Monday, December 14, 2009

The Health Care debate makes me stabby.

So this fall I apparently decided that I wasn't frustrated with politics enough, and as such had to torture myself by following up-to-the-minute blog posts regarding the health care reform debate in congress. I'm kind of a masochist like that. The nausea-inducing roller coaster ride that passes as "debate" in our country, in case you missed it, went a little something like this:

Hey, Obama is going to bring us health care reform! Yay! He gives pretty speeches about it. Yay! While cutting sweetheart deals with Big Pharma on the downlow. Boo! Maybe we can have single payer! OMFG TEABAGGERS! Hitler Hilter, Socialism and whatnot. Seem to have an effect on public's perception of health care reform. Boo! White House and congressional Democrats seem content to let that perception go unchallenged. Boo! Oh, no single payer, let's not even bother bringing that to the table as a place to compromise down from. Boo! Oh no, the progressives are pissed about that. STFU, progressives. Yay! Polls indicate that the majority of the public does not support the health care reform bill. Boo! But wait, they seem to favor a public option. Yay! All hail Queen Snowe and her White House endorsed trigger option! Boo. But it's okay, we can have an "opt-out" plan instead, now everybody happy. Yay! But that's not enough to appease "moderate" Democrats (What about Republicans? There are Republicans in this debate?) And speaking of which, where's Obama? Well, House democrats are saying "fuck all" to that, Pelosi and her posse went straight for the public option instead. Yay! Who the hell is Bart Stupak and why does he desire an increase in septic abortions? Boo! Oh no, the liberal women are pissed. STFU, liberal women. Yay! The bill passes the house, anyone not needing reproductive care say Yay! Onto the Senate, where Harry Reid is going to play hardball because his poll numbers are down. Yay! Except when it comes to the public option, oh obstructionists, we can haz our Medicare buy-in instead? Sounds workable. Yay! Bill Nelson is jealous of all the attention Stupak got for his "fuck women" amendment, proposes one of his own. Boo! It fails, Nelson says he won't filibuster over it. Yay!

I'm sure I've left stuff out, as following this shit is exhausting, but let's keep it at that and say that brings us to about the current go-around. Which is starting to get more teeth-gnashingly irritating by the minute, as it is starting to now even make sense anymore. So it turns out Reid, with the full backing of the White House, wants to keep the sweetheart deal that the pharmaceutical companies have already by blocking an amendment proposed by Bryon Dorgan (D-ND) that would allow us to import drugs from other countries, hence, lower our collective costs on health care. Reid has also slipped back in the allowance of annual caps, something that Obama explicitly promised would end under his health care plan:

"They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or in a lifetime. And we will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses. No one in America should go broke because they get sick."

Yeah, he said that.

And to top it off, Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Joe Lieberman (I-Liebermanville) have decided that they haven't quite received enough air time on the cable news networks and as such, must obstruct the fuck out of health care reform, as the villagers just adore those hippie-punchers and will shower them with affection for their "moderate" views. Just don't ask them why they are actually threatening to filibuster, because they don't have an actual answer for that.

So what do all of these things have in common? If you guessed that they make absolutely no sense and are nothing more then a sell-out to insurance agencies, give yourself a cookie. Look, as much as I hate it, I understand the rationale behind the Stupak amendment. I understand the rationale about the "opt-out" prevision. But to allow Big Pharma to continue price gouging customers in a bill that was sold as saving us money? To give away the public option (for nothing in return), which would make many of the oligarchies that make up the private health insurance sector compete on an affordable level, not to mention is very popular with Americans (that aren't housed neatly in the little village of the Washington elite)? The White House going back on one of it's main promises, one that we were lectured to sacrifice our other health care ideals for? What is frustrating now is not that it's not my ideal health care plan. It's that these last few changes before we go into committee (if we even have one, that is) make little sense in the context of the plan they were selling.

I understand the logic, if self-serving as hell, behind Lieberman and Nelson's complaints. The more hippies they punch, the more airtime they get from the Very Serious political venues. Nelson I'm not too familiar with, but Lieberman has been a self-promoting whore for a while now. It is typical sociopathic behavior, from a couple of kids that know by now they have nothing to lose, and all the attention to gain. Lieberman's an asshole and should be kicked to the curb, no doubt. But can you really blame him for trying after he campaigned for the Republican candidate during the last presidential election and got not even a slight slap on the shoulder? Of course he's going to run with this.

It's more the White House and the other congressional Democrats that I'm not quite understanding here. Health care is a very direct issue in our lives. We will notice if the premiums go up (which, per Health Insurance company threats, they most certainly will). We will know if ourselves or our neighbors are still paying too much for prescription medications, or are dropped under annual caps. Obama can't just give a pretty speech and wipe this all away. Are they worried about a 60s-era cultural backlash? News flash: We are going to get the backlash anyway no matter what is passed and who supports it. Health care is a liberal issue, there's not slapping a bright red conservative bow on it. Maybe, if we are going to have that backlash anyway, we should get something good with it?

If they continue to water down and compromise on this bill, and do not craft the best health care legislation they can (and really, keep everything in and let the obstructionist assholes filibuster it, because at that point, it's on them, isn't it?), they will be the ones held accountable for it. Them. The White House. The Congressional Democrats. Not Republicans. Not Joe Lieberman. There is no one left to blame for their own naivety with caving to people that sought only to obstruction in the first place. Do they really think that demoralizing their own base and pissing everyone else off is the path to re-election? If so, welcome President Bachmann, people. I'm serious.

The stupid makes me want to claw my own eyes out. Good thing I couldn't afford to do so.

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