Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

Progressives and health care, an unedifying tale

with 3 comments

by wotty

In general, I think people shouldn’t need another blog to remind them to go read Glenn Greenwald. But occasionally, the GG writes a post so important (and one which the prog-blogs will be nattering on about for days) that I feel impelled to draw attention to it. Here he is on the “negotiating” strategy of progressives on the health care bill, and how they’re like beavers who’d chew off their own balls to get out of a trap:

Whether progressives are doing the right thing in supporting this bill is debatable (there’s a strong progressive case for the bill — a bill that restricts industry abuses and vastly expands coverage is inherently progressive — and a strong progressive case that it does more harm than good)… What’s not debatable is that this process highlighted — and worsened — the virtually complete powerlessness of the Left and progressives generally in Washington.

As an added dispiriting bonus, the first update to the post links to a NYT reporter seeming to confirm what GG and others have long suspected: “the WH negotiated secret ‘quid pro quo’ deals with the health insurance industry based on the premise that there’d be no public option in the final bill.” If true, I don’t think it should come as much of a surprise. Indeed, if it wasn’t true, the behaviour of the Obama admin in this debate/debacle would actually be a lot harder to account for.


Written by (wotty)

March 18, 2010 at 13:14

Posted in Health Care, Obama, politics

3 Responses

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  1. Always nice to hear from Wotty and GG.

    So I have a very smart conservative friend who has said that the whole progressive attack on the bill, a la Taibbi and GG, that it’s playing into the hands of the insurance companies, is kind of bullshit. Apparently, the major beneficiary of the new bill is going to the DOCTORS. They’re going to see the bulk of the new money here, and the insurance companies won’t see that much more profit. But Americans don’t like attacking doctors, because they have a lovey-dovey healer reputation, and it’s much easier to go after the evil insurance companies.

    This may simply be a question of the numbers, which I’m not an expert on but I don’t think GG or Taibbi are either.


    March 18, 2010 at 21:37

  2. Nate Silver at 538 has an interesting take on the supposed ineffectiveness of progressives on this issue (actually a comparison of the relative bargaining power of unions and progressives on the legislation). Link is here, but I’ve included a key quote below

    “Progressives would do well to realize that their batting average in these situations is going to be pretty low. To assert that there should be an equivalence between those people on the left and Blue Dogs is wrong, because the position of the Blue Dogs is usually closer to that of both the median voter and (more relevantly) the median Congressperson.”


    March 19, 2010 at 10:46

  3. […] Chomsky, and Glenn Greenwald, and Matt Taibbi, and unfortunately, my fellow bloggers Wiz and Wotty have it wrong, I think, is in calling the new bill a gift to insurance […]

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