December 18, 2009 | I have just sent the following message to Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein.
I need to express my utter contempt and loathing for the performance of the Democratic majority in the Senate. The unfolding of the attempt to pass meaningful healthcare reform has demonstrated the inability of the Democratic party to govern.
It has been clear for many months now that the Republican party's only objective is to obstruct, delay, and defeat any and all attempts to enact the clear mandate of the electorate in the last election. They are never going to agree to anything that will benefit the American people because it would constitute a "win" for the Obama administration and the Democratic party that controls Congress.
It has been clear for many months now that a few nominal Democrats are really Republicans. I refer to Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln and others of their ilk. Instead of helping to advance the cause of meaningful reform, they throw up obstacles and impose conditions, holding reform hostage to their whims.
It has been clear for many months now that even stalwart liberal and progressive Democrats are unwilling or unable to stand up for what the American people clearly wanted when they elected a Democratic president and Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate.
In "Survivor Capitol Hill," Democrats have been Outwitted, Outplayed, and Outlasted by Republicans and the entrenched forces of the status quo. One by one, the most important provisions of healthcare reform have been compromised away for — nothing in return.
Actually, we don't know what the trade-offs have been. We know what's OUT, but we don't know what's IN the supposed compromise. Instead of the transparency advocated by Obama during the campaign — remember "put the negotiations on C-SPAN"? — we have backroom wheeling and dealing to who knows what end.
Let's stipulate that legislation in a democratic (small "d") society is always messy, more akin to making sausage than refining gold. But it is simply unconscionable that those with the upper hand — with the majority in both houses of Congress — fritter away a once-in-a-generation opportunity. It is bad judgment and bad politics: at this point, healthcare "reform" looks a lot like a bonanza for the insurance and drug companies. We are witnessing a triumph of mis-information and fear-mongering over common sense. American exceptionalism and craven politics are blinding us to clear examples of more-efficient, more-equitable, more-humane healthcare systems devised by other countries.
Maybe in the final analysis it will be that the watered-down, limited advances contained in the current compromise — whatever it is — are enough better than the status quo to merit passage. But compared to what could-have-been and should-have-been... the mountain roared, and gave forth a mouse.
I have watched the cost of my healthcare triple in the last two years. I pay nearly $100/month for Medicare and $200/month for my supplemental insurance. Yet, in 2009, my supplemental insurance has paid $44 in benefits against over $15000 in doctor and hospital bills. No, those are not typos. It is a disgrace.
Last updated on Aug 30, 2016