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Archive for August 27th, 2009

If they’re going to name the final healthcare reform bill after Senator Kennedy, we ought to be demanding with voices as powerful and booming as the late senator’s…

The bill must not suck.

But if it does, perhaps they should name it after Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley. The Blame Baucus and Grassley for This Sucky Act. Or maybe borrow the name of the House bill, the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, which, by the way, reminds me more of a frozen diet meal than a robust healthcare reform bill (the final House bill is actually pretty robust — it’s just a ridiculous name).

On this day of national mourning, we’re reminded that Senator Kennedy’s political legacy has been inextricably bound to the cause of universal healthcare. Affordable, portable, reliable healthcare.

It’s difficult to know for sure, but I can’t imagine, had he not been stricken with cancer, that the senator would be lending his unmistakable baritone to the awfulness, equivocation and bipartisan hackery that’s on display within the ranks of the Max Baucus ‘Gang of Six’. It goes without saying that left to their own spineless and corrupt devices, these six senators will absolutely deliver a terrible healthcare reform bill, one that would only serve to besmirch the Kennedy legacy.

So what exactly does a sucky healthcare bill look like?

Naturally, without a beefy public health insurance plan, healthcare reform would be an utter disaster — or worse. To refer to the public option as just a “sliver” of the bill, or to push for eliminating it altogether is almost as bad as having no reform at all. Journalists, writers and bloggers who I otherwise respect have been damning the public option with faint praise lately. Let’s not sabotage healthcare reform with partisan ultimatums, they say. We can have a great bill without it, they say.

No, sirs. No we can’t.

They’re not seeing the big picture here. I get it, though. There are many other meaningful aspects to healthcare reform. Banning exclusions for pre-existing conditions, setting caps on out of pocket expenses, bans on rescission. These are all excellent and historic.

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If you’re a reporter looking for a hot quote, Waxman’s the wrong man to see. Anyone watching his “Daily Show” appearance with Jon Stewart could tell you that. Waxman is all policy, determined to explain everything in detail. But he’s smart, tough and knows how to get results. He showed that last year when he went against the House seniority system and took over the Energy and Commerce Committee by unseating John Dingell, its longtime chairman.

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Bill Boyarsky
Truthdig
Aug 25 2009

By the time Congress returns from its recess and takes another whack at the health insurance mess, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., will have started revealing the deceit that protects health business profiteers.

Waxman has already begun by demanding that major insurance companies reveal how much they pay top executives and board members and, most important, the size of their profits from selling policies.

He is getting to the heart of the health insurance debate. It’s all about the health business—insurance, hospitals, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, medical equipment makers and others.

Their economic goal is bigger profits. Their political goal is to protect their interests by making sure the 2010 election puts enough Republicans and sympathetic Democrats in Congress. Even if the Democrats retain control of the House and Senate, health care lobbyists will pour celebratory drinks as long they have enough power to shape legislation. That’s how it works. Don’t be deluded by party labels.

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