Errybody gotta check out Emily Mills' article on health care. It is a powerful indictment of the status quo and an encouraging endorsement of the reforms to come. I have had the fortune of avoiding the type of heart-wrenching interaction with the insurance industry that she describes, however, she made one point that I think I can elaborate on.
Let's start with the political opponents, like Wisconsin Reps. Paul Ryan and James Sensenbrenner. Marching in lockstep with the rest of the GOP, they worked tirelessly to ensure that the hard-working people of their districts and country would continue to get a royal screwing from insurance companies and overpriced medical care.
The best way to convince these insurance industry shills they're wrong is to kick them out of office at the next possible opportunity.
Unfortunately, that is most certainly not going to happen. Just look at the Cook Political Report's assessment of Wisconsin's incumbents. Sensenbrenner's ultra-conservative district, centered in Waukesha County, makes him an even safer incumbent than Dave Obey, the 20 term incumbent Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations Committee. In fact, Cook recently downgraded Obey's seat from "Safe Dem" to "Likely Dem." They did the same for Democrat Ron Kind.
Paul Ryan's district is considerably less right wing, but he is nevertheless considered a safe incumbent by all accounts. Frankly, I'm surprised Ryan wasn't an easier target back in 2006 and 2008, during the big Democratic years. His proposals for Social Security and Medicare are definitely radical enough to scare moderates into voting for Dems. Nevertheless, the time has passed. For the time being, he will be the GOP's go-to guy on health care.
In fact, if there's any member of the Wisconsin Congressional delegation who will face consequences for the health care bill it's Democrat Steve Kagen, who represents a historically conservative district in Northeastern Wisconsin. Despite the screaming matches he faced in many-a-town hall meeting, Kagen put all his chips in for health care. Hopefully the bet will pay off.
The only two safe Dems? Madison's Tammy Baldwin and Milwaukee's Gwen Moore.