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Speaking of Republican Amendments to the Senate Health Bill

This was a nice catch by Mike Allen:

Under a Republican amendment approved Tuesday in the HELP bill, every member of Congress and their staffs would be required to enroll in the public insurance option. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) authored the measure, which has become a rallying point for conservatives opposed to the public option. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), who voted by proxy, and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) called their bluff and voted with Republicans to pass the amendment -- effectively neutralizing the issue for now. It seems unlikely that it would survive the many stages of the legislative process. Then again, Kennedy apparently likes it, according to his spokesman: "Sen. Kennedy believes strongly in the public option and its ability to provide quality and affordable healthcare while keeping the insurance companies honest. This was a no-brainer."

Seems like a good idea to me. Why shouldn't members of Congress have a direct stake in the quality of government programs?

By Ezra Klein  |  July 15, 2009; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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As expected your have Sen. Kennedy leading here and having no second thoughts in making Congress and it's staff to sit with rest of the public. It is no brainier to see power of this argument and it's effect on public.

If I were a Democrat Congress member; I would follow Kennedy here. That is the way to show the commitment.

We have to eat the same s**t what we expect others to eat.

Sen. Kennedy - the way to go, Sir!

Posted by: umesh409 | July 15, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I'd further this amendment to make all of Congress do without health insurance at all for the next three years until 2013 when the exchange and the public option finally become available. If we've got to wait three and a half more years for these central pieces of the reform to come on line, so should Congress.

Posted by: NealB1 | July 15, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Republican senators coming out in favor of single-payer.

Posted by: bluegrass1 | July 15, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"Why shouldn't members of Congress have a direct stake in the quality of government programs?"

a) Because they work for us, and don't deserve as nice a program as ours. I crack me up.

b) Because despite all the makeup they put on the pig, they themselves don't have to kiss it. That "right" falls upon us.

c) Because no matter how bad it is, they will have people like Ezra Klein to tell us that our program is really good. So they can always say their program is really no better than ours. Again, I crack myself up.

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | July 15, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a great idea. At least I can be sure the plan will be good. I mean, I know Republican Senators don't care about anybody else's health insurance, but I'm sure they'll take care of their own plan.

Posted by: SteveCA1 | July 15, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

OK, I completely understand how this would come up in a Republican brainstorming session. But shouldn't someone in the room have said, "come on, we've been dealing with Ted Kennedy for what, 30 years now? He's going to not realize that it's a bluff, thank us profusely for being bipartisan, and actually make us go through with it."

Posted by: tomveiltomveil | July 15, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

The Senate bill's name: "Quality, Affordable Health Coverage for All Americans"

Seriously? Do Democrats pay any attention whatsoever to the GOP's far-more-successful-than-they-ought-to-be tactics? How about calling it the "Health for American Prosperity Act" or something else more interesting than the subtitle of a committee report?

Posted by: BigTunaTim | July 15, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

according to his spokesman: "Sen. Kennedy believes strongly in the public option and its ability to provide quality and affordable healthcare while keeping the insurance companies honest. This was a no-brainer."

one would think that Sen. Kennedy's staff would think twice at least before putting the "This is a no-brainer" comment in his mouth when he is suffering from brain cancer.

What were they thinking? How they could be stupider in public?

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | July 15, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Members of the House and Senate already have a publicly funded health care subsidy. It's called the Federal Employees Benefit Plan. How about allowing the whole country to buy into their plan?

Posted by: CoolOnion | July 15, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Haha, awesome. It reminds me of the Civil Rights Act, when opponents tried to kill it by banning discrimination of "sex" along with race and creed, thinking that it was so absurd that it would never pass. Since then it has been instrumental in women's rights.

Posted by: luckynbucky | July 15, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

There's not even a snowball's chance in h*ll that Dem Senators allow themselves to be put into the public plan! Its benefits will be significantly worse than their current health plan. I think the commenters here are a little too idealistic. They will look out for THEIR OWN best interests, not the public's.

Posted by: mbp3 | July 15, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

How ironic that Kennedy's spokescritter chose to use the term "... no brainer" given Kennedy' fight with brain cancer. On the other hand, maybe it is appropriate. Kennedy apparently got the best care money can buy. Similarly situated members of the Great Unwashed will get a few pain pills and a free ride to a hospice. Kennedy knows that regardless, he will continue to get a very high level of care. For the rest of us, it is a no brainer.

Posted by: georgebruce1 | July 16, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

who was the democrat that before the vote argued against it?? I was watching but not paying attention to who it was? He argued that old premise that Obama's been trying to force feed us that "if you like your coverage you can keep it" but eventually it passed although as most on here we know it'll be dropped out if it ever gets that far.

Posted by: visionbrkr | July 17, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

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