Why We Need To Scrap The Health Care Bills

We welcome Rep. Marsha Blackburn to these pages. -Patrick

President Obama made a decision very early in the health care debate that doomed the process to failure. He decided to let Congress write the proposed bills, with very little input from the White House. Then he made another decision that just added to the problem. He decided that he wanted health care reform passed before Congress left for the August recess.

These two steps by the Administration have created chaos. First, by relying on liberals in the House of Representatives to define the debate, the President forgot about a very important component in any debate - the American people. Secondly, by trying to ram the bill through, without most members of Congress even having a chance to familiarize themselves with the provisions, let alone read the bill, he miscalculated the energy of the people. Any member of Congress will tell you that it has been many years since they have seen this level of anger and passion on the part of the American people.

We have certainly seen that anger expressed time after time at townhall meetings all across the country. And why wouldn't the people be angry? The American people have already expressed their concern over the mounting federal debt, a debt that their children and grandchildren are going to be left paying for. Then the Obama administration tried to push through a health care bill that would consume 1/6th of our spending, and affect the lives of every single American. It's no wonder that the people have said "enough is enough."

They have sent a strong message to members of Congress - one that we all need to think about. Congress works for the people. Congress should be the voice of the people. Something is drastically wrong when the people are willing to fight with Congress to get their message across. Congress needs to understand that, and they need to start listening.

80% of the American people are satisfied with their health care now. They don't want it changed. People who have Medicare Advantage don't want to lose it. They don't want to see medicare cut. They don't want the government standing between them and their doctors. Congress needs to get the message.

Are there problems with health care in America? Sure. Do we need to figure out a way to lower costs and provide methods for people who truly can't afford health care to have access to health care? Of course. But let's not throw away the entire system in order to fix what is wrong. Instead, let's toss the bills that are on the table in the wastepaper basket. Let's listen to the people. Then let's write legislation that deals with the two issues that need to be addressed, costs, and helping the hard-core uninsured. Most of all, let's keep the legislation simple enough that Congress can understand it.

Cross posted at Congressman Marsha Blackburn

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Writing legislation=Congress' primary constitutional function

Congressman, can you explain the reasoning behind your suggestion that Congress can't reflect the will of the American people? That it is a mistake to let Congress write bills?

Creating legislation is the primary Constitutional function of Congress.

You give the distinct impression that you think the White House should have written it themselves. I don't for a minute think that bill would be any more reflective of the will of the American people.

When I call my Representative or Senator, a member of his staff either takes my call or calls me back. The President and his staff? Not so much.

There is certainly a lot to criticize in terms of what Congress produces, but to criticize the government for operating according to the Constitutional process is a bit odd  - especially for a member of Congress.

I'm sure you know this, but: the American people don't have a mechanism for proposing legislation. That is what you are sent to Washington to do. Yes, sometimes the numbers are against you, but nevertheless, it is your job to engage in that process.

We are going to get a 100% Dem healthcare bill becasue you and your colleagues made the strategic error several months ago of choosing not to participate in the process - all you have been doing is angling to inflict a political defeat on the Dems, without considering the hard truth that our health care system really is in dire need of reform.

 

 

 

Wtih all due respect, Rep. Blackburn...

This is little more than sloganeering.  I'd like to respond to several points you made and would welcome your response:

He decided to let Congress write the proposed bills, with very little input from the White House.

Umm.... that is Congress' job -- to write bills.  We elect our representatives to represent us in the legislative process, for which bill-writing is the job description.  Our elected reps shouldn't need a president to play Big Daddy and direct the kiddos.  Writing the bill in Congress assures that the our elected representatives are participants in crafting the bill.

He decided that he wanted health care reform passed before Congress left for the August recess.

Moot point.  It obviously wasn't passed by the August recess, a decision of Congress.  On the one hand you want the president to dictate the terms of the bill to Congress, on the other hand, he was remiss in merely stating a desired goal?  Which Congress ignored?

First, by relying on liberals in the House of Representatives to define the debate, the President forgot about a very important component in any debate - the American people.

Surely there were a few American people who voted for those "liberals"?  How do you define "liberals" -- all Democrats?  If Max Baucus is a raving liberal, I'm Liberace.

Any member of Congress will tell you that it has been many years since they have seen this level of anger and passion on the part of the American people.

No doubt because it has been many years since Republicans have not controlled at least the White House or Congress, or both.  Some of those "liberals" in Congress might disagree with you, though -- a few of them might admit to having seen Iraq war protests quite a bit larger than the crowds at any of the town halls.

Congress works for the people. Congress should be the voice of the people.

Another puzzler.  I don't disagree with those statements, but just a few paragraphs earlier you were complaining because Pres. Obama didn't have enough input and had the gall to let Congress write the bills.  If Congress is the voice of the people, and was allowed to write the bills, how could the bills not be reflective of the voice of the people?  Or is the real problem that the bills don't exclusively reflect the voice of the people you believe should have the last word?

80% of the American people are satisfied with their health care now. They don't want it changed.

Nice to know, but irrelevant.  Any of them on employer-provided private insurance plans could see their employer change or eliminate the terms of their coverage tomorrow.  Those people could not attend a town hall to shout at their employer if this were to happen.  They are completely at the mercy of the employer's decision about the coverage to be offered, or not offered.  There is nothing wrong with this; employers are not mandated to provide any coverage and some simply can't or don't.  But to ignore the fact that a huge portion of this 80% have no real control over their health coverage now, and could lose it or have it changed at any time, makes the "satisfaction" argument almost meaningless.

The 80% also includes those who receive veterans coverage, Medicare and SCHIP -- government-run health programs all.  Can you tell us what percentage of the 80% are already covered under government-run insurance?  Strange that they're so satisfied with it.

People who have Medicare Advantage don't want to lose it. They don't want to see medicare cut.

Ahh, now we get to the heart of the matter.  Medicare Advantage.  A hugely profitable operation for the private insurance companies, and currently 20% of Medicare recipients enrolled.  The insurance companies are going for 100%.  And what's not to like for the seniors?  Free gym memberships, other fine perks.  And who wants to see their bennies cut?  Not me, not you, not anybody.  But the question is: are we all to ride along without complaint as Medicare rolls merrily toward bankruptcy in 2018 (or earlier, if the insurance companies can get Medicare Advantage enrollment expanded)?

 Instead, let's toss the bills that are on the table in the wastepaper basket. Let's listen to the people.

Rep. Blackburn, were you involved when the bills were being drafted throughout the spring and summer?  Please tell us more about the extent.  There were 166 Republican amendments approved for inclusion in the bill.  You may very well have sponsored some of them.  Please tell us more about how faithfully you worked to see that the current bills reflected your constituents' views to the extent possible.  Also, please tell us which "people" you suggest we now listen to.  The people screaming at the town halls, the insurance company lobbyists, the voices of the elected representatives in Congress? 

Then let's write legislation that deals with the two issues that need to be addressed, costs, and helping the hard-core uninsured. Most of all, let's keep the legislation simple enough that Congress can understand it.

I don't disagree with your first sentence but have problems with the second.  If health care is 1/6 of our economy, please don't tell us that a bill designed to deal with the significant problems in that much of the economy can be six pages long.  If members of Congress are too lazy to read a long bill dealing with very complex issues, or simply don't have the firepower to understand them, the people should know that their representatives are not up to the task.  Perhaps the problems are as much with the members of Congress as the bills.  One of your GOP brethren proudly admitted he had not read the bills during these past several months and has no intention of ever attempting to do so.  He would be on my list to vote out, as he is clearly not up to the challenges and/or motivated to do his job.   I have no reason to think that you haven't read the bills or refuse to do so, but ask that you not be disingenous in discussing this.  No bill will be simple enough for any congress member who refuses to read it.

 

When I was a student,

I read 1,000+ pages of dense historical scholarship or primary sources in an average week, in addition to going to classes, working, and socializing. With all due respect, Rep. Blackburn, how can you say that this bill, which would be less than a week's reading for me, is too complicated or lengthy to read properly over the course of several months? I understand that there are amendments made and sections added over time, but I doubt it would undergo drastic changes.

I hope you realize...

...Rep. Blackburn doesn't THINK about any of the things she writes, she reads them off the list of points given to her by her bosses at the GOP desk in the Congress doing the bidding of HMO's and the Health Insurance cartel.

The same tired talking points were repeated today endlessly on HateRadio, by every FOX news talking head, every GOP member in Congress, every liar for hire out there.

You will get no answer to your cogent, incisive takedown here, AC.  I have seen Rep. Blackburn speak on the floor of the Congress on C-SPAN many times, and been amused.  She is a RNC-Rightwing ideologue and lightweight, not The Next Right.

The relative silences

Are there problems with health care in America? Sure. Do we need to figure out a way to lower costs and provide methods for people who truly can't afford health care to have access to health care? Of course.

The people who can't afford healthcare are in poverty and near poverty; some of them work, and some don't. There's no realistic solution to extending health insurance them without a) strengthening, expanding and properly funding Medicaid, and b) coming up with some sort of plan to subsidize insurance premiums for the working poor. This sin't complicated or hard, and I think it's telling that Blackburn's "Are there problems with health care in America?" is about as vague as it can be, and her options for solutions are basically nonexistent.  By taking a raft of possible soliutions off the table (no changes to private insurance, almost no consideration of altering or even making basic reforms to Medicare), Blackburn is closing off pretty much every avenue to a solution... then complains that there's a solution in a trash can somewhere that needs to be reexamined. What is it? It's a mystery, because Blackburn can't say anything about poverty or how it migt impact access to care and bad outcomes. This, really, is why Republicans don't get seriously on healthcare as an issue; it's one thing to oppose some of the reform proposals in play (I do too), but without a clear, understandbale explanation of what she sees as the problem, and any suggestion of an approach to dealing with them, Blackburn's pretty much proved she's got, like mush of the party, essentially nothing. That's not good enough, and it won't serve as any kind of serious rebuttal to proposals from Democrats. And we need a good counterproposal, if only to engage in the kind of meaningful, productive debate that might yield an interesting, useful compromise. Blackburn complains about Democrats... but the real failure here is within the GOP. And she's not looking like part of the solution, not here, anwyay.

Why do you...

... call yourself a "Congressman"?  You don't look like a man, but you never know. 

May seem petty, I suppose, but it leaves an odd impression.

Sped Reddin

A thousand pages? My Python Developer's Handbook is 922 pages long.

That's just plain laziness.

 

Although I don't have a

Although I don't have a principled objection to a re-start (because the problems you address will have to be solved one way or another), I don't see how a shortened bill will prevent people who oppose all forms of reform from intentionally misunderstanding it (reimbursement for end of life care = death panels, etc.).

There is no legislative solution for intellectual dishonesty.

Re: Why We Need To Scrap The Health Care Bills

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A lot of economists believe that the United States will be bankrupt in as few as twenty years. It may take several decades for future generations of Americans to pay off America's debts, if it is even possible. In the best case scenario, the United States would cease funding several key programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, and even increase the retirement age again just to name a few possibilities. Television will be soon be useless, should everything start to really break down, as nearly nothing broadcasted will be even close to the truth of what is actually happening on instant cash. They will be using TV to continue to try to dope people into a false sense of security, even when FEMA & UN troops are marching right through their neighborhoods.

 

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