The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Sunday Talkies

Today on the Sunday Talk Shows

By John Amick and Ibby Caputo

State of the Union: Collins Won't Support a 'Trigger'

Moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins (D-Maine) said she would not support a "trigger" option in any legislation, meaning a provision to delay a public option and allow health insurance companies to lower costs on their own.

"The problem with the trigger is it just delays the public option," Collins said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Collins also said she believes the president erred at the beginning of the health-care reform effort and lost many independent voters by not focusing on costs.

"He did not initially focus on cost," Collins said. "That is the number one concern, as I talk to my constituents. They're concerned that we may be creating an expensive new entitlement program. They're worried about the amount of debt that we already have accumulated."

(Read more of Sens. Collins, Feinstein and Shaheen on health care.)

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reiterated today President Obama's support for a public option in health-care reform, yet Gibbs also said the president will not insist on the inclusion of a public option at all costs.

When asked to respond to New York Times' columnist Maureen Dowd's Sunday column calling out many Obama detractors as racist, Gibbs veered away from the assertion to highlight a struggling economy as the cause for consternation with Obama's policies.

"I don't think the president believes that people are upset because of the color of his skin," Gibbs said. "I think people are upset because on Monday we celebrate the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse that caused a financial catastrophe unlike anything we've ever seen."

(Read Gibbs' entire comments on Obama's detractors.)

This Week: Landrieu: Public Option Will Hurt Insurance Companies

Conservative Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) made clear she will not support any kind of explicit public option in health reform legislation, saying she's worried about its effect on insurance companies.

"Many of us believe ... that it will undermine the private insurance system," Landrieu said on ABC's "This Week" She expressed her desire to find ways to inject competition in the market while avoiding additional government-run health care.

When asked if she would support the "trigger" option, Landrieu was vague.

"I can support potentially a fallback, but only if the private sector is allowed and given a great opportunity to get this right," Landrieu said. "I believe they can."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), a strong advocate of a public option, said Landrieu's reply on the "trigger" was "too easy an answer" and said he will continue to press for a public option that, he feels, will only attract around five percent of the American population, despite larger predictions from conservatives.

(Read more of the comments between Landrieu and Rockefeller on the public option.)

More Sunday show wrap-ups after the jump.

Face the Nation: Snowe: President Should Take Public Option Off the Table

Republican moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), the most serious member of the GOP to work with Democrats on health-care reform to this point, says she would like to see President Obama eliminate an immediate public option from the reform debate.

"I urged the president to take the public option off the table, because it's universally opposed by all Republicans in the Senate," Snowe said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "And therefore, there's no way to pass a plan that includes the public option. So I think he's recognizing that, because it is a roadblock to building the kind of consensus that we need to move forward."

White House adviser David Axelrod echoed the administration's claims of support for a public option, but he downplayed its importance in final legislation.

"We believe competition and choice will help bring prices down and improve care and give a better deal to consumers," Axelrod said. "So he continues to believe it's a good idea. He continues to advocate it. And I'm not willing to accept that it's not going to be in the final package."

(Read more of Axelrod's comments on health-care reform.)

When asked if she would be willing to be the lone Senate Republican to vote for a reform plan, Snowe said she'll only vote for what she thinks is right, no matter what that means for Republican support.

"I'll do what's right based on what is the right policy," Snowe said. "But I think it is important to build support. And that's what I'm looking for."

(Read more of Snowe's comments on health-care reform.)

Fox News Sunday: Wilson Won't Apologize Again

House Representative Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) said he will not apologize on the floor of the House for his outburst during the President's address to a joint session of Congress last Wednesday.

"I've apologized one time. The apology was accepted by the president, by the vice president, who I know. I am not apologizing again," Wilson said on "Fox News Sunday."
Wilson accused the House Democrats of 'playing politics' and creating a diversion with their proposed resolution of disapproval.

"This is just a way to divert attention from a bill that would cost 1.6 million jobs, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses," Wilson said. "It's a diversion from people looking at the bill and the concerns about the bill."

(Read Wilson's comments in their entirety.)

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) also spoke of diversions on "Fox News Sunday," saying that the public option had become a distraction from the "meat of the matter" about health-care reform.

"The meat of this matter is that we're losing 14,000 Americans from health insurance every day," said McCaskill. "Any deficit hawk cannot look you in the eye and honestly say we can do anything about the deficit if we don't bring down health-care costs."

(Read Sens McCaskill, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) debate cuts to Medicare spending.)

Posted at 12:21 PM ET on Sep 13, 2009  | Category:  Sunday Talkies
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“President Obama’s speech last week really moved me. Despite what my colleagues think of me. If what he says is what will EXACTLY happen, how can I not hope and work towards that cause”? Mike Oliphant runs a small Utah health insurance website and whom deals with hundreds of people on a day to day struggle to be approved for health insurance. “I get hopeful that I can finally tell people they can qualify for coverage REGARDLESS of their pre-existing medical condition”. Mike’s concern is that Obama’s people won’t deliver what he urges on areas within his speech. “I really have been moved by this guy and wish we could just talk so he could understand the frustration of a health insurance agent. I have been involved on a political level within the state of Utah and their struggle for health care reform. I have seen and regrettably been part of politics at work. I have learned lessons through baptism of fire with politics. For instance, I struggled against House Speaker Clark and H.B. 188 because that was what I was urged to do from our industry (that was all I knew). But after awhile and countless meetings with state and private carriers in Utah, I began asking myself if I was doing the right thing. I realized over time that House Speaker Clark really means what he says and is hard nose about getting reform done in Utah. I got that there wasn’t any behind the scene conspiracy scheme or personal objective of Mr. Clark. His bill makes allot of positive changes in the “health insurance reform” world of Utah. He claims that reform just doesn’t stop there, it must continue through “health care reform”. You see, there is a major difference between the two reforms. Clark “gets it” but I really worry that Obama’s administration doesn’t because if you have noticed the subtle language change of dropping “health care reform” and going to “health insurance reform”. See more about what Utah has accomplished here which utilizes private carrier involvement with true reform. If you can believe it, they reached it with an objective of $500,000. Perhaps the feds should take a look at Utah and House Speakers Clark’s bill 188. Now I find myself on the “other side” of the fence furthering Utah’s cause. Let’s hope we don’t all have a mental breakdown nationally and just take a honest look at the proposals.

Posted by: mikeoliphant1 | September 15, 2009 12:59 PM

There may have been a lot of talk about health care. But little was being said. The main value of the public option at this point seems to be giving the Republicans and the media a chance to excercise their vocal chords. The direction for the bill appears to be the one coming out of the Senate Finance committee which is actually a bipartisan effort. Cooperatives appear to be the competitive mechanism. The interesting question is how many Republicans will wind up voting for the bipartisan bill that they helped create.

Posted by: dnjake | September 13, 2009 11:22 PM

Wow! Ten reasons to oppose health care reform and not one of them is true. Quite a record.

Posted by: fcodispoti | September 13, 2009 10:13 PM

The problem Republicans have with the public option is that it might work. They do not mind reform as long as the insurance companies and drug companies can continue to make obscene amounts of money and the cost of health care continues to rise faster than the rate of inflation.

Posted by: fcodispoti | September 13, 2009 10:11 PM

How many of you folks on here that can't spell have your KKK cards fully paid?

Posted by: kinoworks | September 13, 2009 9:46 PM

Why not just say the truth. Illegal Immigrants WILL get Health Insurance. NO, it won't be paid for by the Taxpayers. Remember the President said that Employers will be required to offer Health Insurance to their Employees. (Here's the gamechanger that's not being mentioned-EVEN IF THOSE EMPLOYEES ARE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS). Employers will no longer be able to dump their Illegal employees on the Taxpayers by telling them to go to the Emergency Room if they become sick or get injured.
What an outrage! Pretty soon it will make more sense to just hire Americans in America!

Posted by: JoeNTx | September 13, 2009 9:11 PM

Some of the protestors who are calling Obama a Fascist Communist might be thinking the plan is to raise taxes to pay for a new health-care entitlement program. I haven't seen administration officials state definitively that is or isn't their plan. Plus, whatever they actually have in mind will have transition costs of upwards of $1T over ten years. Ten years isn't forever and $100B per year for something really good isn't excessive. When you don't define what you are talking about, people are likely to assume the worst. If the present system of converting premiums to payments costs twice as much as it is worth then the premium money can be diverted from health insurance companies to a new, highly regulated entity that won't be focused on quarterly profits but will be focused on spending less while improving the health of citizens and rooting out fraud and waste. Sounds like Fascist Communism to me. Or something. In our country, Congress is tasked with re-jiggering malfunctioning enormous complex systems. They are not trained for that sort of thing. Meanwhile the public gets all riled up about nothing.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | September 13, 2009 7:24 PM

First let's buy some buses, GMs will be alright, let's help Government Motors out a little. Now we pick up and deport 36 million illegal aliens. They can't steal Obamacare if they are no longer in our country. Now let's pay off the National Debt. Without the interest payments on the debt we will have a surplus of our tax money. Cut taxes and then talk about Obamacare. Wait a minute! If we cut taxes we can buy our own health care with our own money. That's an American solution. Forget about Obamacare we don't need it or him. He's not going to be POTUS for long. He may be one of the 36 million. Guess we will have to get him a plane ticket to Kenya, Indonesia, or England. I'll throw in a few bucks, how about you guys?

Posted by: old1 | September 13, 2009 7:10 PM

So what does one do about THESE OUTRAGEOUS MEDICAL COSTS ? That is a great question and I do not know the answer because a lot of those costs are technology and innovative Surgical & Medical practice. Years ago a physician tools were his stethoscope (listening), his hands (palpation), his eyes (observation), a comprehensive history & his skill in putting those together to form a diagnosis. That took time and familiarity with the patient. That is all gone and replaced by technology with a large increase in price. This same increase in price has appeared in education and other professions who have been enhanced by technology. The government has also increased exponentially in manpower, numbers, and benefits. Lets all do one of two things .. either give everyone TAX EXCLUSION INCOME IN EQUITY OR GIVE NO ONE. It is inequitable to make the middle class pay the marginal tax rate for everything while the tax code exists with 17,000 pages for others to maintain wealth or gain wealth by this stealth of politics at the expense of the middle class. Just because you have an elite education does not mean it should be used to hoodwink the people whose work and marginal tax rate existence provided the funds to provide importunates they did not have.

Posted by: buckaroo5 | September 13, 2009 5:13 PM

did Rahm-a-tolla really say that...
a crisis is a terrible thing to waste?
it's true.
because one can learn from it.
.....Ms Collins is concerned that they "may be creating an expensive new entitlement program".
Already happened. Current healthcare low income state programs (federally funded) --- those state entitlement programs;
take so much money to run right now (not to mention "mess ups)
.... that any damage control is welcomed.

What trigger in the public option?
The trigger is the fault of the system itself --with data. The trigger is that "we cannot go electronic" yet.
Or another trigger is "dual eligibility" on the state low income program--that forces us to "review the data".
The flow of data stops at the state level.

We hit the wall with technology and data only. Nothing else.
The system "shuts down" on any transfer of data when the 2 triggers hit. Forget health insurance companies taking the opportunity to hike prices or put more restrictions down ---
they are too far behind in technology.

Public option will clean the data up, if nothing else. And the health insurance companies will have to be held accountable.

Just because the data has to, now; be submitted, doesn't mean everyone should get mad (insurance companies, hospitals, 3rd party administrators). Or whine that "john doe doctor office" can't afford the technology to go "nationwide electronically". Clean up your data and link it with the national AMA database and improve your practice.

Or Rahm-a-tolla will make you.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | September 13, 2009 5:11 PM

Someone who is consistently inaccurate said "Consider this little FACT:" The reason the fact is "little" is because it has little validity. That is not to say it is a lie, just a mischaracterization of the truth.

Posted by: Gator-ron | September 13, 2009 4:45 PM

Collins says "The problem with a trigger is it just delays a public option". That means that she knows that the insurance companies will not lower costs of insurance and she feels it is her job to protect the insurance companies even if her constituents have to suffer.. The woman is not very bright but she is clear on who she represents.

Posted by: Gator-ron | September 13, 2009 4:39 PM

Has anyone ever considered just WHY the Dimocrat Socialists are trying sooooooo hard get Health Care "Socialized"?

Consider this little FACT:

By getting Labor Leaders involved in an industry as large as Medicine is;

and by getting it Unionized-just as they are trying to promote elsewhere;

The US will no longer be a Capitalist Country, and the Dimocrat Socialists will simply control everything-from then on!

Posted by: SAINT---The | September 13, 2009 3:28 PM

Health care reform will get done. Time for debate is over. It will have a strong public option component. However, what the President should do is provide a cover for all these scared Senators. I don't what they have to be scared about, perhaps its their ties to the insurance industry, perhaps they are scared of the wing-nuts in their party...the party of NO...

Posted by: ruraledcomm | September 13, 2009 3:08 PM

COLLINS is being made aware that the 'public option' undermines Maine's insurance industry, and thousands of jobs are at stake.

When Liberty Mutual and Anthem speak she will have to listen.

Posted by: Common_Cents1 | September 13, 2009 2:30 PM

Top-Ten Reasons to Oppose Obummer-Care

10. Illegal iummigrants are eligible.
9. Anchor or Jackpot babies are eligible.
8. Premiums are based on earnings, AKA "Affordability Credits" andf those who need AIDS pharmaceuticals will suck the system drier than the Mojave Desert, in no time.
7. Cuts in Medicare reimbursement to physicians who are already receivng 10 cents on the dollar for the usual and customary fees. Surprise, guess who's sticking-up for Medicare and it isn't the Democrats.
6. A new bureaucracy, with an unelected official / political appointee running the show.
5. An upswing in "Concierge Care" by doctors and hospitals who will not honor Obummer-Care policies. "We reserve the right to refuse service." It isn't racial, religious or creed, just business.
4. US Taxpayer Dollars are being used to float an unconstitutional piece of legislation that isn't theirs to give.
3. The US Government is not a charitable institution and should not be involved in something that will stifle avancement in medicine and science. Remember Natasha Richardson and the Medivac that doesn't exist in Canada.
2. The States are responsible for managing the insurance companies with their commissions, not the Federal government. This is a right used by the states and not reserved for the Federal Government. If it is such a good idea, let the individual states handle their own mess, not burden the taxpayers of the other states with the economic policies and faults of these states.

and finally......

1. $1.6 Trillion to fund this turkey, and the CBO says there is no cost savings. How much more of a deficit do we need before we're all broke or the People's Republic of China forecloses on the Lincoln Memorial?

How many more infomercials is King Obimbo going to give? How many more talk shows and press conferences is he going to give. What part of "No" to freeloaders and enabled losers, doesn't he understand? When King Obambi flew over the protestors in Marine 1, didn't he get the message?

So, King Obimbo, "You Lie!!!"

Remember what James Madison said-
"Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant."


As Rahm Emmanuel sez-
"A crisis is a terrible thing to waste."

Donate to Joe Wilson's campaign and send the freeloading liberals a message-

King Obambi, "You Lie!!!"

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | September 13, 2009 2:24 PM

Landrieu is bought and paid for by the insurance corporations, however, the time for debate is over. GET R DONE!!

Posted by: seemstome | September 13, 2009 2:14 PM

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reiterated today President Obama's support for a public option in health-care reform, yet Gibbs also said the president will not insist on the inclusion of a public option at all costs.

Pres. Obama can't say Yes or No. May I suggest - PRESENT.

Posted by: ea55375 | September 13, 2009 2:13 PM

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