Robust Public Option Might Not Pass House

Lately there has been a lot of consideration of the public option in the Senate, but the type of public option which the House will pass also remains unknown. With the House only needing a simple majority to pass a bill it is probable that there will be some type of public option. Greg Sargent reports that there does not appear to be enough votes at present for the more robust option favored by many liberals which would pay at Medicare rates plus five percent:

The House Dem leadership has conducted its preliminary whip count and has tallied up less than 200 likely Yes votes in support of a health care reform bill with a robust public option, well short of the 218 needed for passage, according to an internal whip count document I’ve obtained.

The document — compiled by the office of House leader James Clyburn — was distributed privately at a meeting between Clyburn and House progressives today where the fate of the public option was the subject of some contentious debate, with liberals demanding that House leaders push harder to win over votes.

Clyburn spokesperson Kristie Greco would only say: “We currently do not have the votes for a robust public option.”

More information was given on where the vote now stands:

The document shows that 47 House Dems are committed No votes, and eight are Leaning No, for a total of 55. That means of 256 House Dems, just under 200 remain, and a dozen of those are listed as undecided. The bill needs 218 votes for passage.

It remains a great irony of the health care debate that the more conservative members of Congress, who claim to be most concerned about the cost of health care, are the ones who are fighting the most against aspects of health care reform, such as a robust public option, which would bring about lower costs.

While the debate over the public option in the House now appears to have come down to whether reimbursement is tied to Medicare rates, I remain disappointed that the public option as now discussed does not contain provisions to replace Medicaid. This was an idea proposed for the public option in in the past.

Actually I’m open to a variety of ways to do this, but if we are to truly aim for universal health care coverage we should work towards eliminating the status quo of many being left in a program which does not provide adequate care. I would be happy if Medicaid patients were placed in the public option, or if they were given subsidies to allow them to purchase private insurance on the insurance exchanges. I would even accept the Republican proposal to give them vouchers, provided the vouchers were large enough to allow them to actually purchase private insurance.

Lieberman Threatens to Filibuster Public Option, Even With Opt-Out

Politically it looks like pushing for the public option with opt-out was the best Harry Reid could go for at present. This remains far better than the option pushed by moderates for a trigger instead of an immediate public plan. It is far from certain that even this can pass. Former Democrat Joe Lieberman says he will vote to filibuster the public option even with an opt-out provision. The Senator from the insurance capital of the world is doing all he can to protect the insurance industry. It is also likely to be his last term in the Senate.

Zoe Bartlett Marries Barack Obama

Actors Fred Armisen and Elisabeth Moss arrive to the TNT/TBS bro

People bills this as Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss Marries SNL‘s Fred Armisen. While Moss’s role on Mad Men is currently more significant, her role as President Bartlett’s daughter on The West Wing is more interesting when connected to Armisen, who often portrays Obama on Saturday Night Live.

CNN Falls Into Fourth Place

CNN has fallen to fourth place among the cable news networks during prime time. This means that not only are they trailing Fox and MSNBC, but they are have even fallen behind their own HLN network.

CNN claims to fill the niche of actual news compared to the ideologically driven shows of Fox and MSNBC. Their problem is that they do the poorest job in the niche they have selected. If you want shows which promotes the fantasy-world imagined by right wingers, Fox does an excellent job of this. MSNBC, which had been in last place for years, has improved its line up of liberal opinion shows in recent months. CNN has a combination of opinion shows of their own which are lagging behind the other networks, along with shows which attempt to present more objective news. A right winger such as Lou Dobbs is at a disadvantage on CNN when most of the right wingers who are into cable news have their televisions permanently set on Fox. Their actual news shows are pretty weak at presenting the news, as I noted in this recent post. There may or may not be a potential audience in this country for a real news network. If there is, CNN does not satisfy that demand.

As for HLN, I watch it even less than the other three so I have no idea as to why even this is beating CNN.

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Green Hollywood


The Environmental Media Association had their 20th anniversary awards on Sunday night:

Founded by Norman and Lyn Lear and Alan and Cindy Horn, the Environmental Media Association encourages Hollywood to spread the word about going green.

Twenty years later, the group counts the Endangered Species Coalition, the Alaska Rainforest Campaign, the Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund among its partners. It has been honored by the White House and praised by Al Gore — years before “An Inconvenient Truth.”

The group has met with hundreds of Hollywood writers, directors and producers, helping them incorporate green themes into their films and TV shows and encouraging them to make those productions more environmentally friendly…

The group celebrated its 20th anniversary with an awards ceremony honoring individuals and organizations that help increase public awareness of environmental issues.

Honorees included entrepreneur Richard Branson, who pledged to invest all proceeds from his Virgin Airlines toward developing clean fuels and renewable energy; the National Geographic Society, which supports environmental education through various programs and grants; Centropolis Entertainment, the production company led by director Roland Emmerich and producer Michael Wimer that released the first carbon-neutral film in Hollywood history, “The Day After Tomorrow”; and singer Jason Mraz, who has committed to green touring and using sustainable textiles.

Or if you look at the media reports of the event, an extremely high percentage of the reports featured pictures of Olivia Wilde, such as the one above.