Health Care State of Play

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Oct 14, 2009 at 21:30


Here is what I am hearing tonight:
  • In the House, the public option tied to Medicare rates has 200 confirmed supporters.  However, that appears to include the leadership at this point. Further, the count will drop to 199 when Robert Wexler leaves Congress, and his replacement will not be sworn in before the health care vote.  The CA-10 and NY-23 special elections will both take place on November 3rd, with the former guaranteed to send another public option supporter to Congress and the latter guaranteed to send a public option opponent.

    Worth noting: Of the four dozen undecided and "lean no" members the Progressive Caucus is targeting at this point, half were first elected in 2004, 2006 or 2008. As such, it really shouldn't be difficult for the overall House leadership to pass a public option with Medicare +5% rates if they wanted to.  If they want access to the party treasury for re-election, then they better not sink the policy aims of the overwhelming majority of the party.

  • In the Senate, despite Lieberman's recent grumblings, everything I hear still points to Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson as the main obstacles to passing a public option. As leader of the Conservadems Bayh's been looking in to increase his power. As someone who voted against the budget, he appears to oppose even the principle of universal health care. As a scorned Vice-Presidential short-lister who shifted sharply to the right in 2009, Evan Bayh strikes me as particularly problematic. Check out this quote of his in the Politico, where he basically says he will join in a Republican filibuster against virtually any health care bill:

    "It's not fair to ask people to facilitate the enactment of policies with which we ultimately disagree," said moderate Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.). "So the closer we get to the end of the process, the more, for me, the process and policy will be one and the same."

    It isn't fair, eh? How about the fairness of the Senate elevating itself to unicameral status through its culture of 60-votes? Is it "fair" to use the filibuster to destroy the branch of Congress that actually has equal representation for the American people?

    Worth noting. The progressive netroots are generally credited, even by some insiders I have talked with, for pushing Bayh out of the Vice-Presidency. Could he be angling for revenge, by targeting the top legislative priority of the progressive netroots for defeat?

  • On the activism front, 192 223 donors have raised $10,832.35 $11,618.25 to run our ad on the public option!

    (click on the ad to see the animated, flash version)

    This is going to allow us to expand the ad campaign from Roll Call and The Hill to the Washington Post, specifically targeting people in D.C. who read about health care news. A lot of people in D.C. are going to know that a lot of people outside D.C. know exactly the run of play on the public option and congressional process.

No quiet fadeaway for the public option. What health care news are you seeing tonight?
Chris Bowers :: Health Care State of Play

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Maybe we should have let Bayh get the VP... (0.00 / 0)
...at least he couldn't do much of anything...

Too bad we don't have anyone to primary that bastard...

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!


no, no, no (4.00 / 4)
That would have made Bayh a front-runner for 2016 and a heartbeat away from the presidency in the meantime. Disaster.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
Front runner? (0.00 / 0)
Wasn't George H. W. Bush the first sitting Vice President to be elected President since Martin Van Buren in 1836?

History shows that a Vice President Bayh would be unlikely to be nominated and less likely to be elected.

Gore was cheated out of it in 2000.
Bush I was elected in 1988.
Humphrey lost in 1968.
Nixon lost and was not cheated out of it in 1960.
John Breckinridge was the nominee of the southern Democrats in 1860 and was not elected.  He did become a Confederate general.
Van Buren was elected in 1836.

Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were elected under a different system where the second place finisher for President became VP.  Jefferson was clearly a member of the opposition.


[ Parent ]
Yeah but they were nominated (4.00 / 3)
Since the end of WWII, when the VP position finally stopped being a joke, a VP has been nominated in 5 out of 7 open seat elections at the end of a party's two terms: 1960, 1968, 1976 (if you count Gerald Ford, who would have been the incumbent VP if Nixon hadn't resigned), 1988, and 2000.

1952 and 2008 were the exceptions.  In 1952 VP Alben Barkley ran but was considered too old.  In 2008 Dick Cheney was not only old and uninterested but had abysmal approval ratings.  A 2016 Evan Bayh would have none of those problems.

Just having Bayh as our nominee would be a disaster.  It would mean we'd have to choose between Bayh, a Republican, or a minor party candidate with basically no chance of winning.


[ Parent ]
Not to mention that LBJ and Truman became president (4.00 / 1)
by virtue of being Vice President first.  And Nixon's loss in 1960 was quite narrow, and he probably wouldn't have been viable in 1968 if he hadn't been the nominee in 1960.  (though who knows?  Historical counterfactuals are ultimately meaningless)

[ Parent ]
At least a Cabinet post... (4.00 / 1)
...or Ambassador or Czar or dog catcher. Something, anything where he could rendered a (self-actualized) useful idiot...

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans

[ Parent ]
Indiana has a R governor (0.00 / 0)
And the Indiana Republicans are pretty hard right, FWIW

[ Parent ]
This Mark Kirk survey inspired me donate to run the ad: (0.00 / 0)
Should Congress cut Medicare funding by $400 billion to fund Speaker Pelosi's healthcare bill?
Yes
No
Don't know

When I found Rep Kirk's nasty one-minute floor speech in my inbox this morning, I turned to his website and discovered this equally nasty survey. It provided some ammunition and I immediately responded to him to complain of his wording.

According to OpenSecrets.org, Kirk's biggest "industry" is "Retired" and he's leaning heavily with this banner that links to the speech: >> In my opinion, we should not be paying for health care on the backs of senior citizens. <<

I've heard that if you write to him about health care reform, the stock reply one receives is a rambling, incoherent two-page letter with little reason or logic. He seems to have given up using the GOP diagram, but we'll no doubt see the current chart a lot.

I think that Illinois needs Rep Grayson to come campaign for the Dems!


Just get this thing to conference (4.00 / 3)
The Conservadem's ability to filibuster is considerable before passage of the Senate version, but will drop dramatically on final passage of a conference report, where all the marbles will be on the line. Just my opinion, but I don't see how a Dem senator can filibuster final passage and remain in the conference (assuming Byrd remains healthy enough to vote and we have 60 Dems). The pressure will be immense; the betrayal to big to tolerate.

So my view is to just get something with some form of public option, even if it has a trigger, out of the Senate and to conference. Get the most aggressive PO possible out of the House and let's get to conference, where everyone plays for keeps. Ditch the trigger in exchange for 'level playing field' and/or Medicare sweeteners for rural areas at conference and then dare the Conservadems to filibuster final passage.

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans


I wish they were trying harder (4.00 / 2)
I don't see any arm-twisting from leadership or from the White House to get a strong public option, which depresses me.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

The minute Emanuel became COS... (0.00 / 0)

 ...any real prospect for "change" coming out of this White House pretty much died.

 

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
Dear Desmoinesdem and Master Jack: (4.00 / 1)
With all due respect, how the hell do you know?  

[ Parent ]
Track record (4.00 / 5)

 Rahm Emanuel has never, ever supported a progressive cause or candidate, to my knowledge. He's stocked the House with blue dogs -- who are hell-bent on stifling any progressive change.

 President Obama had a truckload of choices for the CoS job. There were a lot of progressives available. He chose Rahm, who spends most of his time berating the left.

 Obama's selection of Rahm was a statement. A bad one.

 

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
I assume that Rahm has strict marching orders from Obama. (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
It's also hard to see what's actually going on, though (0.00 / 0)
especially when the Blue Dog's strength is in their perception of being all insider-y.  They're not going to advertise getting whipped.

[ Parent ]
Conservadems? (4.00 / 3)
Been seeing that around suddenly. Did you all just think that up? Because it's stupid. Like "traditional media", it fails to communicate the nature of the situation accurately.

Rentadems is the term you're looking for. There is no ideology at play here. No principle. These people are thugs, working for the highest bidder.

Stop giving them so much credit.


works out the same (0.00 / 0)
Rentadems is the term you're looking for. There is no ideology at play here. No principle. These people are thugs, working for the highest bidder.

Conservatives or whores to power? Is there a difference? The results are pretty much the same.

miasmo.com


[ Parent ]
I think there is a difference (0.00 / 0)
There are real conservatives. People who have a legitimate concern about the overuse of government.

Granted, most self identifying "conservatives" are hypocrites looking for an excuse for their true philosophy - selfishness.

But over the years I have known real conservatives and respected their views.

Nothing like that is at play here. Look at Joe Lieberman. When he was a Democrat, he had the reputation as one of the most liberal members of the Senate. Aside from his puritan streak, he was considered by many to be a solid liberal voter on many important issues. Now? That he can run as a Republican? Not so much.


[ Parent ]
conservatism (0.00 / 0)
I judge conservatives on what they do when in power rather than their sales pitch. Conservatism has always been about having a ruling class, and conservative actions always lead to more power for the powerful few. If you look at what they do rather than what they say, the only kind of overuse of government that bothers them is the kind that helps the poor and middle class. If using government and spending tax money helps giant corporations, they're all for it.

I really think that the "real conservatives" whose views you have respected are more accurately "frugal pragmatists" or "practical minimalists" or something along those lines - maybe "libertarians." To the extent that they believe that they share goals with real-world conservatism, I think they have been duped.

miasmo.com


[ Parent ]
I doubt it's that simple (4.00 / 2)
If it was, a bunch of rich liberals could just get together and buy Ben Nelson.  I wish.

[ Parent ]
It's worth trying... (0.00 / 0)
...These Senators LOOOOOVE money!

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 ]
Wrong, it's not at all that simple (4.00 / 4)
A bunch of liberals throwing money at Nelson (or whomever) might fill his coffers one time, sure, but it'd never come close to the money and lifestyle perks that comes with being in bed with the big corporations who need you to vote their agenda.

It's not simply about cash for these sold-out Pols, which is why the DC Beltway mentality is so insular and out of touch with everyday America. It's about power and connections: having the rails greased for your kids to get into any school you want, your spouse's company getting those big fat government contracts, the best tables at the best restaurants, luxury box seats at sporting events, the adrenalin high and ego rush of rubbing elbows with the super powerful and elite from around the world, country clubs, preferential golf tee times at private courses, you name it. Money alone can't get you that. It's the corporate infrastructure that gets you that.

 


[ Parent ]
Oops, typo! (0.00 / 0)
Obviously, my comment title wasn't suppose start with  "wrong", as I'm agreeing that buying politicians isn't only about cash. I was just expounding on why/how buying them entails more than straight cash.  

[ Parent ]
We can't create some kind of "liberal fat cat infrastructure"? (0.00 / 0)
I actually think that, while corporate perks are definitely a factor, these ConservaDems like Ben Nelson and Max Baucus actually have their own personal opinions and ideologies, and that those opinions and ideologies really tend towards the conservative side. (What I question is why these people still choose to be in the Democratic Party, its control over Congress notwithstanding.)

I don't think anyone really goes into all the trouble of politics just for the sake of corporate benefits or power or ego.  You could get all that outside of politics and much more easily too.  I think the process is probably more like this:

1. A politician with generally conservative instincts runs for office
2. Corporate donors gravitate to the conservative
3. Conservative hits it off with corporate donors, given that they have common views and interests
4. Conservative politician gets elected and has lifelong relationship with corporate donors.

So if we were to brainwash all of Nelson's corporate buddies into pushing for Medicare for All, I think there'd be considerable pushback against them coming from Nelson.  The question is which would win out.

Another very plausible explanation, not mutually exclusive, is that conservative corporate interests are simply a much more reliable source of campaign funds than liberals.  In that sense, having large amounts of corporate money around isn't for personal enrichment, but rather to ensure that one can stay in office and do all the things s/he considers to be "good" for the country.


[ Parent ]
You're not understanding the systemic reasons why lobbyists are effective (4.00 / 1)
So much of the reason that they work has to do with the ability to gather information, and their ability to be in the capitol 24/7.  The internet has managed to close some of the gap on the first point, but on the second, I think it might be worthwhile to hire a netroots lobbyist to be there and actually be talking with congresscritters on policy formulation.  

The donating money thing is important, but not as important as its' made out to be.  


[ Parent ]
But they probably also... (0.00 / 0)
wine and dine and dole out all kinds of free perks and have junior lobbyists who just happen to be very attractive and like to have sex with congressmen and their staffers, etc., etc., etc....

miasmo.com

[ Parent ]
Yes, but (4.00 / 1)
unless you fix the incentives in the system that cause even well meaning, honest poltiicans to be influenced by the lobbing system, then you have no prayer of fixing the problem with the corrupt ones.  

I in fact would argue the same thing about the banks.  Focusing on Madoff or the Bear Stearns guys is fun, but it distracts from macroeconomic policies that favor the direction of capital into the banking system over industries that produce things, and furthermore, encourages speculation over investment.  


[ Parent ]
fixing the incentives (0.00 / 0)
As long as money is legally considered free speech, I'm not sure what can be done about it. The problem is that these rich assholes have the money to hire an army of full-time lobbyists. It should be illegal, but it's not. I guess if we can't get rid of the incentives, the only thing to do is provide counter-incentives.

miasmo.com

[ Parent ]
Evan Bayh is a small, small man (4.00 / 7)

 Even though I don't think even Bayh is so petty and spiteful that he'd screw the country just to get even with a few pajama-clad fringe folk, the fact that he's willing to torpedo real health-care reform for ANY reason doesn't reflect well on his value as a human being, an American, a Democrat or a senator.

 Proof that talent skips a generation. I'll bet his children turn out to be a great progressives, like Evan's father was...  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


No surprise about Bayh (4.00 / 7)
His wife works for Wellpoint.  He's protecting his OWN interests and not that of the citizens of Indiana.

Bastard.


[ Parent ]
That's rarely covered outside the blogs (4.00 / 5)

 That fact needs to be the focus of a good, strong, hard-hitting ad.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

[ Parent ]
It's on now! (4.00 / 3)
Ben Nelson's hair vs Birch Bayh's heir. *rimshot*

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans

[ Parent ]
The Most Hopeful Thing I'm Seeing (4.00 / 5)
is Countdown's Free Clinic partnership events shaping up.  I honestly don't know if they can pull this off fast enough to make a difference in the short term, soon enough to win the battle in this go-round.  But this is the sort of thing we need to start seeing in terms of changing the whole zeitgeist.  The contrast between these mass events of public healing and the jackassery of the tea-partiers should be particularly striking.

It took a couple of years of this sort of thing to build up the momentum for the really big stuff during the New Deal, so I think that if we focus on building strength, and pulling off events like this, our strength will only increase in the years ahead. Maybe not the Conservadem's, but they're really not my concern.  And since Obama loves them so much, he's not my concern, either.  He will come to us when there's nowhere else to go.  

I want to be clear, I'm not giving up on us getting a decent bill this year.  But I think that if we take a longer view--and don't buy the Versailles CW that it's got to be now or never--then we'll be much better prepared to hang tough in the short run, and not fold.  And that's what's needed to win.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


It is very much sour grapes on his part (4.00 / 2)
When I was at the 2000 national convention that nominated Al Gore, he was a some some event I was at.  From his conversation and that of his wife's it was clear he was running for president as soon as he could get it toeghther.  

2004 he seemed to be aiming ate presidency th.  But he stayed a conservadem back then. For 2008 he knew he had to go left and his votes from 2006 on were much more liberal.  

He lost and he lost the VP, I don't think because of netroot opposition.  Obama actually liked Joe Biden and couldn't/wouldn't choose Hillary.  I don't think he was ever in play.

He's now the conservative he's always been.  Maybe he's thumbing his is nose at father.  

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


It is very much sour grapes on his part (0.00 / 0)
When I was at the 2000 national convention that nominated Al Gore, he was a some some event I was at.  From his conversation and that of his wife's it was clear he was running for president as soon as he could get it toeghther.  

2004 he seemed to be aiming ate presidency th.  But he stayed a conservadem back then. For 2008 he knew he had to go left and his votes from 2006 on were much more liberal.  

He lost and he lost the VP, I don't think because of netroot opposition.  Obama actually liked Joe Biden and couldn't/wouldn't choose Hillary.  I don't think he was ever in play.

He's now the conservative he's always been.  Maybe he's thumbing his is nose at father.  

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


Maybe he's just (4.00 / 2)
a big vacuous douche bag Ken doll whore?

miasmo.com

[ Parent ]
Bayh never ran for President (4.00 / 1)
He had his chances in 2000, 2004 and 2008, but he never got into the race, except for all of two weeks for 2008.  2004 would have been a good year for him going off conventional wisdom, as he was a moderate, popular former governor from a Republican state in the Midwest.  Then again, it's not clear whether he would have done well in the primaries given his somewhat strong support for the Iraq war.

[ Parent ]
NY-23 (4.00 / 1)
I don't think it's automatic that the NY-23 winner will vote no on the public option:

http://www.watertowndailytimes...

But they certainly don't want to say they're for it.


Progressive netroots? (4.00 / 1)
The progressive netroots are generally credited, even by some insiders I have talked with, for pushing Bayh out of the Vice-Presidency.

The progressive netroots are that powerful?  I thought we were supposed to never get our way!


The powerful progressive netroots got Biden as VP! (4.00 / 1)
Well, we all remember that fumbling Joe was every progressive's first choice, right? Certainly an impressive show of strength of the netroots to get that ulta-left, determined anti-war candidate into this position. Yeah, he's so much more progressive than Bayh!

D'oh. Is there anyody who believes this, except Evan Bayh, maybe? Power of the progressive netroots, my ass...


[ Parent ]
Maybe or maybe not. (0.00 / 0)
I don't know if it made the difference, but there was way more netroots opposition to Bayh than there was to Biden. Not even close.

For me personally, I canvassed and phone banked for Obama/Biden. Obama/Bayh would have thrown me into a pit of cynical despair so deep that I would have turned my back on politics altogether and washed my hands of the Democratic party forever and just started looking out for number one.

Your equating Biden with the horrid Bayh is off the mark. Not that I'm raving about Biden.

miasmo.com


[ Parent ]
But was netroots opposition the deciding factor? (0.00 / 0)
Given that netroots opposition to a PO trigger is probably more vociferous than it was to Obama picking Bayh, the answer seems to be no.

Rather, I think it's more likely that Obama ruled out Bayh on his own and his judgment happily coincided with that of the liberals.  But he picked Biden, what I call a "standard liberal", rather than a more committed liberal, e.g. Sherrod Brown.


[ Parent ]
As far as I can tell, "tied to Medicare"... (0.00 / 0)
... means Medicare rates, and not Medicare access -- and the bills on offer are still means-tested and firewalled so the insurance companies don't have the government "competing unfairly" with them.

Medicare is single payer for over-65s, and it doesn't involve some kind of Rube Goldberg health exchange that takes until Obama's next election campaign to set up, and can't be shown to work.

But do continue to hijack Medicare's branding for [a|the] [Federalist?] public [health insurance"] [option|plan] FAIL! Bait and switch is the "progressive" way!

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  


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