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Public Option

A Real Public Option In Connecticut?

So it would seem.

The other day in an open thread I commented on "the intended public option that should be Sustinet in Connecticut," and it would seem that is to be the case if the Sustinet Health Partnership Board of Directors get their way according to the report they handed in to the Connecticut General Assembly. Jon Walker has the key report paragraphs at FDL and summerizes it all too well, as anyone that has followed Healthcare reform closely would be aware of these realities: Make the jump»

Time for Democratic leadership to hear its angry constituents

Daily Kos Yesterday: "Yes I'm Angry...angry at the Democratic leadership -- and yes, even some of our fellow “progressives”..."

Angry Mouse speaks for many (You Sure Are Angry) as a featured writer on the front page of the Internet's largest progressive forum, Daily Kos, where the mission is, specifically, to help elect Democrats. She's angry:

...Angry at a two-party system that favors corporations over people; angry at a justice system that most severely punishes those who are least able to fight back; angry at the media who refuses to call a lie a lie; angry at a health care system that allows private corporations to profit by allowing the sick to suffer and die; angry at the terrorists who want to deprive women of our reproductive autonomy; angry at the misogynists who want us to know our place; angry at the Democratic leadership -- and yes, even some of our fellow “progressives” -- for treating women's rights as a fringe issue; angry at anyone who feels the need to question whether it’s really necessary to be so angry.

This is another loud shout in a growing and louder trend of unhappiness and, dare I say -- distrust -- with the inability of Democrats to get it together.

Make the jump»

Like it is: Dr. Margaret Flowers talks with Amy Goodman after another single-payer lockout, from the WH Healthcare Summit

Amy Goodman's coverage includes talking with Trudy Lieberman of Columbia Journalism Review, who has paid careful attention to the issues. 

Lieberman closes her portion of the health care discussion segment with the topic on which President Obama chose to conclude the White House Healthcare Summit, yesterday. 

It's what I think of as the morality versus profits paradox that is concerned with the unwillingness of the world's richest nation to secure for its citizens the most basic assurances provided the constituencies of the rest of the civilized world.

Excerpted from transcript of DemocracyNow!

Trudy Lieberman: ...But I think we really still have no agreement on whether everyone in this country, every citizen, should have healthcare and the ticket to buy it. And I think the President was getting to that point at the very end, when he admitted, quite candidly, he does not know whether we can bridge the gap. And the gap that he identified was how are we going to cover the 30 million people that the government wants to cover and deal with getting everyone into a risk pool, dealing with the pre-existing conditions issue, which keeps people out of this, because in a private insurance market you really—insurance companies can’t really choose people who are sick, or they will go out of business eventually. So that is really the question that has not been resolved.

Of course, it is that paradoxical need which single-payer advocates suggest is answered with the sorts of "Medicare-For-All"-based solutions they have been striving to tell our lawmakers about. 

Make the jump»

Nobody is Buying the Democratic Party Ruse on Reconciliation

A little summing up of the sitch from Glenn Greenwald:

Progressives:  We want a public option!

Democrats/WH:  We
agree with you totally!  Unfortunately, while we have 50 votes for it,
we just don't have 60, so we can't have it.  Gosh darn that filibuster
rule.  

Progressives:  But you can use reconciliation like Bush did so often, and then you only need 50 votes.

Filbuster reform advocates/Obama loyalists:  Hey progressives, don't be stupid!  Be pragmatic.  It's not realistic or Serious to use reconciliation to pass health care reformNone of this their fault.  It's the fault of the filibuster.  The White House wishes so badly that it could pass all these great progressive bills, but they're powerless, and they just can't get 60 votes to do it.  

[Month later]

Progressives:  Hey,
great!  Now that you're going to pass the bill through reconciliation
after all, you can include the public option that both you and we love,
because you only need 50 votes, and you've said all year you have that!

Democrats/WH:
 No.  We don't have 50 votes for that (look at Jay Rockefeller). 
Besides, it's not the right time for the public option.  The public
option only polls at 65%, so it might make our health care bill --
which polls at 35% -- unpopular.  Also, the public option and
reconciliation are too partisan, so we're going to go ahead and pass
our industry-approved bill instead . . . on a strict party line vote.

Just a very serious and pragmatic view of reality. We get it and we aren't gonna just roll over on it. Dems better deal with their problems now or they will pay the price in the voting booth. Because we do get it.

Make the jump»

Rep. Jim Himes On Healthcare Reform and Reconciliation

ePluribus Media - along with Connecticut Bob, Saramerica and AndersonScooper - had an opportunity to sit down and talk to Connecticut Representative Jim Himes and discuss various issues. This first part is on Healthcare Reform and Reconciliation:

Part 2 of the healthcare discussion gets a little more into what can be achieved through reconciliation and is below the fold. I will be posting more video from this as I finish editing and uploading it to YouTube.

Make the jump»

Bye the Bayh

Inadiana's Senator Evan Bayh is expected to announce his retirement today:

Mr. Bayh will announce his decision in a press conference at 2 p.m.
on Monday, an aide confirmed. The decision was closely held by Mr.
Bayh, a party official in Indiana said, and came as a surprise to
Democrats in his state who had already started working on his campaign.

“After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens
is undiminished, but my desire to do so in Congress has waned,” Mr.
Bayh plans to say in his remarks. “My decision was not motivated by
political concern. Even in the current challenging environment, I am
confident in my prospects for re-election.”

A former two-term governor and son of a former senator, Mr. Bayh has
been a popular political figure in Indiana, winning both his Senate
terms with more than 60 percent of the vote.

But in what looks like a difficult political year for Democrats,
Republicans have thought the moderate Mr. Bayh could be vulnerable this
November. Earlier this month, former
Senator Daniel R. Coats, a conservative who served in the Senate for
ten years, began making moves toward making a run for the seat
. Several other Republicans have indicated interest in the race as well.

One needs only look at his unpopular stance in healthcare reform - and his wife's job where "Over the last six years, Susan Bayh has received at least $2 million in
compensation from WellPoint alone for serving on its board
" - pitting Senator Bayh against the very Popular Option to see what is really driving him out of Indidana politics. It isn't that complicated: Go against your voters own wishes and get run out of town.

Make the jump»

Dem Wake Up Call: Reality Of Healthcare Reform and Getting Re-Elected

I have been saying that the numbers are pretty clear on what is missing from Healthcare Reform for a while, and is a political killer for Dem incumbents, has clearly been the fact that there was no public option in the final Senate bill that passed. All along the way you could see the politicians' numbers dropping like an anchor while the public option remained pretty darn steady in its popularity. While everyone is concerned about jobs and the government opening up the taxpayer's wallet to the greedy banksters, via Charles Chamberlain's diary, we get a pretty clear picture of what is pushing the people over the edge and will likely lead to a Dem salughter in the next elections:

This isn't just a strategy that makes good policy sense, it's the
key issue these Freshman Democrats need to pass to get reelected.
Here's the headline details of the voters Democracy for America and the
Progressive Change Campaign Committee had Research 2000 poll over the weekend.

FRESHMAN DEMOCRATS FACE TROUBLE IN 2010 IF CONGRESS DOESN'T PASS A PUBLIC OPTION


Polls in 10 frontline freshman districts show:

  •    68% of voters want a public health insurance option
  •    By 5 to 1, voters want their Representative to fight to add the public option over simply passing the Senate bill
  •    By 3 to 1, persuadable voters are less likely to vote for
    local Democrat if Congress doesn't pass a public option as part of
    reform
  •    55% say Democrats need to do more to fight big corporations
  •    6% say Democrats haven't done enough to fulfill Obama's 2008 campaign promises
  •    52% of Democrats less likely to vote in 2010 if Congress doesn't pass public option -- Republicans more likely

 

These numbers are not a surprise to Americans out-side of
Washington, but you can be sure they are turning a lot of heads today
inside Washington.

Those numbers are about as damning to the Dems as Senator Nelson's strategy to kill health reform should be by now. Via slinkerwink: Make the jump»

Healthcare Reform: There is a world beyond the Senate

And Mike Stark has been out there looking around for signs of life in the healthcare debate. He may have found some in the House because some members are as alarmed about some of the features of the Senate version of reform as the rest of the country is:

One of the members willing to speak out was Rep. Peter Defazio (D, OR).  His statement needs to be seen to be believed:

Transcript of this video and more below the fold.

Make the jump»

Lieberman's numbers in Connecticut tank - Public Option Still Popular

From Scarce at MLN, Joe Lieberman's numbers across the board are pitiful after his healthcare asshattery.

Elephant in the room: Joe Lieberman is an assholeThat's the word from PPP's poll they've done this week in Connecticut.

Want to know how far Joe Lieberman has fallen in the
wake of the health care vote last month? Barack Obama's approval rating
with Connecticut Republicans is higher than Lieberman's with the
state's Democrats.

81% of Democrats now disapprove of Lieberman's job performance with
only 14% approving, and he's not real popular with Republicans who
disapprove of him by a 48/39 margin or with independents who do so by a
61/32 spread either. It all adds up to a 25% approval rating with 67%
of his constituents giving him bad marks.

Lieberman managed to antagonize both sides with his actions
during the health care debate. Among voters who support the health care
bill 87% disapprove of how Lieberman handled it with only 10%
supporting it. But by voting for the final product after getting it
watered down he also managed to earn the unhappiness of constituents
opposed to the bill, 52% of whom say they disapprove of what Lieberman
did to 33% in support.

Overall just 19% of voters in the state say they like what Lieberman did on the issue with 68% opposed.

Full PDF of the poll is here. It is becoming pretty clear that the Democrats will have to adopt the more popular Nancy Pelosi's House version of healthcare reform with a Public Option as opposed to the Joe Lieberman's Senate dungpile if they want to keep any voters, not just the left or their base, interested in their brand.

Make the jump»

The joke is on you!

No! Not you, dear reader, but the traditional butt of our traditional media punchlines:

Make the jump»

Open Thread - So There is a Public Option, or is there?

Via Greg Sargent, nobody, absolutely nobody, but Harry Reid and the CBO scoring it has a clue what it entails:

There was contentious debate, however, over what kind of trigger to
use, the aide says. One idea was the Federal triggered public option.
Another idea was a kind of state-based trigger. While the details of
the latter idea are murky, the basic concept was that if certain
affordability goals weren’t met within particular states, a trigger
would compel state governments to offer a public option. Something
along those lines.

On Tuesday night, just before the news broke of the compromise, the
Senators kicked all staff out of the negotiating room, the aide said.
That meant that staffers who were talking on background to reporters
didn’t know what final decision had been reached.

What’s more, this aide asserts, Harry Reid, keeping it close to the vest, never made it clear to his fellow Senators which public option he would send to the CBO for scoring.

I am pretty sure that any kind of trigger will be designed, as per usual, to never ever be pulled. And even if all requirements were ever met to allow them to pull it? Doesn't mean they will, as past experience dictates. Below the fold, some other stuff you probably want to know, or don't want to know? Depends on your perspective: Make the jump»

Dodd, Mikulski and Brown Ask to be Added to Coburn Public Option Amendment

From The Hill, Brown calling their bluff:

Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and David Vitter (R-La.) are preparing an amendment to force members of Congress into any public option health plan that becomes law, frustrating at least one Senate Democrat who wants to join the effort.

From the Senate floor, Sen. Dodd tells you what he, Sen. Sherod Brown and Sen. Barbara Mikulski think about it: Make the jump»

Should we all feign shock?

Or would that be too obvious? Aetna is planning on dropping 600,000 to 650,000 people from their private-for-profit insurance coverage - the sickest people, of course - in order to help ensure they drive up the cost of the Public Option while still keeping their profit margins with "redesigned plans" - you know, higher premiums and or less coverage - and some will be shocked by this. Many of us knew this was one of the many poison pills they have built into healthcare reform. This is one of the many reasons that if you are going to go the "Public Option" route that it has to be available from day one, and it has to be opened up to anyone that wants to participate. Below the fold, PNHP weighs in on this news.

Make the jump»

Rejecting the Narrative for Health Reform, Believing in a Better Way

November 23, 2009

To the extent that politicians in Washington, D.C. have not attempted reform of this magnitude with a concerted effort for a decade (perhaps, decades depending on how you regard Hillary Clinton's past efforts), the recent votes on health reform in the House two weeks ago and in the Senate this weekend are historic. Make the jump»

Dean: "Sanders has got the right idea, You might as well kill this thing"

Gov. Howard Dean on MSNBC:

"The biggest time bomb in the short run is the Public Option. Without a Public option, basically the activists of the Democratic party sit on their hands in 2010. Obama is not on the ballot. There's no reason to go out and vote for a Democratic Congressman or give them any money if they can't pass a healthcare bill that's worth anything. And that's a huge problem for the Democrats if its not in there and so it looks like some of the, a few of the folks aren't going to let it in there. [snip] [The Public Option] has been watered down, it's about as as watered down as it can get and still be a real bill. So there's not a lot left in this bill. For example, there's really no insurance reform in this bill. [snip] I think Sanders has got the right idea. You might as well kill this thing because the people are going to be furious if it passes if it doesn't have a Public option."

Also, over at HuffPo and via TomP at dKos, Howard Dean makes a few points that some who are willing to pass a crappy bill are ignoring: Make the jump»

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