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.
I’ve been curious about these Blue Dog hold outs (it sounds like such a fine name, doesn’t it?). David Sirota has an interesting article describing the three factions blocking all things progressive. Focusing on the Blue Dogs:
Going directly to the Nate Silver article:
I like the thought from Matt Yglesias. While we’re disappointed to varying degrees with how the first six months of the Obama administration has gone, a lot must be blamed on the atrophying of muscular progressivism within our legislatures.
Sowell is an idiot. As I’ve explained on my own blog, sick people use 16% of the national GDP, yet do not make 16% of the national income. Eliminate insurance, where inherently well people are subsidizing the care of sick people whether said insurance is private or public, and you end up with a lot of dead people.
Or Sowell is dishonest. Well, I bet on *both*, actually.
– Badtux the Healthcare Penguin
When did we Americans get to love the notion of blackballing so much? Health insurance companies blackball whole categories of illness, they blackball covering women who might be fertile.
Now certain groups of elected representatives can assemble behind a label and blackball legislation.
More dirt on the Blue Dogs, and their highly selective fiscal conservativism:
As soon as he left Congress, Tauzin became the chief lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, where he makes sure the Blue Dogs never get carried away with any of that rhetoric about fiscal prudence or holding down costs — by writing generous checks.
Follow the money!!! It is just like the financial bubble — lots of money at the top, and lots of people left with with zip at the bottom!
P.S. I can spell my own name, I just can’t type it. bill bush
Follow the money: Corporate-medical-industry crook loots $1.42 BILLION out of the health-care system and after getting caught only gets to keep $800 MILLION.
Follow the money: “Congressional investigators found that three big insurers canceled about 20,000 individual policies over a five-year period â€” allowing them to avoid paying more than $300 million in medical claims.”
Wow, that was strange. From the preamble, I went into Sowell’s piece with the creepy idea that I was about to see him writing something true. Fortunately he came through in good form, and the planets are still in their orbits.
Sowell is one of the dimmest bulbs on the Pundit Broadway.
I can summarize any of his columns in one sentence, courtesy of Groucho Marx: If a Democrat proposes it, ‘whatever it is, I’m against it!’
Oh, and Badtux, love your site:-)
Maybe you know. When will Canadians switch from their beloved lumberboots to jackboots? Those of us in the United States of Canadain Lebensraum want to know…
Waxman kicks ass!
I’d hate to have him as an enemy.