Yesterday I was unfair to David Wu. I thought he was wimping out on health care. In fact, he and Kurt Schrader had joined a revolt, spearheaded by [Peter DeFazio](http://www.defazioforcongress.org), of legislators from states that have historically been short-changed by Medicare. The revolt succeeded. Here's DeFazio:
“We’ve negotiated hard and finally have reached agreement today which will give Oregon its rightful share, along with 16 other states who are also being discriminated against under the current formula. This is good news for Oregon seniors and is a critical part of this legislation,” he said.
Why did the revolt succeed? Largely, I think, because Congressional leaders knew that Peter would stick to his guns. When you do things like vote against the stimulus bill because it has too may tax cuts and not enough jobs, it gives you credibility, and therefore leverage.
Now that DeFazio is voting yes, does that make some of you progressives out there feel any better about the bill? DeFazio, of course, did not want to support a bill without a public option any more than you did.
But DeFazio was there is 1994, the last time a Democratic health care bill that wasn't single payer fell apart. And he knows that its failure did not trigger a voter revolt that led to the election of a single-payer Congress. He knows that instead, for 16 years, costs have risen and people have lost coverage.
That's why I think he and the rest of the delegation are doing the right thing. I don't want to lose another 16 years. Because the 'political lesson' that Washington would learn from failure is not that they have to pass single payer; it's that voters don't want a 'big government intervention' in health care.
And consider this: By voting for this bill, Congress will, for the first time, be taking responsibility for the private health insurance system. The flip side of Congress forcing people to buy private insurance is that we can now hold Congress accountable for what the insurance companies do. I think that fact will inevitably lead to increasing Congressional control of insurance rates and practices. I could be wrong, but I think that's a hell of a lot more likely than FAILURE of the bill leading to greater regulation of private health insurance companies.
And of course, I really, really like the fact that the Medicare tax will now apply to unearned income.