Home > Healthcare > C-SPAN throws the gauntlet

C-SPAN throws the gauntlet

Via Michael Calderone’s blog at Politico:

C-SPAN chief executive Brian Lamb, who has long fought for more television access in Congress, is now asking House and Senate leadership to allow cameras inside while members hammer out differences between the two health care bills.

Lamb, in a letter dated Dec. 30 and made available today, requested opening up “all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings, to electronic media coverage”

[…]

The C-SPAN networks, he wrote, are willing to commit the necessary resources to cover sessions live and would offer the network’s multi-camera feed to those in the Capitol Hill broadcast pool.

I love this move on the part of Brian Lamb.  It puts these cowardly Democrats currently running the Congress on the spot.  Especially in light of the recent news that the Democratic leadership will skip the conference process, effectively shunning the Republicans from reconciliation of the House and Senate healthcare bills and put the final bill together—in secret.  Nearly 16% of the American economy. 

What a disgrace.

It also invokes the lies coming from then-candidate Obama about how the debate on healthcare reform would be open to the public.

It should be interesting to see how this plays out.

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  1. Michael
    January 6, 2010 at 3:08 PM | #1

    Funny, but my recollection is that candidate Obama suggested C-Span film the negotiations between his administration and the drug industry, not the sausage making of day-in day-out political manuvering that politics is always about.

    What we are seeing now with the health care reconciliation approach just adopted by the Democrats is the direct result of Republican obstructionism. In real life, if I ask you to do something that needs to be done and you refuse to help, I’ll go around you and from then on I cut you out of the process. Does no one in the Republican party recall the result of soon-to-be- former Speaker of the House Gingrich when he and Clinton got into their famous fight about closing down the government?

    What I don’t understand is the Republican willingness to give up on America. Since when was it American to refuse to work with your political opponents on necessary social improvements? Yes, yes, define socially necessary. OK; you or a member of your extended family being financially ruined for the rest of their life because of an illness or accident. Your neighbor being forced to give up their home because of a hospital bill. You being refused insurance coverage for an expensive treatment because the insurance company managed to find a way to weasel out of their commitment. We make much of our military promising to never leave a comrade behind yet we shrug off 42,000 deaths annually in our country because those people didn’t have medical insurance. Why, aren’t we each and every one of us veterans of the battle against death? France can take care of every single person entitled to call themselves French and we can’t?

    I’m an old man, retired and fortunate to have Medicare so the battle is mostly over for me but who have we become that we are content to watch our women, our brothers and our children become medically crippled, or even die, because we refuse to acknowledge our collective dependency upon each other? We are morally responsible to each other, isn’t that the core teaching of the great religions?

    • January 6, 2010 at 10:31 PM | #2

      Thanks for posting Michael.

      As for your comments—first off, then-candidate Obama made a big stink about being transparent. Specifically as it applied to his proposed healthcare reforms. Not necessarily, as you suggest, between his administration “and the drug industry”. He noted specifically that the negotiations for the entire process be shown on C-SPAN for the whole country to see—-in the name of transparency. Here’s a clip to view along those lines.

      And I disagree with your point on Republican “obstructionism”. I don’t recall liberals or Democrats complaining about “obstructionism” when they were in the minority. How is it the Republicans fault that healthcare “reform” is not sailing smoothly through a Democratically-controlled (and bitterly partisan) Congress and White House? It seems to me Democrats need to stop whining about the power they have and start governing—if they are capable of that at all. And by governing, I don’t mean shoving a monstrosity of a healthcare proposal down the collective throats of Americans who don’t want it.

      There are approximately 2 million deaths in this country every year. If 42,000 die because they “don’t have health insurance”, then over 92% of deaths in this country are people who HAVE health insurance. Which pretty much makes your argument relatively weak. What France does is their business. Have you tried healthcare in Europe? Its atrocious. I know people in Europe and healthcare it’s significantly inferior to what you find in the United States. Sure, everyone has coverage, but unless you have cash, you’ll get treated as a second class citizen.

      And talk about “giving up on America”…..why is it that liberals such as yourself wish to bring this great nation down to the level of European states? And since when are “social improvements” a mandate of the federal government? Where does it say that in the Constitution?

      I appreciate your concern for our nation as you lived most of your life, and our now living with healthcare provided by a government program that will be bankrupt within a decade or so. I’m actually very concerned about the next generations who will have to literally pay the financial price for not only a bankrupt Medicare program for which you paid into, but for a ruinous healthcare proposal that you support—for many generations more to come. To me that is irresponsible and unfair.

      Thanks for your comments!

  2. Michael
    January 7, 2010 at 3:26 AM | #3

    You ask “since when are ‘social improvements’ a mandate of the federal government?” and I have to say since the day of the founding of the Republic, unless I mistake the point of having a revolution. The whole enterprise, as I understand it at least, is to improve the human condition to the degree such work can be done. And frankly, from looking around from the vantage point of the life I have lived, we have accomplished quite a lot in the last almost seventy years. I grew up in a strictly segregated segment of the old South and the world has changed over the course of my years in a very positive and productive way. My commanding officer at our base in southern Italy at the beginning of the sixties had been a pilot with the Tusgeegee Airmen and do you know I could not have invited him to have a cup of coffee with me at a restaurant in my home town? Can you imagine that?

    I am a liberal, politically, in most respects because I think liberals look forward whereas so many conservatives tend to try to hold on to the past long after it is no longer useful to do so. I was a union activist at my job, served on the executive board of my union for more than a dozen years and think, though I suppose you never really know, that I managed to accomplish some positive work, like saving a job now and again, or getting an over-bearing boss off of a worker’s back so we could get on with the work that had to be done. I take it from your writing that we wouldn’t agree to much in the political realm yet I note that you spend your time doing pretty much what I did when I was a union activist. I spent my time just like you, trying to convince people that by working together toward a commonly held goal we could have a positive outcome. It’s what Obama did as a community organizer, so I say more power to you, my brother. I may well disagree with the end you propose but I applaud you for your willingness to work to bring the change you believe in.

    As for my healthcare being provided by a government program, what exactly is the difference between the taxes I paid into FICA and money I would have had to spend with a private insurance company to provide for my medical needs now that I am no longer employed? Do you think that my medicare is some kind of government handout? I have paid for my insurance all of my life and if you have doubts about the truth of that you ought to check your pay stub.

    You’re right when you note that what the French do is their business but do you really mean that you prefer to live in a country that leaves the average state university student 20,000. in debt when they graduate vs starting out in the world debt free at a time when you receive relatively low pay? Imagine,a student capable of doing the class work can become an engineer debt free, a medical student can afford to be a general practitioner because he wants to do family medicine (versus the average American med grad who has to become a highly paid specialist in order to pay off his/her school debt), top students could afford to be high school math or science teachers because that’s is what they love and they don’t have to get an MBA and work on Wall Street to satisfiy a student loan scheme. Take a trip to France some time and look at the people to see if they seem upset about their health care. I don’t mean they don’t complain about it, they’re French so of course they complain, but I can promise you they would not trade what they have for what we put up with. You literally cannot get a French person to understand why we do medicine the way we do because it simply doesn’t make sense in the context of their lives.

    I just don’t get your argument. Medical insurance is nearly a monopoly in every state in the Union yet as a conservative you are against making them compete with the government. Why would government insurance policies represent a threat to anyone if private insurance is better somehow? Republicans delight in talking about how poorly the government performs so how in the world would government run medicine be appealing to a person who could afford some alternative? What is it that makes the profit-driven decisions of a corporate bureaucrat more acceptable than the choices offered by a publically run and funded entity? I just don’t get it.

    • January 7, 2010 at 9:27 AM | #4

      I grew up in a strictly segregated segment of the old South and the world has changed over the course of my years in a very positive and productive way.

      Please don’t tell me that you’re comparing racial segregation to healthcare reform? You’re comparing basic human rights to entitlement to a government benefit. That’s definitely NOT what the founders had in mind.

      Obama was not a “community organizer” per se, but more of a community agitator. A radical.

      I have paid for my insurance all of my life and if you have doubts about the truth of that you ought to check your pay stub.

      Trust me, I know what comes out of my paycheck. And it’s very depressing that what’s coming out is going to pay for a soon-to-be bankrupt government program. That future awaits the new healthcare program currently in congress. The notion that we as a nation, should just acquiesce to extremists in Congress for “the good of the people”—to just shut up an accept it—is insane is doing a disservice to future generations.

      Of course the French would not complain about their system. Generations of weaning off the government teat and eventually you just accept it as a normal part of society. I have family and friends in Europe, and I know how the system works. It’s not pretty. But conformity and comfort to a particular system happens in any society.

      As for the government vs private insurance argument—its a misleading one. I want fair competition. Competing with the government is hardly fair. The government can print money when it wants to and has a disproportionate influence on how the industry will be regulated, overseen, etc. How is that fair? Obama and numerous other liberals have stated—-public option, an “exchange” for competing insurance plans, etc, is just an entry-level gimmick for the eventual government takeover of healthcare—single payer, national system. There isn’t anything American about that.

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