Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Darcy Burner on the Senate health bill

Joe Sudbay (AMERICAblog):
Darcy Burner: "The Senate bill is a recipe for national disaster. If it's that bill or nothing, I prefer nothing."---Rahm Emanuel, in all his wisdom, expects liberals to cave in order to pass health care reform, no matter how bad the bill gets. In the Senate, that's exactly what happened despite the months of tough talk we heard from the likes of liberal Senators Sherrod Brown and Tom Harkin. They learned a tough lesson this week: They don't matter to the White House. Lieberman does.
Over the past couple weeks, we've gotten indications that the Senate bill will be the final bill. It won't be fixed in conference, as promised. Instead, the House will be expected to pass the Senate bill as is.

Emanuel is expecting the House progressives to cave, too. But, not all progressives are toeing Rahm's line. If the Senate bill is the final bill, Darcy Burner, the Executive Director of the ProgressiveCongress.org, says kill it:

The first rule of medicine is, "Do no harm." The post-Joe Lieberman version of the Senate healthcare bill fails that basic criterion. Unless Democratic leadership steps up to fix this misguided proposal, our only recourse will be to kill it.

The fundamental failing of the newest Senate proposal is that it requires individuals to purchase health insurance, but does nothing to rein in what insurance companies charge. There is nothing to stop spiraling health costs from eating up an ever-increasing percentage of our national productivity.

The House bill has two major cost-control mechanisms: the public option and the 85% medical-loss ratio requirement. The Senate bill is on track to have neither, and nothing new to replace them. The Senate bill is a recipe for national disaster. If it's that bill or nothing, I prefer nothing.
The House can still use its power to fix the bill. But, that would require the use of power, something liberals aren't so good at.
Democratic leaders are going to have to explain how forcing a mandate on people to buy private health insurance, without controlling the insurance industry, makes sense. That concept might appeal to Joe Lieberman, but it doesn't sit well with everyone else.

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