Jon Stewart got the ball rolling, and now even Shepard Smith is so disgusted by GOP obstructionism on the 9/11 health care bill that he read a list of the names of Republican senators who would not appear on Fox News to speak on the issue. DeMint, McConnell, Graham, Hatch, McCain… nobody wants to appear on TV and take responsibility for what they are doing.
Now the ball is in Harry Reid’s court. As Dave Dayen says, the Senate probably can’t take it up until Wednesday, and passage could take a week if Coburn and Enzi stretch things out. Which means they’d have to come back after Christmas to pass it. And then because the “pay for” is being changed to make Susan Collins happy, the House would have to pass the Senate version.
It’s revolting that the GOP has demagogued 9/11 to facilitate the wholesale looting of the U.S. Treasury in just about every conceivable fashion, but they don’t want to take responsibility for what happened to those we sent in to clean up the mess.
Tom Coburn, you’ll recall, is the guy who got up on the stump and demanded that Medicare Advantage was sacrosanct and could never be cut. And he’s a doctor, doncha’ know.
He didn’t mention that his OWN health care bill actually cut Medicare Advantage by MORE than the health care bill did. And rightly so, because as Jon Walker says, Medicare Advantage may be be “the biggest and most wasteful form of corporate welfare in the country.” We laughed out loud when we watched Coburn spew this gibberish on the floor of the Senate on December 1, 2009.
Coburn’s top campaign contributors? “Health professionals,” with “pharmaceutical/health products” not far behind.
So let’s just remember. Tom Coburn gets all teary eyed when his fatcat donors from the medical industrial complex call up and tell him to defend the very program he himself was trying to slash in his zeal to control government spending. But that ol’ money belt starts a-tightenin’ once again when it’s health care for those firefighters, police men and other first responders who rushed in without thought for their own safety when the twin towers fell.
Hey Jon Stewart, if you want another “compare and contrast” segment, here you go: December 1 Senate Session, 1:27 into the session, Coburn bemoans cutting “120 billion out of seniors, the one in five seniors who have Medicare advantage.” He says the heartless Democrats are “taking away from the poorest of the elderly.”
Coburn’s own plan, which cuts $158 billion from Medicare Advantage, is called “The Patient’s Choice Act,” the supposedly deficit-neutral alternative to the Democratic plan. Here’s the bill, and here’s Coburn’s summary (PDF). And although Coburn has now broken the link to the page on his website, here’s the CBO figures citing $158 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage from his bill.