This post over at The Hill tells us that 23 U.S. House Democrats have gone on record as opposing the pending health care legislation, and they are as follows…
John Adler (N.J.)If it were in my power to personally pillory all of these characters, I would do so. However, the demands on my time and my tolerance for cowardice and stupidity only allow me to do so much, so I’ll concentrate on four from the list instead.
Jason Altmire (Pa.)
John Barrow (Ga.)
Dan Boren (Okla.)
Rick Boucher (Va.)
Allen Boyd (Fla.)
Bobby Bright (Ala.)
Travis Childers (Miss.)
Jim Costa (Calif.)
Henry Cuellar (Texas)
Parker Griffith (Ala.)
Frank Kratovil (Md.)
Betsy Markey (Colo.)
Eric Massa (N.Y.)
Jim Matheson (Utah)
Charlie Melancon (La.)
Walt Minnick (Idaho)
Tom Perriello (Va.)
Earl Pomeroy (N.D.)
Heath Shuler (N.C.)
Bart Stupak (Mich.)
John Tanner (Tenn.)
Gene Taylor (Miss.)
“But he’s been targeted by the Republicans and he’s in a tough re-election fight,” I hear you cry.
Let me start playing the world’s smallest violin for Adler, OK?
For the record, here is what he said when he was campaigning…
John Adler knows what it is like to live without adequate health care. When his father suffered a debilitating series of heart attacks, his family faced what one in five Americans are facing now: limited or no health care, no income, and a pile of hospital bills. With rising food and gas prices in an increasingly unstable economy, too many Americans cannot afford to pay for their health care. Over the last six years, health insurance costs have risen four times faster than wages. Over 48 million Americans, including 1.3 million New Jerseyans, are living without health insurance. We spend so much per capita on health care; we have a right to demand better outcomes at a lower cost. John Adler supports a system that guarantees health care to all children and provides affordable health care to all who seek it.That’s important, sure, but what about health care for adults, John?
(Cue the sound of crickets…)
Oh, but Adler does tell us this…
John supports a collaborative approach to health care reform involving employers, providers, consumer groups, carriers, and experts in economics and technology. We need to expand what works and fix what does not work. We need to make health care accessible to all who seek it, in a way that allows our businesses to thrive. The federal government must help small business afford health insurance for employees through risk pooling and catastrophic funds.Soo…Adler supports government help for small businesses (or so he says) – also a good thing – but not for individuals, apparently.
Well, by opposing health care reform, Adler is hastening the following consequences (noted here by Blue Jersey)…
As Blue Jersey states…
14,600 small businesses will not get tax credits for 50% of their health insurance costs 12,000 seniors will remain stuck in the Medicare Part D "donut hole" 1,330 families will go bankrupt due to health care costs (2008 figure) $56,000,000 in unpaid medical bills will pile up for doctors and hospitals (2008 figure) 47,000 people will remain uninsured
This is the bill that John Adler tells us "isn't good for America." It's time for the people of the third Congressional district to tell John Adler that what isn't good for America is his work on behalf of his paymasters in the insurance, health, and pharmaceutical industries to derail real reform that millions of Americans are relying on, including tens of thousands who elected him to office last November.I knew Adler was in a bit of a "rookie slump," but I would say that it has taken a decided turn for the worse.
And as noted here, Taylor supports the following…
Allowing the government to use its purchasing power to lower the cost of prescription drugs. (HR 684)But he doesn’t support “allowing the government to use its purchasing power” to establish a public option and allow competitiveness for real…
And as noted here (Myth #11), Taylor claimed that health care reform would add $1 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years, when the CBO pointed out that it would only add $239 billion over that same period (and when measured against the estate tax cuts, Iraq war and Medicare Part D boondoggles, that’s actually chump change). And as noted here, Taylor opposed Waxman-Markey also.
And just for good measure, Taylor opposed the “stim” here, even though it created “hundreds of summer jobs” in southern Mississippi (here).
And it’s hard for me to come up with a word to describe how galling it is that Boren now opposes health care given the following as noted here by Down With Tyranny!...
(Boren) brags how he didn't vote for Obama for president and how he opposes Employee Free Choice. This year he voted against equality for women in the workplace and against hate crime legislation that would help protect gay men and women from violence and he seems to revel in distancing himself from President Obama and calling him a political liability.In a very real, personal way, it’s difficult for me to stomach the presence of someone like Boren in the Democratic Party (for my money, Taylor is merely clueless, but Boren seems to revel in own egotistical aversion to his own party).
And also, Stupak deserves credit for responding to constituents over his position on this issue (here), even if he is demonstrably wrong.
However, I’m highlighting Stupak because of his reliance on the same CBO estimates as other Dems, including Taylor above. And the problem with the CBO, as noted here, is as follows (and I also don’t know where Stupak is getting his claim that health care reform will cost “hundreds of thousands of jobs” – maybe Myth #10 here)…
The CBO report, reveals once again the problems that attend letting the decision of whether or not to adopt health care reform legislation to turn on CBO ten year cost estimates. First, it is much easier to score costs than cost-savings. Legislation pending in both the House and Senate in fact includes state-of-the art proposals that many health policy experts do believe will result in real savings, as the CBO recognizes It is easy, however, to figure out how many people are under a particular multiple of the poverty level and how much it will cost to cover them through Medicaid or to provide them with insurance subsidies, i.e the cost of reform. It is much harder to figure out how much public plan choice or accountable care organizatons will save the federal government. The CBO guesses conservatively with respect to savings, and the media reports this as a "blow to reform."Also, I would trust Peter Orszag of Obama’s OMB versus Douglas Elmendorf of the CBO merely because Orszag has a better familiarity with the issue of health care.
Second, the CBO only estimates financial costs and savings to the federal government. It ignores all of the other benefits (and costs) of reform. Third, CBO estimates are not real numbers, just guesses. Remember how much angst went into getting the CBO to score the Part D drug benefit to hit Congress' own cost target, how it turned out later that the Bush administration had held back on its own cost estimates which were much higher than the CBO score, and how the real cost turned out in fact, at least initially, to be much lower than the CBO score. Congress needs to be fiscally responsible, but it also needs to address the very real needs of the American people for health care relief. And the media needs to stop reporting CBO reports as though they reflect the real costs of reform.
I guess I have a respectful disagreement with Stupak here, and I’m hoping it isn’t too late for Adler to come around also (I don’t know what it’s going to take for many Dem politicians - but not all - to get the message that the only way he or she will stand is to be true to the party’s core beliefs, particularly on this issue). However, I realize that Taylor and Boren are lost causes.
If we deliver health reform, it will have many practical benefits for vast numbers of uninsured and under-insured individuals and families. And it will have ancillary political benefits also for those who do the right thing.
If we get it done, then it looks like at least 23 people will have some serious ‘splainin’ to do. But if we don’t, the number will be a whole lot bigger than that.
Update 11/7/09: Man, I spologize to every living being in the universe for ever supporting this guy for anything based on this (h/t Atrios)...this also.