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Chuck Schumer Might Need to Watch His Back

You tell 'em, Chuck!

You tell 'em, Chuck!

Wow! In an interview with Huffington Post over the long weekend, Chuck Schumer said that with Franken seated, there is no more need for compromise on health care legislation.

Schumer offered a detailed and frank assessment of the political landscape of the current health care debate. Predicting that the final bill will include a public plan, he painted the Republican Party as rigid to a fault when it comes to negotiations.

“This is where we are going to end up,” he said of a health care overhaul that included a public plan. “And I think, it would be much better for the Senate Finance Committee if we did it in the committee… I think the Senate HELP committee compromised already, because you have a lot of members on the HELP committee who would’ve liked [the public option] to be much closer to Medicare. The idea seems to be catching everybody’s imagination, and sense of fairness. And the only holdouts are sort of ideologues on the Republican side of this saying no government involvement whatsoever.”

Schumer didn’t add, but I will that we have a President who is too wimpy to stand up to the Republicans and fight for a public option and who opposes singer payer because it would “suddenly upend” the current health care system.

Back to Schumer:

“My bottom-line criteria is that it has to be strong, national, and available to everyone on day one, to keep the insurance companies honest and I’m not sure we can get there,” Schumer said. “I’ve been talking to [Sen.] Olympia [Snowe] about this,” he added, referring to the trigger option’s main proponent in the Senate, “but I’m not sure we can bridge that gap.”

Similarly critical remarks were offered for the idea of replacing a public plan with health care co-ops, which Schumer described as insufficient and unpractical.

“[Sen. Chuck] Grassley hasn’t closed the door, but it seems in general that his model of co-op is little co-ops popping up like they do in farm country,” he said. “And the model that we are saying we need is they have to be strong, national and available everywhere from the first day. And I think we are very far apart on this.”

I wonder if the Senator from New York has discussed this with the big boss. Hasn’t Obama been making noises about compromising on the public option in order to get Republication votes? And then when people keep complaining, “expressing concern” about grass roots effort to get single payer health care?

Can Schumer withstand the presidential blowback? I just hope he sticks to his guns, even after Obama returns from his latest trip and starts talking about compromise and trying his best to make sure his buddies in the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations are well taken of. I’m not going to hold my breath, but I do have hope.

And maybe Shumer has been hearing from his constitutents. Today’s Washington Post has an interesting on-line post by Doug Feaver on the views of “health-care lobbyists vs. real people

Our Readers Who Comment are nearly unanimous this morning in condemning the news that more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress are lobbying for major health-care firms in the legislative attempts to reform the broken system.

Feaver provides a sampling of reader responses. Here are a few examples:

sashab1 wrote, “…Single-payer, universal health care is the only reform that will actually work. The insurance industry is going to water down the public option until it won’t work, and they will be back in business (and we will be wringing our hands again) in a couple of years.”

lionelroger predicted that “Obama will most certainly be a one-termer if he falls in with a corrupt Congress and does not deliver a public option Plan or single-payer universal health care… It is a monumental travesty for Congress and Federal employees to enjoy a cafeteria-style Health Benefits Plan subsidized by taxpayers but not available to all our citizens. Enough of this injustice.”

texanrme said, “This a war for the survival of those that have profited at the expense of the sick and elderly for generations… They want to argue how government can not handle healthcare administration, but they have proven beyond a doubt that neither can they…”

Of course some commenters still think that Obama is looking out for their best interests, but it does seem that generally people are starting to wake up and smell the corruption.


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