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'Landmark:' the juicy bits

Do you miss the health-care debate? Or just want the definitive account of how it all went down for your archives -- and in advance of the coming fight over the new law's implementation?

Just published is Landmark: The Inside Story of America's New Health-Care Law and What It Means for Us All, written by a team of Washington Post reporters. The book provides a behind-the-scenes look at how President Obama's health-care initiative came together.

Ceci Connolly, David Hilzenrath, Amy Goldstein, David Brown and Alec MacGillis, who are among the authors, came together Monday at the Kaiser Foundation for an hour-long panel discussion (see video) on the book. They also discussed the political obstacles that nearly defeated the bill, the compromises that led to its passage, and how the law will affect Americans.

And they've highlighted for us some of the juicy bits in the book.

On Dec. 13, 2009, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) claimed to be blindsided by independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman's threat to filibuster the bill over the Medicare buy-in provision -- even though Lieberman had already laid out his concerns in a private letter to Reid:

On Dec. 10, Lieberman wrote his concerns in a private letter to Reid.

"Regarding the 'Medicare buy-in' proposal, the more I learn about it, the less I like it," he wrote. True, he had supported the idea in the past, "but that was a very different time. The federal government had a surplus, Medicare wasn't facing imminent bankruptcy, and there wasn't a health-care reform bill that created a vast new system of subsidies and tax credits and exchanges."

The book also reveals that last August, the White House put together its own health-care bill with an eye toward goosing the process and getting around the slow-moving Senate committee chairs -- but then kept it under wraps:

Early in the month, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gathered a small team to secretly begin drafting a White House bill. If Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus didn't move soon, Emanuel wanted to be ready with a measure to send directly to the Senate floor, bypassing the committee. He calculated that the simple act of putting together a rival blueprint might be enough to jolt Baucus into action.

And Emanuel, fed up with a spate of leaks, warned the aides in trademark fashion: "If this gets out, I'll [expletive] kill you."

On Capitol Hill, where recess periods are sacrosanct, lawmakers escaped Washington without casting a single vote on health-care legislation.

But the mood beyond the Beltway was ferocious.

Foreshadowing the fall's sharp debate over the question of insurance for abortion, Boston's Catholic archbishop delivered a pointed warning to Obama at Sen. Edward Kennedy's funeral on the topic:

Standing on the edge of Obama's pew was a bearded man in crimson robes. Obama rose to his feet as Cardinal Sean O'Malley reached for his hand. O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston, welcomed the president and offered condolences. Then the highest-ranking Roman Catholic in ultra-Catholic Boston, in a private moment during this public gathering, delivered an unusually pointed message.

"The bishops are anxious to support health care," O'Malley said. "It's very important."

"But," the prelate added, still gripping Obama's hand, "we are very concerned that there not be public funding for abortion."

To read more, buy the book.

By Garance Franke-Ruta  |  May 13, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Health Care  
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Next: Goodwin Liu's controversial judicial nomination approved by Senate committee

Comments

Under Health Care Reform, Medical insurance is a must, but you can easily find medical insurance for you under $40 http://ow.ly/1Jkvo

Posted by: zariyaagil14 | May 14, 2010 4:50 AM | Report abuse

THE ONLY THING AMERICANS HAVE TO FEAR IS THE CORRUPT OBAMA ADMINISTRATON. ON DECEMBER 23, 2009, THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE SAID: "To pay future Medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of Medicare would essentially double-count a large share of those savings ... and thus overstate the improvement in the governnment's fiscal position." $940 BILLION WAS AN ESTIMATE, IN DECEMBER -- NOW IT'S AN "ADDITIONAL" $115 BILLION! GOD ONLY KNOWS HOW MUCH OBAMACARE WILL REALLY COST US -- WE'LL FIND OUT "AFTER THE FACT"! This is the most corrupt administration in American history. See ya in November!

Posted by: brown301944 | May 13, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Chicago politics - mafia style. And I'll bet if there were any leaks that Rahm had drafted a part of the healthcare bill, those people really would have been "f&@%-in killed."

Posted by: jefferson4 | May 13, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Chicago politics - mafia style. And I'll bet if there were any leaks that Rahm had drafted a part of the healthcare bill, those people really would have been "f&@%-in killed."

Posted by: jefferson4 | May 13, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

It is obvious that bs2004 selected the appropriate screen name. Typical leftist moron, deflecting issues by being stupid. Go back to moveon.org, little boy.

Posted by: madmike272 | May 13, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

It is obvious that bs2001 selected the appropriate screen name. Typical leftist moron, deflecting issues by being stupid. Go back to moveon.org, little boy.

Posted by: madmike272 | May 13, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse


TO: jonweiss1 who wrote:
"Typical of the liberal elites. Rahm commits a crime (terroristinc threatening) and nothing happens. Once again proving that under the Democrats, no one is equal under the law."
-----
Maybe under Bush you could make up a lie and have someone arrested, but not today.
One minute the psychos are claiming their Constitutional rights are in danger, the next minute they're trying to deny us ours.

You DO realize that under the U.S. Constitution we have a right to free speech, don't you!

Speaking of committing crimes, the psycho Republicans sat back for 8 years and watched Bush and Cheney break every law in the book, and rob our country blind.

When are YOU going to do something about that, freaks?

Posted by: lindalovejones | May 13, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

"But," the prelate added, still gripping Obama's hand, "we are very concerned that there not be public funding for abortion."

=============

Does this mean that members of the Catholic church tried to use their position as religious leaders to influence legislation?

Posted by: dkp01 | May 13, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

@2010Rout wrote:
"We should all sue the Washington Post for failure to do the job we pay them for"

Your paying them? For what?

Posted by: larsonlk | May 13, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

What is amazing is the fact that the Washington Post is proud of the propaganda and lies told by their employees to promote a FRAUD on the American People that is now being disclosed by the facts! The Healthcare Bill is a complete FIASCO and the Post is complicit in FRAUD on the American Public! Where was the investigation of the costs that the taxpayers will have to pay for the healthcare FRAUD?? We should all sue the Washington Post for failure to do the job we pay them for and being complicit in liberal FRAUD ON AMERICAN TAXPAYERS!!!!!

Posted by: 2010Rout | May 13, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Weiss hits the trifecta! Typical of commenting peons, Weiss' intellectual defecation comes with a heaping dose of hyperbole and reveals a diet lacking in reality.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | May 13, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Typical of the conservative elites. Jonweiss1 commits a crime (spamming) and nothing happems. Once again proving that under the Bush Doctrine, conservatives are above the law.

Posted by: bs2004 | May 13, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"And Emanuel, fed up with a spate of leaks, warned the aides in trademark fashion: "If this gets out, I'll [expletive] kill you.""

Typical of the liberal elites. Rahm commits a crime (terroristinc threatening) and nothing happens. Once again proving that under the Democrats, no one is equal under the law.

Posted by: jonweiss1 | May 13, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"And Emanuel, fed up with a spate of leaks, warned the aides in trademark fashion: "If this gets out, I'll [expletive] kill you.""

Typical of the liberal elites. Rahm commits a crime (terroristinc threatening) and nothing happens. Once again proving that under the Democrats, no one is equal under the law.

Posted by: jonweiss1 | May 13, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"And Emanuel, fed up with a spate of leaks, warned the aides in trademark fashion: "If this gets out, I'll [expletive] kill you.""

Typical of the liberal elites. Rahm commits a crime (terroristinc threatening) and nothing happens. Once again proving that under the Democrats, no one is equal under the law.

Posted by: jonweiss1 | May 13, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

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