Chances For Public Option Improving As Bill Goes To Full Senate

The battle for health care reform in Congress is entering a new phase. The Senate Finance Committee tried for a bipartisan compromise and wound up with a bill which is unsatisfactory to those who desire reform while still not receiving any support from the Republican who have no policy other than to oppose everything. There is hope that a far better bill than the one coming out of the Finance Committee will be passed by the entire Senate.  Harry Reid has given mixed signals as to his position on the public option. It is hopeful that in a recent conference call he did say that “We are going to have a public option before this bill goes to the president’s desk.”

Another hopeful sign is that, while Barack Obama has indicated he would accept a health care reform plan lacking a public option rather than nothing at all, he is now pushing strongly for the public option behind the scenes:

Despite months of seeming ambivalence about creating a government health insurance plan, the Obama White House has launched an intensifying behind-the-scenes campaign to get divided Senate Democrats to take up some version of the idea in the weeks just ahead.

President Barack Obama has long advocated a so-called public option, while at the same time repeatedly expressing openness to other ways to offer consumers a potentially more affordable alternative to health plans sold by private insurers.

But now, senior administration officials are holding private meetings almost daily at the Capitol with senior Democratic staff to discuss ways to include a version of the public plan in the health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to bring to the Senate floor later this month, according to senior Democratic congressional aides.

Among those regularly in the meetings are Obama’s top health care adviser, Nancy-Ann DeParle, aides to Reid, and Senate finance and health committee staff, both of which developed health care bills.

At the same time, Obama has been reaching out personally to rank-and-file Senate Democrats, telephoning more than a dozen lawmakers in the last week to press the case for action.

Administration officials are also distributing talking points and employing other campaign-style devices to rally support for passing a bill this fall.

The White House initiative, unfolding largely out of public view, follows months in which the president appeared to defer to senior lawmakers on Capitol Hill as they labored to put together gargantuan health care bills.

It also marks a critical test of Obama’s command of the inside game in Washington in which deals are struck behind closed doors and wavering lawmakers are cajoled and pressured into supporting major legislation.

“The challenge is to go to the (Senate) floor, hold the deal,” said Steve Elmendorf, a lobbyist who was chief of staff to former House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt. But “they are more involved than people think. They have a plan and a strategy, and they know what they want to get and they work with people to get it.”

Obama has faced some criticism from the left that he was not pushing hard enough for the public option and that he was leaving too much of the process to Congress. This report is bound to please many of his critics, as well as increase the chances that a public option will be in any final bill.  The disappointing action in the Senate Finance Committee is now looking less significant, and the chances for a meaningful public option now look much better than they were a couple of weeks ago.

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3 Comments

  1. 1
    jacksmith says:

    A majority of voters would rather have a Democrats only bill with a Public Option. Rather than a bipartisan bill without a Public Option.

    ATTENTION!! Congress Has The Votes Needed To Pass A Public Option – TODAY  http://bit.ly/TCq7O

    Why A Strong Public Option Is Essential – By jacksmith – Working Class

    Robert Reich explains the pubic option:  http://bit.ly/dDYSJ  http://robertreich.blogspot.com/

    Hollywood Supports The Public Option 🙂  http://bit.ly/3XLwPi

    It’s not just because more than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% republicans). Basically everyone.

    It’s not just because according to a new AARP POLL: 86 percent of seniors want universal healthcare security for All, including 93% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans. With 79% of seniors supporting creating a new strong Government-run public option plan, available immediately. Including 89% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans, STUNNING!!

    It’s not just because it will lower cost. Because a strong public option will dramatically lower cost for everyone. And dramatically improved the quality of care everyone receives in America and around the World. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.

    It’s not just because it will save trillions of dollars and prevent the needless deaths of millions more of YOU, caused by a rush to profit by the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!

    It’s not just because every expert in every field, including economist, and Nobel laureates all agree that free market based healthcare systems don’t work. Never have and never will. The US has the only truly free market based healthcare system in the World. And as you all know now, IT IS A DISASTER!

    It’s not just because providing or denying medically necessary care for profit motivations is wrong. Because it is WRONG! It’s professionally, ethically, and morally REPUGNANT!, Animalistic, VILE and EVIL.

    THE REASON THE PUBLIC OPTION IS ESSENTIAL:

    The public option is ESSENTIAL because over 200 million of you are trapped in the forest of the wolves. Which is the forest of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! With no way out except through needless inhumane suffering, and DEATH. While the wolves tear at your flesh, and rip you limb from lib. Then feast on your lifeless bodies like a dead carcase for transplant parts.

    At the most vulnerable times of your lives (when you were sick and hurting), millions of you have had to fight and loose cruel, but heroic battles. Fighting against the big guns of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! in the forest of the wolves. All because you have no place else to go. You have no other CHOICE!

    But the PUBLIC OPTION will give you someplace safe to go. And it will give us someplace safe to take you. The public option will be your refugium (your refuge). Where the wolves cannot get at you when your down, hurting, and vulnerable. Where everyone who needs it can find rest, security, comfort and the care they need. Protected by the BIG GUNS of We The People Of The United States. THE MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE AND COUNTRY ON EARTH.

    This is why it is so critical that we do not lead another 50 million vulnerable, uninsured Americans into the forest of the wolves, without the protections of a Strong Government-run MEDICARE like public option. We The People Of The United States MUST NOT LET THAT HAPPEN to any more of our fellow Americans. If healthcare reform does not contain a strong MEDICARE like public option on day one. YOU MUST! KILL IT. Or you will do far more harm than good. And millions more will die needlessly. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.

    To those who would continue to obstruct good and true healthcare reform for the American people, and who seek to trap millions more vulnerable Americans in the forest of the wolves. We will continue to fight you. We are prepared to wage all out war against you, and will eagerly DESTROY! you. Time…is…UP! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! No Co-op’s! No Triggers! NO INDIVIDUAL MANDATES! without a Strong MEDICARE like public option on day one.

    Healthcare reform can be the GREATEST! Accomplishment of our time and century. A time when future generations may say of us, that we were all, AMERICAS GREATEST GENERATIONS.

    BUT WE MUST ACT!

    I therefore call on all my fellow Americans and the peoples of the World. To join us in this fight so that we may finish becoming the better America that we aspire to be for everyone.

    SPREAD THE WORD!

    I have been privileged to be witness as many of you fought, and struggled to take your first breath, and your last breath on this earth. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Life is precious.

    Whatever the cost. WE! MUST SUCCEED.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings

    jacksmith – Working Class

    Things You Can Do To Help NOW! http://www.everydaycitizen.com/2009/09/tired_of_watching_people_die_n.html

    No Triggers! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-rosenbaum/a-trigger-for-the-public_b_277910.html

    Triggers http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sirota/weve-seen-these-triggers_b_283583.html

    Krugman on heathcare  (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/)

    Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSM8t_cLZgk&feature=player_embedded)

    John Garamendi on the Public Option and the Grassroots:  http://bit.ly/TJMty

    Howard Dean on the Public Option http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SKfW2dUnow&feature=player_embedded

    We’re Number 37! in quality of health care http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVgOl3cETb4&feature=player_embedded

    Twitter search (#welovethenhs #NHS #hc09 #hcr #healthcar #obama #p2 #topprog #) Check it out.

  2. 2
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Liberal writers appear to be really divided on the issue of whether the public option is more or less likely as a result of the finance committee votes. Jason Linkins is of the view that the public option is completely dead in the Senate and liberals are just going through the motions before compromising. Robert Creamer, on the other hand, blogged (about two hours before Linkins’ very negative piece of analysis) that momentum for the public option was growing.
     
    Ironically, Drew Westen wrote what was essentially a ‘hit piece’ on President Obama on his lack of commitment to the health care issue. It’s starting to look like the liberal media is getting all their news from the mainstream media and/or imbuing their analyses with particularly dark tones of cynicism.
     
    I wrote about the irony of Creamer and Linkins coming to totally opposite conclusions based on exactly the same facts myself. I think some people remember the six years of Clinton and a GOP House followed by six years of Bush and a GOP Congress and have been unable to spring their thinking processes into the situation as it is now. Unfortunately, I think some of these people are Democrats in the Senate.
     

  3. 3
    Paul Burke - Author Journey Home says:

    The smartest people in the world learn from everyone and everything – to dismiss what lessons can be learned in a foreign country – because it is a foreign country or has some other not so envious condition is to be blind – completely blind and closed off to ideas. That’s not a very smart way to find solutions. You pick and choose from the best of what works. You leave behind the bad habits or missteps and learn from the mistakes of others. Check your red, white and blue arrogance at the door if you really want to learn anything and live in a better more peaceful, stable, equitable and sustainable world.

    The fact remains that big insurance by refusing care to patients and reimbursement to doctors over typos has ticked everyone off – both patients and doctors.

    They have a virtual monopoly over the whole process a hugely well financed lobby team and representatives on both sides of the isle.

    At the end of the day healthcare reform is about the take down of a system that is squeezing profits out of everyone so hard that it is crippling the economy.

    A friend of mine recently laid off without children – just he and his spouse is paying $2,500.00 dollars a month for his COBRA – that is outrageous. Health insurance costs more than his mortgage – unbelievable.

    If you think the status quo is going to self regulate – in any market sector, insurance, timber, big pharma, finance, coal, oil, or nuclear – then you don’t know how the “real” world works.

    From the guy who runs a Kinko’s worrying about the Copy Connection opening up down the street – every single individual business man wants to “corner” the market.

    It’s up to the people through the execution of laws to unlock their grip when it harms the overall markets.

    Individual corporations work at cross hairs to the health of the overall market. Self interest isn’t good for the overall health of the markets when it runs rampant and chokes off the competition smothering and in some cases outlawing innovation, technology, advancement, and invention. We all loose then.

    The “free market system” is a myth and if left to its own devise as so many corporatist trust it should – it leads to anarchy – boom, bubble and bust and hyper economic cycles once every 15 years.

    The markets crave and deserve stability. That’s why foreign countries invest here in our Country. Stability for your hard earned cash is lucrative. And economic growth thrives on competition. You want a better return on your money you better hope for a robust, secure and vibrant market. Not one “cornered” by a stagnant antiquated status quo draining as much of the froth and discretionary income off the top for itself and itself alone.

    You want venture capital you better make sure small business and the middle class are firing on all cylinders. 90% of the wealth concentrated in 1% of the population will dry up the economic engine – it doesn’t trickle down – it gets horded at the top. Yacht sales can not sustain 350 million people.

    The “public option” using the bureaucracy of medicare that is already set up and running processing a billion claims a year is the smart, efficient way to go.

    Pooling that many people together will incentivise the private sector to stop gouging us – as we lay on our sick beds.

    As it stands right now the economic impact of getting sick to the individual is catastrophic and that effects the whole market system because lots of people get sick.

    When Bush implored people to go out and spend – well that’s kind of hard to do when you are buried in health care bills, filling and refilling out forms and in foreclosure because you made a typo.

    The system is broke and well heavily stacked in the insurance industry’s favor – with no incentive except global economic melt down to fix it.

    Oh wait a minuter didn’t that just happen….

    Paul Burke
    Author – Journey Home

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