Friday, February 5, 2010

In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 5th, 2010


1) I guess I made a mistake yesterday when I said I agreed with Joe Scarborough on most of the issues on health reform. Because today, it was Joe Scarborough the voodoo science obstructionist, conjuring up brand new numbers out of the air for the same old talking points, not even platform or policy, but talking points.

Joe’s math is now ‘60% of Americans don’t want health care reform’. It was 75% last week. Neither number is anywhere near the heart of sentiment on the matter. And nothing constructive can come from this message, that is so JS 5 months ago, that IT is dead and we should move on.

I want the current health care bill dead. I came out in support of the Dean decision that very day, and wrote both Senators Boxer and Feinstein asking that they vote against it. I itemized that more was lost than gained, the new coverage of 31 million was achieved by making uninsured people scofflaws if they didn’t buy a policy under the same awful conditions that exist in status quo, and that the pre-existing conditions part of the legislation was nothing more than a sound bite with no real enforcement that would create an additional cat and mouse game between insurers and hapless regulators.

Further, I’ve come out with a model for piecing together the good items into enforceable law in a bipartisan way and without loopholes, the leadership horse trade, and identified the mission as creating a hyper efficient private insurance model with strict accountability towards free market and full coverage. No state lines, no preexisting conditions under threat of lifetime liability, repeal of anti trust, and tort management.

Lastly, Joe parroting those old scripts is infuriating because we have uncovered in the last 5 months several anomalies that make American’s judgment of the issue the result of conflict of interest on almost every level. Massachusetts voters had universal coverage and thus were essentially voting a no new taxes mandate so they didn’t have to pay insurance cost for citizens of other states. Employed workers across the country are being victimized by propaganda that it will be reform that costs them insurance instead of the loss of a job or a cancellation by an insurance company on a technicality leaving them without a safety net. Uninsured are being told to vote against any mandate as a violation of their American freedoms.

And that leaves one small group of advocates. Americans who work for small businesses below the group threshold, are unemployed, are self employed or have some similar commonality that makes them outside of the reach of group insurance. Those people got news yesterday far worse than the Joe Scarborough betrayal of their trust. Blue Cross Anthem told 2.5 million California individual policy holders that they were getting a premium increase of 39% on March 1st. The average policy cost for a family of four is moving from $20,134 to $27,336 per year. Blue Cross Blue Shield have a near monopoly in this state. And there is zero regulatory recourse. The only thing that Blue Cross Anthem has to prove is that at least 70% of premiums make it to health care for covered patients. That’s not insurance anymore, that’s a siphon.

Joe Scarborough, stop with the talking points and become an advocate for an immediate solution, 2.5 million people found out yesterday, while you were in their state, how bad they need you to get this right.

2) Obama, the bad juggler part 2. Mike Allen revealed side by side today that the administration got chewed out by the junior Senator from Minnesota Al Franken, who at this point is the heir apparent to the Howard Dean lucidity throne, and then promptly that same administration sent legislators on the road to a jobs bill without a map.

If this is true, it is another major setback for an administration that is now getting Carter comparisons daily. I’m not one of them. But I’ve used the words feckless, hapless, vacuum of leadership, and rookie to describe what we saw in 2009 and as 2010 gets underway, to see the same needs to be a call to action for all of us.

Franken went off saying everything we have discussed about a lack of leadership on the issues, and went specifically after David Axelrod. Sound familiar? I remember the day that the health bill turned into untenable sausage and Howard Dean came out against it. I remember how Axelrod came out not asking to look at the issues, but to sell the talking points, and asking not for understanding but loyalty. That’s an outrage. It was an outrage listening to Senators turned into doublespeak salesmen, it was an outrage seeing the opposite of necessity nearly enacted into law, it was an outrage to have proven the opposition right.

I went to bed that night thinking maybe football is fixed and Oliver Stone’s Mr. X was the closest I would come to the truth in this lifetime.

Scarborough is the opposition, not the extremists like Limbaugh or Erickson. We have to be the example of the availability of bipartisan progress here, so the drill in the coming days is the same as oft described here: get the good people on the set, Dean, Warren, Krugman, and come out of the 10 minute segments with 4 consensus parts to a solution to each of the demons plaguing America right now, Health, Finance and Jobs.

That’s all for today, see you Monday

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