Leadership moments in the U.S. healthcare debate


 

Barack Obama is returning from the ‘Three Amigos’ summit in Mexico to conduct the first of a series of town hall meetings (starting in New Hampshire today) aimed at building support for his plans to reform healthcare. With the polls showing a decided decrease in support for the president’s efforts on this issue, any outreach effort becomes crucial and will probably determine the degree of reform. Despite the boisterous and somewhat staged opposition in the town hall meetings to date, most observers concede that Obama has the numbers in Congress to pass some kind of reform package. The question now is whether it will amount to a transformational change or whether it will it be the result of a transactional or brokered agreement hammered out among legislators which addresses only some of the issues at stake.

We know the context. Obama considers this his number one domestic priority. We also know that the White House has done its best to avoid the top-down approach of the failed Clinton reform effort of 1993 and they are doing this by asking Congress to develop legislation that meets Obama’s objectives. These include universal access to quality care, lower and controlled costs, portability, and health insurance reform to prevent the denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Up to now, Congress has developed as many as five bills. Different versions of the proposed bills have passed the House committees leading the Obama people to claim that healthcare reform has never been closer. But a deeply contentious issue remains—the public nature of the program, which is becoming a divisive factor among Democrats.

Obama is still clinging to the hope that he will get a bipartisan bill which will come with significant Republican support. This desire is upsetting his most liberal backers, who suspect the Obama White House is watering down the reform initiative in order to get the Blue Dog Democrats on side and may end up with only a semblance of reform. Above all, liberals want a public option. The President still appears to want one, too, but cost concerns, the sluggish economy, and the sustained and highly-negative campaign by opponents of reform are generating sense of unease among his most fervent supporters. The arguments favoring reform remain as cogent as ever—America spends more per capita than any other industrial nation on healthcare, but it lags behind in many leading indicators dealing with a healthy populace. And there is a consensus on the need for reform. Very few prefer the status quo according to the polls.

This blog has argued that to achieve any real success, the president needs to find inspiration in the example of LBJ, who pushed through the landmark Medicare and Medicaid legislation in 1965 by doing the arm twisting and the cajoling necessary to convince those who are hesitant. While the circumstances have changed, this current battle represents a leadership moment for Obama and only the president has the moral authority and the electoral clout to make it happen. We should remind ourselves that Obama’s approval numbers are significantly higher than those of Congress, which may explain why he has taken a more hands-on approach in recent weeks. The results are starting to show. Still, he may now be on offense, but he is far from the finish line. The town halls will be an occasion for Obama to make his case one more time, but by September, the president will need to be more specific on the content of his desired reform and move away from his approach of general objectives.

The Blue Dog Democrats have been criticized by liberals in the party and in the media. With good reason, I might add. Healthcare reform was a major issue in the last campaign and the Democrats promised to address it. And yet, the Blue Dogs are essential if this bill is to be credible with the more centrist parts of the electorate, namely the independents. This is a leadership moment for them, too. A failure to back some significant reform project will carry a cost and we could see a repetition of 1994, when the Democrats lost control of Congress. After that moment, President Clinton, who could have been a transformational president, became a transactional president. For many, the Clinton years are still seen as a period of lost opportunity. This is not what people voted for last November.

As for the Republicans, I still believe the best position for them is to steer a moderate conservative course if they are to expand their base beyond the South, Fox News viewers,  and the Rush Limbaugh/Sarah Palin contingent. Republicans missed an opportunity last week with the Sotomayor nomination and Hispanic voters will have long memories come 2010. Significant healthcare reform represents another opportunity for them to be a factor, as they were in 1965 on Medicare, Medicaid and, yes, civil rights. Indeed, it is a leadership moment for them as well.


 

Leadership moments in the U.S. healthcare debate

  1. I think Obama will get an earful in the town halls. People in US don't want Canadian style medicare. Blue dogs know this or they will be beaten in 2010 and republicans are right to oppose if they are to stage a comeback . No one wants their health care rationed .

    • Are they satisfied with the rationed care (as decided by the insurance companies) they're getting now? I'm amazed the degree of interference they engage in when it comes to treatment decisions.

    • US citizens over 65 already have something resembling "Canadian style" Medicare.
      Surveys show they love it.

      What the mix of proposals for the rest of the population contains is nothing resembling
      Medicare.

    • Oh yeah! I much prefer having my healthcare rationed by an insurance company who I cannot hold to account than by the government, who I can – to some small measure – hold to account.

  2. How can Obama sell a plan if he doesn't have one? Obama has never led anything before, and it shows, because he's acting like it's still a campaign instead of time to decide. Obama is spouting platitudes instead of presenting a real plan to Americans that they can actually see and think about.

    "the president needs to find inspiration in the example of LBJ,"

    Obama found inspiration from LBJ alright but not in the way you might think. Democrats have sent out the shock troops and bully boys to kick butt. Just last week, a black man named Kenneth Gladney was beaten up and left in a wheel chair by Democrat heavies because he was speaking out against health care. Dems beating up black men is very reminiscent of 1960s and LBJ. I wonder why Gladney incident wasn't a teachable moment but Gates thing was?

    • This page includes video of Gladney's "beating": http://mediamatters.org/blog/200908080004

      In short – there was one union member already on the ground, somebody pushed Gladney down and that was it. Gladney hopped back up immediately and clearly walks around talking to people for the rest of the video. Anybody (including Gladney himself) who tells you that Gladney was beaten, was hospitalized, needs a wheelchair or is unable to talk is simply a liar.

      • So let me get this straight, you are arguing it's ok to beat up the guy as long as the guy can get up afterwards? Gotta love liberals.

        By the way, mediamatters is the most partisan and biased media organization in America, in case you are not aware. It is funded by George Soros and has the explicit goal of promoting the liberal agenda. It is 100% liberal, 0% conservative – not a place to go for accuracy in reporting.

        • So let me get this straight – you're going to comically misrepresent what I said, then congratulate yourself for slaying a strawman? Gotta love conservatives.

          My point, and you know this, is not that it's ok to beat anybody up, it's that the man was NOT beaten at all. There was a scuffle and he, along with somebody from the union, got knocked to the ground. The fact that he sprang right back up and walked around talking to people makes it tough to believe he suffered grievous harm and the video shows nobody – nobody – "beating" him.

          The man took a dive like a European soccer player. Fortunately it was captured on film.

          Also – I pointed out the video, not Mediamatters' material. Or are you arguing that Mediamatters biased the video?

          • The video shows nobody beating him because the video was started after the scuffle was ending (obviously), when people were helping the victim by pulling the attacker off him. The attacker was later arrested (in the same video). The victim was not.

            Fortunately it was captured on film. Open your eyes.

          • The "attacker" was arrested? Not according to every news report I've seen.

            Citation please.

    • You have to keep in mind the way the American system works – Obama cannot simply hand a bill over to Congress and insist they pass it, even if Dems have wide majorities. There just isn't that level of party loyalty on the Democratic side of the aisle (though there probably is on the Republican side). So, Obama really has had to leave things in Congress's hands to work out a bill. Once there is an actual bill, I would expect to see a lot more of him.

      • Wrong, there is absolutely no reason why he needed to take that route.

  3. "This blog has argued that to achieve any real success, the president needs to find inspiration in the example of LBJ, who pushed through the landmark Medicare and Medicaid legislation in 1965 by doing the arm twisting and the cajoling necessary to convince those who are hesitant. "

    Well, I think the arm-twisting is already begun. Three cheers for the SEIU.

    Also the "cajoling", if by that Parisella means House Speaker Pelosi and House Whip Hoyer writing an op-ed labeling their oppoents "un-American", various Congressman (e.g. Dingell) comparing their opponents to the KKK (why does the Left like that one so much? Weren't most KKK members Democrats, gun-control activists, and generally lefties??), and suggesting (as Parisella does with his usual lack of orginality in this piece) that the protesters are actors or paid stooges?

  4. "This blog has argued that to achieve any real success, the president needs to find inspiration in the example of LBJ, who pushed through the landmark Medicare and Medicaid legislation in 1965 by doing the arm twisting and the cajoling necessary to convince those who are hesitant. "

    Well, I think the arm-twisting is already begun courtesy of the SEIU.

    Also the "cajoling", if by that Parisella means House Speaker Pelosi and House Whip Hoyer writing an op-ed labeling their oppoents "un-American", various Congressman (e.g. Dingell) comparing their opponents to the KKK (why does the Left like that one so much? Weren't most KKK members Democrats, gun-control activists, and generally lefties??), and suggesting (as Parisella does with his usual lack of orginality in this piece) that the protesters are actors or paid stooges?

  5. "This blog has argued that to achieve any real success, the president needs to find inspiration in the example of LBJ, who pushed through the landmark Medicare and Medicaid legislation in 1965 by doing the arm twisting and the cajoling necessary to convince those who are hesitant. "

    Well, I think the arm-twisting has already begun courtesy of the SEIU.

    Also the "cajoling", if by that Parisella means House Speaker Pelosi and House Whip Hoyer writing an op-ed labeling their oppoents "un-American", various Congressman (e.g. Dingell) comparing their opponents to the KKK (why does the Left like that one so much? Weren't most KKK members Democrats, gun-control activists, and generally lefties??), and suggesting (as Parisella does with his usual lack of orginality in this piece) that the protesters are actors or paid stooges?

  6. At the end of all of this, the Obama administration and the Congress have a bill in front of them that they wanted to pass BUT few if any have actually read the bill and consequently they have not been able to explain it to Americans. It is their bill – it is their job to explain it. Not to call people who ask questions unAmerican, or to suggest that opponents are organizing against them (although I think it is a bit funny that the great community organizer is finding out that communities sometimes organize all by themselves and often against governments!) or to suggest that opponents be reported to government. Yet the Obama adminstration ais doing all of that and more. Yet where are the MSM?

    • There is No bill. The House passed a version. There are at least three versions working their way
      through the Senate. Only the House version contains something like a "public option".

      At some point The Senate will decide which version or amalgam of versions they can ( or can not )
      pass. To do that they may have to deal with a Republican/Blue Dog filibuster. If something passes
      the Senate then a committee decides which parts of the House and Senate versions get folded into
      a Final bill which the House and Senate will/will not finally pass.

      Then Obama will have a bill to sign or veto.

      There's a lot of disinformation floating around. Some misunderstanding, some manufactured.

      • While your points are valid about if this is or is not a bill – MY point is that whatever this is – a thought, a proposal, an idea – has been created by the Democrats who are great talkers about debate and the need to bring people together, but at the first hint that someone, somewhere has a different opinion OR has a question – the reaction is that nobody needs to know or ask questions etc. etc. etc. Since the Democrats at the executive level, the house and the senate are pushing this, they need to be upfront and answer questions without resorting to suggesting that those questions are being posed by people are have been organized by opponents. As much as Canadians find this hard to believe, Americans are not stupid and are fully engaged in what is going on in their country. (I just returned from two weeks in the mid-west and I find that Americans are more knowledgeable about how their government works than most Canadians do of our own system.) And Americans don't like the idea that their elected officials are shy on providing details, maybe didn't even read was proposed (which is their one and only job), are not well informed about whatever it is they are proposing. And please don't make reference to Bush and the Iraq war – that is tiresome and old. And besides wasn't Obama all about hope and change? Time to fish or cut bait.

  7. Obama has my sympathies. It must be hell on Earth to find a solution acceptable to morons.

  8. My wife and I are in our 60's
    We are self employed
    My wife has a pacemaker
    I am in good health
    We have Blue Shield
    The most affordable policy we could find at our age was their PPO 4000/8000 plan
    Our monthly premiums are $920 per month..
    Our deductible is $4000 per year per person.

    Terrigble insurance but all we could afford. So basically we are "self insured" since we pay for everything up to $8000 per year…X rays , medications, oprations and doctor visits (over 3 a year)
    I've tried everything I can think of to get our premiums down. Even looked into a small group plan.

    It's gotten to the point that we've started going to Thailand for medical care
    For the past 4 years we've been saving up all our medical and dental problems and making a 3 week visit to a Thai hospital where the care is excellent and the cost…just a fraction of what I would have to pay out of pocket in the US. For example, last November I had an Endoscopic balloon dilation for a condition known as dysphagia. The specialist in the US said the operation would cost me $2500. (His bill for the 15 minute consultation was $250.) I decided to wait until I got to Thailand and had it done in at Chulalonkorn public hospital…cost $100 including biopsy, (all I needed for ID was my US passport. No questions asked!!)

    If anyone out there can't afford health insurance, you might consider going abroad. India, Thailand, Singapore, Korea, Costa Rica….many countries around the world are gearing up for a flood of Americans without adequate health insurance

  9. "This blog has argued that to achieve any real success, the president needs to find inspiration in the example of LBJ, who pushed through the landmark Medicare and Medicaid legislation in 1965 by doing the arm twisting and the cajoling necessary to convince those who are hesitant. "

    Well, I think the arm-twisting has already begun courtesy of the SEIU.

    Also the "cajoling", if by that Parisella means House Speaker Pelosi and House Whip Hoyer writing an op-ed labeling their oppoents "un-American", various Congressmen (e.g. Dingell) comparing their opponents to the KKK (why does the Left like that one so much? Weren't most KKK members Democrats, gun-control activists, and generally lefties?), and suggesting (as Parisella does with his usual lack of orginality in this piece) that the protesters are actors or paid stooges.

    • Certainly the labelling of opponents as 'un-American' is tiresome. Perhaps that label could be reserved for people that are actually, well, un-American, rather than just someone who has ideas that challenge your viewpoint, especially when you haven't even bothered to listen, think and seek to understand.

      • Unless Gaunilon has another reference (as usual he provides no link), the "un-American" label was applied to protesters who showed up with the sole purpose of shutting down the debate over and over and over across the country.

        The rightwing victimization parade would have you believe that epithet has been applied to people with a different viewpoint. That's a lie. Whether or not you agree that destroying debate is unAmerican, nobody is calling people with different opinions unAmerican. Sheesh.

        • "Whether or not you agree that destroying debate is unAmerican, nobody is calling people with different opinions unAmerican."

          If by no one you mean Pelosi and Hoyer than I agree with that sentence. If the 'un-American' tag is incorrect, why is Obama distancing himself from those two?

          And the Dems are going to give people whiplash. They want conformity now when it was just a short while ago that all we heard was guff about 'speaking truth to power' and 'dissent is highest form of patriotism'.

          • You know this is coming, right?

            Pelosi's actual quote: "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades."

            In other words, she's not calling them unAmerican for having a different view, but for shutting down the debate. Right? Whether you agree with her or not, she did NOT say what you claim she said.

            For the love of god, could you people apply just the tiniest bit of skepticism? Even when you so badly want something to be true, could you Google it before parroting it here?

          • What is so ridiculous is that they themselves are claiming that their own opinions are facts, while the opposition has viewpoints that need to be corrected. They are opinions. They are policies. They are not facts. Hence the debate. She is doing exactly what Jolyon and Gaunilon claimed. People are telling their elected representatives what they think, and she wants them to shut up. They are not shutting down the debate, they are starting the debate, the Dems are hoping that there is no debate at all.

            Open your eyes.

          • Read Pelosi's quote again. She wasn't complaining about one side in the debate. She was complaining about the tactic of interfering with the debate.

            Seriously, it's not an esoteric quote: "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades." If you can't understand what she's talking about, you're being willfully ignorant.

        • I trust Gaunilon will answer the first part of your response.

          From my post the phrase 'listen, think and seek to understand' summarizes my thoughts about how all sides in a debate should behave. But even if they don't behave that way I'm not sure that would qualify as unAmerican.

          Appreciate your thoughts.

        • The right has been victimized by the left for so long . I am TJ recognizes . The town halls are another example of liberal bias.pelosi is a far left radical and she is writing Obama's bill .At least , TJ should admit it .

        • First off, its a widely available op-ed in USA Today. Look it up on any non-major media source (like the internet!) and you'll find it. Try searching for "Pelosi" and "un-American" and the article she wrote will pop right up.

          In it she suggests that the protesters at town hall meetings are merely scared of opposing views, that it's an "ugly campaign", and then suggests that they're un-american for doing so.

          Now, I suppose you can argue that she's just criticizing the notion of shouting at a Congressman. And I suppose that is what you're arguing. However there are two problems here:
          (1) Shouting at a Congressman is not "un-American", whether at a town hall or not.
          (2) Pelosi supports shouting at such meetings by those with whom she agrees. That's not un-American, you see. It's "democracy in action" and a "right".

          From the fact that this sort of "democracy in action" is good when she agrees with the viewpoint, but "un-American" when she doesn't, we see that the criterion is the viewpoint, not the shouting. Capische?

          Also, I had my fill in our last exchange of whining about how I was wasting your time, being disingenuous, etc. If you can't conduct a debate respectfully then we won't be having many more. Nonetheless, your rudeness does not make you "un-American" or "un-Canadian".

        • First off, its a widely available op-ed in USA Today. Look it up on any non-major media source (like the internet!) and you'll find it. Try searching for "Pelosi" and "un-American" and the article she wrote will pop right up.

          In it she suggests that the protesters at town hall meetings are merely scared of opposing views, that it's an "ugly campaign", and then suggests that they're un-american for doing so.

          Now, I suppose you can argue that she's just criticizing the notion of shouting at a Congressman. And I suppose that is what you're arguing. However there are two problems here:
          (1) Shouting at a Congressman is not "un-American", whether at a town hall or not.
          (2) Pelosi supports shouting at such meetings by those with whom she agrees. That's not un-American, you see. It's "democracy in action" and a "right".

          From the fact that this sort of "democracy in action" is good when she agrees with the viewpoint, but "un-American" when she doesn't, we see that the criterion is the viewpoint, not the shouting. Capische?

          Also, I had my fill in our last exchange of whining about how I was wasting your time, being disingenuous, etc. If you can't conduct a debate respectfully then we won't be having many more. Nonetheless, your rudeness does not make you "un-American" or "un-Canadian".

        • First off, to all the TJCooks out there, its a widely available op-ed in USA Today. Look it up on any non-major media source (like the internet!) and you'll find it. Try searching for "Pelosi" and "un-American" and the article she wrote will pop right up.

          In it she suggests that the protesters at town hall meetings are merely scared of opposing views, that it's an "ugly campaign", and then suggests that they're un-american for doing so.

          Now, I suppose you can argue that she's just criticizing the notion of shouting at a Congressman. And I suppose that is what you're arguing. However there are two problems here:
          (1) Shouting at a Congressman is not "un-American", whether at a town hall or not.
          (2) Pelosi supports shouting at such meetings by those with whom she agrees. That's not un-American, you see. It's "democracy in action" and a "right".

          From the fact that this sort of "democracy in action" is good when she agrees with the viewpoint, but "un-American" when she doesn't, we see that the criterion is the viewpoint, not the shouting. Capische?

          Also, I had my fill in our last exchange of whining about how I was wasting your time, being disingenuous, etc. If you can't conduct a debate respectfully then we won't be having many more. Nonetheless, your rudeness does not make you "un-American" or "un-Canadian".

        • First off, to all the TJCooks out there, its a widely available op-ed in USA Today. Look it up on any non-major media source (like the internet!) and you'll find it. Try searching for "Pelosi" and "un-American" and the article she wrote will pop right up.

          In it she suggests that the protesters at town hall meetings are merely scared of opposing views, that it's an "ugly campaign", and then suggests that they're un-american for doing so.

          Now, I suppose you can argue that she's just criticizing the notion of shouting at a Congressman. And I suppose that is what you're arguing. However there are two problems here:
          (1) Shouting at a Congressman is not "un-American", whether at a town hall or not.
          (2) Pelosi supports shouting at such meetings by those with whom she agrees. That's not un-American, you see. It's "democracy in action" and a "right".

          From the fact that this sort of "democracy in action" is good when she agrees with the viewpoint, but "un-American" when she doesn't, we see that the criterion is the viewpoint, not the shouting. Capische?

          Also, I had my fill in our last exchange of whining about how I was wasting your time, being disingenuous, etc. If you can't conduct a debate respectfully then we won't be having many more. Nonetheless, your rudeness does not make you "un-American" or "un-Canadian".

        • First off, to all the TJCooks out there, its a widely available op-ed in USA Today. Look it up on any non-major media source (like the internet!) and you'll find it. Try searching for "Pelosi" and "un-American" and the article she wrote will pop right up.

          In it she suggests that the protesters at town hall meetings are merely scared of opposing views, that it's an "ugly campaign", and then suggests that they're un-american for doing so.

          Now, I suppose you can argue that she's just criticizing the notion of shouting at a Congressman. And I suppose that is what you're arguing. However there are two problems here:
          (1) Shouting at a Congressman is not "un-American", whether at a town hall or not.
          (2) Pelosi supports shouting at such meetings by those with whom she agrees. That's not un-American, you see. It's "democracy in action" and a "right".

          From the fact that this sort of "democracy in action" is good when she agrees with the viewpoint, but "un-American" when she doesn't, we see that the criterion is the viewpoint, not the shouting. Capische?

          Also, I had my fill in our last exchange of whining about how I was wasting your time, being disingenuous, etc. If you can't conduct a debate respectfully then we won't be having many more. Nonetheless, your rudeness does not make you "un-American" or "un-Canadian".

          • Please keep the debate going , Gaunilon . you are leading the charge against distortion .

          • What a great quote:

            She negotiated with the hecklers and at times even thanked the protesters for their advocacy and enthusiasm.

            "It's always exciting,'' she told reporters after the meeting. "This is democracy in action. I'm energized by it, frankly."

            This is the same, two-faced, Nany Pelosi.

          • What's with all these Canucks worrying about all that name calling down south?

            "Yet the tactic has been around for so long — since at least the 1800s — that employing it is a tradition that's practically, well, American. "
            CBS

          • "Now, I suppose you can argue that she's just criticizing the notion of shouting at a Congressman. And I suppose that is what you're arguing, while carefully refusing to address the other points about…"

            Ok, that puts you ahead of scf and jwl – at least you understand what I'm talking about.

            And read my previous posts on this thread – I said more than once that you can reasonably disagree whether it's unAmerican to deliberately make debate impossible but that Pelosi did NOT call people unAmerican just for holding opposing views.

            "…whining about how I was wasting your time…" Dude, I don't remember the details of that conversation, but I do recall your being grossly disingenuous over and over to the point of obtuseness. Golly, if that leads me to be rude back, I don't feel I have anything to apologize for. As far as I'm concerned, your disingenuousness is worse than any frustration or rudeness on my part. Have enough respect for me to have an honest, grownup debate.

          • "Also, I had my fill in our last exchange of your (TJCook) whining about how I was wasting your time, being disingenuous, etc."

            Oh, I remember you now. You posted six or seven quotes and claimed they each represented a Democrat endorsing the conspiracy theory of the 911 Truthers.

            Good times. Remember how I researched each quote and NOT ONE meant what you claimed – in each case the quote, in context, meant something entirely different. So either you:

            1) Mindlessly repeated somebody else's claims without confirming their accuracy, or

            2) Found the quotes, deliberately stripped them of context and lied about their meaning.

            Honestly, I don't know which is worse. Perhaps you could let us know which was the case. Either way, I'm supposed to believe that the real problem was I lost patience with this bullsh*t and was rude?

            Well, I guess I'm terribly sorry for having offended your delicate sensibilities. I'm supposed to be patient and unfailingly polite when presented with baldfaced lies. How rude of me.

          • You are bang on , TJ .Gaunilon , jolyon ,joe or whoever -he is the guy. Distorts and makes up things to advance his case. You blew his cover . The fact is ,Gaunilon does not like Obama in the White House as president. So he questions his real identity , his legitimacy and uses Fox talking points to denigrate him. This is where the opponents HC are today . You saw Palin and how STUPID she is . Gingrich may be smarter and therefore more dangerous . Beck and Limbaugh are just bad entertainers but they incite . In comes Gaunilon to defend that bullsh*t !The conservative right rides again and does care about reform-just protecting the rich.

          • Whatever buddy. I remember you ignoring the quotes you didn't like (e.g. McKinney saying the supports and loves the 911 Truthers… ) and reframing the rest by reading them in the most flattering light possible.

            But hey, seeing as how I'm just a baldfaced liar (or at the very least a clean-shaven one) there's not much point in further discussion, is there?

          • Whatever buddy. I remember you ignoring the quotes you didn't like (e.g. McKinney saying she supports and loves the 911 Truthers… oh right, you decided I probably just made that one up because it sounded pretty "damning" ) and reframing the rest by reading them in the most flattering light possible.

            But hey, seeing as how I'm just a baldfaced liar (or at the very least a clean-shaven one) there's not much point in further discussion, is there?

          • Whatever buddy. My recollection includes you ignoring the quotes you didn't like (e.g. McKinney saying she supports and loves the 911 Truthers… oh right, you decided I probably just made that one up because it sounded pretty "damning", after I pointed it out for the third time ) and reframing the rest by reading them in the most flattering (albeit highly strained) light possible.

            Not too dissimilar from the situation on this thread actually, where we have links showing Pelosi's double standard on un-Americanism/"democracy in action" depending on viewpoint, and you still insisting that she's just opposed to people shouting over top of each other. Meanwhile, you're ignoring the remaining points about comparisons to the KKK and suggestions of fakery/acting/paid stooges. Again.

            But hey, seeing as how I'm just a baldfaced liar (or at the very least a clean-shaven one) there's not much point in further discussion, is there?

          • Jeez… To say the McKinney quote sounded “damning” is to say that it seemed to damn McKinney, not you. I was conceding that you seemed to have a point but, given that I’d done all your research for you to theat point, I challenged you to look it up yourself. Sheesh.

            You never did present the McKinney quote in context – given your track record why would I take you at your word?

            I’m wide open to being convinced, but a bunch of context-free cut ‘n’ paste is not an argument. If people applied a little skepticism and independent thought, we wouldn’t have a Truther movement, we wouldn’t have a Birther movement and we wouldn’t see mobs of grossly misinformed Americans in near-riots at healthcare townhalls.

            Dude, every one of the 7 quotes you included re: Truthers did not say what you claimed. I’m not calling you a liar, I asked if you a) cut-and-paste from some other source or b) deliberately misled people here. Which was it?

  10. sorry friend, I am trying to do this on coffee and lunch breaks…and they're stretching out a little too long! And anyway, I think "leading the charge against distortion" is a bit much. We're all just "opining at Macleans", to quote the Poet amongst us.

  11. Am I the only one that thinks it is not normal that some Americans actually go abroad to get treated? The United States of America has the greatest doctors and technology available in the health sector, but some of its citizens have got to go to Thailand for medical care!!

    How can Gaunilon, Scf, Joylon, Joetheelectrician and the other Republicans defend Status Quo? Open your mind, start listening to something else than Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

    Robert Kennedy once quoted George Bernard Shaw's : '' Some people look at things the way they are and ask ''why?'' I dream of things that never were and ask ''why not?''. Why not give the American citizens the right to get treated equally? Why not thinking about others than only ourselves? Why not give the United States of America what it really needs: Healthcare reform.

    • You makes sense , buddy . These reublicans are off the wall .they get their info from Rush . Can`t expect much more from them than reactionary politics .Good quote on RFK.

    • I've never known anyone in the US who had to go to Thailand for medical treatment. I've known a number of Canadians who've gone to the US for treatment. In one case it was actually pretty funny (once we knew she was ok) because she was a vehement critic of the US medical system…until she needed it.

      Two more words for you: Belinda Stronach.

    • I've never known anyone in the US who had to go to Thailand for medical treatment. I've known a number of Canadians who've gone to the US for treatment. In one case it was actually pretty funny (once we knew she was ok) because she was a vehement critic of the US medical system…until she needed it.

      Having lived under both systems, I can tell you from direct experience which one is better: the US.

      Two more words for you: Belinda Stronach.

    • I've never known anyone in the US who had to go to Thailand for medical treatment. I've known a number of Canadians who've gone to the US for treatment. In one case it was actually pretty funny (once we knew she was ok) because she was a vehement critic of the US medical system…until she needed it.

      Having lived under both systems, I can tell you from direct experience which one is better: the US. One can argue that their system is unjust because the poor may not be able to pay (fair argument, and a strong one in my opinion), but there is not much question in my view that the US has the best medical care in terms of quality if you can pay for it.

      Two more words for you, while we're on the topic of people leaving their native land for better health care: Belinda Stronach.

      • "Belinda Stronach."

        zzzzzzz….

        • Interesting link, thanks.
          Where the argument breaks down, I think, is in the fact that many of those who cross to Mexico for health care are illegal immigrants, and therefore probably afraid they'll get caught if they seek medical attention in California.

          • I'm confused and Krugman is a liberal . Can't trust him .

  12. My best friend is American, and she always had some pre-existing negativity towards the NHS when she first came to Britain, it was not until she had a baby that she realised that all of her prescriptions became free while she was expecting and 6 months afterwards, the consultations with the midwices in state of the art maternity units- free. Actually having the baby and all of the relevant after care, innoculations for the baby and cisits from a health visitor every month to see how everythings going, all free and all to a high standard. I work in a pharmacy, and it till surprises many Americans who have settled over here that prescriptions are free if you are under 16, over 60, or have a long term illness & that no matter what medication you have, even if you have to pay it is £7.20- even for these expensive items we never hand out apparently. Obviously it is a totally different ball game over the pond, but if people went in open minded, might be surprised! It is a fact that many people here travel to the US for groundbreaking treatments as this is the only place they are available, every American citizen deserves access to them too.