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Worried House Democrats huddle on health care

By Ben Pershing
Worried House Democrats held a caucus-wide conference call Thursday to strategize about health-care reform before lawmakers return to Washington next week.

More than 100 members joined in on the call, Democratic aides said, to discuss the differences between the House's health bill and the one passed by the Senate. With Senate Democrats barely able to muster the 60 votes necessary to pass their own bill and President Obama leaning toward the Senate's position on some key issues, House Democrats are increasingly concerned they could be marginalized at the bargaining table.

Liberals are particularly worried that Obama has indicated to negotiators that he wants to preserve the so-called "Cadillac tax" on high-cost health plans, a provision that is included in the Senate bill but not the House measure. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said several members spoke out on the subject during Thursday's call.

"That position is going to be difficult in the House, and the White House needs to reconcile that," Grijalva said in an interview. On that tax and a host of other issues, he added, "merely to rubberstamp what the Senate does is not enough."

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) has enlisted 190 House Democrats to sign a letter declaring their opposition to the tax, which has also been fiercely criticized by labor unions -- some of whose members would be exposed to the tax -- and by other skeptics who fear the tax could hurt the middle class. Defenders of the excise tax say it will put people who buy their own insurance on more equal footing with those who receive insurance through their employers, and that the tax will help reduce costs over time.

Courtney said in an interview that his takeaway from the call was that "this is an open issue still, far from resolved. I think there will be a lot of staff work over the weekend to try and resolve this."

Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) were particularly outspoken during the call in their opposition to the Cadillac tax, a Democratic aide said, while Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) was the only member who defended it. Polis led the charge this fall to raise the House bill's threshold for a surtax on the wealthy, a funding mechanism many House Democrats want included in the final health bill despite the opposition of Senate Democrats.

Beyond the excise tax, lawmakers on Thursday sorted through a host of other differences between the two bills, with Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) making the case for why the House bill's national insurance exchange should be preserved, rather than the Senate bill's state-based exchanges.

Members also brought up the public option, abortion funding, immigration and employer mandates, as well as the antitrust exemption for health insurance companies. The House bill would strip that exemption, while the Senate bill would leave it in place.

"I think the antitrust exemption is becoming a bigger deal than people thought it would," Grijalva said.

Despite those differences, Democratic leaders made clear on the call that they were optimistic that a palatable compromise could be reached with the Senate. There were no specific decisions made on the call about negotiating strategy or deadlines for completing a bill, aides said. Above all, leaders have conveyed the message that they want the final bill to accomplish what they call "Triple A" -- access, affordability and accountability for insurance companies.

Obama reportedly will spend more time talking to members on health care next week, when House Democrats head to Fort McNair for their annual retreat or "issues conference."

Separately, Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) are scheduled to meet with Obama on Thursday afternoon at the White House to discuss the way forward in their chamber. Administration officials also arranged a conference call with Democratic governors to discuss their concerns about how health-care reform will affect their state budgets.

By Ben Pershing  |  January 7, 2010; 4:05 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Health Care  
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George, you missed the points completely. I don't give a crap about gramatical issues, I was just pointing out that you spending that much time on them only points out your need to feel superior. Not surprisingly, you take that and run with pointing out how you want things written. Hilarious.

I think your point is that in total you agree with enough of the bill to pass it. I don't. It's left out tort reform, drug costs, and meaningful reductions in the cost of care - those cuts haven't happened for years and they're not going to happen in the future. They basically looked at the overall cost of healthcare and focused on 15% of it.

It's added unneeded regulation and mandated minimum coverage plans that are so benefit rich the overall cost of care is going to be less controlled.

The only positive is we get more people covered. But even that could be done much more cost effectively. In exchange we get increased taxes, fees, cost of regulation, deficits, bureacracy, and cost of care. All of that is passed to the consumer. I don't know how you can look at what's left off the table and think what's been done is positive.

Finally, regarding Harvard, it's not that I distrust or dislike a study by Harvard. See my comments re your gramatical obsession and apply them to that.

Posted by: privacy3 | January 11, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Dear privacy3,

Yes, I had a few typos, and I apologize for them. But my entire posting--which the Washington Post apparently censored for its "left-wing" content--contains a rational, coherent argument. The posting I criticized had about a dozen serious grammatical, factual, and logical errors within a few sentences; it made no sense at all.

If you don't want to accept any studies coming out of the Harvard medical school just because you consider it an "elite" institution, then you have entered the delusionary zone. The study took account of all the factors you mentioned, and more, and the numbers of deaths were conservative estimates. One of the reasons why sane, rational people tend to accept research results coming from elite institutions is because many of the leading professionals in each field teach in these elite institutions. This is a matter of professional respect, not political bias.
You are the one trying to politicize this issue.

If you're going to chastise me for a few typose, I would suggest you check your own posting more carefully, i.e. (my corrections in brackets):

"That this hasn't been done is more due to liberals['] hate [hatred] of capitalism and the thought of private insurers growing [the fear that private insurers might grow] then [than to] conservatives['] protection of [desire to protect] insurers. Hence the crying over the 'public option'[comma] where [in which] the goal is not to provide competition but to drive insurers out of business by subsidizing losses in the public plan."

I'm sorry, but you've missed the point entirely. The Senate bill has no public option, and I doubt that the final bill will either. This was never a central requirement in candidate or President Obama's health plan. We are talking about the bill that actually passed, not about the various proposals that different groups in the center and left wanted.

Regarding your final point, the "totality" of a bill consists of all its contents added together. I may not like every bit of the bill, but there are enough features that I can support that I am willing to support it. It is pure childishness to blur one's eyes and scream, "I don't like anything that I see." The right-wing loonies have gone even further--even after the bill has been posted and read aloud, they've shut their ears and eyes and continued screaming "show us the bill." What a bunch of losers.

Posted by: GeorgeSanders | January 8, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

To: George Sanders
Re: Your needless posts

Let me begin with a question: Do you have a mirror by your computer so you can watch yourself as you type? It seems apparent from your posts your ego would demand such constant attention.

BTW, if you're going to pick on others, you should realize the need to proof your posts. The word you were looking for was "once", not "ones", as you posted. Perhaps you should open the book you were demanding others know by memory.

Your point that a HARVARD (read, intellectual and therefore must be right) study points to loss of life for lack of insurance doesn't have a link. This means you can't see the details, such as: How many of those supposed 40,000 had the availability of insurance but choose not to buy it (or waited until they had a condition and then tried to buy it)? Or, how many were eligible for other plans, Medicaid, state pools, etc., but didn't enroll?

Your rather irrational point that this is "Republican genocide", is just silly. Using your underlying belief that the Republicans are just protecting the interests of insurers, passing the individual mandate with the associated cover for pre-ex conditions would be the perfect solution - and would grow the insurers business. That this hasn't been done is more due to liberals hate of capitalism and the thought of private insurers growing then conservatives protection of insurers. Hence the crying over the 'public option' where the goal is not to provide competition but to drive insurers out of business by subsidizing losses in the public plan.

As for your rather simple point about the good points of the bill, the issue is not whether or not there are PORTIONS of the bill that could be supported, but rather the monstrosity of the TOTAL bill.

Posted by: privacy3 | January 8, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I've tried 17 times now to post a response to Dummypants and also tried to post a response to RodneyVA1. Apparently the Washingtonpost is censoring comments coming from the left side of the spectrum, while allowing through the falsehoods and abusive, threatening missives from the right wing. I'm getting tired of hearing right wingers complain about the liberal bias of the media; this is all a farce, and they know it. In fact, the media are dominated by right-wing and middle-of-the-road (i.e., liberal) viewpoints, while intelligent responses from the left wing are eliminated.

Posted by: GeorgeSanders | January 8, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

What puzzles me is why Democrats see any action on the part of this gov't in partisan terms.

Aside from Pelosi, Reid, and a few select leaders, who in the party has been allowed to participate in shaping any policy or bill?

Dems have been shut out as well as Republicans. Heck, Grassley has been allowed more participation than most Dems.

I get that Repubs are angry. The question is why aren't WE? Why do we think we are represented? Is this how we want gov't to work?

If I want an aristocracy, I'll live in a country with a King.

If I want taxation without representation I'll move to a banana republic.

What I want is a gov't that LISTENS to voters.

But we have ALL been told to shut up. Dems and Repubs alike are ignored, shut out of government debate.

This is NOT the Democratic party I know, the party that spearheaded nationwide anti-war protests and ushered in the age of civil rights in this country.

Now we sit with the rest of the public waiting to be told what the gov't has decided is best for us.

I miss my party. And next election I will go looking for it again...outside of DC.

Posted by: iseek2004 | January 8, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Lets create a new risk pool, which will contain the uninsured and all dummycrat supporters, you advocates can pay for it, and the rest of us can opt out. Any dummycrat takers? I thought so. It's always about someone else and their money.

Posted by: fcgul | January 8, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

They should be worried. One shudders to think what is going on behind closed doors while they try to "negotiate" this thing. I see them sitting around, smoking cigars, trying to outdo each other on who can come up with a better plan to screw over the American public. CSPAN would really like to see what's going on. I hope they enjoy losing in November.

Posted by: theillinoisguy | January 8, 2010 6:00 AM | Report abuse

Why are the House Democrats holding a partisan meeting on an Army base (Ft. McNair)? Isn't that illegal???

Posted by: SpencerG1 | January 8, 2010 4:43 AM | Report abuse

There are many books (going back to the days of Athens) that state the downfall of a democracy is when its people realize they can vote themsevles things free. The economy eventually collapses and the people end up with nothing.

Everything has a cost and the cost of social medicine is very high. Find a friend in Canada and ask about it. Canadian social medicine started off "free" but once in place, cost skyrocketed as does everything else tied to the Goverment. My business associate in Canada pays as much for insurance as I do to supplement his "free" healthcare. AND he needs a separate policy when he travels outside of Canada. He has had sharp pains in his hand that appear to be carpel tunnel syndrome. Just today he scheduled an appointment with a specialist - 6 MONTHS from today he will be seen. Great stuff. Then he schedules surgery.

Focus on the economy and we all win.

Posted by: RodneyVA1 | January 8, 2010 2:25 AM | Report abuse

I would like to note that I have tried six times to respond to Dummypants, but all attempts to post a response have been blocked so far. Only the last half of my response was allowed through; those reading it should understand that apparently the first half was censored for its political content. None of the responses contains any profanity, threats, or inappropriate language.

Posted by: GeorgeSanders | January 7, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

RESPONSE to Dummypants (continued)

According to a Harvard research report, about 40,000 Americans
die every year for lack of health insurance. Multiply this times the last 16 years since the Republicans killed health insurance in order to win an election and you have over a half-million needles deaths. The Republicans would be happy kill Obama's plan and wait another quarter century or more, even if it meant another million or more deaths. I call this the great Republican Genocide.

The Democrats' plan is far from perfect, but the key for me is that it will save lives and prevent insurance companies from cheating their clients out of coverage ones they try to use the policy they have already paid into. It will prevent insurance companies for denying coverage for pre-existent conditions. It will improve the lives of millions of our fellow Americans. This is something I would support whether it were a Republican of a Democratic bill.

I would like to offer some closing thoughts from a former president:

"One of the most cherished goals of our democracy is to assure every American an equal opportunity to lead a full and productive life.

In the last quarter century, we have made remarkable progress toward that goal, opening the doors to millions of our fellow countrymen who were seeking equal opportunities in education, jobs and voting.

Now it is time that we move forward again in still another critical area: health care.

Without adequate health care, no one can make full use of his or her talents and opportunities. It is thus just as important that economic, racial and social barriers not stand in the way of good health care as it is to eliminate those barriers to a good education and a good job."

--President Richard Nixon, 1974

The Democrat's present health care bill offers pretty much the same coverage as Richard Nixon's proposed Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan. Why can't a few Republicans come to their senses and realize this. Why can't Republicans take responsibility for the catastrophic damage to real human beings caused by their obstruction of health care reform?

Posted by: GeorgeSanders | January 7, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Some of these comments are to incoherent and mendacious that I'm beginning to wonder if there are any intelligent Republicans left.


They (who?) talk about corupt (misspelled) governments overseas (comma) yet this group (which group?) is worst ("worse," not "worst") then (no, it's "than") any of the ones they (who?) point fingers at. The cost is also talked about (This sentence is incoherent). I say we fix the comgress ("you mean the "Congress") and senate (capitalize Senate)(insert comma) and the cost of health care and most of the government spending thats (you mean "that's") out of control will be fixed.

Posted by: rainman2

Once the dozen or so grammatical, spelling, and writing errors are corrected, one at least has achieved a minimally coherent level of communication, with strong emphasis on the "minimally." Unfortunately, the paragraph exhibits other flaws. For one, it is based on wild surmises that lack any basis in fact. For example, does the author really claim that the government of Zimbabwe or that of North Korea is less corrupt than our Democratic system, with all it's flaws? The paragraph also ignores evidence, such as the trillion-dollar deficit---i.e., out of control government spending---and near total collapse of the economic system President Bush dropped in President Obama's lap. And what does "fixing" the Congress (i.e., the Congress is comprised of the House of Representatives and the Senate) *and* the Senate mean? Does the author think that these are two separate bodies? Does the author have even the barest understanding of how our government works or of what the various bodies in our government are?

If fact, the reasoning in this paragraph is hopeless, and the writing is so unclear that
the author could be referring to anything at all. It would be much more useful for the author to refrain from this sort of incoherent babbling and use his or her time more effectively. Perhaps reading a Civics textbook would be worthwhile; certainly taking a course in basic English would be appreciated by all.

Posted by: GeorgeSanders | January 7, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

“They said it would be transparent. Why isn’t it? At times, I find the caucus is a real disappointment. We aren’t transparent, not just to the public but at times to the members.”

Noted right wingnut Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA)

Pelosi can't even be open with her own party.

Posted by: lure1 | January 7, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

If they are afraid to make the deals in the light of day, they probably should not be making them. Dark deals made in dank corners of the Capitol, Democrats scurry away when the lights are turned on. Democrats now wallow in their putrid sloth and turn ever more bug like, as they surrender their humanity; and that of all Americans; to bureaucrats, union bosses, ivory tower intellectuals, trial lawyers and other well credentialed liberals; Democrats ensure this petulance is made fat as they burden American Families with ever more unaffordable obligations.

Takeover of healthcare, cap-and-tax, card check, and massive deficits; when this agenda is passed every aspect of an American family’s life will be beholden to the federal government. No longer will you have choice of how to spend your money, but instead the government will decide how much healthcare or energy or wages your American family can have. Obama’s unspoken promise, extract the wealth and choice from each middle class American family leaving only the grey sticky goo, which is our federal government. This morass is in fact Obama’s “Change you must believe in.”

Our wise electorate now sees through this sham, and will soon elect leadership who is likely to oversee the wholesale dismantling of our federal government over the next decade. To protect, we the people, from an overreaching federal government.

Posted by: ELFopportunity | January 7, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

They talk about corupt governments overseas yet this group is worst then any of the ones they point fingers at. The cost is also talked about. I say we fix the comgress and senate and the cost of health care and most of the government spending thats out of control will be fixed.

Posted by: rainman2 | January 7, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse


America still waits for promises of speeches, given during the most expensive Presidential campaign in history, to materialize into actions that will be positive for a Nation facing unprecedented debt, deficits and unemployment.

America is still looking for leadership.

Posted by: JamesRaider | January 7, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

You have to laugh at the people saying "sign the bill", only because they have no idea what is in the bill.

Because right now, there is no bill.

What's a good word to describe somebody who's in favor of a bill that doesn't exist? It can't be anything complimentary.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | January 7, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

My party and my country have become
an authoritarian joke since they were hijacked by these neo marxist morons.

Posted by: iamredwolf | January 7, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

House Democrats need to realize Obama is not an emperor or king. The founding fathers expected Congress to exercise its independent judgment, not be subservient to an imperial presidency.

If Pelosi and House Democrats raise the white flag to surrender to the demands of Reid, Obama, they represent a superfluous institution, abandoning their constitutional responsibilities.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | January 7, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

For crying in the sink, Dems, just pass a bill! Do it now! The more you talk about it, the more time you waste. It will be great legislation for America. PASS IT NOW!

Posted by: dudh | January 7, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: thebump | January 7, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

For crying in the sink, Dems, just pass a bill! Do it now! The more you talk about it, the more time you waste. It will be great legislation for America. PASS IT NOW!

Posted by: dudh | January 7, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Hurry up and pass it, grandma looks sick...we need to put her out of her misery. Cheers

Posted by: MPNangle | January 7, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

And you think it's ugly now?? Wait till you see the landscape post 2010!

We'll have a horrible healthcare bill in place courtesy of Obama and the house will be falling down around our ears.

Posted by: buzzsaw1 | January 7, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

What's the problem. They're all Democrats. The only thing that matters is passing the health care bill for President Obama so he can use it in his State of the Union address. They all think the same. Their all tone deaf to the people. They all have the same ideology. After the votes in the House and the Senate, the Democrats can kiss the moderate label goodbye. They went the party way and didn't think about the people at all. There are no hurdles to jump, no riffs, no huddles. When President Obama says jump, all of them will bite the bullet and vote the party way because that's the way their wired. All the Democrats are thinking about is a basic structure in place and whatever deals it takes to accomplish that and of course leaving the people holding the tab.

Posted by: houstonian | January 7, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have nothing to offer. Dems have nothing to worry about. Just do the job right which is something the republicans are incapable of doing.

Posted by: truth1 | January 7, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

The Republican Party may be the party of no, but the Democrat Party is the party of communists, thieves, abortion, homosexuals, tax and spend, redistribution, dumbed downed education, etc. Hopefully, the Republicans can turn most of this mess around after the party of stupid is voted out.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | January 7, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse



Push and shove;

Looking for Mountains,

to make molehills of.

That's what republotards and the WaPo ALWAYS does - create faux controversy where FREEKING NONE exists.

Health care is, was, and has always been for President Obama a




Posted by: Heerman532 | January 7, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: demtse | January 7, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

JohnLeeHooker1 and Roger36: There are no cuts to Medicare, just more Republican lies. There are no cuts in benefits or increased costs to seniors. There are cuts in payments to Medicare providers that they SUPPORTED, because they are more than offset by the reduction in bad debts that are currently paid for by Medicare that will result from more people being insured.

Posted by: JoeT1 | January 7, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or is there anyone else out there who can visualize a 100 person conference call? These people aren't just repugnant users of the American taxpayer, they're stupid and they havn't a clue. For the first time in my life, I'm beginning to feel ashamed of the USA.


Posted by: JAH3 | January 7, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

the orange groves are freezing, and we are sending money to chavez to stop global warming,
450,000 new jobless claims a week, but
the employment picture looks 'improved'
one way ticket, no luggage, no screening;
army major at Fort Hood??
with a business card that says
soldier for Allah.
How can you vote for a single incumbent?

Posted by: simonsays1 | January 7, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

The democrats should be very scared about now. As a Senior Citizen, I plan to work against them, especially my Senator that is up for re-election. They screwed us to the wall with the Medicare cuts and they know it. Pay back is just around the corner.

Posted by: richard36 | January 7, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

There are just too many 70 plus year old egomaniacs running this horse and buggy show.
I wish most of them would retire,
write a children's book or join
a charity. god knows there are alot
of americans in need and hurting.
10% unemployment. foreclosures.

Posted by: simonsays1 | January 7, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

The whole thing is astounding: What's to huddle about? A majority Doesn't want it (neither do CONgress or the Unions)? CBO says it Will Increase the deficit in 1st 10 yrs; CBO says estimates in 2nd 10 yrs are MEANINGLESS (their word)? CBO states it will leave 23 million UNINSURED? It will gut Medicare b4 it can go bankrupt? Most states already in financial difficulties will be made worse by the eventual unfunded Medicaid costs. Huddle?

Posted by: JohnLeeHooker1 | January 7, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

The whole thing is astounding: What's to huddle about? A majority Doesn't want it (neither do CONgress or the Unions)? CBO says it Will Increase the deficit in 1st 10 yrs; CBO says estimates in 2nd 10 yrs are MEANINGLESS (their word)? CBO states it will leave 23 million UNINSURED? It will gut Medicare b4 it can go bankrupt? Most states already in financial difficulties will be made worse by the eventual unfunded Medicaid costs. Huddle?

Posted by: JohnLeeHooker1 | January 7, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

The death of this horrid bill is the best move the Dems can make. They need to run as far away from Obama as they can - if they want to win in 2010. He is a loser.

Posted by: cougartonyusa | January 7, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

While the people sit out here hurting, the congress diddles. More than 45 million are without health insurance. Others will lose their insurance (or their jobs so employers don't have to insure them) when they or someone in their family becomes seriously ill. Those with insurance (except Medicare) will see the premiums double in eight to ten years. Whatever you are paying now, you will pay twice as much then. And health care costs keep rising exponentially.

Still the congress diddles.

Pass the health care reform plan. If you want to talk about Cadillac plans, talk about your own plan which is the best in the nation. We have an elite congress with elite insurance. It will be interesting to see if they have any understanding of the problems of the struggling majority in this nation.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | January 7, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"Sneezy" is right. Simple solutions abound. Eliminate the deductibility of employer-paid health insurance. Allow individuals to own their health insurance policies and to deduct the premiums. Give individuals a tax credit to help pay the costs. Let insurance companies compete across state lines. Limit only the punitive damage awards in malpractice cases. But . . . these effective measures were proposed by McCain, so the Democrats can't bring themselves to touch them.

Posted by: CapnRusty | January 7, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

i'm still waiting for democratic house members to argue that the senate's cloture rule is preventing the passage of reasonable, intelligent legislation.

the best option is to create two bills, one a pared down compromise between the house and senate versions, and the other pared down even further, but including a viable public option, and passed in the senate through reconciliation.

an individual mandate without a public option is a very bad idea and practically unenforceable among younger under or unemployed adults.

obama and harry reid are in danger of causing the complete disaffection of obama's democratic base. that's actually what obama's falling poll numbers really show: a loss of faith in his willingness to fight for important principles.

Posted by: ponsoldt | January 7, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I think the way forward for Dodd should be out the door, down the street and back home to Connecticut and his infamous home loan with his friend Angelo.

Posted by: bandmom22 | January 7, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi and Reid are leading the Democrats into a replay of GEN Custer's battle of Little Big Horn. They have ARROGANTLY underestimated the numbers and intensity of the opposition and many scalps will be taken.

The smart Democrats already have gotten the intelligence about the tidal wave that is building and are packing their bags. The rest are going to be swept away in the Tsunami of 2010.

Governing from the center is an art that the Democrats have not mastered.

I thought the Repùblicans were tone deaf until I saw the Democrats in action. They are not only politically tone deaf, they can't even read music.

Posted by: strategiesinter | January 7, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I am sure that the American People, who sent these people to Congress, will be the last ones to know just what is in this Bill.

What are they so ashamed of that they can not deliberate in public?

Something really, REALLY stinks in Congress... November can't get here soon enough.

Posted by: wilsan | January 7, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Where is the open and honest debate?

These as$ holes don't know the meaning of the words integrity, honor, objectivity or democratic government.

They all need to be thrown out of office at the earliest opportunuty. They are dishonest pieces of feces.

Posted by: LarryG62 | January 7, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

daustin7: just FYI, Nelson has already dropped his Nebraska deal, so at least that's one less worry

Posted by: JoeT1 | January 7, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"Palatable" for whom, exactly?

Corrupt, incompetent Congressional Democrats and Tammany Hall (aka the White House)?

The Bill as proposed is unpopular, undemocratic, illegal and illogical.

Democrats are going be thrown bodily out of office by enraged voters if this nonsense passes, that's a guarantee.

Posted by: NoDonkey | January 7, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

the clock has been ticking for months and you have dems tearing down other dems, and the house tearing down the senate.

if i hear another liberal talk about REPUBLICANS obstructionism i'm going to scream.

dems have been doing a fine job obstruting themselves for the last 4 months.

its called 'projection'.

Posted by: dummypants | January 7, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Give Joe Lieberman a call, a Republican kiss -ss.

Posted by: shipfreakbo214 | January 7, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

and i thought i had unwieldy conference callls............

"More than 100 members joined in on the call, Democratic aides said, to discuss the differences between the House's health bill and the one passed by the Senate"

but nary a cogent thought or thoughtful sound was heard

wonder how many got their picture taken on the call for the media?????

nothing EVER gets done wioth more than 5 people at the same time.......all poker players know this intuitively

Posted by: ProCounsel | January 7, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

scary after Ben Nelson's payoff to think about the price we'll have to pay to bring enough members of both chambers on board to pay for a bill they'll agree to.

Posted by: daustin7 | January 7, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The persistent use of the word "reform" reminds me of the use of the word "love" by young people of my generation.

Posted by: rusty3 | January 7, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

RE: "Defenders of the excise tax say it will put people who buy their own insurance on more equal footing with those who receive insurance through their employers..."

--> If the Democrats were sincere in this philosophy the simple solution is to stop allowing business to deduct health insurance costs as a business expense, and allow the individual to deduct those same costs.

Posted by: sneezy | January 7, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Dems are going to be ousted from both houses of Congress in less then 10 months from today. They have good reason to be worried.

Harry the horse's asp Reid will be ousted from the Senate.

Posted by: screwjob11 | January 7, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

That creaking you hear is the sound of the wheels starting to come off.

Posted by: Chippewa | January 7, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

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