Editor: If you’re watching the progress of the current health care bill in the Senate, your heart is probably breaking. Here then are some of the arguments on both sides of the question of whether progressives should support the current version – a version that has no public option and no expansion of Medicare: Keith Olbermann says “Kill the bill,” whereas Paul Klugman advocates that we should still support it.
Keith Olbermann: ‘Kill the bill’
In a “Special Comment” Wednesday night, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann agreed with former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean that the Senate health care bill, as it currently stands, should die.
“We have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat without a war,” Olbermann said. “This is not health, this is not care, this is certainly not reform … The ‘men’ of the current moment, have lost to the ‘mice’ of history. They must now not make the defeat worse by passing a hollow shell of a bill just for the sake of a big-stage signing ceremony.”
Olbermann argued that without the Medicare buy-in or the public option or other reforms taken out of the bill, the health insurance mandate will just force people to buy expensive and exploitative plans. Calling Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) a “senatorial prostitute,” Olbermann also criticized President Obama for not providing “the leadership his office demands.” Here’s the link to the remainder plus the video of Olbermann’s segment from Wed 12/16/09.
Paul Klugman: Support the bill despite illusions and bitterness
There’s enormous disappointment among progressives about the emerging health care bill — and rightly so. That said, even as it stands it would take a big step toward greater security for Americans and greater social justice; it would also save many lives over the decade ahead. That’s why progressive health policy wonks — the people who have campaigned for health reform for years — are almost all in favor of voting for the thing.
The argument about the evil of the individual mandate is,as Jon Cohn says, all wrong. It was wrong during the primaries, when Obama unfortunately used it to demagogue his rivals — helping set the stage for problems now. And it’s still wrong. For the remainder of this article, go here.