Needed: A Blue Dog whisperer

It’s unclear how far the so-called “Blue Dog” Democrats like Heath Shuler who’ve been screwing up the President’s health care reform initiative are willing to go with their incoherent arguments about cost and/or their shameless shilling for corporate interests, but if they have any interest at all in understanding the reality of health reform and what’s really at stake, they should read yesterday’s NYT column by Paul Krugman.

In it, Krugman speaks the truth, plain and simple, by making clear that reform is dependent upon four key “pillars”: “regulation, mandates, subsidies and competition.”

He then goes on to explain how the supposedly “conservative” Dems are barking out of both sides of their mouths:

Well, they talk a lot about fiscal responsibility, which basically boils down to worrying about the cost of those subsidies. And it’s tempting to stop right there, and cry foul. After all, where were those concerns about fiscal responsibility back in 2001, when most conservative Democrats voted enthusiastically for that year’s big Bush tax cut — a tax cut that added $1.35 trillion to the deficit?

But it’s actually much worse than that — because even as they complain about the plan’s cost, the Blue Dogs are making demands that would greatly increase that cost.

There has been a lot of publicity about Blue Dog opposition to the public option, and rightly so: a plan without a public option to hold down insurance premiums would cost taxpayers more than a plan with such an option.

But Blue Dogs have also been complaining about the employer mandate, which is even more at odds with their supposed concern about spending. The Congressional Budget Office has already weighed in on this issue: without an employer mandate, health care reform would be undermined as many companies dropped their existing insurance plans, forcing workers to seek federal aid — and causing the cost of subsidies to balloon. It makes no sense at all to complain about the cost of subsidies and at the same time oppose an employer mandate.”

Let’s hope more people continue to speak the truth like Krugman. It may be the only hope for getting these troublesome dogs in check before they ruin the whole neighborhood.

5 Comments

  1. Kimberly

    July 29, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Have you seen their latest proposal? They want to reduce subsidies, increase tax breaks for the rich, no public option, no mandate, and they think that our current National Health Care Crisis can be fixed with a “Non-Profit Co-Op” which sounds a lot like NC Blue Cross. I ranted for over an hour, until I made myself sick, about the audacity, unfairness, etc of their plan. Why don’t they just admit that they aren’t Democrats, their Republicans on the Democratic ticket because they didn’t want to be associated with our former President. I really hope President Obama tears up their proposal and no part of their proposal makes it into the final bill.

  2. BobL

    July 30, 2009 at 10:48 am

    We want Health Care not “Heath Care? “

  3. CW Pope

    July 30, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    These Blue Dogs are just collecting money from rural doctors and insurance companies. Remember, money talks, especially to these Blue Dogs.

  4. L.Cranston.

    July 30, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    It’s time to primary “C” Street Heath Shuler. Does the divine Congressman Heath know that the uninsured percentage in his backyard, the 11th District, is at 23% and rising?

    Does he know that the “Blue Cross” Dogs by their actions will result in the loss of health insurance coverage over the next few weeks while he, and his buddies, are enjoying their “well deserved” vacation of 140,000 American citizens?

    Are you listening Heath?

    Do you even care?

    If you did, then you would be singing a different tune, as your constituents will not forget your voting record next primary, or if you get by, election day.

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