Monday, October 26, 2009

Public Option Will Be in Both Senate and House Bills: The American People Win

Sure, this is Round 1, with several more to come, but it's a big win for progressives and the American people, any which way you look at it. In meetings with Sens. Baucus (Chmn., Finance) and Dodd (transitional chair of Ted Kennedy's Health Committee) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid produced a combined bill that includes the public option with an opt out provision: states may opt out of offering their citizens a choice to buy into a government-run public health insurance option to compete with private insurance.

Considering that public approval for a public option ranges from 65% and up nationwide, the politicos who have been posturing on behalf of BIG CORPORATE INSURANCE will have to justify this disgusting sellout to the American people, and in particular, their constituents.

That means you, Sen. Mary Landrieu. I'd like to see you tell the people of Louisiana, which ranks first in federal dollars per capita and last in (private) healthcare delivery and quality, why you would want to deny your constituents the public option that blue states will surely opt into. Do you really want to go there, Senator Landrieu? Do you really want to lecture us on how stupid and selfish we are because we think the public option is "free healthcare"?


That also means you, Senators Lincoln and Pryor of Arkansas. You have a really TOUGH choice to make: "Hmm ... shall I stand with the special interest private insurers or the American people?" And you, Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman, let's see just how brave you are when the voters come a-knockin'. And Nelson, cut the crap about being a "Jeffersonian Democrat," 'kay? The only similarity between you and Jefferson is that you're quite willing to make uninsured and underinsured Americans SLAVES of the private insurers -- "small government" ceding its role to the corporate monopolies. Jefferson would quite readily have tossed you into the Federalist camp.

By the way, after the despicable insurance industry vastly overplayed its hand by issuing false reports against the most conservative bill, from Finance, basically threatening to raise their rates sky-high if they didn't get their way, the House and Senate are now considering versions of repealing the insurers' antitrust exemption. You see, even the sellout DINOS don't like it when their would-be masters flaunt their would-be ownership. Hence the DINOS rebelled against their sugar daddies and got themselves a spine transplant.

Olympia Snowe, take thy "trigger" and go jump in a primordial Maine lake. This notion that the Democratic Party won its electoral majority to effect major change only to have its change agenda, including comprehensive healthcare reform, held hostage by a crabby old lady from Maine is ... well, RIDICULOUS.

We've already got bipartisanship, Mr. President. Longtime Republican Arlen Specter loves the Democratic Party so much that he switched parties, and now he's TO THE LEFT of the DINOS! What could be more bipartisan than that?

Next year, the mid-term elections with 37 governorships on the line will have the public option opt out front and center as a campaign issue. You're up, Gramps Grassley. Let's see you and your right wing colleagues put your money where your mouths are on all that talk about a "government takeover" of healthcare. You'll get the town hall crazy screamers vote, though. Good luck!

The public option opt out could well be the Republican Party's WATERLOO, a term diaper-wearing Republican Senator David Vitter used to attack President Obama. The diapers could come in handy when Mary Landrieu's Louisiana colleague craps in them.

Nice, if stinky, bit of irony. Nice move, Harry.

Postcript: For those of us who fought long and hard for a public option, against the inside-the-beltway conventional wisdom of a punditocracy of idiots, this is a sweet win. Nothing charged me up more than watching David Brooks pontificate on PBS's Newshour that the public option was "dead" and liberals were going through "various stages of withdrawal." Here's to you, Brooks, you arrogant jerk.

Progressives must keep up the pressure. We're close and we've pulled ahead. Now we've got to maintain this momentum all the way to the finish line.

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