Harkin: Health Bill A "Starter House"

Tom Harkin on the health biil:

“What we are buying here is a modest home, not a mansion. What we are getting here is a starter home.

In an important way, this is quite helpful. One of the more frustrating aspects of the debate this past week was the attempt to sell the Senate bill is a great piece of progressive legislation. It simply is not. It is not only modest in it attempts at reform, it is flawed politically and in terms of policy. If you believe it is a start on reform, and I do not, then do not oversell it as the end. Understand that you have NOT solved the problem. Acknowledge that you have not solved the problem. And most importantly, PROMISE to keep working on the problem. Harkin strikes the right tone.

Speaking for me only

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    Yes. The oversell is just (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by nycstray on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 12:00:21 PM EST
    an insult to anyone with half a brain.

    Harkin's House Can't Buy Homeowner Insurance (none / 0) (#29)
    by norris morris on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 07:07:55 PM EST
    This Starter House is a house so bad it can't get homeowner's insurance.

    Harkin has been caving all week and one had  only to look at his face and see him lying. The Big Liberal Senator Tom Harkin selling out for the bucks ofered to his party's election coffers looked stupid.

    He sold out as did all the rest and gave Big Insurance all they wanted, and then some.

     It will never be fixed, and should this ever
    happen I'll be long dead.


    Harkin's starter house is leaking (none / 0) (#49)
    by norris morris on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 01:08:18 PM EST
    I would ask Harkin to live in this house. Yes, just give up the insurance he has, and start with this piece of giveaway crud.

    Watching his lame behavior has been pathetic.

    And all the so called "progressives" should take a course in political science.


    Harkin's just another Dem wh*re (none / 0) (#53)
    by lambert on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 08:28:58 PM EST
    (In the past, I've hesitated to employ that metaphor, since real wh*res do so much less damage than the Harkins of this world, but after this debacle... Why not?)

    Read Harpers for the big picture.


    If I can get a sunset I can do this (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 12:14:52 PM EST
    We must have something.  Allow me to pass along a story that I got from another Titanium Rib father Sparky.  His daughter and my son are both Rib kids.  There was another child in his area who was dealing with a horrible horrible scoliosis and the only option we had before the Rib procedure was spinal fusion to attempt to save our children's lives.  He sent the parents all the information on the Rib procedure and doctors to see but after the child's parents took a look at how long it takes with two surgical lengthening procedures at least every year until the skeletal plates have fused.....they just did not know how they could survive all that stress and the constant worry and fighting over insurance coverages and the times without it, and meeting your lifetime cap.  They opted to fuse her spine then and they hoped for the best.  Their child is in so much pain now she literally is nonfunctioning, she cannot walk.....she literally cannot live a life with any quality to it.  She is younger than my son.  I cannot imagine the horror, and we can't change any of it now....it is done.

    That's terrible (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Steve M on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 12:26:51 PM EST
    So very very very sad.

    These are not the kinds of choices (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Anne on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 12:29:33 PM EST
    people should have to be agonizing over.  As parents, we always wonder whether we will regret the thousands of decisions we will make for and about our children; I used to think to myself, "sheesh, I sure hope this doesn't put her into therapy when she's grown up."

    But I, thankfully, never had to make these kinds of quality of life decisions with insurance companies standing over me like Snidely Whiplash, in effect forcing me to choose between one path the company might not allow my child to finish, and another that might leave my child in unspeakable agony for the remainder of her life.

    I would say it is unconscionable, but that would presume insurance company decision-makers are in possession of a conscience.  We know they have calculators and computer models that render us all as more or less profitable, but there is apparently no computer model that factors in basic human decency.


    Find another ripoff, you get more HCR soon (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by pluege on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 01:21:35 PM EST
    It is not only modest in it attempts at reform, it is flawed politically and in terms of policy.

    this will always be the best case with an amoral gaggle of doltish snakeoil salesmen - its what the almighty founding fathers ordained.

    What is important is that the bill is moving forward, as usual, not because the current system s*cks upsdide down and backwards and this helps solve that problem, but because the plutocrats are going to make a ton of money on it.

    Understanding this is crucial to knowing that "health care reform" will never again see the light of day until the plutocrats figure out yet more ways to steal from the failing middle class and the impoverished souls that make up the vast majority of citizens of this richest of all nations.  

    THE BEGINNING OF THE END (none / 0) (#30)
    by norris morris on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 07:22:09 PM EST
    We will go down ith this outrage and the outrage of Afghanistan. Both of these parties are corrupt
    up the kazoo and the politics played out by Obama and this Senate have been a disgrace.

    The hubris to pull this off on the backs of women and the elderly makes it even more obscene.

    The hubris to dictate or penalize those who can only squeek by is equally unjust.

    We have to stop being paralyzed.  Don't we have the strength to object en masse to this assault?


    hear, hear! (none / 0) (#43)
    by suzieg on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 11:59:58 PM EST
    A 100% Democratic Bill (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by MO Blue on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 01:59:22 PM EST
    After months in which the Senate health care bill was held up over efforts to find some form in which she would agree to sign on to it, Sen. Snowe (R-ME) now says she will oppose it because it is being "rushed." TPM

    Snowe did a fantastic job for the Republicans
    o Helped delay the process - check
    o Helped water down the legislation - check
    o Made the Democrats look like complete idiots for bowing down and kissing her ring - Double check
    o Did what she always intended to do. Make this a completely Democratic endeavor - check

    Snowe & Obama's Wedding (none / 0) (#31)
    by norris morris on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 07:28:26 PM EST
    This was a marriage made in Lobbyist Heaven.

    Court Snowe as a symbol of bipartisanship so you look like you're playing the game.

    Snow tickles you a bit and you keep swooning. You're wedded up.

    Then she betrays you and goes back to the GOP hardliners.  Wink wink.

    Obama knows the marriage is over, but he's shocked, simply shocked!

    Actually he'll be ever grateful for this little scam of a game.   Phew!


    The Democrats didn't need help (none / 0) (#47)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 11:14:22 AM EST
    Made the Democrats look like complete idiots for bowing down and kissing her ring - Double check

    looking like complete idiots. They took on that image mid-year 2008 when they used their Super powers, and they've continued to act like puppets on everything since.

    We need to make it a goal to get more of them primaried next year and attempt to put some spine in the party. I'd love to see all this insurance industry money they've accepted end up being spent just to try and keep themselves on the ballot.


    It's 3'x2' dog house (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by shoephone on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 02:46:31 PM EST
    with a roof that's been chewed off by the crows.

    Starter For Big Insurance! (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by norris morris on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 06:10:01 PM EST
    You say a starter home?

    A home built on the blood of millions of women who will not have access to abortions unless thet are wealthy and connected?

    A home that is owned by both the BANK and the INSURANCE/DRUG MONOPOLY?

    A home built on the backs of the elderly who will see less generic drugs and services as a result of Obama's nefarious deal with BigPharma?

    No insurance company would write a homeowner police for this "Starter".

    It's an Edsel (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Spamlet on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 07:35:30 PM EST
    And we have to live in it.

    We Don't Have To Live With It (none / 0) (#50)
    by norris morris on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 01:18:06 PM EST
    We have become hypnotized into accepting the prison meal served up by the corprate pirates.

    If there is or were a huge, and I mean huge reaction against this with a unified group of all the small progressive action groups getting together and mobilizing important pushback this would have changed things for the better.

    It can still be possible, but Democrats and Progressive voters still suffer from sticker shock.

    Massive protest would have scared these jellyfish and  the calculating Team Obama would have to react.

    This kind of movement needs a leader and I see no
    concerted effort at protest. Dean alone can't do it.

    So we'll be eating prison food until it ever happens.


    IMO the only thing that they have (none / 0) (#1)
    by MO Blue on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 11:59:37 AM EST
    done is put in an unsound foundation.  

    It's a shanty... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Salo on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 12:00:12 PM EST
    ... or maybe a respectable shed.   to keep the tools in for the winter.

    An outhouse, perhaps? (none / 0) (#4)
    by nycstray on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 12:01:07 PM EST
    but not a brick S**thouse (none / 0) (#5)
    by Salo on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 12:01:58 PM EST
    those things are actually quite usefull.

    Probably (none / 0) (#19)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 02:18:54 PM EST
    a two-seater though, for double the sh....

    It's really a tent (none / 0) (#32)
    by norris morris on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 07:29:55 PM EST
    Or actually we can sleep in the car until we lose the car. Think of it, we can still sleep in a tent.

    dems 'highlight' sheet (none / 0) (#6)
    by jedimom on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 12:02:35 PM EST
    Politico has the 'highlight' sheet up

    it proudly proclaims CHILDREN will no longer be denied for pre ex

    Which means IMO ADULTS WILL still be denied

    what did they NOT toss unda da bus????

    and NE has a forever pass on paying for any of its Medicaid costs?? I object!

    These (none / 0) (#20)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 02:23:26 PM EST
    highlights should say Kraft, and I should put them in my hot cocoa....as in what a bunch of fluff, esp in the cost containment area.

    No, they are just putting up a little framing (none / 0) (#8)
    by esmense on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 12:19:15 PM EST
    that's likely to be never be finished. Soon enough it will be an abandoned eyesore that everyone will regret. When the GOP takes over the property, they'll bulldoze it to the ground.

    Not quite (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 01:32:55 PM EST
    Any bad provision that the insurance company/pharma had put into the legislation that allows them to fleece the public even more will remain long after the subsidies are eliminated.

    If your starter home is in a trailer park (none / 0) (#9)
    by Dan the Man on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 12:23:17 PM EST

    More changes in the Senate bill (none / 0) (#10)
    by s5 on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 12:23:42 PM EST
    A Kos diarist picked through the manager's amendment and found all the differences. Read it here.

    There's actually some good stuff in there, like medical loss ratios and the beginnings of the Wyden's free choice amendment. The OPM plans are not really a public option but it's sort of something. Honestly I don't really understand what that's about or why it's in there.

    The excise tax still needs to be fixed. And the abortion "compromise" is, of course, wretched, but would it require an explicit opt-out from each state? It sounds like it does.

    The anti-abortion push (none / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 06:21:41 PM EST
    May just push some activists to the point that nobody has to pay for an abortion in this country ever again........like it is in many European countries that we covet the health-care structure of.  Completely free privately funded abortions that anybody can get.......it is time!!!!!

    Are You Dreaming? (none / 0) (#33)
    by norris morris on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 07:32:33 PM EST
    How do we get privately funded abortions when the bill's language opposes this if any subsidies or fed funds exist?

    I dunno (none / 0) (#36)
    by Steve M on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 07:38:39 PM EST
    maybe you fund them without subsidies or federal funds.  Just a guess.

    Replacing the rhetorical fetus with real med talk (none / 0) (#55)
    by Ellie on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 09:28:05 PM EST
    ... and FORCING the phony piety posedown to deal with it as a health & medical issue -- and get over it already -- would be a good thing.

    I'll bet not a tiny fraction of the Snowflake Baby Luv'rs even know what a spontaneous abortion, ectopic pregnancy or even what a fallopian tube is. They should talk about ALL abortions.

    I've always believed that these medievalists should be challenged not only on the legality of their intrusiveness, but their ignorance of female biology as well.

    Seriously, are the grumpy, invasive old men leading the charge prepared to criminalize women athletes? Prevent women who don't yet know they're pregnant from flying? Losing weight? Being in a drastic climate change or undergoing physical trauma? Themselves suffering from an undiagnosed condition? Etc?


    Bad foundation (none / 0) (#14)
    by robotalk on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 01:29:11 PM EST
    can't be expanded upon.  Tear down.

    Yep--starts in 2014 (none / 0) (#16)
    by diogenes on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 01:40:09 PM EST
    Nothing happens now except mandatory child insurance without prior conditions and taxes until 2014.  This isn't a starter house.  It's a partly dug ditch for a foundation for a proposed house of unknown scope and cost.

    It's a fixer upper with no kitchen (none / 0) (#18)
    by goldberry on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 02:09:29 PM EST
    Poor schlubs have to purchase a kitchen and the terms of the mortgage says they can't bid the contract out.

    Fixerupper Without A House? (none / 0) (#34)
    by norris morris on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 07:34:56 PM EST
    There's nothing left to fix up. It's been demolished.

    Other "starter houses" (none / 0) (#22)
    by christinep on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 04:39:23 PM EST
    Well...I'm bummed out. Alternating between shouting and muttering. After some days of that, I'm starting to categorize gains and losses. I won't insult any of you here who have been so long-suffering with the ebb & flow of the health care marathon. Here is what I think is important from the gains standpoint: millions more people will be enrolled for a health care plan--millions of real people who would otherwise have nothing or be totally dependent upon emergency room care--and, in a humane sense, that really is nothing to sneeze at; expanded medicaid--again, covering very real people (even, as I understand, at no cost to the state of Nebraska); the beginning of movement toward a group concept via OPM/federally monitored standards and bargained rates--as I said, the "beginning" of an approach beyond the usual everyone for themselves; limitations on insurers upping the premium ante based on gender, age, health; limitations on the amount one will be required to pay out over a lifetime; elimination of the reviled "preexisting conditions" loophole--something, I'm sure, that we all have seen in one way or another; and, subsidies to be pegged to ability to pay. Here is what troubles me in the losses column: $$$--it is hard to believe that downward pressure on premium costs can be exerted in any meaningful way without meaningful competition in the insurance sector (especially if regulation governing costs or profits is absent or practically unenforceable) AND, as so many here have opined, it is almost stunning to see an insistence on mandates in the absence of demonstrated lowered costs for the consumer. That leaves me with either a "hold my nose" and agree or a more assertive emphasis on the value, practical & political, of getting a "partial loaf." Then, yesterday, someone reminded me about the evolution of Social Security--that that program started with coverage only for widows & orphans. That doesn't mean that the current legislation will expand in the very near future, but the pressures will be there to remodel or add on to the starter house (or even fix the roof.) In a very weird way, what also keeps me focused on passing this legislation is how crazy in opposition the Repubs have become here, because they are not just pretending to be fighting like cornered hyenas. And, much as I might be dismayed by the turns in this process, I still know that it would be a lot worse to be rendered totally ineffective and politically overthrown for another several years. The real wilderness is a lot different than the philosophical place--it could turn us into hyenas.

    Yeah, millions more will be enrolled (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by nycstray on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 06:12:19 PM EST
    in mandated skyrocketing premiums and declining care. yay for us! Especially those of us over 50 . . . .

    Yes, under this bill my premiums will no longer be (none / 0) (#44)
    by suzieg on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 12:21:20 AM EST
    twice the going rate but three fold + taxes on the additional $8,000 (cadillac plan with no exception for state risk pool + less deductions on my tax return = I will no longer be able to afford my health insurance thus will be forced to pay a penalty for no insurance - What a great deal!

    There is (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by lentinel on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 08:06:53 PM EST
    no comparison between the beginning of the Social Security program and this bill.

    This bill was supposed to provide affordable, universal and comprehensive medical coverage to all Americans.

    It doesn't.
    It doesn't even come close.


    How did the Social Security legislation begin? (none / 0) (#40)
    by christinep on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 09:02:55 PM EST
    Just to state categorically--without more--that there is no comparison does not make that statement factual.  I do not know the details. But, it would be interesting to trace the details--or to hear from someone who has.

    Heh (none / 0) (#42)
    by Steve M on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 09:31:24 PM EST
    Social Security didn't even come close to providing retirement security to all Americans, but in the dim light of history I understand it probably looks like a liberal wet dream.  Not really though.

    The stated goal (none / 0) (#45)
    by lentinel on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 06:53:24 AM EST

    The stated goal was comprehensive, affordable and universal healthcare. It would have be easily attainable at this point in time had the congress and the president wanted to make it happen.

    One similarity: the origins of the Social Security program allowed "negroes" to be discriminated against.
    This time, it's women.


    Another note (none / 0) (#48)
    by christinep on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 12:03:44 PM EST
    Seven decades and several Presidents tried...and failure. It hurts me too. But, now, I'm going for a start, because the "what should have happened and what could have happened and what we very much want to happen" doesn't seem to occur in one fell swoop. Meanwhile, there are really millions of real people needing just the very basic healthcare coverage.... We each choose differently. I fully recognize the consequences of settling for this simple start; and, I'm guessing that you also recognize the ramifications of holding out for what could be a very, very much later date.

    Basic coverage? (none / 0) (#51)
    by lentinel on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 05:23:31 PM EST
    Which millions of people are going to get what, exactly?

    Are you referring to the people who will get coverage because they are forced to do so or be fined?

    And to add insult to injury, they will be forced to buy it from for-profit insurance companies that give 30% of their take to CEOs and stockholders.

    This isn't a start.
    It's an end.


    Talking about people who now have no healthcare (none / 0) (#54)
    by christinep on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 08:54:19 PM EST
    I am devastated (none / 0) (#52)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 05:33:16 PM EST
    to learn that FDR bowed to Dixiecrats. I thought only Obama let Conservative Democrats walk all over him.

    Don't Mistake GOP Tactics (none / 0) (#27)
    by norris morris on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 06:19:12 PM EST
    The Republicans are not rejecting the HC bill because it's too GOOD!

    They're rejecting anything put forward in order to regain power. Make no mistake they are aware of the smoke and mirrors in this HC bill. In fact they love that it will enrich drug and insurance monopolies who pay for both democrat and republican elections. And they love seeing democrats losing their base.

    But they are way ahead in blocking anything put forward and have been gloating, I assure you at the democrat's hypocritical behavior. They love that the democrats have trashed women's right to choose in a way republicans would not have been able to do.

    This is not a good bill because the Repubs object.

    This is a bill without options and enriches Big Insurance on the backs of women and the elderly.

    A Pox on all our politicians.
    There Will Be Blood.


    There are two kinds of starter homes (none / 0) (#23)
    by itscookin on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 05:18:08 PM EST
    There's the kind in need of repair, but with good "bones" that you can work on over time as your budget permits and eventually turn into a beautiful house. Then there's the kind that's too small, on a crappy lot of land, in a less than desirable neighborhood that you move into and live in until you can find another person who really can't afford a nice house either and you stick them with it and move out. I suspect I know which kind this bill is.

    When you're 233 years old ... (none / 0) (#24)
    by Robot Porter on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 05:43:54 PM EST
    you expect more than a "starter home".

    Promises, promises... (none / 0) (#37)
    by lentinel on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 08:02:47 PM EST
    They can promise to keep working on this... but they won't.
    After this thing passes, they'll eagerly flee.

    Banks and us (none / 0) (#39)
    by lentinel on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 08:08:56 PM EST
    The banks get a mansion with rolling hills, a path leading to the private dock where the private yacht is moored.

    We get a starter home.

    I feel the same way... (none / 0) (#41)
    by christinep on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 09:07:18 PM EST
    but, I also want coverage for as many people as possible now. To say this is not enough and to shout from the rooftops that we will wait 10 or 20 or more years is all well & good...but (and without my being dramatic) what does it get those who need healthcare today or tomorrow. It is a horrible choice: but, when all is said and done, there we are.

    But, (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by lentinel on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 07:11:35 AM EST
    where in fact are we?

    The means of providing health care to those who do not own it is, apparently, to make them buy it. And they have to buy it from inefficient, profit-making, greedy insurance companies or face financial penalties imposed by the government.

    There is an analogy: Cure homelessness by making the homeless buy homes.

    This analogy has been attributed to Obama. He is supposed to have expressed this well before his immersion in the delights of Washington power and opulence.