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Small-State U.S. Senators on the Take Eviscerate Health Care

By July 30, 2009

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The ongoing health care reform debate has provided the American public with a rare, painfully frank portrait of the effectiveness of top U.S. political leaders. If you can't bear hard truths, don't read any further...
  • President Obama appears increasingly superfluous to negotiations.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer appear tenacious, tough, smart, and skillful, albeit frustrated.
  • The House of Representatives is heatedly deliberative, as was intended by our country's forefathers.
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid looks ineffectual, weak and overwhelmed. At best.
  • The Senate looks, sounds and acts secretive, self-righteous and self-important, and out-of-touch with much of the country. And on the take.

My home state, California, represents 12% of the population of the United States, yet six so-called "centrist' senators from small states are apparently disemboweling and dumbing-down federal health care reform in the name of "bi-partisan compromise." California needs and wants this measure badly, as do many other large states!

The six allegedly "centrist" senators killing meaningful health care reform, and their respective cumulative contributions from healthcare insurance and pharmaceutical corporations (source: Credo Action network) are:

  • Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) - $1,203,205
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) - $702,595
  • Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) - $442,165
  • Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) - $342,228
  • Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) - $206,297
  • Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) - $161,706
  • TOTAL for these six senators: $3,058,256

Baucus and Grassley are the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, which is dissecting health care reform legislation. Conrad is the Senate Budget Committee Chair.

The total combined population of the six states represented by the tone-deaf senators at the eye of this lobbyist-lined storm is 8,444,956, 2.7% of the U.S. population in 2008... and merely 23% of California's population. (source: Wikipedia state population numbers for 2008.)

I estimate that at least 80% of the California delegation in both houses of Congress supports the proposed House Healthcare Reform Bill, which includes a Medicare-like public option for health care coverage.

Yet six senators who apparently either don't know or don't give a damn about the vast majority of Americans are going to kill health care for them and their families?

This is wrong. Just plain wrong.

Truthfully, it has me wondering whether the U.S. Senate has evolved into an undemocratic entity never envisioned by our country's forefathers, due to today's extreme differences in state-by-state populations.

One thing I do know: the U.S. Senate in 2009 is a cesspool of conscience-free fat-cat politicians governed by an undemocratic seniority system and influenced by the lobbyists who pay them.

While it will never happen in my lifetime, the hard, hard truth is that the citizens of the United States, as a whole, would be better served if the U.S. Senate was significantly reformed and more fairly apportioned... or entirely dissolved.

Substantive health care reform is that line-in-the-sand important.

(Photo taken on July 27, 2009 of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip James Cluburn: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


July 30, 2009 at 10:32 pm
(1) John Ballard says:

May I copy this post in toto at another blog?

July 30, 2009 at 11:14 pm
(2) usliberals says:

John, the four-paragraph excerpt that you used is just fine, with the appropriate link.

Sadly, the New York Times prohibits reprinting the entirety without you going through a permissions process and paying reprint fees, my friend.

But thank you for your interest in this column/post.

July 31, 2009 at 7:37 am
(3) John Ballard says:

Okay, Deborah. Most blog posts have a short shelf life anyway’

While I’m here, take a look at a very creative approach to challenging a vulnerable number of Blue Dogs. Blog brother Fester points to the Guardian’s Michael Tomasky who figured out that a good number of Blue Dogs may not be as beholden to “conservative” constituencies as they let on.

I put the word in scare quotes to differentiate between those who honestly stand on principles from that credulous, willfully ignorant group that swallows the distortions and lies now flying about, launched mainly by special interests and given currency by their various shills pointed out in your post above.

December 23, 2011 at 7:39 am
(4) goriabasilia says:

must look at this for more detail to your friends

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