Live Chat: Blue America Welcomes Roxanne Conlin, IA-Senate

Wednesday the House voted overwhelmingly to abolish the exemption the health insurance monopolies have been enjoying from antitrust laws. I spoke to half a dozen candidates running for House seats from around the country, all of whom were very enthusiastic about the action (as you can see at the link above). Today an old Blue America friend, Rep. John Hall, sent us a statement reminding us that he's been talking about doing just this since last summer.

Finally, the House of Representatives has repealed the anti-trust exemption for the health insurance industry. I have been talking about this since last August, when it elicited applause from progressives and conservatives alike in my health care town hall meetings. I have spoken forcefully in our caucus about the insanity of allowing monopolistic practices, price-fixing, collusion and consolidation by corporations which are gouging the consumer with skyrocketing insurance premiums, shrinking coverage, underpaying of doctors, and refusing coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Today, we finally got a debate and a vote on this first, clear issue pertaining to health care reform. Competition is key in driving down costs for families and small businesses. Monopolies kill competition. I have not heard a credible reason for health insurance companies to have such protection. It is especially obvious when Anthem Blue Cross just proposed a premium hike of 39% for one year, while simultaneously posting record profits and dropping millions more from coverage. I have heard from many of you who have experienced similar hikes from your insurance companies.

Enough is enough. I co-sponsored the legislation that passed by a bipartisan vote of 406-19. Republican Representatives argued strenuously against the bill, then flip-flopped and voted for it. I guess they didn't want to face the voters after casting a vote to protect an industry that clearly does not need protection.

By chance I also happened to be on the phone with Roxanne Conlin, a progressive Democrat running for the Iowa Senate seat currently occupied by anti-health-care fanatic Chuck Grassley. Roxanne is an attorney who "has devoted her law practice in Des Moines, Iowa to representing people who have been injured by others, whether by discrimination, products, doctors or vehicles and has gained national attention and the respect of her peers in the process." She knows quite a lot about why repealing the McCarran-Ferguson Act will be a tremendous boost for the whole cause of health care reform. John and I have invited her to C&L today (at noon, PT) to talk about this issue as the bill moves on to the Senate, the body she is aspiring to be part of. Meet us-- and Roxanne-- in the comments section.



The media, conservatives and the democratic deficit hawks are telling America that the cost of reforming America's health care system better not add one red cent to the deficit. Why doesn't the librul media explain to America that we are paying 10 billion dollars a month on two wars that Americans hate?

I asked Rep. Alan Grayson on a live chat on C&L how much the US of A spends each month on the wars, and he answered thus:

The appropriated cost is around $10 billion a month, which is enough to pay for the entire health care plan by itself. But that doesn't include the future health care costs for injured American soldiers, which is staggering. Nor the cost to the Iraqis or Afghans, of course.

Our soldiers get killed or maimed by one war that has been botched by Bush and we're no closer to a solution in Afghanistan after eight years of occupation and another war that Bush lied us into known as Iraq. The media is uncomfortable whenever we use the word "lie," for some reason. I wish they could give us a truer description of what happened, don't you?

Yet, the media never bothers to explain to us how much money we are actually spending each month that does NOTHING to help Americans. Well, it does fund the military complex and mercenaries like Blackwater, but why the f*&k does it matter to these budget freaks if we have to spend some jack to save the health-care system in the long run? Have they completely decided that America is staying in both countries endlessly and the costs for sustaining these wars is a non-issue?

UPDATE: You can donate to our "No Means No!" Afghanistan action here.



New York Times Defends Hiring William "The Bloody" - He's <i>Respected</i> & <i>Serious</i>

Via Editor & Publisher: (h/t The Huffington Post)

A day after the Huffington Post first reported it, The New York Times has announced that it has indeed hired conservative pundit, and Fox News analyst, Bill Kristol, as a new regular op-ed columnist.

Liberal bloggers had been up in arms over the move. Kristol said, in an interview with Politico.com, it gave him some pleasure to see their "heads explode." Kristol was perhaps the most influential pundit of all in promoting the U.S. invasion of Iraq and has strongly defended the move ever since.

Times' editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal defended the move. Rosenthal told Politico.com shortly after the official announcement Saturday that he fails to understand “this weird fear of opposing views....We have views on our op-ed page that are as hawkish or more so than Bill....

“The idea that The New York Times is giving voice to a guy who is a serious, respected conservative intellectual — and somehow that’s a bad thing,” Rosenthal added. “How intolerant is that?” Read on...

This will do little to convince their readers that he didn't just make a huge mistake by hiring a pundit who has zero credibility and is one of the biggest hacks in all of wingnuttia. Mr. Rosenthal, it is not intolerant of the American people to want truth and accuracy from the supposed paper of record. It's not about having opposing viewpoints, it's that Kristol has been wrong on just about everything he's said for the past five years. Not a little wrong, but really, really wrong. But according to Rosenthal, he's really serious and gee, people really respect him. Well, I guess that makes up for all of the propaganda...war-mongering partisanship...hackery that Kristol has been given a national platform for already.

Maybe we should take a look back at the very serious and respectable prose of William "The Bloody" about his new employers:

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