March 19, 2010

Well here's something you don't see every day. Amy Goodman had on Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader to discuss Dennis' decision to vote for the health care bill. I don't disagree with any of Nader's general points, but it is really easy to sit on the outside and be a purist without having to actually deal with the political consequences of your actions.

I've already said on multiple occasions that I'm for single payer. I know Dennis Kucinich was fighting for that as well. I was hoping that maybe this public option they were talking about would serve as a price control on the insurance companies, so I wasn't happy when that got watered down and then eventually eliminated.

Dennis Kucinich made a political decision about something that had more at stake than just this health care bill. It was one that might have made the difference between the Republicans claiming victory and believing that they can shut down the Democrat's agenda for the next three years, or making a compromise on this crappy bill.

I think if the Dems are going to keep the private insurance industry in tact which is the way things are going with this legislation, then we need to be telling them if you're going to mandate, regulate. That model works as well in many countries. Howard Dean said he'd gladly exchange single payer for some meaningful regulation.

If they want to keep these industries afloat and force everyone to pay into them, it's time to say we'll regulate them like the utility industries. You want a rate increase, you go before a commission and you're not allowed to gouge your customers while your CEO's and stock holders make excessive profits. It works to make sure everyone is not paying excessive rates for their utility bills right now. There's no reason they can't reign in the insurance industry in a similar manner.

Even if you don't agree with Dennis Kucinich changing his vote, he is leaving the door open for more reform rather than this debate being shut down for who knows how many years. Sadly since the people who care more about defeating any reform at all are always going to have the upper hand since they really don't care how many people die as a result of their actions, here we are. The people who do care end up being stuck compromising.

Full transcript of the interview at Democracy Now. Amy had them on for the full hour after her ten minute headlines segment, so if you want to watch the whole thing, set fifty minutes aside.

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