August 24, 2009

As someone recently said, what planet do they live on? Chuck Grassley and Ken Conrad fall all over themselves praising their co-op proposal, while Howard Dean, the Last Semi-Honest Man, calls it out as the political theater it is.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty tired of these expedient political solutions to real-life problems. After reading Matt Taibbi's latest Rolling Stone piece on health care reform (no link yet), I now understand just how thoroughly the Blue Dogs screwed us on the public option and I would cry no tears if it disappeared in its present form:

(CBS) Former Vermont Governor and doctor, Howard Dean said the health care co-operative proposal is purely for political strategy and has not worked in the past on "Face the Nation" Sunday.

"That proposal is a political compromise, not a policy compromise," Dean said. "No one knows what it would look like and when it has been tried in the past it mostly hasn’t worked."

Dean, a strong advocate for the public insurance option, said people need the choice of a government-run plan to compete with private insurers. He argued that because private insurance companies are investor-owned, they are spending less money on health services and more on equity.

Medicare, Dean said, "is by nature much more efficient" because currently seniors can move, leave their job and get sick without having their coverage discontinued.

"Everybody over 65 has it and the question is 'Why don't we open up that program,'" he said.

[...] Dean said "we are getting pretty mixed signals from Senator Grassley. … I think the Republicans owe it to this country to give us a clearer sense of what they will and will not support."

Senators Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, appeared earlier on "Face the Nation," saying that the public option plan would not find enough support in the Senate. The co-op solution, they said, would be the only hope for a bipartisan agreement.

Dean also said the $600 billion dollar House price tag on health care is "reasonable" because it is less than we are spending in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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