My one question for the 37 House Democrats who voted against health care reform because it is too liberal, why are you even Democrats? (Kucinich and Massa claim to have voted "no" because they thought the bill was too conservative.)
I'm not big on party purity tests, but there are something that are so essential that they are at the heart of what it should mean to be a Democrat. Helping those in need, protecting people from the excesses of corporations, universal health care, ending discrimination based on sex, and basic civil rights issues. These things are the foundation of the modern Democratic Party. If you don't believe in them, then what are you even doing on this side of the aisle?
This conservative House health care bill is far to the right of center. It is not the single payer version favored by liberals. It does not even contain a robust public option. In fact, the public option will be restricted to only the small segment of the population that tends to have the hardest time buying insurance. The weakness of the regulation and the lack of government involvement compared to most countries' health care systems is stomach- turning to progressives. The only amendment accepted on the floor (aside from the Republican alternative) was the Stupak amendment. It was the most far-reaching federal restriction placed on a woman's right to choose in decades. It was probably the biggest win for the social conservatives in decades.
At its core, the bill relies on loosely regulated competition between private companies, and tax credits to expand insurance coverage (very stingy tax credits at that). The bill is not only paid for over the next two decades, but would in fact reduce the deficit. The biggest fear among health care reform policy experts is that the bill will fail because it does not go far enough. It is a cheap, deficit-reducing, incremental, market-based health care reform bill. This bill is not liberal, progressive, or moderate. It is an extremely conservative solution to a serious problem that is bankrupting our country.
It has been endorsed by the AMA, AARP, and Consumers Union. If you are willing to vote against this very modest way of achieving one of the longest-held goals of the Democratic party--because it is “too far to the left”--you honestly need to re-examine why you are even a Democrat. How many millions more Americans would the bill need to leave uninsured for it to be conservative enough for you?
2006 and 2008 were wave elections. The Democrats were swept in on a wave of anti-Republicanism, and then on a message of hope and change. In 2010 the wave will ebb, and the loses will be even worse if Democrats fail on a top priority like health care reform. When the tide goes out, don't expect the Democratic base to do anything to prevent you from getting washed out of office.
Below is a list of 37 House Democrats who voted against this very conservative health care reform bill because it was “too liberal.” The link will take you to an analysis of what the bill would have done to help their constituents. (* indicate members who voted for the Stupak amendment but still voted against the over all legislation.)
Herseth Sandlin (SD)