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Matt Taibbi: 'It is a fight to the finish now between Really Bad and Even Worse.' [View All]

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 04:45 PM
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Matt Taibbi: 'It is a fight to the finish now between Really Bad and Even Worse.'
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This new article from Matt Taibbi about the health care battle, "Sick and Wrong", is required reading for every progressive out there, for it will serve as the foundation for all of our communications with elected officials and media in the health care fight. Matt Taibbi has poured his heart and soul into presenting this information to the public. In this article he has armed us with the facts and information we need to confront our Congress members.

Until now, confusion as to what is really going on with health care in Congress has reigned supreme. Here, Taibbi spells out for us what is going on. I cannot emphasize the importance of this piece enough. It's eight pages. Read it. Digest it. Arm ourselves with it. We've got to triple-time our pace to knock some heads in Congress, because time is running out.


Not being able to find the new September 3 issue of Rolling Stone I scrounged the net and found some links to scanned pages of Matt Taibbi's new piece, "Sick and Wrong: And why it may take a revolt to fix it".

Again, this article is too critically important to our health care battle to be hidden behind a firewall for who knows how much longer.

The links to the eight-page piece are listed below. Remove the space in each link between the "h" and the "t" to activate the links.

h ttp://
h ttp://
h ttp://
h ttp://
h ttp://
h ttp://
h ttp://
h ttp://

Here is Taibbi's summation from the latter part of the piece (as transcribed):

To recap, heres what ended up happening with health care. First, they gave away single-payer before a single gavel had fallen, apparently as a bargaining chip to the very insurers mostly responsible for creating the crisis in the first place. Then they watered down the public option so as to make it almost meaningless, while simultaneously beefing up the individual mandate, which would force millions of people now uninsured to buy a product that is no longer certain to be either cheaper or more likely to prevent them from going bankrupt. The bill wont make drugs cheaper, and it might make paperwork for doctors even more unwieldy and complex than it is now. In fact, the various reform measures suck so badly that phRMA, the notorious mouthpiece for the pharmaceutical industry which last year spent more than $ 20 million lobbying against health care reform, is now gratefully spending more than seven times that much on a marketing campaign to help the president get what he wants.

So whats left? Well, the bills do keep alive the so-called employer mandate, requiring companies to provide insurance to their employees. A good idea--- except that the Blue Dogs managed to exempt employers with annual payrolls below $ 500,000, meaning that 87 percent of all businesses will be allowed to opt out of the best and toughest reform measure left. Thanks to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, we can now be assured that the 19 or 20 employers in America with payrolls above $ 500,000 who do not already provide insurance will be required to offer good solid health coverage. Hurray!

Or will they? At the end of July, word leaked out that the Senate Finance Committee, in addition to likely spiking the public option, has also decided to ditch the employer mandate. It was hard to be certain, because even Democrats on the committee dont know whats going on in the Group of Six selected by Baucus to craft the bill. Things got so bad that some Democrats on the committee--- including John Kerry, Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez--- were reduced to holding what amounts to shadow hearings on health care several times a week, while Baucus and his crew conducted their meetings in relative secrecy. The chairman did not even bother to keep his fellow Democrats informed of the bills developments, let alone what he has promised Republicans in return for their support of the bill. The Group of Six has hijacked the process, says an aide to one of the left-out senators.

This leaves Democrats on the committee in the strange position of seriously considering pulling their support for a bill that will emerge from a panel on which they hold a clear majority. Other Democrats are also weighing an end run around their own leadership, hoping to sneak meaningful reforms back into the process. In the House, Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York refused to support the bill passed by the commerce committee unless he was allowed to attach an amendment that will enable Congress to vote on replacing the entire reform bill with a single-payer plan (Bernie Sanders is working on a similar measure in the Senate.) On the labor committee, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio took a more nuanced tack, offering an amendment that would free up states to switch to a single-payer system of their own.
Its highly unlikely, though, that the partys leaders will agree to include such measures when the five competing reform bills are eventually combined. On the House side, Pelosi has unfettered discretion to combine the bills as she pleases, observes one Democratic aide. Which leaves us where we are today, as Congress enjoys its vacation, and the various sides have taken to the airwaves in an advertising blitz to make sure the population is saturated with idiotic misconceptions before the bill is actually voted on in the fall.

The much-ballyhood right-wing scare campaign, with its teabagger holdovers ridiculously disrupting town hall meetings with their belligerent protests and their stoneheaded memes (the sign raised at a town hall by Rep. Rick Larson of Washington --- KEEP THE GUVMINT OUT OF MY MEDICARE--- is destined to become a classic of conservative propaganda), has proved to be almost totally irrelevant to the entire enterprise. Aside from lowering even further the general level of civility (teabaggers urged Sen. Chris Dodd to off himself with painkillers; Rep. Brad Miller had his life threatened), the Limbaugh minions have accomplished nothing at all, except to look like morons for protesting as creeping socialism a reform effort designed specifically to change as little as possible and to preserve at all costs our malfunctioning system of private health care.

All thats left of health care reform is a collection of piece-of-shit, weakling proposals that are preposterously expensive and contain almost nothing meaningful--- and that set of proposals, meanwhile is being negotiated down even further by the endlessly negating Group of Six. It is a fight to the finish now between Really Bad and Even Worse. And its virtually guaranteed to sour the public on reform efforts for years to come.
Theyll pass some weak, mediocre plan that breaks the bank and even in the best analysis leaves 37 million people uninsured, says Mokhiber, one of the single-payer activists arrested by Baucus. Its going to give universal health care a bad name.

Its a joke, the whole thing, a parody of Solomonic governance. By the time all the various bills are combined, health care will be a baby not split in half but in fourths and eighths and fractions of eighths. Its what happens when a government accustomed to dealing on the level of perception tries to take on a profound emergency that exists in reality. No matter how hard Congress may try, though, it simply is not possible to paper over a crisis this vast.
Then again, some of the blame has to go to all of us. Its more than a little conspicuous that the same electorate that poured its heart out last year for the Hallmark-card story line of the Obama campaign has not been seen much in this health care debate. The handful of legislators--- the Weiners, Kuciniches, Wydens and Sanderses--- who are fighting for something real should be doing so with armies at their back. Instead, all the noise is being made on the other side. Not so stupid after all--- they, at least, understand that politics is a fight that does not end with the wearing of a T-shirt in November.

Honest to God, this is war.

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