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The [Health Care Vote] Papers

1. From the Office of the House Majority Leader:

Hoyer Encourages Focus on Teabaggers, Helps Distract from "Godawful" Insurance Reform, He Says

Washington, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement on Sunday after learning that Members of Congress were subjected to racist and inflammatory behavior at Saturday's health insurance bailout reform protest:

"Thank god for the Teabaggers! Nothing unites like an enemy, and there's nothing in our health insurance corporate bailout bill to unite us with anyone outside the Beltway other than the opposition of the Teabaggers. Gotta love em. Antiracism and antihomophobia are righteous and good, but they're our god and guns over on this side of the aisle. I mean, have you seen the shit that's in our bill? Not to mention what the president will unconstitutionally legislate on top of it? If Bush were pushing this bill (and why not?) all the liberals would denounce it. Why? Because we would tell them to. Do you think they would have called a privately run program for 3% of Americans a "public option" if Bush had called it that? And then fought to keep it in, and then fought to keep it out, at our command? What, of their own free will?

"But people can begin to have thoughts. And they will when they see the disastrous results of this bill, unless the states can get the Supreme Court to throw it out, which would just let us blame five black-robed Teabaggers! Nobody's about to start thinking for themselves this month, however, not if we can keep telling them they're united with us against a bunch of hateful racists, sexists, and haters of gays and lesbians. We all owe a deep debt of gratitude to Fox News for inventing the Teabaggers, and to MSNBC and the Democratic blogosphere for spending so much time building them into such an apparently large force. We hear more about the Republicans now than before the country voted them completely out of power. The Romans taught us the value of bread and circuses. We've got the circuses bit down cold."

- via Reporters@lists.mayfirst.org

2. Dennis Kucinich, March 8, 10 days before he changed his mind:

"This bill represents a giveaway to the insurance industry," Kucinich told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell. "$70 billion a year, and no guarantees of any control over premiums, forcing people to buy private insurance...I'm sorry, I just don't see that this bill is the solution."

Asked, "Did we just get a "no" there?" Kucinich confirmed.

"If that sounded like a "no" you're correct," Kucinich said.

3. The Tribune today runs a chart called "What Would Affect Everyone." The list? The usual, simplistic litany: prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions; ending lifetime limits on benefits; insurance companies canceling coverage even if you've kept up with payments.

If only that was all that was in the bill!

Even Republicans are in favor of those elements. But looking at the paper's chart on how premiums will change, I find that in my case premiums will go up! Doh! Someone's gotta pay for those pre-existing conditions.

4. "And Obama brought the Democratic lawmakers to their fee twith a fiery speech reminding them of the historic opportunity they have. 'Don't do it for me. Don't do it for the Democratic Party,' the president said. 'Do it for the American people. They're the ones looking for action right now."

A) Don't do it for me?

"There have been reports that the president is also giving some wavering Democrats his version of the 'win one for the Gipper' speech," CBS News reports, "stressing that he personally needs their votes, that if health care reform fails, his presidency will be severely weakened - and that the entire Democratic agenda will be imperiled.

"I asked about that at today's briefing - which was held outside in the Rose Garden on a beautiful spring day - and Robert Gibbs was, well, evasive:

"Question: 'There's a report out there that says the president told some members that the fate of his presidency depends on passing health care reform. Is that true? Has he said that?'

"Gibbs: 'I have - I'm not aware of that, but I can certainly check again.'"

Also, via the New York Times:

"In private sessions with lawmakers, the president has drawn the consequences for himself in the starkest terms."

B) Do it for the American people? "The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone poll, taken Friday and Saturday nights, shows that 41% of likely voters favor the health care plan. Fifty-four percent (54%) are opposed. These figures have barely budged in recent months.

"Another finding that has remained constant is that the intensity is stronger among those who oppose the plan. The latest findings include 26% who Strongly Favor the plan and 45% who Strongly Oppose it."

5. The Sun-Times has a chart today about how many uninsured individuals in each Chicago-area congressional district would be "extended coverage" under the plan. The source of the list is the U.S. House of Representatives; the methodology isn't clear because, after all, the legislation doesn't enact universal health care. But why should the media start thinking for itself now?

6. What passes for pundit wisdom: "The mail arrives. Roads are built. Fires get put out. Kids are educated, generally. The system clunks and creaks, but it works, and health care, if it passes will work, too."

If the system works, why do we need reform?

7. From Pro Publica:

What's in the reconciliation bill: Thanks to some hard-working souls at ProPublica, we've created a side-by-side comparison of the full versions of the Senate healthcare bill versus the bill that will likely go before the House for a vote on Sunday. What you've seen elsewhere-the text put out by the House Rules Committee-is just a 150-page list of amendments to the Senate bill ("strike paragraph 4", "insert this new sentence in paragraph B:..."). What we've created, the full proposed final bill-and highlights of the changes- allows you to easily to compare House's Reconciliation proposal to the earlier Senate bill. Check out the full bills side-by-side-and see exactly what the House has added, changed, and deleted.

8. From ProPublica:

Silly ProPublicans. We expected the health care reform billto include language pertaining to health care. And most of it does, except this paragraph that appears to tackle the scourge of . . . ashy biofuels?

9. "Rahm told us months ago: Everything can be compromised except our ultimate goal of getting something done," said Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va. "Everything else is negotiable."

10. "One day, Obama is saying he will sign no health care bill without a government-run 'public option'; the next, he all but drops it. One day, he is bashing the 'shameful' bonuses for 'fat-cat bankers' at bailed-out firms, the next he is serving dinner to corporate titans at the White House and saying he does not 'begrudge' the big payouts," the New York Times reports.

"That has been the story of health care, the defining project of Obama's first year as president. Along the way, Obama has been willing to be flexible on the details to the point that he switched positions significantly from his own campaign promises - giving up on the public option, embracing a mandate requiring everyone to have insurance and accepting a tax on high-value insurance plans."

11. "If I were still a member of Congress, I would proudly vote for the bill that President Barack Obama is championing and I would urge my colleagues to do the same," Obama's Republican transportation secretary Ray LaHood writes in an Op-Ed.

Really, Ray? You would have defied your party's leadership even if that would have made you the lone Republican vote in favor of ObamaCare?

Here's LaHood when he was in Congress attacking former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald:

"Fitzgerald once filibustered a spending bill because it contained a provision to fund construction of the Lincoln Library in Illinois. He said the $50 million appropriation, backed by Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), would be used by then-Gov. George Ryan (R) to aid political cronies. LaHood last week called Fitzgerald's conduct on the matter unforgivable.

"'When you fashion yourself as an independent, you're not a member of a party,' said LaHood."

And:

"Loners and independents very seldom get anything done. Our system is working within a party and across party lines in order to get things done. Peter was never willing to do that."

12. Barney Frank via The New York Times:

"[Obama] was very passionate about it, and he convinced me that we could put some fixes in."

Fixes that can't pass Congress right now? But somehow will later? And which fixes, exactly? It would be nice to know.

13. "We've also taken a detailed look at the bill, and have come up with 18 often stated myths about this health care reform bill," Jane Hamsher writes.

14. "Caterpillar Inc. said the health-care overhaul legislation being considered by the House would increase the company's health-care costs by more than $100 million in the first year alone."

15. "As the Economist once put it, 'As a creature of Congress, the C.B.O. is required to pretend to believe many impossible things before breakfast.' Some would say the same of Ezra Klein," Tobin Harshaw writes on the New York Times's Opinionator blog.

"'The C.B.O. process has now been so thoroughly gamed that it's useless,' writes Megan McArdle of the Atlantic. She's concerned about how many of the costs have been pushed to the tail end of the budgeting period, and that the excise tax on so-called gold-plated insurance plans won't take effect until 2018.

Also:

"Congressional budget scorekeepers say a Medicare fix that Democrats included in earlier versions of their health care bill would push it into the red," AP reports.

"The Congressional Budget Office said Friday that rolling back a programmed cut in Medicare fees to doctors would cost $208 billion over 10 years. If added back to the health care overhaul bill, it would wipe out all the deficit reduction, leaving the legislation $59 billion in the red.

"The so-called doc fix was part of the original House bill. Because of its high cost, Democrats decided to pursue it separately."

Is this one of the fixes, Barney?

16. From progressive Democrat Bob Somerby:

"Uh-oh! On Wednesday night, Ron Brownstein had actually told Chris [Matthews] something! Brownstein was responding to Chris' favorite new script: Republicans don't try to pass their health care measures when they're in control! Uh-oh! Responding, Brownstein said this about that:

"MATTHEWS (3/17/10): Ron Brownstein's political director - you know that is pretty - I saw you shaking your head positive. I know that you are a straight arrow here. But the fact is, it is a fact. Republican offer these wonderful sounding, moderate alternatives, but only in the face of a Democratic progressive suggestion.

"BROWNSTEIN: The story's a little bit more nuanced. The fact is that these are ideas that Republicans had during - when when they unified control of the House and the Senate and the White House, under Bush. Some of them did pass the House. Their idea of association health plans did pass the House. Medical malpractice, at one point, did pass the House. The interstate health insurance never did pass the House because that is a much more controversial idea that it is usually explained to be, because it essentially allows the states that regulates least to set the rules for everyone.

"MATTHEWS: You go state shopping.

"BROWNSTEIN: But fact is that all of these ideas were never able to achieve consensus when Republicans controlled government. They could not get them out of the Senate. They could not get 60 votes. And in -

"MATTHEWS: You know why? They really didn't want to do it!

"Two of these ideas got defeated by filibuster. And of course! When the other tribe gets defeated that way, it's because they really didn't want to do it. If your IQ is 7 or 8, you will find that novel persuasive."

-

Comments welcome.

-

See also:
* Meet ObamaCare



Permalink

Posted on March 21, 2010


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