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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dennis Kucinich, Health Care Hero for South Dakota

While South Dakota Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin finds a convenient excuse on procedural matters to continue her opposition to health insurance reform, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich may actually save this legislation and save money and lives in South Dakota.

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank can't resist taking cheap shots at my man Dennis (leprechaun?!? Really?) before acknowledging the biggest idealist in Washington is talking pragmatic sense. The Kansas City Star's Arturo Mora says Kucinich may make history as the man "who broke the Republican back on healthcare reform."

Mora skips the leprechaun jokes and notes Kucinich isn't the only Catholic getting behind this legislation. Ask the nuns!

Oh yeah, and we're actually talking about legislation that will make our lives better. The House Energy and Commerce Committee reminds us what the health insurance bill will do here in South Dakota:

  • Improve coverage for 513,000 residents with health insurance.
  • Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 217,000 families and 23,100 small businesses to help them afford coverage.
  • Improve Medicare for 133,000 beneficiaries, including closing the donut hole [Grandma, are you listening?!].
  • Extend coverage to 45,000 uninsured residents.
  • Guarantee that 11,500 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
  • Protect 700 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
  • Allow 67,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans.
  • Provide millions of dollars in new funding for 46 community health centers.
  • Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $116 million annually [House Committee on Energy and Commerce, "The Benefits of Health Care Reform in South Dakota," March 2010].

That's a lot of good for a lot of people in South Dakota. And the report doesn't even mention the 50 South Dakotans who die each year because they don't have health insurance. (The number nationwide: one estimate says 27,500 a year. How many 9-11's a year is that?)

While Herseth Sandlin hems and haws, Dennis Kucinich appears to have the interests of South Dakotans in mind as he gets ready to vote for health insurance reform. Our respects and thanks, Congressman Kucinich.

p.s.: By the way, Mr. Newland, those doctors are bluffing. The Medicus survey is industry agitprop. Don't be fooled by The Man, Bob!

pp.s.: Oh, and this health insurance reform bill cuts the deficit.
Cuts the deficit!


  1. Herseth continues to disappoint. Thankfully Kucinich is showing we must take what we can get. Although not single payer it's a move in the right direction. Let's cross our fingers. We need some good news.

  2. Nice post, Cory.

    Rep. Herseth-Sandlin is holding great cards, especially after the CBO report.

    Expect her to go all in when the betting gets to her.

  3. Well, two points here first of all. Kucinich was interviewed this morning and admitted that he is voting for this bill because Obama assured him it is a "first step" to single payer system and that Obama promised to help Kucinich pass the single payer system. This was a given after the infamous plane ride, but Kucinich even admitted it.

    Secondly, the CBO scoring on this bill is preliminary and is based on faulty facts that it was given. If you allow me to work and keep every penny I earn for four years without paying any of my expenses, and only start paying my expenses in years five thru ten, I think I can guarantee you that my spread sheet would like quite a bit better too!

    And Obama's arrogance in his Fox interview in which he would not answer a single question posed to him was very telling. He doesn't care how it is passed, whether by constitutional means or not, as long as it is passed. In other words, the ends justify the means in his opinion. I think we all learned as young kids that is NOT the way life is supposed to work. So no matter which of Obama's giant plans of cap and tax, amnesty, whatever, don't get a favorable vote, he just admitted that he would allow "deem and pass" which is constitutional if the majority of us "little people who don't matter" don't want them.

    If a bill isn't good enough to pass on its own merits without bribery, coercion, and lies, it SHOULD NOT be passed. Simple. That is how our nation was established. That is what our Constitution demands. But that is not what is happening now. Kucinich is the latest example of this, preceded by the likes of Nelson, Landrieu, a city in Montana, Florida, and many more we haven't even heard about yet.

  4. "more we haven't even heard about yet" -- Linda, your ability to base your arguments on things that don't exist never ceases to amaze me. I suppose I'm being "arrogant" like the President to point out that you're wrong, but what else can I do?

    The CBO is a non-partisan agency. The provide the best numbers we have for the debate. What faulty facts? List them. Verify them. Until then, your argument carries no weight.

  5. And attaching the gov't takeover of the student loan program to health care??? The student loan takeover could not pass on its own, so it's attached to the health care bill??? The "saved" money from the gov't doing this vs the private lenders will go to minority colleges apparently. What if Joe Blow wants to go to college and needs a loan but can't get one? How will he be able to get there? Will the gov't now decide who is worthy of an education?

  6. Cory, the CBO is a nonpartisan agency which has to base its decision on the facts as given to them. If the way the costs/benefits are given to them is skewed, they nevertheless have to accept them.

    And I'm basing my statements about Kucinich on the exact words out of his mouth this morning on a newscast. Is that not enough fact for you?

    And as regards Obama's interview with Fox News, I challenge you to listen to it again and then prove to me that Obama did not say exactly what I attributed to him.

  7. http://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2010/01/special-deal-for-labor-unions-in-health-care-bill/33532/

    OK, special deals for unions as regards the cadillac tax. I forgot that perk.

    And how is it going to be paid for as asked in that article? As of yesterday, higher taxes on investments and capital gains, higher Medicare payroll tax.


    And, oh, the supposed waste and fraud savings from Medicare, they are counting that twice, both as a savings used to extend the life of Medicare itself, and as a way to pay for the health care bill expense itself. Wish I could do that in my own personal finances.


    CBO Director Doug Elmendorf states "that government counts money two ways, either through trust fund accounting, in which money is borrowed from future Medicare payments to pay for existing Medicare programs but is like a revolving line of credit, or unified budget accounting, in which the trust fund money is borrowed from Medicare but then spent on other health care programs that don't generate money to be be paid back into Medicare later.

    "The key point is that the savings to the (Hospital Insurance) trust fund under the (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs.

    "To describe the full amount of HI trust fund savings as both improving the government's ability to pay future Medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of Medicare would essentially double-count a large share of those savings and thus overstate the improvement in the government's fiscal position.

    "Either you've weakened the Medicare substantially or you're going to have no money to spend on the new program that's being created," he said. "You cannot spend this money twice."

  8. Please explain to me how cutting 500 Billion from Medicare will benifit medicare recipients?

    Tim Higgins

  9. Here is some of what the Democratic Leadership is not telling the public.

    Taxes will go up, even though Obama promised not to raise taxes a dime on people making < $250,000 / year. The Medicare tax you paid when you get your check stub, pay attention to this it will go up. Obama lied. Taxes and fees will be collected for 4 years before the majority of benifits will start being paid. Our wonderful democratic leadership is projecting Obama care will be budget neutral in 10 years. What about year 11, year 12, year 13 or year 14 ? Trillion dollar deficit

    Tim Higgins


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