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Bad News and More Bad News :: Health Insurance Reform

I’ve seen links to this all over the place from Facebook to blogs :

Public Option Support Surging In Senate

On Tuesday, four Senate Democrats joined the effort, urging Reid to pass a public option using reconciliation. The group was led by Sen. Michael Bennet, facing a primary challenge in Colorado. Sen. Kirstin Gillibran, facing a primary in New York, was also one of the initial four. Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Jeff Merkley (Oregon) rounded out the foursome.

And now somewhere between 16-19 Senators have supposedly signed on with Kathleen Sebelius claiming that President Obama himself will support the “Public Option” if the Senate Leadership signs on first:

Health Care Reform Back from the Dead? Obama’s Team Signals Support for Public Option; 18 Senators Sign on

From Thursday’s Rachel Maddow interview with Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius:

Maddow: “The private insurance company writ large hasn’t done a great job. That’s why we want a public option to compete with them. These 18 Democratic senators want to bring that back into the fold. If that happened, would the administration fight for it?”

Sebelius: “Well, I think if it’s… Certainly. If it’s part of the decision of the Senate leadership to move forward, absolutely.”

The onus is now really on the Majority Leader. As of Thursday, at least 18 senators had signed an open letter urging Reid to make the public option a necessary part of the final Senate bill.

So we’re supposed to swoon over the fact that ~18 Democratic Senators (out of 58-59) are publicly supporting a “Public Option” — that’s absurd.

  1. The Public Option as it stands won’t be an option for the general public.  In fact, the policy is so complicated most people I know don’t know if they’d be eligible or not.
  2. This Public Option has been dangled in front of us so often this story actually feels like a joke.
  3. I heard Harry Reid announce that he had enough votes for the Senate to pass the Public Option the day he announced the Senate Health Care Plan. What happened with that? And didn’t THAT imply that he supports the thing?
  4. And (really?) something less than 20 Senators are supporting this thing? So what?

After all this time I can’t tell if I support it.  So why does my heart start pounding when I read these stories?

Pure desperation.  That’s why.

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79 Responses

  1. Another question. Maybe this rush of stories is an attempt to drum up interest in the White House / Republican Health Insurance Summit? (shrug) Who knows?

  2. I don’t know, Katiebird, but I’m just as suspicious as you are, yet part of me keeps hoping. If they were pushing for expanding Medicare, I’d be more hopeful. I really thinks it’s just more kabuki, and they are going to end up with a lot more angry voters on their hands.

    • Great post, BTW!

    • It’s so weird — I’m in total agreement with Lambert that the House & Senate Bills totally suck.

      But, a piece at the back of my heart doesn’t seem to think that they suck so bad that we should dump the whole thing.

      I don’t get it.

      Well, I guess part of it is the feeling that the Republicans will come up with a much worse plan if it’s shoved off ’till November. (and that’s pretty funny too. Isn’t it? I mean, aren’t these plans actually Republican plans already?)

      • I think the key giveaway was Sebelius saying “If it’s part of the Senate leadership……” , Katiebird.

        The Senate abandoned public option from the gitgo.

        Not gonna happen.

        I think this is just a gesture to party’s left, with no intended action, and a plan to blame “someone else” when it never happens.

        Sorry.

        • I’ll let Digby respond ::

          But I would warn them that if they think that building up the base’s hopes on this again only to fail to even get 50 out of 58 Democrats it isn’t going to work. If they are serious about rallying the base they need to deliver, period. No excuses. They have a majority. If they hold a vote that only requires 51, they need to win it.

          I’m just praying they aren’t going to have a spirited losing debate on the floor and then go the Evan Bayh route yesterday when he was on TV, righteously blaming the Republicans for being obstructionists (good) but also blaming Democrats for making the “perfect the enemy of the good”. One more lecture about this and I’m going to put my foot through the TV. The truth of the matter is that liberals have been accommodating every damned step of the way, forced to eat dirt from backstabbers like Joe Lieberman and have been far more compromising than jackasses like Bart Stupak and Ben Nelson. It pays to remember that if liberals had their way we would be talking about a national, cradle to grave universal health care plan (Medicare for all) instead of this Rube Goldberg contraption that’s been put together with toothpicks and ear wax. So lectures about demanding perfection really need to be aimed at the vaunted “centrists” and the conservatives, who made this mess a necessary requirement for passage.

          • Good for Digby…..la la la.

            The Senate will not pass a public option.

            The House would have, but not the Senate, and especially not now, with many of them in 2010 trouble, and running scared.

            Not the first time Digby didn’t see the reality of Obama bait and switch games. Due respect.

          • (la la la ??) Where does Digby say she expects the Senate to pass the public option?

            Oh, and “due respect” — sure.

          • Sorry, Katie. I don’t think I expressed myself well.

            The whole story of the possibility of a public option comes from Sebellius, on Maddow’s show. The key to her response of yes, is IF the Senate leadership will be on board.

            I just don’t think that’s gonna happen.

            Digby doesn’t have much to do with that, really.

          • Well, that sums it up for me.

          • The critical words there are—the admin will support it if the Senate leadership is behind it. Does this admin need a remedial history course? Do we not have an executive branch today that people look to for leadership, not followership?

          • It is not a “Rube Goldberg contraption” — his contraptions worked!

            Digby’s site became CDS infected, so her comments now are a little too late.

            djmm

          • Couldn’t agree more on Digby, Mary. She is hypocritical and her rhetoric is just sloppy. I have no idea how she got so huge in the blogosphere except for the hidden gender thing for so long.

  3. THIS IS BEAUTIFULShare
    Today at 9:40am
    An Obituary printed in the London Times – Interesting and sadly rather true.

    Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

    He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

    – Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
    – Why the early bird gets the worm;
    – Life isn’t always fair;
    – and maybe it was my fault.

    Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

    His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a class mate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

    Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

    Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

    Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

    He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I’m A Victim.

    Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

  4. How weasely does that sound: “will support public option if Reid does”. Some leader, huh?
    I believe Reid is now holding his finger in the air to see hat improves his electoral chances in November…
    I agree that both bills suck – remember the anti-choice provisions as well. Obama was installed precisely to scuttle this opportunity to get healthcare. Mission accomplished.

  5. Oops! Forgot: here’s the link for that pathetic headline (same story as in your entry)
    http://www.openleft.com/diary/17464/breaking-obama-will-support-the-public-option-if-reid-will

    • I actually think that Maddow took Sebelius by surprise with the question. She had to give a postive answer (YES – of course he supports the public option) with an “out” (IF ….Reid)

      My new motto: I’m gullible but, I’m not an idiot.

      • The weaseling word was not “Reid,” but “Senate leadership,” which, strictly speaking, includeds Mitch McConnell.

        Like that’ll happen!

    • Here’s their pathetic conclusion and call to action:

      Voters are watching. Democratic senators are watching. President Obama is watching. Will Leader Reid lead?

      Should read: Obama afraid to lead so punts the ball to Reid who probably won’t take it up.

  6. It would help if they defined what the public option is. HA HA HA! They’re weasel-wording around it because they know it’s a big fat nothing. Just my take.

    • It’ AMAZING how they’ve successfully weasel-worded this whole thing!!!

      I swear, I’ve actually read as much of the bills as I can stomach and I can’t tell where I fit into things.

    • The “Public” option is that option which they will reveal to the “public” at some point in the future, very likely after it doesn’t matter anymore; however, the “public” will be given said opportunity to view the option – provided they have blackberries and the super-secret username and password.

      Does that help?

  7. I hate to break it to you, but Open Left has an update down below the posting saying that the White house plan does NOT include a public option. I am techno ignorant and can’t link. Someone please do it for me

    • The article I saw didn’t have all the details …. some pieces mentioned but the story I saw didn’t know for sure about the “Public Option” …. the article I read made Obama’s compromise sound exactly like the Senate Bill — which didn’t sound like a compromise.

      I didn’t take it seriously because unless something’s really changed, the Senate Bill can’t pass. Unless a flat-out demand from the President could make it happen?

      Maybe?

    • Oh, and I don’t know that you have to worry about the “break it to me” part.

      I have extremely mixed feelings about the Public Option — that’s sort of the point of my post.

      • Your ambivalence is pretty clear to me, katiebird. I’m ambivalent as well. And when you have headline like “Voters are watching. Democratic senators are watching. President Obama is watching. Will Leader Reid lead?” … it does seem like a big joke!

      • You are absolutely right. This is insurance reform.

    • Link for WH not putting PO into BO’s bill:

      Update–public option not in White House health care proposal: Just in case there was any doubt about the White House and the public option, a public option is not included in their draft health reform compromise proposal.

      Chris Bowers :: Health reform state of play, February 19

  8. “Voters are watching. Democratic senators are watching. President Obama is watching. Will Leader Reid lead?”

    This is absolutely pathetic! Obama bases his whole leadership on someone else doing the job. It’s all up to Reid to lead and those other senators now.

  9. The article I read is on OPEN LEFT by Chris Bowers entitled “Health Reform State of Play Feb19. At the bottom, he includes an update. This sounds like the Friday news dump. Obama is for it, then he’s against it, then he doesn’t know what he wants and blames the Repubs. He is such a fraud.

  10. spammy is eating all my comments to this post!

  11. I finded this at TGW:

  12. I’m getting ready to go have dinner with Joaniebone. I’ll be around for a while but, might have to leave suddenly.

  13. Awww, po babee:

    Terry Nichols, serving a life sentence for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing, has filed a notice with the U.S. District Court in Denver (where he has a civil suit pending against the Bureau of Prisons) advising that he has begun a hunger strike due to the inadequate fiber and excessive refined foods in his diet.

    Terry should eat shit and say “please sir, may I have some more?”

    (But you know whose side jeralyn is on)

  14. CRAP — I have to get dressed if I’m going out to dinner. Don’t I?

  15. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7259636/Swiss-prostitutes-trained-to-use-defibrillators-in-brothels-to-prevent-clients-dying.html

    This will probably be in the heath bill in Washington soon.
    The taxpayer will be billed for it under the guise of job training. I don’t think it is in the congressional health plan is it?

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  16. Message to the totally lost. You can not jack people around with hype and nonsense and expect the natives to flock to you. When you let the opposition walk all over you, pi$$ in your wheaties and wind up looking like a giant Dork you need something more than—let’s try that public thingie again, that is, if it’s ok with the rest of the team, whoever they are.

  17. What a week. When’s Rico coming on duty?

  18. fembotsforobama said “Obama bases his whole leadership on someone else doing the job”. I don’t know if many of you remember a tv series from the 70’s called Carter Country but Obama reminds me of the mayor. The main character was the sheriff and whenever there wasa problem the short, fat little mayor would come in and wave his hand and say “Handle it” , “Handle it” and expect the sheriff to take care of it. That’s Obama “Handle it, handle it”

  19. I simply don’t trust this group to do the right thing. I think it’s all a bluff. Reconciliation is not an easy processs.

    Supposedly BO is merging the two,crafted entirely by the dems, to his satisfaction. That is the starting point for a debate with the GOP? What a sham.

  20. Thanks so much for this post, KB. What I’ve read, at CorrenteWire and other places, is that the public option is a joke, and that SINGLE PAYER is the real deal.

    Here’s a link – the meat is in the comments:

    http://www.correntewire.com/message_discipline

  21. A LINE IN THE SAND – From jacksmith – WorkingClass

    http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/01/30/debbie-wasserman-schultz-senators-lied-about-supporting-public-option/

    Call your representatives and demand an answer. Do you or don’t you support a public option. Do you or don’t support democratic MAJORITY RULE! We DEMAND! to know.

    http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/01/21/fixing-health-reform-through-the-reconciliation-sidecar-13-improvements-6-ways-to-save-money-4-important-benefits/

    YOU! are dying and suffering needlessly every day http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/27055

    http://firedoglake.com/2010/01/21/ma-voters-seek-more-and-faster-change-economy-jobs-top-concern-taxing-health-insurance-very-unpopular-poll-says/

    Why we need Government-run universal healthcare ASSURANCE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jng4TnKqy6A

    My Fellow Americans and People Of The World

    A strong Government-run MEDICARE like Public Option is STILL! CRITICAL!

    We have had a long hard struggle to find out what would be the BEST! that this congress and the Whitehouse could do to fix our highly dangerous, poor quality, most costly, and MOST! disgraceful healthcare delivery system in the world. It is clear that congress can do much more for the American people than what is proposed so far.

    It is clear that congress can pass a strong GOVERNMENT-run public option CHOICE. Available to everyone on day one. Expand Medicare and not levy any new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. LET THIS BE YOUR LINE IN THE SAND!

    Lastly, there can be NO! INDIVIDUAL MANDATES without a strong Government-run MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. Or the American people WILL! and SHOULD! revolt with an all out CIVIL WAR against congress and this Government.

    House and Senate progressives and the tri-caucuses should aggressively push for the inclusion of a strong Public Option, Medicare expansion, and no new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. If the obstructionist kill meaningful healthcare reform, then you should kill this bill. Because it will be far worse than the healthcare disaster we have now. It’s failure will be on the obstructionist heads. And they will be punished and replaced.

    WITHOUT A PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE, THIS BILL WILL KILL FAR MORE AMERICANS THAN IT WILL SAVE.

    What is proposed in the Senate bill is the worst case scenario for health-care reform. It would shift trillions of taxpayer, public and private dollars into the hands of the private insurance industry (The single most costly, deadly and dangerous product sold in America). And it would compel by law millions of Americans to financially support this oxymoronic criminal enterprise. You cant have a individual MANDATE WITHOUT A STRONG PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE!

    You will have NO! realistic way of controlling cost and quality. Cost will continue soaring through the roof bleeding the American people dry, and KILLing our economy. And our quality of healthcare will continue to decline below our current ranking of “WORST! quality of healthcare delivery in the developed World”.

    From the very start, the American people have been crystal clear about what they wanted. They wanted a humane single payer system like the rest of the developed world has (HR676). Or at least a humane strong GOVERNMENT-run public option CHOICE!! This is what the American people gave the democrats control of the house, control of the senate, and control of the Whitehouse to do.

    Those of you that can, should prepare now to remove every member of congress that fails to support YOUR healthcare reform with a strong Public Option, Medicare expansion, and no new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. Run against them in teams if you have to. But take them out. And replace them with a strong single payer or PRO PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE candidate.

    Now! is the time to bring maximum pressure on your members of congress. Contact your representatives and spread the word.

    The Public Option http://tinyurl.com/yfftf76

    H1N1 IS A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION!

    I have to tell you now that the H1N1 virus is a man-made WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION! and TERROR! It is a WEAPONIZED version of a flu virus. It has swept the planet infecting millions. And causing a global pandemic that has killed tens of thousands, and injured millions.

    The H1N1 virus is the product of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! It was released in the U.S. in Texas in early January of last year, but not recognized until around April 2009 in California. The reason I know this is because when it came to America, it came to see me FIRST! How sweet…

    This was around the time the MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! assaulted the Whitehouse with all their devils deals to cripple and weaken YOUR! healthcare reform. Especially your right to have a single payer system like HR676 (Medicare For All) which most of you wanted.

    They don’t even want you to have your HUGE!!! compromise position of a strong government-run MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. To compete with their DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, MURDEROUS, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT PRODUCT (The single most costly, deadly and dangerous product sold in America).

    They also wanted to take away your rights to have your government meet it’s responsibility to use it’s full power to regulate, negotiate, and control drug cost, healthcare cost and quality. Something every other civilized country in the developed World has done for it’s people. Their Greed! moral degeneracy and lack of patriotism knows no bounds.

    Many of you will remember that before we knew about H1N1. I posted a open message to the President and Congress warning them to be vigilant about their health, and cautious about any medical advice they received. As I said then “they will not hesitate to try and hurt you”.

    The U.S. and the World have been under a BIOLOGICAL TERROR ATTACK! for over a year now. It is CRITICAL that We The People Of The United States take away control of our healthcare system from the GREED DRIVEN MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!

    For our own National security, and the security of the world.

    A Strong, government-run, MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. Available to everyone on day one, with the full unfettered power of the federal government to regulate, negotiate, and control cost and quality. Would be the most workable way to deal with this global crisis at this time. Including patent suspensions as needed for national security or the greater good.

    As an American I invite the peoples of the World to help us fix our healthcare crisis. And bring pressure on our government to meet it’s responsibility to protect global security by controlling, and removing the corrupting influence of GREED and the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT motivations from healthcare in the U.S. and around the World.

    I call on the governments of the World and the global intelligence community to track down these MASS MURDERERS, and bring them to justice. CONNECT THE DOTS! And be vigilant that they don’t slip in another viral strain on you under the cloak of H1N1 sequestration.

    Further, the proposed patent protection on biologic’s must be stripped from the US bill. And greatly shorten/restricted, or abolished completely. This is a grave danger to humanity and global security.

    I think President Obama is doing the best he can at playing the disastrous deck of cards he inherited from the previous administration. And I think he is doing an excellent job. But the wolves and devils of the medical industrial complex! are trying to exploit, and take advantage of his good heart, and desperate desire to help suffering Americans. But we must be strong and insist that healthcare reform be done right for the American people. Or everyone loose’s.

    This is all I can say in a message post. I’ll try to find a way to tell you more later.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings

    jacksmith – Working Class

    p.s. The so-called nominal H1N1 virus is designed in such a way as to make it more lethal to children and young adults. The medical community must be more vigilant of secondary bacterial infections in the young caused by H1N1. And remember, a viral infection is also a transfer of genetic code to you. Think about it, and be vigilant. 😦

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