Daily Archives: September 9, 2009

Well I’m sure it’s very nice dear, but it’s not a Health Care Plan

Though under Barry it may be.

“President Obama signaled that he would extol the value of a “public option” in health insurance reform when he addresses Congress Wednesday night on the issue but that he would stop short of threatening to veto a bill that does not include the provision.”

IOW as I’ve said so many times before, the “Public Option” is DEAD!

“Obama’s much-anticipated nationally televised speech to a joint session of Congress at 8 p.m. Eastern time is aimed at providing details and clarification on where he stands as he attempts to push through an overhaul of a system that he says threatens to drag down the U.S. economy over time if left unchanged.
But as he put the finishing touches on his speech Wednesday in hopes of rallying Congress to pass a health-care reform bill this year, lawmakers continued struggling to reach consensus on some of the toughest issues in the debate, including the government-run, or public, insurance option.”

And letting Barry be loved again!

“Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) told his Democratic colleagues Wednesday morning that he will move forward with health-care legislation next week — with or without an agreement from Republicans.
During a meeting in his personal office across the street from the Supreme Court, Baucus told Democratic members of the Finance Committee to prepare for a vote on the bill the week after next.
“The time has come for action,” Baucus said after the meeting. “We must get this bill done by the end of the year.” He said he hopes Republicans will support the bill but that even if none do, “I’m going to move forward in any event.”
After his prime-time speech, Americans “will have a lot of clarity about what I think is the best way to move forward,” Obama told ABC’s “Good Morning America” program in an interview broadcast Wednesday. “Now, I’ve given some broad principles and parameters — that a health care plan shouldn’t increase the deficit, that it should cover the uninsured, that it should have insurance reforms in there so that people who do have health insurance have better protection.”

He said there were “principles that, if they’re not embodied in the bill, I will not sign it,” but he ducked a question on whether those include the public option. Instead, he cited as an example, “if it’s adding one dime to the deficit, if it’s not fully paid for, then I will not be supportive.”

Awww fugetabouit and go back to sleep.

“Obama added that in a desire to let lawmakers “do their thing and not step on their toes,” he had “probably left too much ambiguity out there, which allowed then opponents of reform to come in and to fill up the airwaves with a lot of nonsense.” He said that included “everything from this ridiculous idea that we’re setting up death panels to false notions that this was designed to provide health insurance to illegal immigrants. And then this broader notion of a government takeover of health care, which none of the bills that worked their way through Congress ever envisioned.”

Did someone say “Death Panels”?

Obama said he intends in his speech “to make sure that Democrats and Republicans understand that I’m open to new ideas, that we’re not being rigid and ideological about this thing, but we do intend to get something done this year — and to dispel some of the myths and, frankly, silliness that’s been floating out there for quite some time.”

“Many Democrats say a government health insurance plan would force competition among private insurers and guarantee affordable coverage for people who are not covered by their employers. But opponents say such a program could become a precursor to a government takeover of health care — and even some supporters concede that the public option might threaten the larger causes of reducing the number of uninsured and lowering costs.”

“White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Wednesday morning that Obama “will talk tonight about the public option and about the necessity for choice and competition.” Earlier, in interviews on morning news shows, Gibbs stressed that a public option would provide a health-insurance alternative in markets that are currently dominated by a single private provider, but he demurred when asked if Obama would veto a bill without such a provision.”

Translation: “NOT A CHANCE IN HELL!”

“The public option is a way of putting a check on insurance companies,” Gibbs said on NBC’s “Today” show. “There can be no reform without adequate choice and competition that allows people to be able to pick and have options.” Pressed on whether Obama feels “there can be no reform without the public option,” Gibbs said that “the president will outline what he thinks the value of the public option is and why we have to have choice and competition in this system.”

“After an August recess dominated by coverage of differences between Democratic Party liberals and conservatives over health-care reform, House Democrats emerged from a packed caucus meeting Wednesday energized and hopeful that Obama’s speech would help them recapture momentum.
“I look at the president’s speech tonight as the upcoming salvo in a Democratic counteroffensive,” said Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.).
In particular, many Democrats said they hoped Obama would deliver a strong defense of the public option amid reports that the White House is open to a compromise on the subject, such as a “trigger” that would launch a government-run program if private insurance companies failed to meet certain benchmarks.”

“Trigger is another way of saying, ‘kill the public option,’ ” said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.). He complained that the administration’s message on health care “sounds like Sybil,” referring to the famous case of a woman with multiple personalities.

Several House Democrats said they were not overly concerned with parallel negotiations underway in the Senate and did not believe they needed to wait for further action in that chamber before moving forward in the House.
“I don’t know what Senate Finance is going to do, and I don’t know anybody who does,” said House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.). “It’s like waiting for Godot, and I don’t want to spend my life doing that.”

Republicans, meanwhile, continued to blast Democratic proposals as too expensive and designed to ensure government control of the health-care system.
“Americans don’t understand how a massive expansion of government will lower costs, as the administration claims,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in remarks prepared for a speech Wednesday afternoon. “Americans don’t understand how they’ll be able to keep the health plans they have if government is allowed to undermine the private market.”

“The status quo is unacceptable,” McConnell said, but “so are the alternatives that the administration and Democrats in Congress have proposed.”
He added: “When it comes to health care, Americans don’t want government to tear down the house we have. They want it to repair the one we’ve got. That means sensible, step-by-step reforms, not more trillion-dollar grand schemes. It means preserving what people like about our health care system, not destroying it all at once or starving it over time. . . . Americans oppose a government takeover of health care, regardless of what it’s called.”
McConnell also denounced the “trigger” proposal, calling it “a government takeover on the installment plan,” as well as “a bad idea” now and whenever it would take effect. “If Democrats are in charge, they’ll pull the trigger at some point,” he said.

“Asked on the CBS “Early Show” whether he thinks the public option is socialism, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele said, “Yes, I do.” As for ensuring competition, he said, “If you have an insurance problem with one insurance company dominating a particular market, then break that up.”
But on Capitol Hill, leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus and of nearly a dozen African American civil rights groups gathered to declare their unwavering support Wednesday morning for the inclusion of a public option in health-care reform.
“We are strong on that — 41 strong,” said Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.).
“We are in a movement, a modern-day civil rights movement,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.). “Without a robust public plan, there is no guarantee of change.”
Caucus members said they want any reform legislation to preserve measures that would bolster preventive medicine and reduce health disparities.”

African Americans suffer from chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, at higher rates than other groups and are losing health insurance coverage at a faster clip, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Compared to whites, blacks are twice as likely to die of diabetes, for example, and a quarter of blacks have lost health coverage as a result of the economic downturn. By comparison, 21 percent of Hispanics and 13 percent of whites have lost coverage.
Congressional Black Caucus members said they are counting on a health-care reform bill that will address those disparities. They were backed by several civil rights groups, which previously had not played a visible role in the contentious debate.
“As the health-care debate continues to heat up, African American leaders need to be more vocal about why health-care reform is needed in this country,” said Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League. “We challenge the lies and distortions and myths that have been utilized to try to defeat health care.”
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said his group is focusing on Blue Dog Democrats, several of whom represent districts in which African Americans make up more than 20 percent of the population. “We are there,” he said. “We are watching you, and we expect you to do right. This issue could not be more serious in this recession.”

Baucus has offered the president a glimmer of hope for compromise, circulating a detailed draft of the only Democratic reform proposal that has been assembled with significant Republican input. But in a meeting Tuesday, Baucus was unable to persuade his “Gang of Six” bipartisan negotiators to endorse the nearly $900 billion plan, which does not include many provisions that liberal lawmakers are clamoring to see in a final measure.
He challenged his two Democratic and three Republican colleagues to offer suggestions for improving the bill, which would require all U.S. citizens and legal residents to buy health insurance or carry coverage either through an employer, a public program or new insurance “exchanges” as of 2013.
Obama discussed his address at length with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) at the White House on Tuesday. Reid said that the president “did not give us a dress rehearsal,” adding that Obama’s goal is “to reenergize the way to do health-care reform” while clearing up “ridiculous falsehoods” repeated at hundreds of town hall meetings by opponents of the Democratic-led effort.
After the meeting, Pelosi said Obama indicated support for a public option, but she said he would convey in his speech that “if you have a better idea, put it on the table.” The president told the two leaders that 95 percent of workable legislation exists in various proposals but that he wants Baucus to complete a bill “to get the process going,” Reid said.
Meanwhile, two prominent House Democrats backed away from a public option Tuesday. Rep. Mike Ross (Ark.), a leader of the 52-member Blue Dog coalition, said he could no longer support a government-run plan, a shift from his position a few months ago that suggests the divide between liberal and conservative Democrats may have widened in the wake of raucous town hall meetings last month.
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said he still supports a public option but could back legislation without it — a remark that ran counter to Pelosi’s insistence Tuesday that a government plan “is essential to our passing a bill.”
Some other leading liberals, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), pledged to vote against the final bill if the public option is dropped. Other Democrats said they expect Obama to frame the public option as an important objective but not worth the price of failure.

And Failure never smells pretty.

Sing us out boys!