In which I compare Tom Harkin to "Linda" from The Wedding Singer
"Once again, things that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!!!"
What the hell has gotten into the Senate Democrats drinking water recently???
Last week we had NY Sen. Chuck Schumer basically saying that the only reason to win elected office is to keep winning elected office, so why bother doing anything useful for people who don't vote?
Today, he's followed up by IA Sen. Tom Harkin, who has the following incredibly insightful wisdom to spread to Democrats throughout the land:
“We had the votes in ’09. We had a huge majority in the House, we had 60 votes in the Senate," Harkin told The Hill, saying that the first Congress of President Barack Obama's administration should have passed “single-payer right from the get go or at least put a public option (which) would have simplified a lot.”
“We had the votes to do that and we blew it,” he said. He decried that the law as it exists is "really complicated" and benefits the insurance companies, though he praised its prevention health funding.
“We had the power to do it in a way that would have simplified health care, made it more efficient and made it less costly and we didn’t do it,” Harkin told The Hill. “So I look back and say we should have either done it the correct way or not done anything at all."
Well, gee, thanks, Tom. Single Payer? A Public Option?? You don't say!! Why, no one had ever considered such a thing before!!
Oh...wait a minute. Lots of people did. In fact, millions of Democrats did, along with non-Dem progressives, quite a few independents and even a small number of Republicans (well, back before the entire GOP lost their friggin' mind completely, anyway). And it's not like it hasn't come up in the House or Senate before. You didn't even have to write a new bill, just dust off an existing one, ready to go. So yeah, in that sense, you did blow it.
HOWEVER... that's not the part of your statement that I'm upset about.
What I'm upset about is the last part: "we should have either done it the correct way or not done anything at all."
REALLY??? You're saying it would have been better "not to do anything at all"???
What you're saying is that you now feel that the Affordable Care Act is worse than the system that preceded it, by definition.
Tell that to the 11 million people who have been added to Medicaid over the past 11 months, Tom.
Tell it to the 15 million who have full coverage policies now, Tom.
Tell it to the tens of millions who can no longer be kicked off of their policy for bullsh*t reasons, or who can no longer be denied coverage because they had a paper cut when they were 12. Tell it to the people whose lives have been saved due to the ACA.
Hell, tell it to my wife and I, who are saving about $4,000 this year thanks to the law, even though yes, our premiums went up about $2,000 over the prior year.
Yes, I'm a Single Payer guy; I've stated that from the day I set up the (sorely outdated) FAQ for this site.
Yes, I was pissed that you guys didn't go for it, or a Public Option at the very least. Maybe you didn't have the votes for it. Maybe you would have if you'd tried hard enough. I don't know. Ultimately, though, that's irrelevant now. What matters now is doing everything you can to make the law you did pass work...and so far, it is working, in case you haven't noticed.
If you wanted to make up for what you now believe to have been a missed opportunity four years ago, taking a big ol' crap on your own law NOW is NOT the way to do so.
You know what would have helped (aside from pushing for SP or a PO 4 years ago, that is)? Let's see, I can think of a few things:
- For starters, you could have not retired, thus allowing a batsh*t insane psychopath to take your place in the U.S. Senate.
- You could have then pushed for, say, Iowa, to follow in Vermont's footsteps towards a state-level Single Payer system using the very waiver allowed for in the Affordable Care Act itself.
- You could have shouted from the rooftops about the very benefits in the law that I just listed above.
The one thing you shouldn't have done, however, was to state, publicly, for no good reason, that the very law that you passed is worse than doing nothing would have been, thus supplying FOX News, the Daily Caller, Rush Limbaugh and Brietbart with a sound bite to play endlessly for the next two years.
You've been a good Senator, Tom, and you did a lot of good things in your time. This was not the way to end your career.