Evening Health Care Round-up

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 20:00

Six worthy items on health care for this evening (most of which were first posted on Open Left in Quick Hits):

  1. The RNC sends out a press release attacking the co-op proposal. No one could have predicted that Republicans would also not agree to the co-op "compromise" proposal, either. Just like no one could predict that Republicans will still attack the health care bill once co-ops are dropped, too.

  2. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says that he will vote against health care reform, even if he receives every concession he asks for:

    In an interview today on MSNBC's "Morning Meeting with Dylan Ratigan," Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R) said he'd vote against any health-care reform bill coming out of the committee unless it has wide support from Republicans -- even if the legislation contains EVERYTHING Grassley wants.

    "I am negotiating for Republicans," he said. "If I can't negotiate something that gets more than four Republicans, I'm not a good negotiator."

    Grassley will only vote for the bill if it is supported by a majority of Republicans. Given that the RNC is already attacking co-ops, that should be an easy bar to cross. It truly is a relief that Grassley is negotiating in good faith.

  3. Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY), says that President Obama could lose "100 votes" in the House if the public option is dropped:

    WEINER: The President does seem like he's moving away from the public plan, and if he does, he's not going to pass a bill. Because there are just too many people in Washington who believe that the public plan was the only way that you effectively bring some downward pressure on prices, and if he says well we're not going to have that, then I'm not really quite sure what we're dong here.

    BECKY QUICK: So you would not vote for a bill that made it through, if it got through...

    WEINER: Not only I but I think there's probably a hundred members of the House, who believe for various reasons that you need to have something to bring down prices. Otherwise you're basically, what you're doing, you're keeping the cost arc. . . the CBO agrees with that. You know as it was, I think the public plan had been watered down so much. So if the President thinks he's cutting a deal to get Senate votes, he's probably losing House votes.

    It is a good thing that the Democratic leadership will be able to make up the votes by negotiating with Chuck Grassley and through Kent Conrad's co-op idea. Here is the video on Weiner:

  4. Joe Sestak (whose campaign I work for) seems to have found a way to avoid rowdy protesters at town halls: just hold the meetings in places where right-wingers feel uncomfortable about being loud and noisy. Recently, he has held two town halls, one in a predominantly African-American church, and another in a veteran's center. Neither event had significant protests.

    So, just find places wingers are scared of--like African American churches--and the protests melt away.

  5. Speaking of town halls, is the national news media just done with that story? There is virtually nothing about the health care protests today on the Elections section of Google News. Last week, there was virtually nothing but the town halls in that section of news. Either national news outlets are bored with the story, or there are more taken with the latest conflict: Dems vs. Dems on health care. Or both.

    As Democrats, we should have known all along that fighting with ourselves was a sure way to clear Republican protesters off the headlines. There are few stories the national political news media likes more than Dems vs. Dems.

  6. Here is a great speech by Howard Dean to fire you up on the health care fight:

    I spoke just before Howard did, and I remember almost nothing about what I said. Best speech I have heard in a while.

This is an open thread on health care. Chat away, and call members of the Progressive Block to thank them for holding their ground.
Chris Bowers :: Evening Health Care Round-up

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weiner is most definitely not a wiener. (4.00 / 9)
i really like how he presents single payer.  it's almost like he's a democrat who's not ashamed of his beliefs.  amazing!

weiner is winner! (4.00 / 8)
we need more weiners

[ Parent ]
But were's our "Weiner" in the Senate? (4.00 / 1)
House hasn't been the real problem, from the very start. The effing Senators are. Where's the lever to force those Divas back in line???

[ Parent ]
I know this is slightly off topic (4.00 / 1)
but get Weiner to talk about Israel/Palestine and Iran, you'd be screaming for a primary.

[ Parent ]
Yup. The WestBank isn't a "domestic issue" of Israel. (0.00 / 0)
It can't be, since it's not within Israel's borders. Weiner's argument is really idiotic.

[ Parent ]
This to me represents the problem with the Democratic (4.00 / 2)
Party...a Democrat who is great on one issue, is horrific on the other.

Jay Rockefeller is another example; great on health care, terrible on national security. Ron Wyden, great on social issues and foreign policy, terrible on health care. Even Russ Feingold, great on civil rights, TERRIBLE on guns.

[ Parent ]
ouch. (0.00 / 0)
that's depressing.  i'm not exactly a raging zionist myself.

[ Parent ]
Isn't the positive word for that "Big Tent"? (0.00 / 0)
Thing is, its too small.

This is why I try not to focus on the party. Find the issues that are most important to you, then find the people that support your positions on those issues. Vote, work, send $, door-knock, advocate, whatever for those people.

Look, the people of the nation have very widely ranging views on all sorts of issues. Yet, somehow, we are expected to figure out how to cram all of those into public policy through only two major parties, and a good portion of the folks that are elected through those two major parties are just giving us lip-service and left-overs while they please their corporate funders and colleagues. So how do we manage it?

By any means available.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
I'm sure American Indians have a saying for this... (0.00 / 0)
...something like: Big tent, big trouble!

[ Parent ]
Damn. Wayne Lively had the same idea more than a month earlier. (0.00 / 0)
And he even wrote a blog post under that headline. Quite interesting:

[ Parent ]
If The Progressive Block holds... (4.00 / 1)
I have hope that we can still get a decent bill. It's just that we must now work our hardest to make sure it holds & the Dem leaders don't fold.

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.

if the House Progressives don't get rolled (4.00 / 2)
on this bill, it will increase their bargaining power on future legislation.

If enough of them are pressured into voting for a bill with no public option, they are basically begging the White House and leadership never to take anything they say seriously again.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

Joe Sestak (whose campaign I work for) seems to have found a way to avoid rowdy protesters at town halls: just hold the meetings in places where right-wingers feel uncomfortable about being loud and noisy. Recently, he has held two town halls, one in a predominantly African-American church, and another in a veteran's center. Neither event had significant protests.

So, just find places wingers are scared of--like African American churches--and the protests melt away.

We ought to be taking notes from this guy, ha ha!  I like Sestak's style.

The other place to hold them .. (4.00 / 1)
in houses of worship .. another place where nutters wouldn't dare act up .. and if they did .. it would reflect badly on them

[ Parent ]
True... (0.00 / 0)
Of course, even churches have been the target of shooters.  It does make them less likely places for right-wingers to come in disrupting public meetings, though.

[ Parent ]
So, co-op is dead. (4.00 / 2)
The GOP isn't interested in bipartisanship. And without the rethugs willing to accept that "compromise", what arguments are left for this crap? The BlueDogs should wipe the egg from their face and get back in line. They have hurt the Dems tremendously with their appeasement, now it's time for them to make ammends to the progressives.

Agree there. (4.00 / 1)
What the Dems should do now is to push the public option through seeing as they're not getting anywhere with the Republicans. If the Republicans complain that they weren't consulted, the Dems can rightfully say that they tried a bi-partisan approach but where getting nothing done.

It would be the Repubs own loss.

[ Parent ]
after listening to rep weiner (4.00 / 1)
i think we may have a very intelligent dem in the wh but not one as concerned with the people he represents as rep weiner, obama had better get on board the train we elected him to ride or the consequences at election time will be his and other supposed dems waterloo, and i will be glad to help pull the lever that makes that possible, payback is hell especially in nov.  

Pelosi and Hoyer getter slammed on USA Today (0.00 / 0)
Quite a few angry anti-reform comments against the Speaker and Rep Hoyer on USA Today. Over 3,400 comments and it looks like it is running about 9 to 1 denouncing the attitude of Congress.

I am trying to remember when I have seen a backlash this large.  There are not many examples. The seniors chased Dan Rostenkowski in the late '80s when Congress added a specific Medicare tax....and folks choked on the 1994  Clinton health initiative.  That does not bode well. In the first case, Congress rushed back to D.C. and purged the law they just passed. In the second case the Democrats lost the majority, somewhat connected to health reform.

Congress can just steam roll the naysayers this time. The people do not trust this Congress. Congress's approval rating may drop from 30% to 18%. This is a representative Republic and not a pure Democracy. They can just vote it in.  


Quick, where's the link??? (0.00 / 0)
3400 comments, and I haven't added my two eurocent yet? What a shock! Where is that thread???

[ Parent ]
Found it! (0.00 / 0)
Requires registration, though. And it doesn't look good. Most recommended comment with 1900 votes is an angry rethug. Eek!

[ Parent ]
Freepers and Townhall.com link to it, thus the outrage. (4.00 / 1)
This drives all those crazy rethugs to the comments. and I haven't found any liberal blog linking to it (John Cole doesn't count, he ain't a liberal). No suprise the right wingers dominate the discourse.

[ Parent ]
Ofr course, this shows that Pelosi's stuff isn't up to the times. (0.00 / 0)
I mean, come on, they knew she would have that OpEd in USAToday, and if they had paid attention they would have known in advance that USAToday allows comments. So, doing their job, they should have send adavance notices to liberal blogs, ensuring that the progressive blogosphere links to the story in time. This way, there would have been lots of left wing commenters showing their support for the House leader, outweighing the crazy townhallers. But instead, liberals missed the train and the rightwingers ruled the day, an embarrasing PR desaster. Really, imho Pelosi's staff seriously screwed up.  

[ Parent ]
are you familiar with this internet thing? (4.00 / 2)
online comments: not a good way to measure public opinion

[ Parent ]
speaking of Grassley's bad-faith negotiating (4.00 / 2)
Just three months ago he was dangling the possibility of 70 to 80 Senate votes for health care reform, if only the Democrats would take a bipartisan approach to the bill.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

Ha! (4.00 / 1)
You should frame that and send a copy to Obama. Don't bother with Rahmbo, though.  

435 Dem Primaries 2012
Coffee Party Usa

[ Parent ]
Good for the progressive caucus.... (4.00 / 1)
and friends in the Senate... I don't know if they will be able to hold to the public option as a line int eh sand, but there was some much needed pushback today to halt this rightward shift...

If they stay on the offensive, maybe we can shift the messaging back to a place where we want it to be...  It's about time that our congressional leaders started speaking up (and out) about the issues...

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

You don't need a public option (4.00 / 1)
if you can force the insurance companies to live by the parameters that Medicare lives by (normalized for age, of course):
1. All reimbursements (claims payments) would be at Medicare rates
2. All admin costs would be the Medicare admin cost normalized by population

Beyond that, any private insurance company can peg its premium at (these costs PLUS whatever profit they want) divided by total population.

The idea is to dare them to operate at exactly the parameters that (normalized) Medicare operates at, and then go after profits on top. Competition will drive those profit numbers way down (but not zero, I admit).

[ Parent ]
I agree... (0.00 / 0)
I'm not fixated on the public option as the jewel of reform, since I think it's effect is more political than pragmatic.... but, I'm just happy this news has pissed off progressive congresscritters out of their slumber...  

This may be the best thing that has happened to this debate...  Maybe it was intentional...  it's sure lit a fire under a bunch of people!

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

[ Parent ]
yeah, but (4.00 / 2)
no one is proposing that. Sure, price fixing would work, but hat is even less on the table than single-payer.

[ Parent ]
This administration (0.00 / 0)
just gave the creators of the Wall Street mess an early Christmas present. A nice big fat one.

Why on earth would they be willing to force something like that on their friends in the insurance industry?

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
What about the States? (0.00 / 0)
I think this only works if the mechanism is run solely as a national program. The states will undo these locally, as they have dome with medicare and medicaid.

Besides, isn't a single payer system a more direct way to fix prices?

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
Sure, single payer would be ideal (0.00 / 0)
but if that were not possible, this proposal might be more palatable politically (though the insurance industry will see thru it in a second).

[ Parent ]
maybe (0.00 / 0)
But I'd take it as a fall-back position. Why pre-concede?  

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
could we read anything from this? (4.00 / 1)

burr: "It's ok if you want to have a government option but you've got to leave the private sector private"

Yeah. The guy's an idiot. (4.00 / 2)
"leave the private sector private"
Is anyone proposing otherwise? Even single payer includes a "private" private sector. So, that said, his antecedent that "it's ok if you want a government option" is just a head-fake toward reasonableness, not really a concession of any kind.

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

[ Parent ]
Take Co-ops off the table! (4.00 / 3)
Since the co-op idea was never anything but an attempt to win bipartisan support and since the GOP has now (foolishly?) thrown cold water on the whole idea, take it off the table and pass HR3200 with 51 votes in the Senate.

The GOP has put "party of NO" back in play as a talking point and Democrats should hammer the living crap out of it.

They probably won't, but this is an opportunity and should be seized.  

Can anybody on our side play this game?

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

"Correcting misinformation about ObamaCare". (0.00 / 0)


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Top Ten Lies About My Health Care Plan, by President Barack H. Obama

10   According to the Congressional Budget Office, under the House bill, in the year 2015 about 8 million uninsured Americans would remain uninsured and pay higher taxes. This would violate my pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000 per year. Conclusion: The CBO is lying.

9   The CBO says that the House bill would increase the budget deficit by $239 B over the next ten years. This conflicts with my goal of not increasing short-term deficits. Conclusion: The CBO is lying.

8   The CBO also says that under the House bill, about 3 million people who now have employer-sponsored health insurance would lose that coverage because their employer drops it, violating my bold promise that no one will lose the health plan they have now. Conclusion: The CBO is lying.

7   I have repeatedly assured the public that under the proposed health care reforms there will be no "rationing," and that everyone will continue to receive the best available treatment options. Yet my previous statements and some of my top health care policy advisers have questioned the "sustainability" of expensive major medical procedures for the elderly or the terminally ill. Conclusion: My old self and my advisers were lying.

6   The CBO states that the House bill would increase long-term budget deficits by ever-increasing amounts, making our long-term debt problem even worse than it is today. This of course conflicts with my contention that "health care reform is entitlement reform," and that health care reform is the lynchpin of spending within our means. Conclusion: The CBO is lying.

5   I recently stated that it is "outlandish" to suggest that I favor providing government-run healthcare for the tens of millions of illegal immigrants currently in the US. However, I also said I want healthcare reform done this year, and a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants passed in 2010. Conclusion: I'm lying, but I forget which time it was.

4   The office of Senator Robert Menendez and La Raza have asserted that illegal immigrants care more about health care reform than 'amnesty'; that "the useless barriers of citizenship would not be in this bill"; and that "If the American people find out that this bill is about giving health care to non-citizens, they will rise up against it." Conclusion: Menendez' office and La Raza are both lying.

3   The President's Medicare Commission proposal would probably save about $2 billion over ten years, and a significant concern that it would save no money at all. Conclusion: The CBO is lying.

2   In my 10 August 2009 "town hall" meeting, I flatly stated that, "I have not said that I am a supporter of a single-payer system."

However, an uncut, unedited AFL-CIO video clip from 2003 shows me saying, "I happen to be a proponent of single-payer universal healthcare plan... A single-payer universal healthcare plan - that's what I'd like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we got to take back the White House, and we got to take back the Senate, and we got to take back the House." Conclusion: I was misquoted, taken out of context and redacted, but am telling the truth now.

1   During the campaign, I promised a series of open and honest health care reform debates to be broadcast on CSPAN. I committed that health care reform debates would never be held behind closed doors; that the details would be openly discussed; and that public access to the debate process would ensure that special interests could not influence reform bills. At that time, I believed the American people deserved to know exactly what was to be included in any health care reform legislation voted on by Congress. Conclusion: I was lying then, but I promise that I am telling the truth now.

I demand that anyone responsible for these lies be held to account!

So Grassley only cares about (0.00 / 0)
Republican Americans....he only represents them?   And here I thought democracy was for the people, of the people, by the people.  Who knew it was supposed to be exclusionary...for the republican people, of the republican people......and how the hell it is by the republican people when they lost.....

[ Parent ]
Could it be true! (0.00 / 0)
Could it be true that Obama is cleverly dropping the health care option simply to get the 60 votes he needs in the Senate BEFORE the bill can go to the committee that reconciles the House Bill (with a public option) and the Senate Bill (without a public option).

THEn, the reconciling committee puts the public option in, sends it on, and the Senate votes for it at 51-50 (with Biden voting). In other words there is no way Obama can get 60 votes in the Senate, but all he needs eventually are 50 votes. But first he has to "compromise" in order to get the 60 votes.

A big switcheroo? Could Obama be that clever?

question (0.00 / 0)
but the bill that comes of the house/senate conference  can still be filibustered? no?

[ Parent ]
here's the answer (0.00 / 0)
That bill would easily pass the House. The Senate is trickier. But the conference report can't be amended. It can't be changed, or held up in committee. It can be filibustered, and it can be voted against. Those are the options. If three Democrats opposed the legislation and wanted to kill it, they would literally have to filibuster it (this is assuming that Democrats have 60 votes, which is not certain given Kennedy's health). That would be a very hard thing to do at that stage in the game. It would isolate the obstructionists, ensuring funded primary challenges and the enduring enmity of the Senate leadership and the White House. Kent Conrad can say that there aren't enough votes for a public option and imply that he's just protecting the final bill from defeat. But is he willing to be one of those "no" votes? Is he willing to filibuster? That's a different game indeed.

[ Parent ]

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