You are currently browsing the daily archive for August 16, 2009.
Jim Kelly outside the Pete Stark town hall meeting.
But it really looks like the public option, the only provision I even care about at this point, is in trouble. Daschle and Maddow made the push on Meet the Press this morning as Dick Armey let slip and tried to reel back in his view the MediCare is “tyranny.” Armey argues that the public option is unfair because the bill “rigs” system in the public option favor with so many new regs. I’m fine with holding the public option to the same standards, but what amazes me in this debate is that the anti-reform people push the issue of “choice,” but want to disallow the choice of a public option. Armey states he’s willing to allow senior to choose MediCare. Why not the rest of us?
You can see a portion of the debate through this link. I’m not at home so I don’t have access to my software to embed this one. You might want to scroll down so that the annoying and distracting bagel slicer ad isn’t visible.
Addendum: Here’s an Old Glory Radio video about the Tea Party Protest in Eureka and the gathering in Mike Thompson’s office. Turns out Old Glory has a blog, which I’ll add to my list. And I’m all for a Thompson town hall in Eureka. I’d show.
Second addendum: Talking Points Memo agrees – if the public option is removed, progressives should push to kill any reform bill. The Progressive Caucus has already stated a willingness to do it. That should be at least 50 votes to add to the hardcore Repbublicans who won’t vote for any change in the status quo, other than maybe private sector price gouging as a means of rationing. Some Republicans are saying they’ll vote against any reform bill, even if they get everything they want.
Third addendum: 64 progressive Democrats reportedly poised to kill the bill if it lacks a public option. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Fourth addendum: Editorial on “the Public Option’s Last Stand.”
I would have preferred a single payer system like Medicare, but became convinced earlier this year that a public, Medicare-like optional plan was just about as much as was politically possible. Now the White House is stepping back even from the public option, with the President saying it’s “not the entirety of health care reform,” the White House spokesman saying the President could be “satisfied” without it, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying that a public insurance plan is “not the essential element.”
Without a public, Medicare-like option, health care reform is a bandaid for a system in critical condition. There’s no way to push private insurers to become more efficient and provide better value to Americans without being forced to compete with a public option. And there’s no way to get overall health-care costs down without a public option that has the authority and scale to negotiate lower costs with pharmaceutical companies, doctors, hospitals, and other providers — thereby opening the way for private insurers to do the same.
It’s been clear from the start that the private insurers and other parts of the medical-industrial complex have hated the idea of the public option, for precisely these reasons. A public option would cut deeply into their current profits. That’s why they’ve been willing to spend a fortune on lobbyists, threaten and intimidate legislators and ordinary Americans, and even rattle Obama’s cage to the point where the Administration is about to give up on it.
More through the link.
The problem is of course typical. Obama made certain that single payer advocates weren’t even at the table because he didn’t want to be bothered with them. Had they been there, his public option proposal would have been framed as a compromise and he would have looked like the moderate he is. But by removing it from the discussion so soon, progressives lost interest in the discussion. They have nothing to be excited about to motivate them to turn out at the town hall meetings to counter the framing put out by “ordinary” people given scripts by the insurance industry. So apparently he’s feeling abandoned or whatever, but he misplayed it. Badly. He should have drafted his own bill and called for an up or down vote on it. Instead, nobody even knows what they’re fighting about. Most of the tea party types aren’t even bringing up the public option. They’re bringing up death panels and taxes.
Anyway, it looks like it’s over for now.
Fifth addendum: Public option dead on arrival? Howard Dean doesn’t think so. “Pumping 60 billion into private insurance isn’t reform.”
The RNC is saying it won’t even support the lame coop proposal coming from idiot blue dogs. It’s all about private for-profit corporations for them.
Meanwhile two men showed up to Obama’s event with assault rifles, but it’s not illegal in Arizona law. They did it “because they could.” Could you imagine the flipping out on AM radio if it was a left winger outside a Bush event?