What, in your view, are the reasons preventing the U.S. Senate from passing legislation that better serves the American people?
The main reason is that most of the American people are currently disenfranchised inside the Beltway. The inside crowd is dominated by political action committees and other special interests dedicated solely to the maintenance of their own interests at all costs to the exclusion of everyone else, and Congress is dominated additionally by the mindset that every debate and policy issue presents a stark choice between political extremes.
All of this results in hyperpartisan, my-way-or-the-highway, take-no-prisoners gridlock, and classic alamihi crab syndrome reactions to any attempt to find a better way forward. None of this is representative of the mainstream of the American people. No wonder that, in the most recent poll taken on the subject (Rasmussen, June 2012), only 7% of Americans, crossing all party and other lines, believe Congress is doing an excellent or good job. Please see my Issues Agenda: Fixing Washington.
Thinking or hoping otherwise will not make this statement any less true. Barack Obama is not progressive. For my part, I never believed he was and one only need look at his time in office thus far for evidence.
Let’s start with health care, if only because the issue is at, or near, the top of my priority list. While it’s true there are some good things in the Affordable Health Care Act, like extending to 26 the age under which parents can choose to continue to cover their children, or eliminating the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage because of a preexisting condition, there’s no denying that when it’s all said and done, it is little more than a massive handout to health insurance companies. (more…)
This past Saturday, a number of progressive activists, including a number of PDHers come out to Kailua to urge President Obama to do more, to do better.
A number of us have been disappointed by his position on a number of issues, including the health care reform bill that could be much, much better, and has provisions that don’t solve the problem, but rather serve as a boondoggle for private insurance companies. While many of us strongly support a Single-Payer system of health insurance, given the political realities we’re today faced with, we were happy to settle with a ‘strong’ public option, which is in danger of being excluded from the final language.
We’re also unhappy about Obama’s decision to send more troops into Afghanistan, escalating a war that’s been waging for the better part of a decade, with no end in sight.
We also haven’t seen the financial reform he promised during the campaign. Instead, its been more of the same complicit favoritism toward the same financial firms and banks who’s irresponsible practices caused the worldwide financial meltdown and current economic crisis.
As the healthcare reform bills move through Congress, many progressives are starting to wonder if the bills are worthy of support. Former DNC Chair, Dr. Howard Dean, was a recent guest host on the Rachel Maddow Show and addressed this very question. An excerpt:
In order to have insurance reform, you need two things. The first is making sure insurance companies canâ€˜t turn you down for any medical reason. Thatâ€˜s called guaranteed issueâ€”and thatâ€˜s in the bill. But thatâ€˜s only effective if you make sure that the coverage is affordable. And thatâ€˜s not in the bill.
As the bill is written now, the insurance companies will still be allowed to gouge their customers if they have illnesses, to charge you two or three times what your neighbor gets charged.
A lot of the insurance reform in this bill is gone. The only real reform thatâ€˜s left is the public option. If thatâ€˜s compromised away, this bill is no longer health care reform. Itâ€˜s just a huge gift to the health insurance industry from the same people who bailed AIG out, the American taxpayers.
Howard Dean discusses the bill with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt):
Dr. Dean interviews Rep. Anthony Weiner to get a perspective from the House. That video after the bump. (more…)
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has launched a campaign called “Healthcare Not Warfare“. Essentially the idea is to encourage people to speak out in droves, calling on our U.S. Congress to prioritize funding for healthcare, specifically by passing H.R. 676, rather than continuing to fund the war.
Coincidentally, this clever animation just reached my inbox via two different sources. It illustrates how money can gain you access to lawmakers while, “regular Bill” sits around waiting to be heard. In particular, he wants to reform the American healthcare system. Check it out.
A health care forum was held this afternoon at the University of Hawaii Architecture auditorium. It was organized by Progressive Democrats of Hawaii, with Josh Frost as event organizer*. The panelists included Ah Quon McElrath, Social and Labor Justice Activist, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Representative John Mizuno, Vice Chair of the Hawai’i State House Legislative Health Committee, and Fred Dodge, M.D. I estimate that were at least 150 people in the audience, in an auditorium that seats about 200 people. I’m not going to try to give a complete review here; please feel free to add anything important by leaving a comment.
Josh got things going with a few announcements, including information about Progressive Democrats of Hawai’i. He mentioned our S.H.I.P.S. platform, with its 5 planks: Stop the war; Healthcare for all; Impeach Bush & Cheney; Public funding of elections, and Sustainable environment. This platform drew substantial applause, especially the Impeachment plank. (more…)
Upcoming action for Universal Health Care. Who is onto this locally?
For more information from the national desk, see the weblink below.
This Saturday, February 24th, is our National Day of Health Care Action. Local chapters of John Edwards One Corps have already planned events nationwide to spread the word, build support, and help out those in need. And, if you’d like to organize your own action, we’ve got all the materials you need to make it a success.