Your morning jolt: DNC chair says ‘Bring back pre-existing conditions’ will make a ‘helluva bumper-sticker’

Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Atlanta. (Associated Press)

Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Atlanta. (Associated Press)

Less than 24 hours after the U.S. House passed a history-making overhaul of the American health care system, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee was in a grungy backroom of the Georgia World Congress Center – watching his salad wilt as one more reporter quizzed him about the implications of health care.

Former Virginia governor Tim Kaine was the keynote of Monday night’s annual state Democratic fund-raiser, which gathered 1,600 or so people into the Tom Murphy Ballroom.

Some excerpts from the backroom interview:

Q: Sunday morning, you were on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Did you know then you had the votes?

Kaine: I was highly confident, but I did not know the outcome. There were still some moving pieces – largely the discussion[s] with Bart Stupak and those who had been with the first round. Those were still ongoing. I was quite optimistic [Sunday] morning, but it was not yet soup, as they say.

Q: CNN has a poll that says 59 percent of Americans oppose the health care bill just passed. What do you tell Georgia Democrats, especially those running for office?

Kaine:When the bill is signed, then certain things happen and people start to see it. The other side has put so much dust in the air that polling generally about health care might say something, but in terms of the particular provisions – look, seniors in Georgia are going to start getting a break on prescription drugs purchases immediately.

Small businesses are going to start to get a tax break immediately to help cover costs that many of them are already incurring, to insure their employees.
Parents will be able to keep their kids on their policy until they’re age 26. That’s a couple months down the road, but that is of huge importance.

And some of the most abusive insurance practices – pre-existing condition, lifetime benefit caps, which push people into bankruptcy – those will be made illegal this year.

There are solid benefits that Americans will see right away. Then they’ll look around and say, “Gosh, the other guy said there would be a death panel.” Well, there isn’t. “They said I’d have to change my doctor. It’d be some bureaucrat telling me who my doctor is.” That’s not happening. So all the bogeyman arguments the other guys created were fiction, and the American public will see that.

I think people will figure out pretty quickly that it was largely insurance industry-generated hype that the Rs were basically shilling, and it was basically inaccurate.

Q: So you’re willing to let Republicans chase repeal of health care legislation?

Kaine: I encourage it. ‘Bring back pre-existing conditions’ is one helluva bumper sticker, if they want to use it. Alf Landon campaigned on repeal of Social Security in 1936….

There were five different committees, there were different committee versions of bills, there were two House bills – it made it easy for the other guys to make stuff up when there were so many different versions. But now there is a bill, there is a law. People will start to experience some of the benefits.

Q: Gov. Sonny Perdue is demanding that all Democrats running for office should be asked whether they favor the Barack Obama/Nancy Pelosi health care system.

Kaine: I think all the Republican candidates should be asked, “Do they want to be nonstop shills for the insurance industry rather than help people solve their health care needs.”

The Democratic party – we’re the problem-solvers. The other guys stood on the sideline, and they threw rocks, and they whipped up all this opposition with money from the insurance industry to help them. They had a chance to constructively participate.

I think there’s going to be clear accountability. The American public is going to reward problem-solvers, and they’re going to punish those who basically decided to – I think it’s almost an abdication of your oath of office, to just decide you’re going to throw rocks.

Q: Will Americans embrace the new health care system by November?

Kaine: I believe it will, for two reasons. First, outside the Beltway, what would be the principle critique you hear of Washington? Partisan language and they won’t do anything. The party in power is willing to act, and willing to act in a tough area. Second, there are these discrete individual benefits that people will see. Both of those will help Democrats. The Washington [that's] gridlocked and nothing happens – that’s not us.

Q: Are you going to celebrate in your speech tonight?

Kaine:Yeah, I’m going to celebrate. Democrats have Social Security, they have Medicaid/Medicare, they have the Civil Rights bills up on the mantle – as things that are really important, that Democrats did. This is going to be one of those, 50 years from now.

Sonny Perdue’s focus on U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) in the health care aftermath should be taken as a sign that Republicans may be targeting the southwest Georgia congressman this year.

Chuck Williams at the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer has this religious tidbit on the topic today:

As Sanford Bishop considered how he would vote on the historic health care legislation Sunday night, the nine-term Democratic congressman turned to his faith.

“I asked myself, ‘What would Jesus do?’” Bishop said Monday afternoon. “I had to come to the conclusion we had the opportunity to get more than 32 million people health insurance. I don’t think he would leave them to fend for themselves.”

That is not the immediate reaction of Mike Keown. a South Georgia Republican and pastor who hopes to take Bishop’s job in November.

“My response when the vote came down was, ‘It’s on now,’” said Keown, pastor of Coolidge (Ga.) Memorial Baptist Church.

Keown, a South Georgia Republican state representative, plans to challenge Bishop for the Second Congressional district seat.

The damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t dilemma for Georgia Democrats was never more clear than in this item from the Savannah Morning News:

This past Saturday afternoon, Congressman John Barrow held a conference call with more than 50 African American faith and community leaders from Savannah and Augusta. The call, which lasted nearly an hour, was to discuss his planned vote against healthcare reform the following day.

Barrow tried to explain his position to the group, who simultaneously made a plea for him to change his mind.

“I want y’all to understand my position, but I don’t expect you to support it or agree with it,” Barrow told the group.

He said the bill failed to include provisions for maintaining health care providers who accept Medicaid in rural areas. The chance that some people in rural areas would lose access to healthcare, for him, outweighed any potential good the bill might have done for those without access to health care or health insurance. He also said the bill will raise taxes on the middle class.

On Monday night, state Rep. Rob Teilhet passed out flyers informing attendees at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner that his primary rival in the attorney general’s race, Ken Hodges, had made a series of campaign contributions to Republican Saxby Chambliss over the years.

“It’s only March, and Teilhet’s already run out of positive things to say about himself. That didn’t take long,” said Hodges spokesman Jonathan Williams.

The Hodges campaign quickly dug up evidence that, in 2003, Teilhet had made a $300 contribution to the congressional campaign of Chuck Clay, the former chairman of the state GOP.

The Teilhet campaign ripostes that there was no Democrat in that race to fill the U.S. House seat left by Johnny Isakson.

State Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ranger), one of 13 candidates chasing the 9th District seat of U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, announced Monday night that he had resigned his House seat in order to qualify for the April 27 special election called by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

78 comments Add your comment

Mike

March 23rd, 2010
9:33 am

The Democrats have just given us unfunded, socialized healthcare. President Obama & rump-smooching Nancy Pelosi are the villian & villianess of America. These idiots must be voted out of office. God help us

Tom

March 23rd, 2010
9:46 am

When GOP Little finally quits squawking, and the sky hasn’t fallen… and people begin to see there is some good in this bill (and it does have its blemishes – as all bills do)….things will really begin to get interesting. It is good that we now have a real bill, instead of hot air. Do we have death panels? No! Are we beginning to ‘trust bust’ the insurance industry monopoly? It’s a start! Will we eventually have a safety net for those who go bankrupt due to illness? Well, eventually!

If the GOP hadn’t gone ‘all in’ to try to destroy the current president, and had participated in the creation of a good health care bill, it would likely have been better. But in a Republic, you have to take what you get from the efforts of the representatives. After all, we do NOT live in a Democracy!

Realist

March 23rd, 2010
10:03 am

The Democrats spending money we don’t have. What if China calls in their loans. It ain’t over until the fat lady sings. Obama and Pelosi are the prime example of arrogance.

Tom Degan

March 23rd, 2010
10:08 am

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, as far as health care in the USA is concerned, this is not the end. Nor is it the beginning of the end. But, perhaps, it is the end of the beginning. The commentators keep reminding us that Theodore Roosevelt was the first president who tried to bring universal health care to the American people. That’s not quite true. The idea didn’t really bear fruit while he was president. In 1912 Roosevelt had been out of office for four years when he attempted to seize the office from William Howard Taft, the man he had picked to succeed him. Once in office, Taft began to dismantle most of the progressive reforms that Teddy had put into place. When he sought the nomination once again, his campaign slogan was “a square deal for every man and every woman in the United States.” Part of the “Square Deal” was health care for all. He arrived at the convention that summer with all the delegates he needed (and then some) to seize the mantle of standard bearer. It was not to be. His party would betray the people by giving the nomination to Taft. They had had enough of Theodore Roosevelt and his progressive reforms. 1912 was the year that the progressive wing of the Republican party died. He was the last great Republican president – the very last.

A generation later TR’s distant cousin Franklin attempted to pick up the torch of universal health care. In his 1944 State of the Union address, he told the American people that his major goal for the post war world was national health insurance. Unfortunately for you and I, FDR did not live to see the war’s end. A film of that speech can be viewed in Michael Moore’s film, Capitalism: A Love Story. It’s out on DVD. We’re talking essential viewing here.

The new health care bill is not perfect – far from it – but as the old Chinese saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” There will be improvements made on it down the years – there absolutely needs to be – but this is a fairly good first step. We’re on our way! The Conservatives will whine, but that’s what they do best. They’ll whine just as they whined when Lyndon signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Just as they whined when Harry Truman desegregated the army in 1947, or when Franklin D. Roosevelt brought Social Security into being in 1935. They’ll whine just like they did when Woodrow Wilson tried to form the League of Nations in 1919 – or when Abraham Lincoln ended the institution of slavery in 1863! They whine a lot. Did you ever notice that?

http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Native Georgian

March 23rd, 2010
10:08 am

Sorry Tom,the chicken little Goopers will just move onto another topic and a new round of bemoaning the coming onslaught of Obama’s socialist revolution. It amazes me that people buy this trash, but I guess this isn’t a new phenomenon.

If the Dems. are politically smart (which more often than not, they’re not), they’ll move quickly to financial reform after they wrap up health care. No other issue has a greater chance to alienate the GOP from middle America. Financial Reform could give the Dems. (and the country) another big win and allow them to contrast themselves with the GOP (which would likely seek watered down reform (i.e. mores disclosures, instead of serious regulatory reform) or oppose reform all together).

Once the mid-term election is behind them, they can tackle additional (hot button) issues like immigration reform, climate change and don’t ask, don’t tell.

Commonsenseagitator

March 23rd, 2010
10:14 am

I love these morons that throw around the words socialist and marxist, most are so ignorant they have no idea what the definitions of those words are they just heard them used by the facists on FOX and the GOP. America will never have to worry about being too intelligent as long as republicans exist, they want their constituents dumb

Dr. Feelgood

March 23rd, 2010
10:14 am

Wonder who will go into medicine now? Should be easy to get into med school these days.

Joe

March 23rd, 2010
10:18 am

The dumbest constituents are always found in the heavily democratic districts. Dems have controlled Congress far more than the repubs. Meanwhile the ghettos continue to grow.

Quantavius

March 23rd, 2010
10:20 am

I be like to thanks yall fo payin’ fo my healthcare and fo my baby’s mama healthcare too. It gone be like Crimma time now. No bills and all the gubament cheese I can eats.

Monroe Burbank

March 23rd, 2010
10:21 am

Mike,

Obviously you are familiar with the version of the health care bill just passed. Would you inform the rest of us how we’ve just been given “socialized” healthcare? The more specifics the better.

Realist,

The Democrats are spending money we don’t have – how does this bill really affect GDP? And also, let us know what the real implications are if China calls in their loans.

Thanks to both of you for the help.

Benton Arsenic

March 23rd, 2010
10:25 am

Thank you, Quantavius. It’s always nice to be reminded that there are still ignorant racists in the world.

The Man

March 23rd, 2010
10:26 am

This bill is socialized b/c my money is being confiscated by the government and redistributed to other people to subsidize their healthcare bills.

morris

March 23rd, 2010
10:30 am

why is that %58 are against health care when polled.But asked about the different benefits.They get %60 approval.Is that crazy or what.

East Lake Ira

March 23rd, 2010
10:39 am

The Man: You are a socialist for making me pay for Roads and National Defense. Moron.

RetiredSoldier

March 23rd, 2010
10:40 am

Morris it is because the people don’t want “the good things” of healthcare to come from the government.

As far as Sanford Bishop is concerned, I don’t live in his district, but for the first time I will give what I can to who ever runs against him. Besides, I doubt his district will survive after redistricting occurs for the 2012 election.

[...] are already talking about him. Landon ran against Social Security, they say. And [...]

You've got to be kidding..

March 23rd, 2010
10:41 am

Commonsenseagitator… before you accuse people of being ignorant, maybe you should invest in a dictionary. Calling FOX and the GOP facists clearly shows that YOU don’t know the definition of the word.

Socialism: a political theory advocating state ownership of industry.

Facist: a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology.

When the government takes over an industry (health care), that is, by definition, Socialist.

When one advocates a strong, authortarian, government, that is Facist.

Look it up.

You've got to be kidding..

March 23rd, 2010
10:43 am

East Lake Ira… and when were road and national defense ever an industry? Socialism is not ANY government spending. It is the government taking over an industry… moron.

You've got to be kidding..

March 23rd, 2010
10:45 am

Morris… it’s simple. The pollsters cherry-pick the few good items in the bill and ask about them, leaving out the other items people object to.

Jane

March 23rd, 2010
10:57 am

If signed today it will take effect in 2014 per all articles to date. So how do you get that the terms of the particular provisions – look, seniors in Georgia are going to start getting a break on prescription drugs purchases immediately. (2014 is not immediately)

Small businesses are going to start to get a tax break immediately to help cover costs that many of them are already incurring, to insure their employees. (yes and then the employees will be paying the difference)
Parents will be able to keep their kids on their policy until they’re age 26. That’s a couple months down the road, but that is of huge importance.

And some of the most abusive insurance practices – pre-existing condition, lifetime benefit caps, which push people into bankruptcy – those will be made illegal this year.

One question: WHERE IS THE MONEY COMING FROM TO PAY FOR THIS PROGRAM? Middle American will be taxed again to take care of this – when are you going to understand that Middle America has been taxed enough.

dec

March 23rd, 2010
11:00 am

I wonder do all the ppl making health care comments really know how healthcare really works? Helath care is abusinees like any other industry! Health care organizaions have to provide services no matter a consumers ability to pay! hospitals are operating in the red and facing decreased reimbursements form the government and insurance companies! As a health care worker I personally want to get paid for the services I render to all people! This health care bill is not perfect but if something wass not done to start working on health care we would be even worse off! And republicians compalin about the bill but offered no assistance in modifying the bill and trying to do something positive for their constituents! Since they are so against the health care bill, why dont they offer their government health care coverage to the American people!

Joe

March 23rd, 2010
11:02 am

http://www.GravesforCongress.org We need this guy to shake things up!

RetiredSoldier

March 23rd, 2010
11:08 am

dec-

You are so wrong, the dems would not consider anything the Reps wanted. The Reps had 80 amendments to the bill that was passed Sunday. Nancy P. ruled each one out of order.

The Reps went almost a year, until that shame meeting in the Blair House, before Obama met with a single rep.

Don’t give the ration of BS the Rep’s didn’t want to play. They were shut out. Period!

CrazyInGA

March 23rd, 2010
11:09 am

They are simple minded, when you approve of 4 items in the bill and you don’t like 2 items. When you like more than half of what is being offered and you decline it because you don’t like 2 is very stupid.

According to most, the only two things they hate is that it mandates that everyone makes the purchase of health insurance and a womans right to choose.

DirtyDawg

March 23rd, 2010
11:11 am

First of all, what passed Sunday and is to become law today, is by no means a government ‘take-over’ of health-care. It’s still, other than Medicare and Medicaid, oh yeah, and the VA, administered by the ‘private’ insurance and health-care industry. At most it has set some, way, overdue rules to reign in insurance companies that have gouged and gouged until we have the ‘most’ expensive, but one of the poorest performing, ’systems’ in the world. And even though the only thing that’s ’socialized’ about this stuff is that portions of the expense is ’shared’ – kinda like our military, and highways, and air-traffic control system, and, well, you get it. Regardless, I’d damn sure rather have ‘unfunded, socialized, health-care’, than ‘unfunded, socialized war’ that kills hundreds of thousands of innocents, renders millions more homeless, ends the lives of thousands more of our military, and will end up costing almost two trillion dollars before it’s through – and that’s just the Iraq part.

Your selfishness and greed may play well with you for now – and with CNN that’s desperately trying to ‘out-faux’ FauxNews, to no avail – but just wait till you need some of this…you’ll be damn glad that today happened.

CrazyInGA

March 23rd, 2010
11:12 am

Retired Soldier you are wrong, they were given more than sufficient opportunity and some of the things listed have been offered in the past (80’s and 90’s) by republicans.

East Lake Ira

March 23rd, 2010
11:21 am

You’ve got to be an idiot: The government is not taking over health care, moron. Just becuase you don’t like something does not make it bad, immoral, illegal, etc. Rather, it shows that you failed reading comprehension. FU

RetiredSoldier

March 23rd, 2010
11:23 am

Am I wrong about the amendments? No Am I wrong about meeting with BO? No Keep believing the Move On talking points and maybe one day you can read revisionist history of the healt care debate.

Tom

March 23rd, 2010
11:25 am

Yes, it is understandable that many folks wonder where the money is coming from, and yes, maybe we will all pay some more taxes. There are serious dangers if we don’t do anything, and benefits if we do.

The largest danger, but the one misunderstood by most, is that if we don’t do anything, and the insurance/healthcare industry continues growing at its current rate – it will totally swamp our economy.

OK, do the math… the industry is 16% of our economy. Or economy is growing… how much? 3-4 % per year? (OK, being conservative here!) Healthcare/insurance costs are growing how much? Let’s say 7% per year. How many years will it take for the insurance industry to own the whole country??? By 2025 the industry will be over 26% of the economy. By 2030 it’ll be one third!!! This is unsustainable, and if we don’t reign it in – the current recession will look like child’s play.

When industries became too large and influential to work as a monopoly (think railroads, electric generation, etc.) in the early part of the 20th century, there was no choice but to reduce their power. The monopoly profits a hundred years ago were excessive, and control on everyone’s daily life was dangerous. This is happening now with healthcare.

Do I like the bill – not totally. Do I think it’s necessary to do something now? Absolutely! We’ve kicked this problem way too far into the future, and the future is now.

East Lake Ira

March 23rd, 2010
11:26 am

RetiredSoldier: Quit feeding at the public trough you welfare-queen!

CJae From East Lake

March 23rd, 2010
11:27 am

In the wake of all the hub bub about the Health Care Reform bill & with the news that U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson is hospitalized I can’t help but wonder to myself how lucky ole Johnny is that he’s not having to risk bankruptcy because of his health complications.

Barney Frank

March 23rd, 2010
11:47 am

East Lake Ira – I agree with you totally. Thanks for promulgating the liberal propaganda on the AJC website. Now get back here in my office and bend over and take what’s coming to you.

RetiredSoldier

March 23rd, 2010
11:47 am

I have a job Ira, in fact own a business. What pray tell do you do for your community? Welfare queen? Nope I’m straight Ira, but thanks for the offer.

Dr. Seymour Bush

March 23rd, 2010
11:49 am

Couldn’t agree more Dr. Feelgood. I guess the people who couldn’t get accepted to med school in the past will have no trouble now.

RetiredSoldier

March 23rd, 2010
11:49 am

Cjae-

You are cold, Johnny is a self made man. If it weren’t for people like him who would pay the tax’s?

RetiredSoldier

March 23rd, 2010
11:50 am

Tom only the liberal talking points advocated doing nothing. Use your own brain for a change.

David S

March 23rd, 2010
11:55 am

Hey Sanford, Jesus would not have given the Romans control over everyone’s health!!! Idiot. Traitor.

Used to be Disgusted

March 23rd, 2010
11:59 am

Just watched the President sign the bill, and, oh boy, does it feel good to defeat the brain-dead, morons that join together to form the repuke party.

Yes, we did!

Jumbo G is the king of conventional thinking

March 23rd, 2010
12:03 pm

WTF is Kaine doing standing infront of some tea-party, Beck-inspired piece of propaganda that has one of the founding father’s name. I thought you libs hate our founding. You know, the rich, slave-owning white men. I bet they didn’t like the gays either. I thought the democrat party detested our racist, bigoted history, Ya’ll don’t want it taught in the schools, even. Let me tell you what is happening, Jumbo G. See the democrat leaders know they are in big time trouble in nov because of Obama’s rigid leftist ideology, and the Obamacare clusterfock. They have decided to copy the media of the tea parties and will try to convince themselves that they are doing some sort of out reach to those indepenents that gave Obama his victory. Those same independents have actually abandoned Obama and have joined the ranks of millions that wish Obama had never been elected. I nguess the ole line is true, Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

RaceCop

March 23rd, 2010
12:04 pm

Used to be… just used the President and boy in the same sentence. He is, no doubt, a racist.

Used to be Disgusted

March 23rd, 2010
12:08 pm

Watching the President sign the bill was like watching the death of Reaganism and all the stupidity that has flowed from the repuke party for all these years.

You all are dead and buried now. Yes, we did.

will

March 23rd, 2010
12:23 pm

Memo to republican politicians who want to “preserve” the individual right to choose whether or not to obtain health insurance:

Will this include a provision that will protect my tax dollars from being spent on free loaders who “choose” to spend their money on other things rather “choosing” to insure their children? Can I “opt out” of my tax dollars being spent on these free loaders when they get sick or have to be hospitalized?

Will their be an acknowledgement form that states something like,”I hereby exercise my freedom to “opt out” of health insurance. I understand that no tax dollars will be used in my behalf in the event medical care is needed for me?

Typical republicans. Just want to preserve the right to free load off of other people’s tax dollars.

morris

March 23rd, 2010
12:39 pm

Think about this for a second.Without mandates you wait untill your wife is 8 months pregnate and then get insurance.A month later after she have the baby you drop the insurance.and this gets repeated over and over.So now can you see the reason.

Therightisevil

March 23rd, 2010
12:39 pm

We should pity the right. They’re out of touch and almost extinct. We’re witnessing their last gasp.

Not Schooled in GA

March 23rd, 2010
12:40 pm

Can I opt out of my car insurance? Why should the govt make me get it?

Tom

March 23rd, 2010
12:40 pm

RetiredSoldier, I did use my brain – used to be an economist. The GOP proposals were unsustainable when you ran the numbers…. and please, if you want to ‘attack’ – go join the teabag party.

hey hey

March 23rd, 2010
12:47 pm

great quote by hodges campaign

morris

March 23rd, 2010
12:53 pm

Why can’t we have civil disagreements with out calling each other names.Retired soldier if not for you we may not have that freedom.But you too must understand we just simply disagree.

Demoman

March 23rd, 2010
12:56 pm

Couple of points:
1. After listening to the Republican congressmen and senators warn us about Government control–Excuse me, they ARE the government. They are governement employees with free government healthcare, just like the military. So pot, stop calling the kettle black.
2. As far as the idea that taxpayers “share the cost” of healthcare–Big Deal! I work with three women who had babies in the past year (wasn’t me), and if you add up their premiums (employer paid and their portion) with their deductibles, their combined contribution doesn’t equal what the insurance company had to pay for one baby–read the cost is SHARED by the rest of us through higher premiums. Besides, who pays a big chunk of your premium? Your employer does.

Eric J. Bowman

March 23rd, 2010
1:02 pm

Government takeover of the health care industry? Socialism? Where?!? My Doctor and his staff are not paid by the State. The equipment in the clinic is not manufactured by State-run corporations. My Pharmacist is not paid by the State, like my Dr. he pays his staff — again, not the State. The prescription medication being prescribed and dispensed is not dictated by the State, nor is it manufactured by a State-run corporation, nor is it dispensed at a State-run Pharmacy.

My health insurance was cancelled several years ago, when I broke my back. Due to this pre-existing condition, I was denied coverage by every private insurance company available to me as a self-employed individual. My only option, in the state where I reside, is government-mandated — but administered and provided by United Health as a monopoly. Even with HCR, my only insurance options are *still* private, i.e. NOT State-owned, companies.

Again I ask, where is this supposed socialist takeover of the health industry? Where is there a shred of evidence supporting State ownership of any aspect of health care, aside from Medicare and Medicaid? What’s unprecedented for America, here, is the entire notion of the State mandating that I pay a private, State-sanctioned monopoly for any product or service.

The proper label for that is *Corporatism* and I sincerely hope HCR’s “mandate” is eventually declared unconstitutional, which is unlikely due to the Corporatist leaning of the Supreme Court. Yes, I’m a civil libertarian.

Corporatism reared its ugly head in the last-minute elimination of the amendment to end the health-insurance antitrust exemption. Because the last thing we need in market-driven Capitalism is (gasp)… competition! The entire HCR bill, instead of being a liberal, single-payer, government-based solution, wound up instead being a conservative, corporatist, market-based solution (remarkably similar to GOP proposals circa ‘94, as well as Romneycare). But how can a market-based solution be _expected_ to work _without_ competition?

So the Democrats’ job is not finished, and celebrations are premature. The House has already passed a bill repealing the antitrust exemption; it’s now up to the Senate to pass similar legislation and get it on Obama’s desk ASAP. Of course, with Reid, this is not likely to happen — he’d sooner consider the nuclear option than consider actually forcing the Republicans to go through with a filibuster. LET THEM filibuster such a bill. The spectacle of Republicans arguing against their alleged core belief in market-based solutions for the sake of obstructing Obama on everything, can only help the Democrats come November. Filibusters can’t be broken unless you try, Mr. Reid.

Silly right-wing deficit-hawking aside (hard to take them seriously, when they never seemed upset with the Gipper for tripling the debt, or the Cheney Shogunate for quadrupling it), China just isn’t all that big an economic threat. We can always stick a cruise missile right up their ass, and by ass I mean Three Gorges Dam. Plenty of advance warning to allow mass evacuations, yet causing tremendous infrastructure and economic destruction knocking them back into the Third World. Probably doing them a favor getting rid of that thing…

America is hardly helpless against any alleged Chinese economic threat. But let’s not be silly — China’s and America’s economies are now so tightly intertwined, that either side waging economic or real war against the other, benefits neither. If China and the U.S. were ever to go to war, both economies would instantly collapse, and we’d no longer be able to borrow the money from China that we use to deficit-fund our gargantuan, insatiable military-industrial complex. It would be the shortest war, and largest folly, in history. Remember, the manufacturing sector that insured our dominance in WWII has been outsourced to China, since. Best we try to be friends, eh?