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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

watch it: the 1/9/10 weekly address from President Barack Obama


Mr. President, with all due respect, fuck you very much.

In February 2008, the Obama campaign ran this ad against Hillary Clinton (via Dead Horse):

If Obama recognized in early 2008 that individual mandates are bad — and they are, unless the insurance corporations are stringently regulated, as they are in other countries that require citizens to buy insurance — then why does he think they are just the dandiest way to help Americans now?



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  • fm

    Didn’t he mention that health police ARE going to be regulated?

  • Well, but the public option got killed in the Senate. Single-payer is a dream right now in America. So what would you have him do? Do you think he should veto this bill? Because there are some good reforms in there, like no more cancelling policies when people get sick, no more pre-existing conditions bullshit. But those reforms don’t work without a mandate. And there are subsidies for low-income families, and exceptions for people who really can’t afford it. I agree it’s very far from perfect. If we’re keeping insurance, I’d prefer a system like the Netherlands, where it is strictly regulated. But that was basically the Wyden-Bennett bill, which got even less traction than the public option.

    So I don’t disagree with you that this bill is disappointing (although it will do some good), but what is your alternative? I don’t mean that sarcastically, I’m completely sincere. Would you have preferred Obama stood up and shouted public option or nothing, and let the whole thing go down in flames if that’s what it came to? That’s valid if that is the case. I prefer what we’re getting to nothing, though.

  • Pollas

    The whole bill is a sham. It’s not health care reform. It’s all about health insurance. It should be scrapped and the whole thing done over. The polls show that a majority of the people do not like the current bill. The senators and house members are representatives of the people. They are not dictators to them or parents of them.

    If this bill gets passed, the taxpayers will start paying for it right away while most of the “benefits” won’t come into effect until 2014. What’s the damn rush? Congress needs to take the time to create a good bill, not rush to force bad legislation on the people just to say they passed a reform bill.

  • Ok, Pollas, let me reiterate that I do not particularly like the current bill, that I think we should be able to do a lot better, but with the current 60-vote majority needed in the Senate, combined with the amount of money given to our legislators by the healthcare industry, I don’t think we could have done a hell of a lot better right now, and I think they should pass this bill. Those are my thoughts, so we don’t need to speculate, and you know where I’m coming from. Knowing that, I’d like to ask you two questions:

    1. Do you really think that if they scrap the whole bill right now and start over, that something better will come out?

    2. Say they did follow your advice, scrapped this bill and tried to start over, and it didn’t work out. As such, we end up stuck with the status quo. Do you think that is better, worse, or the same as what we’ll get from the current bill?

    Once again, I would like to state that I am completely serious with these questions, please don’t take them as sarcastic or condescending.

  • Bluejay

    I’m no expert, but I’ve been trying to read up on the issue as best I can, and I side with those who say that health care reform, even as it is, will be better for many people than what we’ve got now. See, for instance:

    http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/just-noise

    And for some more analysis of the CBO numbers, you can see:

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/the-treatment/what-reform-means-families-reponse-firedoglake-others

    http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2009/12/21/jane-kill/ (a useful graphic here, showing impact of (flawed) reform vs. no reform)

    http://www.krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/simulating-single-payer/

    (I think I’m limited to just a couple of working links here, so you’ll have to cut-and-paste the rest if you’re interested.)

    The bottom line for me: Whatever the Senate bill’s shortcomings, it looks like it will significantly help more people than the status quo. The risk of bankrupting oneself over health care is reduced, and more lives will be saved. 23 million uninsured (per the Wonk Room graphic) is still a distressingly high number –it should be zero–but it’s much, much preferable to the current 54 million uninsured. It’s hard for me not to see that as a net good, as well as a step towards better reforms in the future.

    There’s also a chance the bill could be strengthened when reconciled with the version from the House, where people like Anthony Weiner are fighting to put the public option back in. (See his health care website http://www.countdowntohealthcare.com.) This isn’t over yet.

  • Bluejay

    If this bill gets passed, the taxpayers will start paying for it right away while most of the “benefits” won’t come into effect until 2014.

    Actually, that’s not true. Here’s a downloadable pdf of the benefits that would take effect in the first year after enactment: http://www.politico.com/static/PPM136_091221_managers_early_deliverables.html

    On a more philosophical note:

    The senators and house members are representatives of the people. They are not dictators to them or parents of them.

    I do agree with this, but I think elected leaders have an obligation to try to reconcile this principle with another one: “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion” (Edmund Burke). http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch13s7.html

    Or as Morgan Freeman’s Nelson Mandela says in Invictus, to a crowd of supporters angry with his attempts to reconcile with white South Africans: “You elected me to be your leader. Let me lead you now.” No, we shouldn’t be sheep; but nor should we expect our leaders to merely be mouthpieces for their constituents.

  • MaryAnn

    Obama isn’t leading. He’s following the lobbying money.

    combined with the amount of money given to our legislators by the healthcare industry,

    There’s the problem. This bill will benefit health insurance companies, and no one else. It’s full of bullshit “reforms” that do nothing but require an enormous transfer of wealth from taxpayers to private companies.

    Because there are some good reforms in there, like no more cancelling policies when people get sick, no more pre-existing conditions bullshit.

    But there’s nothing that requires that the companies not raise your premiums sky high — even sky higher, that is — in response to whatever they want. There is NO measure of cost control… which there cannot be, as long as insurance companies are involved, because they only make money when they deny coverage. Watch how premiums and other costs (such as copays) jump.

    There’s also NO provision for this sort of contingency: You work for a company that provides health insurance, but you don’t like the insurance. Tough on you — there’s no public option that gives you a choice. You’re stuck with shitty insurance… unless you want to pay for even shittier insurance as an individual.

    Would you have preferred Obama stood up and shouted public option or nothing, and let the whole thing go down in flames if that’s what it came to? That’s valid if that is the case.

    This bill is bullshit, and we’re supposed to be happy that we got it? No fucking way. We’re like Oliver Twist: we should be grateful with the meager crumbs we get, and are considered outrageously audacious if we for some more.

    As I’ve written elsewhere, single-payer universal health care is the only way to go. Any honest “liberal” politician would be screaming for it as the best way to help the most people, and any honest “conservative” politician would be screaming for it as the best way to save the most money. The only thing stopping it is the insurance companies. And the only reason they’re being coddled is because of all the money — all OUR money, the money we pay in premiums and they money that DON’T give back to us in coverage — they throw at politicians.

    I’m sick to my stomach by all this. I’m sick of all the mealy-mouthed weasels in Washington out for themselves and no one else. I’m sick of the media for not doing its job and reporting honestly and fairly on this situation.

    This country is totally broken, and it’s looking like it’s unfixable.

  • [blockquote]This bill is bullshit, and we’re supposed to be happy that we got it? No fucking way. We’re like Oliver Twist: we should be grateful with the meager crumbs we get, and are considered outrageously audacious if we for some more.[/blockquote]
    Hey, listen, I’m with you. I want single-payer too. I knew that was never going to happen at the beginning of this process, but I had hope for a public option. The Wyden-Bennett bill would have been good too, certainly better than what we have now. And I am just as pissed and depressed as you are at how things have turned out. With the only difference being that I think this bill can still do some good, and leaves us better than the status quo. And I’m not the only person who thinks so. Nate Silver over at fivethirtyeight has had some excellent posts on why he thinks so as well. Based on his analysis, he doesn’t have a lot of money going to the insurance companies, because the bills also institute mandatory minimums that they have to spend on paying out claims. I’m not saying this bill is great, or I’m happy about it, just that I think it’s better than what we have now.

    Am I to take it from your post that you think this bill actually makes us worse off? Because that’s what I’m asking. Again, I agree with you, and I’m not saying you should be “happy” with what we’re getting. But what I’m asking is what you think should be done now. Kill the bill?

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