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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Welcome to the sausage factory

I love a good political fight as much as the next person. And I even get enmeshed in the procedural wrangling that is government. But I am studiously avoiding the ins and outs of the Capitol Hill wrangling that I still believe will lead to health care legislation. Why?

Because as a former Statehouse reporter I remember the words (if not the correct order) of Otto von Bismarck's pronouncement: "Laws are like sausages. It's better to not see them made."

I personally think we should be talking about insurance reform as much as health care reform, and that's exactly what's going on with the back-and-forth over the public option. Insurers are being threatened in the traditional ways they do business and are fighting back.

That's also the context in which to view the latest shenanigans of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut. The "I" doesn't stand for independent as he would have you believe. The I represents the first letter of his state's other nickname -- The Insurance State -- pious protests to the contrary.

Usually the sausage-making takes place behind closed doors -- and there is plenty of that ahead when the conference committee gets together to iron out the final version of legislation that will emerge from the House and the Senate.

But now is the time for other lawmakers to get their own little pieces of the sausage -- and which is why Lieberman is being less than truthful if he says the interests of his state's largest industry is not on his mind.

And centrist Democrats are angling for something of value they can offer voters who want to come after their scalp for approving "Obamacare" in spite of the rants of Rush and Glenn. Pay no attention to the men and women in front of the curtain.

If you are looking for clarity, try this piece from the Washington Post's economics columnist Steve Pearlstein.

But if you're looking at a good night's sleep, skip right over the daily rehash of the sausage-making. It will only given you indigestion.

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Blogger Judy Meredith said...

You know it is possible, if you keep paying attention, to spot the important role that outside advocates for consumers play in the sausage making process by organizing and maintaining grassroots pressure on their Congressional delegation. I loved the Pearlstein analysis, and thank you for finding it for us this morning, but he does not credit the on the ground activities of a long list of consumers advocacy groups who always had their eyes focused on illuminating and excess profits of the insurance industry.

October 28, 2009 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We already have two Federal government programs that pick up much of anyone's visit to a doctor, etc. They're called Medicare and Medicaid.

While I'm sure you're right about Sen. Lieberman, the country would be better served if we expanded those programs to people who are truly destitute.

The last thing we need is one more government program.

But, of course, Democrats won't go for something like because it runs counter to their DNA. They're all about expanding government.

Anyway we look at it, Democrats, along with help from a few Republicans, will screw up our healthcare system.

Get to the gym. The more you work out, the less likely you'll have a need to see your doctor.

October 28, 2009 6:05 PM  

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