Kucinich says "yea," Jane Hamsher still screaming "nay."
So, health care reform seems a little closer to passage now, thanks in part to the switch to yes by liberal Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich (as ably reported by Heather Michon). Kucinich said today:
I know I have to make a decision, not on the bill as I would like to see it, but the bill as it is. My criticisms of the legislation have been well reported. I do not retract them. I incorporate them in this statement. They still stand as legitimate and cautionary. I still have doubts about the bill. I do not think it is a first step toward anything I have supported in the past. This is not the bill I wanted to support, even as I continue efforts until the last minute to modify the bill.
However after careful discussions with the President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Elizabeth my wife and close friends, I have decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation. If my vote is to be counted, let it now count for passage of the bill, hopefully in the direction of comprehensive health care reform.
For this, we must thank... not progressives?
I remain baffled by the Kill the Bill campaign being spearheaded by FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher. Ezra Klein ably took down her 10 reasons to kill it back in December, but that kind of logic doesn't really seem to work on FDL. Instead, Hamsher is angry with Dennis Kucinch for reversing his position on the health care bill. I'd like to hear her, or anyone from FireDogLake, explain how passing the current bill is unfair to the 8,400 people in Kucinich's district that will be extended coverage despite pre-existing conditions, or to the 30,500 people who currently don't have health care but will be eligible for it. Maybe she could also explain the unfairness to the 163,000 families and 14,000 small businesses who will receive government assistance to pay for health care.
Or, you know, she could focus on making people afraid of government health care. That seems excellent and progressive. Congrats, you have Patrick Ruffini on your side.
I was reminded today that FDL was behind a poll that probably pushed Arkansas's Vic Snyder into retirement by showing that voting for health care would make him more likely to lose. The poll asked questions that made it sound like everyone will end up paying money out of pocket for health insurance or be fined at least 2 percent of their income if they don't participate.
That's push polling, and it's also misleading. Yes, if you don't get health insurance, you might have to pay up to 2.5 percent of your income as a penalty -- however, the bill promises hardship and religious waivers, and it's going to offer government subsidies for those making three times the national poverty guideline.
Vic Snyder has probably been a mismatch in his Arkansas district for a while, having voting against the Iraq war and the Federal Marriage Amendment. He recently pushed for the Treasury Department to "give banks more authority to restructure existing loans for farmers." You don't get much more progressive than fighting for farm reform.
Yet Snyder's potential yes-vote on Health Care made him an enemy of FireDogLake. Clearly, this was someone that needed to be encouraged to retire, not someone who should have earned the respect and support of liberals and perhaps some pledges to his campaign.
Or he could retire, handing his seat to a scandal-plagued Republican. That sounds good for the country.