Archive for October 26th, 2009

Good News/Bad News

Well, the very good news is that for once, progressives have finally managed to do what Blue Dogs and other conservadems have been doing for as long as I can remember:

Democratic leaders were forced to include a national public health insurance option as part of health care reform by progressive Democratic senators who refused to support anything less, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on Monday.


For many years, it’s been centrist and conservative-leaning senators who have been scoring legislative victories by digging in their heels, so this represented a quite dramatic turnabout. It is difficult to remember the last time that progressives won a legislative victory by laying down firm demands and sticking to them. In the House, the Congressional Progressive Caucus has found its feet, too, and is locked in a final battle with conservative Democrats over the shape of a public option.

W00t!!!  It’s about damn time!

So what’s the bad news?

“It’s a zero-sum situation,” said Durbin, who is in charge of counting votes in the Senate. “If we thought that just putting the trigger in meant that we’d end with 61 votes,” he explained, then that’s what leadership would have done.

In other words, the Democratic leadership was still perfectly happy to sabotage the public option if it would get them from Filibuster-Proof to Filibuster-Proof + 1, because bipartisanship – even token bipartisanship – is Teh Awesome.

Not to mention that the bill Reid is bringing to the floor still has a state opt-out in it, and as of right now we have no idea how easy or hard that opt-out will be to exercise.  So the public option may end up only being available to Democratic states, which is pretty crappy.

October 26th, 2009 at 07:26pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Healthcare,Politics,Wankers

Monday Media Blogging

This is surely the best possible video for The Pretenders’ Boots Of Chinese Plastic:


October 26th, 2009 at 11:31am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

This Just In: Democrats Want To Be Re-Elected

Apparently they’ve realized that they’re going to be judged on healthcare in the 2010 elections, and want to actually have something to show for their efforts before then:

Democrats are pushing Senate leaders and the White House to speed up key benefits in the health reform bill to 2010, eager to give the party something to show taxpayers for their $900 billion investment in an election year.

The most significant changes to the health care system wouldn’t kick in until 2013 – two election cycles away. With Republicans expected to make next year a referendum on health care reform, Democrats are quietly lobbying to push up the effective dates on popular programs, so they’ll have something to run on in the congressional midterms.

Democrats are anxious to mix the good with the bad since some of the pain would be phased in early, including more than $100 billion in industry fees that critics say could be passed on to consumers.

“We want to be able, within the cost framework and the implementation framework, to have as much start as early as possible, even though we know all of it can’t,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), a Finance Committee member who is working with other senators on the effort. “And the White House wants to have as much as possible to start.”

Under the Democratic wish-list, senior citizens would receive discounts on brand-name drugs next year. Small businesses that provide insurance would see tax credits. And a $5 billion high-risk pool would cover people with preexisting conditions.

Democratic strategists expect the 2010 election to present a stark contrast between the parties, particularly if the health care bill receives minimal Republicans support. The front-load strategy could help blunt GOP attacks on the bill as a toxic mix of higher taxes, rising premiums and cuts to Medicare.

The strategy also could ease some of the disappointment among voters who expect more immediate reforms than the bill can deliver, including on the much-debated public insurance option. Democrats in both the House and Senate are closing in on finding the votes to include some form of a public option in the bill, but a government-run insurance plan would likely be one of the last pieces to kick in fully, if it passes.

This is in contrast to Obama, who continues to offer unconvincingly tepid lip-service support for the public option, and then gets annoyed when anyone suggests that he might actually be working against it.

Better Democratic presidents, please.

1 comment October 26th, 2009 at 07:29am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Healthcare,Obama,Politics

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