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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Six Senators Plot Demise of Public Option and Real Health Reform

Baucus. Grassley. Conrad. Bingaman. Snowe. Enzi.

These six Senators are about to destroy the health care reform push. The bipartisan group has been holding secretive talks for months to craft passable health care legislation. But on the same day that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office releases findings that the public option—health insurance offered by Uncle Sam—would not drive private insurers out of business, these six senators decide that they will strip the public option from health care legislation.

Whom do these six senators serve: the majority of Americans who want a public option (as demonstrated by eight separate polls), or the wealthy corporate interests and their lobbyists buzzing in their ears in the Washington echo chamber seeking every scrap of pork and favors they can finagle?

The public option is essential to reforming health coverage. The public option will restore competition and lower costs (how about savings of $265 billion over 10 years?) The public option will be especially good for the rural communities all six of these Senators represent.

Bipartisanship is a nice sentiment, but it's not enough to justify do-nothing legislation. Baucus, Grassley, Conrad, Bingaman, Snowe, and Enzi need to hear from someone other than the lobbyists. They need to hear from us that the public option is what the public wants and what will work.

I suspect South Dakota's Senator Johnson and Representative Herseth Sandlin could use similar reminders. Pass the public option... or don't come asking me for my vote.


  1. These senators are wise. I hope more follow suit. We have already lost over 20,000 medical device sales jobs in anticipation of Obamacare. The medical sales profession will be devastated by Obamacare.

    Follow our discussion of this topic at http://www.gorillamedicalsales.com

  2. Boo hoo, "John." (John Holder?) My reaction is, tough shiskey. We don't do health care to create jobs for salesmen. We do health care to help the sick and injured. Your comment demonstrates exactly what's wrong with the for-profit system and exactly why we need a public option. Thanks for helping me make my point.

  3. By the way: I found no such evidence on "John"'s site... but plenty of spam from him on other websites.

  4. Just trying to post once again and seeing if this works. Linda M

  5. Cory, I feel less hope now than I did 2 years ago. I thought this was the admin. that was going to take on K Street - now we've got K and C Street to deal with.

    #1. The public has to go to where their Rep. and Senators are and look them in the eye. The forums really don't allow that until later, if at all. There has to be more concerned citizens and those affected -- and much more education about issues than what gets doled or spun on traditional media too. Remember, they are owned by corporations as much as the elected officials. Countries that finally got universal health care - basically it gets public involvement. The elected currently are only fearful of their gravy train drying up -- not of the people at home. Nothing is going to change until we wake up and get active.

    2. We've got to get to public financing of elections - pure and simple. We've got to cut the financial access and influence. Politicians are supposed to represent us - not the corporations. As critical a mess as we are in now - we got there due to profit for war, profit for health insurance/health care/ medicine. It is like a huge stronghold on many of bought off and paid for politicians -- Baucus alone has close to 3 MILLION dollars given to him by medical/health/insurance industry. Think the working poor in his home state can give him that? He speaks on behalf of who lines his pockets -- and it's criminal. It's upsetting that we the taxpayers also provide these officials with "socialized healthcare" for themselves and their families their whole lifetime -- while they dictate we go without.

    3. We need citizen journalism like you and other bloggers provide. We are in an age where the media mourns the loss of Walter Cronkite -- hailing his great integrity -- while they lack it. One of the most trusted men in journalism right now is John Stewart. When the comedians are the only ones raising the tough questions -- it really says something. Corporate influence on the media means that we aren't getting the whole picture. If one is really interested in acquiring the news -- it's the comedians and the blogging communities that provide it. Sometimes traditional or cable media will pick up stories -- after they themselves read it on the blogs.

    We're at a point where we cave and become a third world country that pledges allegiance to the Corporations and become slaves to them - or we get active and turn things around.

  6. Well, finally I got this thing to work!

    I do not know how anyone can claim that a public option won't eventually lead to a one payer system as the other private plans are forced out of existence. And I dispute the claim that most Americans want a public option.

    A public option will necessarily be cheaper. Why would an employer continue to offer insurance at higher rates and with more regulations when he could dump it all and simply pay the 2-8% penalty for not offering insurance and still be ahead of the game? There will be mandated audits of all employers who self-insure. All private healthcare plans must conform to gov't rules and must participate in the Healthcare Exchange. Employers will have to accept all members of a family if only one is presently enrolled. etc etc

    It has been stated that if you are enrolled in a private plan at the time this new health care goes into effect, you can keep it, but apparently you can't keep it if you change jobs or want to enroll in one later.

    As private companies disappear, people will be dumped onto the public option as that is all that is available.

    Why not address the exact problems with our health care instead of a broad "reform" that is instead a gov't power grab? Make insurance portable irregardless of employment. Allow people to buy insurance across state borders. Use real numbers when stating how many people don't have insurance; exclude illegals and those who choose not to buy it but can afford it. The state of SD has a risk pool for those who have trouble getting insurance; use that model.

    Linda McIntyre

  7. [An Anon notes that he's been working all summer for health care reform and would hate to see the effort produce the watered-down swill the lobbyists and senators have in mind. Anon also notes quite rightly that profit is exactly the problem in health care.]

    Linda! Welcome back!

    Per my second link above, the CBO says the proposed public option will not put private insurers out of business.

    But you know I'm a Kucinich single-payer guy, so I really wouldn't mind if the public option did kill private insurance and evolve into a proper universal system. As you say, it is cheaper: why wouldn't we want to spend less of our GDP on health coverage? With the baby boomers getting older, we have to save money!

    Gov't rules: yeah, it's a darn shame to make private companies play by rules. And people's ability to keep their current insurance will be more secure, not less, if the House bill passes. Are you really that satisfied with private coverage that will jack up your rates or flat drop you just because you actually need to use the service? Give me a public option that costs the same or less than my current private coverage, and I will switch my family's policy in an instant.

  8. Jackie: The GOP are surely celebrating, thinking delay will help their cause and destroy the President. Let's flip the advantage: the delay will give us a chance to give SHS, Johnson, and Thune an earful at every public event they attend during the August recess. August is our chance to drown out the voices of the industry lobbyists and get the health reform the majority of Americans want. Charge!


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