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The death of the public option


The public option died tonight. So, it seems, did its eager successor, the Medicare buy-in. Harry Reid buried the ideas at a somber meeting of the Senate Democratic Caucus. "Could it have been better?" asked Sen. Jay Rockefeller. "Yeah. But it could've been so much worse if we'd just decided not to do anything because we didn't get everything we wanted."

The calculation, in the end, was pretty simple. The White House wants the Senate done with health-care legislation by Christmas. The argument is that big bills rarely fail in a dramatic vote. They bleed to death slowly, wasting away amid a procession of delays and procedural setbacks. The longer a health-care reform bill takes, the less likely it is to pass.

Worse, the longer health-care reform takes, the longer it is until Democrats can shift the spotlight back to jobs and the economy. The Obama administration wants to use the State of the Union as a turning point. Health-care reform would be the shining first year accomplishment, allowing the president to begin the election-year pivot to jobs and the economy and the deficit. But if health-care reform is to pass by early next year, it will have to clear the Senate before the end of this year.

That means Reid has to finish his bill by the end of next week. Moving to the manager's amendment -- the "deal" amendment, as it is -- will take a few days. Voting to replace the underlying bill with the manager's amendment will take a few days. And then voting on the modified bill will take a few days. Each step is delayed by the day or so required for a cloture vote to "ripen," and then the 30 hours of post-cloture debate. So an accelerated schedule would see the first cloture vote called Thursday, with the vote to move to the manager's amendment on Saturday. Cloture would then be called to actually vote on the manager's amendment on Sunday, and the manager's amendment would be approved the following Tuesday, the 22nd. And cloture would be called for the actual bill on Wednesday, Dec. 23rd, with the final vote coming, at the earliest, on Friday, the 25th -- Christmas Day.

To move the process forward, Reid had three options. The first, many would say, was reconciliation. But that would have required going back to the committees to refashion a reconciliation bill, and going back to the House of Representatives so it could craft a reconciliation bill, and then going back through the votes. There wasn't time for that, and even if there was, throwing the process so far back onto itself would have been an enormous risk.

The next was to cut a deal with Olympia Snowe. But Snowe had made it clear that part of any compromise with her was a deceleration in the bill's momentum. "The more they try to drive this process in an unrealistic timeframe, the more reluctant I become about whether or not this can be doable in this timeframe that we're talking about," Snowe told reporters. "There's always January."

That left Joe Lieberman. And Lieberman's price for signing onto the bill was the destruction of the public option and, unexpectedly, the Medicare buy-in provision. There would be no triggers, no opt-outs, no compromises. Lieberman swung the axe and cut his deal cleanly, killing not only the public option, but anything that looked even remotely like it. Some on the Hill remain worried that Lieberman will discover new points of contention in the coming days, as they believe he had signaled that he wouldn't filibuster the Medicare buy-in. They worry whether his word is good. But assuming it is, he can provide the 60th vote Reid needs to move the bill by the end of next week, and keep health-care reform on some sort of schedule.

Photo credit: Melina Mara/the Washington Post Photo.

By Ezra Klein  |  December 15, 2009; 12:14 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Next: Don't blame Rahm


This is the end of Joe Lieberman's political career. He's finished. His crowing achievement was to show his back to possibly 150,000 Americans who may die, and the 5-10 million Americans between the ages of 55-64 who can not get health insurance and therefore health care.

Be proud Nutmeg State. Your guy did it.

Posted by: PoliticalPragmatist | December 15, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

How sad. Even though I guess we knew it would come to this, how sad that it had to be done by Lieberman. Any chance that the House's public option gets put back in Conference? Ping pong anyone?

Posted by: LindaB1 | December 15, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

But doesn't this mean they can just put the medicare buy-in and the public option in a reconciliation bill at the start of next year? Instead of some crappy compromise now? Is this why everyone has been so happy to roll over and die today?

Posted by: franith | December 15, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

"The first, many would say, was reconciliation...There wasn't time for that, and even if there was, throwing the process so far back onto itself would have been an enormous risk."

You have all the time you need after the main bill passes to go back later and use reconcilliation to pass a bill for a strong public option, for medicare buy-in, even for lowering the Medicare age to 55.

Go back later and use reconcilliation to add these kinds of things with only 50 votes plus the V.P. Don't forget!

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | December 15, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

What Joe Lieberman did was unforgiveable. He is a traitor to his party, a hypocrite and a liar and must be stripped of his Charimanship. (And anything else the party can do to him!) The Senate Democrats like Ried and the others were fools to support a traitor like that for so long. They must equally be held responsible for this terrible, terrible loss.

All this hard work essentially ruined by a handful of Senate Dems in the back pocket of the insurers -- Nelson, Landrieu, Lieberman.... Every one a disgrace! And Obama likewise just sits there struck dumb like an idiot.

I know there are plenty of good Republicans who have become ashamed of their party. Today, I have become terribly ashamed of mine.

Joe Lieberman now literally has peoples' blood on his hands for wrecking HC reform. He, and his compatriots, must be punished severely for their actions.

Posted by: hyperlexis | December 15, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

I agree that we should try to defeat Joe Lieberman in the future but the legislation is going to pass with provisions that will prevent those deaths and make insurance for 55-year olds like me more affordable and bring affordable coverage to some 30 million people who now lack it. I would have loved the medicare buy-in but what will pass is much improved for me and a whole lot of other people than the current situation. The Senate requires 60 votes on all except reconciliation. In effect, the senate is now run by a coalition of the 58 Dems, Independent Bernie Sanders and the Lieberman. Just like in countries governed by coalitions where you have to keep them all together or the govt. falls, the Lieberman party has more power than it should have but that is just the way it is.
The legislation that will now pass is the hard, complicated part. Advocating for a public option as an add-on or a medicare buy-in in the future will be much simpler and can be done with a 50 vote plus VP budget reconciliation. It can also be more easily explained when it is just that being talked about. As the GOP understands, passing this legislation lays the groundwork for Dem electoral advocacy of improvements that are popular. A 60-year project of the Democratic Party is about to be accomplished. Lets declare victory, celebrate and move on to the next battle.

Posted by: gregspolitics | December 15, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

This will be the largest transfer of wealth from the middle class and seniors to the insurance and drug industry the country has ever seen.

Does anyone need any clearer indication that this country is run by Lobbyists.

This piece of crap bill may pass the Senate but it will never be implemented.

Posted by: cautious | December 15, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

This has been mentioned by commenters but never really by any reporters that I can see. Is it possible for the Congress to pass the bill without the public option, get all the insurance reforms, etc in place after Obama signs it and then use reconciliation to pass the public option as a stand alone? Would the Dems talk about this now if they were considering it (I'm guessing not)? Why wouldn't they consider this?

Posted by: senkiri | December 15, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

I don't get this post Ezra. It is sloppy, which surprises me. Getting a senate bill out by xmas really means very little for the end game. It still has to go through conference and then return for final voting. And the House is highly unlikely to just pass what the senate gives them and vote it into law.

Posted by: arnold104 | December 15, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

To bad Ezra. After your writing twelve inches damning Lieberman, and further stoking the ridiculous fires of hate because the man is honest and actually cares about the American public, Reid gave into him.

What can you complain about now? How about Nancy Pelosi having laryngitis? Actually I think this is a blessing, not a problem.

Posted by: mike85 | December 15, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Guys, there's not going to be a second reconciliation bill with just the public option/Medicare buy-in/whatever else. IF this current bill manages to pass, it will completely exhaust DC's appetite for healthcare bills for some time. You think Dems are eager to wade back into this issue, which is becoming more toxic by the day? I doubt you'd even be able to get 50 votes in the Senate. It's going to be jobs, jobs, jobs after this thing is done, not public option.

Posted by: Chris_O | December 15, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

"This is the end of Joe Lieberman's political career. He's finished."

Hey, Political Prgamatist: Lieberman's Senate term as an INDEPENDENT has more than five years to go. I guess you missed out on last Nov's CT election. You know, where the Moonbats and Kossacks got crushed.

But Harry Reid OTOH has only a year at best ---if Obamacare slips into a vegetative state Reid's political half-life gets very, very short.

"But doesn't this mean they can just put the medicare buy-in and the public option in a reconciliation bill at the start of next year?"

Hey, Franith: Go ahead and try to thread the needle, by putting this in and taking that out: this time next year the GOP will have so many new seats in both houses that you will be pulling out your armpit hair in tufts, so great will be your keenings and lamentations.

And oh yeah, by the way: try squaring the circle with the House demands that the public option stay in, and the Senate view that the Stupak amendment be tossed out.

Me: I'm investing heavily in Orville Redenbacher. Fire up that popcorn, momma -- this ought to be fun to watch!

Posted by: jelink | December 15, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

I am so disappointed by the duplicity of the very people who were elected to serve this country honorably. He is a caricature of and an embarrassment to himself and his country. It might, of course, be another thing if the people of Connecticut did not popularly support a public option. Unfortunately, he's beholden instead to the insurance industries, not the people, of his state. They've got big pockets and his manicured fingers can't flip through 1.04 million in campaign contributions fast enough.

Posted by: paul37 | December 15, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Lieberman is not being honest - he was FOR the medicare buy in before!! Less than 10yrs ago! And he could careless - he was never going to run in 2012 anyway! Not sure why he is doing this but he needs to be reminded as they are stripping him of ANY leadership role he may have that he is killing 45k+ people each year HIMSELF as if he shot them in the head himself!! CT you have been DISGRACED!! He should be run out of town in shame!!!!!

Posted by: angiep1 | December 15, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Oh Ezra, one more thing. If Reid caved to Lieberman, does that mean that Reid also wants to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans? If so, doesn't it mean that every Dem who votes to pass the bill reflecting Reid's cave-in also wants to kill off all those hapless folk?

DEMOCRAT MURDERERS!!! I can't see the GOP ads now. They need only refer to the learned columns of one....Ezra Klein!

See how easily stupid arguments come round to bite you on the tush?

Posted by: jelink | December 15, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and look it up - he is up for reelection in 2012 - NOT 5+ years!!!

Posted by: angiep1 | December 15, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

And "cautious" is correct. This is the biggest, steamiest pile of smoldering doo I could have imagined emerging from this process. At least the public option, limited as it was, watered down as it was, made it digestible. Fat cats, all of them. And this is from someone who previously supported reform. Shameful.

Posted by: paul37 | December 15, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Lieberman will hopefully lose when he faces re-election. Maybe they should have offered a few billion to Israel to buy him off. It seems to be the only issue he passionately cares about.

Posted by: Matthew_DC | December 15, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Obama, I would keep., I don't think so. Politicians that are okay with thousands of us dying from lack of care must go.

Seek single payer candidates for the next few elections. Forgetting could be fatal.

Posted by: ThePoliticalStraycom | December 15, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

jelink, Reid caving to Lieberman means the exact opposite, that he does NOT want hundreds of thousands of people to die and is willing to eat very serious crow in order to prevent it. If he would have rather killed the bill (which will save way more lives than the public option or Medicare buy-in would have), then you may have had a point.

Posted by: Chris_O | December 15, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

I know Ezra is always inclined to blame Congress and not hold the Administration responsible for this but could there have been a more lukewarm endorsement of public finance of healthcare than that that issued from the Obama Administration earlier this year?

By taking single-payer off the table and not mobilizing people around it, control over the healthcare process was handed to these so-called centrists.

What punishment awaits these people in doing the bidding of the industries that pay them so much money? The Obama Administration and the Congressional leadership made sure that they have absolutely nothing to fear in neutering healthcare reform.

There is no People Power right now in the US. While the people are PRIMARILY to blame, the Administration has been saying to the people: "we don't want you involved" despite the lukewarm invitations to do so we get from Obama for America. WE didn't get invited to the White House, the pharma industry did.

Posted by: michaelterra | December 15, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Two different systems one public the other private will be required to fix health care while saving $1trillion every year.

All 300million people in the US could have totally free health care paid for with sales tax funding instead of insurance if all care was dispensed through government hospitals rather than private systems and it would cost $1trillion less than the $2.6 trillion spent last year.

Whether you are the President, health care industry executive, lobbyist, Republican, Democrat, businessman, laborer, capitalist or socialist, the facts are; that nobody can collect the money to pay for health care as cheaply as the government can by using a national sales tax and nobody can deliver high quality care and medications as cost effectively as the VA has for years this combination could provide half of the health care reform solution.

Private systems would comprise the other half of the solution for health care reform no government funding should be paid to private systems nor should they be subjected to any government mandates.

Consumers using private systems would never be required to give information to or step into a public care facility.

Seniors choosing public care would have all care and medications free.

Everyone choosing public care regardless of age, financial circumstances, or pre existing conditions, could have it no restrictions, no insurance, no co pays, free period.

Employers who select public care for their employees would not be required to pay for or have any further involvement with health care.

Posted by: BillWatson1 | December 15, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Sad how many of you believe that falling in line with the rest of the partisan nitwits is the correct thing to do.

I'm an independent voter, and I can tell you that Olympia Snowe and Lieberman are two of the most COURAGEOUS politicians, they are willing to go against their party, and do what they believe is best for their country and constituents.

It's amazing how many of you ignore the public polls, CNN has it at 34% of the public who want this bill to pass, and the rest of the polls aren't much better.

Lieberman is a hero, and you dummycrats don't even know it, because you're so blinded by your partisan blinders.

I've got news for you poor pathetic people, independent voters are against this nightmare of a bill by almost a 3 to 1 margin, so for all of you who think that Lieberman will get voted out.

THINK AGAIN! He will get GOP support and the independents will love him for what he has done.

God Bless Joe Lieberman

Posted by: Magox | December 15, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

"Oh, and look it up - he is up for reelection in 2012 - NOT 5+ years!!!"

Time flies! I'm wrong about when his term ends, it's only three years, not five! --- but his political career is far from "over". You folks thought it was "over" when you ran your moonbat candidate against him.

If it's "over" the Dems will take his committee chairmanships away --- and thus drive him to the GOP, whittling the Dem margin down from 60/40 to 59/41.

Not a good idea!

And when Chris Dodd goes down in 2010 for his fecklessness and corruption Joe will be the SENIOR senator from CT. We'll see if the local citizenry will turn to an inexperienced moonbat candidate to topple a stand-up guy with senatorial clout . TWO senators with no seniority --- yeah, that's what CT citizens will be want!!!

If you believe that, I have a Martha's Vineyard family compound with a view of a scenic green windfarm I'd like to offer you.

Posted by: jelink | December 15, 2009 1:11 AM | Report abuse

"I'm an independent voter, and I can tell you that Olympia Snowe and Lieberman are two of the most COURAGEOUS politicians, they are willing to go against their party, and do what they believe is best for their country and constituents."

If Lieberman had any beliefs left, this would be debatable. But since he will now filibuster a proposal he himself put forward THREE MONTHS AGO, your argument holds absolutely no merit.

Posted by: Chris_O | December 15, 2009 1:12 AM | Report abuse

I love it. Whatever bill they pass "by Christmas" doesn't even kick in until 2013 (except for the massive tax hike, which is immediate). So, as Sen Snowe said, "What's the rush? There's always January."

Those of you claiming that the only polls showing complete disgust for ObamaCare are Rasmussen & Fox, think again. The plan fares WORST in CNN & Quinnipiac polls.

Face it...America doesn't want more Gov't-run healthcare

Posted by: OttoDog | December 15, 2009 1:12 AM | Report abuse

So "Lucy" Lieberman is really going to let Democrats kick the ball this time? I don't think so. On the plus side, it's always fun to watch poor old Charlie Brown get played by Lucy.

Posted by: rodneythecat | December 15, 2009 1:13 AM | Report abuse

wingnut trolls are busy tonight.

Posted by: arnold104 | December 15, 2009 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Fantastic post jelink. You can't seriously be a republican can you? How can you be so wrong and write such a brilliant post!
Cheers anyway.

Posted by: diebrucke | December 15, 2009 1:25 AM | Report abuse

So...they have to cave to Lieberman because the White House needs this done by Christmas, and they need it done by Christmas...why? Because slow = bleeds to death? I have to side with Snowe on this one: in the choice between definitely bad now, and potentially better/potentially dead in January, I'd take the latter -- unless you can make a really strong argument that the "dead" outcome becomes quite likely.

Basically, every time Obama had a chance to a) pass the buck, b) choose the easy option, c) choose the less risky option, d) sink the public option, e) side with the right half of the party against the left, f) side with the rightmost members against the leadership, or g) put things off, he took them all. Now he's no longer doing (g), but all the rest are as ever. He bears a *lot* of responsibility for what this bill is, and isn't, by his choices, median member/60th senator constraints or not.

Posted by: Ulium | December 15, 2009 1:31 AM | Report abuse

What does it matter if they go to 59/41 anyway?

I mean they get all majority powers at 51. 60's nice b/c it sounds like they could get over a filibuster, but we've seen how that's turned out. How does having 59 Dems + Joe Lieberman the wild cannon differ much from 59 Dems & Joe Lieberman the moderate Republican?

For what it's worth, the next step for Obama and Reid now has to be regrouping and cleaning house within the party. If they want their base to turn out at all they have to give them a reason; this bill alone (no matter how much incremental good it does) isn't going to be enough to overcome the bad taste in base voters' mouths at this point.

Posted by: NS12345 | December 15, 2009 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Here's something to cheer you up, libs, now that Dirty Harry's caved and stripped out MC expansion...
The only study indicating anything NEAR Klein's "hundreds of thousands" dying due to "uninsurance" (yes, that's what they called it) is an estimate from the Urban Institute (note the box, top left)noting that, in an "Institute of Medicine"(?) study from 2002, as a percentage of population, more uninsureds die than insureds. No comparative study or data was offered detailing the different demographics, lifestyles or causes of death for these supposed additional deaths, only simple correlation. Then, the Urban Institute applied its own figures as to the estimated numbers of uninsureds (on the high end of everyone's) to that number over a multi-year timeframe. When one takes into account the lifestyle variables that cause one to go without health insurance in the first place, the flawed nature of using simple correlation becomes apparent.
So, relax. Like many of the numbers used to push Obama;s agenda, these are just as phony.

Posted by: OttoDog | December 15, 2009 1:36 AM | Report abuse

"The argument is that big bills rarely fail in a dramatic vote. They bleed to death slowly, wasting away amid a procession of delays and procedural setbacks. The longer a health-care reform bill takes, the less likely it is to pass."

I think this is very true, but it also implies that the bill was dead the moment Max Baucus took point on it.

We were supposed to be at this point by early summer. Every day that's passed since the May deadline has made the bill worse.

Posted by: NS12345 | December 15, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

This whole thing has been terrible. The public option was used as the opening bid (!!), and now we get some cost controls that in another Congress would have been done by the GOP -- all because Obama wants to include it in his SOTU? That's what was clear from Rahm's meeting w/ Reid today, at least.

And, instead of some grieving or analysis, some left wing blogs (not yours) are blaming the Senate (for the millionth time) or attacking their visitors for being upset and vowing to not vote in 2010. I mean, I want *some* sort of results from whom I vote for, or absent that, the appearance that the administration is emotionally invested in the substance of reform, not just in getting a "win."

It seems to me we got one party that does-no-harm and a party that's run by tax/religious dogmatic crazies.

Dems have been energized since Dean in '03 -- that stretch of intense investment in the party will not likely happen again for a very long time. On top of that, the strategies to get more progressive outcomes failed: primary-ing centrists, electing a progressive pres, getting 60 votes, leaving HCR up to (a dysfunctional) congress this time around, striking deals with insurance and pharma -- seriously, what more could be done? It is impossible to get to 61 and no one other than Harkin cares about the filibuster.

Health care was never Obama's issue ever since the primaries, and it just took us all this time to figure out that he wouldn't push back against moderate senators to keep it alive.

And what do we get after Christmas: a watered-down climate bill and possibly tax reform? This is what you get in a once-in-a-generation Dem government?

It's going to take a whole lot more than some Obama quotes about "fat cat bankers" or some fake Reid insurance trust-busting PR stunts to get the base invested again in this administration again.

Posted by: Chris_ | December 15, 2009 1:40 AM | Report abuse

A few more legislative "victories" such as this, where the ostensible winners leave in bitterness, while the "defeated" emerge triumphant and energized, and the Obama presidency (and the congressional Democratic majority) will be undone. What a dispiriting spectacle this president has been. All that good-will and popular energy of the early months utterly squandered, and for what? A watered-down stimulus which will probably fail to return the economy to good health for some time. A muddled financial rescue effort, while it did arrest the decline, have failed to solve fundamental problems. And now a weak healthcare bill which will probably do very little concrete good in making healthcare affordable. By avoiding every possibility of losing Obama I think has closed the door to any meaningful victories — he wanted to be a winner more than a leader, it seems.

During presidential campaign Obama seemed like an unicorn: he was good, and he was lucky. But perhaps he was just lucky, and now his luck is running out.

Posted by: zouln | December 15, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Not that much has been lost to accomodate Lieberman.

Any public option was going to be very weak.
The medicare buy-in was also destined to be mostly symbolic. The political will wasn't there to create a program that paid at medicare rates, or was heavily subsidized. It was likely mostly going to attract sick people, which amounts to an indirect subsidy to private insurance.

This year's reform is just the first step of a long process. We've established a goal of universal health care, with the government playing a central role in fulfilling the goal. The Democrats are winning the war, the Republicans (via Lieberman) have merely won a couple battles.

If a public option proves necessary to provide affordable care, which seems likely, political & budget pressure will grow to create it.

Posted by: HuckFinn | December 15, 2009 1:54 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein is to be commended for staying up so late writing about the latest fiasco in the Senate. I object to his persistent description of the bill as health care "reform." There will be very few, if any, significant health care reforms in a bill. I define health care reform as those policies that will expand affordable coverage and eliminate discriminatory practices by health insurance companies.

Obama and most Democrats in Congress never considered universal health care coverage or a single payer system. Then the public option was dropped, tonight the Medicare buy-in. There seem to be loopholes in banning discrimination based on preexisting conditions. There really is not much real reform left.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | December 15, 2009 1:57 AM | Report abuse

A few more legislative "victories" such as this, where the ostensible winners leave in bitterness, while the "defeated" emerge triumphant and energized --zouln

zouln, I assure you, Republicans are not going to be feeling triumphant and energized when the health bill ultimately passes.

The Republicans envision a consumer market driven solution to health care. The Democrats think that government needs to regulate the market to insure full access. When this bill passes, the Democrats will have scored a decisive victory in the ideological battle.

I know progressives are disappointed with the lack of a public option. But that's because you imagined a quick and clear highway to single payer. It isn't going to work that way, Americans aren't ready to give-up their employer-provided insurance. But we're going to get to the promised land (decent health care for all) another way.

Posted by: HuckFinn | December 15, 2009 2:02 AM | Report abuse

There will be very few, if any, significant health care reforms in a bill. I define health care reform as those policies that will expand affordable coverage and eliminate discriminatory practices by health insurance companies. --- Aprogressiveindependent

Sorry, but you really know much about the bill. It certainly does eliminate descriminatory practices by the insurance industry. And it provides health care access to about 30 million people by expanding Medicare for the poor and providing subsidies to the working class.

The Exchange will be a TREMENDOUS help to those individuals and small business who aren't part of large government or corporate pools.

As a first step, this health care reform bill is fantastic.

Posted by: HuckFinn | December 15, 2009 2:11 AM | Report abuse

When do the Democrats, the party of Wall Street, get the idea that in 2010 that now they will also be running as the party that brought mandatory high priced national health insurance with private insurers that a majority of Americans do not want?

Posted by: bsallamack | December 15, 2009 2:32 AM | Report abuse

Fifteen to twenty million people legally in this country will be without health care insurance ten years from now, even if a health care bill is passed. Those in the middle class ineligible for subsidies will have a major financial burden, if they choose purchasing their insurance instead of paying a fine. Much of the financing will be on the backs of those receiving Medicare. Those who say $400 or 500 billion over ten years will not reduce benefits, but only waste, sound like Reagan and conservatives during the 1980's. This is not reform, but a sell-out to health insurance companies, at the expense of the middle class and older people.

As has been reported, there are loopholes that may weaken the the limited reforms in a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on preexisting conditions, especially before 2014.

As to some who think this is but the first step, sorry, this is likely to be it, at least for another decade or two, especially from a timid president and Congress increasingly more obsessed with reducing budget deficits, than achieving the social justice Obama alluded to in his speech in Oslo.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | December 15, 2009 2:45 AM | Report abuse

It's not really important to reform health care; what's important is to pass a health care reform bill.

Posted by: AlanSF | December 15, 2009 2:50 AM | Report abuse

The whole point of the Baucus Gang of Six was to run out as much of the clock as possible. Everyone knew Obama wanted his "win" to wave around in the SOTU, regardless of the form the win took. So a need to run the clock to the point where reconcilliation became "off the table" because it "would take too long", and folks like Ezra could explain it away that way. As oppose to speeding up the process so that reconcilliation was in play and hanging over the head of those who didn't want to deal.

Don't want the PO? Simply enough, we'll create Medicare Buy In For All through reconcilliation. That would have made folks take to almost anything below it.

But the reality is that the White House didn't want that, not did Harry and Max.

I look forward to Ezra selling the bill that eventually passes as a "win" well worth the effort.


Posted by: toshiaki | December 15, 2009 3:04 AM | Report abuse

kill the bill. kill the bill. kill the bill. it isn't anymore about the actual legislation. if progressives don't stand up for anything, they'll get nothing. why should one independent hold the entire caucus hostage? if progressives want to get their values inserted into law, they have to make a stand somewhere, and every bit of teeth this bill had to control costs was castrated by lieberman. stand up and fight. send it back. obama has no room to cry over this one .. if he'd shown any kind of leadership, this wouldn't be happening now. mr play it safe may have played himself into a corner he can't get out of, if any liberals out there have any backbone at all. kill the bill, kill the bill.

Posted by: keilprti1 | December 15, 2009 3:08 AM | Report abuse

All the people complaining should go back and read the Reconciliation piece by Ezra. There are basically three goals to Health Care Reform:
1) Regulate the insurance companies to stop from blocking care: this means eliminating pre-existing conditions and rescission, and getting community rating. Insurance will still cost a fortune (and the companies will make a fortune), but you'll be able to get it and keep it.
2) Find some way to make the insurance companies stop gouging people. In practice, this has mean the Public Option.
3) Bend the cost curve, because on current trends medical inflation will kill first the federal budget and then the whole economy down the road.

We gave up on (3) months ago. (1), which gets at the most important injustices affecting peoples' daily lives, cannot be done by Reconciliation. It is in theory possible to do some version of (2), the Public Option, by Reconciliation - but if you make the Public Option big enough to overcome the problem of not being able to do (1) then there aren't even the votes for Reconciliation.

In short, if you want to regulate insurance in ways that anyone who's not a monster would agree is necessary, then - given that the Repblicans won't vote for anything whatsoever - you need to sell out the Public Option.

Now, it would be nifty if three months from now the Public Option came back by Reconciliation - but I think we're all aware this will not happen.

Posted by: WarrenTerra | December 15, 2009 3:17 AM | Report abuse

These people understand nothing about what it's like to be stuck in the lower-middle somewhere. Small self-employed income & large self-insured premium.

Why can't they at least try to understand what so many of us go through?

Posted by: dadada | December 15, 2009 4:07 AM | Report abuse

The Motto for whoever runs against Joe Lieberman should simply be
"Joe Lieberman. Never Again."

Posted by: Jonnan | December 15, 2009 5:20 AM | Report abuse

Read & watch Lieberman endorse the Medicare Buy-in 3 months ago!! - and in 2000 and 2006.

LIEberman - $ellout to the In$urance Indu$try!

Posted by: angie12106 | December 15, 2009 5:28 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats want you to believe this is all Liebermann's fault.

In actuality this is all part of an elaborate and deceptive plan by the Blue Dogs and Liebermann and Reid to force the mandate on the American people.

Without the public option and medicare-buy-in, the mandate has no logical or fiscal reason to exist, yet the mandate perseveres.

Call your truly progressive senators and insist they do not vote for any plan which includes the mandate without a gvmt safety net (such as the PO or medicare-buy-in).

Personally, if the mandate persists in the final bill without the gvmt safety net provision, I will renounce my Democratic membership, as should all true progressives.

Posted by: Lomillialor | December 15, 2009 5:35 AM | Report abuse

Appeasement is seldom a good policy. Appeasing Lieberman has only encouraged the renegade legislator to make ever more demands.
The Senate Dems are wasting their time with this man. He has changed his position so many times on this issue that he cannot ever again be trusted. I believe that his true objective has nothing to do with the merits or otherwise of this Bill. His true agenda is to defeat the Bill - or eviscerate it to a useless husk - with the purpose of damaging a President he truely hates.
Lieberman has one single interest - the continued Jewish settlement of the Palestinian Territories - and his purpose is to damage the political credibility of President Obama with the purpose of impairing his ability to further a peace settlement which would put a stop to his dream of a greater Israel.
If you doubt how morally inconsistent (and single-minded) Lieberman is on the settlements issue I would refer you to his ugly relationship with the anti-semitic preacher, Pastor Hagee. As someone, tongue in cheek, recently asked the Senator: "Is it his belief that unconverted Jews will go to Hell, or his advocacy that non-Jews should be ethnically cleansed from the West Bank that prompted you to call Pastor Hagee Israel's greatest friend? (Lieberman didn't reply)
The Senate Dems should call this man's bluff: "Your committee or your vote". Even if he stuck to his (inconsistent) position, the outcome would be more honourable than a Bill bereft of any value to Americans.

Posted by: petermhmurray | December 15, 2009 5:53 AM | Report abuse


Saw you on Olbermann's show last night. My question for you is this: Did the Obama folks simply not have a job for you in the Administration, or did they just feel that you had more value as a flak for their policies in your Washington Post role and with your appearances on MNNBC? Btw, really lookng forward to seeing you on Keith's show after the 2010 midterms -- I can hardly wait.



Posted by: PrettyGoPale | December 15, 2009 5:58 AM | Report abuse

I believe the senate accurately mirrors the powers of good and evil at every level in our society. Our society, from a philosophical place, consists of approximately 57% good, 40% evil, and 3% that sway in-between depending on what suits their interests. The filibuster, in this case, is a tool that allows evil to trump good - even though there is more good than evil. The Democrats in Congress have tried to do something good - they failed - but at least we will get some good out of it.

Posted by: quietwar | December 15, 2009 6:19 AM | Report abuse

It's not that we WANT people to die; we just don't care if they do. Everybody dies. We don't want our healthcare, which we like, diluted, truncated, rationed, what-have-you, for some nameless Other. We're not willing to gamble our health to save another.

Posted by: ronjaboy | December 15, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

If Liebermann didn't vote against the gvmt option, then one of the Blue Dogs (but not all of them) would.

Only ONE Blue Dog vote is needed to kill the gvmt option, the rest of them are hiding behind the ONE.

Face it folks. Conservatives are still in control of Congress. Just look at the way Obama's jobs program was also simultaneously removed from the recent war spending bill even as the public option died.

The neo-cons keep marching along and until we get 60 true progressives in the Senate, nothing will change.

Posted by: Lomillialor | December 15, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

The pathetic fools that make up the so-called leadership of the democratic party make me want to puke. I guess POS lieberman is the real senate majority leader.

Posted by: branfo4 | December 15, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

So what is left? The part about mandatory young customers that the insurance company wanted? My health insurance premiums keep going up and the coverage keeps going down and I'm a captive audience. I see nothing in this for me. God, wouldn't it be nice to live in a democracy that actually worked for the people not the corrupt thing we got going here.

Posted by: SarahBB | December 15, 2009 7:05 AM | Report abuse


" .. The neo-cons keep marching along and until we get 60 true progressives in the Senate, nothing will change."

Unfortunately for your kind, COMMUNISM will never come to the USA.

So get a real job.

Posted by: russpoter | December 15, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

The loss of the public option and medicare buy in only make this big goverment monstrosity microscopically better. It's still trillions of dollars in new government spending, thousands of new government regulations, thousands of new government bureaucrats and of course hundreds of billions of new taxes. This on top of the massive spending government spending increases and thousands of pork projects passed in the recent Democratic spending bill. I don't want to see just the public option removed I want the whole thing defeated.

Posted by: RobT1 | December 15, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

"They worry whether his [Lieberman] word is good."

And I believe in the Tooth Fairy.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | December 15, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

So now Daily Kos and other liberal bloggers and pundits are calling for the demise of the health reform bill because they're not getting legislation they can use as a vehicle for government expansion.

Does that mean Ezra Klein will now write that these liberals are willing to risk the lives of hundreds of thousands of people out of political pique?

Nah, I didn't think so.

Posted by: FreeMas | December 15, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

This was never about what was best for this country, it was about a bad bill so the democrats and Obama can claim fake victory.

The voters will remember. Reid will not be reelected and Joe Lieberman is a hero.

the Washington Post is the Craig Deeds of journalism, and its radical extremist "bloggers" are a disgrace to a once great newspaper.

Koolaid drinking slugs.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | December 15, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Joe Lieberman is an embarrassment to his state, his country and all of humanity. He lacks any semblance of morals and should be ashamed to admit so publicly that he has been bought and paid for by the insurance cartels. We will vote him out of office in Connecticut in 2012 but I do wish there was a "recall" to make him leave sooner.

Posted by: gilbertpb40 | December 15, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Metaphor Collection:

We are fighting about where to put band aids on the TB patient that is our health care system while the rest of the world is using antibiotics.

We are discussing whether 2 + 3 = 23 or 6 while the rest of the world says 2 + 3 = 5, but we can't use 5 because we want a "uniquely American solution."

We are adding epicycles to our health care system like the Ptolemaic astronomers rather than make the fundamental corrections to move the sun to the center of the solar system and use elliptical orbits. As long as we use competitive for profit insurance companies, our system will not work.

And that old chestnut:

Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Posted by: lensch | December 15, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

So, let me get it straight,

Th senate bill will not have opt-in, opt-out, public option or Medicare buy in. So, what exactly is the "reform"?

All it does is make everything more expensive, raise taxes and increase govt size. Question is, for what?

Posted by: darkskin1977 | December 15, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I hate to say i told you so, but.....Public option is dead, Medicare buy-in is dead, and reconciliation is off the table (and anyone who expects a reconciliation bill in 2010 is smoking something). This was as good as Dems could expect. Time to move on.

Posted by: MBP2 | December 15, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Harry Reid and other democrats are disgrace to human race. Reid's days as Senate Leader are numbered, he won't be a senator next year.

Posted by: darkskin1977 | December 15, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Some say the world will end in fire;
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice

.........robert frost

lose not thy courage, in the midst of so much extreme brokenness.
keep the faith.

Posted by: jkaren | December 15, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

This post is interesting because Mr. Klein gets fed the white house talking points by the WH communications office. The new guy there said as much -- that a big part of the job was getting liberal bloggers to amplify the agenda. The explanation of why it HAS to be done by Christmas was very brief (big bills must pass quickly -- so do big kidney stones). But that cannot be the whole, or the real reason why the deadline is now MORE important than the substance.

Posted by: truck1 | December 15, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

The whole of congress is rotten to the core. Stripping any meaningful reform from this bill shows what a disgrace these people are. They should be ashamed, yet when this bill does get signed before Xmas, these jerks will come out and flaunt this empty no reform mess. Short of TERM LIMITS, every sitting member of congress should be voted out. As long as members of congress accept bribes everyday, nothing will change.

Posted by: twdindep | December 15, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Mr Klein,

You labor under the same Clintonista corporate assumption that anything is better than nothing, even a windfall of conscribed customers in return for insurance companies merely holding up their end of the contract (something that should have been legislated before negotiations even began as a condition for being in the insurance business). I labor under no such posterior-kissing obligation to the White House.

I know your buddy Rahm Emanuel just wants to get this off the table, and he doesn't care WHAT'S in in at all. And I know that in order to get invited to the White House holiday parties, you have to promulgate their propaganda. And this is, after all, the news outlet that was to sponsor elbow-rubbing pay-for-access salons with opinion leaders such as you and the insurance tycoons robbing us blind.

But must you make your thoughtless, vapid arguments so transparent? You outline three options: do reconciliation, court Snowe, or do Lieberman's bidding.

The fourth option is the one I favor. That would be: call in Lieberman, Nelson, and the rest of these right wing insurance company fellating stooges and lay down the law: either you WILL VOTE CLOTURE or you are STRIPPED OF EVERY ASSIGNMENT, PERQUISITE, AND SOURCE OF POLITICAL LEVERAGE YOU ENJOY TODAY and send this loser of a bill back to the drawing board until it does something besides enrich the robber barons who are the insurance companies.

Funny how you conveniently miss that most desirable of all options. The LAST THING one would do is negotiate with terrorists, let alone give them what they're asking.

Now I know that when the insurance companies prevail, you'll have your short skirt and panties on, shaking your pom-poms, cheering on the "victory." The laughter you hear won't be laughing with you, it will be laughing at you. What a subjugating media prostitute you are!

Posted by: trippin | December 15, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

It is time to end or severly limit the filibuster. Why should senators who represent small states be able to hold hostage legislation that most of the country wants? Lieberman knows better, which is sad. He once was a fine senator, but apparently his tender ego was hurt in his last election. Now, he represents the worse the Senate has to offer.

Posted by: gtinla | December 15, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

The battle here was between President Obama and the lobbyists.

The lobbyists clearly won.

Posted by: Heerman532 | December 15, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

How ironic. Joe is married to Haddasah.

Haddasah is a also a Jewish women's organization whose mission statement says that it "initiates and supports pace-setting health care, ... to meet the country's changing needs ....Hadassah enhances the quality of American and Jewish life through its education and .... promotes health awareness, and provides personal enrichment and growth for its members."

Stunning hypocrisy.

Posted by: garyoke | December 15, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

"Could it have been worse?" I can hardly see how. The current bill is a disaster; a mish-mash of policies that have no central logic and fail to address the major problems facing our health insurance.

Handing out a few subsidies and mandates only guarantees that health insurance premium inflation will accelerate. The biggest problem facing health care is that insurance is unaffordable. By throwing out the only mechanism for controlling costs, a vibrant public alternative to private insurance, they have exasperated our situation.

It's obvious that Democrats only want a piece of paper signed that says "Health Care Reform". It doesn't matter how bad the policies are in that document.

The only "good news" from this bill is that it will speed up the process of our current system collapsing under its own weight. This year Blue Cross raised premiums 15% when the CPI was -2%. Such inflation will force more and more of us out of the system until we finally demand real reform. Apparently, we just aren't there yet, and we'll have to feel a lot more pain before we are.

Posted by: AxelDC | December 15, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

This administration was so intent on appeasing the opposition it failed to deliver on its promises to its supporters. The administration came into office promising "change" and doubled down on the policies of the previous administration. Tarp, Iraq, Afghanistan, taxation, economic policy noting changed. Now the political capital has been squandered and the political base alienated.

Let's hope the next guy can do better.

Posted by: dfdougherty | December 15, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Why doesn't Reid tell Lieberman that if he doesn't go along, the Democrats will strip his committee chairmanship???

Posted by: ktyson51 | December 15, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

By the way - anyone else think that Joe Lieberman is bearing a closer resemblance to C. Montgomery Burns from The SImpsons?

Not just physically, but in terms of personal character...?

Posted by: garyoke | December 15, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

The death of the public option...I will never vote again. These snakes don't deserve my support. President Obama betrayed my trust.

Posted by: question-guy | December 15, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

137,000 murdered by the united states government, health care industry, and insurance companies in the last 9 years. Under anyother circumstances, this would be cause for capitol punishment. Tell me again, this is the most wonderful country in the world. I'm a senior, an x fed, and have resources for all the medical care I need. The government of the united states is no longer, government of the people, by the people, for the people. Throw them all out, string them up, tar and feather them.

Posted by: linda_521 | December 15, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

What's left in this bill? A mandate that you MUST buy insurance or be fined or jailed? A ton of earmarks totaling up to $800 Billion?

Right now this bill is attractive to neither Democrats or Republicans. The only purpose left in this bill is to let the President say he accomplished "something."

And is that worth $800 Billion? Is that worth fining folks or sending them to prison because they could not afford mandated healthcare coverage?

Posted by: RealTexan1 | December 15, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

To think that I didn’t like Joe. Three cheers for the good Senator from Connecticut!

Posted by: ostap666 | December 15, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Connecticut should be intensely ashamed of Lieberman. He is a slimeball of the first degree. I believe he was Gore's undoing, as well. What a jerk.

Posted by: GeorgHerbet | December 15, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Why does anybody think Traitor Joe will vote for the next bill the dems put on the table? Joe does the bidding of the insurance companies, we know, and if they don't want any bill, there will be no bill. Moreover, I think Obama was sat down by the corporate shils in his administration and told the facts of life when he took office. I'm 64 y.o. and I have voted at every opportunity. Now I give up. The people have no representation in DC, and millions of people will die in the future, here and in the middle east, in the interests of power.

Posted by: douard1 | December 15, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Lieberman's wife who is as big a scumbag as he is should be happy. They should throw him out of the party. He is a Republican and always was!

Posted by: hughsie48 | December 15, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Mark my words: Lieberman is going to find still another reason to refuse to support the reform effort. This man's venomous hatred of his former party, and his self-interest in raking in money from the insurance racket, are both so intense that he will do whatever is necessary to destroy health reform.

And he'll do the same thing to climate-change legislation.

The man's word is worth absolutely nothing.
He is devoid of honor and truth.

Second only to Lieberman in infamy is Olympia Snowe. She could have come to the rescue of health reform by providing the sixtieth vote that Lieberman refused. Instead, she has sat on her duff, watching the enemy--that is, the Democratic Party--fail.

The political system in this country has become so corrupt and dysfunctional that I really don't see any hope.

The Republicans are going to score big gains in 2010. Then will come two years of gridlock and economic stagnation. And then Sarah Palin will get elected in another Republican sweep. And then come the Dark Ages...

Posted by: jasm917 | December 15, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Without a public option this bill is just a Health Insurance Industry Chistmas gift. A pox on both houses! The GOP party of "no" , the cowardly Democrats and especially Joe Lieberman the crook - I hop he rots in H.ell.

Posted by: sux123 | December 15, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

50 years from now, his descendants will rather have the last name of "Dogshi_" then the shameful "lieberman".

Posted by: dboz1970 | December 15, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Get Massimo Tartaglione on the next plane to DC. They need a relief pitcher of his calibre in congress right away....

Posted by: MickNamVet | December 15, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Hey pig Democrats, here's a news flash: You already tried to defeat Lieberman, and guess what, like just about everything you do, ya failed! Does the name Ned Lamont ring a bell? It should, the sickos on the left gave the Dem nomination to him in 06 and Lieberman, running as an independent, smacked him down. Get a life, bozos, Joe's vote is supported by the majority of Americans who DO NOT WANT THIS DISASTER OF A BILL TO PASS.

Posted by: DCer1 | December 15, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

How can something die if it was never alive in the first place? As Baucus and others have been saying for months, the public option never had 60 votes in the Senate; Medicare expansion has even less support which is why it has never been seriously considered. But at least folks can't say that Reid did not try time and tiem again to get a PO.

Posted by: craig18 | December 15, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse


If you're going to be an obnoxious twit, it helps if you at least get your facts straight. Lieberman has just over three years left, not five. He was re-elected in 2006.

Posted by: mikerose2 | December 15, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

GeorgHerbet, you're right...Lieberman's the reason Gore failed to win Tennessee. My gosh, Dems are an ignorant bunch!

Posted by: DCer1 | December 15, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

The only silver lining in this whole fiasco is that it will be the end of Lieberman's career. What a sad bunch the Dems are, this bill could have been great; but now it is not even good. I am a huge proponent of health care reform, and now even I hope this monster doesn't pass

Posted by: maurban | December 15, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

So to sum up:
The US senate has become totally dysfunctional as fillibusters have increased four fold since the Republicans became a minority.

The US government has become dysfunctional as a democracy as more then 60 percent of the people originally supported the public option, but health insurance lobbyists carry more clout in our senate. We do not have a democracy -- we have corporate rule. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the best senate money can buy.

Senator Traitor Joe Lieberman has become dsyfunctional as he can't even remember that he has supported lowering the age for Medicare buy-in for the last 9 years, the latest statement of support (on tape) coming last September.

It would be laughable if not for the tens of thousands who will die for lack of access to timely health care, while Joe Lieberman, the biggest national putz since Benedict Arnold, Olympia Snow, and the gaggle of ditto-heads on the other side of the aisle display their grotessque profiles in cowardice and greed.

Posted by: Poleman | December 15, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

For the last year, every poll shows a majority of Americans supporting the efforts at health care reform, but every day on blogs I read right-wing people scream that a majority of Americans don't want it.

Are they that stupid? Or do they really believe it?

Posted by: maurban | December 15, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

It is remarkable how many people take Klein’s assertion that Lieberman is a mass-murderer for opposing the so-called “public option” at face value! Have you folks even looked at the Urban Institute study EK references in his former rhetorical diatribe? It makes the fantastic leap that more people die solely due to the lack of medical insurance. Besides being a classic logical fallacy (cum hoc ergo propter hoc – assumes that correlation implies causation), it considers no other underlying reasons for the difference – poverty, education, criminality, bad habits, or a lack of personal responsibility. If a person willfully disregards his own health or neglects to buy medical insurance of his own accord, is it Joe Lieberman’s fault if he meets an early demise? How dare Joe let anyone die in a car accident before the government insures her! Using Klein’s logic, if s a study claimed more people died when it rained, Congress would be guilty of genocide for not legislating perpetual sunny days!

Posted by: braunt | December 15, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

mauraban, you may need reading lessons...check the link, NUMEROUS polls show the public is STRONGLY against this disaster of a bill:

Posted by: DCer1 | December 15, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Why go through all of this torture? Why didn't the Democrats get rid of the public option in August. 2010 is the year when there will start to be a lot fewer Democrats in Washington. Will Obama turn into President Clinton II when he faces a redder congress?

Posted by: kenpasadena | December 15, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

One year of congressional bickering and posturing to get this result?

I hear those that say this is better than nothing. I don't believe it. There is no reform in this 'reform', other than insurance rules that will be gamed by the insurance companies or neutered by the Congress in the dead of night before final passage.

What is critical is that congress is definitively revealed to be owned by corporations, Obama never was a 'change' person, and that Obama's 'leadership' skills are those of a rank amateur.

Our ship of state is the Titanic, with a huge gash in its side and taking on water. There are not enough lifeboats for all aboard. The first class passengers just voted to play the music louder while they got exclusive access to the lifeboats, instead of repairing the hull. Those in lower class cabins have be written off and will feed the fishes.

Welcome to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | December 15, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

SOMEONE PLEASE ANSWER THIS QUESTION FOR ME. Why not just reintroduce the public option in conference? The senate bill has to merge with the House bill in conference. Why not add the public option then? Will you still need 60 votes for open and cloture after conference?

Posted by: lagnappe | December 15, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Hey Braunt, I have two friends who died for lack of affordable health insurance. Both worked for small companies that could not provide health insurance. One simply could not afford it in the open market, the other was rejected for asking a doctor about a mole 4 years earlier (the mole was benign). By the time the severe symptoms of cancer appeared, it was too late for both of them. They went broke with bills and went on medicare, which wound up costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. So don't give me this crap about people not dying for lack of health care. Take your head out of the sand and read some of the posts all over the web about such cases. In case that is not enough, check this recent REuters post out: "Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year -- one every 12 minutes -- in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday."

Posted by: Poleman | December 15, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Socialized Medicine is Revolution not Reform.

What's the hurry unless they are hiding something they don't want the citizens to know?

Under the current bill nothing will cut health costs. In 2010 Medicare recipients, who are forced into the "insurance plan" for thirty-five years or more, will be paying over 6% of their Social Security Benefits as another premium and get hit with a 20% deductible. They also also paid into the SS Retirement Plan for 35 years or more in Taxable Income. Then they have to pay taxes on at least 50% of the SS benefits they receive which includes monies they already paid income taxes on.

Politicians tell you that the government is going to give you Medicate. They give you nothing. You were or are being forced into buying poor health coverage in the future and a poor retirement plan that double taxes you.

The present Socialized Medicine fiasco in
Congress will force you to pay now for a programs that maybe will start in four years, not cover all Americans, increase health costs to everyone, dissuade many Americans to never buy health insurance and is not cost effective.

Americans are stupid! Time for a National Congressional Term Limit Referendum ridding us of career policians and paying them the same benefits we get after we lose a job: None!!

Posted by: PrudentMan | December 15, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Whats the difference between paying to the government and at least getting assurred health care and paying to fat cat corporations who turn around and deny you coverage as soon as you start using your policy.

US is the only developed country in the world without a national health care program and others seem to be doing fine (i.e., I'd rather have my bank account in Canadian banks than US banks)

Posted by: Poleman | December 15, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

So ... what's your point , Ezra ? They gain Joe Lieberman ... they lose two or maybe three more on the other side . Big deal ! This anemic thing , if it passes in some form , is going to need a health insurance policy of its own just to bend over and cough !

Posted by: lagnafrah | December 15, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Subject: Broke

This should be read and understood by all Americans Democrats, Republicans, Independents, I MEAN EVERYONE!!

To President Obama and all members of Congress who would vote for either Reid's, or Pelosi's anti-health reform bills:

It is now official you are ALL corrupt morons:

The U.S. Post Service was established in 1775 You have had 234 years to get it right and it is broke.

Social Security was established in 1935. You have had 74 years to get it right and it is broke.

Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 71 years to get it right and it is broke.

War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to "the poor" and they only want more.

Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. You have had 44 years to get it right and they are broke.

Freddie Mac was established in 1970. You have had 39 years to get it right and it is broke.

The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. You had 32 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure.

You have FAILED in every "government service" you have shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars AND YOU WANT AMERICANS TO BELIEVE YOU CAN BE TRUSTED WITH A GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM??

How can ANYone really believe that what the Democratic leadership and Obama are up to is about "reform" of how health care is delivered or paid for? It is all about " pay pack" to constituencies who they are indebted tO: gays, labor unions, teachers unions, pro-choice feminists.

Posted by: quovadislifecoach | December 15, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

To the first commenter, Sen. Lieberman was elected and will be re-elected by a constituency that is predominately against the ObamaCare Bill. Secondly, we have the pharmacutical companies licking their chops waiting for this bill to pass as they helped to write it. That's why the ammendment to authorize the purchase of drugs from approved countries like Canada will fail. This bill was written in a back room so filled with gangsta cigar smoke, it will never clear.
So it is to Joe Lieberman that this country owes a great debt of gratitude.
May god bless him and his long career. Many years to come.

Posted by: thommorin | December 15, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

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