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Shift on Public Option Changes Terms of Health Debate

By Ben Pershing
So far in August, coverage of the health-care fight has focused mostly on process and politics over policy, and tactics over strategy. But the headline news from this weekend wasn't about a town hall meeting. It wasn't about protesters, astroturf or ad campaigns. It was about a substantive change in the debate over reform, one that may help President Obama on one ideological flank just as much as it hurts him on the other.

Obama and Kathleen Sebelius both signaled this weekend that the White House would be willing to live with a compromised package that does not include a public insurance option. Obama on Saturday called the public option "just one sliver" of the debate, while Sebelius said Sunday it was not an "essential element" of reform. David Axelrod said later Sunday that Obama believed the public option was still "the best way to go," and Linda Douglass claimed that "nothing has changed" in the White House's position. Marc Ambinder has one administration official saying Sebelius "misspoke," and another saying she didn't, but "the media misplayed it."

Whatever the case, liberals are worried. Jay Rockefeller insisted Sunday that including a public option was "a must," and Nancy Pelosi has previously vowed that whatever bill passes the House will include a "robust" public plan. Liberal activists at the Netroots Nation conference said they feared the Democratic party is tilting toward moderates. A blogger at Firedoglake asks sarcastically, "Hooray! Now all the Teabaggers will go home and tons of Republicans will get on board with health care reform, right?"

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Posted at 8:30 AM ET on Aug 17, 2009  | Category:  The Rundown
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Previous: POTUS Events: Address to VFW | Next: Dean: Public Option Essential to Real Health Care Reform


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Posted by: jhenry1908 | August 19, 2009 2:35 AM

GOV'T HEALTH CARE REFORM RINGS HOLLOW...

WHEN COVERT GOV'T PROGRAMS DESTROY THE LIVES AND LIVELIHOODS OF THOUSANDS OF UNJUSTLY TARGETED AMERICANS AND THEIR FAMILIES.


***


URGENT: President Obama, WH staff, members of Congress, cabinet secretaries

THE U.S. GOVERNMENT HAS WEAPONIZED THE ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM.

MICROWAVE / LASER 'DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPON' SYSTEMS HAVE BEEN DEPLOYED TO DEGRADE THE LIVES OF UNJUSTLY TARGETED AMERICANS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

A GOV'T-OVERSEEN VIGILANTE GESTAPO USES COVERTLY PLACED GPS DEVICES AND CELL PHONES TO STALK AND HARASS THOUSANDS OF UNJUSTLY TARGETED AMERICANS...

...IN EVERY COUNTY IN THE COUNTRY.

***

PRESIDENT OBAMA: WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE DEPLOYMENT OF DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS...

...AND WHEN WILL YOU BAN THEIR USE ON U.S. CITIZENS?

...AND BAN THE WARRANTLESS GPS / CELL PHONE TRACKING OF INDIVIDUALS...

...THE ELECTRONIC BACKBONE OF AN AMERICAN GESTAPO THAT IS OPERATING ON YOUR WATCH.

And, Mr. President, what caused that bald streak on the back of your head behind your left ear? The victims of this covert torture program fear that you are among the targets of these crimes against humanity.

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA" ("stream" or "stories" list).

***

BOB DYLAN'S 'W.W.I.' (WALKING WITHOUT I.D.): THE JOHN LENNON TREATMENT?

http://nowpublic.com/world/dylans-w-w-i-walking-without-id-john-lennon-treatment

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 17, 2009 6:55 PM

If anything captures the essence of the teabaggers it's this death panel nonsense. Is this the Illuminati we want determining the policies for our nation? If the public option is removed, there is no way this legislation doesn't represent yet another raping of the taxpayer by bill-writing lobbyists. I say screw 'em. Withdraw all legislation. Let the aunt Mabel con victims who think that Medicare is somehow NOT socialized medicine start covering the cost. Same with VA care and all government subsidized care.

After all, it's the Republicans who are so cautionary about what could happen to those groups under HCR. And, not surprisingly, it is also Republicans who cry about unfunded liabilities for those programs. Yet there is no hint of an answer on their behalf when it comes to controlling the cost of those programs. As they are willing to shoot down any attempt to control this cost, hang the need to decrease coverage and increase access fees to all of those systems around their necks. Screw those hapless teabaggers. Let them go bankrupt.

Posted by: whereareweandwhatarewedoinginthishandbasket | August 17, 2009 5:59 PM

Hey Obozzo - Exactly how big is that bus you keep stuffing people under?

Posted by: Bcamp55 | August 17, 2009 4:07 PM

"... one that may help President Obama on one ideological flank just as much as it hurts him on the other."

I know some in the media believe this myth, but Obama would be unwise to also believe it. Gutting the public option would cost him a lot more support than he would ever gain, and, contrary to what some believe, not just with his own base.

Many of the people against a public option are against any kind of bill period, and would see removing it as the first step in killing the whole effort.

Posted by: mypitts2 | August 17, 2009 2:41 PM

Did the lobbyists win again? does the average American have any say at all? there are related posts at http://iamsoannoyed.com/?page_id=588

Posted by: carlyt | August 17, 2009 1:51 PM

If you would like to help pressure Congress to pass single payer health care in a democratic and constructive way please join our voting bloc at:
http://www.votingbloc.org/Health_Bloc.php

Posted by: letsgobuffalo | August 17, 2009 1:28 PM

If there was ever a time for a national referendum--THEN THIS IS DEFINITELY IT? Of all the issues the ones that will influence the American peoples economy, culture, language and society for decades to come, is Health care and illegal immigration. Neither political party, special interest lobbyists nor anybody else should be able to use their influence the running of our country. The United States--VOTER--should have the last word, not corrupt members of the Democratic leadership, the Republican minority party and certainly not La Raza or ACLU, US Chamber of Commerce, Council of Foreign Relations, Cato Institute, billionaire George Soros, Ford Foundation and a multitude of self interest groups. In health care the insurance companies have used their political currency, to weaken any prospect of a Canadian or European style public health care option.

The rest of these despicable organizations want the free flow of cheap labor that is already swarming across our nation, even though we are in a deep recession and millions of US citizens and legal residence are jobless. As I speak 1.5 million new immigrants entered America and that's not counting the illegal aliens who extract from taxpayers everyday. Our politicians can no longer demand of the people, to pay for foreign national health care, when they cannot afford it for their own families? How many more years are the people to be dictated to the power of profiteering insurance companies? How many decades must taxpayers is forced to pay for illegal immigrants and families, who have already broken our laws of sovereignty and expect to be rewarded with another blanket AMNESTY.

How can we assume our legislators to honor the “Rule of Law”, when they have already stone-walled us over the 1986 immigration enforcement law? Millions of loyal Americans who have already commanded E-Verify extraction tool in the workplace (section of the SAVE ACT) 287 G police enforcement, no match letter and the ICE raids of illegal immigrant. But we must maintain the bombardment if you want a health care public option choice? Whether you want to keep on supporting the impoverished, unschooled of foreign nations that skirt our laws? CALL YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES FOR WHAT YOU WANT AT 202-224-3121? NOT WHAT THE SPECIAL INTEREST LOBBY HAS PAID FOR? Read about the trillions to be spent on giving AMNESTY to illegal immigrants at the Heritage Foundation. GOOGLE more facts on the web, or search for the truth at NUMBERSUSA.

Observe this PETITION to STOP any health care to illegal immigrants at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/nohealthcareforillegals

Posted by: infinity555 | August 17, 2009 1:18 PM

THIS IS IT!

More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 76% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (85% of democrats, 71% of independents, and 60% of republicans). Basically everyone.

AND NO INSURANCE MANDATES WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION ON DAY ONE! An insurance mandate without a strong government-run public option choice on day one, would be a DISASTER! And it would be worse than the GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT HEALTH INSURANCE HORROR! SHOW you have now. YOU MUST MAKE CERTAIN!! THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN AMERICA.

The healthcare reform bills released by the first two committees of the House Of Representatives are excellent bills as I understand them. They are bills with a strong, robust, government-run public option, and an intelligent, reasonable initial funding plan to cover almost all of the American people. They are carefully written, and thoughtfully constructed, informed, prudent and wise. These bills will save trillions of dollars, and millions of your lives. They are also now supported by the AMA.

These are the type of bills that all Americans can feel good about. And these are the type of bills that have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. Rich, middle class and poor a like. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and all other party affiliations. These bills have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of every American.

The house healthcare bills released by the first two committees should be viewed as the minimum GOLD STANDARD by which all other proposed healthcare legislation should be judged. All supporters of true high quality healthcare reform should now place all your support behind these healthcare reform bills released by the first two committees of the United States House Of Representatives, as the minimum Gold standard for healthcare reform in America.

You should all now support the first two committees bills with all your might, and all of your unrelenting tenacity. These first two House committees healthcare bills are VERY, VERY GOOD! bills for all of the American people. Fight tooth, and nail for every bit of these bills if you have too. Be aggressive, creative, and relentless for these bills.

From this time forward, go BIGGER and DEEPER with the American people every day until passage of healthcare reform with a robust, government-run public option.

FIGHT!! like your life and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES!

SPREAD THE WORD

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

God Bless You

Jack Smith — Working Class

Posted by: JackSmith1 | August 17, 2009 1:18 PM

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