Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It Ain't Over Till It's Over

**Updated to include links to the interviews... Click to listen to Dennis Kucinch, Raul Grijalva, and Eleanor Smeal.****

That's a quote from Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who joins me tonight on Air America radio to talk about the reasons why he voted against HR 3962 on Saturday night, but continues to fight to bring real health care reform to the nation.

As I wrote yesterday, I'm truly conflicted. We need reform so badly, but I'm afraid that this bill --while bringing some much needed regulation -- still serves as a massive boondoggle for the for-profit leaches, government sanctioned extortionists known as the for profit health insurance industry.

What would have made Dennis Kucinich vote for it? As he'll explain tonight, if there was any protection for consumers, his vote would have been different.
The Kucinich Amendment (you can read the text here) would make it possible for states to enact their own single payer health care systems, and not be subject to the little known ERISA regulations that would render such systems impotent.

ERISA (The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) is a very complicated topic. I've done two shows on the subject. Jeff Metzger is a listener who happens to be an attorney who represents clients against insurance companies, and contacted me to educate me on the topic. I invited him on the show to explain what it's about. You can listen to that broadcast from August 18 here.

To underscore the importance of the issue, an opposing attorney contacted me, asking to present his side of the issue. So, on August 26, we revisited the subject, with an insurance company attorney, and Richard Johnston, the author of the blog called problemisERISA.blogspot.com. You can listen to that broadcast here.

Anyway, Congressman Kucinich will continue fighting for real reform. Stay up to date with what's going on at www.kucinich.us. And, as he'll tell us tonight, calls and emails to the White House, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, imploring them to put the Kucinich Amendment back in the final health care bill can only help.

You might be wondering, as I was, what happened to the rest of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, 63 of whom wrote a letter to Nancy Pelosi vowing to vote against any bill that didn't contain a "robust" public option. Tonight, I'll also speak with Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. He'll answer that question for us.

And then there's the question of the Stupak Amendment. The more I think about that piece of shit- er- legislation, the angrier I get. As I was perusing the interwebs today, I came across this piece on HuffPo, "Abortion in Health Care Reform: The Fight Is Far From Over," written by Eleanor Smeal, one of the true heroes of the feminist movement.

Today, in addition to serving as publisher of Ms. magazine, Ms. Smeal is president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, and she'll join us tonight too, to discuss the giant step backwards for human rights foisted upon us by the Stupak amendment.

I hope you'll join us too. Listen live (11pm-1am ET) by clicking here, and call in at 866-303-2270.