Harry Reid Got 60, Working Americans Got Zero

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Private health insurance companies showed the real power of their muscle after Saturday’s senate vote. Despite Harry Reid’s win in getting the 60 votes he need to move the health care bill forward, in the end, the legislation would do little to help working class Americans because it did not include a public option.

In order to get Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson to be the 60th vote needed to stop a GOP filibuster, Reid had to “compromise” and wipe out the public option from the bill. Other centrists also pressured Reid to get rid of the government-run plan, which would have been the only non-corporate option Americans could have had.

The Democrats also allowed the private insurance corporations to get away without paying an insurer tax for another year. That saves the insurers $70 billion. It’s sick.

But it’s not over, after the next few votes on the senate floor, the health care bill will have to be combined with the one Democrats passed in the House — that one does include a robust public option, but the fight won’t be easy.

It will take real leadership from Progressive senators to put the public option back in the final health care reform bill. The leadership in the House side will also have to be tough in order to squelch the centrists on both sides that with no doubt will still look after the interest of the insurance giants.

This health care bill will definitely go down in the history books as an epic moment in modern American politics. If the progressives in Congress are able to get the public option over the humps of conservative and centrist opposition, it will be a clear sign that the American people still have power. If the public option never makes it to Obama’s desk, consider Washington, D.C. done for; the corporations officially rule.

Many of you may feel demoralized by Reid’s comprise with the centrists in the Democratic party — the Blue Dog Democrats that have shown their true colors: Red. We can hardly wait for the next election to try to get them out.

Nevertheless, the ride has been exciting for many. Progressives have fought really hard to make the public option a reality. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee ran TV ads in Reid’s state of Nevada to get his attention on the issue. MoveOn.org also did its part by highlighting Joe Lieberman’s stupidity. Dozens of activists were arrested at sit-ins across the country where they blocked the entrance of buildings of insurance giants to raise awareness of the issue. Unions also joined the forces.

It wasn’t long ago that I heard a report on NPR were “public option” was mentioned for the first time. Then, little by little, “the public option” was something mainstream journalists were writing about — it was on CNN, NY Times, etc. The hard work paid off, now the whole country knew that a public option was good and the poll numbers still show that support.

But the next phase is crucial. We can’t count on the Republicans, so the pressure must continue on the Dems. Keep those boxing gloves on and let’s get a second wind.

Follow Dolores on Twitter: @doloresmbernal

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22 Responses to Harry Reid Got 60, Working Americans Got Zero

  1. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1juciero
    December 20, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Somebody mentioned Currently, a 60-year-old likely would pay five or six times more for private medical insurance than someone in his twenties but it may not be true always check http://bit.ly/7bwEx2 for lower price coverages

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  3. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1matt
    December 20, 2009 at 12:55 am

    I hate to break it to you…5 minutes after the senate passes this the house will pass the same bill and the Obama will sign. Democrats want this entire process over and done with. There will be NO public option.

  4. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Truthfairy
    December 20, 2009 at 1:55 am

    Please don’t forget – Clinton was defeated on health reform. The Republicans created chaos & anarchy in their bid to obstruct, and Obama has been called everything from the Devil to Hitler, from evil to America-hating.

    It may not be perfect yet, buy boy is it an achievement to get this far. I wanted public option, but not at the exclusion of everything else. Let them get going on this and inroduce more reforms later. I havent gone thru all yet but includes

    -Insurance companies required to provide “value for premiums” -must spend 80 – 85% of premiums on health care
    -Hospitals will have to make charges public – costs will be standardized, can’t charge exagerated prices at will
    -Exclusion on pre-existing conditions barred immediately
    -Expands coverage to more than 94% of Americans under 65 years of age, including over 31 million uninsured
    -No lifetime or annual limits
    -Extension of dependent coverage – kids to 26 yrs
    -Guaranteed availability & renewability
    -Elimination of salary-based discrimination
    -Guaranteed coverage for early retirees
    -States to have an office of consumer health insurance to protect consumers’ rights & help patients
    -Insurers cannot increase premiums without going through HHS – must be reasonable
    -Prevention of “dumping”
    -Small business tax credit
    -Internet portal to affordable coverage options
    -Modernizing disease prevention & improving public health
    -Improving quality of care initiatives
    -Improving patient health outcomes
    -Eliminate preventable hospital readmissions
    -Improve patient safety in hospital stays
    -Wellness & prevention programs – smoking, weight management, fitness, stress management, nutrition, heart disease prevention, diabetes prevention, healthy lifestyle support
    -HIT innovations
    -Increased access to preventive medicine & services
    -Increasing healthcare workforce
    -Supporting & improving healthcare workforce
    -Creating healthier communities
    -Medicare system integrity – prevent abuse & fraud
    -Biologics innovation & competition
    -More affordable medicines for children & underserved populations
    -Employer paid insurance goes on W2 with exceptions
    -Annual fees on Pharma, Insurance, medical device companies

    • -1 Vote -1 Vote +1mike
      December 21, 2009 at 1:28 am

      I don’t give a damn, I don’t want to be FORCED to pay a private company.

      • -1 Vote -1 Vote +1max
        December 21, 2009 at 2:22 am

        Proving you didn’t read the bill, you aren’t forced to pay a cent to a private company

      • Vote -1 Vote +1frank
        December 22, 2009 at 1:23 pm

        How exactly are you “FORCED” to pay a private company today? Today we have the FREEDOM to decide whether we buy insurance or not and from whom. If you and the thousands of others complaining about insurance costs feel that you are getting cheated by the insurance company you use, then START YOUR OWN INSURANCE COMPANY! If these companies really are so greedy and corrupt, then it should be easy for you to compete with them by offering lower prices and put them out of business. I am all for that!

        But what this (and similar) legislation will accomplish is to effectively take the freedoms we all have today and give them to a select group of people (the government) to decide every detail of our lives. Your assumption is that the government will be more benevolent than corporations? Seriously? THEY ARE THE SAME PEOPLE! Does anyone actually think politicians are less corrupt than corporations? The primary difference between the two is that the government legally carries a gun and doesn’t actually have to be accountable for bad decisions (instead of failing and going out of business it just prints money taken from the American people).

        Let me give the scenario of how we lose our freedoms: Don’t want to pay for health insurance? You will now get a fine. Don’t pay the fine? You get a bigger fine. Don’t pay any fines? Go to jail. Resist arrest? Get shot in the back. This is certainly an exaggerated scenario, because a reasonable person in the face of a bully as large as the government will just pay the fine. But the point is that your freedom is gone at this point. You can’t just cancel your policy with your insurance company when it is the government.

        If you go to a ‘government option’, it will lead to unfair competition (the government gets to print money and who can compete with that?), then eventually there will be no option but the government (what people call single-payer). At that point there is NO freedom left. At that point, the Cold War will have ended. The USA will the same as the USSR. Perhaps a name change will be in order. How have we forgotten the meaning of the last 50 years and why Freedom is better than Socialism?

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1matt
    December 20, 2009 at 2:47 am

    Now all we need is tort reform and progress will really be made.

  6. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1todd
    December 20, 2009 at 9:10 am

    This bill sucks and if Americans would have been told that we would be FORCED into buying heath care and from WHOM this bill would not even have made as far as it did. This is an outrage! We have been lied to by our President and by the Senate. Joe Lieberman is the biggest bum of all but I’m afraid his partners in crime in the senate are none the less to blame for allowing this garbage of a Bill to come as far as it has. The people will not forget this come 2010 just because Obama had a nice photo signing this crap. Down with the Dems and republicans in 2010, it’s 3rd party or ANY other party time.

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1John G
    December 20, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    “If the progressives in Congress are able to get the public option over the humps of conservative and centrist opposition, it will be a clear sign that the American people still have power.”

    Are you kidding? Have you looked at the polls?

  8. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1libhomo
    December 20, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    If Gillibrand or Schumer vote for a scam bill that doesn’t have a strong public option, I will never vote for either of them for any public option. I don’t have to accept this abusive behavior from politicians that are trying to let the HMOs continue to kill middle class New Yorkers like me.

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  10. Vote -1 Vote +1Alerka
    December 21, 2009 at 2:47 am

    Now all we need is tort reform and progress will really be made…

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1dude
    December 21, 2009 at 5:26 am

    my wife, who is a nurse, said that CDC guidelines are prohibiting them from giving the swine flu vaccination to those above 62 years of age. That’s government controlled health care for you. Now you know why they called them death panels, because it’s a form of genocide.

    As the words of Benjamin Franklin go . . . “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    • +3 Vote -1 Vote +1nibbles
      December 21, 2009 at 9:17 am

      Did your wife also mention that the H1N1 is not as high of a risk to those above 62 as it is to younger kids and adults? Since the supply was limited (due to issues with producing) it would make sense to set up guidelines to get the vaccinations to those where it would have the most impact until more becomes available. How does that not make sense?

      • Vote -1 Vote +1chiz
        December 21, 2009 at 3:27 pm

        Why does it matter if she is over 62. If she has the money, and is willing to waste it on a vaccine then she should be able to. Name one government branch that outperforms the private sector besides the military. Even nasa is being passed up by independent start ups. Congress has continued to prove their incompetence when stepping into the private sector, why allow them to have the final say on healthcare?

        • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1tanya
          December 21, 2009 at 6:10 pm

          You’re saying “out-perform” when what you really mean is “out-earn.”

          The whole point of a social compact is the idea that some services needn’t be based on profitability, but on civic-minded provision of a basic standard of living to your fellow citizens.

          Does the military earn money? Hell no. Why, then, should other government-provided services be held to the standard of the private sector, ie. profit vs. outcome? Just because that’s how they’re being run currently?

          Precedent isn’t everything. Neither is money.

    • +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Joe Jones
      December 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm

      It’s only $25. Just go pay for it.

  12. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1zirg
    December 21, 2009 at 7:39 am

    It’s simple: no option – no re-election.

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1e cigarettes
    December 21, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Interesting WOWZA!!

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1paul
    December 22, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    that sounds about right

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    December 23, 2009 at 5:29 pm

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