Senate Health Care Bill: Leave No Special Interest Behind
Even many of those with serious reservations about the bill were
slipping on their party hats. "Make no mistake about it," said SEIU
This typifies the current thinking of the "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" crowd. Unfortunately, there are three faulty premises at work in this line of reasoning. First, that those who oppose the bill do so because it's not perfect (as opposed to because it's a hot health care mess). Second, that the bill is, well, good (as opposed to a total victory for Pharma and the insurance industry -- witness the spectacular spike in health care stocks following Monday's vote).
Third is the premise that this is as good a bill as we can get right now, and we can always go back and improve it later.
It doesn't work that way. We heard the same kinds of sentiments about No Child Left Behind when it passed in 2001. Backers on both sides of the aisle had problems with it, but both sides celebrated it as a major step forward -- and promised to make it better in the future.
"The agreement we reached reflects the best thinking of both sides,"
"This was a reform bill. We can't have reform without resources, and
that will be the next step," said Sen.
"This is a good bill. . . . And there are going to be many additional
steps that will be necessary along the way, but all of us are committed
to following in those steps," said Sen.
But despite the widespread commitment to taking the "many additional
steps" needed, the steps were never taken, the resources were never
allocated, the bill was never improved, and, indeed, is now generally
regarded as a disaster (or, as
In an ominous sign of things to come,
It's a moving piece of writing -- and nobody doubts her late husband's heartfelt dedication to health care reform. But nobody doubted his dedication to education reform, either.
If the miserable
This is an idea that Obama co-sponsored when he was in the
But when Dorgan introduced an amendment that would do just that, the
But that didn't stop
No reason other than our broken system surrendering to the special interests.
From start to finish, the insurance and drug industries -- and their
army of lobbyists -- had control over the process that resulted in a
bill that is reform in name only. The postmortems of how they pulled it
off have already begun. On Sunday, the
The study found that 13 former congressmen and 166 congressional
staffers were actively engaged in lobbying their former colleagues on
the bill. The companies they were working for -- some 338 of them --
As we approach the end of Obama's first year in office, this public
subsidizing of private profit is becoming something of a habit. It is,
after all, exactly what the
This is not just bad policy, it's bad politics.
Sharp-eyed opponents are already seizing on the opportunity to rebrand Obama and the Democrats as the party beholden to special interests.
Sunday night, just before the post-midnight vote was taken,
This kind of populist rhetoric resonates with voters across the board, including independents. If Democrats cede this turf by celebrating a bill that is a victory for special interests and special senators, look for a lot more of this kind of rhetoric in the run-up to 2010.
There are many reasons for hoping the current
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Senate Health Care Bill: Leave No Special Interest Behind | Arianna Huffington
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