The Senate health care bill is so compromised, some progressives argue, that it would be better to try to kill it than fight for its passage.
In light of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's decision to give in to Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and agree to scrap a Medicare compromise, and with the public option already off the table, many ardent supporters of health care reform are giving up on the legislation.
Former presidential candidate Howard Dean said in a radio interview Tuesday that he agreed.
"This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate," Dean said. "Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill."
"Insurance companies win. Time to kill this monstrosity coming out of the Senate," wrote DailyKos founder Markos Moulitas on his Twitter feed Monday night.
Darcy Burner, a beloved (but unsuccessful) progressive candidate for Congress in the past two elections and executive director of ProgressiveCongress.org, wrote in a blog post:
The first rule of medicine is, "Do no harm." The post-Joe Lieberman version of the Senate health care bill fails that basic criterion. Unless Democratic leadership steps up to fix this misguided proposal, our only recourse will be to kill it.
The fundamental failing of the newest Senate proposal is that it requires individuals to purchase health insurance, but does nothing to rein in what insurance companies charge. There is nothing to stop spiraling health costs from eating up an ever-increasing percentage of our national productivity.
The House bill has two major cost-control mechanisms: the public option and the 85% medical-loss ratio requirement. The Senate bill is on track to have neither, and nothing new to replace them. The Senate bill is a recipe for national disaster. If it's that bill or nothing, I prefer nothing.
At the progressive website Firedoglake, some still hope that the Senate will abandon Lieberman and pass reform with reconciliation. Blogger Gregg Levine wrote that it's time to just fight the legislation:
I say: Kill the bill.
I say this with a heavy heart. Failure to pass health care legislation, even terrible legislation, will be a great loss for the Obama administration and for Democrats in Congress. But passing a bill as bad as the Senate's eventual endpoint could be a bigger defeat for the Democratic majority we really want--one that takes progressive action on behalf of the voters.
Because, as I see it, a bill without the competitive force of a public option, or the opportunity for millions to buy into Medicare, without cheaper pharmaceuticals or meaningful controls on premiums, without bans on benefit caps or loophole-free safeguards against rescission, but with an individual mandate, will do nothing for the 30 million uninsured that advocates of the bill like to talk about helping--but it will do plenty for the private insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
"Reid got sucker punched. And real reform is down for the count," John Nichols wrote at The Nation.