Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 10:07 am

Dr. Death

Filed under: Evil — Lex @ 10:07 am
Tags: , , ,

That’d be Tom Coburn, the physician-turned-senator who seems to think having “M.D.” after his name entitles him to inordinate amounts of deference even when his behavior is both insane and a violation of the Hippocratic Oath.

Right now, Coburn is the main obstacle to passing the Zadroga 9/11 act, which would compensate 9/11 first responders for health problems related to their exposure to toxins at the World Trade Center site on and after 9/11. These people responded with incredible bravery to try to rescue people in the Twin Towers. Hundreds of them died in the attempt, and many of the survivors are now seriously ill, even dying, because of the risks they took on.

Coburn doesn’t want them to get that help, and whatever his real reasons are, he’s lying. He claims he objects because the bill is being rushed through at the end of the session without a committee hearing. In fact, it has been pending for more than a year, has already been brought to the floor once, and did indeed get a committee hearing in June of this year before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, whose members include … Tom Coburn.

“First, do no harm,” Dr. Coburn. If you don’t want to pass this bill because you think it’ll mean smaller tax cuts for zillionaires or something, at least be enough of a grownup to say so. Don’t lie to the American people about it.

One other thing: It’s worth remembering that this guy was considered one of the more reasonable members of the ’94 Gingrich revolution — not because it wasn’t true, but because it was.

One other other thing: The so-called liberal media has been shamefully absent on this story. It has taken Jon Stewart’s flogging this issue like a rented mule on “The Daily Show” for it to get anywhere, and even the White House knows it.



  1. In defense of Doctor Coburn from National Review’s Duncan Currie:

    “Amid high-profile lame-duck debates over New START, gays in the military, an omnibus spending package, and the Bush tax cuts, the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act had garnered relatively little attention — until Comedy Central funnyman Jon Stewart launched a one-man crusade to secure its passage. GOP critics of the measure were castigated as insensitive at best and immoral (perhaps even unpatriotic) at worst. No Republican caught more flak than Senator Coburn, who demanded significant changes to the bill and threatened to delay its approval until 2011

    The idea of boosting medical and financial aid to heroic Ground Zero workers was never controversial. But the proposed legislation needed serious fixes. Indeed, various aspects of the 9/11 bill — the cost, the duration, the lack of adequate oversight mechanisms, the loopholes for trial lawyers — were deeply problematic. Unfortunately, Republicans who suggested as much were pilloried for their “callousness” and “cowardice.”

    Well, guess what? On Wednesday afternoon a compromise version of the 9/11 bill passed by unanimous consent. Had Coburn simply folded? Quite the opposite. He had succeeded in obtaining major revisions that greatly improved the final product.

    Originally, the ten-year cost of the legislation would have been either $7.4 billion (House-passed version) or $6.2 billion (amended Senate version). The ten-year cost of the compromise will be only $4.2 billion. Originally, the bill would have cost billions more beyond the ten-year window. Those added costs were jettisoned entirely from the compromise. Originally, the re-opened 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) — which closed in 2003 — would have stayed in operation through 2031. Now the VCF will be shuttered — permanently — in 2016. Originally, legislative loopholes would have permitted certain attorneys to gobble up a massive chunk of 9/11-related settlements. The compromise imposes a rigid ceiling on trial-lawyer fees, limiting them to 10 percent of the total amount awarded and giving the VCF “special master” authority to slash fees that he considers disproportionate. Originally, the bill suffered from a dearth of accountability controls. The compromise includes muscular safeguards against waste and abuse.

    In short, Coburn’s thankless efforts resulted in a much better 9/11 bill — a bill that won approval without even a formal vote. I’m not sure there are any profound “lessons” to be drawn here — the 9/11 measure was a unique piece of legislation, and its chief Senate sponsors (New York Democrats Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand) were desperate to see it enacted during the lame-duck session — but the junior senator from Oklahoma deserves hearty praise for weathering a storm of vitriol and forcing the necessary improvemets.”

    I’d suggest less judgemental accustaions of lying until you have carefully listened to the other side . Perhaps that wouldn’t dent your armor but…..

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Saturday, December 25, 2010 10:17 pm @ 10:17 pm

  2. Nope, excuses != reasons. Coburn’s support for permanent extension of tax cuts for Republicans while arbitrarily limiting medical coverage is despicable.

    Comment by Lex — Sunday, December 26, 2010 12:12 pm @ 12:12 pm

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