Day: December 16, 2009

The Mandate To Buy Health Insurance MUST Be Stripped From Pending Legislation!

Now that a single payer system, the public option, and Medicare for those 55-64 have been dropped from the Senate bill on Health Care reform, angering progressives and abandoning the middle class in the process, there is one action that MUST be taken!

That is to drop the mandated health insurance portion of the bill, because effectively it will require all Americans to buy health insurance as demanded by, and rates set by, the health insurance corporations. Effectively, this will force many people into bankruptcy with overly expensive insurance rates, with the threat of a fine or going to prison if one refused to participate. And yet there is no guarantee that a person will actually be covered for his or her health insurance bills when they occur.

This is an outrage, and President Obama MUST make it clear that if such a provision remains in the legislation, and is not eliminated in the Senate or House of Representatives in conference, that he will veto the legislation, no matter how much he wants to see health care legislation passed by Congress!

Frustration With Senate And GOP Parliamentary Maneuvers

The anger among progressives over the apparent failure to promote a public option or Medicare for those 55-64, due to Joe Lieberman’s opposition, is now compounded by GOP conservatives using every parliamentary maneuver one can imagine to prevent progress on what is left of the proposed legislation.

Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, himself a physician, utilized the parliamentary maneuver of calling for an out loud reading of the proposed amendment to the bill calling for a single payer system that had been set forth by Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

If Sanders had not intervened and dropped his amendment being voted on, something assuredly to be rejected, it would have taken more than eight hours to read the amendment. That in itself is unbelievable, that the amendment was apparently some 767 pages in length! Why, oh why, does any legislation have to be so lengthy, and particularly just an amendment?

This reality, plus the ever present filibuster, where a minority of 41 senators can stop vote on a bill or a nomination, just adds to the total feeling of frustration with the US Senate, a body I much admire, but of course in theory a very anti-democratic institution where every state is equal, despite the vast differences in population of the fifty states.

But then again, the purpose of the Senate was to slow up legislation and give careful consideration to any move toward new laws. Over the long haul of history, the Senate has been very significant and has had many great members, but there is no doubt that it is a VERY frustrating body in so many ways! 🙁