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In the early morning hours today, the Senate voted 60-40 for cloture on.....
....a major package of health care amendments--and by doing so, signaled that the Democratic caucus is unified, and ready to pass a far-reaching reform bill straight down party lines.
The Senate is now expected to hold more procedural votes on Tuesday and Wednesday before finally voting on the bill late Christmas eve.
58 Democrats and 2 Independents voted for cloture.....all 40 Senate Republicans voted to filibuster...to stop the bill from moving forward to a final vote. Obstructionists to the bitter end.
The political lines have been drawn. Republicans are banking on their obstructionistic behavior against any health care reform to pay off in 2010 and 2012.....Americans needing health insurance be damned.
Democrats are counting on passage of the bill to be viewed as an honoring of the new Democratic President's featured campaign promise to address the nation's health care crisis.
From Bill Moyers via CrooksandLiars.com....
Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi and The American Prospect's Robert Kuttner joined Bill Moyers to discuss the health care bill which appears to be on its way to passing the Senate now.....
BILL MOYERS: Let's start with some news. Some of the big insurance companies, Well Point, Cigna, United Health, all surged to a 52 week high in their share prices this week when it was clear there'd be no public option in the health care bill going through Congress right now. What does that tell you, Matt?
MATT TAIBBI: Well, I think what most people should take away from this is that the massive subsidies for health insurance companies have been preserved while it's also expanded their customer base because there's an individual mandate in the bill that's going to provide all these companies with the, you know, 25 or 30 million new people who are going to be paying for health insurance. So, it's, obviously, a huge boon to that industry. And I think Wall Street correctly read what the health care effort is all about.
ROBERT KUTTNER: Rahm Emanuel, the President's Chief of Staff, was Bill Clinton's Political Director. And Rahm Emanuel's take away from Bill Clinton's failure to get health insurance passed was 'don't get on the wrong side of the insurance companies.' So their strategy was cut a deal with the insurance companies, the drug industry going in. And the deal was, we're not going to attack your customer base, we're going to subsidize a new customer base. And that script was pre-cooked so it's not surprising that this is what comes out the other side.
BILL MOYERS: So are you saying that this, what some call a sweetheart deal between the pharmaceutical industry and the White House, done many months ago before this fight really began, was because the drug company money in the Democratic Party?
ROBERT KUTTNER: Well, it's two things. Part of it was we need to do whatever it takes to get a bill. Never mind whether it's a really good bill, let's get a bill passed so we can claim that we solved health insurance. Secondly, let's get the drug industry and the insurance industry either supporting us or not actively opposing us. So that there was some skirmishing around the details, but the deal going in was that the administration, drug companies, insurance companies are on the same team. Now, that's one way to get legislation, it's not a way to transform the health system.
That's the criticism by progressives of the health care reform legislation. Can you imagine what the "faith based", conservative bunch of critics will come up with between now and November 2010?
I agree with other progressive bloggers that the mandate to purchase for-profit insurance combined with the Medicaid expansion and subsidies....most of which doesn't start for 3-4 years.....as Ground Zero for attack by detached-from-reality conservatives aided by a corporately-compromised Village media.
We've been treated to a veritable circus in 2009 over health care reform. Most of this circus was performed by the creatively-imaginative unhinged right who directed the national "discussion" with the aid of FOX and it's many Friends, which set the tone for the entire Village's "news" coverage.
Pragmatically, the reform will do many positive things. More Americans will be insured, pre-existing conditions addressed, deficits reduced slightly, Plan D "donut hole" reduced, etc.
Politically, as Josh Marshall suggests, because most reform will not begin for 3-4 years, the reform could be disastrous for the Democratic Party.....possibly beginning with the 2010 midterms.
One thing is certain.....at least, as far as The Reverend is concerned.....our rotted, dysfunctional, whore-like, corporate media.....as it has done during all of 2009.....will repeatedly entertain and exhaust every conservative criticism, no matter how wingnutty.....concluding, and bemoaning, that the Democrats blew it.
Speaking of predictions, I'll put mine up against anyone's.....
"....I firmly believe that any health care reform coming out of Washington, inevitably, will exclude a public option and, most likely, will tax employer-provided health care benefits as well. Love to be wrong about that."
Of course, it's not over until the fat lady, you know, steps to the microphone....but it kinda, sorta, looks like I was right.