According to an op-ed piece, “How To Win 2010,” by Matthew Yglesias, to avoid a disaster in the midterms, the White House needs to pick a battle it can afford to lose.
[Below is a synopsis of the article, but for the complete opinion, read the op-ed article instead of my interpretation. fnord]
Not on health-care reform! No, that one is too necessary now! Americans are suffering, businesses are suffering and can’t be competitive with those overseas. It is important to go beyond ‘status quo’ and get reform ‘on the books.’ It’s taken almost a century to get this far. However, through the compromising, watering down process we’ve learned victory means getting the votes necessary to pass a bill. And that means making the compromises necessary to get the votes to pass a bill. And that means jumping through whichever hoops Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, and anyone else want to jump through.
It’s becoming more and more clear that Timothy Noah was right to warn in mid-December that in exchange for their compromises on the public option, liberals will get nothing. Nothing, that is, except a universal health care bill. And that’s not nothing at all. But therein lies the problem — by threatening to kill it, moderates have consistently been able to water it down. The results have sapped the enthusiasm of Obama’s base, while also tying the president to the much-less-popular institution of Congress. To avoid a disaster in the midterms, the White House needs to reverse this trend: it needs to pick a battle it can afford to lose. Continue reading
This editorial in the New York Times describes what is being considered for a “Non-Pulic Option.”
MEDICARE BUY-IN People ages 55 to 64 who are eligible to use the exchanges would be permitted to buy coverage from Medicare. Unlike older Americans, this younger group would have to pay the full premium themselves unless their incomes are low enough to qualify for subsidies. The premium could be in the neighborhood of $7,600 a year for single coverage.
REGULATED NONPROFIT INSURANCE For people below age 55 who are not enrolled in group coverage, the insurance industry would have to create an array of nonprofit insurance plans to compete with for-profit plans on the exchanges in every state. (If industry fails to do this, the government would create them.) The plans would be approved and supervised by the government’s Office of Personnel Management, which administers the health insurance plans offered to members of Congress and federal employees.
I would qualify for the Medicare buy-in, but the yearly cost of $7,600 amounts to about 5 times what it costs me to purchase Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas from my employer. How can anyone even pretend that these options would be competitive with private insurers? It is a farce as far as I am concenred.
Senator Ben Nelson’s abortion amendment to the Health Reform bill failed in senate vote of 54 to 45. Nelson’s amendment sought to restrict the use of federal funds for abortion. Earlier, Nelson had threatened to filibuster the bill if it did not include his amendment. As indicated in this politico piece, Nelson did not sound to be in a compromising mood.
With this amendment failing, it sounds like the prospects of a public option with healthcare reform legisilation has been dealt a serious blow.
What do you bloggers think? As a certain person some of us know used to say, “does the perfect have to be the enemy of the good?” Or is this an issue so important that it is a hill worth dying on? I haven’t made up my mind yet. Would love to hear from others on this.
From left to right, the U.S. Senators pictured are: Max Baucus (D-Montana), Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas), Kent Conrad (D- North Dakota), [Second row] Bill Nelson (D-Florida), and Tom Carper (D-Delaware). What these five democrats have in common is that they joined the Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee and defeated the Public Option Amendment authored by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virgina). The amendment failed by a vote of 13 to 8.
Of the two public options amendments being considered by the Senate Finance Committee, Rockefeller’s was considered the most robust. Interestingly, ” the more liberal amendment offered by Rockefeller is also more fiscally responsible according to the Congressional Budget Office” (more here). Let see. Helps more people, and is more cost effective – Good reasons to vote against it!
I think I have had enough. Worse than us not getting reasonable health care, if we don’t start getting off of our butts, Michael Moore is going to stop making his movies (WashPo). So in the interest of saving our chances of getting reasonable health care, and preserving our rights to good political comedy, I am recommending that we form a PAC that should be titled something like “Ousting the Enemies From Within”. We need to collect funds and deliver them to the primary opponents of the above pictured Senators. It is time to get serious, but have some fun, at the same time…
Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/29/first-public-option-amend_n_303228.html
Harold Meyerson has a must read editoral here. Meyerson cites a CBS/New York Times poll which found that when asked about the adoption of a Medicare-like option for everyone, 65 percent of respondents indicated they favored such a plan, while 26% opposed it. You could not tell it from the endless news coverage that such a resounding majority favor a public option.
Meyerson continutes, “…Ezra Klein asked North Dakota Democratic Senator Kent Conrad yesterday why he didn’t support the public option, Conrad replied, ‘I don’t think a government-run plan best fits this culture.’” Then Meyerson delivers this killer line: “In Conrad’s mind, such as it is, American culture doesn’t seem to be shaped by the American people.”
The media’s coverage of idiots, who show up at a rally with guns straped on, may give some people the false sense that these folks represent our culture. They most surely do not.