Saturday, September 26, 2009

Health Care Saturday: It is Obvious! Edition

Jay Ackroyd: Policy and Politics
These things do not always line up.

But I have been finding it very strange that the obviously good tactical political position ("People don't want to be forced to buy shitty, expensive health insurance") corresponds to the obviously good policy position ("Everybody should be able to get sick and not go bankrupt.") creates difficulties for our elected officials.

FWIW Joan has been great on this. The proper policy decision has been clear, for some time.
McJoan (DK): Public Option Action 
The Senate Finance Committee will take up the Rockefeller and Schumer amendments which were supposed to have been debated today, on Tuesday. The reasons for the delay are unclear, but it gives us a few more days to impress upon those Democratic Senators who haven't been as helpful on creating real, comprehensive reform. As of now, we know of three public option amendments that will be offered. The first is from Rockefeller, and it fairly closely follows the public option House version, which is stronger than the Senate HELP version. The other two are from Schumer, one that would add the same language as is in the HELP bill, and one that would create a "level playing field" option, thhe weakest of the three amendments.
Make no mistake, the public option in this committee is facing an uphill climb. But it's not impossible. The second Schumer amendment is likely the only one that has much of a chance of making it out of commitee. If it should, and if all three of these amendments get at least majority support among committee members, the chances of the public option making it into the final bill out of the Senate are significantly increased. So an action effort on this is worth our while.
Jane has been in touch with Hill sources, and reports on the usual suspects of Dems on the committee.
  1. Max Baucus -- has said he supports a public plan, despite the fact that his bill doesn't contain one.
  2. Bill Nelson -- acknowledges that a public option would address lack of competition in the health care industry, but said he was against it, then he was "open" to it, and most recently says it must be subject to triggers.
    Bill Nelson -- says emerging public option is "attractive."
  3. Kent Conrad -- Has always said that "there aren't enough votes for a public option," but wouldn't say if he was one of them.  Told Ezra Klein today he would only be open to one that wasn't tied to Medicare rates -- which Schumer's "level playing field" isn't.
  4. Blanche Lincoln -- said in July that a public insurance option should be included in any health care bill, but since then has changed her position like some people change their hair color.
  5. Tom Carper -- thinks the job of the Senate Finance Committee is to honor back room deals with PhRMA.  Won't say how he feels about a public option.
There are 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans on the committee, which means they can only lose two Democratic votes and still pass the amendment.   So, in order for a public plan to come out of Finance, three of these are going to have to get off the fence.
Contacting these, and all of the Dem members of the committee would be worth our while. It would help to remind them of a few factors:
Contact info for all of them is below the fold. The focus should be on those five Jane identified: Baucus, Nelson, Conrad, Lincoln, and Carper. But if you live in any of the states represented by the Senators below, calls to them certainly won't hurt, as well as "thank you" calls to Rockefeller and Schumer, in particular, for their efforts.
  • ::

Max Baucus MT (Committee Chair)
Phone: (202) 224-2651
Fax: (202) 224-9412
John Rockefeller WV  
Phone (202) 224-6472
Fax (202) 224-7665
Kent Conrad ND
Phone: (202) 224-2043
Fax: (202) 224-7776
Jeff Bingman NM
Phone: (202) 224-5521
TDD (202) 224-1792
Toll Free (in NM) 1800-433-8658
John Kerry MA
Phone (202) 224-2742  
Fax (202) 224-8525
Blanche Lincoln AR
Phone: (202) 224-4843
Fax: (202) 228-1371
Ron Wyden OR
Phone: (202) 224-5244
Fax: (202) 228-2717
Charles Shumer NY
Fax: (202) 228-3027
TDD: (202) 224-0420
Debbie Stabenow MI
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4822
TTY: (202) 224-2066
Maria Cantwell WA
Phone: 202-224-3441  
Fax: (202) 228-0514  
TTD: (202) 224-8273
Bill Nelson FL
Phone: (202) 224-5274
Fax: (202) 228-2183
Robert Mendez NJ
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4744
Fax: (202) 228-2197 fax
Thomas Carper DE
Phone: (202) 224-2441
Fax: (202) 228-2190

By John Amato Friday Sep 25, 2009 5:00pm

In a new poll done by CBS and the NY Times shows that not only do Americans want a public option, they want it BIG TIME. These are numbers that the White House and Rahm can't ignore anymore.
65% of Americas do favor a government administered health care plan like Medicare that would compete with private insurance companies. That's something the Baucus Dogs and Republicans do not want to see after the mark ups have just completed. I'm sure they thought the teabaggers spoke for America, but as any informed person would know, they do not.
CBS NY Times poll 65%_2a387.jpg
Adam Nagourney of the NY Times explains some of the poll results and the only reason that Adam finds the answer to the public option interesting is because the Villagers have spoken and said that the public option is dead and they get confused when Americans voice a different opinion than the one they think Americans should have.
He does make sure to highlight the parts that Obama is struggling with, but when it comes to the public option, there is no conflicting results, right Adam? On the question asked on this page, the public option shows the most clarity of any question asked.
Q) is interesting that in spite of those numbers, in spite of the confusion there is also some clarity forming in what people want because what the poll also reveals that as far as the public option is concerned, 65% favor that, 26% oppose it.
Adam: Yes, that was kind of an interesting finding particularly considering that the fact that the public option I think appears dead at least in the form that we were asking about. There's still a lot of support for it...The poll had a lot of interesting and I think in some ways---conflicting messages....
I think the public opinion as measured in polls is very important because it shows that people want something done. I don't know how it can affect them on thing s like the public option for example, but I think there's a sense in Congress, at least among Democrats that this is a big issue and people expect them to get something done and there sort of credibility is going to rest on less they succeed or not.
Adam says that the Obama administration is closely watching the polls, but still throws the public option under the bus. Isn't it always a left wing priority that is A-OK to chuck overboard by the pundits and reporters, but other facets of the Baucus Bill are quite OK to negotiate around. How about Conrad's co ops get jettisoned in a swamp?
We're keeping up the pressure on the public option and until we see an actual bill come out of committee we do not know what we're actually debating about.
Adam's article in the NY Times about the poll is interesting and does mention the public option which is a huge story unfolding on Capitol hill and in his own poll.
On one of the most contentious issues in the health care debate — whether to establish a government-run health insurance plan as an alternative to private insurers — nearly two-thirds of the country continues to favor the proposal, which is backed by Mr. Obama but has drawn intense fire from most Republicans and some moderate Democrats.
mcjoan at KOS has a good post about the public option in Blue Dog districts: Public Option Popular in Blue Dog Districts

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