That trick never works.Sometime over the summer, it was suggested that the Democrats should aim for decent health-insurance reform, since the Public Option (itself a pre-compromise of Single Payer or Medicare for All) was likely to get twisted out of recognition, if not existence.

Tuesday night’s developments — regarding the Gang of Ten senators, selected by Harry Reid to conjure a 60-vote solution to the healthcare bill, which is on the Senate floor and still needs to survive a filibuster to reach an actual vote, after which it will go to a conference committee to iron out differences with the House bill, and then…


Er, sorry. Could somebody help carry that reader out of the room? Thank you.

Anyway, if TPM’s reporting of the confidential deal is to be trusted, here’s the grab-bag of proposals being sent today to the Congressional Budget Office for evaluation:

The opt out public option is gone.

Don’t act surprised.

The group agreed — contingent upon CBO analysis — to a Medicare buy in.

This is the plan that would lower the Medicare age to 55 — which, over the years, has been part of another occasional proposal to phase in Medicare for the entire population.

But note the “buy in”. It would be available in 2011 — without subsidy. It would be “quite expensive.” If you can hold off getting sick (or old) until 2014, the government will help you pay for it.

One of the trade-offs will be to extend a version of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan to consumers in the exchanges. Insurance companies will have the option of creating nationally-based non-profit insurance plans that would—


Shit. Look, you have to remain conscious to qualify for the drawing at the end of this post. If we call out your name and hear nothing, we’re keeping the robotic hamster. And telling your kids.

So, bottom line: Nothing happens for five years. Presuming we all haven’t been shipped to Afghanistan by then, in 2014 the “insurance exchange” will open, featuring subsidies for modified Medicare, the federal-employee insurance program, and “non-profit” plans offered by our favorite Robber Barons. There may be a “public option” if the Robber Barons don’t pretend to play along.

Thank you for your rapt attention. The winning ticket is—

Hello? Hello? Where’d everybody go?

Democrats Agree To Tentatively Trade Opt-Out For Trigger, Medicare Buy In, And More [TPM]

Don’t be surprised if the friggin’ newly minted “Tea Party” winds up controlling the House and Senate in 2010 what with the Democratic party pissing off its supporters even more than GOP voters.

I’m predicting miniscule turnout among Democratic voters in 2010.

where did i go?
love it or leave it…i left it.
taxation without representation…i haven’t paid a penny in usamerican taxes in 6 years…or voted since george the second stole the last election, and never will again.
there are options.

Damn. Looks like I’ll have to revert to plan B which is – to become rich. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to go that route but looks like I don’t have an option. (Get it? Option??!! I know. Awesome) So, I’ll open an account at Cartier’s and go from there.

The Republicans loathe people like me and the Democrats are eager to sell me down the river.

I’m not sure what’s worse anymore. I’m not interested in changing party registration b/c at the local level you can affect a few things via primaries, but fuck them all, and particularly the Unicorn. None of us are under any illusion that he was anywhere close to us on political stances, but getting thrown under the bus again has actually kind of started to hurt.


you taklin to me? you talkin to ME?

i’m not rich and i have a very nice guest suite. we could use some boarders such as yourself and the mister. such fun we would have!

also, you like cartier? just like i gave RB’s car to evilmammy, i’ll give you his white gold panther watch (he thinks he lost it)

What’s sad is that those 10 senators will probably be taken down by Teabaggers or enraged progressives in the primaries or elections.

two of bluedogs are headed for the door I think. Lincoln and Pryor from arkansas.
the consensus opinion at thanksgiving was they were both toast.
I still hold out hope that the progressives will hang on but its dimming.

BTDs take:

The camel’s nose here is the expansion of Medicare eligibility to a group beyond those 65 and over. That group is defined as persons between the age of 55 and 64 who qualify for the Exchange (stevie makes a great point in comments – if dependents can be covered in a Medicare buy-in this becomes a more meaningful provision – progressives should demand that concession.) It’s a start. Lowering the eligibility age now becomes an acceptable concept. Now there needs to be a tweak to all of this imo – the individual mandate must be limited to those persons who will be eligible for the Exchange AND who qualify for the new Medicare expansion and/or the new Medicaid expansion. To wit, you are only mandated to purchase health insurance IF you are eligible for a public insurance plan (Medicaid or Medicare.) I would also support mandating coverage for persons who make $200K a year or more. I also prefer the House funding mechanism.

If the bill can end up in that final form, I would support it.

he also says that this part “quite expensive”, will still be less expensive than regular insurance.

he has been my go to guy for a while on this issue. he has worked and blogged harder than just about any one I know.
I dropped out trying to follow it. cause I agree, my head hurts.

@baked: Wasn’t thinking specifically of you but since you offer… No. But this seems to be the Republican position: can’t get health insurance? Here’s your solution. Become wealthy. Shift all your money to tax havens like, say, T&C, and bob’s your uncle, problem solved. Now that wasn’t really so hard was it? K. Lets go cut some taxes while we get some jackass to do a photo op clearing brush, the symbolic meaning of which can be appreciated even in AK.

at the risk of daveH’s wrath (who yells at me for discussing my personal life here) i’m struggling with the black dog again. my marriage is troubled, and i just broke my arm. cost me hundreds to have it xrayed and casted.
no insurance.

i’m heartsick to be unable to visit my grandson as often as i would like. thank you uncle bob. i used to be rich and lost a shitload of money invested. RB’s income is 1/4 of what it once was, and i can’t get a work permit here. i think i’m going into the dog walking/dogsitting business. seriously.

my head hurts too. thanks for listening, my stinquers. have a good day.
in the words of a dear friend, “at least you aren’t having chemotherapy today.” i’m holding on to that.

It really doesn’t seem to stink much worse than Hillarycare did, as that was also a sellout to the robber barons. Yet for some reason we are so much more disappointed in Hopey.

I think we are all suffering from subconscious racial bias; we just figured “he’s fucking black, he’s gotta be liberal under this moderate exterior, thats just to calm the whiteys.”

For what its worth, the medicare buy-in is the nose of a real big, good-looking camel in the tent, its a better nose in the tent than the “public option.” Now we just ratchet that age limit down and presto-changeo-medicare for all, the best possible outcome anyway.

For me, the whole thing was shit from the get go, from the minute a national, government, single-payor system was off the table, which was always.

So I am not going to lose further sleep going over the particular texture and odor of this shit, its shit, always was shit, yeah, wow, shit is yucky and stinks, yup, sure does. I don’t need to go through the whole Cheech and Chong routine, smells like shit, tastes like shit, it must be shit, good thing we didn’t step in it.

@Prommie: I don’t think race has anything to do with it. We spent the last, what, 12 years, more? of horror and it looked like we might finally get somewhere only to have a Democratic congress destroy reform. The Medicare option might be OK but they’ll set the earnings level so high it will only hope those who are desperate. Meanwhile, the rest of us pay through the nose.

@Benedick: I keed, benedick, I keed.

There will be an earnings test for the medicare option? I has not heard that. Estimates are, it will cost a single person about $6,000 per year to opt in at 55, which is less than a private plan would cost, questions remain on family coverage.

It does seem that the biggest concern to Rahm is not the contents of the bill, simply the passage of a bill, so that the Hopey will not be perceived as having suffered a “defeat.” So you see, its all about Hopey, we get a shitty bill, so he can win. And so insurance company contributions can continue to roll in.

@Prommie: I don’t have an extra $500 a month after paying for my mortgage, utilities, food, and gas. I’m really glad I like being right so much–I knew we would get nothing and like it–otherwise I would have nothing to cling to right now.

@Mistress Cynica: I said it was shit, now we’re just discussing the taste again.

But, that $500 a month is just for now, apparently in 3 years gubmint subsidies would kick in and it would taste slightly less like shit.

I’m fucking grumpy this morning, sorry to any and all who get any on them. What could it be? This fucking back pain? Or this fucking health care bill? Or the fucking teabaggers and paultards and dominionists? Or just every aspect of life? If I’m so fucking smart, why ain’t I rich? Fucking-A. Shityeah. USA USA USA


Well, love, I’m not feeling that great today either. We had to put Mufasa, one of our dogs, to sleep this morning. His arthritis had progressed to the point where he couldn’t even stand and was wracked with pain all the time. So, a little gray day here as well.

Oh, and hey, thanks everybody for watching Mr. ‘Catts special last night. It’s good to have you all around, my friends, my blessed ghosts in the machine.

“It is a comfort in wretchedness to have companions in woe.” Christopher Marlowe, Faust

ADD: Fuck them. Fucking Democrats. I’m joining the socialist party, if I can figure out which one.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: I’m so sorry about your pupster. It’s heartbreaking to lose a doggy — their love is so sweet and pure.
@baked: Broken arm? Jesus H woman, take care of yourself. And take your pup for a walk on the beach. I’ve found that dogs are good at chasing away the black dog.

And me? I’m stuck at boring meetings 3000 miles from home and am sick as a dog and afraid my flight home is going to be cancelled.

I wish this shitty week were over already.

Been sick at home for the past three days. Just about ready to go stir crazy. Had to shovel snow yesterday, which probably didn’t help. Least I have some prescription cough syrup on hand.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches:
oh my dear tommie…i am truly so sad and so sorry.
i’ve also been dog crying today too on top of everything, about my little blind shih tzu who died alone on the flight back here..and lefty, sergio is approaching 10, 100 years old for a giant breed, i’m watching him fail…he can’t walk down the stairs without my supporting him, and can’t run on the beach, can’t walk much beyond our property.
faust was right, it helps to shed tears with company.
rest in peace Mufasa..

and i loved mr.catts show…felt proud!

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: So sorry to hear this. Hope you’re both holding up. The only thing wrong with dogs is that they don’t live long enough. I send love.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: My sincerest and deepest condolences on your loss.

@baked: My thoughts are with you as well, dear baked. It’s terrible to watch a loved one suffer.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: @baked: The love we give to and receive from our furbabies is probably the purest we ever know. We put no expectations on them, nor they on us. Three friends have had to put their kitties down in the last couple of weeks. There are few things so wrenching. Big hugs to you both.

Hey, I put up the Christmas tree today. We may decorate it tonight, depending on Son of RML’s homework load.

Fun fact: In doing some genealogical research for my late great aunt’s family, Mrs. RML found that a Christian Navajo with the same name as one of the great great uncles worked on a Navajo translation of the Bible. Things being the way they were*, I’m sure he didn’t get a credit but it gives me a great idea for a Christmas present for mom.

* and still are. I am listed as “unidentified Pueblo man” in a local history. Jeez.

@SanFranLefty: Ni siquiera las cervezas el lunes? Oh well.

Here’s what I think about the Senatorial Opt-Out: in 2014 I’ll be just shy of eligible for this new fangled Medicare. By the time I may actually want to stop slinging the slang and go on the dole, there just may be enough subsidy to make sure I have health care.

Hopey’s got us by the short hairs, it is now “I’ve got mine, how about you?” And I always thought Bill Clinton was the 21st century Nixon. Oh well.

@redmanlaw: “unidentified Pueblo man” sounds like a movie extra credit. Author, author!

@Nabisco: I’ll also qualify just in time for prostate cancer, so there’s that. And depending on Chainsaw’s phonebook of details, it might be The Best We Can Get — maybe even better than the sorry remains of the Public Option.

But five years until implementation? (Earlier full-price Medicare doesn’t count.) That’s two congressional sessions from now. Any bill that gets signed shouldn’t be trusted more than a campaign promise.

So sorry to hear about tough times for so many of you. My heart goes out to you all.

So, my relatively insignificant tale of woe: I’ve been totally overwhelmed–working six days a week for the last four months–my boss has me by the balls ’cause of the recession and he knows it.

Anyhoozle, yesterday we’re having a team meeting–I’ve been terribly ill all week, but coming to work anyway to stay on top of my projects–and my boss called me a “workflow bottleneck.” I swear to the FSM, it’s a good thing my subsequent rage blackout after that comment caused me to completely go numb and pop a fuse ’cause otherwise there’d have been consequences (I swear I went cross-eyed).

So I’m (confidentially) on the market, been thinking about this for awhile. How dry is it out there? Is selling my booty really an option? It’s always the first solution on Melrose Place, though I can’t imagine those Real Life five-diamond “sessions” are with Brad Pitt clones in Architectural Digest quality homes at $5K a pop.

And can anyone sponsor me to take the Series 24 exam?

Hey, thanks for all the kind words. Time heals all wounds, but still, sad sad sad. The big question? What to do with his collar, bowls, and toys….hate seeing them around because I’m afraid they will make Mr. Catt cry, so I hid them in a closet for now. But now…what?

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches:

Oh sweet Jeebus, I never even thought of that. Both my Dalmatians are eight and the breed isn’t exactly known for longevity (more Taz-like craziness).

Cyber-hug, Tommmy.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches:

Perhaps Thor could use the toys? It must hurt like hell now, but eventually you’ll enjoy your memories of your sweet dog who’s no longer with you.

@Original Andrew:

We’ll probably end up giving them to him, but it’s sad..they used to play tug-of-war when Mufasa was feeling good. I wonder how Thor is feeling about it? Do they notice that kind of thing? He seems a little subdued.

I have a feeling whoring would be a bit more Santa Monica Boulevard than Melrose Place, if you get my drift…

Oh, and a hug back, ya big galoot. How come we never get together RL? We live in the same city…

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches:

I’m in Seattle, though I *heart* Hell-LAy, especially on days like today, when I did a double-take upon seeing my thermometer read 19 degrees in this dreary fishing village.

My cousin lives in Mid-Wilshire, near LACMA, but I haven’t been able to get time to get down there since 2006(!). If I’m ever able to work it out, I’m def seeing my beloved So-Cal Stinquers.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches:

I’m sure Thor misses him. They did spend a great deal of time together. Do you have any other dogs? Personally, I think they do better in pairs; it’s that whole pack-mentality thing.

@Nabisco: Look, I was serious, this is no worse than Clinton’s health care bill. If Hillary had won in the primary, then beaten McCain, and then served up this dish of shit, we would have said “whew, it sucks, but at least its something.” She would have benefitted from low expectations, but Obama, we called him “Hopey,” and we are dismally disappointed that he’s pretty much Clintony.

I am actually very excited that we have something that opens the door to medicare for all. The only viable versions of the public option still on the table were all shit, designed to fail, anyway.

Seriously, the time for all this angst was last May, June, July, by then it was clear it was going to be a fucked industry sell-out piece of shit. Honestly, over the last 3 days, when it came out they were talking about a Medicare Buy-In, I was more hopeful than I have been for the last 6 months that this could result in something good, anything good, at all.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: I am very sorry to hear of your doggie, and I loved the Christmas cartoon, I enjoyed it.

@baked: My dear baked, I sincerely apologize for my rude behavior. For no reason I took a cheap shot at you. Nothing I will ever see on Stinque would give me more pleasure than to read that you were feeling healthy and happy sometime.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: I’ve kept all our dogs collars and leads – well, most of them. They hang in a big festoon on the back porch. We’ve had a lot of dogs. 9 by the latest count. I don’t keep bowls or toys. But then, our dogs don’t really have toys because the only one who understood fetch died 3 years ago. The other magic Dachshund had his throwing stick buried with his ashes. He wouldn’t fetch it. If you threw it he’d run away with and gloat, let you come near then run away again. The most recent Dachshund to go taught me to retrieve. So short answer is I’d keep the collar and lead and the rest of it can go.

Thinking of you. It’s a lousy time to go through.

@Original Andrew: Good luck with job hunt/whoring. Keep us posted.

@Promnight: Thanks for keeping the Hope alive. I’m trying to believe you. I’m still terrified by end of life care and medical bankruptcies.

@Benedick: You know, Benedick, there was a youtube I saw today, put out there by Huffpost, it was about a youngish-man with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, what I believe they used to call emphysema, and he needed a double lung transplant to live. He seemed to be a person in his 50s or early 60s. His medical insurance would not cover the half-million dollar cost of the operation.

My mother, 85 years old, also suffers from COPD. She went to one of the nationally renowned heart and lung hospitals last summer, at my extreme urging and really, it rifted my family, my insistence that she see these nationally recognized pulmonary specialists.

Here is what they told her. “You have COPD. It will kill you, eventually. We’re not going to give you a lung transplant.”

This is what has made me crazy, about this hysteria about “death panels.” The medical establishment has an informal, but very rigid, unspoken, but very real, system in place already. They are not going to give an 85 year old woman a lung transplant, they said it coldly and outright to her, and even though its my mom, they were right, spend a half million dollars to extend an 85 year old person’s life by what, 3 years, or spend it to save this 60 year old guy?

Your fear, I don’t think you should have so much fear, really. The system, even as it is, will save you, as long as you have a meaningful life to be saved, and yes, it will not throw millions into keeping a very very old person alive a little bit longer. But even now, it will not let you down, if you have life in you and before you.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: I’m sorry about Mufasa. I’ve tried to imagine the day when we have to make that decision for our doggy, and I can’t. I keep thinking that I’ll probably go before him, and if so, I want it written into my will that he gets a piece of Pedo-jerky for a treat every night for a year. Is there any lawyer who can make that legal? Seriously, I’m sorry for your loss.

@Original Andrew: “workflow bottleneck” sounds kinky to me. But then almost everything does. I think you should embrace it — while you look for better options.

@Promnight: I think part of the problem is that we’ve redefined “middle age” as something that barely begins in your 40’s. And “young-ish” to describe a person in his/her 50’s or 60’s. Medical science is truly awesome. It preserves many of us far beyond our utility.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: Thor totally knows. Let him sniff the dog collar and the bowl.

When I had to make the decision to send my baby to the Big Dog Park in the Sky, I donated her dog bed to the animal hospital and kept the food bowl and the collar. The collar is now next to the box of her ashes and the ever-growing St. Francis of Assisi shrine that I keep adding to with Mexican folk art/Dia de los Muertos crafts. It makes me feel like she’s close. And I lit her Dia de los Muertos candle with the skeleton dog on it for you and your furbaby.

If you and Mr. ‘Catt need some more comfort, I highly suggest The Dog Chapel by Stephen Huneck (I’ve been there!) and Good Dog. Stay. by Anna Quindlen.

Hey Nojo, you added the Search feature! Did you announce that when I was preoccupied or were you going for a soft launch?

@Nabisco: Las cervezas el lunes were the highlight of my trip. I was feeling about 50% when I saw you and MellBell and quickly crashed due to exhaustion. I heard a rumor that FlyingChainSaw will be in your neck of the woods in the next month.

@SanFranLefty: Soft launch — added this afternoon.

@nojo: Speaking of soft launch, when did progressive politics get redefined as going one step at a time? I heard it on Countdown and someplace this week. I got up offa my sick bed so I wouldn’t have to put up with Chris Matthews and other dickheads yelling at each other for a while. I had a lot of crap to put away from the last hunting trip that never came through, anyway.

Now developing aches throughout top 2/3 of the body in addition to generally feeling like shit. Hello, flu?

@redmanlaw: That’s the nice way of putting “we’ll take what we can get.”

But there’s my excuse to look up something: Medicare was signed into law July 30, 1965. Harry Truman was the first to enroll, and presented with the first Medicare card.

At the same signing ceremony.

The program was officially started July 1, 1966. From scratch. No five-year lead time required.

@Nabisco: “I’ve got mine, how about you?”

Is it just me, am I alone in thinking that that sentiment is the prevailing ethos of our time? I measure it by the increasing lack of courtesy on SoCal freeways; the coworkers I poll about the health-care possibilities who say, “Don’t care as long as I keep my [temporarily generous employee-sponsored] plan”; neighbors who think nothing of keeping outdoor lights on 24/7, yes even during the day, because they don’t want to contemplate forgetting to turn them on one night; myself for usually driving a few miles to get lunch rather than bringing it to work.

Where is the community? And can I download it from the internet or at least set my DVR to record, so I can enjoy it at my leisure?

@Pedonator: More like “I’ve got mine, fuck you.” Unfortunately. And you are not alone.

@Mistress Cynica: Seriously, I think the baseline of civility has deteriorated. I include myself.

But I have this rage when a soccer-mom in an SUV — or, especially, an old fart in any flavor of Porsche — refuses to let me in on the onramp from one freeway to another, and inevitably I can see him or her talking on the cell. How the fuck did we ever live without those infernal devil-devices before ten or fifteen years ago?

@redmanlaw: Sounds like swine flu, but you can check with Nabisco, he is the expert on the symptoms.

@Mistress Cynica: More like “I’ve got mine, fuck you.”
For realz.

@Dave H:

thanks for that.
and i’m happy to report to you, as requested, that i spent the last 30 minutes catching up on stinque chatter and i’m laughing my fucking ass off from all of you magnificent hilarious bastards.
and i have learned so much about wiping that ass!

@Promnight: That is not my fear. Your doctor is right. It would be an act wanton cruelty to subject your mother to an operation like that. We’re facing something like that with my brother-in-law who is well on in his 80s. His wife is seriously contemplating a bypass op. It won’t prolong his life but it will make the time he has left a torment.

My fear is if I should need nursing care at home or in a home – I don’t have kids – it will cost so much it will bankrupt me. Sidebar: the OH is older than me and if I die first I will be seriously pissed.

@Pedonator: Re doggy decision. Check if your vet will come to your house. Ours does. It is now for me essential.

@SanFranLefty: It was a very nice engagement, you’re delightful and both you and Mell are very very gracious to put up with my antisocial behavior and pick up the check. Because of that, I will totally insist that you and Mr. SFL be my guests on the beach next spring.

@Nabisco: Did you get official word you’re going there?? Would love to go visit. That’s an entire area of the world I’ve never been to and have always wanted to spend six or nine or 18 months traveling through. If the economic situation and job market of the Bay Area continues to go to shit, Mr. SFL and I may need to flee to Southeast and Central Asia, fake our deaths to escape Sallie Mae, and live on a beach in Thailand or India.

I have no idea what you are talking about w/r/t to antisocial behavior – I thought you were quite social. Speaking of socializing, do you mind if I pass on your contact info to FCS?

@SanFranLefty: I have a feeling I won’t have official word until a week or so before leaving, but they want me there “soonest”.

I’m helpless in new social environments, much of what comes out of my mouth around new people is breathless idiocy. You guys were great company.

I would love to hear from FCS, yes’m. Although if the Steelers continue to fail so laughingly to the Browns – the freakin Browns! – I may dig myself into a cave until I’m hand delivered my plane ticket and entry visa for Colombo.

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