Sunday, April 29, 2007
There's this wonderful moment in the Simpsons, where Burns goes into the doctor for a check-up, and the doctor explains that the only reason he's alive is that there are so many diseases trying to kill him that none can get through. They're all crowded at the door, struggling to enter. That's sort of describes my reaction to Doug Schoen's health care op-ed. I feel virtually incapable of engaging with it, paralyzed by the infinite expanse of logical holes, self-serving omissions, and political hackery riddling the article. But I shall soldier on.
"According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in March," Schoen writes, "after Iraq, healthcare is the single most important issue among American voters today." I've read that poll. And I've read Doug Schoen's op-ed. And the two have nothing to do with each other.
Schoen's op-ed mentions the word "partisan" four times. It tells us that "[Americans] want to see healthcare needs and issues addressed in a spirit of partnership, not partisanship," that [w]hat is clear is that America wants everyone to work together in a constructive manner," that "[h]ealthcare should not become a partisan issue," that Medicare Part D "marked a huge bipartisan step forward" and that "working together, the members of the two parties were able to bring together the best ideas from both sides of the aisle to create a broad-based program that succeeds in achieving many critical goals."
Want to know the final vote tally on Medicare Part D was in the House of Representatives? 216-215. Want to know how long Tom DeLay extended the vote to dragoon and intimidate more members? Three hours. Want to know the Senate margin? 55-44. There was nothing bipartisan about it. It's widely acknowledged to possess huge failings owing entirely to drug company giveaways. George W. Bush is currently threatening to veto an overwhelmingly popular bill that would empower Medicare to bargain down drug prices -- a bill that Democrats made into a core part of their 2006 platform. Schoen mentions none of this. He paints one of the most grotesquely partisan votes in history, a vote that literally led to ethics investigations against DeLay, as a bipartisan triumph. He ignores the overwhelmingly popular reform that Democrats have long been touting. He spins, he misrepresents, and he lies in order to strengthen the Republican bargaining position. . . .