This isn’t what we were promised

I’m sorry, but this sounds to me like a White House talking point to try to assuage Democrats who thought the President was going to fight for what he promised, not cave at the start and then cave at the middle and then cave at the end. It’s great that the health care bill “may” save 22,000 people a year who otherwise would have died without insurance (and let’s face it, no one should believe that number until this albatross has been around for a few years and we see just how the insurance companies react). But helping 22,000 poor people a year is not what we were promised. We were promised health care reform that would help all 304 million people living in our country, not simply half the population of the small town where I grew up.

It’s an effective tactic to play on liberal guilt, arguing “don’t you want to save all those poor people who are going to die?” But the fact remains that we the people handed this President and this Congress control of the White House, the US House of Representatives, and filibuster-proof control of the US Senate. We handed them a GOP that was in tatters, and a populace that desperately wanted change. And they blew it. They gave us weakness and cowardice and fear in return. The President went back on his promises from almost day one, and then stayed out of the entire debate until – well – he’s still not really involved in the debate, other than to occasionally have his staff secretly try undercut his own campaign promises.

It’s not a success when you could have had an A, and instead get a D+, strive for a D+, and then have the nerve to say “look mom!” It’s really getting tiresome hearing Democrats suggest that because their bill does more than George Bush would have done, but otherwise they’ve gutted their most important campaign promises, we should suck it up and be happy. I voted for change, not pennies.

You had the best chance in decades to make a difference in all of our lives, and you chose to blow it. You don’t deserve our praise. Or our votes.

And finally, a word about moral hazard. If we let them get away with it this time, on the supposed “most important issue” of Obama’s presidency, then forget about any other issue you care about. The Democrats in Congress and the White House will use the same “hey, at least you got 1/100th of a loaf” strategy on climate change, gay rights, immigration, and more. Past is prelude. And the future is looking mighty bleak if you thought the next three years were going to be about change.

McJoan at DKos quoting Ezra Klein, then giving her own commentary:

By now, you’re probably used to hearing about the $900 billion health-care bill. But what about the 150,000-life health-care bill?

Oddly, that label hasn’t made its way into the conversation. But it is, if anything, a conservative estimate. The Institute of Medicine developed a detailed methodology for projecting the lives lost due to lack of insurance. The original paper estimated that 18,000 lives were lost in 2000, and the Urban Institute updated that analysis with data for 2006, yielding an estimate of 22,000 lives. As for 150,000, well, that’s almost certainly too low. That’s just the 2006 number across 10 years, which is the time frame we generally use for health care, with a third of the lives saved lopped off, as we’re not going to cover all of the uninsured. But since the population of the uninsured grows every year, and so does the death toll, it would surely be higher. So call it the 150,000-plus-life health-care plan.

At this point, the assistance to the people who need it most is the critical moral and policy decision. Would it be a band-aid? Yes, but even a band-aid can staunch bleeding, and right now that’s what we desperately need. The insurance reforms matter a great deal, too, and can be passed through regular process. It will be a lot harder for Senators to stand up and vote to allow insurance companies to continue to deny coverage to the American people.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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