November 4–forever a day of grand celebration. One year ago we were celebrating the election of Barack Obama. This past week our (my) beloved Yankees won the World Series.
It was a kismet moment. This past week, at half past eleven, Robinson Cano tossed to Mark Teixeira for the final out of the World Series. That was virtually the same time, one year to the day, that president-elect Obama acknowledged his victory. – Marvin
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After Decades of Delay, Health-Care Reform Passes the House of Representatives
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The Details of Saturday’s House Vote
After an in-person push by President Obama and his fellow Democratic leaders kicked off an intense, daylong debate, the trillion-dollar health-care legislation was passed by House Democrats with a final vote of 220-215 late Saturday night. Thirty-nine Democrats voted against the health-care bill, along with every Republican except Joseph Cao of Louisiana. Meanwhile, the controversial abortion compromise passed with a vote of 240-194. The amendment to bar federal funding for most abortions was put in front of the House after Speaker Nancy Pelosi helped negotiate with two dozen anti-abortion Democrats over the bill. As expected, the Republican alternative health-care plan failed earlier in the night on a vote of 176-258, and Timothy Johnson of Illinois was the only GOP lawmaker to cross party lines. The historic vote ended with a triumphant Pelosi proclaiming ”That was easy” as she left the floor, and after her tooth-and-nail fight for the bill, many are hailing health-care reform as more of a victory for the Speaker than for President Obama. “I think this is probably the biggest win she’ll have in all the years she serves,” said Rep. John Murtha.
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More On the Lone Republican Yea Vote
One Republican lawmaker out of 177 crossed party lines to support the health care reform legislation offered by Democrats.
Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, the Louisiana Republican who hails from a decidedly Democratic New Orleans district, voted yea on the final passage of legislation. He joined 219 Democrats to make the final margin 220 to 215 in favor of reform’s passage.
Cao was a major (and possibly the lone) target for Democrats hoping to get even a semblance of bipartisan support for the bill. He said after the vote that he had obtained a “commitment from President Obama that he and I will work together to address the critical health care issues of Louisiana.”
In the past, Cao has been touted by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) as “the future” of the GOP. Republicans clearly went the distance to keep him in the fold for the health care vote. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who promised protesters at a Tea Party rally this week that “not one Republican will vote for this bill,” was standing beside Cao as the historic vote unfolded.
Read more, including Rep. Cao’s statement on his vote at the Huffington Post
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Dennis Kucinich on Why He Voted No
“We have been led to believe that we must make our health care choices only within the current structure of a predatory, for-profit insurance system which makes money not providing health care. We cannot fault the insurance companies for being what they are. But we can fault legislation in which the government incentivizes the perpetuation, indeed the strengthening, of the for-profit health insurance industry, the very source of the problem. When health insurance companies deny care or raise premiums, co-pays and deductibles they are simply trying to make a profit. That is our system.”
“Clearly, the insurance companies are the problem, not the solution. They are driving up the cost of health care. Because their massive bureaucracy avoids paying bills so effectively, they force hospitals and doctors to hire their own bureaucracy to fight the insurance companies to avoid getting stuck with an unfair share of the bills. The result is that since 1970, the number of physicians has increased by less than 200% while the number of administrators has increased by 3000%. It is no wonder that 31 cents of every health care dollar goes to administrative costs, not toward providing care. Even those with insurance are at risk. The single biggest cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. is health insurance policies that do not cover you when you get sick.”
“But instead of working toward the elimination of for-profit insurance, H.R. 3962 would put the government in the role of accelerating the privatization of health care. In H.R. 3962, the government is requiring at least 21 million Americans to buy private health insurance from the very industry that causes costs to be so high, which will result in at least $70 billion in new annual revenue, much of which is coming from taxpayers. This inevitably will lead to even more costs, more subsidies, and higher profits for insurance companies – a bailout under a blue cross.”
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What Little-Noticed Reform’s Made it into the Health Bill?
Lower taxes for gay couples who receive health benefits from employers. Nutrition labeling requirements for snack food sold in vending machines and many restaurants. A new program to teach parents how to interact with their children.
Those are some of the little-noticed provisions in a mammoth health care bill taken up Saturday by the House of Representatives.
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Keeping Tabs on the Fringe Right Wing
Michele Bachmann took her paranoid campaign against the White House to new heights on Thursday, leading a mass protest inside the Capitol itself that led to multiple arrests. Antics like these have made her one of the breakout stars of the Republican Party in the Obama era, drawing praise from Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and even George Will. But her stunts have also made what is otherwise a relatively safe Republican seat potentially vulnerable to Democratic takeover.
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