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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

March 10, 2010


SAM SMITH - I believe that the best healthcare strategy is to pass as good a bill as we can now and then immediately start a campaign to reform and correct it. My reasons are twofold:

- For all its terrible faults, more people will be helped than hurt. For example, as the White House notes, eight people every minute are denied coverage, charged a higher rate or otherwise discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition. We are not talking just about opposing strategies here, but about life and death. A physician would not deny a patient first aid because proper treatment at a hospital was not available. Similarly, we should not let people be harmed on the grounds that many more won't be helped at all. Remember that we might well have a negative income tax for the poor today if liberals hadn't objected to the fact that Nixon's proposal for one was too weak.

- It will be easier to fight for a decent healthcare program - i.e. single payer - once the faults of the Obamized disaster are clearer. Right now, everyone on both sides is projecting and hypothesizing. If no bill is passed, the debate will continue to be theoretical. The right will claim it saved the country from socialism and the Democratic extremist center will blame progressives for the lack of healthcare reform.

In fact, it's already happening. That smug advocate of upscale post-liberalism, Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos, told MSNBC, "I’m going to hold people like Dennis Kucinich responsible for the 40,000 Americans that die each year from a lack of health care." While I don't agree with Kucinich on this issue, he is, in fact, one of the last real liberals in national elected office. This is precisely the stunt the post-liberals pulled in 2000, blaming Nader for the clear campaign failures of their presidential candidate, Al Gore. In fact, Moulitsas said the other day, " Ralph Nader paved the way for eight years of George Bush." Of course, it was Clinton and Gore who did that, but post-liberals prefer to blame others.

In any case, that's what's going to happen if the healthcare bill goes down. Real progressives will by blamed by phony liberals. My political sense is to let them have their squalid victory and then build again from there. Given enough time, even Moulitsas might support a decent plan.


Anonymous Backwards is not Progressive.. said...

Once billions of dollars are committed to this fraudulent solution, it will be next to impossible to move closer to expanded Medicare. You are deadass wrong, Sam.

March 10, 2010 9:06 PM  
Anonymous robbie said...

Maybe Kos wasn't aware that Kucinich was "primaried" the last time and many other times.

March 11, 2010 4:57 AM  
Blogger KM said...

So people who voted for Nader in 2000 shouldn't have? Because they got wrongly blamed for Gore's loss which would have happened anyway (he did best in states where Nader also did best, and the Bush machine cheated).

Furthermore, although as you say it remains theoretical, it is doubtful that the present health insurance bill will save any lives, since it only entrenches the very system causing their deaths. By criminalizing not having insurance but without providing a nonprofit public option, this bill would create a bureaucratic nightmare that it can be easily argued will do more harm than good. Not to mention, it would cost the country probably twice as much as simply extending Medicare to all, money that must come at the expense of other services.

In fact, the only progressive thing in the bill right now is Bernie Sanders' amendment to allow (!) states to establish single-payer systems -- in 2017! How many people would die until then?

March 11, 2010 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Sam, but I can't possibly support an idea like this until they go back and "fix" the Medicare Prescription program that was passed with this same argument. Since it passed, there has been no attempt to correct the problems in that bill despite the statements from both legislators and AARP telling us that we had to pass "something" right then and the flaws that were being left in could be fixed later.

It won't matter how many people complain about a bad health care bill. The response from Congress will be that we already spent too much time on the issue, we passed a bill, and there are more important things we need to do now.

March 11, 2010 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Daily Krap said...

Markos's dumbass says of his army hitch that it was a good thing, taught him responsibility or some such crap. Reminds me of what my ol' buddy Tim told CHIPs when he was stopped hitchiking home to Arkansas from California after returning from Viet Nam. Tim said,"Yeah some people get in the army and they just never get out". Markos is your typical lib celeb, raking in the corporate jack while pretending to be one of the people.

March 12, 2010 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing, and one thing only has got me behind this wretched disaster of a bill: Rush Limbaugh has promised to leave the country if it passes. (

March 15, 2010 1:04 AM  
Blogger KM said...

Furthermore, the analogy of Nixon's negative income tax would apply to the public option.

The problem with the current bill is not that it isn't enough, but that its reforms are regressive.

The more apt analogy is Clinton's welfare reform, which criminalized poverty.

March 15, 2010 8:12 AM  
Blogger KM said...

Rush Limbaugh wisely has his eye on escaping to Costa Rica, a country with a socialized universal health care system rated the best in Latin America.

March 15, 2010 11:28 AM  

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