Much manuevering, slight of hand, shifting loyalties, and backroom deals have gone into the current state of the Senate’s healthcare reform bill. With the on again, off again mystical 60-vote majority Democrats have been seeking, all the changes make the current Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections, which both sides cite to support their cause, irrelevant. A series of concessions—bribes, really—secured Sen. Ben Nelson’s (D-NE) commitment as the 60th vote for the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called Pres. Obama with the news as he winged his way back from Copenhagen on Carbon Footprint One. As his pound of flesh, Nelson extorted additional abortion restrictions and another $10 million for Nebraska Medicaid expansion.
Nelson’s not the only ransom demander, however. Some more prominent hostage-takers include Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Michigan’s senior Democratic Senator, Carl Levin who worked to exempt non-profit insurers from an excise tax. This move cuts the bill’s projected revenue by about $3.3 billion, just one example of why the CBO needs to reassess the bill’s financial impact. Levin’s graft includes $48,000 in donations from Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of the country’s largest non-profit insurers. My response to my two Senators’ “we have to pass this” boilerplate emails:
With all due respect, this reply does not answer my question about whether you have actually read the bill. You also failed to cite the article of the US Constitution that permits Congress to mandate every citizen purchase private health insurance.
Frankly, I’m disappointed to receive what appears to be a boilerplate response no doubt selected by some functionary in your office. I asked two fundamental questions, stating you must vote against the bill if you have not read it or cannot cite Constitutional language that permits it.
I still request you answer my questions so I know how to vote in the next election.
Everyone should have the chance to read the bill, like Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) wants to read it before a projected Christmas Eve vote. But Majority Leader Reid and his Democrat cronies don’t want the bill read. Never mind the shape-shifting hodge-podge was crafted out of the public view in closed door session.
We need to hold our elected representatives accountable to us, not special interests or the biggest contributors. Tell them how you want them to vote.
At least 60 Senators don’t plan to vote consistent with the public’s wishes. According to two recent polls, most think healthcare reform will cost them. An ABC News/Washington Post poll says 53% expect higher costs while only 37% expect improved healthcare. Another survey found 75% didn’t expect the bill to help them, 85% say they’ll have higher taxes, and 80% think the bill will increase the deficit, according to the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. In fact, most Americans oppose Obamacare.
Feed Your ADHD has a great open letter to Senators. It’s a long read, but it captures most of the key issues and links them with the Senate’s representational failures. It ends with this:
Finally, you shall not pass this bill because you are supposed to be the voice of the people. You represent the state from which you were elected. You do not represent yourselves. You do not represent an arrogant and indecisive and thieving and weak president who is on the wrong side of what is right and on the wrong side of history. When it comes right down to it, you shall not pass this bill because, if you do, you can kiss your life in the District of Criminals goodbye; we, the right-wing teabagging mobsters living out here in flyover country, which curiously includes the states you represent, will make sure your careers of public indecent exposure will skid to an embarrassing and resounding and infinitely final halt in 2010 or 2012 or whenever you’re next election happens to be.
Count on it.