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Path to Reform Passage Looks Clearer

By Ben Pershing
The White House continued to insist Monday that "nothing has changed" in its position on health-care reform. But two things clearly have: 1) It was likely before, but now appears almost certain, that the public insurance option will be in the House bill, won't be in the Senate bill and won't be in the conference report; 2) Now everyone needs to figure out what exactly health-care co-ops are and whether they will work on a broad scale.

President Obama's move increased the odds that he will actually get something passed, at least in the Senate. In the House, many Democrats -- particularly members of the Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus -- vowed that a bill would not pass their chamber without the public option. But Obama doesn't have to convince House liberals to accept half-a-loaf now. There's no talk at this point of dropping the public option from the House bill, only that it won't survive conference negotiations later this year.

If the final bill doesn't include a public plan, it likely will include health-insurance co-ops, and idea propagated by Kent Conrad that currently doesn't have many fans among either Democrats or Republicans. "As the situation stands, there's no existing model for co-ops to follow and no policy specifics on Conrad's idea, so it's impossible to say whether, or how, they will work," Ezra Klein explains. But the "idea works if it somehow solves the political problem that birthed it." BusinessWeek says Conrad's model "has been tested only on a small scale and is a questionable vehicle to generate real competition for huge health-insurance corporations." But Conrad defended his plan Monday, the Wall Street Journal writes, saying that Senate negotiators are convinced the co-op idea can work.

Continue reading at Political Browser »

By Ben Pershing  |  August 18, 2009; 8:35 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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Comments

Some of those individuals on that forum think that William Kostric, gun toting, white supremacist loving, Obama birther from New Hampshire is a model citizen. But they deny they are racists and if you bring up these facts about Kostric they claim you play the race card. These are the workings of a clandestine Klan of sorts that permeates the society around Tampa, fl.

Posted by: seemstome | August 18, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

The republican wing nuts who reside on Baynews9 polls forum in Tampa are dancing with glee because they know if the perception that Obama is in retreat takes hold then their battle is won. Republicans take everything and give back nothing. Come to think of it, that IS their party platform.
Cracker heaven.

Posted by: seemstome | August 18, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

win1:

Government defined entities can be regulated to prevent them from "investing" in bad loans and Wall Street schemes. If that's what you mean by government interference, then I don't agree.

Keeping health care off of Wall Street is not a bad thing.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | August 18, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

If the co-ops are government run, they are no go. The public plan is no go because of the government interference. They should be private and non-profit. Government regulation is fine as long as it doesn't try to control their every move.

There were some good ideas on how to control health care costs back in the 1980's when the Medical Industrial Complex first started forming and costs started sky rocketing. Go back and review some of those.

Quite a few did not entail the government taking over health care. Back then the problem was recognized as what it was, the medical industry as a whole becoming to politically powerful because of the amount of money the industry makes.

If you are going to change it, fix it, anything else is just going to make it worse.

Posted by: win1 | August 18, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

HEALTH CO-OPS: AN OBAMA MASTER STROKE?

The co-op alternative could prove to be an Obama master stroke -- a decentralized system of publicly-owned and operated health care that's not under the yoke of either Big Government or Big Business.

As a former disciple of Ralph Nader, President Obama understands the virtues of publicly-owned co-ops. No costly and unwieldy bureaucracy, no allegiance to hidden bureaucratic or corporate agendas.

Could it be that once again, the media pundits are underestimating the Obama savvy? This way, he can't be called a "socialist" because co-ops are owned by their members, not the government. And he's not surrendering to corporate interests because co-ops offer the benefits of a decrentralized mutualism, similar to the administration of a mutual fund owned by member-investors.

I hope I haven't given anything away to his political opposition... but I believe there's a sound methodology at work here.

***

But President Obama also must dismantle the anti-democratic extrajudicial punishment "matrix" that he inherited from the Bush administration:

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

OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 18, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Damn right the public option is essential!

I don't know who this person Obama that we progressives elected is. If he thinks that good politics is conceding to your poltical foes while ignoring the will of the people who elected him, this is a very sad state of affairs.

The political right has declared all-out war on Obama and progressives. there is no concession Obama can make that will gain their support other than complete capitualtion to the status quo, corporate monopoly on for-profit health care at the expense of the American people and small businesses.

The Republicans are LYING, LYING, LYING about what is in the reform agenda and what the public option is about.

It's time to stop saying there are legitimate disagreements taking place. There is only distortion, lies and hypocricy on the part of the corporate/Republican conspiracy to take away Americans rights, freedoms and prosperity, funneling all wealth to the rich and the corporations, turning this country into a third world backwater.

The Republicans had power and ruined the economy, health care, American standing in the world, our justice system, environmental protections, etc.

Why is anybody, least of all Obama, listening to them.

He has already conceded the single-payer option which is the only real solution to our health care crisis, and is now talking of giving away the public option to appease those who will not be appeased!

Word is that Obama is a master poker player. I hope this is his bluff to get these hypocrits to overplay their hand.

NO, NO, NO to any more concessions. NO, NO, NO to giving away the public option. There is no reform without it, because the only meaningful reform is that which takes away the monopoly corporations have on our health care. They are blood suckers only interested in profit, and the Republican Party is their water carrier!

Posted by: billwalz | August 18, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to this story, Democrats in Congress and the Senate now know EXACTLY what they'll get if they drop the public option from the bill:

Exactly Nothing.

It won't yield a single GOP vote in support of ANYTHING the president proposes. It's a glow-in-the-dark, 3-D message to Democrats. The right HATES you.
They want you to FAIL. This in NOT NEGOTIABLE!

Grassley has made it clear that he cannot deliver anything. The GOP has stiffened because they think they smell blood.

Time for Dick Durbin and Barbara Boxer to drop the hammer on the Blue Dogs and get the majority in line, ready to vote.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | August 18, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

This ain't gonna work. All cooks involved will spoil the broth. We're going to end up with some half-ass solution that everyone will point fingers even though their bickering led to it. Oh but you'd better believe it'll only have one owner when it goes bad...

Posted by: Crucialitis | August 18, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Rules rule!

So much depends on the rules established to govern a co-op and how they compare to the rules governing other members of the healthcare system. More at http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=1288#more-1288

Posted by: JEngdahlJ | August 18, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Those Senate negotiators favoring a co-op are desperately reaching for something other than a public option. Co-ops aren't tested on a scale required by a national one, and they aren't likely to succeed in bringing down private insurance costs. And Conrad doesn't have a specific plan to offer. This is a bad idea.

Posted by: gparker1 | August 18, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Coops? I don't think so. I've had an experience with doctors in a coop setting and it did not turn out well. I had surgury and less than two days later, a raging infection and a hospital stay. Bureaucracy may sounds like a bad thing, but in health care it seems to provide the safety net that a "for profit" doctor coop doesn't. Congressmen/women need to live with the same health plan they offer the rest of us. If it is good enough for them, then we all can rest assured, it is good enough for us. "Economy of scale" seems to apply to a universal set of healthcare plans that we should all live with. Those economies of scale will bring health insurance cost down and insure we all get the appropriate care. I believe in our capitalist system except when it comes to a basic right like health care. Yes, a right. When it comes to health, life or death, why should only the wealthy have access? We find money and create debt for war and foreign aid, but not for the health of own citizens? Raging unemployment that will likely continue into the next year or more has put many middle class citizens in the "no insurance" condition for an indefinte time. Cobra is expensive and with no income, not likely affordable. SO it is not just the entrenched poor who need this universal system of healthcare, but may of those now unable to pay for it, including their employers. The timeing of this may not be optimal for paying for it, but it is the right thing to do. Democrats need to live up to their campaign mission, and do what they were given the mandate by the American election to do. Repubs had eight Bush years and a majority with CLinton, another eight years and did nothing. Coops to make them happy? No way! Obama needs to grow a pair, quit using the word compromise as his daily mantra and do what he was elected to do: Change!

Posted by: judithmur | August 18, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

So OBAMACRATS will "EFFECTIVELY CONTROL HEALTH CARE COSTS"!

Uh huh. What costs have they ever effectively controlled? EVER?

Government managed health care has spawned a host of cost controls---fees set for reimbursing Medicare and Medicaid patients; promotion of HMO's, regional supply of essential services, i.e. VA's regional pharmacies.

The only thing the government hasn't done is what once and still does, make Canada's health system so inexpensive...making nurses the primary health car provider; or what makes Britain's national health service so cheap...extensive use of foreign born doctors and nurses ; or what other European countries do, which is to empower pharmacies and drug stores as the first stop in a health care system.

Doing all three would dramatically lower health care costs; but Obama doesn't have a clue how various health care systems work, does he?

Posted by: Common_Cents1 | August 18, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

"Nothing has changed". I have to say, those are the first words to come out of Obozzo's mouth that didn't have the stench of a bold face lie associated with them.

All Obortion is doing is backing off his in your face posture because he's getting push back from the masses. He'll let the Co-op verbiage sink in and he'll be back art trying to shove his model up our asses as soon as he can.

A socialist doesn't change his/her spots.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | August 18, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

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 18, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Do not be fooled by the latest attempt by the White House to cloud the debate on health care. Obama stated publicly many times prior to his election he is favor of a single payer government plan.Noting has really changed.
President Obama's rhetoric on his health care plan has not matched what is actually in the bill, perhaps he is confused or has not read it.
His intentions are clear , he wants socialized medicine because he is a far leftist with an agenda to match. My father used to tell me actions speak louder than words.
Isn't anyone disturbed that the President tried to ram through his health care bill in less than a month without any real debate. If the bill won't be enacted for four years what is the rush ???
Real health care reform must address tort reform, interstate competition for health care providers, and the elimination of care for illegals who do not pay taxes. It must not be controlled by the government.
The US economy has reached a point where we can no longer support the lazy, the helpless, or the clueless.

Posted by: sparad | August 18, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Here is my thing. I want the same health insurance as our politicians. If our politicians think what they have is not good enough for us then they shouldn't have it either. Sen. Conrad should also enroll in Co-Op that he is introducing and drop the Federal Health Insurance plan he is currently on. This goes for all the politicians like Sen. Conrad. People who don't want a government run option then that is okay, you don't have to get one.
If you are happy with paying thousands of dollars to the insurance companies then that is your choice. Also, what I don't get is what some people don't realize is that health insurance companies are making the decision(s) of covering an individual in the current system. They deny folks with preexisting condition(s) and decide who is covered and up to how much. How come the folks who are against the government run option not talking about that? There is this brouhaha about bureaucrats making your health decisions but no talk about how the current decisions are made? For the folks, who are against the government run option then let’s stop insurance companies from denying people with preexisting conditions and have them lower our premiums, so we don’t go bankrupt. While we are talking about this, let’s stop scaring people about things which are not in the health reform bill.

Posted by: sallu25 | August 18, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Cutting public option allows the president to undercut the arguments of the town hall mobs about a "takeover" and sell the public on a more cautious reform plan. Not great, but it probably means something will actually get done by the fall.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | August 18, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

IT APPEARS THE LOBBIES ARE ALIVE AND WELL IN THE GOOD OLD USA...

LOBBIES RUN WASHINGTON DC!
THE POLITICIANS ARE RUN BY THESE LOBBIES THAT WORK FOR THE GOOD OF BIG BUSINESS.

NOTHING NEW THAT WASHINGTON IS CORRUPT.

OBAMA RAN ON STOPPING THE WARS AND PASSING
HEALTH CARE REFORM THAT WOLLD HAVE A PUBLIC
OPTION.

I GUESS I WAS FOOLED BY THE DEMOCRATIC LIES JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. DEMOCRATIC OR REPUBLICAN IS THE SAME BIG BUSINESS, BIG LOBBIES, AND SMILING POLITICIANS WITH THEIR HANDS OPEN.

THE AVERAGE USA PERSON, AS PER USUAL;
SCREWED, IGNORED, AND WITHOUT A NATIONAL PLAN.

THANK YOU WASHINGTON CORRUPTION!!!

Posted by: deborahzaki | August 18, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

My prayer is that this will return to discussion and the discussion will lead to effective reform which controls costs and covers everyone. So many people are suffering without health care insurance, inadequate health insurance, or health insurance which will be canceled when they get truly ill.

I note that at one Obama rally a news organization reported at least twelve people outside carrying weapons, including at least one AK-15. I see that as the final outcome of the GOP town hall protest spurred on by commentators like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Shawn Hannity.

We need more rational discussion than the town halls have provided.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | August 18, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

whatever. no plan will not work unless it addresses the "three overs"...rampant over-utilization; hideous over-compensation and shameful over-litigation. without these three components, the plan will drive costs through the roof.

Posted by: physicianexec | August 18, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Pleased to hear that passage on reform looks clearer. At this stage of the game given mid-term elections in 2010, only clarity on this issue helps.

As "confusion" on reform, and public option continues, the energy level dips on the part of supporters of real reform. The muddled solutions including --co-ops, make sense only to those who propose it. The Dems asked to win this election, and they have. Time to prove to us that the ball is in their court http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhcd0UXByro

Posted by: Victoria5 | August 18, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Health-care co-ops are nothing more than government subsidized healthcare. It's the same thing as the "public option", it just has a different name. The aim is the same, get to a single payer, gov't run system. Co-ops will drive the private insurance companies out of business with tax-payer subsidized premiums so they don't have to make a profit. Just look at Medicare.

Posted by: BubbaRight | August 18, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

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