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The Rundown

8 a.m. ET: Most times, regardless of which party is in control of Congress, the dynamic between the two chambers on major bills is the same -- in the House, the majority just rams a bill through, and then the real action and intrigue take place in the Senate. But this week, at least, the House is Ground Zero in the health-care fight, as Senate Democrats have already punted the issue into September while House Democrats struggle to reach consensus within their own ranks.

"When I take this bill to the floor, it will win," Nancy Pelosi said on CNN, without being more specific about the "when" part. At least some Democrats in her chamber would rather not vote before recess unless the Senate Finance Committee does first, and that panel's prospects for a deal remain unclear. President Obama plans more health-care events this week, hoping to keep the pressure on lawmakers as their month-long recess beckons. "August is both a peril and an opportunity,” Rahm Emanuel said last week, and the House's actions in the coming days will help determine which of those two descriptions proves apt.

On Saturday, House Democrats got some bad news from the Congressional Budget Office, which found that a proposal for an independent panel designed to rein in Medicare spending would only save $2 billion over 10 years. But then the CBO delivered some rare good news Sunday, judging that the House reform plan would actually increase the number of people who get employer-provided health insurance. This week, the idea du jour for raising money is taxing the most generous, or "gold-plated," health care plans.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, has come out against the House bill. While here's no ambiguity in that particular group's position, Roll Call writes, "Obama and his aides have repeatedly suggested that major health organizations are with them on health care reform, but an analysis of these groups’ positions suggests few are completely on board and several may oppose the president in the end."

What does all this mean for next year's elections? In a bold prediction, USA Today headlines, "Health Care Debate Could Affect 2010 Races." Conservative blogger Patrick Ruffini writes that 2010 "could be a big, big year" for the GOP, even a "blowout." CQ's latest analysis of competitive races found "Democrats appear secure in their House majority," though it did find -- naturally, given the results in 2006 and 2008 -- that Democrats are defending a lot more tough seats than Republicans are.

On foreign policy, it's time for another cleanup on Aisle 2, as Hillary Clinton used her appearance on "Meet the Press" Sunday to clarify Joe Biden's latest harsh comments on Russia. The Los Angeles Times says Clinton sought "to take the edge off Biden's recent remarks" after the vice president "roiled relations with Moscow by describing Russia [to the Wall Street Journal] as a country with a badly damaged economy, a fragile banking structure and a leadership that is 'clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable.'" Daniel Drezner worries the Russians will "take this kind of dumbass statement personally. ... The word 'stupid' has been thrown around a lot this week, but I think it applies pretty well to Biden's language."

Up in Alaska, the little-known governor, Sarah Palin, officially stepped down from office Sunday. "She exited office in classic Palin style," Dan Balz writes, which in this case means she took shots at liberals, Hollywood and the media. "How about, in honor of the American soldier, you quit makin' things up?" she said to the assembled reporters. (Or did she? Perhaps The Rundown fabricated that quote to defame the military.) One critic noted the irony that a governor of Alaska -- which arguably benefits from federal help more than any other state -- would warn against taking "government largesse." The Associated Press says Palin steps down amid "questions over her motives and next big move."

By Ben Pershing  |  July 27, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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Hopefully we can all agree that solutions to America’s crisis MUST concentrate on fundamental cost reductions and modern management practices. The industry is a profit driven hodge-podge, and dysfunctional private insurance adds billions in overhead yet contributes zero value to actual care – an imbalance that efficiency driven manufacturing operations would immediately weed out. Solutions must correct the underlying problems – inefficient distribution of services, poor quality control, and an industry dominated by self interest entrepreneurs and middlemen. Many U.S. non-profits offer innovative models to build on – not the stereotypical down and outs, but clean modern clinics with top quality staff that deliver high quality medical and dental services to everyone who walks in the door – insured, uninsured and Medicaid/ Medicare alike. (I’d be happy to show you one!) We can no longer tolerate exclusive business contracts between profit center “providers” (formally doctors and hospitals), grossly inflated pharmaceuticals, an artificially constricted supply of family practitioners, policy agendas written by campaign contributors, and revolving door regulators – then simply talk about “more coverage” and voodoo “socialism”. Otherwise, despite vastly expanded private insurance and unlimited taxpayer funding, American healthcare will continue to rank 43rd in performance, and No. 1 in cost.

Posted by: jdwil | July 27, 2009 9:03 AM




• President Obama must dismantle the nationwide GPS-activated extrajudicial targeting and punishment "torture matrix" and remove from power the federal officials who continue to oversee it.


OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 27, 2009 9:22 AM

A mandate for change consists, in it's simplest form, of an overwhelming majority of voters in favor of a certain ideal.

President Obama and the Democratic leadership... the mandate is there. Stop inviting fools to the bargaining table; they do not deserve the honor of raising opposition to the president and the people's plan for a new future for our children.

We want the health insurance industry to cease profiting from our misfortunes. If I covered the spread on an illicit sports gamble, in any state but Nevada, I'd be prosecuted for illegally enriching myself at the expense of others. Health and disability insurance work on the same EXACT mathematical rules of expected value versus expected cost; why is that particular industry legal to profit from, but I can't bet on the Packers game?

The details of any reform plan are irrelevant as long as each and every one of you remember and are faithful to your mandate. Don't let anyone dissuade you from that goal, don't let any minority reps change your mind.

You were all elected based on a specific and very clear set of mandates. It hasn't even been a year yet since that major political upset and you as a group seem to be more interested in who not to offend than in providing what you promised.

Sweat the midterm elections less and sweat the heavy and vast responsibility of passing true reform legislation for this nations working class more.

If you fail in your first important test of your capacity to champion a new deal for our working class; if you cannot provide a public health insurance option for us, after failing to halt the loss of employer supplied pensions; if you continue to encourage corporate businesses to employ four people at part time wages and zero responsibility for the same job that one full time and fully benefitted employee could do; if you continue in this insane goal of making American workers no more useful to American corporations than outsourced Indian or Chinese contractors, the American Dream will die.

My great grand-uncle fought the national guard AND the state militia in Illinois for the right to a 40 hour work week. He was nearly killed advocating for his right to have a day off once or twice a week.

Many faithful Americans have died for their fervent beliefs in support of the same goals.

Why are you, and all of the American People's other representatives since the 1960's, selling out our right to enjoy a decent family life in exchange for hard work in support of our bosses?

Why are you so against the poor man's right to decent living wage and the bare necessities of health care, when we give more than two-thirds of our waking hours to our employers already?

Do they not have a responsibility to keep us healthy and well? Or, does that responsibility no longer apply when there are 30 other people willing to do your job for less money?

Posted by: sql_yoda | July 27, 2009 11:15 PM

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