One City

One City


Senate Committee Passes Health Care Reform Bill

posted by Jerry Kolber

by Jerry Kolber

What the hell happened to health care reform? It turns out that not only is Barack Obama not some sort of savior, messiah, or angel, as his post-election pre-office halo seemed to suggest, he is also not even able to push a clear mandate for comprehensive health care reform through congress – Harry Reid must now shepherd the health care reform bill through another series of compromises and deals before it gets near the President.  And the President must deal with a Republican congress whose political mandate seems to be to respond to anything from the White House with “I’m rubber you’re glue, anything you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.” 

On the day Obama took office, wars didn’t end, the sick didn’t miraculously heal, falling profits didn’t turn into showers of gold, polluted rivers didn’t start shimmering with fish and sunlight.  Heck, he didn’t even make good on his promise to ” have the
[health reform] negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making
arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments
on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.” Meh, fail. 

But how did this happen? How did we go from tremendous momentum for the plan the president proposed to a swampy soupy bill of watered down intentions?



The Republicans have done a truly magnificent job of co-opting the
health insurance debate on behalf of the insurance companies profits,
convincing many people who are smart enough to know better that: “Not
only will killing the public health insurance option keep more money in
your pocket (benefit), it will also keep Obama from killing your
grandma (clobber the competition).” It’s a perfect advertising slogan –
the benefit of OUR product and why THEIR’S sucks.  And short enough to
be Twittered, no less. 

Meanwhile, freshmen Rep. Alan Grayson
of Florida offered the only Democratic version of such beautifully
crafted propaganda: to paraphrase him, “The Republican health care plan
is for you to not get sick. And if you do get sick, they want you to
die quickly.”  While not quite right speech, at least he got the
clobber the competition part right.  He failed to offer the benefit of
the Democrats plan, though, so even as the media breathlessly reported
the shocking discovery of an actual set of balls in the Democratic
party, he didn’t get even fifteen whole minutes of fame.

The Republicans continue to apparently have God on their side (many
referring to the GOP as God’s Only Party), though last time I checked
God is not a Republican. God also mentioned in a few books he wrote
that taking care of the least among us is a top priority for good Jews
and Christians, so that would seem to make a moral imperative of actual
affordable universal health care.  Heck, I don’t need God to tell me
that doing whatever it takes to make sure that people can just go to a
fucking doctor is the right thing to do.  We’re not talking about how
to give people free ice cream. It’s freakin’ health care. 

Of course, I haven’t read every last word of scripture, so maybe there’
s a chapter coming up about how God’s chosen people are the insurance
companies. Or maybe God is on vacation from the Republican party. 
Maybe right now GOP stands for God’s Out Partying, or maybe God just
took a break from the Republicans to see if he can fashion a new spine
for the Democrats.

But here’s the problem. As a  Buddhist (or frankly, anyone with a
well-developed sense of personal place in the world) I can’t point over
there and say “See, those people over THERE are why we are the only
industrialized nation without a simple, straightforward and fair system
of health care.” There is no Republican or Democratic party – there are
just people who identify with those parties, and then coalesce around
the most vocal members of those party’s agendas. There’s me. So, I have
to ask myself these questions:
  How does our intentions and desires overcome a handful of lobbyists with a whole lot of cash?
On a personal level, what I am doing on behalf of health care?
Am I taking care of my own health and the health of those around me,
even (or especially) the physical and mental health of people I don’t
know?
What have I done today, right now, to end sickness and suffering and violence in my own corner of the world?
How many wars, on how many fronts, am I personally waging right now?  (answer: a lot more than two…)
What would it take to end those wars?  
What would a healthy, non-violent, spiritually mature life look like for me?

But then I come back to right now, and one guy with big ears who did a
whole lot of listening and a whole lot of talking. So, listen up Prez.
This ain’t Chicago. You don’t know yet who your friends are and who
your enemies are. But we elected you because you promised.  Right now,
you’re still coasting on good willl and a decent popularity rating. 
You’ve still got a little more than 75% of your term left to accomplish
100% of what you said you would.  Start talking again in the same
clear, meaningful, actionable, direct language that made us believe in
you last year.

Because otherwise, you could end up just being another Jimmy Carter, only without the big peanuts.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(19)
post a comment
Tony

posted October 14, 2009 at 2:20 pm


I’m actually pretty happy with the health reform bill that’s about to get passed. As it stands right now, it stops insurance companies from doing dirty things like dropping people with pre-existing conditions, it expands coverage and helps the poor pay for insurance, and it’ll have either state-level public options, or a national opt-out public option (where states can choose not to participate), so that’s a big win for the progressives. Plus it cuts the projected deficit by $80B, which is a big win cause medicare was pushing our country towards bankruptcy (and still is). And how short is your memory? six months ago the economy was on the verge of the next great depression, and now the economy has stabilized. Are you not going to give the Obama administration any credit for that? Plus Iraq’s now going through the biggest military draw down in U.S. history, but that gets overlooked too. But I do think that people tend to over-emphasize the power of the presidency. In terms of foreign policy Obama has a lot of power. In terms of legislation, all he can do is veto and be a cheerleader. He doesn’t even have a vote. So if legislation’s not getting passed quick enough for you, how about blaming the senate (who seems to be the roadblock right now)?



report abuse
 

JC

posted October 14, 2009 at 3:16 pm


this really sums it up perfectly from my vantage point. Thanks for your grounded, exceptionally well-thought out perspective. Whenever I read something I truly love on this blog, it always turns out to be Jerry. don’t know you, but I sure appreciate your remarkable mind. Thanks again.



report abuse
 

Jerry Kolber

posted October 14, 2009 at 4:44 pm


Thanks JC – always nice to hear something like that and nice to meet you.
Tony – considering how much of a olive branch has already been handed to the insurance companies (and frankly, there’s a lot of “be careful what you wish for” inherent in some of what they’ve asked for) I’m not very optimistic about this reform. But I am optimistic about my own reform.



report abuse
 

Gail

posted October 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm


Thanks for your perspective, Tony. I wholeheartedly agree with what you wrote and couldn’t have said it better.
I think President Obama is doing a wonderful job. His sincerity, intelligence and compassion is genuine. Even though the Democrats may have 60 seats (including the Blue Dogs who really aren’t Democrats), that is not enough to support much of what Barack Obama is trying to accomplish. My only hope is that the Progressives gain more seats next year so that our wonderful President gets rid of the ridiculous Republican roadblocks.



report abuse
 

M.Munden

posted October 14, 2009 at 7:46 pm


What you have to say is over shadowed by curse words. If you do not have the sense to have a broad enough vacabulary to express yourself with profanity then in my book you are just plain dumb.



report abuse
 

T.Tobin

posted October 14, 2009 at 8:18 pm


Thank you for reminding me abuot the C-SPAN promise. I am severely disheartened by that failure. And what about “Google Government”…I love Obama’s promises, every last one. Waiting on the deliveries.
As for the legislation, as Tony above said, the President has little power, and frankly I think he’s remaining optimistic in the face of backpedaling by his own party.
For God’s sake if we’re going to let the Republicans and Insurance companies shout louder than us (the majority) then perhaps we deserve another kick in the ass.
As for cursing…theres a time and a place, and this is TOTALLY appropriate. It was used for emphasis and very sparingly. It does NOT overshadow the well articulated opinion of the article.
Munden, why dont you pick on people for using gratuitous smileys, for to you I say :P::: (PPPHHHHBBBBTTT) LOL



report abuse
 

Jerry Kolber

posted October 15, 2009 at 7:05 am


M Munden,
I look forward to the release of your book, in which I am “just plain dumb”. Right now, I am five flavors of dumb, and it’s getting complicated.
Thanks
Jerry



report abuse
 

Mike

posted October 15, 2009 at 1:08 pm


I am a health insurance agent in Utah and run two websites that sell insurance http://www.benefitsmanager.net and http://www.dentalinsuranceutah.com. I mention this because in Utah it would be great to have a guaranteed public option to put people that the private insurers will decline for health conditions. Plus the way Weiner discribes the public option, it will be priced competitively. So what this means in my industry (I’ve been at it 18 years) is that all my unhealthy clients that get charged more or declined can be put onto the public option now. All my healthy clients can stay on the private option. Hmmmmm follow me yet???? How long can the public option stay affordable?? Who is going to pay for the losses of a big sick pool of people….taxpayers?????



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted October 15, 2009 at 1:46 pm


Our president has gone through an amazing transition…. he had to go from being an idealistic junior senator on the campaign trail, spouting all those WORDS so many wanted to hear in order to get elected, to a sober faced elected president who had been fully breifed by the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, a man who was made fully aware of the way things in Washington REALLY were. Yes, he had a vast 143 days as a Senator to fall back on for experience, and the ever- eloquent Joe Biden to assist him in foreign policy, but did he really think it was going to be that easy? I think the weeks following his inauguration were some of the toughest of his entire life.
For those who say the economy has stabilized, please remember we haven’t even passed healthcare reform yet, and the impact this is going to have on our economy hasn’t even begun to show itself. At least one sixth of our ecomomy will go into this bill, never mind the hits Medicare and who knows what other programs will suffer. And let’s not forget the looming increase in unemployment which we have to pay for in the form of unemployment benefits, lost pensions, health insurance, etc. And don’t forget the inevitable cycle of inflation that follows recession and depression. Oh, and don’t forget Cap and Trade….remember how the president said our energy bill will necessarily skyrocket? … like, he totally foresaw this and we just better get ready to accept it. When this president talks about what he should do in Afghanistan, she only need look up his campaign speeched to know what to do…. he said Iraq was a ‘war of choice’ but the war in Afghanistan is a ‘war of necessity’. So why the hesitation providing more troops to a general on the ground telling you the Taliban is gaining ground while more troops are being killed? The growing threat in Iran looms as we pull away in Iraq, and the region is getting more undtable by the day. I think we would do better moving away from blaming the ‘Democrats’ or blaming the ‘Republicans’. A house divided will fall upon itself, and in this case, those who would harm America are the real enemies. Face it… the president is NOT going to be able to delover all his campaign promises no matter how much Michael Moore threatens, and I think our president has realized he just might have to be as bipartisan as he promised during his campaign speeches.
The Progressive Party is just another mechanism constructed over the years to implement the transformation of this country from a Republic to a socialist state. No matter what you say, the president didn’t win the election by a landslide, and there are growing numbers of people who are discovering they aren’t getting what they thought they voted for. What really bothers me is that the people voting for healthcare reform, BY THEIR OWN ADMISSION haven’t even read nor do they intend to read the thing before they vote on it. Not only that, they don’t plan to make the final forms of these bills available to the public for the 72 hours previously promised so citizens can at least try to register approval or disapproval with their respective legislation. And yes, there are those who really do want to understand it before it’s voted on… and yes, it IS that important. So much for transparency.



report abuse
 

Vixen

posted October 15, 2009 at 2:47 pm


First of all, since when did we have a Republican congress?? That was pretty funny because we’ve had a Democratic majority there for nearly three years. You can’t keep blaming the Republicans for everything. A Republican MANDATE??? Haaaaa! Does “Madame Speaker Pelosi’ ring a bell? And by the way, you were right in saying the White House isn’t Chicago, but in case you didn’t notice, the president seems to have brought a lot of ‘Chicago’ to the WH in the forms of paid ‘czars’ to advise him. Their ranks include more than a few people who have openly admitted to promoting radical socialist, even communist ideology. Van Jones is no longer there, but maybe these people should have been vetted a little more thoroughly.
Our president has gone through an amazing transition…. he had to go from being an idealistic young man on the campaign trail, spouting all those WORDS so many wanted to hear in order to get elected, to a sober faced elected president who had been fully breifed by the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, a man who was made fully aware of the way things in Washington REALLY were. Yes, he had a vast 143 days as a Junior Senator to fall back on for experience, and the ever- eloquent Joe Biden to assist him in foreign policy, but did he really think it was going to be that easy? I think the weeks following his inauguration were some of the toughest of his entire life. For those who say the economy has stabilized, please remember we haven’t even passed healthcare reform yet, and the impact this is going to have on our economy hasn’t even begun to show itself. At least one sixth of our ecomomy will go into this bill, never mind the hits Medicare and who knows what other programs will suffer. And let’s not forget the looming increase in unemployment which we have to pay for in the form of unemployment benefits, lost pensions, health insurance, etc. And don’t forget the inevitable cycle of inflation that follows recession and depression. Oh, and don’t forget Cap and Trade….remember how the president said our energy bills will necessarily skyrocket? … like, he totally foresaw this and we just better get ready to accept it. When this president talks about what he should do in Afghanistan, he only need look up his campaign speeches to know what to do; just what he promised on the trail…. he said Iraq was a ‘war of choice’ while the war in Afghanistan is a ‘war of necessity’, one we had to ‘win’. So why the hesitation providing more troops to a general on the ground telling him the Taliban is gaining ground while more troops are being killed? The growing threat in Iran looms as we pull away in Iraq. Insurgent activity is of course increased, and the region is getting more unstable by the day. I think we would do better moving away from blaming the ‘Democrats’ or blaming the ‘Republicans’. A house divided will fall upon itself, and in this case, those who would harm America are the real enemies. Face it… the president is NOT going to be able to deliver all his campaign promises no matter how much Michael Moore and others threaten. I think our president has realized he just might have to be as bipartisan as he promised during his campaign speeches. The Progressive Party is just another mechanism constructed over the years to implement the transformation of this country from a Republic to a socialist state. No matter what you say, the president didn’t win the election by a landslide, and there are growing numbers of people who are discovering they aren’t getting what they thought they voted for. What really bothers me is that the people voting for healthcare reform, BY THEIR OWN ADMISSION haven’t even read nor do they intend to read the thing before they vote on it. Not only that, they don’t plan to make the final forms of these bills available to the public for the 72 hours previously promised so citizens can at least try to register approval or disapproval with their respective legislation. And yes, there are those who really do want to understand it before it’s voted on… and yes, it IS that important. The question remains, is this transparency or just another empty jug?
(Sorry for the repeat, but the edited text didn’t come through and part of the original was omitted )



report abuse
 

Joan

posted October 16, 2009 at 12:50 am


Jerry: did I mention that you’re a fucking genius? Well you are.
(expletive included for emphasis, as well as for M. Munden, who needs to lighten up a bit–and on that topic, there is nothing more refreshing than a nice raw “bad word” delicately tossed [or kinetically dropped, either way] into any intelligent argument. NC-17 or even PG-13 rated double entendres are also a highly welcome condiment in crafting enticing opinion pieces, regardless of the topic, but I digress.)
anyhow, I’ve been reading your website, and it’s both profound and inspirational and gives me no excuses for not working on the variety of creative projects I keep on hold due to that “imaginary audience” in my ego that hyper-critiques every creative action I take. You are unwittingly like a good friend to me, and I don’t even know you….so all I can do is say thanks, and rest assured that there are probably alot of other people out there just like me who can’t get enough of your clear mind. keep up the phenomenal work.



report abuse
 

The HCG Diet

posted November 13, 2009 at 8:11 am


Cool Post! Very informative dude. I saw this site while browsing and think it may be relevant http://www.pharmacyescrow.com/hcg-diet.aspx . Keep up the good work!



report abuse
 

shurceneunk

posted May 16, 2010 at 8:56 am

shurceneunk

posted May 16, 2010 at 9:34 am

shurceneunk

posted May 16, 2010 at 10:04 am

Pharme107

posted August 24, 2010 at 1:31 am


Hello! cdbabce interesting cdbabce site!



report abuse
 

Pharma105

posted August 24, 2010 at 1:33 am


Hello! debbkde interesting debbkde site!



report abuse
 

Pharmk67

posted September 25, 2010 at 3:21 pm


Hello! akdefba interesting akdefba site!



report abuse
 

buy hcg

posted November 16, 2010 at 6:18 pm


I wonder what this change is going to mean for all of those people who are trying to buy hcg? Will it make it more tough or will it make it easier for it to be approved? Will insurance cover diets?



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting One City. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Most Recent Buddhist Story By Beliefnet Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!

posted 2:29:05pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Mixing technology and practice
There were many more good sessions at the Wisdom 2.0 conference this weekend. The intention of the organizers is to post videos. I'll let you know when. Here are some of my notes from a second panel. How do we use modern, social media technologies — such as this blog — to both further o

posted 3:54:40pm May. 02, 2010 | read full post »

Wisdom 2.0
If a zen master were sitting next to the chief technical officer of Twitter, what would they talk about? That sounds like a hypothetical overheared at a bar in San Francisco. But this weekend I saw the very thing at Soren Gordhamer's Wisdom 2.0 conference — named after his book of the same nam

posted 1:43:19pm May. 01, 2010 | read full post »

The Buddha at Work - "All we are is dust in the wind, dude."
"The only true wisdom consists of knowing that you know nothing." - Alex Winter, as Bill S. Preston, Esq. in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure"That's us, dude!" - Keanu Reeves, as Ted "Theodore" LoganWhoa! Excellent! I've had impermanence on my mind recently. I've talked about it her

posted 2:20:00pm Jan. 28, 2010 | read full post »

Sometimes You Find Enlightenment by Punching People in the Face
This week I'm curating a guest post from Jonathan Mead, a friend who inspires by living life on his own terms and sharing what he can with others.  To quote from Jonathan's own site, Illuminated Mind: "The reason for everything: To create a revolution based on authentic action. A social movemen

posted 12:32:23pm Jan. 27, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.