So anyway Congress is infuriating me at the moment. I keep starting to write a post, then deciding I don't have enough to cobble together except little one liners. Also, many things I think have already been eloquently expressed elsewhere. But it's odds and ends day, so here are a few things I think.
The health care issue is a bit personal for me. I was not receiving health care when I worked as a consultant for Motive, and there was a brief period when I simply wasn't covered. I tried to replace my old job-based coverage with private coverage from Blue Cross, but I discovered to my dismay that they would not accept me because I have an -- extremely minor! -- history of high blood pressure. No joke, they didn't try to take me on at inflated rates, they just said... sorry, look elsewhere.
I admit that there were other avenues I could have pursued more aggressively, but I got a bit apathetic and didn't follow them up. I got Ben insured and that was the most important thing. Now that my job is covering me again, it's become moot.
But anyway, I think this highlights the fact that the insurance industry does not provide insurance, which is to say, spreading risk around a diverse pool of people. Their response to attempts at "reform" has been to threaten to raise rates, which only highlights the critical need for more competition. Hence the public option, which at this point looks likely to be presented in some form, but very watered down.
Now in the first place, I do not ever want to hear any more press or whiny Congressman saying "Everything we do requires 60 votes!" There is no rule that says they have to get 60 votes. The rule is that you need at least 40 people who will not filibuster, and 50 votes.
Now filibustering is a very different action from voting against something, but you'd never know that from the press. Remember how Congress worked until 2006, when Democrats were actually in the minority? Every time a Dem even dared to breathe the word "filibuster," Republicans would scream and moan about "obstructionists", and wring their hands and talk about the need for a "nuclear option" which would eliminate the barely-Constitutional practice of filibustering once and for all. And Democrats caved. Every time.
I don't know how filibustering suddenly went from "horrible miscarriage of justice" to "this is the way we do things on every vote as a matter of course!" Freaking hypocrites.
Democrats absolutely have enough votes to pass whatever legislation they want, never mind bipartisanship. The problem is that not only are Democrats still scared of their own shadows, as they still insist on eliminating everything useful about health care reform in their haste to capitulate to President Snowe (as Grayson put it). If they had any party unity there could be no filibuster possible. But now Joe Lieberman, of the prestigious Connecticut for Lieberman party, wants to join the filibuster.
Hey, anybody remember why it was important that Lieberman defeat his primary opponent, Ned Lamont? It's because:
"What I’m saying to the people of Connecticut, I can do more for you and your families to get something done to make health care affordable, to get universal health insurance."
Lieberman argued that Lamont was SO liberal that he would hurt the Democrats' credibility enough to be a liability on the important issues. Issues like universal health insurance. Whew! I'm glad we dodged that bullet, so now we have Joe Lieberman fighting for us on that subject!
What's astounding is that Joe Lieberman still holds a key chairmanship position within the Democratic party, even though he is not a Democrat. Reid insisted at the time, and probably continues to say, that we need to do whatever we can to make Lieberman happy so that he will continue to stand with Democrats instead of jumping ship and doing something ridiculous like, say, filibustering against his own former party.
How's that strategy working out, guys?