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lowkell

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Are There Any Good Arguments Against Health Care Reform?

Over the past year, we've "debated" health care reform in this country. The reason I put "debate" in quotes is that much of what we've seen hasn't been so much "debate" as it has been people shouting at each other, putting their hands over their ears and yelling "no," and tossing out straw men and misinformation (aka, "lies") as if they were going out of style.  

Now, with (Democratic) health care reform legislation looking to be on the verge of passage, I was trying to decide if I'd heard anyone make any sensible (Republicans/right-wing) arguments in the past year against it. So far, I'm not doing too well on that score. For instance:

*"Death panels!" There aren't any and never were any. This one is nothing more than tinfoil hat territory and paranoid ranting, not to mention an automatic disqualification of Sarah Palin for President for ever claiming such a thing.

*"Socialized medicine!" To the contrary, what this legislation actually does is expand the market for private insurance. What it doesn't do is let everyone by into Medicare, create a single-payer system (which many on the left want to do), or even create a public option so that people aren't forced to buy private health insurance from companies whose business model is "health care for profit." That model, unfortunately, isn't challenged by current health care reform legislation. If anything, it's entrenched.

*"It will ruin the 'best health care system in the world!'"  Actually, the United States ranks #41 in the world on infant mortality, #46 on life expectancy, 37th in overall performance and 72nd (out of 191) "by overall level of health."  So much for that "argument."

*"The bill is so long!" Yes, health care reform legislation has many pages, but that's because the U.S. health care system is large and complicated more than anything else. Also, it's worth noting that 5 of the 10 longest bills over the last decade were written by Republicans. That includes "No Child Left Behind Act" by none other than John Boehner, who now likes to use health care reform legislation as a combination doorstop/prop. Whatever.

*"They're ramming it through!" Hahahahaha. Sorry, but I just can't help laughing at a claim that an issue that's been debated for decades, including the intensive "debate" of the past year, is being "rammed through." Also, the concept that a bill which has already passed the Senate with 60 votes ("filibuster proof" majority) and the House of Representatives is being "rammed" anywhere. More broadly, this is a case of "elections have consequences," just as Bush's tax cuts for rich people and war against Iraq were the consequences of electing him.  The only difference is that Bush didn't run on invading Iraq, while Democrats clearly ran in 2008 on reforming health care. It's called a "mandate," and it's also called "Democracy."

*"It costs too much!" Of course, the fact is that the current "health care for profit" system costs too much, and also that rates are rising through the roof. Sorry, can't blame this one on government; instead, it's the wonders of the "free market," combined with stupid policies that subsidize junk food and sedentary lifestyles that encourage obesity, that are doing this.  In reality, Democratic health care reform legislation  will reduce the deficit, but admittedly it won't "bend the cost curve" sufficiently.  That's one reason I support a public option, which of course has mainly been opposed by...wait for it...the same Republicans who say this "costs too much!" Nice, huh? The bottom line is that not doing anything about soaring health care expenditures in this country will bankrupt us.  This bill will help, although admittedly not enough. Still, it's a start, which is far more than the "Party of No" has offered.

*"It's unconstitutional for government to force people to buy health insurance!" We'll let the courts fight this out, but for now I'll defer to Stuart Taylor, who writes:

The answers are yes, yes, and that's the point! according to most of the experts who have weighed in on whether the Supreme Court would uphold a mandate for individuals to buy comprehensive health insurance unless they're already covered by employer-based plans. They cite the justices' very broad reading since the New Deal of Congress's powers to regulate interstate commerce and to tax and spend.

So much for that argument, in other words.

Anyway, those are just a few of the "arguments" against health care reform legislation I've heard over the past year. As far as I can determine, none of them hold any water. That, of course, hasn't stopped the Eric Cantors and John Boehners (and Ken Kookinellis) of the world from making the "arguments." Fortunately, we're not "mandated" to listen to these guys.

P.S. There are arguments from the left against the current health care reform legislation, mainly that it doesn't go far enough, that it entrenches the health-care-for-profit system, that it doesn't enact "single payer," that it doesn't give people a "public option," etc. I agree with most of these, but don't believe they're sufficient in the end to oppose passing the current bill.  What we need to do is do this, then improve it down the road, first and foremost by giving people a public option.

DPVA Calls On McDonnell To Rein In “Extreme” Cuccinelli

Democratic Party of Virginia Executive Director David Mills writes about Ken Cuccinelli's "apparent comments in support of Virginia pursuing legal challenges to federal laws based on questioning President Obama's birth certificate."
Unlike Republican leaders, Virginians are more concerned with their jobs and their children's schools than with pursuing conspiracy theories and a narrow social agenda. But in the last month, under the leadership of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Governor Bob McDonnell, Virginia is rapidly becoming a national laughingstock.

Attorney General Cuccinelli owes Virginians an explanation for his out-of-whack priorities. While our Commonwealth struggles with a $4.2 billion dollar deficit, the Attorney General has shown that he's willing to use the resources of his taxpayer-funded office to push his own radical agenda. Virginians shouldn't be asked to foot the bill for Ken Cuccinelli's irresponsible behavior and missplaced priorities.

The Attorney General should pledge today not to spend a dime of our tax dollars pursuing ridiculous conspiracy theories about President Obama. We hope Governor McDonnell is making plans to rein in his 2009 ticketmate and protect Virginians' money from being spent on Ken Cuccinelli's extreme political agenda.


UPDATE: Politico reports that Cooch has issued a statement.
I absolutely believe that President Obama was born in the United States. I don't buy into the claims that he wasn't. On the recording, I was asked a hypothetical legal question, and I gave a hypothetical legal answer in response. As I said previously, this issue was not a part of my campaign, and it is not part of what I am doing now as attorney general.
What a bunch of bull, "hypothetical legal answer" my a**.

Emergency! Scott Robinson Needs A Waaaaambulance!

As I wrote on Saturday, Krystal Ball swept 1st CD caucuses this weekend in Stafford County and Fredericksburg, demolishing Scott Robinson and making his candidacy for the Democratic nomination a longshot at best. Now, Scott Robinson is reacting with class, restraint, and poise. Whoops, wrong Scott Robinson! Ha. Actually, this is how the real 1st CD candidate Scott Robinson is reacting.
This email is being sent with the intent of informing you of troubling events that have developed over the last few weeks involving a fellow Democratic Committee (Stafford County) and what actions the Robinson campaign intends to use to remedy the situation.

It is the opinion of the Robinson campaign that the caucus process in Stafford County was "hijacked" by a small group of Krystal Ball supporters and the democratic process was circumvented with the intention of ensuring that the Krystal Ball campaign not only won a majority of delegates but left the caucus with a "slate" of supporters for Krystal Ball.

Cooch: Climate Change Denier, Gay Basher…Birther!


Once again, Ken Cuccinelli demonstrates why: a) many of us think he's batshit crazy; b) why Democratic activists worked so hard to prevent him from becoming Attorney General of Virginia; c) why he's a complete and utter embarrassment to our Commonwealth; and d) politically speaking, why he's the "gift that keeps on giving" for Democrats.  This time, thanks to a great scoop by NLS, Cooch reveals himself as someone who seriously questions whether Barack Obama was born in the United States.
Q: Because we are talking about the possibility that he was not born in America.

Cooch: Right. But at the same time under Rule 11, Federal Rule 11, we gotta have proof of it.

Q: How can we get proof?

Cooch: Well... that's a good question. Not one I've thought a lot about because it hasn't been part of my campaign. Someone is going to have to come forward with nailed down testimony that he was born in place B, wherever that is. You know, the speculation is Kenya. And that doesn't seem beyond the realm of possibility.

Sad to say, it's not even the least bit shocking that a guy who denies climate change, tries to make it easier for people to discriminate against gay people, claims that Virginia can disobey federal laws it disagrees with, believes the government is tracking his kids via Social Security numbers, and talks to a toy elephant named "Ron" would also buy into Orly Taitz-level crazy conspiracy theories like "birtherism." What next, is Cooch going to reveal himself as a 9/11 "truther" as well, like Debra Medina?  Whoops, better not give him any ideas; he's got more than enough of those already. My god, four years of this lunatic as AG? We're so screwed.

Quote of the Day: “You didn’t have pestilence and fire.”

The quote of the day goes to Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax).  Check this out.
"We've had four snowstorms and $4 billion in budget cuts," McDonnell told a small group of legislators who had been dispatched to his ceremonial quarters on the third floor of the state Capitol to inform him that the assembly was ready to adjourn. Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw, D-Fairfax, replied, "You didn't have pestilence and fire."
Maybe not, but with this horrible budget, we may feel like we've been through "pestilence and fire" here in Virginia before long. Ugh.

Charlottesville, VA Coffee Party Interview with Eric Byler


Eric Byler is interviewed by a Charlottesville TV station on Saturday, March 13, in Charlottesville on Coffee Party National Kick-off Day. According to the Coffee Party USA website, there were more than 350 coffee party meetings in 44 states on Saturday.  In addition, there are now 159,000 fans on the Coffee Party Facebook page, compared to 111,991 fans for the largest Tea Party Facebook page. Not bad for a 100% grassroots movement that's just a few weeks old!

UPDATE: See the FiveThirtyEight interview with Annabel. Among other things, she talks about how Organizing for America doesn't "inspire" her. I agree, maybe it has something to do with the fact that OFA is 100% establishment, part of the - yaaaaaaawwwwwn - DNC?

Gibbs: Health Care Reform Will Be “Law of the Land” Next Week


It is about time. Even though progressive sacrificed a tremendous amount in this health care reform legislation, and even though it most closely resembles the 1993 Republican alternative to "Hillarycare," on balance I still believe this represents progress for America. I also believe this will give Democrats a boost heading into November. Up until now, Democrats have gotten all the "negatives" of debating health care reform, including a constant stream of Big Lies by the Republicans, while simultaneously looking weak for not seeing this become law. Once this thing actually is signed by President Obama, the entire dynamic should change, and hopefully "the base" will start getting excited again and close the "enthusiasm gap" with Republicans for this fall. At least, that's the theory! :)
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