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August 20, 2007


Because all you have to do is go to an emergency room, according to the idiot-in-charge.

Bush has, obviously, never been to an emergency room for treatment when he hasn't been a VIP. I know people - I've done it myself - who will put off necessary treatment for non-life-threatening conditions to avoid spending several hours in the ER waiting room while they deal with gunshot and auto accident victims. (Then *you* get to deal with the bills for it.)

SCHIP is a whole lot less expensive than that kind of care. Bush, unfortunately, doesn't care.


It's important to look at the entire range of White House and Republican attacks on health over the past couple of weeks. Also on Friday, CMS announced that it would begin to deny reimbursement for healthcare that was deemed to be as a result of a medical error. This is spurious, in that now hospitals, physicians and insurers(APIC is smacking its slavering chops in anticipation of riding on CMS' coattails) will be in adversarial position from that of the most vulnerable patients and those deemed at high risk to incur "preventable complications" which include decubitus ulcers, venous access-related infections and injuries as a result of falls.

Add to that Jim DeMint's last minute hold on the SB Mental Health Parity Bill, which had been advocated strongly in a true bipartisan manner. So now mental health coverage is at risk (also with a threat of a Bush veto).

And SCHIP coverage may very well end or be significantly disrupted at the end of September if Bush gets away with this abominable stance that states must meet a 95% enrollment rate which is unfeasible and unattainable by any measure.

This is a deliberate and programmatic White House attack on Americans - the frailest, the most vulnerable, and the youngest - those least likely to be able to vote and those least able to advocate effectively for their own needs.

And, BTW - did you notice that your friend John Agwunobi has jumped ship and is heading to Wal-Mart to become it's - ahem - director of health and wellness? (meaning to make nice with the AMA for support for its retail clinics)

As usual, the progressive blogosphere is paying little attention to White House and Republican attacks on healthcare. People are going to be gobsmacked when they finally realize what has been done to them. The traffic to healthcare / policy blogs has been mostly from the wingnuts on the right who think it's just fine that only they get insurance and are entitled to healthcare. Crickets from the left. Just sayin'.

What a sore loser he is! When he loses political standing, he decides to show everyone that he's above politics; and now the (Republican) governors will just have to beat him to a pulp....

If this is a strategy its goals are twofold (at least): distractions from foreign policy and electoral differentiation. The GOP sorely needs a way to distance itself from Bush, so the more odious the proposals and policies implemented by the current administration, the more the electoral field can disown Bush, have him go down as the worst President evar, and remake the Republican Party in one election cycle. That Bush needs the MSM to "look, shiny!" on almost a weekly basis so they don't delve any deeper than the occasional OpEd comes as no surprise, so screwing kids becomes policy and it's OK because it's only a financial screwing.

I mean, come on. This is a textbook "Buy this album or we'll kill this dog" moment for this Administration.

N=1, I don't think the left isn't paying attention, it's just this administration has started so many fires, where do we begin to put them all out? This is the principle reason I am so passionate about impeaching Bush and Cheney. As long as they are in office we can't even begin to undo the damage. Evidently while I was away this past week Bush has said that he'll ignore the new FISA bill if he wants. What is the point of even having Congress? How can we get SCHIP off the ground, much less universal health care as long as Bush will whip out the ol' veto pen? Why do Congressional Dems keep telling us they can't impeach because it will be a distraction from their more important work? What do they imagine they will accomplish? Whatever it is that they do imagine, that is all it will amount to -- a pipe dream, until we kick these thugs out.

I'm with you phred, impeachment should be on the table.

The argument that we could never get the votes in the Senate, so why even start simply doesn't hold water any longer.

The real investigative powers that impeachment would offer would put the administration in a clearly untenable situation overnight, the dirt would pile up so fast that Republican Senators would have no choice but to feign outrage and vote for removal.

On the other hand, I think our Dem congressmen are thinking more along the lines of why kill the head when you can smash the shit out of it head body and all.

Next November is going to be a bloodbath. Would impeachment really improve the end result? I'm just not sure.

phred, I can tell you that there isn't much interest by the traffic to health blogs - it's either flat or populated with a majority of wingnut "socialized medicine" ranters.

I write and write and write - and rarely do I get any progressive traffic. I started a Progressive Healthcare Bloggers web ring. Never heard of it, have you? Look at progressives' blogrolls and see how many healthcare related blogs you can find. Zero? That's about average.

The way to get attention for these issues is for progressives to read and to engage in discussion about them. There are very few calls to congress reps about any of these issues.

I'd really like to see that changed, but it just ain't gonna happen as long as the usual excuse is trotted out - so many outrages - no time for health issues.

Well, when healthcare is neglected as it is now, many generations pay for that. Today a vaccine is missed, tomorrow a sick child spreads a contagious, but preventable disease, next week, pandemic flu takes off in a vulnerable community, the week after, the already overburdened hospital and community health clinics are overwhelmed and turn patients away, then the just in time delivery system fails after workers fall ill and begin to die, and then the municipal water and sewer systems fail with a lack of workers and supplies to keep them functioning, and then bodies pile up as morgue space is overwhelmed.

It's that same for-want-of-a-nail story, but it's being played out right here and now.

When The Pump Handle, Universal Health, Respectful Insolence and other health blogs start to get consistently high traffic, then I'll begin to agree with you that progressives are interested in health. Until then....not so much.

Fair enough N=1, but just using myself as an example, my big 3 policy issues are (in order) universal health care, energy policy, and farm policy. All three of those are very badly broken and in dire need of major revision. So how much time do I spend on blogs devoted to those subjects: zero. It isn't lack of interest, but NONE of those revisions are possible with our current administration and Congress.

Meanwhile, the Constitution is under the greatest threat I have seen in my lifetime. From the root of the unitary executive sprout branches of torture, indefinite detention, lawlessness (ranging from signing statements to breaking existing laws), unaccountable executives (e.g., Gonzales, Doan, Bremer, Brown, etc.), spying on citizens, and on and on and on...

I find myself spending most of my time on the blogs right now trying to better understand the extent of the lawlessness of the administration and the complicity of Congress, in order to be in a better position to persuade those in power (as well as other citizens) that impeachment is both possible and necessary. Once this crisis has passed (for better or worse), I will be able to turn my attention to policy issues. For now though, the Constitution has my full attention.

Dismayed, Bruce Fein has said this more eloquently than I, but the argument for impeachment comes down to this... If Congress does not impeach, then the toolbox of unchecked executive power remains fully loaded for all future Presidents. History books are full of ambitious people champing at the bit to get their hands on the reins of power. Do you honestly believe that we won't someday have a President who will exert unitary executive power without restraint? Further, if Congress fails to impeach given the gross incompetence and criminal behavior of Bush et al., the bar for future impeachments will be set too high to be of any use.

If Congress fails to impeach, we will be well on our way to the end of our Constitutional democracy. I simply cannot think of anything more important to pursue.

phred says: "Do you honestly believe that we won't someday have a President who will exert unitary executive power without restraint?"


John B. -- I agree completely, "someday" is now ;)

But what I meant was someone in the future taking a page out of Julius' book dispensing with Congress entirely. There are those who think Bush/Cheney will suspend the '08 elections, declare martial law, and finally institute the Empire they so clearly desire. I am not one of those people. However, if left unchecked, I do believe that "someday" in my lifetime, such an emperor will impose himself on us.

phred, I appreciate your response and I agree with your stance about impeachment. But to ignore policy is to ignore extant suffering that is happening NOW. Surely, there is some room to address these issues, while still keeping the Constitutional crisis and impeachment front and center.

N=1, you may be right. My assumption is, in general, that the Dems cannot muster enough votes to override a veto, but it appears from bits I've read at DKos and FDL that at least as far as SCHIP is concerned they may be able to get enough votes for such an override. So by all means, lets get this done if we can. My point was simply in many areas the Dems don't have the votes for an override in which case, their energies would be better spent on impeachment.

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