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.

They were asked to cast a tough vote on health care.  They came up
with what they consider to be a pretty damned good bill.  And now, the
House, the co-equal branch of our bicameral legislature that is closest
to the people, is being asked to accept irrelevancy?  They are being
told only the Senate matters?

Virtually every single Representative I spoke with chaffed at the
idea.  It's not an idea being swallowed easily by the caucus.
 Divisions over policy within the Democratic caucus are common and
often intense.  But this is not policy, and here, Democratic House
members are strikingly united in taking affront to the assumptions that
underly the idea that the House will cave to the Senate bill.  Members
of the Blue Dogs, New Democrats, Progressive Caucus, Congressional
Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Black Caucus, and at least two
unaffiliated members each expressed varying levels of dismay at the


Here's the transcript:

DEFAZIO:   I think the Senate bill is a
disaster.  I mean, anybody who’s watching this  noticed that insurance
industry stocks has gone up since the Senate bill passed, because It
gives them a lot of new customers and no meaningful controls. They took
out my language stripping the industry of the anti-trust immunity. They
established meaningless, spineless weak state exchanges instead of a
national exchange.

They want to tax union workers and others who have good health
insurance.  Those are all total non-startes with me and I believe with
other members of the caucus, and I think, you know, I  mean, we can
play the same game as the Senate.  “You know gee, we’ve got to have a
bill Joe Lieberman likes”…. well they’ve only got two votes to spare in
the House. so I think this is going to be a tougher negotiation than
they think.

STARK:  And when you say it’s a non-starter with a lot of members of the caucus, what that translates to is, not vote?

DEFAZIO  I have been in Oregon, I’ve only
talked to a few people on the phone.  But there are a number of people
upset with the direction this is going, and we don’t feel like we need
to be jammed by the Administration who is just  in a hurry to get
something on the checklist for the State of the Union.  We’ve got to
get it right, and if that means standing up to the Senate, then we’ve
going to do that. I hope.

STARK: Congressman I don’t think I’d be doing
my job if I didn’t convey the thanks and appreciation from the
progressive community that’s really concerned about retaining a
Democratic majority and see disaster on the horizon…

DEFAZIO:  Well meaningful Democratic majority that does things Democrats should be doing, it would be good.

Over at,
I've got additional statements from Rep. Joe Courtney and Emmanuel
Cleaver.  Both had interesting things to say; come on over and check it

In State healthcare reform news and Via DCblogger at Corrente, hundreds of Vermonters showed up for a townhall on Single Payer Healthcare:

Argus Times

MONTPELIER – Hundreds of Vermonters filled the
Statehouse Tuesday for a public forum on health care reform, with a
vast majority urging lawmakers to adopt a single-payer system.

No votes yet


From Raw Story:

Obama received $20 million from healthcare industry in 2008 campaign

Almost three times the amount given to McCain


The new figure, obtained by Raw Story through an independent custom
research request performed by the Center for Responsive Politics -- a
nonprofit, nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics -- is the
most comprehensive breakdown yet available of healthcare industry
contributions to Obama during the 2008 election cycle.

Currently, the Center's website shows that Obama received $19,462,986 from the health sector, which includes health professionals ($11.7m), health services/HMOs ($1.4m), hospitals/nursing homes ($3.3m) and pharmaceuticals/health products
($2.1m). Miscellaneous health donations (from which Obama received
$860,411) are also factored into the current total health sector
numbers but are not accessible on the site.

To be fair... Many of the "health professionals" could very well have been donating in the hopes of the promised public option.