Progressives Revolt Over Health Care Deal?


Have conservative and liberal activists finally found something they can agree on? Seems the answer is, well, kind of, sort of, maybe — as some progressives are now saying that the health-care bill is so bad it needs to be trashed.

Liberal outrage over the Lieberman compromise has led a number of progressive activists to flirt with revolt. By and large, liberal legislators are stuck voting for whatever they can get Lieberman and other moderates to agree to, but on the left, some are arguing that Democrats should just walk away. On the front page of Open Left last night, Darcy Burner wrote that "Joe Lieberman's health care bill is worse than nothing. Kill it." DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas tweeted similar sentiments last night: "Insurance companies win. Time to kill this monstrosity coming out of the Senate." Across the progressive blogosphere, there's a lot of anger and frustration. 

And it seems that the anger is bleeding up to the progressive leadership: Former DNC chair Howard Dean said today that he's in favor of killing the Senate bill (he wants to go back to the House version), and Sen. Roland Burris (who was Obama's replacement) indicated that he might seriously consider refusing to support the health care bill if it doesn't have a public option — which, at this point, it obviously won't. The New York Times characterizes his opposition as a "vow" that he won't support a bill without a public plan, but I don't see anything in any of his statements that looks as strong as that. And as Philip Klein points out, Burris' statements are designed to allow him to go either way — which I suspect means that, in the end, Burris will go along with whatever the rest of the party supports. 

Obviously, the points of agreement between angry liberals and right-of-center opponents of the bill are pretty limited. But enough anti-reform sentiment on the left could end up serving right-wing goals as the increased tension between wavering moderates, squishy pragmatists, and outraged liberals is bound to make the already rocky road to passage even tougher. 


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  1. The gloating has been so great the past few days.

    1. Have you been putting butter on your popcorn like I have?

  2. Ed Schultz of the ED show wants the bill dead if it contains no public option.

    And when you’ve lost MSNBC…

    1. Ed Schultz is the anti-Limbaugh. Though I can’t figure out which one is evil, as neither one of them have the mirror-universe Spock goatee.

  3. Jesus, Suderman, can’t they give you another beat? You sound like some histerical teenager. How about doing some stuff on Ron Paul as a hot libertarian sex symbol?

    1. STFU. You’re as lame as those fucks at East Anglia, trying to silence any debate.

      So have you finally stopped fucking your mother?

      1. I thought Warty was fucking his mom. Warty, can you clarify?

        1. Warty’s mom or Edward’s?

          1. Both. And yours, too. He’s a mom-fucking machine.

            1. That’s disturbing on many levels. But that’s Warty!

            2. A regular MILF-O-MATIC

              1. Is motherfucker still a pejorative term?

                1. Pretty sure Palin killed it’s pejorative use, as a nation of men stood up and realized that they’re all motherfuckers.

                  1. With Palin’s grandkid, that makes us all wannabe grandmafuckers.

            3. Does that mean he fucked yours, too, Epi?

              OMG — is Warty Epi’s rapist dad?

        2. Yes, Warty does, but Morris lives to lick up his leavings.

      2. No, I haven’t stopped. I got some of that anal ointment from crayon. It really helps.

        1. I hope he gave you an unopened bottle.

          1. Tony and Chad helped. Mom has a big ass.

            1. Yes. Her son.

  4. You know what? It would be nice if people would turn on politicians and on the political parties when they betray the cause, whatever it is. I think socialized medicine is the height of folly, but if you’re for it, then you should oppose this bill.

    Viewing the world in strictly binary terms is crazy. But that seems to be what happens with these kinds of bills.

  5. They’ll pass something (“fix” it later). If not, no bonuses from the “fatcat” in the oval office.

    1. Hey, now! I had a job in the private sector, I spent my time behind enemy lines!

      I’m working as fast as I can to destroy capitalism… be patient.

      1. Oh that is good stuff, Barry. Bernadine and I was throwin’ around some ideas for a third book we..’er you could do. Title idea — Dreams of Punk Rock Performance Poets: Revenge of the Structural Feminists. (Call me)

        1. I’ll handle that, Bill.

  6. This is classic politics. Everyone can agree that “something must be done” but no one can agree on exactly what that is.

    So, blame democracy and cue a power grab by Obama to “fix it.”

  7. Since I’m in favor of medicare for all, no bill likely to pass will make me happy. As long as it’s not just a pure giveaway to the insurance lobby, I support a bill that gives Democrats a perceived political win. Keeping Republicans out of power is more important than getting a perfect health bill. But that’s just me.

    1. Puppet of socks.

      1. Notice that Tony wants one-party rule, which is how people like him see things.

        I’d bet he loves Raul Castro, the man who took over oppressing the Cuban people and as a bonus, spouted racist anti-Obama drivel just this week…

        1. No, he’s just a typical pathetic liberal loser who can’t make his own way in life and needs to bum off of other people.

          1. Well, Chad makes so much money, he can’t give enough of it away in taxes, so he insists on paying extra…

        2. No, I would prefer two sane parties. Unfortunately there’s one quasi-sane party and one that is completely batshit. The pragmatic thing to do is keep the fucking corporate owned religious fundamentalists out of power until something halfway non-batshit emerges to take its place.

          1. No, there’s TWO batshit insane parties that dominate the political landscape, and one quasi-sane one with the initials L and P.

          2. One man’s batshit is another man’s freedom fries.

          3. Given the chance, YOUR party would go for the perpetual power, Tony.

            So would the Republicans.

            Therefore, your argument is moot. As most of them are.

        3. Wouldn’t a political party (other than a process-oriented party like Independence) be full of hypocrites if its adherents did not desire it to be the only party? If you’re serious, you should desire to make your will manifest any way you can.

          1. IMHO, this is not true of anyone who believes in freedom and science. You want the debate (competition), because you want the best solutions. It’s not that you don’t want people who think like you to win, it’s that you want the competition there to keep them honest, innovative, and responsive.

    2. What, Tony? No means-testing? Bill Gates and the poorest hobo BOTH get the same care?

      Interesting. But not surprising, somehow.

    3. I’m glad you support the clear benefits of Team A over the filthy machinations of Team B. Only through faith in our leaders and fellow man can we prevail.

      1. Which team is Team A?

        1. Exactly.

    4. The more Donkey-luv the health bill gets the more Donkeys will be looking for work post November. If you want Dems in power after 2010, you should want this bill dead by a Democrat’s hand (that worthless fuck Joe Lieberman doesn’t count either).

    5. Since I’m in favor of medicare for all…

      There goes Tony, hating on the children again.

      1. Tastes like children, you say?

    6. Keeping Republicans out of power is more important than getting a perfect health bill.

      I.e. Power over principle.

      1. To be fair, if Repubs could find a way to be the only party, they’d do it just as quick as Dems would, given the same opportunity.

        1. That’s been amply demonstrated.

          1. I know… I’m just trying to bait Chad/Tony/crayon/Morris/et cetera…

      2. No, my principles, not to mention the wellbeing of everyone on the planet, are highly threatened by the GOP. I’m just being practical.

        1. That’s right. The GOP is secretly composed of carnivorous lizard people bent on enslaving the human race.

          1. No, Tony is one of the carnivorous lizard people bent on enslaving the human race. Republicans somewhat tend to oppose that program, that’s why he hates them.

        2. So, despite your earlier protestations, you believe your party should have all the power.

          This is how Cuba, North Korea, and other fun places work, Tony. Are you sure you want to emulate that?

  8. By all accounts I have seen, this bill would shovel unprecedented piles of money into private insurance companies, so the left jolly well ought to oppose it. Why they haven’t done so in larger numbers is beyond my understanding.

    1. I think they’re willing to overlook that because the bill hastens the coming of UHC. [cue heavenly chorus]

      1. Make that “single-payer UHC”

    2. Lester,”Why they haven’t done so in larger numbers is beyond my understanding.” because “Health and accident insurers and HMOs have spent more than $40 million on current members of Congress over the past 10 years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which analyzed Federal Election Commission data.”

      1. So you’re saying that the left is getting paid off by the insurance industry?

        That’s an interesting, if new, theory.

    3. The left is extremely vocal about their disappointment. But we have to balance that with the fact that a huge political loss for Obama might doom healthcare reform even more for far longer.

      1. We have to pass *something*, or else the terrorists win!

  9. Progressives revolting?

    Why, yes, they are revolting.

    1. And they smell bad too

      1. It wouldn’t be so bad if they’d stop farting around.

  10. Hey, maybe this WILL delay health care “reform” long enough for the proximity of the upcoming elections to force them to pay some attention to the opinion of their constituents. And given how poorly health care “reform” has been polling we may see this quietly die in 2010. That would be a true Christmas Miracle!

    1. Those who believe in miracles are batshit crazy. Tony has spoken and that settles it.

      1. the opinion is settled

  11. Democrat is the new synonym for impotent. Could this gaggle of idiots pass something if they had 80 members in the Senate?

  12. The progressives should all refuse to vote for the watered down version. I’m not for the reform, watered down or with the public option — I just like a good poker game. Call their bluff and throw it all on the table — that’s what I’d do if I was a real, ballsy kinda socialist.

  13. troy,

    They need consensus, don’t you understand? Even one voice of dissent disturbs the collective peace of these people.

    1. And, supposedly, any voice of dissent results in the deaths of X number of people. (same goes with global-warming denial.)

      1. Holocaust denial is the same as global-warming denial.

        I have spoken. No discussion allowed.

    2. No they need 60 votes out of 100 in a body that doesn’t equitably represent the people.

  14. Hey, did Obama say we were “on the prepuce of” a health-care bill?

    God, I hope so.

    1. The only time where phimosis would be a good thing.

  15. If anyone opposes this bill from the left, he’s an idiot.

    Single-payer is coming, eventually. With every Congress, the government pays the health care costs of an increasing percentage of the public. This bill isn’t a huge step towards socialized medicine; it’s an incremental step. But government only gets bigger. These gains won’t be turned back. The left should take what it can get for now, because it’s an irreversible step towards what they really want.

    1. Single-payer is coming, eventually.

      No payer (or individual payer) is coming eventually, because the entire system is going to be completely broke in about another five to ten years.

  16. I am beginning to realize that progressives are not interested in affordable healthcare for the poor and elderly. They don’t actually give a shit about social justice. They’re big hangup is punishing insurance companies for being insurance companies. They will strongly oppose any bill that doesn’t emasculate them.

    1. True dat. Liberals only care about poor people when a) they can use them as props for more power and b) when those poor people are fooled into voting for them because they’ll get more handouts.

      1. re: libs & poor people caring
        ….and when Howard Zinn can walk to an ACORN voter drive and quote “Mickey Mouse” on how oppressive capitalism makes him want to belt out little working class tunes about working on the rail road, all the live long day..

      2. Liberals Politicians in general only care about poor people when a) they can use them as props for more power and b) when those poor people are fooled into voting for them because they’ll get more handouts.


        1. But who fixes it for the fixers?

    2. That doesn’t jibe with the insurance mandate being in the bill. Every interest group has been paid off in some way to grease the passage of this bill. The only thing that has prevented it from passing thus far has been the campaign of misinformation about Medicare cuts and death panels, etc.

      Make no mistake, I oppose this idiotic health-care-reform-by-lobbyists as much as anyone, but people are opposed to this thing for the wrong reasons. We may have taken care of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid snake problem by letting loose the Palin/Huckabee/Beck mongooses, but I fear we’re going to have a hell of a mongoose problem in the future.

      1. A very good point.

        I would recommend that we immediately begin pushing for OUR version of healthcare reform: (Or I should say MY version)

        Firstly, the decoupling of employment and insurance, by rescinding the tax deduction for employers providing it. I would add a provision requiring all employers to increase their employees wages by exactly the cost of their insurance (to the employer) if they stop covering them, just to get over the immediate hurdle of the benefit loss. The latter should assuage some objections.

        Secondly, repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which includes both anti-trust provisions, and allows states to erect trade barriers against insurance competition. That should pick up a few progressives.

        Thirdly, require insurance companies to continue coverage for *existing* conditions, up to the limit of the policy, even if the patient loses employer-based insurance, or otherwise leaves the insurance company.

        That should satisfy most people’s frustration with the health insurance bureaucracy.

        1. Hazel for Health Policy Czar.

          But I think it’d be slightly more politically digestible if you extended the health insurance tax break to everyone, rather than taking it away from those who already have it.

          The idea is to level the playing field and I for one don’t so much care about the details in getting there.

          1. I’d like to avoid making the tax code even more complex than it is. Besides, inducing people to buy insurance rather than pay out of pocket is likely to have similar (if diminished) perverse effects as employer-based insurance.

            Personally, I’d prefer it if people bought less insurance rather than more. We need to get people off these comprehensive plans that cover routine checkups.

            1. But Hazel, how would afford their I-Phones, bling, nails, trendy clothes, and all sorts of other entitlements if they actually had to pay for routine office visits, lab work, and other such affordables?

              Seriously though, you forgot TORT reform and the opportunity to buy drugs from cheaper sources, i.e Canada.

              1. I’m not sure how tort reform fits into a libertarian perspective. Shouldn’t people be free to sue to their hearts content?

                Drug reimportation should certainly be legal, but it would easily cause shortages in Canada, not that I care much about that.

                However neither of these is high on my priority list.
                A minimalist bill with just the three points I listed would go a long way towards fixing the current problems with the healthcare system. And IMO, it might actually stand a chance of passing.

                1. There is a difference between damage awards, designed to make the plaintiff whole, and punitive damages, which is as you pointed out upthread, revenge (social justice).

                  I would think lessening the cost of practicing medicine (lower malpractice rates in particular) would appealing as
                  it would lessen the cost of providing services to the patient ,i.e. less defensive medicine being practiced.

                  It might also lessen the influence on trial lawyers on Congress (both sides), since most members of Congress are also lawyers and have a vested interest in skewing policy in their favor.

            2. I don’t argue what you’re saying. But in the real world, tax cuts usually sell better than what the opposition can spin as a “tax increase”, ie eliminating the current deduction.

              I wonder very much, if somebody put those three points in a bill would it pass?

              I wish the answer was a simple yes, but I don’t think so.

              1. Well, I don’t want to take on too many opposing interests at once.

                If I wanted to do everything I’d throw in cuts to medicare. But why get the AARP AND the trial lawyers lined up against it from the beginning? I don’t want to add any lead weights I don’t need.

                I think it probably would stand a good chance of passing if you made it a tax credit or deduction to individuals buying insurance. But I just don’t want to compromise on that point. The way the tax code has been rigged to benefit favored groups or interests is abhorrent.

    3. I think it’s more that their implacable hatred of capitalism and corporations gets in the way of their egalitarian desires.

      The phrase “social justice” is simply problematic, because what they really mean by “justice” is so often actually “revenge”. They just want to punish the wealthy and the corporations for their evil profits so much more than they want to provide health care to the poor. Soup kitchens are sort of dull. Mobs with pitchforks and torches on the other hand …

      1. I’m sure this has been said by someone before, but I think everything about liberals stems from a basic misunderstanding of economics. They believe the economy to be a zero-sum game, that when one person gets rich, another must necessarily become poor. They feel if they were in a true competitive situation, they would be the losers (or their overly hung up on empathizing with a loser), rather than the reality of everyone being winners of varying degrees. Thus their hatred of the rich, corporations, trade, markets, etc.

        1. Well no. It’s because their economic beliefs are greatly influenced by Marx’s “surplus value” theory.

          According to that theory, the capitalist turns a profit by paying the laborer less than the full value of his labor. i.e. The laborer “produces” $20 world of value, but only gets paid $5. The capitalist, who owns the “means of production” (i.e. the machinery in the factory, the mine, the farm, etc.) sells the product, and keeps the $15 difference.
          In other words, according to standard Marxist economics ALL capitalists are inherently thieves.

          The problem is that most of the people on the left are deeply influenced by Marx without realising it, and nobody has explained to them how they are influenced by surplus value theory and why it is wrong.

  17. This has played out exactly as I predicted – healthcare reform was sold as having different, often contradictory objectives to different groups, so unsuprisingly any concrete proposal will not enjoy broad popular support. Centrist got promises that the reform wouldn’t rock the boat too much, promising that they’d be able to retain their insurance that they liked it and that the policies that made getting insurance not linked to a job would be less difficult. The lefties were promised that it would be the ground work for single payer. Obviously, preserving the status quo for people who currently have insurance and moving towards a single-payer system aren’t compatible goals, so no matter what ends up in the bill one of the two groups are going to find it unacceptable. The abstract idea of “reform” polls well, but that’s because while most people aren’t happy with the status quo, they want different things about it changed.

    1. “The abstract idea of “reform” polls well, but that’s because while most people aren’t happy with the status quo, they want different things about it changed.”

      There was a column in Fortune some time back which made the point that there’s a good chance we’re not going to get anything that’s identifiable as “reform”, and the problem has to do with polling:
      Pollster asks “How do you feel about ending world hunger?” Pollee says: “You bet!”; huge poll numbers.
      Next poll: “How do you feel about ending world hunger if it costs half your paycheck?”
      Poll numbers tank….

  18. Ted Kennedy killed a massive health care bill in the 1970’s because it wasn’t liberal enough and after the failure of Watergate the Democrats thought that they would be in power for a while so they thought that they could wait for a better bill. That of course didn’t happen. I hope and pray for the progressives to kill this bill.

    1. Personally, the more people that die, the better. I have no interest in paying for losers with no money or job. Fuck ’em. Their cancer or whatever is not my problem.

      1. Um yeah, nice try sock puppet.

  19. In their favor, I have to say the progressives abhor the insurance mandate almost as much as libertarians. They were only going along with the bill to get some kind of public plan implemented, and they can recognize a giant subsidy to the insurance industry when they see one.

    Minus the public plan, the bill is nothing but corporate welfare.
    Let’s hope it dies.

    1. Tell me how it can die in a way that still lets the O-boy claim victory, and I’ll bet that’s how it’s going to end.

      Somehow I haven’t seen it yet.

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