Pass. The. Damn. Bill.

Pass. The. Damn. Bill. March 17, 2010

Blog_Pass_The_Damn_Bill If you're in favor of expanding access to health care to 30 million people now uninsured …

And/or if you don't think health insurance companies should be allowed to exclude sick people from access to health care …

And/or if you think it shouldn't be legal for health insurers to keep premiums but end contracts when the insured get sick ("rescission," they call it) …

And/or if you'd like to see the federal deficit reduced by $130 billion over the next 10 years and by even more after that …

And/or if you'd like it to be possible for anything at all more to be done to improve America's health care system in the next 10-15 years instead of seeing health care reform again relegated to unmentionable status for at least that long

And/or if you're interested in ever again receiving a raise from your employer instead of watching that raise — and eventually your base salary — get swallowed up by the ever-increasing cost of your health care benefits …

Then please consider making a phone call to your senators and your representative this week.

If you don't know the number, you can look it up in a couple of clicks at Congress.org.

Thank you.

(Image swiped from Mother Jones. I'm fairly sure they won't mind.)

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  • chris y

    Three cheers for Nancy Pelosi, for doing her job as it should be done.
    Two cheers for the bill, for offering a glimmer of hope to a lot of Americans.
    One cheer for President Obama, for not being in Australia at the moment.

  • Seriously, what’s up with the Democrats who voted against it?

  • chris the cynic

    Nate Silver’s number crunching says that the biggest factor seems to be how well Obama did in their their district during the presidential election.
    If Obama got less than 40% of the vote they voted no. Where Obama got from 40% to 49% Democrats voted yes 56% of the time. Where Obama got between 50% and 59% of the vote 93% of Democrats voted yes. Where he got between 60% and 69% of the vote 96% of Democratic Congressmen voted for the bill. Where he got seventy percent of the vote or more all Democrats voted for it.
    This couldn’t be attributed to reelection concerns because this was independent of whether or not they were facing a tough campaign or were almost certain to be reelected.
    Or something like that.
    Article here: http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/03/obamas-share-determined-dems-votes-on.html

  • cyllan

    Seriously, what’s up with the Democrats who voted against it?
    There’s several factors in the Dems who voted against it. Some of them may have just not liked the bill and been impossible to convince. However, some of them may have supported the bill in private, but were given the go-ahead by House Leaders to cast a ‘no’ vote against it publicly so that they wouldn’t get slaughtered in their next election cycle.
    If you only need 216 votes to pass a bill, and you know you have 225 votes, you can tell 5 or so people that they can vote against it in an attempt to get them reelected.

  • A “Stop ObamaCare!” ad is still showing up in the right-hand sidebar on the slacktivist homepage.
    I am ashamed to admit that I’m enjoying the schadenfreude.

  • My state has already* passed a law making the mandate illegal. Federal law trumps state law, but they claim the federal law’s going to be shown to be unconstitutional (and are working with other states on a lawsuit about that), so therefore the state law is the one that should be followed.
    I’m sure we’re not alone; I’m just trying to stay away from healthcare bill news (for my health).
    *Possibly it’s not all the way passed yet, but I’m pretty sure that’s what the radio said; I admit my morning drive-time comprehension isn’t always the best. At any rate, the next year or so is going to be a giant cluster.

  • I am, indeed, having some delicious Victory Cereal this morning, with just a couple spoonfuls of schadenfreude on top.

  • Flying sardines

    @MikhailBorg | Mar 22, 2010 at 08:30 AM :
    I am ashamed to admit that I’m enjoying the schadenfreude.
    I’m not. :-)

  • redcrow

    Good time of day and congradulations to America.

  • Flying sardines

    Ashamed to admit I’m enjoying the Schadenfreude that is.

  • Lee Ratner

    Cat Meadows: The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and no law, federal, state or local, can triumph the Constitution. In theory anyway. After the Constitution, the Federal Government is supreme and when Federal and State or local law conflicts than Federal law always triumphs. So do not worry about Red states trying to pass laws to beat HCR, it won’t work.
    ConsumerUnit: I really love your pic. Its made of win. I’m more than a little sad that HCR is not Medicare for All or that there is no public option, imagine how desperate the Republicans would be then, but even a small victory is still victory.
    David Frum had a post yesterday on his blog on how the Republicans created their own Waterloo by trying to make healthcare reform into Obama’s waterloo. He’s right, this is going to be a massive defeat for the Republican Waterloo. The Democratic base, besides a few Progressive purists, are being energized by the passage of HCR and is getting ready to gear up for the midterm elections. Meanwhile, the Republican base is probably going to be very demotivated because after months of battle against HCR, and they did wage a good battle, they lost. If Obama and the Democratic Party can pass a reasonably good bill reregulating the financial markets than the Democratic base will be even more enthusiastic and the Republican base more demotivated. The mideterms are not going to be the slaughter predicted by conservatives and progressive purists. Hip, hip hooray.
    I’m a little sad that the old political traditions of Tammany Hall died. During the old days, when there was a massive Democratic victory in the elections, brooms would be placed at the entrances of houses and apartments in New York City to represent a clean sweep. I think the last time this occured was the election of Al Smith to the governorship of New York so it was a very long time ago. But imagine how angry the Republicans would be if this political tradition survived and they were created across America with brooms greeting the entrance of practically every house and apartment building.

  • The Democratic base, besides a few Progressive purists, are being energized by the passage of HCR and is getting ready to gear up for the midterm elections.
    Oh man, more elections?
    How does the American government ever get anything done?

  • Kit: A freak combination of circumstances, really. ;)
    In other news, checking my Facebook is both happy and depressing today. Happy because, well, health care bill. Depressing because a lot of people whose politics I wasn’t sure of are commenting…and there’s nothing so heartbreaking as a cute guy turning out to be conservative. The words “tragic waste” just spring to mind.

  • Will Wildman

    Kit: Oh man, more elections?
    How does the American government ever get anything done?

    I don’t know how stable the British Parliament is, but here in Canada, the omnipresent threat of elections is how our current Conservative minority government gets things done. PM Harper makes everything a confidence vote, so that the other parties get to choose between 1: doing what he wants or 2: forcing an election.
    And we’ve had four in the last nine years. Agh. Basically, no one wants to have another right now unless they’re really sure they can kick out Harper and win a majority government.

  • Launcifer

    I don’t know how stable the British Parliament is, but here in Canada, the omnipresent threat of elections is how our current Conservative minority government gets things done.

    Heh, we’ve had a guy ruling without a mandate for nearly three years and I fully expect him to attempt to continue with a minority government if there’s a hung parliament. It’s not stability such as ‘ignorance of reality’.
    Srsly, though, we tend to get things done on the basis that we have an elected dictatorship in roughly five year cycles. The first past the post system normally guarantees that there’s a majority.

  • I don’t know how stable the British Parliament is
    Elections every fourish years, no midterms, no limit on the number of times a Prime Minster can be re-elected, no Vice-Prime Minister. (There are local elections, but those don’t affect Parliament.) Long enough that it’s not uncommon to get a change of government on the grounds that the majority of people are bored with the last one, which is what I fear lurks around the corner of our next election, because Labour may have a lot of tools in its ranks but the Tories are a gallery of gargoyles. Cynicism, disgust and habit seem to occupy the places that passion/hysteria occupy in the States.

    there’s nothing so heartbreaking as a cute guy turning out to be conservative
    Have you considered bribing him with favours – maybe one per every good liberal book he reads or law he votes for? Think of the fun you could have!

  • Launcifer

    Labour may have a lot of tools in its ranks but the Tories are a gallery of gargoyles.

    Actually, my great fear for the next election, specifically concerning the Conservatives, is that Cameron looks very much like a re-run of Blair, right down to the soundbyte-heavy, no-policy speechmaking. I can cope with “we need to look at the books to be sure, but this is what we want to do”, but I baulk at “we haven’t looked at the books, so ask us again when we’re elected”. Then again, that might still be preferable to Brown’s tra-la-laing on the economy, though if his skipping to bankruptcy puts Labour out of power for twenty years and forces the party to come up with realy, y’know, policies, then I’m all for it.
    Hell, apathy’s really kicked in now, because I don’t see any difference between the two major parties, well, except that one’s pretending it isn’t just as well-educated as the other for the sake of its traditional support base. I don’t think I’d even vote if it wasn’t for the fact my grandfather would probably throttle me from beyond the grave.

  • @Launcifer – yes, I’m pretty cynical about what we have on offer, though I think I’ll end up voting tactically for whoever seems likeliest to defeat the Tories in my area because, well, I remember what the Tories were like last time. I’ll be cursing Blair as I do it, though.

  • Tonio

    As an American with a strong interest in history, sometimes I forget that “Tories” refers to more than just the British loyalists during our Revolution. Quick joke – what breed of hen did the revolutionaries use to sniff out redcoat sympathizers?

  • Launcifer

    Kit: And I’ve also just discovered that my current MP is not the person I voted against in the last election, despite my not having moved one inch. Damned constituency changes.

  • Launcifer

    Tonio: I don’t know – which?

  • Will Wildman

    Elections every fourish years, no midterms, no limit on the number of times a Prime Minster can be re-elected, no Vice-Prime Minister. (There are local elections, but those don’t affect Parliament.) Long enough that it’s not uncommon to get a change of government on the grounds that the majority of people are bored with the last one

    See, in theory that’s exactly what Canada’s got, except for the ‘every fourish years’ bit, because we’ve been in some kind of biennial-election frenzy since 2004. I think a lot of people expect another one this year, depending on how much fallout starts landing on the PM for his sleazy tactics. Two years in a row he’s just shut parliament down for three months because there were big issues coming up and making him unpopular. He used the Olympics as a diversion, but if the Liberals are intelligent, they can bring him down now like a German Shepherd trying to climb the curtains.
    We too have the notion that ‘Canadians don’t vote a party into power, they vote the last guy out’. Except that one time it was a woman. She lasted, what, six months, and was quite unimpressive at her job, but I still think I’d take her over Harper. (I would take Yog-Sothoth over Harper if he had a good infrastructure renewal program.)
    Sample sleaze: since taking power four years ago, Harper’s forbidden any of his party members from speaking to the media unless authorised. He has to do this, because his Cabinet is made almost entirely from lunatics. His solution is small-scale authoritarian oppression. I maintain that the simplest way of booting out the Conservatives would be to demand that Harper lift his ban for two weeks and let his ministers speak freely. Air out the madness, so to speak. It’s been so long since we had proper material with which to mock Stockwell Day.

  • Launcifer

    Sample sleaze: since taking power four years ago, Harper’s forbidden any of his party members from speaking to the media unless authorised.

    How did he manage to do that? I mean, I know we’ve had situations over here where various departments (especially the Treasury) refused to communicate with 10 Downing Street during Blair’s tenure – purely on the grounds that Blair’d leak pretty much anything – but I can’t quite wrap my mind around the idea that it’s possible to muzzle an entire cabinet. I don’t know whether I should be impressed or appalled.

  • Tonio

    Launcifer,
    The answer to “What breed of hen did the revolutionaries use to sniff out redcoat sympathizers?” is Chicken Catch-a-Tory. (Ba-du-bum. Thank you, I’ll be here all week.)

  • Will Wildman

    How did he manage to do that? I mean, I know we’ve had situations over here where various departments (especially the Treasury) refused to communicate with 10 Downing Street during Blair’s tenure – purely on the grounds that Blair’d leak pretty much anything – but I can’t quite wrap my mind around the idea that it’s possible to muzzle an entire cabinet. I don’t know whether I should be impressed or appalled.

    Go with ‘appalled’. It’s really quite blatant – he told his Cabinet that they couldn’t talk to the media. He’s exactly power-mad enough to think this is acceptable, and would presumably boot them out of their ministry and onto the back bench if they step out of line. And they are largely sheep who don’t like being blamed for things, so they do it. And the media is insufficiently pushy to keep trying to get one of them to crack.
    It’s not like this is a bad move for Harper if he can get it to work – his Minister for Public Safety (Stockwell Day) is a man whose early campaigns for political power were demolished by a single talented comedian (Rick Mercer). Day said he wanted to have referendums on ANY petition that could get 50,000 signatures. Mercer collected something like 75K signatures on a petition that would require, by act of parliament, that Stockwell Day change his first name to Doris. Day said “Okay, ‘ha ha ha’, I didn’t think that through, so plainly we’d need more like 100K.” Mercer got something like 150K. “Okay, so obviously it has to be a lot…” Mercer’s response was a cheerful “Give us the number, Mr Day! We will match it!”
    Good times.

  • Kit: Ooh, good point! Using my powers for Good? Intriguing idea. ;)

  • Lori

    Oh man, more elections?
    How does the American government ever get anything done?

    It doesn’t, or at least not as much as it would if we had elections less frequently. That’s a feature, not a bug. The Founding Fathers had a serious fear of government power.

  • Flowers

    Congratulations to all of you in the US!

  • It doesn’t, or at least not as much as it would if we had elections less frequently. That’s a feature, not a bug. The Founding Fathers had a serious fear of government power.
    How did Bush manage to get so much done, then?

  • How did Bush manage to get so much done, then?
    By ignoring any part of American governmental structure he found inconvenient to his goals, and declaring things were “done” that really weren’t?

  • By ignoring any part of American governmental structure he found inconvenient to his goals, and declaring things were “done” that really weren’t?
    But how did he get away with that? Why didn’t his bills tangle up in the machinery?
    Please tell me the answer isn’t ‘Because most Democrats are a bunch of wimps’…
    And come to that, if he did get stuff done by passing laws that aren’t legally valid, could Obama simply declare them all as such? It would be a time-saver, after all.

  • Mark Z.

    How did Bush manage to get so much done, then?
    He had entropy on his side. Breaking things and hurting people is easier than fixing things and helping people.

  • Mercer’s response was a cheerful “Give us the number, Mr Day! We will match it!”
    I rather love the fact that Day clearly suspected, should the matter come to a referendum, that the electorate would vote for him to change his name to Doris.

  • Launcifer

    I rather love the fact that Day clearly suspected, should the matter come to a referendum, that the electorate would vote for him to change his name to Doris.

    I don’t think there’s many self-respecting people who’d be able to vote against something like that. If nothing else, it’s one of those delightfully barking moments that makes politics worth pondering with anything but an air of weary resignation.

  • I don’t think there’s many self-respecting people who’d be able to vote against something like that. If nothing else, it’s one of those delightfully barking moments that makes politics worth pondering with anything but an air of weary resignation.
    Plus, of course, it would be making a valid political point that needs to be remembered in a democracy: there is such a thing as a majority with a stupid idea. That’s why we’re supposed to have legislation for minority rights.
    Putting a politician in a minority of one might be a useful object-lesson for him.

  • Why didn’t his bills tangle up in the machinery? Please tell me the answer isn’t ‘Because most Democrats are a bunch of wimps’…
    I can’t back up such a statement, so I won’t make it. Anecdotally, though, it seemed that anytime someone with political power was in a position to say, “Er, now hang on a minute, there,” they passed on the opportunity.

  • Lori

    How did Bush manage to get so much done, then?

    A few things—
    9/11—people are inclined to go along w/whatever the guy in charge says when they’re in shock and frightened and that got him a lot of slack he would not otherwise have gotten
    The GOP always has an advantage over the Dems in terms of controlling all 3 branches because the GOP has party discipline and the Dems demonstrably do not
    Any time Bush didn’t think the GOP-controlled Congress had given him exactly everything he wanted he simply issued a “signing statement” declaring that he was going to do exactly as he pleased
    He did a lot of stuff in secret
    He should have been impeached for item 4 (and possibly for item 3) but wasn’t, mostly because of item 1.
    It’s also worth noting that almost everything Bush did was done before the 2008 mid-term election when the GOP lost control of Congress. IOW, once the 9/11 panic had worn off frequent elections went back to being a brake on presidential power.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    @Lori – 2006 elections, not 2008. But yeah.
    @kit – I know you didn’t want to hear it, but “Because the Democrats are spineless wimps” is actually a pretty good explanation for a LOT of things in American politics. Us “progressives” pretty much had to attach jumper cables to the Dems to get THIS healthcare bill.

  • Jeff

    [[Day said he wanted to have referendums on ANY petition that could get 50,000 signatures.]]
    We need to have a referendum like that here in Calfornia. It **might** slow down the really stupid referendums we get.
    ====================
    Lori:
    [[9/11—people are inclined to go along w/whatever the guy in charge says when they’re in shock and frightened and that got him a lot of slack he would not otherwise have gotten]]
    9/11 also gave scum and slime the pretext to call anyone who didn’t agree with Bush about ANYTHING traitors (they said that they “emboldened the enemy” among other things). Including vets just back from Iraq. And the stupid Republicans (and the media) let them get away with it.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Jeff: 9/11 also gave scum and slime the pretext to call anyone who didn’t agree with Bush about ANYTHING traitors (they said that they “emboldened the enemy” among other things). Including vets just back from Iraq. And the stupid Republicans (and the media) let them get away with it.
    The Republicans didn’t “let” them get away with it.
    The Republicans* actively aided and abetted that cryptofascist bullshit.
    * (I’m sure there were individual Republicans desperately trying to speak out against what they correctly saw as cultish behavior, but they were drowned out by the screaming hordes.)

  • Jeff

    [[The Republicans didn’t “let” them get away with it.]]
    I was speaking more about the “rank-and-file”. That’s why I distinguished between the slime (Congress-critters) and other Republicans, who were more “ditto-heads” than active participants in the sliming. The TeaBaggers have turned that corner — they’re front and center in the sliming.

  • Izzy, you might consider getting one of those “I don’t fuck Republicans” T-shirts. I tried googling for one, but ended up with links to places whose political shirts all seemed to be the worst sort of Teabagger crap.

  • Pius Thicknesse

    * (I’m sure there were individual Republicans desperately trying to speak out against what they correctly saw as cultish behavior, but they were drowned out by the screaming hordes.)

    Makes me wonder about those Repubs that abstained on one of the two votes the House had.

  • So they passed this thing. Does any feel better? I don’t and I certainly don’t think my health will improve due to legislation. I wonder what new red tape will be hatched with this thing.