It's Alive

Thursday, February 18, 2010
Time to grab the pitchforks? Are the torches ready? No. No. No. The monster is not at our gates. For the moment, it is but a rumor.

Once again, Keith Olbermann is touting the Public Option. Eleven, count ‘em, eleven US Senators want to put the Public Option back on the table and then pass it by reconciliation. Who are these eleven senators? Please, you already know.

Which US Senators make up the reliable left, the team that can always be counted on to see only one side of every issue? Let’s say them together in alphabetical order:

Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Roland Burris (D-IL)
Diane Feinstein (D-CA)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
John Kerry (D-MA)
Pat Leahy (D-VT)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

To be fair, there are an equal number, or possibly even more, US Senators who are incapable of seeing anything but the other side of every issue. The reliable right is just as much a problem as the above group.

Mr. Olbermann and guests quickly delineated the problems with our current health care system. There are a large number of uninsured and underinsured Americans. All problems would be resolved with the Public Option. Can’t you just imagine it? As it is currently designed, the Public Option will lower the deficit, cover the masses, cure cancer, and guarantee that your home team will win the World Series.

Cue the movie clip. Details? We don’t need no stinking details. OK, enough fun, back to work.

There are no details, no real numbers, no real world plans. My past post provided a comprehensive explanation of the specific benefits of Medicare, a program designed to pay most, but nowhere near ALL, of the costs of medical care. A plan that does not cover prescriptions, a senior citizen with just Medicare is woefully underinsured. Yet with all of these holes, Medicare is still underfunded. Before we create a new Public Option, shouldn’t we first fix the current one?

The Rachel Maddow Show follows Count Down with Keith Olberman on MSNBC. Her thrust was that there was no reason to worry about the Republicans. The other party is simply not going to help. Unfortunately, she may be correct. One can spend all day listing the flip-flops of Senators as esteemed as Orrin Hatch and Charles Grassley. The reconciliation issue doesn’t bother me.

I don’t mind the use of power. My concern is what the use of power gets us. Ms. Maddow’s guest last night was Senator Bernie Sanders. He was almost frothing at the mouth at the prospect of passing this massive change to our health care system by a simple majority. He was shouting out his wish list for other reforms that could be attached to the bill. Why stop at health care? In less than two minutes he offered education reform (more $), housing reform (more $), and, well you get the idea.

What was never discussed, two shows in a row, was a single detail about this mythical Public Option. Can such a plan really work? Who knows? But if it would guarantee an Indians World Series victory, I want to hear more.