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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

January 20, 2010


Sam Smith - All the talk about what's going to happen now to comprehensive healthcare reform misses an important point: the congressional bills weren't comprehensive; they were incoherent. And they were deeply corrupt. As noted here, they were like paying off the mob in order to stay in business. Yes, substantial numbers of people would be helped as a result, but the good and the evil were so intricately blended that no one knew for sure what the final score would be.

Now there's talk of dropping the whole thing, which reveals the insincerity concerning the project on the part of some - namely those looking for a campaign logo rather than real reform.

Yet hidden in the bills are lots of provisions that would make excellent legislation even if they weren't "comprehensive." Does the president feel that if he can't produce something labeled "Obama healthcare reform" then smaller improvements aren't worth the effort? Was this whole show just for the next campaign?

Is there nothing in the 4,064 pages of Senate and House bills that wouldn't garner at least 60 votes?

For example, what if we had a new bill that did only two things: end the discrimination against pre-existing conditions and expand the portability of coverage? Would Scott Brown vote against that? How would that affect his poll numbers if he did?

In fact, Mary Matalin joined the Progressive Review in suggesting just such an approach in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, in which she said that if Brown won, "We can go back to the drawing board and get those kind of reforms that people want, portability, pre-existing conditions, you know all the substance of it."

Of course, there's a lot more to the "substance of it" than she claims, but the point is that if this Congress and Obama want to make some improvements in health care they can do so without all that much hassle simply by cherry picking their own legislation.

The problem is that it wouldn't be reported as a "huge victory" for Obama - just some progress in healthcare for millions of Americans. And that's why you'll probably not hear much more about it.


Anonymous robbie said...

Umm...Mary? I thought Republicans thought American health care was perfect. Why would you say that people want reform??

January 20, 2010 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Fuck congress and obuma. said...

Why would putting the health insurance co.s in charge of human life be a good idea? Why would placing a forty per cent tax on health care financed by employees and their employers be a good idea? Why would forcing poor people to pay for fraudulent insurance solely for the enrichment of crooks be a good idea? A spoonful of sugar will not make a ton of shit go down.

January 20, 2010 9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In ADDITION to eliminating pre existing condition exclusions and making insurance portable, a third necessary improvement in our health care system would be giving INDIVIDUAL buyers of health insurance A TAX DEDUCTION ON THEIR FORM 1040 so that there would effectively be NO DIFFERENCE in tax treatment between employer purchased health insurance and individually purchased health insurance. A fourth necessary improvement would be to make all insurance companies sell the same standard comprehensive policy (because multiple policies form multiple companies are nothing more than multiple piles of swiss cheese insurance -- full of holes, worthless if one buys the wrong plan and finds out too late it does not cover one's specific condition. America is so screwed up when it comes to the medical industry it makes me sick. Doctors, lawyers, hospitals, and insurance companies have the entire nation by the balls and are squeezing as hard as possible to drain every last cent out of the public.

January 21, 2010 2:17 AM  

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