Rep. Henry Waxman is telling the Blue Dogs that if they don’t stop holding back the health care bill he’s going to let the bill bypass his Energy and Commerce Committee and let it go right to the floor.
By all means.
Ian Swanson and Mike Soraghan write for The Hill:
Waxman is now playing a game of legislative chicken with the Blue Dogs. He’s hoping the inclusion of a study on Medicare reimbursement rates in the healthcare overhaul will be enough to placate the centrist Democrats, who say the government program short-changes hospitals and physicians in their rural districts.
If thatâ€™s not, the seven Blue Dogs could join with the committee’s Republicans to “eviscerate” healthcare reform, and thatâ€™s something Waxman will not tolerate.
“I won’t allow them to hand over control of our committee to Republicans,” Waxman told reporters.
Something a lot of progressive legislative leaders seem to have forgotten until this Congress actually got under way is that historically congressional procedure is a challenge to be surmounted when you want big change to happen. Itâ€™s not actually a fixed feature of the landscape that people â€œhave toâ€ accommodate themselves to. For years you couldnâ€™t get a decent Civil Rights bill because segregationists controlled the Judiciary Committee that had jurisdiction. This problem was â€œsolvedâ€ by just deciding to bypass the Judiciary Committee. When you decide you want to get things done, you find a way to get them done.
Do it, Henry.
Update: Related — H/t to Mahareader David Rickard — conservative columnist Thomas Sowell explains at National Review Online why the system of paying for health care through private health insurance has to end:
Insurance companies are another distraction and a scapegoat, because they do not insure â€œpreexisting conditions.â€ Stop and think about it: If you could wait until you got sick to take out health insurance, why would you buy that insurance while you are well?
You could avoid paying all those premiums and then â€” after you got sick â€” take out health insurance and let the premiums paid by other people pay for your medical treatment. …
…When Obama makes the insurance companies the villains for not insuring preexisting conditions, that gives him another distraction and enables him to be another escape artist, like Houdini.
The fact that Sowell doesn’t see his own argument as an admission that private health insurance simply can’t do the job says something, too.
Sowell’s basic argument is that we’d better keep our health care decisions in the hands of the for-profit insurance industry, because we can’t trust the government.