad||

    There version of health care reform is

    1: Tort reform (I agree on this one).

    2: Letting people buy out of state insurance, which basically implies that all the insurers will flee to the state with the least regulations and taxes, and then sell crap products. That will sure make it "cheaper", but you will get what you pay for.

    3: Throw a few billion at the states, and let them figure it out.

    Hmmm....THAT will sure fix our problems, eh?

  • ||

    Get government out of providing medical services? Promote competition through deregulation?

    I want to see poor people getting cheap medical services at Wal-Mart. Yes, from Chinese doctors. Why not?

  • Chad||

    We are already importing lots of doctors. There is nothing wrong with that.

    If Wal-Mart can run a hospital or doctor's office on the cheap, let them go for it. Nothing is stopping them.

  • ||

    Well, yeah actually something is. It's call "regulation" fucktard.

  • ||

    If Wal-Mart can run a hospital or doctor's office on the cheap, let them go for it. Nothing is stopping them.

    Nothing but mountains of regulations that are bought and paid for by the existing vendors in the medical field, you mean?

    Nobody can run a hospital on the cheap in the USA. The government has seen to that.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Problems? My health insurance rocks. Yours doesn't? Hmph...

  • Brian Trust||

    "2: Letting people buy out of state insurance, which basically implies that all the insurers will flee to the state with the least regulations and taxes, and then sell crap products. That will sure make it "cheaper", but you will get what you pay for."

    That's better than them getting what I pay for.

    Furthermore, there will be more out there to purchase than just 'crap products,' if one is willing to pay for them. One would likely also be able to especially tailor products more to their specific needs (my healthcare plan, for example, would not cover maternity care.)

  • ||

    Yeah, because we all know that if you let people buy what they want, the only thing they will buy is crap.

    I mean consumers never make any choice based on anything other than price right?

  • Chad||

    Which regulation is that, Hazel? Why can't Wal-Mart open up a hospital right next door to, or even adjoining, one of their super-stores? Do all fifty states happen to have this regulation?

  • ||

    They have in some places. But the clinics are limited by licensing requirements and regulations on what nurse practitioners (who staff these things) are allowed to do.

    Also, I believe there's a general regulation on doctors offices that prevents them from operating in conjunction with a business like a pharmacy. Have you ever noticed how when you go to Lenscrafter's the optomotrist has to maintain a completely separate business legally, even though his office conjoins the Lenscrafter's shop? For some reason, it's illegal for Lenscrafter's to employ an optomotrist directly. They have to maintain the farce that it's a separate business.

  • ||

    After doing some research I've verified that yeah, the main impediemnt seems to be laws in some states requiring that medical clinics be physician-owned.

    http://www.immediatecarebusine.....ssLane.pdf

  • spambot||

    What a friggin idiot that he thinks WalMart can just setup a hospital and there is nothing to stop them. No wonder they believe in the deregulation under Bush meme. It is just stupidity plain and simple.

  • ||

    all the insurers will flee to the state with the least regulations and taxes, and then sell crap products.

    No, Chad. The reason that insurers behave as they do today, is because they are so regulated. The regulations protect them from competition.

    -jcr

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    You left out medical savings accounts, which would take power away from Democrats - which is the reason Democrats are against it.

  • kinnath||

    Harry Reid burned that bridge a few weeks ago.

  • ||

    Ya know, I bet Olympia Snowe is just waiting for Reid to come crawling back, hat in hand.

  • ||

    Olympia Snowe said she was "Surprised and disappointed" by Harry Reid last fall. That is senatorial comity speak for "The bastard lied to me then double crossed me."

    I don't think Snowe will be coming back

  • wingnutx||

    Publicly calling her useless was a clever long-term strategy. He's playing chess, not checkers.

  • kinnath||

    Not from the evidence laid forth so far . . . .

  • ||

    Reid? Reid's not smart enough to play chess. Perhaps he's playing Candyland.

  • wingnutx||

    Chess is the one that pops the dice, right?

  • ||

    No, I think it's the one with the flags and the bombs.

  • wingnutx||

    You're right, then. That shit has way too many pieces for Harry to keep track of.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    And when Reid feels a little crazy, it's Chutes and Ladders.

  • ||

    "Perhaps he's playing Candyland."

    LOL! Or chutes and ladders, where over confidence and bad behavior leads to a big slide.

  • Paul||

    Harry Reid burned that bridge a few weeks ago.

    And Ted Kennedy drove off it years ago.

  • PIRS||

    +1

    RIP
    Mary Jo Kopechne
    July 26, 1940 – July 18, 1969

    Never Forget what politicians do when the media is not watching them like a hawk.

  • ||

    "And when I returned.. The Senate seat and the pickup were gone." - Ted Kennedy's Ghost.

  • The Democrats||

    Every stage but the last is well represented.

    1) (Screaming) No! NO!! *This* shock will bring it back to life!

    2) (Solemnly) I accept that you GOP SOBs killed it.

  • Mike M.||

    Pete, I like your new tone a lot as compared to a month or two ago when it looked like the passage of a bill was a fait accompli. Keep up the good work, this is change I can believe in.

  • ed||

    those who have moved on to grief's next stage, anger

    That's where Obama is now. Mister Nice Guy didn't get anywhere by being cool, so now, in desperation, comes the phony anger act. It's comically transparent. The State of the Union Address should be a hoot. Over/under on how many times Bouncing Nancy completes a cycle?

  • ||

    Speaking of grief, has anyone seen Tony or Chad lately?

  • ||

    Technically, Tony and Chad.

  • .||

    Thumbing through the O's in an elementary school dictionary, perhaps?

  • Chad||

    I had an interesting weekend. I spent it with my parents, in a very rural town. It is clear that the opinion on health care up there is "Whatever Rush told me". They had no clue what was actually in the bill, and just spouted random right-wing rhetoric. It's so sad watching these people fight against their own interest because Rush said so.

    Btw: I listened to both Rush and Hannity on the way up there...I know exactly what they say. The folk up there were repeating their crap verbatem.

  • Paul||

    They had no clue what was actually in the bill

    What a coinkidink. Neither do the Democrats.

  • Chad||

    That is not my experience at all. Of course, the Democrats I know personally are educated. Most of the Republicans I know aren't. Coincidence? Doubtful.

  • ||

    Your experience is apparently woefully limited.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    I knew it wouldn't be long before Chad referred to his 'education'.

    Elitist much?

  • Chad||

    Yes, I am elite. Deal with it.

    I can't decide whether it is funny or sad that so many libertarians have turned to anti-science, anti-education jealousy.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    We don't go around telling YOU how to live YOUR life, Chad. But you and your ilk damned well participate in that kind of patrician, paternalistic behavior.

    So do Republicans, for that matter. But right now, it's your party in charge, and they want to run our lives for us according to their template.

    Fuck that.

  • ||

    Oooooo, can I try? Most of the (rich) Democrats I know are trust-fund babies, most of the (rich) Republicans I know work for a living. Most of the libertarians I know are smarter than either group. Coincidence? Doubtful.

  • Chad||

    Perhaps you missed the news...lots of "rich" people are on the left, and "trust-fund babies" are a very small minority of them.

    I'd love to see a statistical breakdown of the political preferences of trust-fund babies. I'd bet they lean right. Can anyone prove me wrong?

  • OMG||

    Sadly, a met several trust fund babies when went to law school - to a person, they were die hard liberals (although I liked several of them).

  • Chad||

    The only children of very rich people I know are not Americans, and seem to work just as hard as anyone. I know plenty of people (like me) who came out of the lower part of the middle class and are now highly educated...and as far as I know, we almost universally support Democrats now.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Chad, you say all that as if you were actually proud of it.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Chad IS proud to think of himself as being better than everyone else based solely on his liberal do-gooderessness factors.

    That, and he's bigoted against people who didn't go to the right schools and not belonging to the Democrat Branch of the Brand X Party.

  • Chad||

    No, it is based on my actions, not what I "support". Of course, there is no conflict between the two.

  • spambot||

    The fact that you believe there is nothing stopping Walmart from setting up a hospital means you are NOT highly educated.

  • ||

    Well, since you seem to know the stats on the percentage of wealthy leftists that have trust funds, maybe you can prove yourself wrong. I doubt it though. If you do decide to do the analysis, leave both New York and Maryland out of your analysis. I can tell you with extreme confidence that old money=liberal in both those states.

  • Maxwell||

    Fascinating. Let's see: Clinton and Obama both came from poor families and worked their asses off to get into Ivy League schools. George Bush was born to a well connected oil family and was accepted to Yale with SAT scores anyone on this forum could beat. McCain was a terrible student and got into the Naval Academy, then was selected for flight training despite being the second to worst student in his class - but I'm sure that was unrelated to his father and grandfather both being Admirals, right?

    Im not a huge fan of Obama, but the constant republican portrayal of anyone who disagrees with them as a snooty elitist is absurd. It's the republicans who embody the prep-school, frat boy, trust-fund to board room career path. Democrats, for all their faults, seem to actually appreciate education and should be applauded for that. Or perhaps many of you think this magazine should be renamed 'Faith' to make the anti-learning Sarah Palin crowd more comfortable.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    You may have a valid point or two, Max, but right now the elitist left is in power, which is just as bad as having the elitist right in power.

  • Maxwell||

    Well, my point is not that one is better than the other. It's that accusations of elitism in general bug the crap out of me. I think it's a dangerous and obnoxious trend to dismiss people who actually strive to understand things or develop some level of expertise. If I were merely dismissing people for their fashion sense or taste in music, sure, that's snobbish, but to claim someone is an elitist for having a strong (and informed) opinion is absurd.

  • ||

    Of course, the Democrats I know personally are educated.

    No they're not, Chad. They just believe that they're educated. What they are, is indoctrinated.

    -jcr

  • JohnD||

    Well Chad (or Tony) my Republican representitive is a medical doctor. I would imagine his education is at least equal to yours. But the big difference between he and you is he isn't a freaking MORON...

  • ||

    I had an interesting weekend. I spent it with my parents, in a very rural town cosmopolitan coastal city. It is clear that the opinion on health care up there is "Whatever Rush Paul Krugman told me". They had no clue what was actually in the bill, and just spouted random right left-wing rhetoric. It's so sad watching these people fight against their own interest because Rush Krugman said so.

    Fish. In. A. Barrel.

  • Chad||

    You just shot yourself in the face, fool. You just equated getting your information from a Nobel laureate to getting your information to a partisan hack.

    LOL!

    Pwnage!

    You guys do make it easy sometimes.

  • ||

    Krugman won a Nobel Prize in Medicine? Wow, he must be seriously smart.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    RCD

    You sure got to Chad with that one. "fool" LOL

  • ||

    Chad|1.25.10 @ 6:22PM|#
    "You just shot yourself in the face, fool. You just equated getting your information from a partisan hack to getting your information to a partisan hack."
    FIFY

  • wingnutx||

    Leave Al Gore alone!

  • wingnutx||

    Leave Al Gore alone!

  • Chad||

    Five responses so far, not one with a whit of intelligence. Par for the course 'round these parts.

    You guys really work hard to make my points sometimes. I do appreciate it, you know.

    *hugs* for the help!

  • ||

    Chad|1.25.10 @ 7:51PM|#
    "Five responses so far, not one with a whit of intelligence...."
    Well, that makes five responses with more intelligence than the original post.

  • Chad||

    You really don't get it, do you? I am playing you boys like a fiddle tonight. LOL.

  • ||

    So far you've made wild claims, absent anything like evidence.
    That's "Playing [...] like a fiddle"? And the "LOL" is soooo impressive to 15yos.
    Does your mommy have a snack for you upstairs?

  • Chad||

    I refuse to present you "evidence" that can be found with three seconds of googling the obvious. If you are that lazy, you wouldn't read it anyway.

  • ||

    Chad|1.25.10 @ 9:01PM|#
    "I refuse to present you "evidence"..."
    I'm not surprised.

  • Chad||

    Nor am I surprised by your combination of laziness and stupidity. The answers to your question can be found at the very top of the obvious google search. I think at this point you would have out-grown such hand-holding.

  • ||

    You make the claim, and *I'm* lazy for not providing evidence?
    Exactly how brain-dead are you?

  • Chad||

    The evidence can be found in about ten seconds. You clearly haven't looked, nor bothered to read the information I linked for you. THAT is why you are both stupid and lazy.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Krugman, those Kleins, and Stein etc. are not fucking economists, no matter what PhD's, prizes, and columns they have. I know more about economics than them put together.

  • Chad||

    It is so sad that libertarians are resorting to crass anti-intellectualism. It is the last resort of the desparate.

  • Chad||

    It is so sad that libertarians are resorting to crass anti-intellectualism. It is the last resort of the desparate.

  • Chad||

    It is so sad that libertarians are resorting to crass anti-intellectualism. It is the last resort of the desparate.

  • Mr. J||

    Now with 3 times the elitism!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Chad isn't an elitist... he just thinks he's better than anyone who inhabits the right-of-center portion of the electorate.

  • Chad||

    No, just most of you. There are some genuinely good (though mis-informed) people on your side.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    The "intellectuals" we consider worthy of being regarded as experts sorely needs to be challenged. Indeed, it already is, which is why I keep reading about academic types throwing hissy-fits about the growth of for-profit higher education, community colleges becoming "four-year" institutions, the growing prevalence of sources for information beyond those with PhD's, etc. I put more respect with people who have real practical experience rather than someone who spent ten-plus years kissing ass for some fucking graduate degree while they avoided actual work in their field for fear of "soiling" their credentials.

  • ||

    Well, it's obvious what you are rebelling against.

  • Chad||

    I am not too worried. The status quo will collapse within the next 10-15 years, and major change will come then. Remember, the insurance industry itself predicted a 79% price increase in the next ten years without change. How many of you fools think your boss is going to be paying twenty grand for your plan come 2020?

  • Paul||

    My boss isn't willing to pay it now, which is why any socialized healthcare plan will be at the behest of corporations and special interests.

    Corporate welfare writ large, Chad.

  • Chad||

    Yep, and when a critical mass of people hit the private market and realize how cluster-@#$@#ed it is, and then tell their friends how cluster-@#$$#ed it is, it will be over.

    The individual market can never work due to adverse selection. You wind up with a system that is a mix of "super high deductible, pray you don't get really sick" plans with "LOL - prexisting condition! Fork over your soul or die" plans that almost no one can afford.

  • ||

    The status quo will collapse within the next 10-15 years,

    I'm pretty sure people were saying the same thing when ClintonCare augured in.

    Although, you are right in this way, Chad. The status quo (meaning, the entitlement and wealth transfer state) will collapse of its own weight at some point. But that isn't exactly going to open the door for the mother of all entitlement programs.

  • Chad||

    SS will not collapse and only needs minor tinkering to fix. Medicare will collapse unless something changes, but that hypothetical will never occur. Things WILL change.

  • RM||

    It's already bankrupt. How exactly is minor tinkering going to fix that?

  • Chad||

    How is a system that brings in more than it sends out "bankrupt"? It can be "saved" from running out of money by very modest tax increases or benefit cuts. Medicare has much larger issues unless we reform our health care system.

    The fact that you do not know the state of SS's finances implies that you have never bothered to look.

  • ||

    Chad|1.25.10 @ 7:49PM|#
    "How is a system that brings in more than it sends out "bankrupt"? It can be "saved" from running out of money by very modest tax increases or benefit cuts."
    Define "modest".

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Define "modest".

    Oh, at least half of what you make.

  • ||

    How is a system that brings in more than it sends out "bankrupt"?

    It's spending the money it takes in on government IOUs, that's how. If any private company bought its own bonds with its workers' pension funds, somebody would end up behind bars.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Chad|1.25.10 @ 6:24PM|#
    "SS will not collapse and only needs minor tinkering to fix."
    That's what Madoff said...

    "Medicare will collapse unless something changes, but that hypothetical will never occur. Things WILL change."
    Yes, they will change. The payouts will be cut and your taxes will rise. Drastically. Until it collapses.

  • OMG||

    Please defined minor tinkering.

  • Chad||

    A fraction of a percent tax increase, some means-testing, a one-time few-percent benefit cut, etc. SS is not far from being able to balance is books for the indefinite future.

  • ||

    Strangely, Chad has found the *answer* when everyone else is saying "WIH should we do!?"
    OK, you made the claim, let's see the numbers. Specifics, please.

  • Chad||

    The answers aren't hard to find, Ron. It is getting babies like you libertarians to accept some little haircuts and tax increases that is hard.

    I am not going to do your homework for you tonight. I have better things to do (read, "I am chatting on other boards with the adults").

    I start you here, with one typical bill.

    http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/solvency/index.html

  • ||

    Chad|1.25.10 @ 9:00PM|#
    "The answers aren't hard to find, Ron."
    In that case, it should be a snap for you, Chad.

    "I am not going to do your homework for you tonight. I have better things to do (read, "I am chatting on other boards with the adults")."
    It's not *my* homework, bozo; you made the claim. And the adults would be your mom with the snacks?

    "I start you here, with one typical bill.
    http://www.socialsecurity.gov/.....index.html"
    Uh, didn't bother to read the link you included?
    That's not a "bill" it's a S/S compilation of proposals that supposedly, might, maybe, under some circumstances, perhaps help.
    I see the English language isn't your major form of communication.
    I asked for "Specifics", and I won't do *your* homework; you can look that up.
    Specifics, Chad. You made the claim, you back it up. In specifics.

  • Chad||

    I meant to link one of the bills, but that website is quirky and only links the parent site. Any of them will do, of course. They all explain modest tweaks to SS and how they would affect its solvency. You can pick-and-choose your favorite tweaks, and as long as they add up to the proper total, the problem is solved. None of the tweaks are radical.

    There. I have provided your data. Do you want me to hold your hand when you go potty, too?

  • ||

    Chad|1.25.10 @ 9:43PM|#
    "I meant to link one of the bills, but that website is quirky and only links the parent site."
    And strangely, you claimed "The answers aren't hard to find, Ron". Well, Chad, as the claimant, you seem to have found them not so easy to find.

    "Any of them will do, of course."
    No, if "any of them will do", there wouldn't be a question, would there? Specifically (I know you can find the definition), please list which one is the magic bullet for each of the problems you claim are solved.

    "They all explain modest tweaks to SS and how they would affect its solvency. You can pick-and-choose your favorite tweaks, and as long as they add up to the proper total, the problem is solved. None of the tweaks are radical."
    Nope; you made the claim, don't ask me to find the evidence for you. Tell us, in *specifics* which proposal mitigates which of the problems. In specifics, Chad.

    "There. I have provided your data. Do you want me to hold your hand when you go potty, too?"
    You've done nothing of the sort; you've said "I claim it; you find the evidence for my claim".
    I presume logic wasn't part of your education? And how are those snacks, Chad?
    By the way, Chad, here's a link that shows you're full of shit; the details are easy to find: http://reason.com/
    I've provided your data; do you want your mommy to wipe your ass for you?

  • Chad||

    The official government website that clearly links the data you asked for, and pops up at or near the top of relevant searches, is only hard to find for idiots like you. Seriously. You suffer from a serious brain-rot disease that you need to have looked at.

    Does it exceed your limited ability to comprehend when I expect you to be able to figure out that you should click on, say, a link entitled

    "Estimated Financial Effects of Several Social Security Reform Options Requested by the National Academy of Social Insurance"

    without me holding your hand?

    For the love of God, I can't believe anyone is this stupid.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    "The status quo (meaning, the entitlement and wealth transfer state) will collapse of its own weight at some point."

    Democrats will just find a way to reanimate the corpse... at a cost of trillions of dollars in future debt.

    Chad thinks we can just tax our way out of the inevitable collapse. What a twit.

  • ||

    I'm inclined to think that thing as likely to improve when it gets to the point that employers start dropping their insurance. When everyone buys their own insurance instead, they'll start moving to high-deductible plans and that will impose downward pressure on prices.

    Except in states where they have an individual mandate and community rating. Those people are still fucked. Everyone else will be fine.

  • ||

    Extrapolation is a dangerous game.

  • Paul||

    And cocaine is a hell of a drug.

  • ||

    It's true. I have a sound clip of Rick James saying "Extrapolation is a dangerous game."

  • wingnutx||

    I have one of Tim Geithner yelling "Fuck your couch!"

  • Tom K.||

    But health care reform isn't dead.....nice article.....but not relevant when they pass a bill.

  • ||

    Tom K.|1.25.10 @ 6:03PM|#
    "But health care reform isn't dead.....nice article.....but not relevant when they pass a bill."
    Well, since you define neither 'health care reform' nor a time span, that's a pretty safe prediction.
    I'd say she died near a body of water. And if you don't agree, you can prove me wrong.

  • ||

    This is called the "denial" stage.

    Chad is called the "anger" stage.

  • ||

    Hazel Meade|1.25.10 @ 9:18PM|#
    "Chad is called the "anger" stage."
    You're too kind; Chad is the "stupid" stage; hoping that the rest of the world won't see the misdirection.

  • ||

    How the hell could you tell if a liberal was in mourning or not anyway? You can only be so dreary and morose, after all....

  • Ratko||

    Sigh, poor little fellers wasting a year like that.

    Hopefully they'll find something to waste a few more years on. If they think they're doing something, even if it's just busy work, that will keep them occupied and out of trouble. Making trouble for us that is.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Isn't there some way we can plug these people into a permanent virtual reality game, that begins the minute they're sworn into office and ends when their term is over?

    I propose a constitutional amendment that prohibits congress from meeting more than 27.3 seconds per year on any sort of official business. Unless a public referendum specifically gives them permission to do otherwise.

    Such referendums can only be voted on April 15 of each year, and each ballot must be marked in bold letters:

    Are you SURE you want to let these fucks go back at it again?

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    How did we come to get all these Euro Socialists on this side of the Atlantic, anyway?

    Uh oh, my racism is showing again.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    If it weren't for Chad's ping backs, there'd probably be almost no comments on this thread.

    Just sayin.

  • RCTL||

    Five stages of Peter North

    Unzip
    Flop out
    Harden
    Inhale
    Spooge!

  • ||

  • ||

    "The argument, then, is essentially a tautology—that if more legislators were willing to vote for the bill, it could pass."

    If the queen had balls, she'd be king.

  • ||

    Chad wrote:

    "Which regulation is that, Hazel? Why can't Wal-Mart open up a hospital right next door to, or even adjoining, one of their super-stores? Do all fifty states happen to have this regulation?"

    Google the phrase "certificate of need," dude. Jesus.

  • Chad||

    And the Mighty Wal-Mart can't get through a regulatory hurdle that tens of thousands of other businesses have? Ummm...yeah.

  • ||

    Don't worry. The Republicans will soon put thru their own "reasonable health care reform", which--surprise!--will contain exactly the same social controls and corporate welfare as the Dem's defeated monster.

  • me||

    I'd say the hardcore Left is still in denial about the collapse of their socialized medicine scheme... they're just getting started into the 5 stages of grief.

    As a collective, the more moderate Left is in the "bargaining" stage right now. They've gone through the denial and anger stages, and are now seeking to "bargain" with the mainstream of the voters... and save their skins.

    Some on the Left have even advanced to the "depression" stage, as they see it's hopeless, and they'd rather abandon their seats in Congress than face the voters.

    It won't be until after the election that the Left finally moves into the acceptance phase, after the voters flay them.

    The hardcore Left never will accept it, however, as their infantilism precludes such a maturation.

  • ||

    Apparently, some people think the Massachusetts election was the final statement on what constitutes American government. Oh no. Pay attention, political class. We the Angry American Public are not done yet.

  • journey home||

    "Use Senate reconciliation and expand Medicare via the Senate’s buy-in provisions.

    The CBO has already signed off on this as a means of saving money.

    More importantly, if more Americans can do a buy-in with Medicare, it creates more cost control (because there’s a genuine “public option” competitor). It also helps to solve the problems of pre-existing conditions, because Medicare does not deny coverage on this basis.

    Allowing a Medicare buy-in to Americans under 65 would give people a genuine alternative to private insurance and thereby render the pre-existing question moot.

    It would also lower Medicare costs by expanding the risk pool of patients (the great bulk of medical expenses are accounted for by a small number of people, mostly the elderly, requiring very expensive treatment). And it would substantially enhance the global competitiveness of American corporations. After all, in what other country in the world is health care a marginal cost of production for business?" Marshall Auerback

  • ||

    Why not just have the government only cover catastrophic and chronic coverage?? Let everyone else for the free market....

  • abercrombie milano||

    How the program is administered varies by state. Some states use a Medicaid expansion program, where SCHIP money is handed out according to the rules and regulations of Medicaid but with expanded coverage of older children and those that do not qualify for Medicaid. Other states create a separate plan for SCHIP that is administered more like private health insurance plans. SCHIP in Michigan, also known as MIChild, is ordered as a combination of the two. Regardless of the management system, inpat

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