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« Bill Moyers' Best Books of 2009 | Main | Michael Winship: Where Are the Snows – and Shovels – of Christmas Past? »

Would You Vote for the Senate's Health Legislation?

(Photos by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with journalist Matt Taibbi and economist Robert Kuttner about many progressives’ disappointment with President Obama and, more broadly, the power of special interest groups over both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Moyers noted that progressives are split on whether to support the Senate’s health legislation, which no longer includes a public option, an expansion of Medicare to people under 65, negotiated rates for cheaper drug costs, or many other progressive priorities for health reform. He asked the guests whether they would nonetheless vote for the bill if they were Senators.

Kuttner said:

“It's so far from what I think is necessary that I don't think it's a good bill. But I think if it goes down, just because of the optics of the situation and the way the Republicans have framed this as a make or break moment for President Obama, it will make it easier for the Republicans to take control of Congress in 2010. It will make Obama even more gun-shy about promoting reform. It will create even more political paralysis. It will embolden the Republicans to block what this president is trying to do, some of which is good, at every turn. So I would hold my nose and vote for it... [If] it was up to me to determine whether this bill [will] live or die, I would hold my nose and vote for it even though I have been a fierce critic of the path this administration has taken.”

Taibbi said:

“I definitely understand that point of view. My feeling on it is, just looking more concretely at the health care problem, this is a bill that to me doesn't address the two biggest problems with the health care crisis. One is the inefficiency and the bureaucracy and the paperwork which it doesn't address at all. It doesn't standardize anything. The other is price, which has now fallen by the wayside because there's going to be no public option that's going to drive down prices... My feeling is that if you vote for this bill and it passes, that's your one shot at fixing a catastrophic and completely dysfunctional health care system for the next generation, maybe. And I think it's much better for the Democrats to lose on this issue and then have to regroup maybe eight years later or six years later, and try again and do a better job the next time.”

What do you think?

If you were a Senator, would you vote for the Democrats’ health legislation? Why or why not?


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Comments

Having just received via e-mail the remarks of the Honorable David Kithil, Judge in Marble Falls , Texas, I could not agree with him more. This HB 3200 health care bill, as proposed, is terrible. He's right when he states that both Republicans and Democrats are equally responsible for the financial mess that makes up this legislation.

Judge Kithil's revelation that ". . .it is estimated that a federal bureaucracy of more than 150,000 new employees will be required to administer HB3200. That is an unacceptable expansion of a government that is already too intrusive in our lives. If we are
going to hire 150,000 new employees, let's put them to work protecting
our borders, fighting the massive drug problem and putting more law
enforcement/firefighters out there." I couldn't have said it better myself.

JUDGE KITHIL continued: "Other problems I have with this bill include:

** Page 50/section 152: The bill will provide insurance to all non-U.S.
residents, even if they are here illegally.


** Page 58 and 59: The government will have real-time access to an
individual's bank account and will have the authority to make electronic
fund transfers from those accounts."

This last item cinched my total opposition to the bill. I don't have enough funds in my individual bank account to make electronic fund transfers myself for many things, such as health care insurance, etc., let alone give the federal government
unfettered "real time" access to my private bank account. I think this proposal is outrageous and should be opposed by every single U. S. citizen.

Nothing about this bill is good as far as I can tell. I hope the American public will wake up and oppose this monstrosity!

Voters see mandatory health insurance for what it is (a deal with the devil). Lawmakers, you're gonna get burned.

Medicare cannot survive if only costly seniors are eligible. Young and healthy citizens are willing to pay into it, SO LET THEM!

speaker was very help full

please vote no on the health care
bills as they stand now.

speaker was very help full

please vote no on the health care
bills as they stand now.

Correction (1st sentence):
"Some time around 1999 or so some group of politicos said that just by automating health care records "the system" could benefit immediately from savings of about $10 billion per year."

Some time around 1999 or so some group of politicos said that just by automating health care records "the system" could begin immediately from savings of about $10 billion per year. So, the public has since "lost" roughly a decade's worth of those savings - $100 billion. Maybe Washington doesn't think that is a serious amount of money. Granted, it's a small part of the overall picture, but ultimately necessary to fix.

Had we done that, thousands of ONshore U.S. citizens like myself who are I.T. professionals (many out of work, of late) would have kept their jobs through designing the new systems and interfaces required to implement all of that. The insurance industry would have had standardized and WORKING interfaces to any foreseeable computing environment (every organization reserves the right to buy whatever computers they think are best) And how often has Uncle Sam gotten even a grade of "B" for overall I.T. functionality from the organizations that rate such things? I think not even once in the last 20 years.

Witness the deployment of a small subcategory of automated record keeping where my wife works - patient charting software. It seems to have been designed by "Health Care professionals" and not Computer Professionals since it keeps crashing and they have to revert back to using paper more than half of the time, essentially useless. It is cumbersome to use when it does work and is inflexible in the way it communicates with other systems. There are other things about it, too, that are not "glitches" but fundamental design problems which competent computer professionals would have avoided from the outset. Why do companies continue to hire "industry experts" to design computer software instead of letting those experts advise computer professionals as to what is needed and let them design good, working systems? There is virtually no aspect of our society that doesn't utilize computer technology for most of its functions.

And Congress, the ultimate non-experts in technology and non-interested party to hiring U.S. citizens first for critical, confidential information management projects like health care - what is wrong with saving $100 billion? They could work out the fee-for-service, insurance coverage, and other social and non-computer issues over time instead of trying to fix it all in one 1000-plus page bill. I don't think the bill says anything about provider, supplier, billing and payor (insurance) computer systems having standardized interfaces, which would allow many overpaid executives to retire immediately because they would not need to continue to pretend that the systems stuff is "hard" in any way. Just let the (U.S.) technology folks do what they do best.

There is a lot to be said for well-planned problem-solving steps that individually preserve simplicity yet collectively solve gigantic problems!

People like me can provide Congress with an overall strategy for standardizing ALL the computer interfaces for all computing systems that might be involved in delivering health care, even though I'm not an "industry expert" in health care - and it will work and be maintainable forever! I dare them!

If I were a Senator, would NOT! This bill is ridiculous! 2000+ pages! Our whole constitution fits on 17 pages! And you want me to believe that health care in of itself need more? This bill (I have read what is available to the public) is full of legalease BS and unrelated pork! On top of of it all, the bill is unconstitutional! no where in the consitution does it convey that much power to the federal government!No where! I read all of it front-wards and backwards (after all it is on only 17 pages!

Shane Algarin wrote, in part, "A big reason for our expensive healthcare is really simple..."

Yes, Shane, yes it IS.

The CEO of United Health Care gave himself a 1.8 BILLION dollar compensation package in 2005.

Have you done the math...?

What's the "tax" on sugar to cover FOR PROFIT "health insurance"...? Suggestion - you'll need to figure out the math based on the old-fashioned way we learned how to deal with too many zeros - you know - 10 to the "n"th power...

Do you have to the "n'th" power in pennies...?

FIX HEALTHCARE! GIVE ALL AMERICANS A PUBLIC OPTION! A big reason for our expensive healthcare is really simple: we have the some of the worst health habits and our obesity is reaching an epidemic. That our government is encouraging it is a true scandal! Instead of subsidizing sugar, we must tax it. Yes it would be a regressive tax, burdening the poor more than the rich. But it attacks the root of the problem! It's why smoking has steadily declined over the past generation. The same could be done for other unhealthy products, like alcohol or trans fats. We may not be able to stop these unhealthy habits, but we can tax them enough to pay for the expensive health problems they cause. It's the best way to fund universal healthcare. Once we have true universal coverage, costs should come down significantly. After all, healthy people cost less to treat. And a big part of being healthy is having access to a doctor. Currently, too many medical problems are allowed to advance into life threatening emergencies because people are not covered. Addressing a medical problem sooner can mean a $10 generic medication. Waiting until it becomes an emergency can mean $100,000 ER visit. The argument that we cannot afford universal coverage is a cruel lie. The truth is we can afford nothing short of universal coverage.

Forget the "details" for just a second...

Big picture is FOR PROFIT INSURANCE...how does such an institution operate?

This is another AIG-like set-up to direct a HUGE flow of money into a channel for "special needs" people like the CEO of UHC who gave himeslf a 1.8 BILLION dollar package in 2005...and in his wake are "slaves" that quote from the bible as they DENY you ANY access to all the money you already sent to them.

Why did no one care how much money was spent FOR "terrorism"?

But treating a broken bone in a timely manner - oh me oh my, THAT can't cost any $$$ - it's "charity"...

No I would not. President Obama stated in several addresses that there would be a public option, yet he invited only Insurance companies and Drug companies to the barganing table. Obviously there is no public option. This deliberate omission will cost the president millions of votes in 2012 regardless of the outcome now.

No I would'nt. The Democrats should be ashamed of themselves. With everyone paying attention to this bill you'd a thought they'd show alittle more backbone and not try to make fools of us again. Who do they think we are? This bill helps only the insurance companies and the party while Rome burns lifestyle of the politicians that took thier money.

Bill

Got this email and its very interesting.The future for "us seniors" is looking more grim!

Please read this, especially the reference to pages 58 & 59
Thomas Edwards, editor of The River Cities Tribune, was contacted to get legal permission to quote David Kithil's comments. Permission was granted, so here are excerpts from the article, giving EXACT pages and paragraphs in the bill and why it is so bad.

You can forward this to all of your email contacts. I think Judge Kithil hits everything right on the head, and the opposition you may encounter cannot argue over these points:

JUDGE KITHIL wrote: "I have reviewed selected sections of the bill and find it unbelievable that our Congress, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, could come up with a bill loaded with so many wrong-headed elements.

We do need to reform the health insurance system in America in order to make coverage affordable and available to everyone. But, how many of us believe our federal government can manage a new program any better than the bankrupt Medicare program or the under funded Social Security program?

"Both Republicans and Democrats are equally responsible for the financial mess of those two programs.

"I am opposed to HB 3200 for a number of reasons. To start with, it is estimated that a federal bureaucracy of more than 150,000 new employees will be required to administer HB3200. That is an unacceptable expansion of a government that is already too intrusive in our lives. If we are going to hire 150,000 new employees, let's put them to work protecting our borders, fighting the massive drug problem and putting more law enforcement and firefighters out there."

NOW, here comes the good stuff:

JUDGE KITHIL continued: "Other problems I have with this bill include:

** Page 50/section 152: The bill will provide insurance to all non-U.S. residents, even if they are here illegally.

** Page 58 and 59:& nbsp; The government will have real-time access to an individual's bank account and will have the authority to make electronic fund transfers from those accounts!!!

** Page 65/section 164: The plan will be subsidized (by the government) for all union members, union retirees and for community organizations (such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - ACORN).

** Page 203/line 14-15: The tax imposed under this section will not be treated as a tax. (How could anybody in their right mind come up with that?)

** Page 241 and 253: Doctors will all be paid the same regardless of specialty, and the government will set all doctors' fees.

** Page 272. section 1145: Cancer hospital will ration care according to the patient's age.

** Page 317 and 321: The government will impose a prohibition on hospital expansion; however, communities may petition for an exception.

** Page 425, line 4-12: The government mandates advance-care planning consultations. Those on Social Security will be required to attend an "end-of-life planning" seminar every five years.

** Page 429, line 13-25: The government will specify which doctors can write an end-of-life order.

HAD ENOUGH???? Judge Kithil then goes on:

"Finally, it is specifically stated this bill will not apply to members of Congress. Members of Congress are already exempt from the Social Security system and have a well-funded private plan that covers their retirement needs. If they were on our Social Security plan, I believe they would find a very quick 'fix' to make the plan financially sound for the future."

Honorable David Kithil
Marble Falls , Texas

All of the above should give you all the point blank ammo you need to support your opposition to Obamacare.

Please send this information on to all your email contacts



The disingenuousity of politicians and commentators alike when speaking on the issue of controlling health care costs is abysmal. I am sure you are well aware of the overwhelming impact of "end of life" care. Most estimates place this figure at somewhere around two-thirds of total health care spending. Why won't anyone address this issue honestly? In my opinion, the current effort in Washington is wasting everyone's time, for above stated reason.

Here's one solution: For all publicly provided health benefits...those benefits need to be indexed to the individual's life cycle. For example: individuals having lived 90% of their "expected life" should be assigned (as a group) a percentage of our total health care spending in an inverse proportion to their age. At present, our system spends a disproportionate share on those having lived the longest, at the expense of those in the earlier stages of their lives where basic care can yield much greater returns. This system will surely enable us to balance our health care spending with available resources. I believe we can agree to some meaningful distribution of health care spending, only if we bring the issue into the discussion.

Perhaps it is too much to expect some honesty about a subject where everyone appears to be trying to "spin" the issue.

NO, NO, NO, MOST EMPHATICALLY NO! Not as it stands. Nor the Houses.

I would vote for it on one condition, the the members of Congress be also MANDATED to abide by this legislation. No more health care plan provided by the government. Each member of Congress should be forced to by insurance in the open market like the rest of us! You want to see change?

No, I would not vote for it. No robust public option, no 50+Medicare buy-in, and a bunch of old priests from a 12th century religion hatcheting away at my reproductive rights over my body in a relationship with my doctor that is none of their damn business.

I continue to call and write to my representatives, understanding that my efforts may be in vain. If the Democratic majority can salvage a modicum of reform out of this gift to the insurance industry, I'll have to hold my nose and support them.

I will not be celebrating the passage of a compromised reform. I will be busy working for progressive candidates to replace the corporatist legislators in Congress and push them to enact real reform.

Real change comes from the bottom up. Electing Obama was just a step toward returning power to ordinary citizens.

No, I would not vote for this bill. Indeed I won't be voting for anyone who does vote for it.
The lack of anti-trust provisions combined with no public option (robust or no), and the outrageous inclusion of mandatory requirements and the notion that women won't be allowed to have their reproductive health needs met makes this one of the worst bills of the past 50 years. Since when did my body and my money become the property of the Catholic bishops and other social conservatives?

J. E. Seth wrote:

"Were he to act as radically as you would have him do, he would go down in history as an uppity black man who dared to undermine America through his actions."

It would not surprise me if he weren't being written into the textbooks of creationists and other4 bigots, in those terms, right now.

Support the Fair Elections Now Act. (HR 1826 and S 752) There is a lot of information on the web. Google it.

Bill Moyers:

Your show is a must with me on Sunday.

However, I'm impatient with the criticism levelled time and again at President Obama..his not leaning left enough.

Nonsense! He never promised a REVOLUTION! He has brought change to so many aspects of how the US is seen and where its values are.

Were he to act as radically as you would have him do, he would go down in history as an uppity black man who dared to undermine America through his actions.

Think carefully before you transfer to him your dreams for the impossible.

J. Seth

Since the Senate version does not lift the outdated anti-trust exemption afforded to Health Insurance companies, and makes it mandatory to buy health insurance. That is how I would define tyranny.

The above interview was great! Now how about an interview with Dennis Kucinich? He says and tries to do all the things that all of you above wished Obama would do.

The theme in so many of your posts is one of disgust and distrust. Personally,I can't give in to despairing thoughts that the status quo will remain, yet the struggle to change our countrymens values from a money centered life to a more right and just and spirit centered life seems so insurmountable when so many Americans are so willing to screw other Americans for their own greed as evidenced by the financial crisis. "We have met the enemy and they are us".. These industries are made up of people like us. They must be reachable.
So can we start the New Year off with a personal commitment to doing one major action to try to change the balance of power... by seeking to change our value system. And a bright light is Steve Meecham of City Life..he has the right idea..tapping empathy and achieving solidarity in responding to the mortgage forclosure crisis.
..Carol McNally, LMSW, Long Island

The phrasing of the question is a little misleading. The Senate bill is a disaster for healthcare and for the Democrats who bent over for the worst of the worst, but if you're a principled Dem in the Senate you have to vote for whatever's left, having compromised so much. Otherwise, what was the point of capitulating to the scum of the earth?

The Senate bill must not become law in its present form.

Mr. Moyers, please keep at it!

If I was a senator I would have voted no for a bill that does not include a public option. Without a public option the only winners are the health insurance companies.

I would vote No and Insist that this very complex and Diluted Bill be Strengthened to include at least the Public Option. President Obama has this very prime moment to challenge the Private Special Interest Profiteering Insurance Giants, and gain the confidence of the people.
Loretta Huston

I would not as long as it contains the Nebraskan and other "pork". I hope the conference committee
gives some Republican ideas like:-
a) limiting liabilty.
b) allowing state private insurers to compete Federally
c) possibly allowing cheaper imported medications, if needed after an approval procedure max 3 months.
d) Give them compromises on Abortion or illegal immigrants.
Then delete the Democratic pork and rely on having some Republicans support the bill.
This pork for a couple of democrats is a Killer at the voter level.
Regards,
Hodgson.

CAN AMERICANS TRUST PRIVATE INSURANCE AND THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY?
1) QUESTION: Can Americans trust PRIVATE INSURANCE and the INSURANCE INDUSTRY that routinely appears to be operating under the guidance of greed, power, rationalization, and denial...with millions of dollars to spread around? See "You Can't Trust Mercury Insurance"..as a Mercury insured or as a "Mercury admitted liability, rear-end collision" victim of a Mercury insured and the well-connected, monied Mercury enterprise.
2) QUESTION: Can You Trust the Elected, Appointed, Employed Individuals or Agencies MERCURY Influences, Pays, or Engages? See PBS, BILL MOYERS JOURNAL BLOG, www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2009/12/pushing_a_peoples_agenda.html
RE: BIG INSURANCE...A.I.G., CIGNA PROPERTY and CASUALTY, CIGNA HEALTH INSURANCE, et.al., See "Show Us the E-MAIL", NEW YORK TIMES, by Eliot Spitzer, Frank Partnoy and William Black, 12-20-09, www.nytimes.com/2009/12/20/opinion/20partnoy.html?emc-etal
See "AIG Executives' Promises to Return Bonuses Have Gone Largely Unfilled", WASHINGTON POST, by Brady Dennis, 12-23-09, washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/22/AR200912220788.html
See "A Dangerous Dysfunction", NEW YORK TIMES, by Paul Krugman, www.nytimes.com/2009/12/21/opinion/21krugman.html
See "Last Call on Reforming Health Bill", NEW YORK TIMES, by David Leonhardt, 12-22-09, www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/business/economy/23leonhardt
MERRY CHRISTMAS...A.VRBA, 2009
======
"YOU CAN'T TRUST MERCURY INSURANCE"...Consumer Watchdog
PERMALINK: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/search/?searchQuery=Mercury+Insurance+Group&topicName=&topicId=

1. National Health Reform Could Jeopardize California Patient Protections
News Clipping, legislation, Protecting Patients Campaign, Politicians Campaign, HMO/PPO Abuse, Health Insurer Accountability, Universal Health Care, Health Insurance Mandate, Washington DC, deregulation,

By Mike Zapler, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS | December 22, 2009

If California wanted to mandate benefits that exceed federal standards — including those now in place — it would have to add them back through new legislation passed in Sacramento. Moreover, California would have to pay the extra costs of any additional benefits it mandated — either by compensating individuals enrolled in the plans or by paying insurance companies directly. That could lead to a situation, critics say, in which many of the state's current consumer protections are stripped away. To get them back, "we would have to go back and fight these battles again, one by one" in the state Legislature, said Jerry Flanagan, a health care advocate for Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog.
Read more »

2. Mercury Insurance Submits Initiative Signatures To Trick Voters Into Paying Higher Auto Insurance Premiums
Press Release, legislation, lobbying, Insurance Campaign, Politicians Campaign, Courts Campaign, DirtyMoneyWatch, Auto Insurance, Prop 103, Corporateering, Enforcing Prop. 103, Reforming Politics, Insurance Reform, Ballot Initiatives, Campaign Finance, Sacramento, deregulation,

CONTACT: Naomi Seligman, (310) 392-0522, ext. 318; or Doug Heller, ext. 309 | December 16, 2009

Campaign for Consumer Rights Warns Soldiers, Seniors and other Californians Would Be Penalized For Having a Lapse in Insurance Coverage, Even If They Weren't Driving


(News Release by the Campaign for Consumer Rights)
Santa Monica, CA — Auto Insurance giant Mercury Insurance is submitting signatures this week to place its deceptive initiative on the California ballot in 2010. The measure would surcharge drivers, including soldiers and seniors, who have had a lapse in car insurance coverage for virtually any reason during the past five years. Under the proposal, people who stopped driving and didn't need insurance for a time would be required to pay hundreds of dollars more for insurance when they sought to restart coverage. The measure would gut a provision of the 1988 insurance reform measure Prop. 103, which prohibits companies from raising rates on people because they did not have auto insurance in the past.
Read more »

3. California's 1988 Insurance Battle Could See 2010 Reprise
News Clipping, legislation, lobbying, Insurance Campaign, Politicians Campaign, DirtyMoneyWatch, Auto Insurance, Enforcing Prop. 103, Reforming Politics, Insurance Reform, Ballot Initiatives, Campaign Finance, Sacramento, deregulation,

By Dan Walters, SACRAMENTO BEE | November 18, 2009

Mercury General, a large auto insurer, wants to legalize premium discounts tolongtime customers and got a bill to that effect passed by the Legislature six years ago, but the law was overturned by the courts as violative of Proposition 103. Since then, Mercury has played a cat-and-mouse game with its foes in the lawyer-backed consumer protection field. Mercury has another ballot measure in the works, and Consumer Watchdog, the group that sponsored Proposition 103, claims that Attorney General Jerry Brown gave it a sweetheart official title. It's also threatening what some have called "nuclear war" with a rival measure attacking insurers' practices.

Read more »

4. Poizner's Claims As Insurance Commissioner Questioned
News Clipping, Insurance Campaign, Auto Insurance, Home Insurance, Prop 103, Enforcing Prop. 103, Insurance Reform, Sacramento,

By Denis Theriault & Ken McLaughlin, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS | November 14, 2009

SACRAMENTO, CA -- As he campaigns to become California's next governor, Republican Steve Poizner often proclaims that auto and homeowner insurance rates have fallen by $1.81 billion since he took over the state's Department of Insurance in January 2007. But one consumer group, which compiled statistics at the request of the Mercury News, argues that nearly half those reductions were the work of Poizner's predecessor, Democrat John Garamendi.
Read more »

5. Brown Aide Recorded 6 Interviews
News Clipping, Politicians Campaign, DirtyMoneyWatch, Arnold Watch, Prop 103, Reforming Politics, Insurance Reform, Ballot Initiatives, Campaign Finance, Sacramento,

By Joe Garofoli, THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE | November 10, 2009

A spokesman for state Attorney General Jerry Brown secretly recorded six interviews with five journalists since April despite being told by department officials not to do so a year ago, according to documents obtained Monday by The Chronicle. Scott Gerber admitted to recording reporters after The Chronicle published a story about consumer activist Harvey Rosenfield's criticisms of revisions the attorney general made to the summary of a ballot measure dealing with car insurance rates. Rosenfield claimed that Brown changed the language of the measure's summary under pressure from Mercury General, one of the state's largest insurers. The company gave $13,000 to Brown's campaign in June. Brown's revision did not mention that the measure could increase insurance rates for some Californians, Rosenfield said, but Gerber added that, in the view of Brown's office, the new summary was a fair and accurate description of the measure after its authors revised the initiative.
Read more »

6. Consumer Group Says AG Brown Should Appoint Independent Counsel In Insurance Matter
News Clipping, lobbying, Insurance Campaign, Politicians Campaign, DirtyMoneyWatch, Auto Insurance, Prop 103, Enforcing Prop. 103, Reforming Politics, Insurance Reform, Ballot Initiatives, Campaign Finance, Sacramento, deregulation,

By Carla Marinucci, THE SPIN CYCLE BLOG - SF CHRONICLE | November 10, 2009

The consumer advocacy group which charged state Attorney General Jerry Brown caved into pressure from a major insurance firm in rewriting a ballot measure summary has now called on Brown's office to appoint an independent counsel in the case. Consumer Watchdog, headed by attorney Harvey Rosenfield, said in a letter to Brown today that he believes the AG's office has been "deficient" in its response to the organization's recent public records act request; the request called for documents detailing the extent of the AG office's communications with Mercury General, a major insurance firm -- and a past campaign donor to Brown.
Read more »

7. Insurers, Critics Face Off Over Customer 'Discounts'
News Clipping, legislation, Insurance Campaign, Politicians Campaign, DirtyMoneyWatch, Auto Insurance, Prop 103, Enforcing Prop. 103, Reforming Politics, Access to Justice, Insurance Reform, Ballot Initiatives, Campaign Finance, deregulation,

By John Howard, CAPITOL WEEKLY (Sacramento, CA) | November 5, 2009

Billionaire insurance executive George Joseph has launched a California ballot initiative that would allow insurers to give discounts to long-term customers and, critics contend, punish those who have gone without coverage – despite a voter-approved law banning the latter practice. Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog– a perennial foe of Joseph and his company, Mercury Insurance– filed two ballot initiatives of its own to block Joseph’s initiative, as well as make other changes in state law. The group notes that Joseph’s Mercury Insurance is trying to get voters to approve something that has been rejected in the courts, and that the true impact of the initiative is not to give discounts but to charge more, or deny coverage completely, when applicants have gaps in their coverage.
Read more »

8. New Calls For Brown To Produce Docs In "Tapegate"
News Clipping, lobbying, Insurance Campaign, Politicians Campaign, DirtyMoneyWatch, Auto Insurance, Prop 103, Enforcing Prop. 103, Reforming Politics, Access to Justice, Insurance Reform, Ballot Initiatives, Campaign Finance, Sacramento, deregulation,

By Jerry Roberts, CALBUZZ.COM | November 5, 2009

The consumer advocacy group at the center of the flap about Jerry Brown’s ex-spokesman secretly recording phone calls has sent a formal demand to the Attorney General’s office, seeking all internal documents that could shed light on the matter. The Public Records Act request, filed by Consumer Watchdog, is one of at least three separate efforts to dig deeper into the controversy, which began with the disclosure last week that Scott Gerber, Brown’s former press secretary, recorded conversations with reporters without informing them or asking their consent. Gerber resigned on Monday.
Read more »

9. Just Say No - To Signature Gatherers
News Clipping, lobbying, Insurance Campaign, Politicians Campaign, Auto Insurance, Prop 103, Enforcing Prop. 103, Reforming Politics, Access to Justice, Insurance Reform, Ballot Initiatives, Campaign Finance, Sacramento, deregulation,

By Tom Elias, THE RECORD-SEARCHLIGHT (Redding, CA) | November 3, 2009

Mercury Insurance is behind a measure to roll back part of the 1988 Proposition 103 and allow insurance rates based partly on the basis of a driver's record of having insurance coverage or not. Not on a driver's record of tickets and/or accidents - nobody argues with that. This one would let companies collect more from drivers who have let their insurance coverage lapse for any reason, ranging from illness to giving up driving for a few months or year. "Nothing in the petition summary for this tells voters about the premium increases. ... Mercury's proposal would allow," says Harvey Rosenfield, founder of the Consumer Watchdog group and author of Proposition 103, which rolled back rates for all types of insurance in California. Rosenfield calls Attorney General Jerry Brown "shameful" for altering the summary, which initially pointed out the potential rate hikes.
Read more »

10. California Consumer Advocate Slams Brown Over Taping Of Phone Calls
News Clipping, lobbying, Insurance Campaign, Politicians Campaign, DirtyMoneyWatch, Auto Insurance, Prop 103, Enforcing Prop. 103, Reforming Politics, Access to Justice, Insurance Reform, Ballot Initiatives, Campaign Finance, Sacramento, deregulation,

By Martin H. Bosworth, CONSUMERAFFAIRS.COM | October 31, 2009

Ties To Insurance Company Questioned

With the sudden announcement that San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom -- the rival to Attorney General Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown for the Democratic nomination for Governor of California in 2010 -- was dropping out of the race, things might seem pretty smooth for the former governor. But Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog is taking Brown to task for changing the language of a ballot initiative designed to protect consumers from auto insurance hikes, allegedly at the behest of campaign donor Mercury Insurance.
Read more »

11. For Those Denied Insurance Because Of Pre-existing Conditions, Health Reform Would Bring Major Change
News Clipping, legislation, Protecting Patients Campaign, Action on Medical Care, HMO/PPO Abuse, Health Insurer Accountability, Universal Health Care, Health Insurance Mandate,

By Mike Zapler, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS | October 31, 2009

Some of the stories about preexisting conditions and health insurance border on the absurd. In one recent case, a 4-month-old boy in Colorado was denied coverage because, at 17 pounds, the insurance company deemed him too fat. The Huffington Post reported this month that a Florida woman was rejected because she took anti-AIDS drugs after being raped, raising questions among insurers about whether she had HIV. And documents uncovered a few years ago by Consumer Watchdog detailed the underwriting practices of some large California insurers, which included automatically denying coverage to anyone with acne, asthma or attention deficit disorder, among other conditions, as well as expectant fathers and construction workers.
Read more »

12. Jerry Brown Accused Of Caving In To Donor
News Clipping, lobbying, Insurance Campaign, Politicians Campaign, DirtyMoneyWatch, Auto Insurance, Prop 103, Enforcing Prop. 103, Reforming Politics, Insurance Reform, Ballot Initiatives, Campaign Finance, Sacramento, deregulation,

By Carla Marinucci, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE | October 29, 2009

SACRAMENTO, CA -- A leading California consumer advocate charged Wednesday that Attorney General Jerry Brown caved to pressure from a powerful insurance company - and campaign donor - when he reworked the summary of a ballot measure to omit mention that it could boost premiums for thousands of drivers. Harvey Rosenfield, founder of Consumer Watchdog.org of Santa Monica and author of Proposition 103, the landmark measure protecting insurance consumers that voters approved in 1988, said Brown's office engaged in "shameful" behavior by rewriting the measure, which was backed by Mercury General.
Read more »

13. Mercury Insurance Billboard Sparks Controversy
News Clipping, Insurance Campaign, Auto Insurance, Home Insurance, Prop 103, Insurance Reform,

By Timothy F. Kirn, INSURANCE JOURNAL | September 16, 2009

The controversy over the Los Angeles billboard telling the public "You Can't Trust Mercury Insurance" could soon become a lawsuit. Attorneys for Consumer Watchdog, the group that put up the message, have sent a letter to CBS Outdoor, Inc., the billboard owner, threatening legal action to force them to restore the sign if the company does not do it by themselves.
Read more »

14. California Consumer Group Wants Its Billboard Back
News Clipping, Insurance Campaign, Auto Insurance, Home Insurance, Access to Justice, Insurance Reform, Sacramento,

By Truman Lewis, CONSUMERAFFAIRS.COM | September 13, 2009

Bright Yellow Billboard Warned Consumers 'You Can't Trust Mercury Insurance'

It's not unusual for businesses to respond aggressively when consumers go online to complain about them, but it's not often a billboard causes a major dust-up. In Los Angeles, the non-profit consumer group Consumer Watchdog is demanding that CBS Outdoor reinstall a bright yellow billboard that read "Consumer Watchdog Says: 'You Can't Trust Mercury Insurance'". CBS Outdoor must re-install the billboard immediately and fulfill its contractual obligation, the consumer group demanded in a letter to the billboard company sent last week. The letter, from First Amendment lawyer Anthony Glassman said that Consumer Watchdog would sue CBS Outdoor if the company did not honor the contract.
Read more »

15. Consumer Group Demands CBS Outdoor Replace Billboard Critical Of Mercury Insurance
Press Release, Insurance Campaign, Litigation, Auto Insurance, Home Insurance, Corporateering, Corporateering Campaign, Access to Justice,

CONTACT: Douglas Heller, 310-480-4170 | September 10, 2009

Billboard Giant Broke Contract with Consumer Watchdog After Insurance Executive Complained

Santa Monica, CA -- CBS Outdoor must re-install Consumer Watchdog's billboard immediately and fulfill its contractual obligation, the consumer group demanded in a letter to the billboard company sent Wednesday. The letter, from first amendment lawyer Anthony Glassman, of Glassman, Browning, Saltsman and Jacobs, Inc., explained that Consumer Watchdog would sue CBS Outdoor if the company did not honor the contract.
Read more »

16. Billboard Blasting Mercury Insurance Is Removed
News Clipping, Insurance Campaign, Auto Insurance,

By Chad Hemenway, BESTWIRE | September 4, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA -- California-based Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, said Mercury Insurance has threatened to sue the owners of a billboard the group used to display a statement that reads, "Consumer Watchdog says: You can't trust Mercury Insurance."
Read more »

17. A Warning SIgn That Isn't Ignored: L.A. Billboard Attacking Mercury Insurance Is Removed
News Clipping, Insurance Campaign, Auto Insurance, Prop 103, Corporateering, Enforcing Prop. 103, Corporateering Campaign, Insurance Reform, Ballot Initiatives,

By Nathan Olivarez-Giles, LOS ANGELES TIMES | September 4, 2009

Consumer Watchdog's billboard catches the eye of target Mercury Insurance, which gets the ad taken down.

The removed billboard is in no way defamatory, Harvey Rosenfield said, citing a list titled "Top 10 reasons why you cannot trust Mercury Insurance Co.” on the group's website detailing customer complaints.

Read more »

18. "You Can't Trust Mercury Insurance" - Mercury Insurance Blocks Billboard Warning Consumers About the Company
Press Release, legislation, lobbying, Insurance Campaign, Politicians Campaign, Litigation, DirtyMoneyWatch, Auto Insurance, Home Insurance, Prop 103, Corporateering, Enforcing Prop. 103, Corporateering Campaign, Insurance Reform, Ballot Initiatives, Campaign Finance,

CONTACT: Doug Heller, (310) 392-0522, ext. 309 | September 3, 2009

Consumer Group Releases Smoking Gun Documents, In Wake of Fires Warns Homeowners Insured By Mercury to Take Special Care

Santa Monica, CA — A Los Angeles billboard warning consumers “You Can’t Trust Mercury Insurance” has been taken down by CBS Outdoor, after Mercury Insurance applied pressure to the billboard company. The nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog posted the billboard to expose serious problems with Mercury insurance, which is California's third largest auto insurer and ninth largest home insurer. The company has a long history of mistreating its customers and attacking consumer protection laws, the group said at a news conference today.

Read more »

19. Watchdog: Auto Insurance Law May Up Rates
News Clipping, legislation, Insurance Campaign, DirtyMoneyWatch, Auto Insurance, Corporateering, Corporateering Campaign, Insurance Reform, Ballot Initiatives, Sacramento,

By Lauren Reynolds, KGTV (ABC) TV-10 (San Diego, CA) | August 25, 2009

Insurance Company Sponsors Initiative

The Continuous Coverage Auto Insurance Discount Act may sound appealing, but the consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog told 10 News that potential voters should not be fooled, calling the measure a thinly veiled attempt to raise insurance rates. “It’s a fraud. It’s full of deception. It will lead to higher insurance premiums,” said Harvey Rosenfield, founder of Consumer Watchdog and author of Proposition 103, which overhauled the insurance market in 1988.
Read more »

20. Mercury Insurance's History of Legislative Attacks on Consumer Protections in California
Feature, Insurance Campaign, Auto Insurance, Prop 103,

Consumer Watchdog | August 24, 2009

Ever since California voters enacted the landmark insurance reform initiative Proposition 103 in 1988, Mercury Insurance has led a series of efforts to remove its consumer protections.
Read more »
Contact Us ©2000-2008 Consumer Watchdog. All Rights Reserved.
=======
See NOTICE OF NON-COMPLIANCE, Filed Against Mercury Insurance Company, Mercury Casualty Company and California Automobile Insurance Company, By the INSURANCE COMMISSIONER OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, File NO: NC-03027545, March 22, 2006, still pending per the California Department of Insurance, Legal Division: Jon A. Tomashoff CPCU, Senior Staff Counsel, on December 22, 2009. See www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/MercuryMNC.pdf
=======
See "The Copenhagen That Matters", NEW YORK TIMES, by Thomas L. Friedman", 12-22-09, www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/opinion/23friedman.html
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A.VRBA, 2009

Robert Kuttner's hope is for Obama to realize next year that his expedient-incremental approach to leadership has been misguided and destructive. My hope is for the president to realize NOW that he has thus far succeeded only in raising and dashing the hopes of the people. Not only would I vote against the current bill, I would urge Obama to veto it. I would also urge him to make Ralph Nader his chief-of-staff; to purge his economic team of Wall Street insiders; to add Andrew Bacevich to his military and foreign policy team; and to heed the advice of people like Tom Friedman on the greening of the American economy. Most of all, I hope for a leader who will bypass the Magic-Christian-like cesspool of U.S. politics and speak directly and honestly to the people. Failing that, my wish is for a 1000 Bill Moyers clones to inspire and organize a populist uprising to set this nation on a more sustainable and humane course for the future.

Would I vote for the Senate health care bill as it currently stands? No. It isn't providing a cure for the problem. Not even those in the government believe that. Why? See the following link. http://www.cms.hhs.gov/ActuarialStudies/Downloads/S_PPACA_2009-12-10.pdf

Mandatory premiums without any actual benefits from insurance companies is simply wrong and yet that is exactly what Obama and the democratic congress are proposing. The reason republicans don't like it is because the democratic party looks set to take home the insurance lobby money. That's what the fight is actually about. Obama has refused to provide leadership other than attacking his own base and has wasted what should have been the most productive year of his administration. I don't look for him to be elected a second time. We, the people, deserve better than what we're getting from either major party and I, for one, intend to be looking for an alternative and voting accordingly.

Why would the American Medical Association endorse the bill. Why would the AARP endorse the plan if it were such a disaster for America. That's just the two most visible organizations. Choose between the status quo healthcare system that was destroying America's ability to compete in the REAL WORLD or America's stability. That's the real choice. One way or the other. What the right is saying is that the AMA and AARP is beneath the insurance cos. In America these people chose to center their careers around an unsustainable way of doing healthcare. That's the consequences of their choices. It's okay to put honest hardworking people out of jobs but save the jobs that are centered around bilking America. That's atypical "right". Next, send home those bilking America at the banks and wall-street.

The interview 'Washington for Sale' with Economist Robert Kuttner and journalist Matt Taibbi was THE most direct and unbiased discussion I've heard so far on the issues at hand. Why isn't the rest of the press talking this way?

I would like to know if Mr. Kuttner and Mr. Taibbi have health insurance. If they lost that insurance would they be able to get coverage. . .or maybe both could afford to pay health expenses on their own? I'm not saying we should disregard the opinions of those who can afford to insist reform be their way or no way. I just think we should know how much their advice would actually cost them.

"I was for it before I was against it." Without a public option where is the real reform? I like to see the government prosecute anyone who cannot afford to pay the premium mandate. Now that is one to see.

I would vote for it, although knowing that it is not what I hoped for.

Posted by: ALYCE VRBA "how do we prevent a repeat? Time is the enemy
of effective investigation; records disappear, memories fade.
The documents should be released — without excuses, or delay."

ACTIVE CASE in BANKRUPTCY (Showing 1-25 of 147) on the link

http://www.kccllc.net/default.asp

The active cases are result of the "Chapter 11 Bankruptcy law". It is a
"Legal license to commit fraud!" By enforcing this law, the management
lawyers know in advance that they will be awarded by the Bankruptcy Courts!
The "Debtors in Possessions" are the sole beneficiary of the corrupt Justice System!
After swindling the stockholders of their equities, the next groups are
creditors. The individual creditors hold unsecured "Instrument Bonds!"
The only "Secure Instruments" - SECURED BY COLATERAL are
held by the institution under "unconditional guarantee agreement and/or contract!"
Some institution have filed up to 3 (three) times Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
in 11 (eleven) years period. It is the equity that "DISAPPEARS!"

"Time is or has been the enemy of effective"... indoctrination!
"Memories fade," for the people of Wilmington, Eviction, Katrina, WAR,
HUNGER will LIVE for EVER!

"How do we prevent a repeat?"
"Unconditional guarantee", Empower the people to participate and
express their "WILL on ALL ISSUES!"
ELIMINATE LAWS for SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS!

"AMEND the CONSTITUTION!"

Palin and her deathers might have been wrong about the death panels (note the plural) in H.R. 3200 Section 1233, but what about a single death panel? Could the OMB’s Independent Medicare Advisory Council (IMAC) become a death panel? The IMAC sounds like a great idea for cutting costs, but what if costs were to supersede care? And who and how will the five members be selected? Will they be doctors, accountants, or accountants posing as doctors? I can hear that mavericky, rogue helicopter hunter now, “I tried to tell you.”

Oh well, I need to go and finish hanging teabags on my straw hat and misspelling words on my birther poster.

I would vote 'yes,' and continue the good fight to resurrect the public option and to remove the discriminatory section on abortion. Shame on Republicans for politicizing the health and very lives of their fellow citizens.

CAN AMERICANS TRUST PRIVATE INSURANCE AND THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY?
1) QUESTION: Can Americans trust PRIVATE INSURANCE and the INSURANCE INDUSTRY that routinely appears to be operating under the quidance of greed, power, rationalization, and denial,..with millions of dollars to spread around? See "You Can't Trust Mercury Insurance"...as an insured or as a rear-end collision victim of a Mercury insured and the Mercury enterprise.
2) QUESTION: Can You Trust the Elected, Appointed, Employed Individuals or Agencies Mercury Influences, Pays, or Engages? www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2009/12/pushing_a_peoples_agenda.html
www.consumerwatchdog.org/insurance/donttrustmercury/?
========
BIG INSURANCE...A.I.G, Cigna Property and Casualty, Cigna Health Insurance...et.al.
December 20, 2009
Op-Ed Contributors
"Show Us the E-Mail", NEW YORK TIMES
By ELIOT SPITZER, FRANK PARTNOY and WILLIAM BLACK
www.nytimes.com/2009/12/20/opinion/20partnoy.html?emc-etal

WE end this extraordinary financial year with news that the Treasury is in discussions with American International Group about selling the taxpayers’ 80 percent ownership stake in that company. The government recently permitted several banks to break free of its potential oversight by repaying loans made during the rescue. But with respect to A.I.G., the Treasury should not move so fast. There is one job left to do.

A.I.G. was at the center of the web of bad business judgments, opaque financial derivatives, failed economics and questionable political relationships that set off the economic cataclysm of the past two years. When A.I.G.’s financial products division collapsed — ultimately requiring a federal bailout of $180 billion — those who had been prospering from A.I.G.’s schemes scurried for taxpayer cover. Yet, more than a year after the rescue began, crucial questions remain unanswered. Who knew what, and when? Who benefited, and by exactly how much? Would A.I.G.’s counterparties have failed without taxpayer support?

The three of us, as experienced investigators and prosecutors of financial fraud, cannot answer these questions now. But we know where the answers are. They are in the trove of e-mail messages still backed up on A.I.G. servers, as well as in the key internal accounting documents and financial models generated by A.I.G. during the past decade. Before releasing its regulatory clutches, the government should insist that the company immediately make these materials public. By putting the evidence online, the government could establish a new form of “open source” investigation.

Once the documents are available for everyone to inspect, a thousand journalistic flowers can bloom, as reporters, victims and angry citizens have a chance to piece together the story. In past cases of financial fraud — from the complex swaps that Bankers Trust sold to Procter & Gamble in the early 1990s to the I.P.O. kickback schemes of the late 1990s to the fall of Enron — e-mail messages and internal documents became the central exhibits in our collective understanding of what happened, and why.

So far, prosecutors and regulators have been unable to build such evidence into anything resembling a persuasive case against any financial institution. Most recently, a jury acquitted Bear Stearns employees of fraud related to the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, in part because available e-mail messages suggested the employees had done nothing wrong.

Perhaps A.I.G.’s employees would also be judged not guilty. But we would like to see the record to find out. As fraud investigators, we would like to examine the trading patterns of A.I.G.’s financial products division, and its communications with Goldman Sachs and other bank counterparties who benefited from the bailout. We would like to understand whether the leaders of A.I.G. understood that they were approaching a financial Armageddon, and whether they alerted their counterparties, regulators and shareholders to the impending calamity.

We would like to see how A.I.G. was able to pay huge bonuses to its officers based on the short-term income they received from counterparties for selling guarantees that, lacking adequate loss reserves, the companies would never be able to honor. We would also like to know what regulators knew, and what they did with the information they had obtained.

Congress wants answers, too. This month, during hearings on Ben Bernanke’s nomination to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve, several senators fumed about being denied access to his A.I.G.-related documents.

No doubt, some of the e-mail messages contain privileged conversations among lawyers. Others probably include private information that is irrelevant to A.I.G.’s role in the crisis. But the vast majority of these documents could be made public without legal concern. So why haven’t the Treasury and the Federal Reserve already made sure the public could see this information? Do they want to protect A.I.G., or do they worry about shining too much sunlight on their own performance leading up to and during the crisis?

A.I.G.’s board of directors, a distinguished group of senior business executives, holds the power to decide whether to publish the e-mail messages and other documents. But those directors serve at the behest of A.I.G.’s shareholders. And while small shareholders of public corporations generally do not have the right to force publication of internal documents, in this case one shareholder — the taxpayer — holds an 80 percent stake. Anyone with such substantial ownership has effective control over corporate decisions, even if the corporation is a large public one.

Our stake is held by something called the A.I.G. Credit Facility Trust, whose three trustees are Jill M. Considine, a former chairman of the Depository Trust Company and a former director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Chester B. Feldberg, a former New York Fed official who was chairman of Barclays Americas from 2000 to 2008; and Douglas L. Foshee, chief executive of the El Paso Corporation and chairman of the Houston branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Ultimately, these three trustees wield all the power at A.I.G., and have the right to vote out the 11 directors if the directors are unwilling to publish the e-mail messages. In other words, if these three people ask A.I.G.’s board to post the messages and other documents, the board will have no choice but to comply. Ms. Considine, Mr. Feldberg and Mr. Foshee have the opportunity to be among the most effective and influential investor advocates in history. Before A.I.G. escapes, they should demand the evidence.

The longer it remains hidden, the less likely we will be to answer many questions about the A.I.G. collapse and the larger economic crisis — including the most important one: how do we prevent a repeat? Time is the enemy of effective investigation; records disappear, memories fade. The documents should be released — without excuses, or delay.

Eliot Spitzer is a former attorney general and governor of New York. Frank Partnoy is a professor of law at the University of San Diego. William Black is a professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
=========
See "A Dangerous Dysfunction", NEW YORK TIMES, 12-20-09, By Paul Krugman, www.nytimes.com/2009/12/21/opinion/21krugman.html
=========
A.VRBA, 2009

Depriving healthcare is wrong, morally and fiscally. It's how a problem that can be treated with a $10 generic prescription is turned into a $100000 medical emergency. Congress, isn't it obvious? Compassion saves lives and compassion saves money.

After at first saying NO I am a reluctant yes.

Without this bill in ten years only millionaires could afford insurance.

It saves the great majority of people in this country a fair amount of money and provides them with better healthcare.

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Columns/2009/December/122109Cohn.aspx


As for the Texas miracle of health tort reform. Texas has seen more sharply accelerating insurance premiums and the fastest expansion of people without health insurance. Tort reforms make the insurance industry a lot of money and had a more limited effect of reducing the premiums doctors pay. Texas has attracted a number of bad doctors from other states to urban areas since it is only possible to sue them for a dead patient's future loss of income no matter how outrageous the incompetence. But actually growth in the number of doctors per capita in Texas has slowed since the liability law took effect.

http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=3018

Civil Disobidence. It's time to take back our vote from special interests. BOYCOTTE THE 2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION! JUST DON'T VOTE. NOBODY VOTE!

Posted by: Don Lieberman

Maybe there is something to "genetics" after all...?

Sorry, Don, ain't gonna happen...all politics is local and the interent can be used for something other than the politics of personal destruction - it can be used to open up elections to LOCAL qualified people...the POWER to do it this way is already here through technology - isn't it? And what better way to test whether "we the people" are FREE to use the interent the way we want to use it - FREE of "big money"...

Anyone know when the IRS is going to be able to start slapping fines on people for NOT tithing to the "godfather" of "health care" - the strong arm "insurance" goons...?

Methinks the IRS can start fining people even BEFORE the "bill" goes into effect in 2013 or 2014...?

That's what this whole sausage-making was about - slip in the IRS "power" - that's so sick, ain't it?

When you review the list of "management" and "bored of directors" of LifePoint - the common denominator among them ALL is psychobabble training...

$173.8 million in PROFIT sucked out of Mohave County, AZ in 2008 sure is a freekin' "miracle"...

Who said Wall Street and D.C. don't know what is going on in Main Street...?

Senator Graham's idea for changing the trajectory was to make sure that 60% of local taxes do NOT go into "health care costs"...and what beeter way to do that than get the IRS involved...?

WHERE do they find these people...a frantic wanna-be 20-30-something man cried, "....this will bring down the Obama presidency if it doesn't pass...!"

Uh, so if the Pres does what the MAJORITY of people BELIEVE should be done, get rid of FOR PROFIT health insurance companies and hospitals, the Presidency "fails"...!?

It's getting weirder and weirder....the young'uns don't understand that incremental legislature is how we came to be in such a dysfunctional state - that's why they are arguing for an incremental approach to legislation - as always, bassackward "miracle" thinking...dig into the author of "A Course in Miracles" - definitely a Patty Hearst-like captive of covert psych ops...I kid you NOT....

Has anyone yet noticed recurring themes in the arguments of the day?

First problem, political decision-making has been complicated by giving reelection concerns priority over practical outcomes. If staying in office becomes the first priority when making decisions, it’s unlikely those decisions will benefit the American people, and they aren’t. Mr. Kuttner seemed stuck in that rut. If given the choice to vote for the Senate Health Care bill, he would vote for it, even though in his words, “ . . . it's so far from what I think is necessary that I don't think it's a . . . good bill.”

Secondly, money has undue influence over Congress. This represents a preeminent problem that both guests admitted during the interview. Mr. Taibbi wondered, “Is there a way that we can have a politician get elected without the sponsorship of special interests?” Here’s Mr. Kuttner solution to getting past corporate influence, “I would go over the heads of the special interests to the people.” Of course, this is the same stale statement that presidential candidates (including Obama) have been making for years. The trick is to get them to follow through.

There is a mechanism for getting money out of politics, it’s called Clean Elections. Organizations can be found online that promote the concept. Maine, Arizona, and New Mexico have adopted the practice at the state level. Based on the reporting, it changes the nature of politics (for the better). Both major parties will fight this change vigorously, because it fundamentally changes the financial entry barrier to running for office. This change will take a massive public commitment. Without making this system adjustment, however, we’ll continue to have these same arguments ad infinitum.

The other continuing frustration centers around the notion of getting the Democrats to collectively make better choices. I am befuddled by this situation, because we continue to ignore the repeating trend of defiance. We seem to believe that we have sway with the Democrats, just because we elect them into office. But we have no direct influence over either party. We have tremendous potential indirect influence, but we have to give up the self-defeating prophecy that alternative party candidates cannot win elections. So, we should not vote for them, even though they are more likely to give us the results we seek as progressives. This notion scares the bejeebers out of both Republicans and Democrats alike. This is exactly why both major parties refuse to let third party candidates participate in the debate process. When significant votes begin to move toward alternative party candidates that will signal the beginning of real change within the major parties.

It should be obvious by now, this isn’t working, especially after the Health Care debacle and the developments in Copenhagen. To achieve change, we must alter the system. It won’t be easy, or quick, but anything less qualifies us as insane according to Albert Einstein, who reportedly defined insanity as, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The ONLY true health care reform was presented by Dennis Kucinich in the House. The current Senate bill does not represent the wants and needs of the PEOPLE and reflects a broken system of governance. Ours is not a government for the people but one for the corporate interests. AIG is laughing all the way to the Bank (of America). Any substantive health care reform is not possible in this country as long as health care is PRIMARILY FOR PROFIT! I cast a resounding NAY!!!

Civil Disobidence. It's time to take back our vote from special interests. BOYCOTTE THE 2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION! JUST DON'T VOTE. NOBODY VOTE!

Corporate Oligarchy (Corporatocracy)

Corporate oligarchy is a form of power, governmental or operational, where such power effectively rests with a small, elite group of inside individuals or influential economic entities or devices, such as banks, commercial entities that act in complicity with, or at the whim of the oligarchy, often with little or no regard for constitutionally protected prerogative. Look familiar... Hmmn?

If the U.S. is really an oligarchy run by the wealthy corporations wearing the sheep’s clothing of financial banking institutions, then oligarchic China is next to be indoctrinated into George Bush's, "New World Order". The New World Order a conglomeration of wealthy oligarchs bent on enslaving the world by Greed.

What would Jesus say to the world finally dominated by globally intertwined GREED? Ever been to China and see the degree of pollution and filth those people have to endure? Looks like Hell on Earth to me.


Here's some "numbers" that would make a NORMAL person's hair be set on fire about FOR PROFIT "health care":

"LifePoint Hospitals Inc. owns and operates two hospitals in Arizona — HRMC and Valley View Medical Center in Ft. Mohave.

According the corporate 2008 financial report, revenues from the Arizona hospitals totaled $173.8 million, and the corporation — which includes 48 hospitals in 17 states — had a total of $2.7 billion in revenue for 2008."

Now, go take a look at the ECONOMIC DISASTER DATA that Mohave County in Arizona IS

and then STFU about "perfect" versus "good"...

A new director was recently hired to run one of the Ft. Mohave hospitals that does not treat a "pediatric" population - her qualifications? A Masters degree from a Baptist Theological institution in Texas...I kid you not.

Two dirt poor "hospitals" emptied $173.8 millions dollars IN "PROFIT"

OUT of Mohave County...

Seems "criminally insane" to me...

Who ARE these people....?

Theologians channeling JESUS

telling them via voices in their head

to suck out millions IN PROFIT from Mohave County?

Mr Moyer please adress your retirement w/honest journalist like yourself, i don't get it, y all this corrupution in almost every turn in our society. It looks very gloomy holiday!

In just a simply practical sense I don't think our Senators understand the plight of 'Main Street USA'. I know a bunch of people who are just scraping by. They float checks, tap what little credit is available to them and cling to brittle branches above an abyss of economic ruin. If you mandate health insurance they won't be able to pay for it. Lot's of these folks can't take one more straw before their back breaks. And they are to be fined? Maybe jailed? Hey, I here you get health care in jail. That's the ticket! One way to get access to Government run health care.

I am devastated that the last honest voice in American media is going away! Mr Moyers, we need your reporting more than ever.

If I were younger, I would leave America and go to a democratic country. What we have here is not a government of the people.

As for the healthcare "reform" legislation, it is a sham. Unfortunately, the American public gets what it deserves for being lazy citizens who do not read about issues that affect them, and blindly go about pursuing money to buy consumer goods they do not need. How did we ever allow ourselves to get to this?

Tony C
Boston, MA

"new" demon_crates & repu-gnites== the ellite(in the mid 40ies) that will continue the "new" financial slavery.
They are from the Chicago branch led by the shadow man, Rahm, and the New York, led by many more.
America, a scary future emerges...

The Senate bill creates a moral hazard by rewarding insurance companies for engaging in immoral and dishonest practices. They need to find other types of insurance to sell. The body that passed it is corrupt to the core. I could not vote for it.

Health Insurance Industry IS big business

My problem with the current health care bill is that the health insurance industry will be even more in the driver seat by adding those of the 30 million new members its profitable for them to insure. Plus, the way the system works is still the same: a profit-focused business is responsible for making sure people have adequate coverage for their medical care.

I'm sorry but I just don't believe that the so-called "cost controls" and limitations on the insurance companies will work. Health insurance premiums will continue to skyrocket in order for them to continue to reap healthy profits as will dropping costly members that endanger their profits. THAT IS THE HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY'S OBLIGATION TO ITS SHAREHOLDERS.

The health insurance industry has thousands of very skilled and expensive attorneys who work exclusively on ways for the health insurance industry to squirm out of requirements to pay out on claims. They will be working overtime on the "regulations" involved in this bill.

Can anyone really tell me that now the health insurance industry will play nice and work against their own profit motive?

It is perhaps too much - at this point in time - to expect a country that is so heterogeneous to embrace such a profound change as that of creating a singer payer health system in ONE STEP. I suppose that we may eventually get there (hopefully) but not by a direct path. For that reason, it may be more effective and successful in the long run to accept what we can get now.

Robert Kuttner's position is one of "hold your nose and vote yes" But as more and more details have emerged it's becoming more and more difficult to hold one's nose. Perhaps the only thing remaining is that the conference committee may make some additional changes to pass this a poor piece of legislation and make it simply bad.

And as many have said, thanks Bill for conducting one of the few shows that really searches for truth...

No. This country needs a single-payer health plan. That we have so many people who cannot access good medical care is criminal.

No, I cannot support the health bill hawked by Democrats. It's not far-reaching enough to cover and protect those who are in need of prescription medical marijuana.

If the Democrats had backbone, they would add provisions that would make it clear that medical marijuana will be covered. Given their apparent leverage at this point in time, the health bill appears as a monumentally wasted opportunity for serious reform.

I support the health bill although I do not know all of its possible ramifications; I support it because it seems to be an effort to help the public. Unfortunately, it the opposite seems to be true of too many legislators. I'm sick of our wars and pursuit of excess wealth when there are so many needs in the nation.

I support the health bill although I do not know all of its possible ramifications; I support it because it seems to be an effort to help the public. Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be true of the efforts of too many legislators. I'm sick of our wars and pursuit of excess wealth when there are so many needs in the nation.

Sorry..I mean Matt...not Mike. And Matt, you are not a cynic..you speak the truth.

Mike Taibbi has it close to correct. He seems to 'get' it. He is one of the few 'experts' I've heard spell it out. Another truth-sayer featured on PBS was Alan Meltzer. You should invite Mike and Alan to sit at your table together. Except one of them would surely be shot.

Yes, this bill is pro-industry...one industry...the banking/insurance industry. The pharmaceutical industry is being held hostage by the banking moguls. The banking industry has wanted to 'own' all facets of health care for years. Obama is not motivated to save the day for US citizens, he is not about to 'go out to the people'. He is working for and was put in office by foreign influence. Did you ever wonder where he came from and how he had so much influence over night? We owe $49 Trillion dollars to China and many other countries. Who do you really think is making the decisions? Trillionaires around the globe are in charge. The fundamental bottom line is actually the bottom line.

As a professional artist who relies on an incredibly scattered source of income I have had to endure regular lapses in coverage. It's been near impossible to afford insurance when the jobs have dried up in a given year. Knowing that the savings rate for working Americans is below one percent of income, how can politicians expect those not covered to contribute ten percent (or more) of their income to private insurers? Making this compulsory is criminal, essentially a new tax that profits private health corporations. As I prepare to start a family I find it increasingly difficult to avoid cynicism and despair about our government, our democracy, and the prospects for the children I soon hope to have. Will we stand together and show strength? The tumult of the great depression led to the organization of working people. They fought for themselves, their families and the future of democracy. We must carry their torch.

If the current Health Insurance Reform bill was what Obama wanted all along, then I doubt that there is any political will to make any improvement over time. Although I have worked with Organizing for America to promote the health care bill, I’ve come to realize that the assurance given me that the public option was important was just a way to keep me on board as the bill President Obama was working toward was dragged through Congress. If the bill fails, it will hurt the Democrats. If the bill passes, it will hurt the Democrats. Clearly there are greater forces at work that those of party.

As for a leader for the progressives, Michael Moore has done as much as he knows how to promote progressive ideals with his films and his website. He tackled health care and Wall Street and has been demonized for his efforts by the press and the right wing.

President Obama came into office with overwhelming support of ordinary citizens who wanted the change he appeared to promise, but he was afraid the trust us to support him in his policy decisions and went, instead, to corporate American for his support. And just to keep him “honest” the Teaparty movement has been there, sponsored by Republican operatives like Dick Armey, threatening bloodshed if he steps out of line.

So, would I pass this turkey? Cause harm and hardship to millions of Americans in the vain hope this bill would be improved over time? Improved for whom? It has been crafted as a give-away to insurance companies with only the appearance of reform. I think I would vote against it and then resign as I doubt I would be able to do anything else in the Senate again for my transgression. As for the Democratic supermajority, what does it matter?

I’ll miss you and your voice, Mr. Moyers. Another relentlessly progressive voice is silenced as “non-commercial” public television becomes more and more commercial.

The message being sent from Washington is not different than W's admin. Katrina said that we are on our own. The bank and insurance and drug stories say that the corporations own this country and will take welfare any time they want it. Welfare is for them and not for people. Long discussions about cost are not for war or corporations. Those discussions are saved for actions that would benefit the people. It is not enough to vote for a representative; you also need to buy lobbyists. Anyone who comes up through the system, GOP or Dem, has been screened. It is time for cynicism. No more hope crap. It matters no to us whether this dog passes.

Scrap everything and start over. Begin with what was promised during the 2008 elections: "Everyone in America gets the same insurance as we your public servants".

This is best done, I sincerely believe, via an extension of Medicare, Medicare Part E, E for everyone. The mechanism is in place, ready to roll. No need to wait 4 more years to set up yet another behemoth operation.

I'm sorry Congress, but people come first. No Silver, Gold and Platnimum plans, one plan fits all. Comprehensive, Inclusive, Universal, and Affordable. This can be done, needs to be done. No longer can the country afford to squander 1 out 3 dollars on the myriad of balkanized insurance markets.

First, I would vote no. A failure on the part of government and the insurance companies to act for decades does not constitute an emergency for the taxpayers now. Don't tell me millions will die if this bill does not pass, far too many millions have already died for lack of meaningful reform.

Second, one thing I learned from this Bill Moyers Journal and will share with everyone I know is I don't have to contribute to any Democratic campaign in 2010 or 2012 because the insurance companies have me covered.

I would vote for it because I understand the legislation will extend health coverage to an estimated 33 million of the uninsured, raise standards of protection for millions whose coverage is limited, eliminate some of the most hated abuses of the insurance industry, and create a new system of insurance exchanges that would enable people who buy policies individually or through small groups to get new choices and better prices for coverage.

I would vote for it because I understand the legislation will extend health coverage to an estimated 33 million of the uninsured, raise standards of protection for millions whose coverage is limited, eliminate some of the most hated abuses of the insurance industry, and create a new system of insurance exchanges that would enable people who buy policies individually or through small groups to get new choices and better prices for coverage.

I watched as our government officials "sold out" the American people during the credit card reform debate and now the health care reform debate. As I watched I asked myself how are some of the politicians in Washington and our foreign enemies different? Both are out to destroy our Democracy.

What would we do without reports from Bill Moyers and his ilk?

i appreciate the truth you bring to viewers. always can count on hearing a story that takes away the soundbites and reveals the motives of washington. corporate democrates is a new term for me. why are we not screaming in the streets?

I blogged on Robert Kuttner's 'party line' mindset displayed on Bill Moyers Journal Friday episode, and how this mindset guarantees that our country remains stuck in the status quo.

For any who care to read it: http://www.alterpolitics.com/politics/bill-moyers-journal-why-robert-kuttners-party-line-mindset-ensures-status-quo/

Here's what Markos Moulitsas said today on Meet the Press:

Yeah, I don’t think this is a reform [healthcare] bill. I mean, I think it’s very clear, this is not insurance or healthcare reform. What it is, it’s allowing more people, 30 million people, to buy into the existing broken system. It’s very important to keep in mind that healthcare insurance is not the same as health care. Insurance, not the same as care. If you go up to Massachusetts, they have a, a mandate as well, and last year 21 percent of people in Massachusetts could not get health care because they could not afford it. Even though they had insurance, the premiums—not the premiums, the deductibles, copays and out-of-pocket expenses were too high. So really, this isn’t reform. http://www.dailykos.com/tv/w/002439/

In this era of the computer and ease of communication, why wouldn't it be possible to start up a nation wide health care cooperative?

Any ideas?

I'm in the "hold your nose and vote" camp.

Taibbi says to wait 6 - 8 years and try again.

Is it really impossbile to vote for this and revisit in 6 years?

Only if it is implemented on January 1, 2010 !

The bill is currently scheduled to go into effect in 2013, after the next Presidential election. If Obama is not re-elected in 2012, which is currently looking to be the most likely scenario, the Obama administration will never feel the political wrath of the public over this legislation. If he is re-elected, the healthcare bill will not be implemented until after the 2012 campaign and election. As a lame duck president, only the 2013 Congress will be held responsible by the American public. You would think that some of them must have figured this out by now, one can only wonder if they think that far ahead !

No, I would not vote for the current bill. To be sure, the country needs health care reform that will reduce costs. The present bill does not address this issue and in my view the argument to take anything versus starting again is nonsensical.

The problem is not "rocket science." Reducing costs can be effected in a number of ways. For example, Texas has shown that tort reform which would cost the Federal government nothing reduced premiums. At the same time it increased the number of available physicians. Another example is health care savings accounts which put individuals much more in the driver's seat with respect to controlling costs. No health care reform bill is worth its salt if it does not address this issue.

Open letter to President Obama

Mr. President,
I spent my hard earned dollars getting you elected. Granted, I didn't contribute as much as Goldman Sachs, but I am the one who cast the ballot.

I am disappointed. I am angry. I'm mad as Hell!
I have been casting some of the same epithets at you that I aimed at GW Bush!

STOP! Stop the bailout of banks and brokerages, Corporate drug cartels and insurance companies. Don't allow the Health Care Bill to pass without a Public Option. And get serious about climate change. At the present time I am figuring you to be a one term president.

You could have been as great a president as FDR or Lincoln. I really thought you were going to be. But now, I am afraid that the country has taken another step (a running leap) toward it's own demise. Unless you make an about face by the time you give the State of the Union Address, I will start working to deny you a second term.

If you do any of the following things before then, I will maintain my hope for a better tomorrow: replace Githner and Bernanke, or make sure the Health Care Bill has a Public Option, or make sure that the Fair Elections Now Act,(HR 1826 S 752) passes.

OOOOO

I would NOT vote for the Senate Health Care Bill in its present form. I would vote to replace every incumbent Senator for the next 6 years.

Support the Fair Elections Now Act. (HR 1826 and S 752) There is a lot of information on the web. Google it.

The senate bill is far from optimum in providing universal, affordable, and comprehensive health care for all those who live in our nation, but it will improve things for many, many people. Here, I am relying on Nate Silver's analysis at http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/12/why-progressives-are-batshit-crazy-to.html. If I were in the Senate, I would vote for it, but would push like crazy to have it fully implemented much sooner, in 2012 or earlier. People's lives are at stake, and delaying reform to start all over might lead to more unnecessary deaths in this country.

I would not vote for the bill. I'm not rich, I'm in the middle class. I have medical insurance through my employer. It's not great but it's something. Passing this bill will create larger government and that is exactly what we do not need. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard Kutner say in this interview that this contry needs to be more social minded and if I am remembering correctly he used democracy and socialism in the same sentance! The left is blatently out there pushing sociolism! Hello!

I would vote to close the House and Senate and send them and their corporate friends home. And as far as my personal health care, I would keep it that Way, self-reliant, self-responsible, independent, free, as America fought to be, and live my life the best and healthiest Way I can. How easily have we given ourselves, America, a Way?

=
MJA

I think the way the bill is now, without a public option and a mandate to force people to buy insurance, (that most won't be able to afford) is a travesty. It simply gives the insurance company more power and money. I can't afford health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, so have been without insurance for over a year now. When I had insurance through my firm for seven years, I had to fight for every claim, they denied nearly all claims, so I know firsthand how dirty the insurance companies play. I had so many hopes in President Obama and now I see very little of that grandiose campaigner that promised change.

Even more disappointing is the House and Congress. We need to remove those that are in corporate pockets, Not in November but now, I do think that the public is outraged, I know I am. But your show Bill is the one hope that people hear the truth. Thank you for continually putting their feet to the fire.

Rob McGarrah, you’re probably right about the possible improvements which could come out of the conference committee. Hopefully, there will be a public option (if that is possible) and not an outrageous mandatory fee for a lousy coverage. This fee would put an enormous strain on our already ailing middle class. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

After the Senate gets done messing with healthcare bill then maybe they could spend the next 6 months on financial reform. Maybe Reid will show a compromising spine with that too (Not likely though, a man’s got to knows his limitations). You might have already read this, but Taibbi explains why there will never be financial reform while Obama is playing President:

Obama's Big Sellout
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/31234647/obamas_big_sellout/print

Posted by: Miguel Q.
"Is there anything at all that allows us to believe in change for the better?"
"I look forward to reading a few messages of hope..."

November 3, 2008 in an
Open letter to Senator Barack Obama

Mr. Nader states,
"You have turned your back on the 100-million poor Americans composed of
poor whites, African-Americans, and Latinos. You always mention helping
the "middle class" but you omit, repeatedly, mention of the "poor" in America.
"Hope" some say springs eternal." But not when "reality" consumes it daily."

As millions of people during WWII and thereafter looked for "HOPE"
"the reality" of life was and is still "consume daily."

The real "HOPE" is when the "CONSTITUTION" is amended to
empower the people to "express their will" on ALL issues; That is,
to approve and reject LAWS, WARS etc. for the benefits of every one.

I absolutely would not vote for this bill. Though I enjoyed hearing the points made by both Kuttner and Taibbi, this bill only further institutionalizes the grip that moneyed interests have on the health care system. It is not even kind of a a solution. And as for harming the grip that the dems or Obama have on power, that makes me sad just a little--we've seen how unopposed repub power is so very corrosive--but my identity with the democrats ended prior to the 2008 election and _nothing_ they have done since has made me re-think that position. The democrats do not effectively delineate in any way why or how they are different or better than republicans. They look identical in so many ways.

Like Matt Taibbi, I think organizing is the only way that this system will be forced to do "the right thing"--not the parties. But look at Move-on. at the beginning it looked hopeful. How quickly it became a voice for the Democratic speaking points.

When that person or group comes along that can organize people effectively and not get bought out themselves--that is what I am waiting for.

I remain hopeful but increasingly bleak about what the reality is.

Great Show..Nothing is going to change in our country to help the American Public, until all Lobbists and their Money is Out-Lawed in the United States. Until Civil unrest gains the attention of the present adminastration, things will remain the statis quo. Our elected officials have sold the american people out for a buck from Big Business. What is it going to take to get our country back from the Bankers, CEO's and Elected Represenitives, Civil War ? Seems Like it.
Something has to be done, to stop this wrong.
Always love Bills Show...Keep it up

No, this bill takes us down the same road we have been on. Worse, it includes rationing like Hitler's T4 health care that was genocidal. Reality is there regardless of how it is re-framed by Democrats on the Senate floor.
Still, "Its the economy stupid!"

If I were a Senator, I would not vote for this bill. This is not what I voted for in 2008, this is not change I can believe in.

I see now why Ben Nelson (D-NE) was such an early supporter of Barack Obama's Presidential campaign, he was looking forward to having a a president that he could push around.

I can't believe that with all these Democratic majorities and a democratic president that this is the best we can do? Well if that is so then this empire deserves the fall that it has coming.

Mr. Moyers thanks for promoting for truth. But will real reform ever occur? We have had many promises, but little has changed. The white house of promised reform appears to be catering to corperate power, for political funding.In the present system the long suffering American people always draw the short straw. Prolonged debate is a tool used to maintain the status quo to secure corperate profits. After thirty years of free market economic policy look at the social consequences. The under reported plundering the middle class. Where is the out cry,"Government for the People..."

While medical intervention can and does save lives and extend them in many cases, it is also evident that the "health care" industry is not about "health" at all.

"Health" has to do with bodies and minds that are supplied with proper nutrients and pure water, that are lubricated and free moving; minds that can dine on accurate data and devour intelligent discourse on non-trivial, non-personality cult topics.

The back cover of a 1947 Readers Digest contained a plea from the National Cancer Society for only five million more dollars to solve this problem once and for all. This was only a few years after the AMA, under the guidance of Morris Fishbein, had successfully undermined and finally destroyed access to the proven technology developed by Dr. Royal Raymond Rife and Lee DeForest for viewing and destroying micro organisms.

Collective intelligence is created by many millions of individuals who make their own choices based on the information and resources available to them. We learn from our mistakes (and if we die making them, others can learn from our mistakes).

I am thankful for hospitals and medical miracles for life saving interventions. But health is a personal responsibility; and many, including me, are too fat, too ignorant, or too lazy to not have to rely on our so called "health care" industry ("industry" being the operative word here).
To be continued.

Another great program, thank you so much.

As we march lock step into oblivion...
Force people to buy insurance? The people have been scalped with the help of politicians and cannot afford to support a viable society any longer. We need to get our economics under control or we will self- destruct to the glee of our enemies.
We need full coverage insurance at reasonable rates with no strings attached. We need to change the way the government functions so that it is efficient and consistent with people's needs.

We desperately need health insurance reform. But, this bill reforms nothing, and I would not vote for it. Once the mandate to buy private insurance is in place, it will never be removed, but any protections relating to it will always be subject to easy modification by the executive and legislative branches--the dangerous nibbling around the edges.

The mandate was needed to spread costs paid for by taxes if there was to be a public option. Thus, there should be no mandate if there is no public option. The mandate is especially dangerous when there are no effective cost controls placed on the insurance companies. That, alone, is reason to vote "no" on this bill. When you add in the fact that it will be the middle class paying the uncontrolled costs for those who can't afford insurance (as if the middle class can afford insurance these days), that "no" vote becomes resounding.

But, even the parts of the bill that are touted as "good" are not really good. Take the "pre-existing condition" provision. It essentially precludes the insurance companies from dropping policies, but doesn't require them to make the policies affordable.

A troubling pattern is emerging. The Obama administration sells out to the corporations, pressures others to go along and then spins this failure as a victory that no one before has ever achieved. This is the spin for the health insurance bill and also for today's essential failure to obtain a meaningful international agreement to curb global warming. I'm afraid that all this spin is just making my head hurt.

I'm very grateful to young, brilliant journalists like Matt Taibbi who straighten out the spin. They are the ones who will fulfill our hope for the future.

P.S. I support the idea that every American should be able to retire at some point, but I would make one exception--and that is for Bill Moyers who, quite frankly, should never be allowed to retire. (Sorry, Bill, but we really do need you).

This bill, from either chamber, is bad news. The only real answer is Single Payer - HR 676. That few, save Kucinich, really supported this bill, apparently not even Conyers, is a disgrace.

What we have now is a giveaway to the industries of insurance and Big Pharma and to pass this legislation is to insult millions of voters who wanted REAL change from someone they wanted to believe had courage as well as charisma.

In the end, what we all got is a pragmatic power monger.

Read the fine print. This bill sucks. It's only redeeming point is that 5 or 10 years from now, when the People see what they got, MAYBE they'll get it that they need to hold their elected representatives feet to the fire - all the way to the Oval Office.

Thank you Mr. Moyers for another highly informative program.

As the year draws to an end, I have a simple question for my fellow viewers:

Given the apparent fiasco of all attempts to reform healthcare, the financial services industry, and to minimize the impact of climate change, is there anything at all that allows us to believe in change for the better?

If President Obama cannot deliver what is necessary to fix this appalling situation, who can? And who will?

I look forward to reading a few messages of hope by year's end.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all, particularly to the good folks at Bill Moyer's Journal.

Miguel Q., Tokyo

“This Bill is an insurance company’s dream” – Howard Dean
link to Dr. Dean’s comments: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/HealthCare/howard-dean-health-care-bill-bigger-bailout-insurance/story?id=9349392
This disgrace of a bill is a boondoggle for special insurance industry interests, not for our citizens! - Andy Jacksonian

To be distributed to all media outlets post-haste:
.
A Brutal Truth Message from Andy Jacksonian:
.
If you believe a national healthcare program is as important as the Federal government’s maintaining our military and our national transportation programs, and if you really give a damn about the subject of Healthcare, you’ll read the following:
.
Both parties, especially the Rahm Emmanuel Chicago Democrats, are completely corrupt and in the pockets of the insurance industry. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the House and Senate Dems’ convoluted crappy healthcare reform proposals are currently causing the insurance companies' stock prices to rise very indicatively ... as the health reform bill actually doesn’t reform anything at all and instead brings over 30 million more insurance customers to them whose insurance premiums US tax payers will be subsidizing. Why wouldn't the insurance industry be blissfully ecstatic about this?
.
The Andy Jacksonian National Healthcare Doctrine:
.
The Brutal Truth about how the health industry ought to be reformed if we are to expect any practical benefits form Federal intervention and taxpayers underwriting it:
.
1) immediate implementation of a Federal government take over of all medical schools in the nation to remove the lack of accessibility (currently intended to perpetuate this profession's income and incestual network propagation) for so many students, and instead opening the medical schools’ doors to all applicants meeting a universal standard… which will ensure there will be an adequate number of medical professionals everywhere in the nation.
.
2) implement tuition free medical schools for all admitted, removing the rational for ridiculously expensive medical billings imposed by doctors claiming they are too deeply in debt to do otherwise.
.
3) Federal price fixing for all medical charges, thereby COMPLETELY ELIMINATING THE NEED FOR THE HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY AND THEIR EXTRA LAYER OF COSTS AND PROFITS TO BE INVOLVED IN OUR HEALTH CARE AT ALL
.
4) The savings realized as a result of implementing the 1, 2 and 3 steps above would generate the affordability of a Federally funded universal national healthcare program … with a surplus left over compared to our total current collective medical and insurance expenses.
.
Andy Jacksonian
New Hickory Candidate

Bill,
Thank you for tonight's program - another winner. What will we do without your program when you retire? You will be missed!

Vote ALL the incumbents out for a real change so that politicians get the message to get the money and special interests out of politics.

Removing money's influence (greed) out of the political system. will solve the majority of our government's problems.

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
- Barack Obama

"No!" And I will continue to shout about the abuses in our health care sytem until the public understands that for-profit companies are for profits. In April I will begin to promote my personal story, a bizarre story, that leads to corruption of Coventry Health Care, Inc., the Defendant in a civil lawsuit for discrimination against a person with disability. Are you aware that the incoming President of the National Insurance Commissioners Association has a record of ignoring law in favor of my former HMO? Are you aware that the respected (?) accreditation body, NCQA, was formed in the late 1970s by HMO related entities? It was NCQA that in 2008 awarded my former HMO an "Excellent" rating despite the "egregious deeds" done to me as described by Judge Jack DeBolt, Examiner for the WV Insurance Commissioner. I could right a book about my five year investigation. I may just do that. Where else would one read the truth?

The problems with the process in getting a good health care bill passed points to the need for publicly-funded elections, so that corporate money no longer drives policy. It might take a constitutional amendment, but that amendment could be something as simple as, "Nothing in the first amendment, or any other part of the Constitution, shall be construed as preventing the regulation of financial support for political campaigns." Another, more immediate change might be to impose "reconciliation", the need for only 51 votes to move legislation forward. If it was appropriate for Bill Frist to consider when pushing Bush's lower level judicial appointments ahead, then it is very appropriate for overhauling health care. Then, wayward Democrats could either support compromise bills that have some but not all of what they want, or watch as stronger bills they don't like at all become law with just 51 votes. Given that choice, they'd jump at the chance to support the compromise bills.

When President Obama took office, I had great hopes for "real change" -- the kind of change that he promised during his campaign. But after nearly a year in office, he has done little to change things--even with a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. Why haven't we seen the change he promised? Partly because, Obama has surrounded himself with advisers who have represented the status quo for decades: Rubin, Summers, and others. But, also because Obama and most of our representatives are beholden to special interests for the huge sums of money that put them in office. And, as long as Washington is awash in this money, nothing will change.

How can we change the status quo? By demanding Federally funded elections for all representatives--including the President. Federal funding means no private money (money out of their own pockets) and no money from special interests: PACs, corporations, and other groups (public and private) that have an interest in outcomes from the legislative process. Federal funding means that everyone who files as a candidate for office will be entitled to the same amount of money from Washington. And, all candidates must use this money, and only this money, to conduct their campaigns.

Additionally, media sources that offer air time or written support to certain candidates must offer equal time and opportunity to other candidates. For instance, radio and television stations that give air time to candidates of their choice, must make equal time for other candidates--or lose their FCC licenses. (After all, the FCC provides access to public--not private--airways.)

No doubt some of you are saying, quite correctly, that the Supreme Court has established money as an expression of free speech. But, the court's ruling is part of the problem because the more that candidates spend, the more publicity they get. Quite obviously this ruling must be overturned by the Congress to make elections more competitive. And, if you elect the right people to office, they can overturn this ruling.

Others are crying "foul" -- asserting that what I propose will result in greater government control, reduced freedom of choice, and, ultimately, dreaded socialism? But, the people crying the loudest are the ones who have the most to lose--the ones with the most money, the ones who control the financial system, and the ones in the food, insurance, and medical industries--who continue to enjoy the unfettered freedom to do whatever they want--often at the expense of our health, safety, and security.

In November of 2010, we have a historic opportunity for real change. All seats in the House of Representatives will be open for election, and 36 seats in the Senate will be open. So, before you go to the polls in November of 2010, let the candidates you support know that you insist on Federal funding for all elections. Nothing else will do; our very survival depends on it.

Why cant we accept that just possibly this has become the just the BEGINNING of health care for all? Have we become so cynical of government and our elected officials that we want to act like spoiled children that aren't getting exactly the piece of cake that we want? Are we not the first to point fingers when the obstructionists from the other party is flailing their arms screaming for someones resignation when they don't get it their way? We hate about others what we hate most what we see in ourselves oddly. Lets not give in to emotion and continue to follow the steady steps of building the legislation that is passed and electing the officials that make that happen. Its the right thing for now.

No, I would not votefor this. I have turned completely against the health care "reform" bills since reading Taibbi's piece in Rolling Stone a few months ago. Pouring more money in a system doesn't make sense.

A second comment by me, if permissible: There is another black-skinned man who made it "big" before BO, Clarence Thomas (CT). Many were taken in by BO who would never have given CT a positive thought. Yet, BO and CT are not so far apart. Yes, I know that BO is far better on "cultural" issues: abortion, gay rights. But much of that is just talk, at which BO excels and CT is wisely reticent. We, on the Left, do not like CT, but many of us have given BO the benefit of every doubt from day one, suckered by BO's polish. Beneath the polish is a man politically akin to Clarance Thomas, a conservative, ambitious lackey..

The only "public" option, if Obama wants to maintain an ethical position on health care, is to "refuse to sign the Health care bill" if it only generates an additional customer base for the insurance corporations. The Democratic party might as well crash into the Hudson River without a hero pilot if they imagine that we can trust the government ruled by special interests at the helm, rather than a man who promised us reform. Main Street will return to a place where families, the elderly, out of work college graduates, AND our back home military spend the night, without even the comfort of a park bench. Obama had the party when he was elected. Now, We, the people, want him to be OUR party. No public option, vote it down.

The only "public" option, if Obama wants to maintain an ethical position on health care, is to "refuse to sign the Health care bill" if it only generates an additional customer base for the insurance corporations. The Democratic party might as well crash into the Hudson River without a hero pilot if they imagine that we can trust the government ruled by special interests at the helm, rather than a man who promised us reform. Main Street will return to a place where families, the elderly, out of work college graduates, AND our back home military spend the night, without even the comfort of a park bench. Obama had the party when he was elected. Now, We, the people, want him to be OUR party. No public option, vote it down.

Please do not retire.

I would only vote for a bill that protects the citizens of this county. I have worked in health care for over thirty years advocating to get providers to fund patients' medical costs. One example of my experience was when my state mandated that providers must offer mental health benefits of at least $7,000 per year. The result: yes they included the benefits in their coverage but many insurance companies added the provision of a lifetime maximum of $10,000. Alot of insurance companies are very good at maximizing profits. I have no problem with companies making a profit, but these profits are indecent. I have absolutely no faith in insurance companies making reasonable, ethical decisions voluntarily. They must be salivating over the idea of our being mandated to buy coverage from them. I can't imagine how they'll take advantage of us but I guarantee they will

I would vote against the bill; do not like the mandate, and do not like the insurance companies. Canada's single payer system seem to be working quite well, from what my sister in Toronto tells me. Medicare works fine for me, although it needs much help to work well for my doctor. Lowering costs of health care is the primary goal, in my mind. Covering the uninsured is the second.

I am with Hugh Sansom (above). The best psychological analysis I have seen of BO is by an "Ali Sina". It's an an audio that can be found by googling the pseudonym. It makes a good case that BO is a case of NPD: Narcisstic Personality Disorder.

No to the Democrats & Republicans...Yes to a third party. We need 4-choices in 2012: Democratic, Republican, Hard Right Party & American Main St. Party. The ONLY way to burst the corporate ownership of D.C. is an Independent Party President. Historical note: June 1992, Ross Perot leads polling with 39%. The People are sick of the two-party corrupted system.

The "better than nothing" argument for supporting the current version of what was supposed to be significant reform to our health care system has lost its luster. All that glisters is not gold.

America is the Better-Than-Nothing country. For its people. For its corporations, it's the Best-of-all-Possible-Worlds country.

Obama has spent more time addressing a joint session of Congress, the marines at West Point, and the Nobel committee, than speaking directly to the American people. He has spent more time listening to generals, bankers, and his Goldman Sachs advisers, than he has to the American people.

What ever happened to the "presidential address to the nation"? Our eloquent president seems to have no time for we, the people, except when he's campaigning.

I'm distraught to read here that Bill Moyers is retiring. His Journal is the only reason I still have a pair of rabbit-ears connected to my television. His Journal is the only reason I contribute to PBS.

I wish him the very best in retirement, but I can't begin to say how much I will miss him and his program.

I would definitely vote against the health care bill as it stands. It is way off the mark and simply a windfall for insurance companies.
Most Americans wanted a single payor plan - not in the bill. The compromise was a public option - not in the bill.
To fix healthcare in the U.S.:
Take employers out of the insurance business. People should not have to work or be attached to an employer in order to get health care. Without having to pay a staff to administer health insurance, companies could focus on their own business.
2. Have Congress quit listening to insurance company lobbyists. Insurance companies as a group are the wealthiest companies in the World. They charge inflated rates and they alone decide whether or not to pay a claim, pay a physician, a hospital, or approve a procedure. That is ourageous.
3. Put healthcare on the open market. We would soon see charges fall and outcomes rise when doctors, hospitals, imaging centers, and drug companies compete with one another.

There is such a deep-rooted conspiracy among the government, insurers, pharmaceutical companies and employers, that the poor individual who needs health care is left out.
The absolute last choice should be for the Federal government to run a healthcare program. The office of Homeland Security, the FDA, the FBI, the CIA and other government agencies are inept and I certainly don't want my life, literally, depending on any of them.

What do we make of this??
From Harry Reid
Dear Taxpayer,
With the leading cause of bankruptcies in America related to health care costs and 528,000 Nevadans without health care coverage, we knew from the beginning that the final health insurance reform legislation had to be strong enough to cut costs, strengthen Medicare, and ensure quality, affordable care for all Americans.

We knew it had to stabilize insurance for everyone while lowering the cost of premiums for consumers and the national deficit for taxpayers.

And we had to stop insurance companies from denying health care to the sick.

The bill we proposed a few weeks ago does every one of these things - and the revisions being read right now on the Senate floor are even stronger.

The newest version will:

• Reign in costs even further
• Make care more affordable by expanding small business tax credits;
• Demand even greater accountability from insurance companies;
• Create more choice and competition for consumers.

All of these things will help lower costs for Americans, and will finally level the playing field between Nevada families and insurance companies.

There are some that believe the bill doesn't go far enough and suggest it should be stopped.

While I, too, strongly prefer a public option, I also know that this bill will make it easier for every American to afford to live a healthy life. It will ease the suffering of millions and ensure fewer die from diseases we know how to treat.

Be assured that this by no means is the end of health insurance reform, but only the beginning - and if we don't get started now, we might never have this chance again. This bill is more than worthy of support from Democrats, Independents, and Republicans alike.

However, there are also those that believe this bill goes too far, and that it should be stopped. To them I say: the status quo is not acceptable.

Our broken system cannot and will not continue.

And I am eager for when President Obama signs this bill into law and we officially end the era in which insurance companies win only when patients lose.

All Senate Democrats stand shoulder-to-shoulder with President Obama and the American people who know that inaction is not an option.

This bill is about providing quality affordable care, protecting consumers' rights, strengthening our economy, and making the hard choices necessary to do what is right.

Throughout the many twists and turns of this process - while many have tried to knock us off course - we have stayed true to these principles. And that is why we will succeed.

Sincerely,
Harry Reid

Lets pass an amendment and rename the United States of America to
United Corporations of America. Isn't this what we really have??

Without a public option and with the horrors I been hearing in the press, No.

Obama what made you think that the change Americans wanted was another coporate sponsored party raping us?

"Real health - care reform did suppose to eliminate discrimination based on
preexisting conditions.
The bill - legislation allows insurance companies
to charge older Americans up to THREE TIMES as much as younger
Americans - PRICING THEM OUT of COVERAGE!"
If you do not sign up with an insurance company... it will take up to
30% of your PREMIUM and spend it on CEO salaries in range of
$20 million a year."
Americans will not see any benefits till 2014, by which time premiums would
double or 100%!
The game corrupt politician played at the expense of of the people that needed the most!
"Republicans have framed this as a make or break moment for President Obama..!"
Were they elected to represent all the people?

For the moral reasons described below, I will not ever purchase health insurance. If this mandate passes, I will boycott. I live under the poverty level so this means, I will NOT participate in any subsidising of the Insurance Industry. I will not use my money or my neighbors money for that. I would rather take my chances on my health being okay.

Does buying Insurance Support Corporate Murder?

When an insurance company denies a person a life saving procedure and the person dies from that denial of service, that’s corporate murder. And because there’s an obvious profit motive, it’s sheer murder for profit. What we have to ask ourselves is this; “When we buy health insurance are we not endorsing and financing corporate murder?
What can we do? It’s protectionism straight out of any crime lord tale. We’re paying the thugs to protect us from said thugs. It’s extortion. In the meantime, the blood has made its way to all of our hands. We have to see how we’re personally participating and stop now.
This is a personal moral question we’re all facing together. And I believe that the worldwide healthcare crisis is our dove in the mineshaft of an even deeper moral crisis. This crisis is far more fundamental than private vs. public healthcare. This is a crisis of humanity, our own humanity and it’s as old as poverty and as widespread as homelessness.
To understand and address the root cause of our moral crisis, we have to wrap our mind around the fact that, we are one. We human people are the human physical presence on this planet. One Human physical presence, one Human physical being. In light of this fact we can see that, if one human is starving then, we are all subject to starvation. If one human person is homeless, then we are all under threat of homelessness.
Right now, one billion people, a full sixth of the Human physical being, is starving everyday. And even in the wealthiest nation in the world, the majority of us live under the constant threat of imminent homelessness. Even if you keep all the rules and pay off your mortgage and grow your nest egg, you are one illness away from losing everything and being homeless the rest of your life. Whether we U.S. citizens are conscious of that constant threat or not, it’s there, weighing on our collective mind and exerting stress.
These ARE the stresses creating disease and ill health in the Human-we, the constant stress of starvation and homelessness has brought us to the brink with cancer, heart disease and dysentery killing off many individual humans. The Human physical presence is imbalanced due to neglect and we are living a warped version of our actual being. We’re living and experiencing the imbalanced expressions of humanity.
Our great moral challenge is therefore, to end starvation and homelessness. Which, is precisely why I am calling for the 250BOYCOTT. THE 250BOYCOTT IS A WORLDWIDE BOYCOTT OF HOME RENTS AND MORTGAGES. To join the 250BOYCOTT you simply make 250BOYCOTT signs and put them in your windows or on your doors or paint it on the side of your car, just so people can see it easily. Your 250BOYCOTT sign says that you agree that ALL HUMANS NEED FOOD EVERYDAY, WITHOUT EXCEPTION AND THAT ALL HUMANS NEED A HOME, WITHOUT EXCEPTION. Your 250BOYCOTT sign is your personal vote for a new economic system based on those two priorities.
For full details of the 250BOYCOTT watch the “Max Trinity Trickle Up Global Economics” Series on Youtube. When you put the sign in your window, you’ve joined this peaceful revolution. Check it out and spread it around.

Extortion was paid to banks & insurance companies by our Washington government or the world economies would collapse, BUT due to limits to restriction on Bailed out institutions paying outragious bonuses, the TARP money is suddendly not needed! Gimme-a-break!

Where would that money be if Mainstreet had NOT screamed to their Congressmen & Senators? NOT being repaid--for sure!

Congress is happy to have a distraction such as Health Care reform so Mainstreet will forget Paulson & Buds plan to RE-fund their Wall Street Comapnies they had so much invested in!

CONGRESS IS BROKEN!!!

Fis the Seniority System before letting Congress give more of your kids' retirement away!

Poor countries want USA money to offset their poor plight due to our production sucesses----
Are they willing to credit us for AID, on adjusted dollars, they have received from us? You won't hear that ask by any in our government--I bet!

Billy Bob Florida

PS: If you don't understand that my Dem. Primary vote denial is a big deal, then where will those with backbone to stand up for Mainstreet come from? Immigrants may hold our only hope!

Consider this question before you blame the for-profits:

The role of a non-profit entity in the healthcare industry is to:

1.Charge as much as the market will be bear for services provided in order to (a) make profits and build already excessive surpluses, (b) increase already excessive compensation, (c) pay for unnecessary marketing, (d) expand services, (e) grow the other part of the business - the investment management piece, and (f) drive competitors out of business-----all while avoiding the imposition of federal, state and local taxes

-or-

2. Charge as little as possible to ensure the community (who is actually subsidizing the non-profit and actually "owns" the net assets) receives quality healthcare at the lowest possible price while maintaining the financial integrity of the institution.

Most people would choose number 2. Unfortunately, number 1 is what happens. This garbage bill coming out of Congress will only serve to enable the providers and insurers to make more money than ever.

While I'm not saying that for-profit entities are much better, at least their owners can benefit from their growth and they contribute to society through their tax revenues.

We who are concerned about big money owning the government will get rolled every time we don't take a stand. No on the Senate bill. We can't sit around and hope Bill Moyers and other heros will try to do our fighting for us. The fight rests on us.

A great show last night. About single payer being off the table, you may remember that MSM took it off the table in the early presidential debates, refusing to cover any candidate's efforts.

On the economic front, while thousands are in want, people are still flocking to sports venues, throwing money away on all sorts of stuff -- they don't seem hurt.

I am disappointed in Obama, but I wonder how much he deserves to be blamed. A president, for all his power, must have the votes to pass legislation. He clearly does not have the votes -- this horrible bill may not even pass. Clearly a stronger bill would not have a snowball's chance in hell. I think Matt Taibbi's point is the most salient: a movement is needed that continually prods the president and the congress to move in the right direction, a la Martin Luther King and SCLC prodding LBJ, or the anti-war movement pushing Nixon. Right now, though, the only "movement" with any energy is the tea-baggers. Lawd have mercy...

I agree with Bob Kuttner. I'd vote for the Senate bill even though it's far from perfect. It's our last, best chance to get some health reform.
I was in the House Ways and Means hearing the day health reform went down in 1974. I was working for Ralph Nader. We thought we'd get a better bill after Nixon and Ford.
We got Carter and all his agonizing about hospital cost contain ment.
So we went after Carter with Ted Kennedy to win health reform.
We got Reagan.
Then Bush.
Clinton was supposed to get it done, but Rubin convinced him to cut the deficit first and de-regulate Wall Street. We all know about that disaster.
So let's get something done--Bill Moyers served the last President who got real health reform and even LBJ had to compromise to win Medicare and Medicaid.
Now's the time to pass the Senate bill. Improve it in conference and get it to President Obama.
We've got plenty to do. Defeating the best opportunity for health reform since LBJ is not an acceptable option--unless you don't care about the consequences of Republican rule.

What did I just see Mitch Mcconnell say that the democrats got an agreement on health care and will force a late night vote monday so they can get home for holidays.He was really disappointed.He wanted to be home before this. And so are us voting taxpayers.Now where was he and his fellow republicans buddies on bank/wallstreet deregulation in the late 90s screwing us? People republican/democrat they have had over 200yrs to get this country working right and here we are no jobs higher taxed.Time for a new party new direction.Time to vote all of these IDIOTS out!!!!!

being cynical is accepting the status quo; but being hopeful is fighting back.

If I were a senator, I would NOT vote for this bill. It's really just another stimulus package for the insurance companies. If we pass it, we lose the chance to do it right in a generation. I'm really sorry to say that we won't get anything worthwhile under President Obama.

Good show Bill.As with any new bill that this congress and this house/president passes. You can bet your bottom dollar that we the tax paying people are getting screwed and they are all getting kick backs and the drug companies/insurance corporations are not handing out KY JELLY! Vote NO

Dear Mr. Moyers,

I agree with Matt Taibi; costs will continue to double each decade, since there is no incentive for price control; i urge at least an option to buy in to Medicare at age 55 in any final bill.

Absolutely NO, I do not support this bill. This "mandate" will further cripple our country, as if we're not hurting enough already. I'm up there in years so my income isn't much, I have no insurance and struggle to even make it. So if it's prison for my husband and I for not paying, then that's our future if this passes. How insane if that, Bill? Work hard all those years for what? PRISON TIME? All I can say is Wow.
This is why I applaud and support Progressive blogs like firedoglake.com, code pink, democracynow.org....and of course Bill Moyers. (like the other poster stated) These people continue to chip away at all the crap coming out of Washington today, which includes this horrible, horrible bill. Thank you ALL for fighting for the little guy. Without your dedication, we'd be lost for sure.
And please Bill, dont retire! But if you must, I'd like to see Glenn Greenwald at Salon be your replacement. He's another voice in this wilderness that certainly rises up to your level of honesty and intellect.
YOU sir will be missed!

I would vote no, but reading the book by TR Reid should be a required prerequisite to any vote.
Thanks for what you do Bill Moyers!

The bill as it stands supports the insurance industry, does not improve health care, and is a significant step backward. The citizens will be worse off if this bill passes and is signed. I would definitely vote no. I also will encourage Obama dump Emanuel and Geithner and NOT sign it if it does pass.

Health Care Reform, under the influence of the rightwing lobbyists, has been distorted into an ATM monstrosity for the “For Profit” Health Insurance industry. I agree with Governor Howard Dean “This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate.” It is best to cease pursuing health care reform as a single legislative bill and simply pass those sections of the present proposal such as the insurances exchanges, closing the MEDICARE “doughnut hole” prescription coverage, terminate the MEDICARE Advantage plans, require insurance of pre-existing conditions, all as separate measures. The President and the Democratic leadership should clearly announce to the American people who is responsible for the failure to reform Health Care, the Republicans!
Republicans, with mythical religiosity, intervened in the personal health care of Terri Schiavo but refuse health care reform for all Americans. All Americans deserve the same health care as Dick Cheney, the Vietnam War draft dodger! For Profit” Health Insurance is counterintuitive and an oxymoron!

The Democrats need to get back to voting on principal. Don't vote for the health-care bill without the public option.
Bill, don't ever retire!

Hi Bill,

If I were a Senator I would NOT vote for the bill.

Remember what Rachael Carson said: If the Bill of Rights contains no guarantee that a citizen shall be secure against lethal poisons distributed either by private individuals or by public officials, it is surely only because our forefathers, despite their considerable wisdom and foresight, could conceive of no such problem. We need health protection in the bill of rights.

Unfortunately, we have a several systemic problems with democracy and health care.

Instead of complaining about this health care bill, I would suggest using the power of the people to boycott the worst offending health care company. Ask Michael Moore, or someone you trust, which is the worst company in North America. Then, we the people, should target it over a one or two year period. Either avoid it, move your coverage somewhere else and let it fall into bankruptcy. Tell your elected officials not to bail it out with your money.

It seems that big money owns the politicians through donations. So, why not use money to bring down these fat cats with their big bonuses? Fight fire with fire. This might work with the worst foreclosure bank too. Withdraw your money and mortgages out of the offending bank and move your account somewhere else. It should go bankrupt too.

As Howard Zinn said: "Democracy is not what the government does, it is what people do." We have to do something to fix this democratic system. It is broken.

I think Matt Taibbi is all grown up now - wonderful!
Matt and Robert Kuttner claim that O is either naive or in bed with the corporate shams. I disagree – I think 1) he really doesn’t care enough about any one thing – doesn’t have the drive/desire to see anything happen except for him to achieve “success” (hmm, who does that sound like) - he’s aimless – aimless in his soul......and 2) he doesn’t have the skills to be a leader – depends too much on others telling him what to do – what roads to take etc – tough decisions are completely personal – that’s what makes a great leader – he’s a conglomerate not an individual – only individuals can be good leaders – make personal, difficult, outside the box, against the grain decisions....and that’s what we and Washington needs.

I said this during the race – wanted Biden – he’s an individual leader.

I can only hope that he sees this discussion and decides that to get the success he desires he’ll have to morph himself into a leader.

Absolutely not. I recommend anyone advocating small steps and the hope for future progress to make their argument to someone who right now is suffering hopelessly without the ability to afford health care. There are lots of them out there so there should be no trouble finding one, but, of course, their bleak reality pales next to the bright reality of golf greens and paneled halls constituting the consciousness of politicians and their corporate sponsors. There are some things that you cannot compromise on without becoming part of the problem and this is one. The only question involved is whether one does or does not believe access to health care is the right of all citizens in a country that wants to consider itself civilized. Obviously Obama does not and it is a mark of shame he will now have to bear for eternity. For me the defeat of meaningful health care reform stands as the clearest sign yet that we have become an oligarchy. The only comfort that remains is to recognize that reality and not accede to the consolations of all the Good Germans who argue for compromise in the name of some brighter future.

It's Sophie's Choice.

Obama is hiding in the Whitehouse or running off to Europe. It seems that his intention is not to provide any kind of leadership in the arena of healthcare reform--or much of anything else for that matter. The man is starting to look like a phony. Is he just an Oreo?

First, they pass a bill supposedly designed to keep people from being thrown out of their homes and all we get is a bureaucratic nightmare. Very few people have been helped--maybe 85,000 from the millions who are threatened with foreclosure.

Second, they bail the banks out with taxpayer money. Instead of the banks returning the favor, the banks raise everyone's credit card interest rates through the roof. The administration made no attempt, nor the Democratic controlled congress, to put a cap on interest rates once it was plain that the banks were not going to show any mercy. Only 6% should be charged on cards for every one, it seems to me--at least until folks can get back on their feet. Variable interest rates should be outlawed completely. WHY SHOULD THE BANKS LOAN MONEY TO BUSINESSES? ALL THE BANKS HAVE TO DO IS MAKE LOTS OF MONEY BY GOUGING THE CONSUMER WITH HIGH INTEREST RATE CREDIT CARDS. IF THE INTEREST RATE HAD BEEN CAPPED, THE BANKS WOULD HAVE BEEN FORCED TO START LOANING MONEY TO MAKE MONEY. WHAT OTHER CHOICE WOULD THEY HAVE HAD?

And keep in mind, the banks no longer have to worry about this debt: they bundled it up and sold it as securities to investors.

Third, the sellout of this adminstration to the healthcare industry is palpable. They are willing to let this industry, like they let the banks, rape us with high priced premiums. No protection at all by way of a public health insurance option and no revocation of the anti-trust exemption.

It is obvious to even a comatose armadillo that we have numerous sellouts in the Democratic Party-- and I am beginning to think the biggest one is in the Whitehouse-- who are willing to sacrifice our economic well being for their own self-aggrandizement of power, as in the case of Nelson, or out of pure spite, as in the case of Lieberman.

Perhaps there is only one thing left to do: CALL FOR A MARCH ON WASHINGTON. We have the right to assemble peacably to redress the government for grievances. You know, I come from Texas, and down here we had a politico named Billie Carr who said that politicians are like slimy alligators. You got to pet them, carress them, feed them, and in the end, make them do your bidding. We need to hold these people's feet to the fire.

Vote no on the bill. The civil rights bill of 1957 is equivalent to the medicare and medicaid bills of 1965. The ball has already been moved. It needs to be carried in for a touchdown.

Passage of this legislation would leave us in the worst of all possible worlds. Consider:
*** Yesterday morning Rep. Lynn Wolsey (D-CA) explained to Ed Schultz on his radio show that this bill would bankrupt middle class families and, ultimately, the government itself. While there are some internal restrictions on premium costs, the health care industry is basically free to charge what it wants. And when they have tapped out the middle class the government will be forced to come in and provide subsidies.
*** Likewise, in an article in the Los Angeles Times (12/18/09) Noam Levey reminds us that the removal of the public option does more that quash a government safety net. It leaves the government, rather than the market place, with the responsibility of policing the industry. Not only would this put an almost impossible burden on the government, but it would be a boon to lawyers everywhere. And consider the loopholes still in the bill.
*** Finally, the arrangement of the government forcing American citizens under pain of fine and/or imprisonment to buy a product from a cartel that is exempt from anti-trust statutes is Constitutionally suspect at best.

Howard Dean is right. It’s time to scrap this turkey and get back to real health care reform, not health insurance give-a-ways.

I’m sure that many members of the Bush administration wonder why they didn’t think of this first. Instead of providing us with a turkey of a Medicare Drug bill, they could have presented us with a “progressive” health care reform that would further corporatize the industry and bring new sources of wealth to the insurance companies while pretending to provide a needed service to Americans.

So why are they not voting for Obamacare? I call it the “Brer Rabbit effect.” Just as Brer Rabbit begged not to be thrown in the briar patch, the Republicans are begging Congress not to pass such a bill. If you want to know what is really happening, look at the stock prices.

Many thanks, Bill, for providing me with the clearest and most succinct explanation of the health care debate that I have read or seen.

As a Canadian I have found the whole heath care debate in the U.S. incredibly frustrating and have lately tuned out. I can't believe that something can't be done to improve the lives of so many who find themselves in dire straits. But I did watch your show last night and was so impressed with both your guests. I too am disappointed in Obama, although I realize the almost impossible tasks he has before him. Unlike some who have commented here, I agree with Mr. Kuttner's arguments in support of the woefully inadequate bill and take hope in his analysis that Obama is "a work in progress". I also mourn the retirement of Bill Moyers. This is the most important progam on television.

I'm cynical from experience, so I never believed that we would get meaningful health care reform from the politicos. They and their families are well taken care of, at our expense, so they really don't give a rat's petoot that 45,000 people per year, according to Harvard, are dying prematurely for lack of accessible health care. Somehow we need to create an alternative health care system in this country--a people's cooperative that models the system in place in my parent's generation, when Blue Cross, e.g., was a non-profit. We will never get reform from Congress. Never. They just don't care about health care; this is solely a political issue to them.

Great show! Tiabbi, as usual, was very informative (I didn't like his PBS vocabulary though). Kuttner kept contradicting himself. One instance was when he was against the passage of a bogus banking bill, but then a minute, or so, later he was justifying a knowingly bogus healthcare bill. I thought his explanation to support Obama was ridiculous. If Obama is a shill now, why would we want him to succeed later? Kuttner, you’re suspect.

And wow, what a week for Obama. First two Senate shills, Lieberman and Nelson, double crossed him, and then the bankers, the Chinese and the Indianese snubbed him. I wonder if he’s beginning to feel like a worm on a hook. If he’s as smart as everyone says he is, maybe he’ll dump Emanuel and Geithner (to start with) and try coming back to his melting base (the majority of us are not like the majority of neocon drones, we know when we’ve stepped in sheet). He should somehow try to get Howard Dean onto his staff (but not like the way they stifled Dean with that DNC job).

Why is Bill retiring? Are we sure he's not being forced out? It is not a good thing to say goodbye to the best show on television (in April 2010, a few months before a major election). What will replace the Journal and Now? I am uncomfortable with increasing PBS corporatization... and as for Bill, well, here is without question, to my mind, our finest living television journalist, interviewer, and political commentator. It's beyond dispute. How about every other week, Bill?

"Bill I watch your show every week... Lately I've been thinking what this country would do without your program? I find this program to be the most thought provoking of anything in the media. You're a national treasure stay healthy we need you!
Posted by: Paul Wohlfarth"
I second these words.
On Obama, before he was elected, I learnt that Tim Geithner was one of those that prevented Ms B. Born from mandating reporting requirements from banks that traded "derivatives", the ones that brought down the economy of the world by gambling $64 Trillion. Yet, Candidate Obama was unaware? Or, was it like was said in this program that the decision was made not to cross swords with Insurance Companies? The evidence supports this view: Health Care is only one scam to provide millions of mandated new customers for the insurance industry!
What does the Insurance companies have to do with Medical care? Nothing, except collect Billions in profits so they can "buy" politicians that pass bills to increase their provits, and this is what we call "Democracy" and what we wish to impose in other nations?
I think this flaw in our system gives a bad meaning to the word Democracy. This is not, at all, what was intended by the Greeks that invented "Democracy". We have lost our way. We must find our way soon or the burden of our "Health Care", TARP funding, Stimulous Funding, tax breaks, etc., will kill our beloved US. It is like learning a person you love has a huge personal problem, what is one to do? Divorce? Move to another country? Try to change the nation with one vote? Our very interest on Polls implies we care more on popularity than values, it has the effect of making one personal view irrelevant. Like mine.

RE Frank at 1:21am
".... Civil Rights Act of 1957 described in Robert Caro's book Master of the Senate. Maybe now, like then, a weak bill that is all that can pass - but it gets the ball rolling for meaningful legislation later."

.....
Frank, I respect your opinion and for a while shared it. I agree that taking a short term deal with long term renegotiation and amendments is valid.

But could you kindly explain how it will be possible to push through effective changes in the future with the requirement of 60 votes for cloture? I've tried to strategize this and it seems we're merely deluding ourselves. I would love to be proven wrong.

Would I vote for this bill? NO. Because I know that the people have fought long and hard and have waited 60 years to have this economy work for them. Without the burden of the health care and pharmaceutical industrial giants workers could live like humans again. I would not vote for the bill because I still have a measure of reason and a heart that is humane. Anyone that DOES vote for it is cold hearted and useless to the people.

Now, a comment for your guest:

Your guest, Mr. Kuttner asked, "Where is the movement?" in reference to the political activities of the people.

In answer I say, IT'S OUT THERE. It is in the streets, on the phones, writing letters, and the MEDIA, WHICH IS CORPORATE OWNED IS IGNORING THEM. Without any reporting, how are THEY to be SEEN? THEY have no more control over the public airwaves.

Americans joined in the biggest WORLDWIDE PEACE MARCH to protest the war in Afghanistan and Iraq ever in history and it was ignored by the American "press".

The PRESS IS DEAD. It is owned by the RIGHT WING and they ONLY SHOW THE TEA PARTIES. They don't show the Left Wing unless it is as an object of derision.

That is where the movement is. You see, you can't foreclose all options and suppose Americans won't do something about their plight. We are AMERICANS. We don't sit there and take it when we find the way out. The only way out is to overthrow this nation if the political system, the communication system, the monetary system, EVERYTHING is run by the right wing.
What I believe is that if something doesn't break and the people don't get some relief that the entire nation will blow up in revolt. You wait and see.

And I think it is going to be the republican base that will start the bloodletting and burning. Not the democratic side. They will be forced to defend themselves. You want to know why? Because the republican base is primed to react and they are sheeple. All it takes is a trigger and they will blow. Liberals are independent thinkers and don't blow like sheeple do.

Time to let Obama and Emmanuel and Reid and
Baucus and Lieberman etc. know that progressives
are NOW in revolt against them, that progressives
will not support them in ANY event, that progressives will fight fascism whether fascism is
confined to the Republican Party or whether it
also envelops the Democratic Party.
respond to all the B.S. beltway/Hollywood emails:
Progressive Action NOW!

My only son David Money was killed in an auto accident from hydroplaning. I called the hospital to ask if my son was there a Hospital chaplain ended up telling me over the phone that David was dead he did not know who I was, didn't ask if anyone was home with me or if I was driving. No one ever deserves to be told this way. About 4 months later I talked to the Sgt.Hickey that was on David's case and that is how I came up with putting emergency contact information with our driver license because it is very hard for law enforcement agencies to find family members. When you go to the doctors, work and put your children in school you have to have an emergency contact now it can be with our license in a secure data base with the BMV.

An older couple were in an accident and put there Doctors name for there contact by the time the EMTS got them to Hospital the doctor had their records to the ER.

This should be in all states it would so helpful in many way and especially with all the police departments to help find family so they can be with them as quick as possible.

Thank you

www.money-burge.com

TO: Kutner: Okay, you agree that the far right is doing a
march on Rome, you know some history, you don't make nice with that stuff, you certainly
don't make nice with the
right wing cabal of Rasputins
surrounding O. So Kutner,
have you thrown you weight to a resolute movement to
demand that O. provide progressive resistance
to fascism?

Bill,
First let me state that the health care issue demonstrates the need for publicly funded elections for congress and president. Lobbyists and monied interests they represent are in direct conflict with the nation's interests.

Robert Kuttner's explanation that Rahm Emanuel cut an early deal with insurance companies has been obvious to me since day 1. Kuttner is the first political professional of long experience I've heard state this succinctly. I negotiate reimbursement rates with insurers for our med devices, and their profit and G&A models shame a loan shark.

I regret that I can't support the bill that appears to be emerging from the Senate.

I'm a few years younger than Mr. Kuttner, and I concur with his analysis that failure is political disaster for Democrats. But I also also feel very strongly that Obama could publicly rally supporters to influence a few holdouts for a better bill - if that is what he chose to do. Notice that this was NEVER done, underscoring Kuttner's point that Obama's advisors what a top down decision, not grass roots inspired.

My professional knowledge of the medical insurance industry guides my opposition to the current bill. I strongly favor single payer because a greater share of our premiums would provide medical care rather than useless overhead, bureaucracy and profits.

I was prepared to settle for even a weak public option.

But a mandate to buy overpriced and underperforming insurance from a monopolist, and subsidize $30-50 billion in profits a year, is not the legacy I want for my twenty-something children, not to mention my own household.

My professional medical contacts in Europe and Canada are aghast that the US doesn't see the health of our citizens as national security. I'm more ashamed to admit I believed donating, walking precincts, demonstrating publicly and speaking to my congressman and community groups to elect a majority of Democrats to the House Senate and White House would result in something better.

i'm tired. i feel as if each day i'm under seige.

and i never anticipated that i would have to learn the skill set i am now acquiring: the ability to live with a broken heart...

Posted by: songweasel


Okay, what was it that the Tin Man said in Wizard of Oz..? "....I know I have a heart...".

"They" don't. That's why they hate the people who do have a heart and that's why they keep "breaking" hearts...

But you still have a heart and they still don't...which means be careful not to become a genetic donor match for "transplants"...smoke cigarettes :-)

kiddin' - sort of...

To: Kutner: Where's the beef?

I would definitely vote NO. I think we are drinking the kool aid if we settle for a health insurance bailout bill and I believe that is all this is. Who are we kidding? This will do nothing to give us good medical care it will only push more of us over the edge and give CEOs even more power. This is setting a precedence. We all thought that NAFTA would be repealed and the wars would end but that is not happening. To think we can change this bill in a few years is being cast under their spell. Don't fall for it, please!

We need to wake up and realize pushing us over the edge is what these corporate greed mongers want. They want us poor so they send our jobs overseas, they want us sick, they want us hungry, they want us homeless and they want us pitted against each other. They really do not give a sh__ about us.

We have got to keep going or this will not be the last thing they take from us. I believe that these corporate CEOs are knowingly refusing health care and there buy choosing to kill people. They should be charged with premeditated murder and should get the death penalty.

I wonder why we could not form our own non-profit insurance company, "The Peoples Insurance Company" and leave them out of the picture all together?

I worked hard to help Obama get elected but when you keep most of the former Bushies as your administration how can you expect things to be different? Having the same administration expecting different results, isn't that what is called stupidity?

We need to take to the streets and come together as the United People of the United States and let the corporate whores that we call Congress see we are NOT HAPPY CAMPERS!@!!

To Bill Moyers, Please do not leave us. We desperately need you. You are the shelter of peace for a lot of weary souls.

Let's ask this question once again: Did Obama want to become president or was he
recruited/drafted as was
Dubyah?

Obama has no agenda,
he appears to be Rahm's puppet.

TO: Kutner:
Don't hold your breath.

The current fight over health care legislation seems to have a lot in common with the struggle to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1957 described in Robert Caro's book Master of the Senate. Maybe now, like then, a weak bill that is all that can pass - but it gets the ball rolling for meaningful legislation later.

No. And for the same reasons as Doctor Dean states.

EVERYONE with a skin suit will need "special" CARE

(besides having quality basics of life maintenance - food, clean water, shelter)

at least ONCE in their life. At least ONCE, "medicine" will be needed - even if it's just to set a broken bone.

The "bill" give the IRS the POWER to take away the money from the actual care needed and give it to an INSTITUTION that exist to DENY care.

But since that doesn't seem to matter to the "politial" animal...how about this?

REMant wrote, in part, "They convinced themselves that a lot could be achieved via management and treatment efficiencies,"

With the scientific value of the information about "health care" that the current system has collected and deployed, there is NO WAY to determine what is REAL "management" and REAL "treatment efficiences".

Who recruited Obama?
Rahm? Who recruited Rahm, Cheney?

Obama's "initiatives" are
Bush's afterthoughts.

i say we call it "the health insurance industry profit enhancement and protection act of 2009" (thank you, wendell potter)or "no insurance company left behind."

how about us for a change? when is it our turn?

i always think about what funnyman jon stewart says in your promos: "it's about what kind of society we want to be going forward in all this."

as i watch US actions in the hc debate and at copenhagen, i don't like what i see and hear.

we are truly the emperor with no clothes. we insist on beating a chest that holds no breath. the rest of the world watches us and we are not leading. we say we are, but we aren't. we've become the child in the sandbox: "i will if you will...and even then, maybe not."

what we have been and still are showing the world is that our governing class really doesn't think of its people or any people really...it only truly cares for its corporate "citizens"...and still only those who tease out loyalty thru campaign bribery. and we do it over and over and over...

the only new thing is the proficiency of the "spin" coming at us through new media and old...happy talk, angry talk, "you lie, no you lie..." talking points selectively placed in cherry picked "press" and "infotainment" outlets...

i'm tired. i feel as if each day i'm under seige.

and i never anticipated that i would have to learn the skill set i am now acquiring: the ability to live with a broken heart...

Tiabbi is right. The Bill does almost nothing for everyone and places an even larger burden on those that are already struggling. It is a gift to the corporations. It is in opposition to everything Obama campaigned on regarding healthcare. To reward the WH with passage would only insure that future Bills will enrich corporations on the backs of the voters. Democrats voted for reform and must do everything in their power to force it. The WH has betrayed us and we must not stand for it.

Bill I watch your show every week. It keeps me home on Friday nights. Lately I've been thinking what this country would do without your program? I find this program to be the most thought provoking of anything in the media. You're a national treasure stay healthy we need you!

No Never, John Conyers said this bill stinks. With all the garbage in this Bill including the forced purchasing of an over priced useless policy. The policy will have either a high deductible or they will just refuse to pay over the allowed amount and just stick you with the rest of the bill and you can still be bankrupt. Also the bill assaults health savings accounts, or HSAs, which allow individuals to accumulate tax-free funds for future medical expenses when coupled with low-premium, high-deductible insurance. The Reid bill changes tax provisions to make HSAs less attractive, but the real threat comes via increased regulation. It also provisions in the bill that requires authorities come to you house to see if you have been vaccinated. Also can’t import drugs, there are no cost controls, no competition, no choice, no health prevention or complementary medicine or nutritional therapy. It just pays for sick care not health care.

No Never, John Conyers said this bill stinks. With all the garbage in this Bill including the forced purchasing of an over priced useless policy. The policy will have either a high deductible or they will just refuse to pay over the allowed amount and just stick you with the rest of the bill and you can still be bankrupt. Also the bill assaults health savings accounts, or HSAs, which allow individuals to accumulate tax-free funds for future medical expenses when coupled with low-premium, high-deductible insurance. The Reid bill changes tax provisions to make HSAs less attractive, but the real threat comes via increased regulation. It also provisions in the bill that requires authorities come to you house to see if you have been vaccinated. Also can’t import drugs, there are no cost controls, no competition, no choice, no health prevention or complementary medicine or nutritional therapy. It just pays for sick care not health care.

One thing your guest did not say is that
one senator is missing. Ted Kennedy's replacement. So the question is if democrats had one more vote would they still throw away medicare buy-in or public option.

I am so grateful for your show this week because I have been so concerned about the abortion that health care reform has turned into. THIS IS A BAD BILL helping insurance companies and punishing those who can least afford it. Mandates are a TERRIBLE idea. Nice try, but the bill is such a mess at this point we have to scrap it, clear our heads and start over.

This is not why we went to the polls to elect Obama and create a majority in congress. Not even close to what we had in mind.

This week has been a turning point for me. Though moved and impressed by Obama's Nobel Prize speech, I have decided that too many of the actual policies of this administration remain far too similar to the policies of the Bush administration in spite of the rhetoric to the contrary.

For instance, this weeks interview on Fresh Air revealed that we now have more contractors (Blackwater, etc) on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan than we do our own military! Blackwater's CEO is a racist right-wing christian, whose services can be bought by the highest bidder. Blackwater has more exposure to classified information than does congress! THIS IS A BAD IDEA an a real threat to our nation. I knew it under Bush and it remains a bad idea under Obama. Remember CHANGE. This is one among many places that desperately need changing and aren't being addressed.

This is an all too common example of the disconnect between what we thought we were getting in this election and what we've ended up with.

Obama is intelligent, inspiring, and certainly seemed to be supporting progressive ideas. But something has gone terribly wrong and I for one have decided that it is time to become vocal about it.

The issues are simply too important to ignore any longer. If being vocal sends a message to the administration that effects a change in policy, then fine. I would like to see Obama become the president we were hoping for. On the other hand if being vocal is simply ignored, then I think it's time to look for a replacement in 2012 as difficult as that may be. However, we have to remember that we elected Obama, not the other way around. The dream is still with us and we'll have to find another candidate to challenge Obama if he turns his back on our dream.

No to health care reform! It is time to admit, as disappointing as that may be, that we are not getting from either congress or the white house, anything close to what we had in mind

I would vote no. Nothing less that single payer, IMHO, is fair, equitable and moral.

No. Remember how Republicans of real concern followed Bush off the cliff? By the end of next year people will have made up their mind about the Obama's lack of action and more of us will remember the 13 trillion (not billion) used to make sure Bankers have bonuses obsence bonuses. Most of the people I know already have - disgust with Obama is huge. He will have taught me to look for whoever else might be true. No FDR on the horizon but I would vote for a TR.

It's time for Democrats to let Obama know loud and clear their displeasure or be branded incompetent prevaricators.

Ohh, I am so going to miss you Bill. No where else can I get the thought and call to arms that you give. But thank you.

Absolutely not! After what I just heard on your program -- Rahm Emmanual made a deal with the insurance company after Obama was in office a few months! Where is Obama's "change" when Rahm has been making deals from the beginning! Obama isn't and refuses to work for us and this great "change," therefore, he should be defeated right now! We wanted the leadership. We wanted the change. If Obama isn't doing that, stop him now! Defeat this bill unless it is what WE the people want and what he was elected to do.

I'm not the smartest guy but it seems to me that, regardless of the 'socialist' labeling, the single payer option, using an instrument already in place(medicare) would be the most cost effective avenue to bring affordable health care to everyone, including the desperately poor, in the most equitable manner. Also, Medicare is in desperate need of adjustment to reduce the costs caused by lack of oversight and review. The label "corporate democrat" struck home when reflecting on the actions of my senator; Baucus. I'm ashamed to be a montanan after seeing his shenanigans with the health care reform and the blatant catering to the health industry. I do not feel that it is in our government's charter to guarantee an income to any business and, if health care needs to be mandatory, utilize an equitable system that doesn't punish and criminalize the working poor. My thinking is the public option funded by additions to the income tax. The desperately poor would get the health care they need and their financial burden would be automatically adjusted to their income.

Kuttner's position bears a resemblance to the idea of repeatedly trying the same thing and hoping for a different result.
Taibbi's position has a 'throw the baby out with the bathwater' urgency about it.

Both look to the WH for leadership and bemoan the lack of it. Conceding good intentions and intelligence to Obama, could a lack of fortitude be responsible for Obama's endless concessions? Has he been made aware of how vulnerable he is, should he attempt real change.

I would hold my nose vote for the legislation. It seems a lot of very bright people seem to think that Obama can get us what we (and I think he) wants in the way of health care reform simply by arm twisting Senators and exhorting the public into action - and they are very disappointed that he hasn't accomplished this. The best case scenario required him to have 60 votes from the Democrats, which would require a unified party - not in the cards. No singlepayer - non-starter (simply not enough votes), no public option - (ditto). Obama has made enough speeches to inform and enlighten the public - but it hasn't energized supporters - only the opposition. Next best thing is to pass this pig of a bill and give the insurance companies and the rest of the health care establishment what they have lobbied for and allow the inevitable greed fest to accomplish what speeches and common sense have not. True public outrage of the sort that makes a real difference. Not my first choice, but I think we're past the point of conventional legislative action making an impact on truly important issues in our country. It's more evidence that we need full public financing of political campaigns and a ban on all other contributions. I know - some think this is approach infringes free speech - well let people, organizations, and companies speak - but as themselves with full disclosure of who and what they are.

I would most assuredly vote this bill down to defeat. I would support Howard Dean's plan to completely "disarm" the bill and offer in reconciliation the option to join the medicare plan. The notion that big pharma be allowed to strangle Americans for their dollars must be done away with in another round.
Barack Obama's word is worth little when "change we can believe in" has since evolved into the notion that "continuity" between preidents and parties is more important.
As a nation we needed to start the year with no "too big to fail" bailout. We'd have best used the money to start new state banks in the 46 or so states that yet have none. We'd have best broken up the healthcare monopolies and enacted fixed returns on investment based upon quality of service provided to consumers. I believe that we'd refer to these as incentives in a for profit system working for the people.

Health care in this country is bad and getting worse but this "bill" is a disaster. Long ago we should have known that no real reform would come on this front out of Washington DC. What is utterly disheartening is that this seemingly very smart president we have would waste his political capital on such a project. He ended office with our foreign policy in shambles, our economy in shambles and the health of our planet fading quickly. I had hope that he could be courageous and do the things that needed to be done with our foreign policy and that he would do more than give lip service to the problem that is our economy and environment. For him to waste all his effort on health care and halfway approaches to our foreign policy problems is shameful. His new years resolution had better be to snap out of it and get focused on reality; our once great nation has fallen and it will take great leadership, much sacrifice and lots of time to right.

No I would not vote for this bill. As a matter of fact after the major disappointment I feel after voting for and supporting Barack Obama, I will probably never vote in another election ever again.

I've had it with our failed two party system of corrupt, dishonest, bought and paid for politicians.

From the Wall Street and Bank bailouts, to troop surge in Afghanistan, to the failure to pass a 15% cap on the interest a bank or credit card company can charge you, to this latest sell out of Americans to the pharmaceutical companies and the health insurance industries.

No more! I've had enough! The only difference these days between a democrat and a republican is the letter after that comes after their name.

We the people having been getting screwed by corporate America for so long yet so many Americans don't care or are too dumbed down as they are bombarded through the media with the left/right paradigm. Dem verses Rep, liberal verses conservative, white verses black, black verses brown, red verses yellow.

The game is over, the American people have lost a long time ago. Now it's just divide and conquer so that the fat cats, the elites, the multi-national corporations, the war industry, the bankers, Wall Street and the Oil/energy industry own our government, our media and we the people. We have become 21st century serfs and slaves and I don't think any army is going to save us. I'm mad as hell and salute my government with ONE big middle finger. No taxes without representation!!!!!!!

I would not vote for this policy as Robert Kuttner would. He said the reason to vote for this bill would be to save the president and the presidency. He says "this guy (Obama) is a work in progress" and suggests he needs saving from himself. This man campaigned saying he supported universal health care. The purpose of health care reform was to assure health care for all of us. Except Obama (and the rest of the oligarchy) NEVER offered or even considered universal health care. Then the so-called public option was deleted making this bill a boon to the industry and a bust for the rest of us. This plan ought to be called the death of health care reform.

This emasculated bill would explode the cost and waste of unbridaled private insurance banksterism, soon killing far more than the present 44,000 per year. The only solution now is to expand Medicare to cover EVERYONE by a fiscal reconciliation, which would require only 51 Senate votes, then mobilize support for the necessary fixes of the hollowed out present system.

I worked for Obama's run for the presidency and have been more than a little worried that he is not using his powers now for real reform. When I first heard early on that the Health Care biggies ( United Health etc ) were "helping" to decide what would be in the bill , I knew things were lost and that no real changes would be made. I don't know if in good conscious I could vote for a bill with out a public option or Medicare buy in at least. Obama needs to step up to the plate if we are really going to have change that will truly benefit our nation as a whole when it comes to health care and a variety of other issues. That is why I voted for him, and I am wondering now what to do to be heard.

I probably would vote for it because I fear the left is too demoralized to organize. Those of us who came from the late 60's are in our sixties and beyond now. When I think of organizing I get tired and just throw my hands up. So something is better than nothing at all and MAYBE it will be improved upon. Do NOT give a win to Republicans they will eat you alive as they almost did for the last eight years. Some on the right do not see Republicans are NOT about them. They are about HUGE business and big money which most of them do not have. They think because on the social issues they are on their side that they care about them but they do most definitely not. They use those issues to capture their votes but that is NOT going to pay your rent or put food on the table or get everyone decent health care for those who need it most.

So to keep Barack Obama although he is a HUGE disappointment in many ways he is the ONLY game in town!

Anyone wishing to join in organizing for some courageous politics over the coming months, can contact the folks at firedoglake.com, code pink, democracynow.org, or me @ baubau1.1@juno.com.

Organizing sure beats whinging about the problem. It's also more fun and challenging.

What healthcare legislation? It's thousands of pages of nothing for the American People (except taxes) and hand outs to a bunch of horrible companies which shouldn't exist b/c they do nothing more than profit off illness and misery.

NO!

Now that most Americans can see the corruption in DC, I'd love to see all of us engage in a moratorium of volunteering and fund raising for politicians in 2010. And everyone change the channel when a corporate-funded campaign ad comes on. (I'd say boycotting election day, but too many people died to give us the right to vote, so I won't do that.) Let them get ALL their money from K Street and lay their greed and corruption bare for all the world to see. It might be a way to finally force them get off the corporate teat and enact public financing of campaigns and re-instituting the original DC charter, which would evict the greedheads from K Street and force them to regroup across the river.

i join the chorus re retirement-we need the voice of Bill Moyers. As for the healthcare bill, what a disappointment. And I am getting worried about President Obama, but haven't yet given up that he will live up to his promises and his promise.

I worked hard for Obama to defeat Conservatives. Alas, he has turned out to be a conservative.

No, I wouldn't vote for the Health Care bill. I will be working for a new approach to politics in this country ala Dennis Cucinich and Ralph Nader.

No, I wouldn't vote for it nor would I
urge my senators and congressman to
vote for it in its present form. We already live in a corporate state. This is one more huge set of nails in the coffin. Give us any semblance of a public option or an extension of Medicare and we can see a way out of it, have some hope, some daylight.
But let Joe Lieberman (??!) take that away and, no, it's not worth voting for.

It's certainly still worth fighting for but
this bill certainly isn't worth voting for.

George Shea
Studio City, CA

No , , , I would not vote for the health reform bill.

Kuttner is not principled. He'd vote for a poor piece of legislation to support a particular personality in the White House? What about the common good, not the politics of personality?

Obama is high verbal and low performance. He took money from Wall Street . . . why are you surprised?


Another hour of liberal discussing how they can help the liberal leadership succeed!!!!!! Kuttner stated Obama is very principled.... Yes LACK OF.... Also he stated he was very smart.. When are we going to see that. He's over his head & has surrounded himself with Chicago political hacks to advise him. The man is not equiped to govern. He has a very difficult time being honest with the people. He's a talker & not a doer..Talk is cheap but to make the right tough decisions insipte of who of his donors it might effect.. We could use a Harry Truman in times like this.. not a spineless talker

I don't disagree with a lot of what was said, but I think it is a bit too paranoid. The admin did apparently decide that the insurance cos had to remain, but the public option was never going to help keep prices down, and it doesn't matter that it's gone. A competing public health service would have been better. The taxes on medical device makers and drug cos will help, tho. They convinced themselves that a lot could be achieved via management and treatment efficiencies, and if it can be brought off it probably will, but it appears to be a nightmare of regulations. The insurance cos will undoubtedly benefit from this, but mostly at the expense of others in the system and not the public as a whole. It is not what I would have done, and I don't disagree with those who are now suggesting starting over. But the real issue in health prices is the inflation of assets, commodities, equities and services, which the lower and middle classes do not significantly participate in, and it is here where I think the admin has really fallen down, but, again, I think not because of collusion, but because they really believe in monetarism and Keynesianism, and that the country will suffer irremediably if it cannot retain its position in international finance. They are probably right in this assumption, but, unfortunately I think the handwriting is already on the wall, and the effort can only hurt in the long run. But this combination of bank and authority is the way modern "monarchy" maintains social control and the means by which it displaced aristocracy. Even if the GOP takes over it would be hard for them to manage without it. Personally, I would have let the big banks fail (and not made a big fuss about it), worked to recover our productivity instead of our image, offered the GOP a deal of a flat income or national sales tax of some sort to replace the current income tax in return for a single-payer health system of some sort, and moved to curtail the recklessness of the Federal Reserve. But that would be the program of a more libertarian party.

What my fear is, that we as a Nation will become a failed State. Why you ask? Look and follow the money and the power that controls it. They do not care if you lose your house over a lost job or a medical bill. Why you ask? They bet on loses. Your lose is there gain. The whole truth of this problem is that we have none elected entities dictating policy in this Nation. Right now, Congress and the Senate are a failed state of government power and greed. Campaign funds are bribes. And have sold us out to the Health Care industry. I am all for reform. But this bill is not. So what to do. If you are falling behind in your payments on your house and credit cards and they do not want to deal. Take charge and create a movement that would crush the Wall Street Greed, And that is to stop all payments on all of it. But you most get all organized first. And do it all together. The Wall Street is betting you won't. You are all slaves to a system of Wall Street loan sharks. We lack the leadership. A power vacum. And we voted for change. And now that is fading. So its time to rebel and stop payment on the greed that contols it all. Break them.

No I wouldn't vote for this bill because it offers very little towards providing health care for the ones who need it but plenty for the insurance companies that don't.

The people need to vote most of the Democrats,( SO CALLED ) out of office and get some congressional representation which has the public's interests at heart and not self interest.

Everybody make a note of who are the ones who have watered down this bill in such a way as to make it an insurance companies dream and kick them out.

Start with Pelosi.

I would not vote for the healthcare bill. I am a self employed person running a small company in Massachusetts, the state whose health care "reform" serves as an inspiration for this health care bill. I have a low moderate income. Since the Mass health care bill passed, we have seen our premiums rise astronomically. For instance, in 2007-08, I paid one insurance company a monthly premium of $1300 for a family of three with a $1000 deductible. By 2008, the premium for the same coverage went up to $1800, which we could not afford. I switched to another company , where I obtained a plan with a $2,000 deductible per person, $4,000 per family. The monthly premium is $1284. Ostensibly, routine blood tests, etc., are covered, but if you take such a test and it is in any way abnormal--for instance, a high cholesterol count, you have to pay for that test. As a result, I have put off having certain tests, including a colonoscopy because I cannot afford the additional expense. I shudder to think of the rise in premiums for 2010. We may be forced to go uninsured.

THIS is what Mass health reform has brought us--a lack of choice and high premiums for less and less coverage. And this is what the new health care bill will bring us--no public option, no real competition, and middle class and lower middle class folks squeezed to the point where they cannot afford health insurance or paying high premiums that give them hardly any coverage.

I sincerely hope that President Obama will show some courage, and soon. Otherwise, the common person will become increasingly despondent or angry. With no organized social movement of progressives, I fear that the "tea party" constituency will capture the imaginations and harness the fears of the disaffected. It happened in Germany in 1932. It CAN happen here.

Finally, thank you, Bill Moyers, for presenting the most thoughtful program on television today ( along with NOW). I pray that you will not retire,at least for another couple of years. We need your voice and the voices of the people you bring to us every week. Until you have someone with the same intelligence and ardor for preserving ( resurrecting) democracy in action who will take your place, please stay with us.

What my fear is, that we as a Nation will become a failed State. Why you ask? Look and follow the money and the power that controls it. They do not care if you lose your house over a lost job or a medical bill. Why you ask? They bet on loses. Your lose is there gain. The whole truth of this problem is that we have none elected entities dictating policy in this Nation. Right now, Congress and the Senate are a failed state of government power and greed. Campaign funds are bribes. And have sold us out to the Health Care industry. I am all for reform. But this bill is not. So what to do. If you are falling behind in your payments on your house and credit cards and they do not want to deal. Take charge and create a movement that would crush the Wall Street Greed, And that is to stop all payments on all of it. But you most get all organized first. And do it all together. The Wall Street is betting you won't. You are all slaves to a system of Wall Street loan sharks. We lack the leadership. A power vacum. And we voted for change. And now that is fading. So its time to rebel and stop payment on the greed that contols it all. Break them.

There is no better program on television. I hope you and PBS are working on a successor host and "program experience" to provide a continuing Moyers presence.

Yes I would vote foe the health care plan. This is not the plan we need in the USA, however it is better than nothing. This bill is like unto the wars in the middle east that it is not sustainable and will give rise to the change needed. The cost of the plan will bring people into the streets and the banks will get it.

This really was a depressing show. As someone who went for a decade without health care, I know what is is to live on the edge. I then got a job with the federal government and was later diagnosed with a chronic illness that I have lived with for 17 years. There was the year in which I was $14,000 out of pocket in health care costs despite one of the best health insurance plans - luckily I had a good job with some seniority by the time that year came so I could pay for it. So yes, the insurance companies will insure you if this bill passes - but you won't be able to buy insurance.

If the President does not go back to his community organizer roots in the next year, he will be a one-term president - rejected by the middle. We don't need another
"corporate Democrat" like Clinton, we need Obama to be for the people who are hurting out here. Time for him to read more about Roosevelt and less about Lincoln.

And my Captcha says Gibson??!! Yes, I will miss Charlie Gibson, too.

Bill: everyone should enjoy retirement. I think Tavis Smiley should take over. He's one of the best interviewers after you. I will always be grateful for the Joseph Campbell series.

As I've followed the so called health care debate I have wondered how much money has been spent on lobbying by the health industrial complex. Thanks to the 12/18 09 Journal we have an answer to that question: $396 million in nine months. Does that include campaign contributions?

Yep. I would (whilst holding my nose). I agree with Ted Kennedy who said you can only expect to make progress in small steps. Pass this and then immediately begin working on the fixes.
The only hesitation I have would be if the American People would be so mad at a failed process that they rose up and demanded more. I don't trust 'em to do that.

Let's see. The Democrats try to pass health care in the Senate, in the face of unanimous opposition from 40 Republicans who obviously care nothing for the welfare of fellow Americans. To get the last few votes they need to defeat a Republican filibuster, they water down the bill. Yet the entire discussion of the health care bill on tonight's broadcast bash only the Democrats for the dilution.

Oh, they watered down the bill because the insurance companies made them do it? That's illogical. Silly. Nutty. Put the blame where it belongs -- on Joe Lieberman and 40 people who simply will vote against the nation's interests to gain political advantage.... And they will gain that advantage thanks to ridiculous tripe like this.

If this bill gets passed then the question people will bew asking years from now,"is the devil we had worse than the devil we got?". I believe that without an adequate industrial base where the efforts of the governed provide such benefits it would be folly to provide them otherwise. If we delude ourselves into thinking that we can get something for nothing then that is what we will end up with.

Robert Kuttner is wrong in his assessment of Obama.

1. Obama is not so intelligent, at least not in the way that the US needs. (Obama is very smart when it comes to pleasing those in power.) As Tony Judt notes in the current New York Review of Books, the principle (perhaps only) criterion of policy evaluation is economic -- will the policy serve/make money (to put it a little too simply). Obama is squarely inside this school of 'thought'. He does not consider whether a policy is morally right or wrong. He just doesn't.

2. I believe that the largest private donor to Obama's campaign is not Goldman Sachs, but Harvard University. Granted, Harvard probably doesn't donate with the single-mindedness that Goldman does, but this does point to a largely unexamined component in the current disaster -- the role of Harvard Business School (More than Chicago, these days, the center of right-wing economics) and Harvard Law School (where Obama learned his 'obedience to authority').

The role of 'leading' universities in indoctrinating people into patterns of obedience to power cannot be overstated. This is no conspiracy theory but simply an observation of social fact.

3. In May 2008, Penn professor Adolph Reed wrote of Obama (whom he knew personally in Chicago) as a "vacuous opportunist, a good performer with an ear for how to make white liberals like him." This strikes me as right on the mark. Frankly, I think Obama is ripe for Freudian analysis. His father abandoned him when he was very young. He no doubt blamed himself, as children do. Now he is stuck in a pattern of endlessly trying to please those he perceives as superiors. In this regard, he bears a striking similarity to Bill Clinton.

4. From a vaguely scientific standpoint, the question is: What explains Obama's unbroken pattern of saying one thing to the public and doing another in private, of caving to power and wealth (if it really is caving, as opposed to Obama carrying out what was always his intended program).

5. Unlike Matt Taibbi and Robert Kuttner, I have almost no confidence that a social movement will rise up to force change. The US is a strange combination of the beaten down peasantry of 18th Century Eastern Europe and the violently jingoistic nationalism of Russia, China, Israel and (of course) the US itself. Dissent, especially public assembly, is - de facto - being criminalized in the US. Rights guaranteed us by the Constitution are being taken away by the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, by police forces and local policies across the country, by ever-growing and oppressive surveillance of our daily activity. We have a Supreme Court and a lower court structure that systematically rules in favor of power at the expense of The People.

The US is in very serious trouble. It really cannot be overstated. And this says nothing of equal or greater troubles on the environmental front, where Obama is also failing terribly.

Defeating the legislation, while ostensibly supporting a healthcare overhaul is basically gambling that President Obama will get another chance to bring this up. I don't think there will be another chance, except for if President Obama wins a second term.

I would not vote for the Senate Health Bill. Because the public option has been dropped and health insurance regulation in this bill is weakened instead of strengthened, this bill will further exacerbate the health care crisis, hasten Medicare's bankruptcy, and make health care more expensive for middle class families.

I understand that, if this bill fails, Obama will be significantly weakened politically; however, like the banking industry friendly Wall Street Bailout, the Senate Health Bill is nothing more than a transfer of wealth from the middle class to the corporations in this case private health insurance companies by blackmailing every American under the threat of a criminal fine to buy junk health insurance under which, courtesy of industry friendly loopholes in the bill such as the annual cap, they can be denied medical care.

Obama's course of action during his first year as President clearly shows that he is a President working on behalf of the corporations at the expense of the middle class.

I would prefer to see Obama politically crippled by a suffering defeat in his misguided health insurance initiative and voted out of office in 2012 because the country cannot afford three to seven more years of his anti-middle class policies.

The country must send a message that incumbents who fail to represent and protect the will of people will be voted out of office regardless of party affiliation.

P.S. Please don't retire, Bill! Your country needs you now more than ever! I was hoping you would continue your heroic work as a TRUE journalist of integrity for another 25 years!

No, I don't believe I would vote for the Bill. I know it will extend insurance to many people who are now uninsured, but not necessarily provide them with good health care. The system itself is in need of a major overhaul. Adding more people to the existing system will make future reform even more difficult. It's also not right to force healthy young people to buy health insurance from a private corporation in order to recover costs the plan will add to the health care bill. The legislators don't have the courage to do what is right so they plunder the youth and the elderly, via Medicare savings, to recover revenue to pay for this seriously flawed legislation.

I would, albeit reluctantly, vote against the healthcare bill. I feel that the bill is a massive, truly massive, windfall for Big Insurance/Big Pharma that does nothing to address medical bankruptcies, lack of care, drug costs and a host of other needs. Fig leaf coverage only, if even that much. Worse than nothing!

If I were a Senator I would vote for the Health Care Bill because I think the wealthiest nation on the planet should have the healthiest and also the most educated citizens. We would all win.
Say it isn't so ....Bill Moyers and Charlie Gibson retiring!

If I were a Senator I would vote for the bill, but in my heart I feel defeated. Too much has been given up and I fear that insurance premium costs has not been fully addressed. I only hope that it stops medical bankruptcy.

And Bill - Please don't retire.

I would join the fervent pleas that Moyers reconsider his retirement.
We need his analysis badly.
Suggestion - change to a
once-a-month basis.

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