Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Senate Dems Look to Obama to Move Health-Care Votes

By Dan Balz
For many months, advocates of health care reform have implored President Obama to outline in greater detail the provisions he's prepared to push and defend. So far he has largely resisted, offering broad principles but still leaving the details to Congress. But the time of hanging back is quickly coming to an end if he hopes to find the 60 votes needed to pass a bill in the Senate.

Tuesday's votes in the Senate Finance Committee against the public health insurance option -- which saw five and then three Democrats vote no -- moved the health care debate to a new point, though one long anticipated.

With all Republican and a number of centrist Democrats, including Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, opposed to the public option, it has been clear for some time that it would not survive debate in the committee. The option now faces potentially insurmountable odds in the whole Senate, though proponents vowed to keep pushing for it.

Obama supported the public option, but has strongly signaled his willingness to allow it to die if that is the price of winning broader support for overhauling the health care system. He will soon have to choose between those Democrats who favor it, including many of his most passionate supporters from last year's election, and those who oppose it, many of whom come from states or districts won last year by Sen. John McCain. And he will have to persuade the losing side to stick with him, regardless.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the new chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, dismissed the Finance Committee vote on the public option, saying "a vast majority" of Democrats senators favor the public option and that he expects the president to continue to support it.

The public option, as Obama has said repeatedly, is only one aspect of the health care battle. There will be more for the president to adjudicate once Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) begins the process of trying to meld together the Finance Committee bill with a more liberal version approved earlier by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. That will start once Finance finishes its work, with the committee likely to complete action on a bill by the end of this week.

The votes Tuesday on the public option were the most dramatic decisions during the long month of September, though much else has happened since lawmakers returned to prepare for the final chapters of the long debate. Preliminary work has begun behind the scenes, partly of a procedural nature but also including assessments of whose votes may be most difficult to get and what it may take to get them.

The story of August was all about angry town halls and eroding support for the president's top domestic initiative. September eventually may be seen as a month in which the erosion stopped, public opinion began to tick back in the other direction, however imperceptibly, and the White House and congressional leaders began to set the table for eventual passage of the bill.

The month of September also helped to crystallize some of the decisions senators will face. In August, much of the opposition to the bill focused on the cost of reform and the injection of more government into the health care system. But what Democrats also learned then and in September is that there are considerable concerns among middle and lower-middle class Americans about whether they'll be able to afford insurance, even in a newly revamped system.

Much now will depend on the president's leadership. October could be all about Obama and whether he and his White House team can find the solutions to remaining issues of cost, affordability financing and coverage necessary to assemble the votes to pass a health-care bill in the Senate and move it to a conference committee with the House for a final resolution.

White House officials and Senate leaders are frank in their assessment that, at this point, they don't have the 60 votes necessary to stave off a Republican filibuster. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the sponsor of one of the public option amendments that was defeated Tuesday -- the other was submitted by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.V.) -- acknowledged that reality during the committee's deliberations.

Publicly, the health-care debate has been marking time as the Finance Committee deliberates. House leaders have awaited the decisions of the Finance Committee before plunging ahead with the process of putting together various committee bills that will then go to the floor, though Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has long insisted the public option must be included in the House bill.

Reid will be at the center of the deliberations in the Senate. He will create, in essence, a mini-conference committee inside that chamber, comprising members of the two committees, White House officials and his own team. Under Reid's leadership, these groups have been meeting to ascertain common areas of agreement between the competing Senate bills -- in essence clearing away the underbrush to prepare for the big debates.

While there has been an assumption on the part of some analysts that the Finance Committee bill would form the basis for a Senate bill, there are a few Democrats who argue that, because neither bill can attract 60 votes, both will have to give ground on some key issues.

Although this will be a discussion mostly among divided Democrats, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) will play a pivotal role in the outcome. Her support for the bill remains crucial, if only for providing a patina of bipartisanship for centrist Democrats.

Democrats believe there is room for further negotiation with her in part because the Finance Committee bill did not include some provisions she favors. One Senate staffer said that Democrats like some of the elements of that wish list more than did Snowe's Republican colleagues on the Finance Committee.

Beyond Snowe, there are seven or eight centrist Democrats whose support is still not certain. The White House has been wooing these Democrats, but also will have to mollify liberals if the public option is jettisoned.

Reid has made clear he is looking for considerable help from the president as the Senate begins the next phase of the process. If they can't get 60 votes, they will have to follow the route of reconciliation, which would require just 51 votes for passage.

But it's doubtful some of the insurance reforms championed by the Democrats (and some Republicans), such as prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage for preexisting conditions, can be included in a reconciliation package. That is why 60 remains the goal, one way or another.

What the month of September has shown is that there remains a commitment among Democrats to pass a bill. But Obama and his party still have a difficult road ahead. No one yet has the formula that will attract the necessary votes. Senators are looking to Obama to help make it happen.

By Web Politics Editor  |  September 29, 2009; 5:36 PM ET
Categories:  Dan Balz's Take  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: RNC Chair Calls on Obama to Skip Olympics Lobbying Trip
Next: White House Renominates a Nominee

Comments

Whoever thinks it is funny that yes George Bush lied and conned us, he could not always tell us everything. Obama has only followed in his footsteps also. What makes him so great? Because he gives good speeches, which are already written for him? That is about all he has done really besides spend a lot of money and give it to the lazy people of this country. He should have more truthful about why we were really in the Middle East fighting a war. No one ever mentions that George Bush Jr also defended our country when we were attacked and he wanted to make sure that this did not happen again. Why does everyone have to point out the negatives about a person and not give thought at all to some of the good that our ex-president has done as well. Politicians are going to lie and con people all of the time to the general public. Do you actually think that Obama is going to be any different? Please spare me the excuses that you would make for him because our president Obama is sooooo perfect right. He has no backbone because he gives in to the wrong people. Obama has his flaws as well, but we can ignore them because why I ask? Everyone is so quick to dismiss his wrong doings and ignore whatever he says he will do and then does something different. It is no one's fault he is wishy-washy and undecisive about what he is doing. Maybe he should carefully think things through and run his ideas by his advisors and find out what they say. Lets just keep blaming Bush for everything and praising Obama. Actually I'd like to ask what he has done for us lately accept that our country has gone broke.

Posted by: lorena80s25 | September 30, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Ombudsman1 wrote:

"Medical reform should happen, but it revolves around prohibiting so-called "pre-existing conditions" from insurance. It involves making insurance portable. And it involves oversight so that people have an appeal when insurance company tries to screw them."

You are correct. These are problems that are the source of the social disruption. However, these "reforms" have absolutely nothing to do with fixing the rising cost issue of our health care system. They do seek to fix the level-of-care issue, but that's only part the game, and not the one that is bankrupting us.

You are not taking the next step in logic.

If the government passes laws to address the social issues, what happens next? If an insurance company can no longer deny care (= revenue loss), forcibly keep the insured from moving/changing jobs (= revenue loss) or have government oversight demanding payouts (= revenue loss), WHO do you think is going to pick up the bill for all that lost money?

The insurance company?

Ha.

The reasoning behind a government option is to combat this obvious fiscal end to the social means you have suggested. By creating a low cost competition, Insurance companies will have to mind the price of their product to stay competitive, while adhering to a universal set of rules. Also keep in mind that just because a generic version of Cheerios cereal exists doesn't mean that the original brand name still cant draw from the market and sell for $6 a box. People do care about quality, and the adage "you get what you pay for" WILL apply when comparing private insurance vs. public.

The real issue here is that social regulation (that you advocate) will invariably drive the cost of the private system upwards. Coupled with an admission that rising costs are the real problem, I have difficulty seeing how savings are achieved without forcing competition.

The Dems may be waffling on this, but the point remains valid.

Posted by: trident420 | September 30, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

WHAT GOOD IS HEALTH CARE REFORM WHEN A SECRETIVE FEDERAL 'MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATED ACTION PROGRAM' IS DESTROYING THE LIVES AND LIVELIHOODS OF UNJUSTLY 'TARGETED' AMERICANS...

...BY MEANS OF A GPS-ACTIVATED NATIONWIDE VIGILANTE ARMY;

CO-OPTED LOCAL POLICE;

COVERT PROGRAMS OF FINANCIAL SABOTAGE;

AND THE USE OF SILENT, INJURY- AND ILLNESS-INDUCING, MOOD-ALTERING MICROWAVE/ LASER 'DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS' -- AGAINST AMERICAN CITIZENS.

President Obama, AG Holder, SecHomeland Napolitano, SecDef Gates, DNI Blair must dismantle the nationwide, federal-local GPS-activated extrajudicial targeting and punishment matrix and remove from power the secretive executive branch officials who continue to oversee it.

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

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

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

Posted by: scrivener50 | September 30, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I have been reading the posts here and am having a good laugh at those of yyou who say Obama has "conned" and "lied" and hope he goes back on televson again because everytme he does, t works to the advantage of the GOP.

"Conning," and lyng to the voters is what Bush did everytime he opened his mouth!! Somehow you never noticed that, and you expect us to believe that suddenly you people know lyng and conning when yo see it??!

Posted by: prosperity2un2000 | September 30, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

The Senate and the House are responsible for passing LAWS. The 300 million of us are represented by each member of Congress. The dems have a majority in both houses and have no excuses. They were the ones who promised the american people that if they had the majority, they could counter the extremes of the republican failed economic and social policies. Obama's job is to correct the abominable ethical and moral administrative wasteland in the executive branch that he inherited from the Bushies. The Senate has no one to blame but themselves for their failures to act in the best interest of the nation. The House with Pelosi has acted with due diligence. Shame on the US Senate and Max Baucus in particular. I believe Senator Harkin when he says the "public option" will be in the final Bill that goes to the President before Christmas.

Posted by: CarmanK | September 30, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

The Parasites are winning!

Posted by: branfo4 | September 30, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

What for? Obama sold us out a long time ago.

He obeys orders from the insurance companies, banks and big business.

His silence on this issue has been deafening for a reason.

Posted by: solsticebelle | September 30, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

The Will of the People gets trumped by the Bribes of the Corporate Lobbyists once again.

Why do 300 million people have to follow the orders of four or five ultra-ultra-right wing payola-hogs from the least populace states in the union? Because the FIX IS IN and Obama's getting his slice of the graft!

Every "reform" championed by candidate Obama is a fraud, being play-acted for the benefit of the gullible tax-payers and to give the vapid news media something to jabber about. Banking re-regulation? Sold out to the banksters who bought off Congress with the bailout money! Health care reform? Sold out to the crooked insurance corporations and drug dealers!

The only part of health care reform which will get past our Crooked Congress is the part which mandates buying lousy insurance from the usual suspects, who will then bleed us dry until we get sick, then deny treatment until we die.

"Change We Can Believe In"?? "HOPE"??!! What a crummy joke!! Another rotten administration and another rotten Congress turning America into a truly rotten, corrupt, third-world country!!

Posted by: mgloraine | September 30, 2009 6:41 AM | Report abuse

To those of you who want to kill the public option:
I hope the sadistic pleasure you get from causing others to suffer, die, and go broke so you can worship money and the lies of corporate thieves, is sufficiently pleasant for you.

You're going to hell for it.

No way Jesus would do what you're doing. You chose the love of money, which is the root of all evil, over loving you neighbor as yourself. No way around it, you are evil.

Posted by: rooster54 | September 30, 2009 6:15 AM | Report abuse

Torcal, don't blame the Republicans for the failures in this health care debate. At this point it is democrats who are preventing real reform, and it is with those Democrats that Obama has sway. He is the leader of the party, and rather than stay and "influence" those wayward Dems, he flew off to Copenhagen to try to get the Olympics for Chicago! I doubt any of the Americans who are suffering and dying under our current system care one bit where the Olympics are held. Instead, Obama is tacitly supporting a bill that will force all Americans to buy into a corrupt system, whose profits are already bankrupting and killing Americans, while offering no alternative. Obama is a fraud. He promised to work for the American people. and instead he is just more of the same government of, by, and for corporate dollars. Flying away while the Senate Finance committee voted to defeat the public option does not make Obama any less culpable for its defeat. His lack of will and leadership is a disaster for the American people and a boon for the murderous health and pharmaceutical industries.

Posted by: cghayes23 | September 30, 2009 3:11 AM | Report abuse

@cghayes23:

Don't be so hard on yourself. Obama conned a lot of us. The will to believe is a powerful thing.

The real catastrophe isn't another cynical politician talking ribbons of silk and pretending to care about everyday people.

The real catastrophe is that all of this is a charade. Health care was decided months, maybe even years ago, and these parasites in the capital are merely putting on a dog-and-pony show to make people think they're still in charge.

The people ain't in charge of squat. And if your jaw is still scraping the ground in the face of this health care horror, just wait until they take up "Wall Street reform."

Posted by: mistertheplague | September 30, 2009 2:55 AM | Report abuse

"Senate Dems Look to Obama to Move Health-Care Votes." Why? Does that mean that the Dems in congress are so sheepish and swayed by the healh industry lobby money that they refuse to do anything? I guess it's Obam'S fault that he can't herd a basket full of fleas across the barn yard. Hell, health care reform has been defeated again and again over the last 60 years, but Obama should have sprinkled the problem (i.e. congess) with fairy dust to make them act in the national interest rather than their own. Too bad, Barack. It's been eight months since your inaugration and you haven't fixed the economy that took Republicans thirty years to wreck; you haven't come up with a balanced budget to make up for spendthrift Bush and his captive congress; you haven't fixed Bush's wars that have lasted over 8 years; and, worst of all, you haven't kept telling us that everything is OK when it's not like Bush did. The Republicans are making a lot of asinine noises about Obama's nationality and no Republican has the guts to call them nuts. They pick on every little thing to keep us from remembering that the Republicans deregulated this country, allowed special interests to take over the government, created an umbelievable future national debt obligation of over $53 trillion between now and 2040, took payments under the table and colluded with defense contractors to embezzle funds from the Treasury. AND now the Republicans have zero - zero - ideas how to fix the damage they have done to this country. The Republicans are the party of No Ideas and, to hide that fact, take pot shots at puny issues and rely on Rush Limbaugh to head up their party.

Posted by: torcal | September 30, 2009 2:45 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Mihalik that Obama has not shown leadership on the public option because he does not really support it. He is trying to appear to be on the side of the people while all the while he is supporting a tax payer funded handout to the insurance companies who will let you die for a dollar, just as they and our corrupt system allows 45,000 Americans die every year due to lack of access to health care. Obama can burn in hell with Max Baucus, Blanche Lincoln, and Kent Conrad. They are responsible for the deaths of Americans.

You Obama supporters who can't see the truth are fools. I acknowledge completely that I was just like you when I was sending money to his campaign, calling voters across this nation, and walking on my arthritic knees to register voters and encourage my neighboring battle ground state voters to support him. I believed Obama when he said he was going to serve the American people rather than our corporate masters. What a fool I was!

Posted by: cghayes23 | September 30, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

If Obama really supported the public option, he should/would be working and working hard to get it passed. Obama either does not know what hard work means or doesn't care one bit whether we get the public option (and of course, single payer is what we really need). Obama is going to put in much more effort to get the Olympics for Chicago... doing the right thing about the public option is just beyond his capabilities or desires. Or, has he been lying to us all this time?

Posted by: mihalick | September 30, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Rasmussen and Gallup polls during the 2008 presidential election are always showing Obama lagging. But he won the elections. So much for their accuracy. Now I honestly don't know how many Americans really support the health care plan. But if this is not an illusion and I'm really living on planet America, then we all should know there is a pressing problem to be solved. I don't know about the rest of you but I don't believe my income has risen faster than my insurance has. The Robert Woods Johnson Report indicates that over the last ten years wages have gone up 29%, health insurance rates have gone up 120% and the profits of the private health insurance industry have gone up 428%. I'm inclined not to believe it, I mean insurance profits up 400+% ?? Wow. But for myself, I can only speak for the 29% and 120% and yes, it's just about there. So we can go on screaming that it is really no problem and let the corporations forever keep us in the matrix.

Posted by: chlai88 | September 30, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

The Senators need only watch the video of the lady who sacrificed her sight so that her girls would not experience blindness as well.

If they need anything else, they're monsters - no where close to being human.

They have eyes, but do not see!

Posted by: bluemirror | September 30, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Hey starry99, relax! Do you have health care? Good, when you will need to give it up or not then and only then will it bother you any. Please make sure that you have educated things to say, because when you don't, people are only going to laugh at you and your comments. What do you know about his plan? Can you shed any light on it? How did he try and help us crazy people? She some light on that smarty pants.

Posted by: lorena80s25 | September 29, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

starry99eyes2003

Go back to your coloring books and crayons. If Odumbo and the corrupt democrats get their way, private insurance will be gone in a couple of years, the national debt will skyrocket, and we'll get less service.
Don't put multiples of your stupid posts on here, because it just makes you look more ignorant.

Posted by: LarryG62 | September 29, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

onestring wrote: The majority of American voters - and American Physicians DEMAND the public option.

Insurance industry reform is not possible without the public option.

GIVE US THE PUBLIC OPTION PRESIDENT OBAMA!
---------------------------
Not the ones that pay taxes or medical personnel that work for a living. Check the stats, mah friend.

When a government fail with a social program, the taxpayers are stuck with the bill.

Mass. has already tried it and failed. I don't care how much Deval Patrick kisses King Obimbo's a55, the Commonwealth of Mass. is in BIG TROUBLE.

We the people who work for a living earn our benefits on a daily basis. In fact, I work TWO JOBS.

So all of you people waiting to get on the plantation where there is free medical insurance or "The Public Option," there is something called Medicaid. Go file for it.

Quit bothering us taxpayers to bail you out. The insurance industry's profit is only 3%.

Besides claims reimbursement, money is needed for:
Accountants
Lawyers
Business Operations
Auditors
Customer Service Personnel
Human Resources
IT professionals
Rent
Taxes
Equipment
Facilities
Adjustors
and the list goes on.

Having medical insurance isn't just paying a doctor for services rendered.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | September 29, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

As each day passes we are given more and more proof that Obama is in way over his head. Obama is in full time campaign mode because he knows how to do nothing else. He has ZERO executive experience and is is showing more and more every day with his poor decision making and analysis paralysis.

Posted by: MikeJ9116 | September 29, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

starry99eyes2003, you must love echo chambers.

Posted by: MikeJ9116 | September 29, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

you people that don't know your rear from a hole in the ground, is more than stupid
can't you see this is not for obama he tried
to do something for you crazy people. he should let the insurance eat your rear alive,dont you know that those senator's that oppose govt run insurance are the ones that got it. ask them to give it up and get private insurance."man" you guys is a silly bunch of people maybe some of you that call obama names should eat some banana's yourself and get more than a rattler upstairs
give you some brain power because right now you are sitting on them. you should let your rear do the talking, it would make more sense!
and instead of a tea party, it should be a pee party. and by the way obama and family
will be okay, the rest of their lives ,will you?????

Posted by: starry99eyes2003 | September 29, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

you people that don't know your rear from a hole in the ground, is more than stupid
can't you see this is not for obama he tried
to do something for you crazy people. he should let the insurance eat your rear alive,dont you know that those senator's that oppose govt run insurance are the ones that got it. ask them to give it up and get private insurance."man" you guys is a silly bunch of people maybe some of you that call obama names should eat some banana's yourself and get more than a rattler upstairs
give you some brain power because right now you are sitting on them. you should let your rear do the talking, it would make more sense!
and instead of a tea party, it should be a pee party. and by the way obama and family
will be okay, the rest of their lives ,will you?????

Posted by: starry99eyes2003 | September 29, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

you people that don't know your rear from a hole in the ground, is more than stupid
can't you see this is not for obama he tried
to do something for you crazy people. he should let the insurance eat your rear alive,dont you know that those senator's that oppose govt run insurance are the ones that got it. ask them to give it up and get private insurance."man" you guys is a silly bunch of people maybe some of you that call obama names should eat some banana's yourself and get more than a rattler upstairs
give you some brain power because right now you are sitting on them. you should let your rear do the talking, it would make more sense!
and instead of a tea party, it should be a pee party. and by the way obama and family
will be okay, the rest of their lives ,will you?????

Posted by: starry99eyes2003 | September 29, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

you people that don't know your rear from a hole in the ground, is more than stupid
can't you see this is not for obama he tried
to do something for you crazy people. he should let the insurance eat your rear alive,dont you know that those senator's that oppose govt run insurance are the ones that got it. ask them to give it up and get private insurance."man" you guys is a silly bunch of people maybe some of you that call obama names should eat some banana's yourself and get more than a rattler upstairs
give you some brain power because right now you are sitting on them. you should let your rear do the talking, it would make more sense!
and instead of a tea party, it should be a pee party. and by the way obama and family
will be okay, the rest of their lives ,will you?????

Posted by: starry99eyes2003 | September 29, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

If only our government could see how many health insurance companies will go out of business. If we think that our economy is bad now, then we are in for a rude awakening. How is the government sure that this plan is a great one? We working class citizens are already paying into welfare and medic-aide, and now we have to make sure that everyone has healthcare? How do we all think this going to affect all of us? We will be taxed and on top of that, those who don't work will get the advantages from our hard work. I'd like to ask President Obama why he thinks this is OUR responsibility? This is just going to help perpetuate more hand-outs to those who are lazy and don't want to work hard to get the benefits you deserve, by working hard. Striving for independence from "HELP", which becomes an expectation from those who gain the help. "They owe me this help". As a hard working college student, it makes me sick that we have a president that doesn't have a plan that is good enough, without giving total hand outs. How many people will want to continue working hard, so that their hard work is basically handed to someone that is "less fortunate". This is to assume that those of us who work hard, haven't worked hard for a long time and are sick of watching our society bank on those who are working. Who are the fortunate today? Those who have jobs and don't have families. This way they have some money that they could try to save. I want to know how the new "healthcare plan" is going to benefit the public? How much control does this president want from we Americans who were at one time living in a prosperous nation. Now I have little faith in our government. How will President Obama explain this urge to control the very people who voted for him and tell them you have no choice in your health decisions and devalue them like this? Answer these questions for me. I don't want the government turning down operations that are needed and letting us know that if we are old we don't count. These are our mothers and fathers and even ourselves that provide for this country. Government has no right to tell us what to do when it comes to Doctors and personal health.

Think about how many people your decisions will affect everyone and this includes Democrats and Republicans. We need to be coming together, not working far apart from each other. We will all be affected by these radical, not a thoroughly thought debate that Pres. Obama doesn't know what his plan is, because he never had one in the first place.

Posted by: lorena80s25 | September 29, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

ObamaCare is drowning in the Obama hangover.

America has awakened after the wild party, and wondered who and how is Obama???

Posted by: JaxMax | September 29, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

"September eventually may be seen as a month in which the erosion stopped, public opinion began to tick back in the other direction, however imperceptibly, and the White House and congressional leaders began to set the table for eventual passage of the bill."

Really? Just exactly what are you smoking?

The Rasmussen poll, reported yesterday, shows 56% oppose health care reform as envisioned by Obama. 41% approve. This is the worst spread yet.

The "full Ginsburg?" The speech to the joint session of Congress? The endless and countless pep rallies? The speech he gave to my Neighborhood Watch Group and my granddaughter's sixth birthday party?

Nothing gained. Nada, nothing, zero, zippo. In fact, opinion of his "reform" has gotten WORSE.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | September 29, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

While Obama supports the Govt option--but there are many other reasons to oppose ObamaCare.

ObamaCare--Socialism, Euthanasia, and Abortion--a Liberal's Dream

Posted by: JaxMax | September 29, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

If our politicians were serious about helping this country with health care they would consider tort reform and the ability for individuals to shop in other states for programs. Fix Medicare. Fix Medicaid. Find the abuses in both these programs, then go forward from there.

Posted by: 45upnorth | September 29, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Empty suit. Will never make a decision. Will accomplish nothing. Smells fishy but: his stuff don't stink, ya think?

Posted by: georgejones5 | September 29, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

People are just plain tired of the Obama rap.

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | September 29, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs to go. His complete avoidance of any executive responsibility except photo ops and tv media events is really bordering on contempt for the office and therefore the american people.

he is amazingly childish.

he apparently think playing with gymnasts is where he should be while the health bill flounders.

when will we see the bill of impeachment?

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | September 29, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Why does it need sixty? Do it through reconciliation. Anything but a plan with the public option just puts billions more in the pockets of the already billion-dollar corporations and their bonus-rich CEOs.

Don't worry about the GOP. They are the political arm of the big corporations and rich CEOs. They don't care about ordinary people.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | September 29, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

HOOORAY! Whether or not your realize it people, but this has nothing to do with right side or left side. Don't blame it on the party, blame it on the fact that when people started looking at this lump of crap called a private option, they realized it was more money to flush down our toilets!

HUZZAH FOR OUR SYSTEM OF CHECKS AND BALANCES! FIGHT ON TEA PARTY MEMBERS!

Posted by: jagqueenva | September 29, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

You are exactly right: the public option's fate will be decided on whether president Obama will finally gets engaged, really engaged. This does not mean to give one more speech. Enough of the speeches!! Let's see some ACTION. Can anyone believe that the right wing pseudo-democrats in the senate would have dared to vote against the public option, which is supported by 65% of the people of our country (even after the misinformation and fear mongering campaign of the right wing republicans and their insurance lobby paymasters) if president Johnson would be sitting in the White House? If a democratic president with high approval rating can not force a handful of democratic senators to get behind the party platform then he should not be president. It takes courage, conviction, strength and leadership to be president. Obama so far has sown very little of any of these traits.

Posted by: simon7382 | September 29, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I hope they put the arrogant A hole on television more. Every time he talks down to and lies to the people his ratings and support tank.
Of course they'll have to wait until he gets back from kissing IOC as$es for the slumdom of Chicago.

Meanwhile, the commander in Afghanistan has asked for more troops, but the dumbas$ incompetent in the White House can't make a decision about it.
What a disgraceful slug you class envy nitwits elected.

Posted by: LarryG62 | September 29, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

BananaBama will never get the 'government option'. If he wants competition so bad let him push Pelosi to change the law regarding purchase of health insuranse across state lines. But he won't. Because this is not about healthcare. It is about power. The power to control. When they control your health and life, you HAVE no other options. Except your firearm[s]. Be very careful what you wish for.

Posted by: Dionysis | September 29, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

"So far he has largely resisted, offering broad principles but still leaving the details to Congress."

What did you expect, for heaven's sake, from someone who only knows how to vote "present"?

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | September 29, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

"This is a partisan issue which illustrates the essential difference between Republican callousness and Democratic compassion"

Let me just point something out to people who don't *get it*.

It's easy to be compassionate with other people's money. If I had all of your money, I could pay for so many things for people obviously more deserving than you.

You see, you're not really a fan of compassion, because if you were, you'd donate $10,000 a year to some family who doesn't have insurance to pay for theirs.

What do you call someone who takes money from someone to give it someone else they deem more worth? Probably lots of things, but compassion wouldn't be one of them.

Let me clue you into something else. When you live your life in a perpetual state of "depending on other people's kindness", it breaks the unwritten social compact that we all need to survive as a civilized society.

Medical reform should happen, but it revolves around prohibiting so-called "pre-existing conditions" from insurance. It involves making insurance portable. And it involves oversight so that people have an appeal when insurance company tries to screw them.

Anything else is simply generosity with other people's money, which is, at best, an oxymoron.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | September 29, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Obama is not about to risk his popularity by taking a stand. That way he can claim he "never compromised..." or something like that.

He's been in office long enough to know that he wants to be like and loved, not govern.

In other news, I look forward to Dan Balz doing a story on the life of Alan Chin, the famous photographer (http://www.alanschin.com/biography.html).

Then of course, the buzz on capital hill will be "...did you hear about Balz on Chin?"

Hahahaha. Funny stuff.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | September 29, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

What's a matter with Harry Reid? Does he need his daddy to help him pull up his diapers. Good Grief, what a bunch of wimps are in the Senate. If the Democrats expect to be treated a real leaders, they better start acting as real leaders. If they can't think for themselves, they need to move out of the way and let someone in that can. If their not careful, it will be a Republican. I thought the Senate was the place for seasoned mature leaders, not a bunch of disorganized girl scouts. (Sorry, Girl Scouts!!)

Posted by: richard36 | September 29, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

dont know where they are getting these senior citizen votes from, as i am 65 years old as is mosy of my associates support the public option.

Posted by: donaldtucker | September 29, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Mr. President:

What ever happened to the man we elected President? One reason we voted for you was to get health care reform with some teeth in it. Republicans would like to leave 47 million Americans (many of whom have recently lost their jobs) to suffer in a virtual ghetto where medical care is denied them and there is no escape.

Sir, we did not elect you to be bipartisian. This is a partisan issue which illustrates the essential difference between Republican callousness and Democratic compassion. It is time for you to stand up and fight for what is right!

Posted by: RaymondGrey | September 29, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

The right wing's Amen cheering/praying/hooting Church of Derision howls on: Taxes, taxes, taxes. The bush with the health of the American people.
Big Guvment: No matter that the big guvment got far deadlier and much bigger under the right's heroic, draft-evading Bush-Cheney and their eight years of illegitimate presidency.
We, the American people, want a public option as refuge from and counterweight against Big Insurance and its heartless, greedy policies. We will punish congressmen who betray our clear, heartfelt demands.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | September 29, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Any of the goons on TV stating its just fine without the public option are idiots that have no clue what they are talking about.

Once again the poor in this country get screwd again.

Posted by: jc1007 | September 29, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

well is is constitutional to require all americans to wear clothes?

Posted by: fooboo | September 29, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

You know, the thing about all of this that is really annoying? Everyone keeps talking about the high cost of health care and how nobody can afford it, thus the "need" for health care reform. I am on board with that, it makes sense. The only problem is, health "care" is not what any of the proposed bills deal with. They deal with health "insurance" reform, which is an entirely different issue.

If we were to deal with Health "CARE" reform, then the price of the care would be manageable and there would be no crisis. Current insurance systems would function much better for those that wish to use it and those who want to take their chances would be better able to deal with their costs, if they found themselves needing care.

However, instead of doing something which makes sense, we are instead trying to redefine and expand the industry that pays for the ridiculously high price of health care as it exists. We are forcing those who do not wish, or are not able to afford it, into buying it to cover the cost of insuring everybody across the board so that all will have access to the overpriced system which exists as we speak. This demonstrates a severe disconnect from reality, which leads me to ask the question, why?

Posted by: War919 | September 29, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Like someone else said, without the public option, the whole healthcare reform is pointless. They might as well do nothing.

The pre-existing condition thing would also be a joke, because all the monopolistic health care companies would just skyrocket the price of covering those people.

The Public option is the ONLY thing that matters, and the only thing that would work.

Rich people do not understand what its like to be poor and get no health care.

Posted by: jc1007 | September 29, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Very slanted, any question the writer wants this passed?
No the erosion hasn't stopped, just ask those under 30 who just learned that they will be required to buy insurance (a tax on breathing) or face IRS fines or worse, think you've seen anger before, oh boy just read those posts!
How about capping medical malpractice, allow patients to choose co-ops where Drs charge less and patients give up lawsuits except in catastrophic cases?
How about gov support for catastrophic coverage, where the real problem lies?
You don't see any of that because this is a massive gov takeover of our lives, a redistribution of wealth and not about improving health care.
In fact it won't improve health care at all, just begin to ration it out.
Still we have yet to see one journalist sit down with a constitutional lawyer and ask "is this really constitutional to require all Americans to buy health insurance"?
Well buying, dying and working have been taxed, not breathing. You can elect to do two of the above and the gov can't stop you from dying, but taxing you for breathing?

Posted by: Saladin3 | September 29, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about retired people anyway. They are a dying bunch (literally!). Republicans are history .. .wake up and smell the dmographic change sweeping america

Posted by: fooboo | September 29, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Sorry too busy!

Copenhagen
Getting Olympics for Chicago
As an almost fanatic Obama supporter, disappointed doesn't nearly cover it.
To Senator Schumer whom I berated for not enthusiastically supporting Obama, I apologize. Guess you knew him better than we did

Posted by: miriamac2001 | September 29, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

This is beyond disgrace. A significant public majority has consistently supported the public option.
Today's vote indicates that government has so completely become a slave to legalized bribery that what the public wants is ignored.
History demonstrates absolutely that whenever a nation is gripped by corruption of such magnitude, such a nation will collapse under the weight of its own rot.
Those who think this cannot happen to America are delusional.

Posted by: ronaldoroso | September 29, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Senator Harkin, if you have the votes, drive it through. Go ahead, cram it down middle America's throats. Because, there is always a saving grace in this country when leaders forget about the people who put them where they are. Yep, the mid-term elections will be quite a payday and I suspect there are a lot of very motivated voters who will show up at the polls to show their gratitude. So shove it through! It is a great political strategy.

Posted by: donchew1 | September 29, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Unless there's a public option, there won't be meaningful healthcare reform. Forcing people on to the insurance company rolls without ANY limits on how much they can charge nor how much profit they can make will mean that premiums will continue to rise. Most people know this and this is why the Dems are probably going to lose seats in the house and senate because of their stupid timidity.

Posted by: UNLISTED | September 29, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Anyone in the Senate or Congress that tries to ram through health care reform will face the wrath of the retired vote in 2010. There will be a 40 to 70 seat shift in the Congress.

Who says the public wants the public option:

Just 41% of voters nationwide now favor the health care reform proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s down two points from a week ago and the lowest level of support yet measured.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% are opposed to the plan.

Senior citizens are less supportive of the plan than younger voters. In the latest survey, just 33% of seniors favor the plan while 59% are opposed. The intensity gap among seniors is significant. Only 16% of the over-65 crowd Strongly Favors the legislation while 46% are Strongly Opposed.

For the first time ever, a slight plurality of voters now express doubt that the legislation will become law this year. Forty-six percent (46%) say passage is likely while 47% say it is not. Those figures include 18% who say passage is Very Likely and 15% who say it is Not at All Likely. Sixty percent (60%) are less certain.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Democrats say the plan is at least somewhat likely to become law. Sixty-one percent (61%) of Republicans disagree. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 34% say passage is at least somewhat likely while 58% say it is not.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/september_2009/health_care_reform

Beware the wrath of the retired! They vote. No to the public option. Fix the economy and jobs.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | September 29, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

We need some type of health care 9/11 to unite the country in one direction.

Posted by: blasmaic | September 29, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why there is no discussion of the role of the Conference Committee and its results. Perhaps it works best in obscurity and the press also wants it to stay that way. Or few even know what it does. Again - it will not be general knowledge.

But that is what I expect to "save the day" for the President.

If I am wrong, please feel free to point that out. It will not be the first time.

Posted by: gary4books | September 29, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

The majority of American voters - and American Physicians DEMAND the public option.

Insurance industry reform is not possible without the public option.

GIVE US THE PUBLIC OPTION PRESIDENT OBAMA!

Posted by: onestring | September 29, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

If you would like to help pressure Congress to pass single payer health care / medicare for all please join our voting bloc at:
http://www.votingbloc.org/Health_Bloc.php

Posted by: letsgobuffalo | September 29, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company