Thursday, July 30, 2009

Krugman's Four Pillars Of Health Care Reform

This op-ed by Paul Krugman, which appeared in the July 26th edition of The New York Times, deals with the incoherence of the position held by the so-called Blue Dog Democrats on health care reform. But it is especially notable for its description of the four pillars of health care reform: regulation, mandates, subsidies and competition. Take away any one of the pillars, Krugman warns, and the whole project collapses.

Interestingly, Krugman concisely and clearly sum my ire at those who, in his words, game the system: Americans who are uninsured because they are currently healthy and who sign up only when they need care. Young Americans, mostly, but not only. These are the people who give health insurance companies legitimate ground to stand on when they come up with exclusion lists based on pre-existing conditions. That is why the congressman who said that no young and healthy son of his should be forced to subsidize health care for everybody else by being forced to buy insurance is dead wrong: if everyone must be insured from birth, regardless of their age or health situation, then there can be no "pre-existing condition" excuse to deny coverage to those who need it.

Of course, even this obvious reality still does nothing to contain costs because it does nothing to control or limit the amount of money that ends up in the pockets of health insurance fat cats; but, as Krugman says, effective reform has four pillars: Take any one of them away, and the whole reform effort collapses. And corrupt politicians and their sponsors are the only ones who can continue to thrive among the ruins of America's health care.

Shifting The Blame

The Huffington Post reports that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has identified the real culprits in the health care reform fiasco that is slowly, but surely, unfolding in Washington: the insurance companies. Says Pelosi: "They are the villains in this. They have been part of the problem in a major way... It's almost immoral, what they are doing" and, she adds, "Of course, they've been immoral all along. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening, and the public has to know about it."

It's almost like blaming Halliburton, KBR, and Blackwater for the war in Iraq. If Democrats believe that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld are responsible for the foreign policy fiascoes of the Bush years, then Pelosi all Pelosi, Reid, the blue dog democrats and all the players bought and paid for by the health insurance need only look in the mirror to see where the real blame lies.

God only knows that health insurance companies and health care providers have done much evil, what with their denial of health care benefits or their insistence on bankrupting "the lucky ones" who received them, but right now they are only protecting their interests. It's the people we elected, those who should be protecting our interest, who will carry most of the blame for failure to achieve meaningful, fair, and just health care reform in the coming weeks. (And it is bound to be failure, to a greater or lesser degree, trust me.) The rest of the blame will fall squarely on the shoulders of those of us who will see a tv ad financed by the status quo, opposing reform that includes a robust public option portrayed as government meddling with the rights of doctors and patients, and will buy the ad hook, line, and sinker. They will be the ones who are happy that things have stayed the same, or gotten worse, only to bemoan their condition when the health care/congressional complex comes after them when they or their children get gravely ill and have nowhere to turn for help.

And the charade will go on...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Time To Sharpen The Knives

Robert Reich recently explained on his blog, in his characteristically clear and eloquent way, why the public option is essential for meaningful health care reform. But now the AP reports that the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by the health care industry minion Max Baucus (D-MT), has reached "a health care compromise that omits two key Democratic priorities," one of them being the public option.

If I were religious, I would hope that Baucus would rot in hell. Since I have no such comfort, I am quite depressed right now. But I am not giving up quite yet. After all, neither is Robert Reich, and he is much, much smarter than I am.

In his latest post to date, The Future of Universal Health Care, as of Now, Reich charts the path progressive must follow over the next few weeks to turn this thing around. He closes his post with an invitation to his readers to stay on the case, and to call their representatives and senators to let them know how they feel about the attempt by Congress to castrate real reform by dropping the public option.

In a previous post, The Blood Of Americans, I posted the phone numbers of a few politicians we need to keep applying pressure to, including the always disappointing and growingly despicable Max Baucus. So here they are again:

Senator Dianne Feinstein (202) 224-3841
Senator Mary Landrieu (202) 224-5824
Senator Max Baucus (202) 224-2651
Senator Ben Nelson (202) 224-6551
Senator Kay Hagan (202) 224-6342
Senator Kent Conrad (202) 224-2043
Senator Ron Wyden (202) 224-5244

Pick up the phone, and do the right thing.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Health Care And Charlatans

One charlatan, you already know, is Dr. Groothuis, the incorrigible and insufferable professor from Denver Seminary who does his best, day in day out, to earn a place on Dickipedia. More about him at the end of the post, below the fold.

Another charlatan is Larry Schweikart, of an organization called Family Security Matters, who wrote a laundry list titled Look Here to See What’s in the Health Care Bill: CHILLING!, so full of patently incorrectly assumptions and lies, masked as excerpts from HR 3200 (requires pdf reader), to make one's head spin. I got through debunking only a handful of items in Larry Schweikart's deceptive list before I decided that debunking the rest of them is not worth my time, or yours. I will give you a few examples below the fold, and, if you have the stomach for it you are a better person than me, you can go through the complete, long list yourselves. (If you do, please send me a link to your post and I will cross-post or link to it.)

Schweikart begins on page 22 of the bill, which--says he--"mandates the Government will audit books of all employers that self insure." As it happens, page 22 does not any such thing. It simply says that the Commissioner for Health Choices (a new position to be created under the bill) will be responsible to produce a "study of the large group insured and self-insured employer health care markets". A study is quite different than an audit, of course, except if you want to mislead your readers and scare them into opposing reform.

The next inaccurate statement (lie?) is about page 30, which--according to Schweikart--says: "a Government committee (good luck with that!) will decide what treatments/benefits a person may receive." Again, we have the benefit of having the real page 30, so we can take a look to see what it really says: "There is established a private-public advisory committee which shall be a panel of medical and other experts to be known as the Health Benefits Advisory Committee to recommend covered benefits and essential, enhanced, and premium plans." With typically dishonest sleight of hand, Schweikart transforms "a private-public advisory committee" into "a Government committee" to support his false allegation that reform equates the end of private medicine. (See the bottom of his article for more on that.)

(And by the way: I would like a conservative to explain why I should buy the rationale that a committee of private health insurance experts would do a better job for me, the patient, than a private-public advisory committee, given the health insurance sector's history of sky-rocketing premiums, denied coverage, and uninsured corpses abandoned on the playing field. Two strikes already, by page 30 of a document numbering 1007 pages total.)

Next, Schweikart goes back in time, to page 29, telling you to look at "lines 4-16 in the HC bill - YOUR HEALTHCARE WILL BE RATIONED! (We all knew this, because health care is rationed in Canada and Britain, but Obama kept saying it would not be)." As it is, we all know this because Schweikart says so, not because of lines 4-16 on page 29, which say nothing of the kind. Rather, they explain--and quite unequivocally at that--that the financial responsibility of an individual for the "essential benefit package" cannot exceed $5,000 a year ($10,000 for a family). Three strikes, but I shall continue for the sake of debunking.

Schweikart continues in his quest to slaughter facts when he says that on page 42 of the bill "The Health Choices Commissioner will choose your HC Benefits for you. You will have no choice!" Page 42 outlines the Commissioner's duties and begins by stating that the Commissioner is responsible for "The establishment of qualified health benefits plan standards under this title, including the enforcement of such standards in coordination with State insurance regulators and the Secretaries of Labor and the Treasury." Nothing that follows comes remotely close to the accusation that Schweikart levels.

A couple more examples should suffice, before you abandon Schweikart's silly, shitty post, like I did.

"Pg 58 HC Bill – Government will have real-time access to individual’s finances
and a National ID Healthcard will be issued!"

The real quote? [The system shall]

(D) enable the real-time (or near real-time) determination of an
individual’s financial responsibility at the point of service and, to
the extent possible, prior to service, including whether the
individual is eligible for a specific service with a specific physician at
a specific facility, which may include utilization of a machine-readable health
plan beneficiary identification card;

(E) enable, where feasible, near real-time adjudication of

That does not mean, as Schweikart would have you believe, that "the Government will have real-time access to individual’s finances"; it simply means that the system should be able to check benefit a patient's eligibility for benefits and financial responsibility on the fly, as it should, in a country that prides itself on being number one in every fucking thing, except that in the case of health care it does not have the slightest clue what it's talking about.

Finally, by which time I was ready to vomit, Schweikart says: "Pg 59 HC Bill lines 21-24 Government will have direct access to your bank accts for election [sic] funds transfer."

Never mind the "election funds transfer" typo. What the bill says is that the system should "enable electronic funds transfers, in order to allow automated reconciliation with the related health care payment and remittance advice." This is standard terminology of the banking industry, which simply means that the system should be able to handle EFTs (electronic fund transfers) to match payments with remittance advices. It just does not mean that the government can tap into your bank account and subtract funds from it, nor that Big Brother is in; no more, anyway, than when you go to Old Navy and your paper check instantly becomes an EFT transaction.

And Schweikart goes on, and on, and on, like the blathering, deceitful, uninformed, and misinforming idiot he is.

And now on to the other charlatan who is the subject of this post.

What do you do with Schweikart's post if you are Dr. Groothuis, of Denver Seminary? Do you a) take the time to read it critically, recognize its falsehoods, and see it for the venomous piece of ass-wipe it is (which a professor of philosophy should be able to do blindfolded, hands tied behind his back); or, b) post a link on your blog for the drooling anti-liberals like you, who are eager to spread lies and bullshit around if only they serve your partisan purposes?

Well, you guessed it, b) is the answer. Groothuis links to Schweikart's unspeakably base, ill-informed, and misleading post with the following fanfare: "Here are some of the deeply dangerous and liberty-destroying details of Obama's socialist, statist, authoritarian plan to take over American medicine." Funny how a professor of philosophy would take what is manifestly a mountain of bullshit as an example to be taught to others.

In closing, one clarification: I would have been more than happy to write a more civil rebuttal for Dr. Groothuis and his readers on his blog, but he has long ago chosen to censor and discard my civil rebuttals, so no obligation of reciprocal civility exists where none has been granted in the first place.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chilling Video From The Bill Moyers Journal

Please watch this video, and please pass it on to others. Watching health insurance executives defending the practice of canceling insurance coverage to those in dire need of it because of omissions or inaccuracies in their enrollment forms, and saying that they won't commit to changing such practices because they are within the bounds of the law of the land, is enough to make one's blood curdle.

Then watch Wendell Potter's testimony, on how health insurance companies bask in Wall Street health insurance to maximize profits at the expense of the insured. Wendell Potter was most recently head of corporate communications at Cigna and the company's chief corporate spokesman.

Bill Maher Puts Health Care Opposition In Perspective

Friday night's top new rule, Not Everything In America Has To Make A Profit, was yet another example of why we should be thankful we have comedians like Maher, Jon Steward and Stephen Colbert to fill the gap left by the so called mainstream media. As Maher pointed out
If conservatives get to call universal health care "socialized medicine," I get to call private health care "soulless vampires making money off human pain." The problem with President Obama's health care plan isn't socialism, it's capitalism.

Combined with David Sirota's brief op-ed in Salon, The Rich Never Had It So Good, and with Robert Reich's Tax The Wealthy To Keep Everyone Healthy, you should be armed with enough ammunition to shoot down the rhetoric of the fat cats who are opposing health care reform and of their willing and shameful accomplices in the Congress, the media, and the blogosphere.

Happy rebutting to all!

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's Not Diffuse The Situation

I can't stand it anymore! It's not "diffuse the situation", it's "defuse the situation" (as in remove the fuse from an explosive device). Good grief! You would think that the minimum requirement to do close captioning, journalism, etc. would be to know and understand the language!

This almost irks me as much as TBS's slogan, "more movie, less commercials". I'm telling you, this is what happens when you leave the language in the hands of sloppy people!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ben Nelson Is A Douche

According to the Huffington Post, Democratic senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska is one of six centrist senators who have asked President Obama to delay a vote on health care reform. Nelson also "spoke derisively of the House health care reform effort, which taxes the wealthy to subsidize coverage, calling it 'class warfare.'" In a nutshell: Nelson is a douche (albeit not the only one): by choosing to use Republican rhetoric to defend the interests that, to a significant extent, have bankrolled his career, he has taken the side of his owners against 95% of Americans, and he must be defeated when he seeks re-election.

Those who, like Nelson, oppose a public option understand that--by doing so--they are protecting the moneyed interests that they have chosen to represent. Nothing, short of a public health care system shaped after those of most European countries, threatens the earning potential of for profit health care more than the public option, which Sen. Nelson is not loathe to defending using inflammatory rhetoric and scaremongering.

Contrast Nelson's rhetoric and position with that of Robert Reich, always the astute commentator of political and social affairs, who defined the House plan (no doubt to the jubilation of conservative spinmeisters who will twist his comments to their ends) "the most blatant form of Robin-Hood economics ever proposed." Reich correctly notes that "the best-off 1 percent of American households take home about 20 percent of total income -- the highest percentage since 1928." That should put in proper perspective Sen. Nelson's douchebag comment that health care reform as proposed by the House is "class warfare." If that does not make your head explode, nothing will.

The Blood Of Americans

According to a study by the Commonwealth Fund, the number of deaths that could be prevented if everyone in the United States had adequate access to health care exceeds 100,000. In fact, The United States ranks last among all countries examined in the study. This study flies in the face of those who repeat ad nauseam that everybody, the uninsured included, has access to health care when they need it.

In light of this and of many other undeniable facts about the pitiful state of health care in the United States, the position of Republican politicians and, alas, of too many of their Democratic colleagues who are trying to block meaningful, is literally unconscionable and is analogous to complicity in murder.

If a health care reform bill is passed which is any way weaker than the most desirable of all possible bills, such as one that would cover everyone at affordable prices (with subsidies for those who cannot afford the cost of health care), the blood of Americans whose deaths could have been avoided, had they had timely and effective access to health care, will be on those politicians who have done their best to stop reform in its tracks. Never mind Republicans, they are shills for corporate interests and I would expect nothing else from them. I am referring to congressmen (and women) who are doing the bidding of the health care business, such as Democratic senators Max Baucus (Montana), Dianne Feinstein (California), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Ben Nelson (Nebraska), Ron Wyden (Oregon), Kent Conrad (North Dakota), and Kay Hagan (North Carolina), to mention but a few.

You can call these senators and remind them that the blood Americans will be on their hands if the continue to oppose health care reform that includes a strong public option:

Senator Dianne Feinstein (202) 224-3841
Senator Mary Landrieu (202) 224-5824
Senator Max Baucus (202) 224-2651
Senator Ben Nelson (202) 224-6551
Senator Kay Hagan (202) 224-6342
Senator Kent Conrad (202) 224-2043
Senator Ron Wyden (202) 224-5244

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Curmudgeonly Love

The Constructive Curmudgeon, Denver Seminary professor and hater of all things liberal/statist, has been smitten with Sarah Palin at least since she entered the national fray in last year's presidential campaign. Since then, he has lavished as much praise on Sarah Palin, who is incapable of doing any wrong in his eyes, as he has poured contempt over President Obama and his administration.

As with all conservatives, particularly those of the Christocratic right, facts are nothing to be taken seriously, an inefficient nuisance. And so, tonight, a short post entitled "Sarah!" appeared on the Curmudegeon's website. With typical curmudgeonly enthusiasm, the post invites acolytes to read "Sarah Palin's excellent editorial on the wrongness of Obama's so-called 'Cap and Trade' tax apocalypse." Excellent? Sure! It comes from Sarah "The Goddess" Palin, so it has to be. Except...

Ah, those pesky liberals, always scouring the media in search of inconvenient facts! Did the Think Progress blog really have to dig up footage from the vice-presidential debate between Sarah and Joe Biden, where Gwen Ifill of PBS, no doubt another serpentine representative of the liberal media, trapped "The Goddess" into contradicting her future Washington Post editorial? When will the the liberal media stop ambushing the poor woman with trick questions?

And did that other insufferable liberal snob, Keith Olbermann, have to remind us that "The Goddess", one of America's greatest energy experts according to Sen. McCain, filled her op-ed with so many arbitrary opinions that it makes you wonder if "[t]he 'Op' in Op-ed could have stood for [facts] optional."

'tis such hard business, this "love" thang!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Are We Really What We Eat?

Last night I finally went to see Food, Inc., the documentary by Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser that examines what Eisenhower, were he alive today, might have termed the "food industrial complex." After seeing it, I cringed at the thought that, as the saying goes, "we are what we eat."

In only 94 minutes, the documentary highlights several disquieting facts: the link between the rise of industrial agriculture and farming and the rise of previously uncommon health conditions; the lack of oversight by regulatory agencies compared to the recent past; the environmental and social impact of the "food industrial complex"; the powerlessness of small farmers faced with competition by huge corporations (often made unfair by the disparity in government subsidies); the way the system is built to reward unhealthy choices over healthier ones (for example, a fast food meal is cheaper than the produce you can buy at your local supermarket); and the list goes on.

One welcome aspect of Food, Inc. is that it does not aim, unlike many of its predecessors, to convert omnivores into vegetarians by suggesting that a vegetarian lifestyle is entirely devoid of risks. In other words, while the negative aspects of meat consumption are made abundantly clear, the documentary makes it clear that becoming a vegetarian only eliminates the ethical complications of eating animals raised inhumanely, inefficiently, and dangerously for human health and for the environment; vegeterianism does not, however, come without risks for human health or the environment, because the giant food conglomerates that sit atop our food chain have contaminated the vegetable side of the equation as well, both by genetically modifying food like corn, soybeans, rice, tomatoes, etc., and by polluting much produce via the poisonous byproducts of animal farming.

Notwithstanding the fact that becoming a vegetarian is not the silver bullet to the world's food crisis, several powerful reasons remain why we should at least consider the option:

  • Even the chickens, pigs, and cattle raised on a Virginia organic farm are still slaughtered before coming to market. How animals are raised on the farm does nothing to change the fact that they suffer a death that we would not wish on our worst enemy, and that they are killed non-chalantly to make foodstock for the omnivores amongst us. Animals raised humanely on an organic farm may be healthier for humans but remain the victims of humanity's blind spot and "dominionist" view of nature.
  • Absent serious regulation and enforcement, raising animals for human consumption has potentially disastrous side-effects on the environment and on human health.
  • Meat-based diets are significantly less efficient than plant-based diets, and less sustainable. If we take into account the limited availability of clean water for much of the world's population, the amount of water necessary to sustain meat-based diets is an unconscionable waste of the most precious resource.

The most positive thing about the documentary, though, is that it does not stop at raising flags and pulling alarms, like other documentaries, books, and feature films before it have done; it also shows how consumers can influence what the market offers and highlights some healthy or healthier choices that are already available. The viewer can take heart in finding out that even Walmart has jumped on the organic food bandwagon: not because it has suddenly found a conscience, but because it has realized that there is a market for organic choices that can enhance shareholder value and corporate profits. Whatever the motivations, consumers can find some hope knowing that they vote for products everytime the contents of their shopping carts are scanned.

Amongst a dearth of interesting movie offerings this summer, there are far worse ways to spend an hour and a half than to sit through this powerful and eye-opening documentary. You should see it, and bring a friend along while you're at it.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

News From The Health Care Reform Front

When President Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel declared in an interview that "The goal is to have a means and a mechanism to keep the private insurers honest" and that "[t]he goal is non-negotiable; the path is", his statement sent shivers down the spine of those who, like me, consider a public option the only viable alternative to a single-payer health care system like those that most industrialized, civilized countries have. (See here for a comparison of what happens to cancer patients in the United States and in France.)

The goal of health care reform should not simply be to keep insurers honest, rather it should be a complete overhaul of a system which, while working for some, has failed too many to be preserved in its form. Besides, who's to say that when the next Republican president is sworn into office, a prospect which appears remote now but that is only a matter of time in the cyclical scheme of American politics, his first order of business will be to undo the reform that is so acutely, so desperately needed to ensure that people have a reasonable guarantee that they won't be left to their own devices just when they are most vulnerable?

If a public option is introduced into our sick health care system now, at the beginning of President Obama's first term, chances are that it will achieve measurable success that will contribute to the President's re-election in 2012. And after 6 or 7 years of a system which will foreseeably improve, it will be much harder for a Republican president to undo the gains realized by millions and millions of people and voters. That is why Sen. Reid's clarion call to the likes of Sen. Max Baucus, to abandon the pursuit of a bipartisan bill and to "stop chasing Republican votes" which would entail compromise that would eliminate the public option, was welcome and sorely needed.

Some welcomed the long-awaited arrival of Sen. Franken as it broke the 60 vote barrier needed to avoid the specter of a Republican filibuster; but, as many have clarified, including former Gov. Dean, there is no need for 60 votes. "If Republicans want to shill for insurance companies," said Dean, "then we should do it with 51 votes," using budget reconciliation rules.

It is hard to disagree with Gov. Dean and the many voices who are pushing for a strong public option, like former President Bill Clinton, and like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Sen. Sanders, who has collected health care horror stories in a booklet that you can view online (not for the faint of heart, particularly those who lack coverage), and who said, in his trademark "call a spade a spade" fashion, that "[i]t has become clear that the function of a private health insurance is to make as much money as possible. Every dollar not paid out in claims is another dollar made in profits for the company." Clear to all but those who revel in a system that has proven a political contribution cash cow, to milk for every drop of money it can produce.

Jane Hamsher wrote at that "Congress never had ordinary people come and testify about their insurance company horror stories, because nobody wanted to piss the insurance companies off." I believe that, simply because something similar happened to me last year.

I attended an event on the health care crisis at Denver University that featured a panel including former Colorado Gov. Lamm, a neurosurgeon, a medical ethicist and an insurance industry representative. When the panel discussion was over, the floor was opened to the public for questions and comments. The majority of the people who had the opportunity to direct their questions to the panel was critical of the status quo and reported their personal experiences and horror stories.

At that event, I had the welcome opportunity to step up to the mic and tell of my own experience in the United States, and how (negatively) it compares to the system I grew up with, in Italy. One of my comments was luckily highlighted for posterity on the pages of the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential). The event was hosted by Colorado Public Radio's Dan Dreyer and was supposed to have been broadcast on KCFR shortly afterward.* To the best of my knowledge, it never aired, and there is hardly a trace that the event ever happened if you try and google it up. I have never gotten over the feeling that the reason the broadcast was never aired is because KCFR did not want to rock the boat and risk alienating its active and potential underwriters in the insurance and health care industries, which could have cost the station a lot of money.

* After a research that took me the best part of an hour, I found this blurb:

RADIO PANEL ON HEALTH CARE: The public is invited to be part of the studio audience of a joint production of Colorado Public Radio and the Daniels College of Business, "Health care and the Bottom Line: A Panel Discussion on the Ethics of Corporate Medicine," which takes place Thursday, April 3, in the Hamilton Recital Hall at the Newman Event Center, 2344 E. Iliff Ave., at the University of Denver.

It will be taped for rebroadcast on KCFR and podcast on both the CPR and NPR site.

Friday, July 03, 2009

(If It Is True) Good Riddance!

Is Sarah Palin out of politics for good? Some say so. If true, good riddance.

In the year she spent in the political limelight, she has shown herself to be an extremely ignorant, conceited, nastily divisive, and petty politician. On top of that, she has often chosen to pose as the victim of a media conspiracy, instead of recognizing her own faults and inadequacies. She greatly deserved the negative press she got.

If indeed it is true that Sarah Palin is out of politics for good, that would be a good thing for the country, for women in politics (whose presence in politics would no longer be tarnished--by association--with the soon-to-be former Alaska governor), and for Republicans (who cares about them, right?), who have seen their already sagging reputation drop even lower since Sarah Palin made her entrance on the national political scene (coincidence? I think not).

My prediction? After she retires from office, we will not have seen the last of Sarah Ap-palin'. She will resurface in some nagging capacity (perhaps on Fox News), perhaps to run for office again in a few years. The woman is simply incapable of staying out of the public eye. She is full herself and narcissistic. Remember when the McCain/Palin ticket became the Palin/McCain ticket in her interviews and appearances on the stump? Her kind does not simply fade into the background.

Unfortunately, she will be back.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Strong Words From Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer cautions Christians of the consequences of their actions (and inaction) and of the perils of Republican extremism. (Via Alternet)

Blessed Be Sen. Franken

At last! Norm Coleman has finally thrown in the towel.

I am proud to have supported Sen. Franken's campaign and ecstatic that the saga is finally over.

Congratulations, Senator Al!

Blessed Be Sen. Sanders

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said:
I think the strategy should be to say, it doesn't take 60 votes to pass a piece of legislation. It takes 60 votes to stop a filibuster. I think the strategy should be that every Democrat, no matter whether or not they ultimately end up voting for the final bill, is to say we are going to vote together to stop a Republican filibuster. And if somebody who votes for that ends up saying, 'I'm not gonna vote for this bill, it's too radical, blah, blah, blah, that's fine.'

Sen. Sanders also added:
I think the idea of going to conservative Republicans, who are essentially representing the insurance companies and the drug companies, and watering down this bill substantially, rather than demanding we get 60 votes to stop the filibuster, I think that is a very wrong political strategy.

You can read the whole article here.

Also, don't forget to tune in to the Thom Hartmann Program every Friday at 12:00 EST(every day, actually) to listen to "Brunch with Bernie", Thom's weekly conversation with the Vermont senator.
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