Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Mike & Friends Blog

Donna Smith

Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation

January 8th, 2010 2:34 PM

Promises, Promises: Should This Congress and This President Learn from a Little Lip Reading?

Should Democratic members of the House vote “no” on any reform legislation that includes an excise tax on health benefits? Even if it’s now the President’s preferred funding method for the healthcare insurance company bail-out bill (or health insurance reform bill, as it’s known in the proper political framing terminology)? And should they actually intend to vote “no” and not just make threats followed by a seemingly begrudging yes vote?

Seems like a no-brainer to lots of folks. The nurses of National Nurses United said this yesterday: “It is unconscionable that workers and families with employer-sponsored health plans, who receive virtually no benefits from the proposed legislation, would have their health coverage taxed and seriously eroded,” said Deborah Burger, RN, co-president of the 150,000 member National Nurses United, formed last month through a unification of the California Nurses Association/NNOC, United American Nurses, and the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

To read the full statement go here.

It would only take 25 members taking that one stand on the basis that it is a betrayal of the millions of people who turned out to vote, work in phone banks, ride buses, walk precincts and so on – and many on the one single issue difference – John McCain will tax your benefits; we will not, said the Democratic Presidential contender.

I am afraid in this one way alone, many people will lump the promises Obama made together with all Dems. Writing the broken promise campaign ads for the 2010 mid-terms will be made as simple as the anti-Republican ads were in 1992 following 1988 the Bush I classic campaign promise, “Read my lips: no new taxes.” As President, Bush I broke those clear promises, raised taxes after all, and we all know how that played, and played and played.

Here’s what the quote was – and still reads today-- on the Obama “Organizing for America” website:

McCain's stance on health care:

“John McCain’s health plan would tax health benefits for the first time ever — imposing a trillion tax increase on working families and leaving millions without heath care.”

And here’s how then candidate Obama said he’d pay for reform—again from the OFA website:

“Barack Obama will pay for his $50 - $65 billion health care reform effort by rolling back the Bush tax cuts for Americans earning more than $250,000 per year and retaining the estate tax at its 2009 level.”

And because this time around the next available expression opportunity for voters and citizens to act on their frustration and anger comes in November 2010 at the polls – or in staying home from the polls – the risk of breaking a promise – no taxation of healthcare benefits -- that was so central to the success of the Obama candidacy is magnified. Obama isn’t on the ticket this time.

So, have the Dems learned that lesson from history? I do not think the political costs of this one single failing can be overstated for the Dems.

A way out of this mess is available to the folks with just a smidgeon of common sense and a tidbit of courage:

1. Vote against the bill with an excise tax on health benefits to protect working people from shouldering the brunt of this insurance bail-out bill;

2. Vote against the bill with an excise tax on health benefits because it’s a betrayal of promises made on the campaign trail – and promises made still matter;

3. Vote against the bill with an excise tax on health benefits because it will not “bend the cost curve” on healthcare expenses;

4. Vote against the bill with an excise tax on health benefits because it will cost the Democrats the majority in the Senate and perhaps the House too in 2010 and potentially the White House in 2012 – and it will cost us so very much more for generations.

In that order of reasons. That’s what I would do if I was advising this gang. And I would stand firm.

Else, you will be a party to handing President Obama his own destruction in the form of a bill so fraught that it destroys hope of healthcare justice for years to come. And that is not the legacy this Congress or this President wants to leave.

The Republicans started out promising to tax health benefits; the Democrats promised not to. Promise made and promise relied upon by voters should equate to promise kept. Wouldn’t it be just the game changing thing if President Obama now said he intended to keep that promise?

You must log in to comment.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Log in | Register

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States WASHINGTON—The FBI announced today that it has uncovered a...

Apr 15th
3:28 PM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel's top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge contract As schools are closed and pensions cut,...

Apr 9th
2:00 PM
Read More

I'll be at First Time Fest today in New York City at the screening of my first film, Roger & Me. Loews Village 7 at 12:30 pm. Come see it on the big...

Apr 5th
9:48 AM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors If you've read the financial news out of Chicago the last...

Apr 4th
2:19 PM
Read More

Please take a moment today to think of Casey Austin Sheehan, son of Cindy and Patrick, who was murdered by U.S. foreign policy in Sadr City, Baghdad ten years...

Apr 4th
2:00 PM
Read More

ICYMI - I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence...

Apr 3rd
7:38 PM
Read More

I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention...

Apr 2nd
8:27 PM
Read More

I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested...

Apr 1st
3:55 PM
Read More

How Long Some in the US Will Survive Under New Health Law Donna Smith Those who must access care to live and can afford it are not...

Mar 31st
10:13 PM
Read More

Last night, The Good Wife on the East Coast started 40 minutes late due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game. If you had your DVR set for the show, you...

Mar 24th
5:41 PM
Read More

Watching films today, looking for the ones I'm going to pick for my film festival this summer. I (and a whole bunch of others!) have this thing we put on...

Mar 23rd
4:48 PM
Read More

When the U.S. Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Cares Enough to Fight? Donna Smith We have largely forgotten that people are at...

Mar 21st
5:56 PM
Read More

Tell the White House not to give up on Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination as Surgeon General despite the ferocious opposition from the NRA: Don't give...

Mar 21st
5:38 PM
Read More

This criminal would never see a jail cell, nor would his cronies. In fact, they'd later be rewarded with re-election: Presidential Address on War with...

Mar 19th
9:40 PM
Read More

The crime of the century -- our invasion & slaughter in Iraq -- started 11 years ago tonite in this 7pm (ET) hour, March 19th, 2003: CNN Coverage of...

Mar 19th
9:08 PM
Read More

Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa Nick Turse Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian,...

Mar 17th
4:59 PM
Read More

"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world." -- Tony Benn, 1925-2014 Tony Benn in 'Sicko'

Mar 14th
10:07 AM
Read More

RIP Tony Benn, one of the UK's greatest leaders: Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 Former cabinet minister died at...

Mar 14th
9:53 AM
Read More

Please read this important story from K. Ford K.: Am I the Face of the New American Middle Class? I began to feel I had slipped so low...

Mar 13th
2:24 PM
Read More

Yesterday Dianne Feinstein revealed that the CIA has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is all about the report the committee has produced...

Mar 12th
6:48 PM
Read More

Health Care for All Colorado has brought Mercy Killers, a show written and performed by Michael Milligan about our murderous for-profit healthcare system, to...

Mar 10th
1:08 PM
Read More

Health Care Dramas that Sting and Why We Have to Watch Donna Smith The realities Milligan has written into the show cut deep into...

Mar 10th
1:02 PM
Read More

Did you know the Lehrer Newshour on PBS has been produced for 20 years by a company owned by conservative cable billionaire John Malone? Me neither. After...

Mar 7th
8:39 PM
Read More

Mr. Obama, if int’l law is so damn crucial . . . | The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
Read More

Enron billionaire John Arnold thinks everyone should believe him when he says we've got to cut pensions because he's so incredibly rich: John...

Mar 5th
4:20 PM
Read More

More in David Sirota's continuing series on the billionaire takeover of PBS: More PBS conflict woes as activists move to eject David Koch from board of...

Mar 3rd
12:35 PM
Read More

Ukraine: One ‘Regime Change’ Too Many? Ray McGovern Is “regime change” in Ukraine the bridge too far for the neoconservative...

Mar 2nd
9:25 PM
Read More

Latest from David Sirota on Enron billionaire John Arnold smuggling anti-pension propaganda into "neutral" institutions like PBS and now, the...

Mar 1st
12:58 PM
Read More

Second Guessing a Life: US Health Care System Robs Security and Human Dignity Donna Smith The dysfunction of the US health care system...

Feb 27th
1:40 PM
Read More

Subscribe to Mike's Blog RSS

Click here to suggest an article

Mike's Blog

See More Blogs

Vew the archives

View older articles