Little Wonder

I had some doubts about Sen. Ron Wyden’s Healthy Americans Act when it was first proposed and when an ad came out that seemed as if it vastly overpromised any likely benefits it had, I was even more skeptical.

People kept telling me that it had support from a dozen senators (of both parties!) as if that was some major endorsement. Then, yesterday, I saw this story in The Hill:

Congressional Democrats are backing away from healthcare reform promises made by their two presidential candidates, saying that even if their party controls the White House and Congress, sweeping change will be difficult.

. . .

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), a member of Senate Democratic leadership and a key Hillary Clinton ally who also sits on the Finance Committee, said he is “not sure we have the big plan on healthcare.”

“Healthcare I feel strongly about, but I am not sure that we’re ready for a major national healthcare plan,” Schumer said.

Schumer said he would focus “on prevention above all and cost cutting until we can get a national healthcare plan.”

Wondering if Schumer or Sen. Jay Rockefeller (quoted with similar comments in the article) were among the senators signed on to Wyden’s bill, I found out that at least they weren’t double-dealing by supporting a major health care overhaul and simultaneously saying there was no way to do it. No, here’s the list of thirteen senators supporting the bill (twelve plus Wyden) with the Democrats in bold.

  • Sen. Ron Wyden [D, OR]
  • Sen. Lamar Alexander [R, TN]
  • Sen. Robert Bennett [R, UT]
  • Sen. Thomas Carper [D, DE]
  • Sen. Norm Coleman [R, MN]
  • Sen. Michael Crapo [R, ID]
  • Sen. Charles Grassley [R, IA]
  • Sen. Judd Gregg [R, NH]
  • Sen. Mary Landrieu [D, LA]
  • Sen. Joseph Lieberman [I, CT]
  • Sen. Trent Lott [R, MS]
  • Sen. Bill Nelson [D, FL]
  • Sen. Debbie Ann Stabenow [D, MI]

None of the three presidential candidates (all senators). Joe Lieberman. Norm Coleman. Trent Lott. LAMAR! Only four of Wyden’s supporters are Democrats, and those aren’t exactly the rootinest, tootinest names in the Senate: Carper, Landrieu, Bill Nelson, Stabenow. Does someone want to explain to me what about this bill makes it credible as a piece of progressive legislation?