Here's the bottom line - the Congress and the President have sold us out to the insurance companies. There will be no government-funded insurance like medicare. There will be no single-payer system. The President expressed "interest" in such a provision, but realistically that's not going to happen without some cuts to Medicare. That's only going to happen over the AARP's corpse. They have sold us out to the insurance industry for more campaign contributions. They will make it so the only way Americans will be able to receive health care is if they pay off an insurance company.
There will be no meaningful cost controls, nor will any of the restrictions that might be placed on insurance companies' ability to refuse to cover people or refuse to pay for their treatments actually mean anything. The insurance companies will control that process just as they control the states' regulation of no-fault auto insurance.
What The Whores In DC Are Doing While I'm On Vacation
Today, Josh Marshall put us on notice that I was correct:
[E]verybody is on notice that the House is not going to be able to make any major changes to the senate bill. Nelson and Lieberman hold an effective veto on anything coming out of the House. By and large, everyone seems to get that. But there's a broader fissure that needs to be addressed between the two chambers and that's in many ways actually a proxy for the deeper ideological fracture within the Democratic party. Since the House is being forced to basically give way entirely to the senate, they need at least a fig leaf, something to preserve institutional and intra-party self-respect.
How Does This All Play Out
Now, I'll make another prediction. That fig leaf will be so small that only a Democratic communications director will be able to see it clearly. Maybe they'll expand Medicaid coverage to 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, instead of the 133 percent in the Senate bill. Whatever it is, it will be no more consequential, and quite probably less.
Then the House progressives will fold like a cheap card table, because that's what they always do.
Meanwhile, I have this to say to all the folks who have been writing nonsense about how this was all going to be fixed in committee, and why am I trying to ruin the Democrats' chances in 2010? I have just this to say - I saw this coming. If you did, too, you have business lecturing me. Send me a link from June or earlier proving you did. If you didn't, take your hand off your hip and explain to me why you think this is less politically devastating to Democrats than not passing a bill at all. And by that, I mean explain it, don't just do the written equivalent of rolling your eyes and saying it's obvious. Plus, you'd better be able to answer these questions, or else you have no idea how bad it's going to get.
If you can't do that, either shut the hell up or learn to ask questions when you don't know something, because you really have no business lecturing anyone. Politics is one of those subjects everyone thinks he's an expert on, because no matter how little someone knows he can always spin it so someone takes him seriously. You have no business calling anyone crazy, selfish, naive, or drug addled for holding a position contrary to your own.
Because at least around here, knowledge and analysis count for more than attitude.
UPDATE: On the cheap card table front, things are already proceeding according to plan, according to Steve Benen:
Rep Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has been fighting constantly all year to keep as many liberal provisions in the health care reform bill as possible. He'd made some veiled threats (and some not-so-veiled threats) about opposing any bill without a public option, though he's now signaling his support for the watered-down legislation.
Grijalva's is, however, looking for another concession -- one that need not alienate any center-right members of the Senate Democratic caucus. He talked to Greg Sargent today, and said he's eyeing the implementation schedule[.]
Grijalva Eyes Implementation Schedule
What that means is that he's trying to get some bits of the program implemented earlier. Recall that many of the provisions of both the House and Senate bills do not start until 2014. What bits might be accelerated, and by how much, is what they're hashing out, it would seem.
Of all the predictions I've discussed in this article, this was the easiest to foresee. In fact, if you didn't see this coming, and you've been following Congress for the last few years, you may consider yourself an honorary drooling idiot.