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Morning Fix: Health Care Winners and Losers

The Senate Finance Committee's 14-9 vote to send a health-care bill to the Senate floor marked the culmination of months (and months) of debate, hand-wringing and cajoling, and likely set off weeks (and weeks) of debate, hand-wringing and cajoling as the White House seeks to drive the legislation to final passage.

But, yesterday's vote serves as a convenient bookmark in the attempt to reform the health care system and affords us the opportunity to look at some of the winners and losers in the debate to date.

The Fix's picks were put together in conjunction with the Post's Paul Kane and Ben Pershing and are based on conversations with a variety of smart operatives on both sides of the political aisle.

Have winners or losers of your own? The comments section awaits.

WINNERS

Max Baucus: Say what you will about the Montana Democrat but he set up his committee as the place from which the health care bill would emerge, and he delivered. Yes, it's true that all Baucus had to was to keep Democrats in line to pass the bill out of committee but, as anyone who has spent any time at all around the Senate knows, that is far easier said than done.

Maine: The Pine Tree State has been at the center of the health care fight thanks to Sen. Olympia Snowe's (R) spot on the Finance Committee, and it will become increasingly relevant as the floor fight begins in earnest. Why? Because Snowe will still be in every meeting about how the bill can be made better and Sen. Susan Collins (R) is one of the few moderate Republicans the White House can hope will back the legislation.

Nancy-Ann DeParle: The White House's point person on health care on the Hill drew kudos from inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after the Finance Committee vote for the work she did to convince Snowe to vote "yes." Snowe's vote turned what could have been a mediocre story for the White House ("Health Care Bill Passes on Party Line Vote") into a good narrative for them ("Legislation Attracts Republican Backing").

LOSERS

Jay Rockefeller: The West Virginia Democrat was, by far, the most outspoken advocate for the inclusion of a public option in the Senate bill. Snowe's support in committee virtually ensures that the public option won't wind up in the final bill as she is on the record opposing such a move and it's hard to see the White House giving up her support after they won it once.

Chuck Grassley: As the ranking Republican on Finance, Grassley, who has shown a willingness to work across party lines in the past, took himself out of the negotiations on the bill early on -- effectively ceding any ability to influence the legislation. Grassley's pull-out allowed Democrats to paint him as a rank partisan, a portrayal that won't help him as he runs for reelection next fall.

Reconciliation: For the ultra-partisans who were in favor of Democrats trying to pass the bill by simple majority vote, prepare to be disappointed. Snowe's support in committee means that if Democrats can hold their caucus together -- never a sure thing with Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) out there -- they have 61 votes to break a Republican-led filibuster.

AHIP: America's Health Insurance Plans, the umbrella organization of the health insurance industry, tried to short-circuit things at the last minute with a report alleging that the Obama/Baucus plan would ensure that people paid more for their health care coverage. Thanks to a very aggressive response from the White House, the AHIP report was roundly dismissed and left the organization, at least temporarily, on the outside looking in.

Wednesday's Fix Picks:

1. Obama is everywhere all at once.
2. Tpaw wades into health care debate with a plan of his own.
3. Chris Christie overspent federal limits as U.S. attorney.
4. Is Florida Rep. Robert Wexler (D) leaving Congress?
5. Maurice Sendak gives his blessing to movie version of "Where the Wild Things Are".

RGA Attacks Daggett on Radio: In a recognition of his growing relevance in the New Jersey governor's race, the Republican Governors Association is up with radio ads comparing Independent Chris Daggett to Gov. Jon Corzine (D). "The Daggett plan sounds like the Corzine plan . . . but worse," says the ad's narrator of the independent's economic approach, adding that Daggett would seek to raise taxes on -- among other things -- haircuts and dry cleaning. Recent polling shows Daggett moving into double digits, movement due primarily to the nastiness between Corzine and former U.S. attorney Chris Christie (R). The simple fact is that Corzine has a vote ceiling of roughly 44 percent (maybe 45 percent) and, because of that, he needs Daggett to show in double digits or close to it to win.

Hoffman Poll Shows Giannoulias Vulnerable: A survey commissioned by former Chicago inspecter general David Hoffman's (D) Senate campaign shows presumed frontrunner and state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) as decidedly weak. In the poll, which was conducted by Geoff Garin, put Giannoulias at 26 percent followed by Chicago Urban League president Cheryle Jackson at 12 percent and Hoffman at seven percent. But, Giannoulias' lead -- such as it was -- seemed directly attributable to the fact that nearly half the sample (47 percent) knew at "least a little" about him while just 25 percent said the same of Jackson and a meager 16 percent said they knew anything about Hoffman. And, further sticking the knife into Giannoulias, Garin's polling memo said that when voters were informed about the ties between disgraced developer Tony Rezko and Giannoulias's family bank, 55 percent of them expressed major concerns about that connection. Hoffman, little known in Washington as recently as a few weeks ago, has used a $500,000 personal donation (and more than $400,000 raised) to drive himself into relevance. Republicans face a crowded primary but Rep. Mark Kirk (R) is seen as the strong favorite for the nomination.

MoveOn Picks Public Option Fight: Even as Senate Democrats were congratulating themselves for passing President Obama's health care plan out of the Finance Committee, MoveOn.org, a liberal interest group, was launching ads insisting that the bill, which does not contain a public option, was a sham. "The Senate Finance bill is a dream come true for the health insurance industry," says Wendell Potter, a former insurance company executive, in the ad. "If there's no public option, insurance companies aren't going to change." Liberals, particularly in the House, have insisted they will withhold their votes from any health care bill that does not contain a public option. At the same time, leading Democratic Senators have made clear they will not support such a bill. The MoveOn ads, which are running on national cable, are a sign that while one health care hurdle has been cleared by the White House, many more remain before passage is assured.

Click It!: After weeks of taking incoming over her voting record (or lack thereof), former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R) is striking back with a Web video that casts state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner (R) as the "perfect politician" for his past donation to Democrats and his refusal to say who he voted for in the 2004 presidential election.

Simmons Nears $2 Million Raised: Former Connecticut representative Rob Simmons (R) reported raising $967,000 over the last three month in his bid to unseat Sen. Chris Dodd (D). Simmons, who spent three terms in Congress earlier this decade, now has raised $1.7 million and ended September with just over $1 million in the bank to spend on the race. The former Republican member will likely need every dime to win the nomination as he faces two self funders in the GOP primary in former ambassador Tom Foley and World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon. Foley raised $780,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30 -- $500,000 of which came in the form of a personal loan -- and closed the period with $1.2 million on hand. McMahon, who is reportedly ready to spend between $30 and $50 million to win the nomination, has not yet made her fundraising public but has already run a flight of ads in the costly New York City media market to introduce herself to voters.

Say What?: "I know it's not the choice you gave me, but I'm not playing the box game." -- White House press secretary Robert Gibbs refuses to play this game during Tuesday's daily press briefing.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 14, 2009; 5:11 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Comments

As Democrats of the Democratic Party, we join together in seeking reform within the Democratic Party.

Many Democrats already know their elected representatives within the Democratic Party are no longer following in the time-honored footsteps laid down by the founding fathers of our great Nation. More importantly, we as democrats see our elected representatives within the Democratic Party abandoning the values and principles as set forth within the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

At the very least, many of our elected representatives within the Democratic Party are no longer abiding to the sole reason the Democratic-Republican Party was founded by Thomas Jefferson - "Strong state governments with a weaker federal government."

This is only the beginning of our problems as Democrats, for many of our elected representatives within the Democratic Party have clearly set their own agendas over the members of the Democratic Party, our Nation, and the American people. Overall, many of them no longer think of themselves as being our elected representatives, and now refer to themselves as leaders in the true form of tyrants.

Most Democrats already know their pleas are only being answered by repeated insult and injury by their elected representatives within the Democratic Party. Despite this, we as Democrats can restore control of the Democratic Party back to the party members. All we need to do is cut off donations to the local, state, and national headquarters of the Democratic Party, and to make sure the donations are made directly to worthy and honorable Democratic Party candidates.

So spread the message to everyone of our fellow Democrats, for the Democrat members are taking back control of the Democratic Party. Also, please don't forget to contact and request the Unions and other outside contributors to follow our lead as patriotic Americans. Thank you!

Posted by: EPearson1 | October 15, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

As Democrats of the Democratic Party, we join together in seeking reform within the Democratic Party.

Many Democrats already know their elected representatives within the Democratic Party are no longer following in the time-honored footsteps laid down by the founding fathers of our great Nation. More importantly, we as democrats see our elected representatives within the Democratic Party abandoning the values and principles as set forth within the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

At the very least, many of our elected representatives within the Democratic Party are no longer abiding to the sole reason the Democratic-Republican Party was founded by Thomas Jefferson - "Strong state governments with a weaker federal government."

This is only the beginning of our problems as Democrats, for many of our elected representatives within the Democratic Party have clearly set their own agendas over the members of the Democratic Party, our Nation, and the American people. Overall, many of them no longer think of themselves as being our elected representatives, and now refer to themselves as leaders in the true form of tyrants.

Most Democrats already know their pleas are only being answered by repeated insult and injury by their elected representatives within the Democratic Party. Despite this, we as Democrats can restore control of the Democratic Party back to the party members. All we need to do is cut off donations to the local, state, and national headquarters of the Democratic Party, and to make sure the donations are made directly to worthy and honorable Democratic Party candidates.

So spread the message to everyone of our fellow Democrats, for the Democrat members are taking back control of the Democratic Party. Also, please don't forget to contact and request the Unions and other outside contributors to follow our lead as patriotic Americans. Thank you!

Web site: http://www.democraticreformparty.com

Posted by: EPearson1 | October 15, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Obviously the biggest losers are the people in this country who need affordable health care and reform itself. The bill approved by the Senate finance committee is a fraud as "reform."

Twenty-five million people would still be uninsured in ten years, millions of people in the middle class would be more or less forced to buy health insurance care with no subsidies, most benefits conveniently do not go into effect until after the next presidential election, there is no public option and expanded coverage for some would be financed with inevitable higher health care costs for those receiving Medicare benefits.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | October 14, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

It is true that a "robust" public option tied to Medicare rates probably is dead as it has zero chance of passing the Senate. However, Schumer's "even-playing field" or "watered-down" public option has a chance. And Snowe's public option "trigger" has a chance, as do Tom Carper's state-based public option and the public option state opt-out version. The Senate Finance bill already includes the quasi-public option in the form of the Cantwell Amendment which passed on a 12-11 vote in Committee without the support of Snowe and Senator Blanche Lincoln, the most conservative Democrat on the Finance Committee.

The chances of some sort of "non-robust" public option being included in the final legislation are actually fairly strong. One of the keys will be finding the exact sort of public option which can get the votes in both chambers.

A bigger headache and threat to final passage, which has not yet received much attention, is how the bill is paid for. The House is refusing taxes on "Cadillac" benefit plans, but the Senate probably will not support any legislation which goes outside the health care system such as the tax on wealthy individuals, to fund reform. This is the issue that will be the most divisive, as this one even more than the public option, truly pits Democrats against Democrats.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | October 14, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

The "public option" is not a guarantee, just like a boat moving rapidly towards an indefinite shore that never docks.

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

The public Option is the obverse of the mandatory coverage coin. Where ever you can absolutely force people to carry insurance you msut make available an insurer of last resort.

There WILL be people whom no private insurer will cover, for many reasons, and THEY will have to have some Public Option to fall back on.

Then there will be the insurance dodgers, who will, on being caught, need to be simply charged some reasonable fee plus penalties, (Like ten percent more than the second least expensive available policy) and enrolled in the last resort group.

Together that will be the initial constituency for the Public Option. BECAUSE that will actually be a particularly expensive cohort, (it being full of uninsurable people) there will always be a tendency to make the system more self sustaining by making it available to more and more marginal, but healthy, individuals.

Add in the places in this country that lack reasonable medical facilities, (the towns that have no nearby doctors, nurses, clinics, etc,) and the big cities that need to get their hospitals expanded enough to be ready for big epidemics, (like H1N1 meeting its doomsday predictions) and the initial small, focused Insurer of Last Resort will grow apace into a full scale National Health Care System.

And the Tenthers, Birthers, Baggers, Balkers, and Obstructionists can realize their worst nightmares for all eternity.

It IS going to happen, and it IS going to grow.

Just a few soothing words to meditate upon.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 14, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Like I said. Anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah, "proof reading" is required for blog posts, but profanity and name calling is just fine!

==

"are"

grammar much?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 14, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

A real specimen, all right. Out to be preserved in a jar of formaldehyde for future research on wingus nutus americanus.

Posted by: nodebris | October 14, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah, "proof reading" is required for blog posts, but profanity and name calling is just fine!

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I only read the last line. I've seen posts from that cretin before, she's revolting.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 14, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"you sound like some college Marxist"

College? Hardly. College graduates proofread and know that "en masse" is two words.

Posted by: nodebris | October 14, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

is the new rally cry.

==

you sound like some college Marxist who comes to class in a beret

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 14, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Acorns haver insulted and grouped even Democrats into a conservative pile, so no the people enmasse have no further support of anything this DEM administration does.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?????

is the new rally cry.

Posted by: dottydo | October 14, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Rolandm, yes,
In particular I think the part 2 of your post would also help satisfy the tenthers.

The noise from the right since the F committee bill passed has to do with the government forcing private citizens to give their money to private companies or pay a tax to the government.

If you can keep the penalty as an account, you could raise it past the nominal "incentive" amount that is bumming out the private insurers these days and still not have forced subsidy of those private insurers (often for coverage that is so poor the plan is almost worthless for practical purposes). A bilateral incentive?

Posted by: shrink2 | October 14, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

To make Jay Rockefeller a loser so you can play meaningless head games over "Winners & Losers". The public option is dead is pretending the public option had any chance in passing in the finance Committee. It never did. It did pass all the other congressional commeittees and will be in the house bill.If Obama can hold to Democrat's together to block the filibuster and then let the memeber vote we will get a public option. I'm counting on personal promise Obama made to Kennedy over a publish option. Also I hope the insurance industry keeps attacking Health Reform and gets enought Sentators angry and upset they will come over to vote for a puplic option for its is the only way we can stop their unbridled greed and protect the American people. The Republican's and the Health Industry are connected by the hip and only want to block any reform so the boys in boardrooms of the insurance companies can go back to business as usual and continue to allow people to die and gouge the living at of all their life-time savings.

Posted by: tomatochelsea | October 14, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Two compromises between the five plans now being considered could move this legislation forward with worthwhile results:

(1) Create a national public option program and allow each individual state to opt in or out of it. States opting out could participate in the insurance exchange with private insurers only and if they wish with regional coops. If this approach were adopted, the New England, Middle Atlantic, and eastern Midwestern states would likely opt in (enough to have a substantial public option). The Southern states would likely opt out. Western states like Conrad's North Dakota and Baucus's Montana would like opt out of the public option but, given their Granger tradition, might opt in for regional coops. This arrangement would satisfy the Amendent 10 purists like Pawlenty (and many moderate Republicans) while providing a true national debate and a true experimental mix for the next decade.

(2) Penalize people who do not buy insurance (enough to address the AHIP's concerns over too small a pool), but take this money and, for each person penalized, put it in a personal medical expense savings account, accessible only for paying medical bills or for buying into insurance at some later time. This way the penalty is not a tax, it is a savings account, and the experience of seeing it all evaporate as a result of some medical emergency may well convince people of the wisdom of being insured.

We can do this. Let's meet half way for the sake of our country and fellow citizens.

Posted by: roland_menge | October 14, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

As another reader has pointed out to me, Schumer and Reid seem good and mad about the insurance industry's machinations in preventing insurance reform -- mad enough to want to remove their historical protection from anti-trust law.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1009/28276.html

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 14, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

You've given us a plethora of points to discuss/snarl over today!

Health Care Winners and Losers:

I'm not quite sure that Max Baucus will ultimately emerge a winner, despite an undeniable short-term victory in getting the Bill out of committee at all.

If the Bill as it stands (or nearly so) becomes THE health 'reform' Bill, then it will indeed do all the bad things the insurance companies insist it will, making matters worse, not better. Thank God for the reconciling process amongst the Bills.

AHIP: For such a usually smooth operation, they were remarkably maladroit in their last-minute desperation attempt at rolling out their Price Waterhouse 'analysis'. It actually had the opposite effect--not just b/c of the WH response you cited--but by stiffening the resolve of last-minute wavering senators to vote FOR the Bill. Their veiled threat to the public didn't go down to well either.

Christie:

ANOTHER near scandal? Better the devil you know, etc. I think R.'s will have to content themselves with a win in VA.

Wexler:

It's too bad. Wexler, for all his hyperbole, was sincere and yet knew how to 'play the game'. He was a great spokesman for his point of view. I hope his new job will allow him to comment occasionally from the sidelines.

Meg Whitman:

Too little, too late. Damage is done.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | October 14, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

HELEN THOMAS IS RIGHT: OBAMA NEEDS TO SHOW COURAGE -- ON SEVERAL FRONTS


The Baucus health care reform sell-out subsidizes the insurance industry on the backs of consumers who would be legally bound to purchase their product with no firm guarantees of reasonably priced premiums or universal access to coverage.

Simply put, the bill puts profits over people. Nixon's health care reform proposals, which mandated employer coverage, offered the American people much more in the way of real reform than this exercise in political surrender.

The White House cannot afford to further alienate its tenuous hold on the core of its political support in the Democratic Party by mollifying a single lone Republican, who went out of her way to qualify her support.

GOP intransigence and President Obama's unwillingness to lead have only stiffened liberal and progressive opposition to this sop to the insurance industry, Big Pharma, and the GOP "corporate communists" (to borrow a phrase from MSNBC's Dylan Rattigan).

The bill as passed by the committee is worse than no bill at all. Democrats must just say no to health care appeasement and demand that President Obama live up to his campaign prescription of real reform -- not a cruel joke on the American people.

Speaking of which:


***


COVERT U.S. GOV'T DEPLOYMENT OF MICROWAVE/LASER RADIATION 'DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS' AGAINST U.S. CITIZENS MAKES HEALTH CARE REFORM A CRUEL JOKE

Access to health care doesn't help untold thousands of unjustly targeted Americans recover from the devastating physiological effects of being silently irradiated by microwave and laser radiation "directed energy weapons"...

...weaponization of the electromagnetic spectrum, a silent Bush-Cheney legacy "final solution" that may have naive officials of the Obama administration in its high-tech ideological cross-hairs.

This technology is capable of altering moods, emotions, inducing fatigue, weakness, exhaustion, confusion, life-altering injury, disease and a slow-kill death.

FOR THE REST OF THE STORY:

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
OR (if link is corrupted): http://NowPUblic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 14, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

A gentleman added a post on Saturday that suggested that people go to www.Dearpolitician.org to write your politicians. Of course, he made it sound too-good-to-be-true, but I checked it out and found it to be a legit website that is pretty cool. The one thing that caught my attention is that they had a section called "Things Americans Should Know". The interesting thing about this section is that it has the complete, US Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and Pledge of Allegiance all in audio format. They have the text version, but face it, who reads all of those documents. They actually have all of those documents professionally recorded. I listened to all of them Saturday, after hearing the news of more American soldiers getting killed, I felt I could at least listen to the documents they list their lives to protect. I recommend everyone take the time to visit www.dearpolitician.org and listen to the most important documents we are all trying to protect.

Posted by: slidergoosemonkey | October 14, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Well I thought the Cantwell ammendment to the Baucus "Mark" was approved/added.

"State Opt-Out
Beginning in 2015, the Chairman‘s Mark provides an opportunity for states to apply for a waiver to opt out of certain aspects of this Act through a waiver process. States may be granted a waiver if the state applies to the Secretary to provide health care coverage that is at least as comprehensive as required under the Chairman‘s Mark. States may seek a waiver through a process similar to Medicaid and CHIP. If the State submits a waiver to the Secretary, the Secretary must respond no later than 180 days and if the Secretary refuses to grant a waiver, the Secretary must notify the State and Congress about why the waiver was not granted.
The Mark requires states to meet the requirements of this Act such that all residents have affordable, quality insurance coverage shall be eligible for a waiver of applicable Federal health-related program requirements.
In order to be eligible to receive a waiver under this section, states must demonstrate that:
(1) the state plan provides health care coverage to its residents that is at least as comprehensive as the coverage required under an exchange plan and with citizen input through a referenda or similar means;
(2) the state plan will ensure that all residents have coverage;
(3) the state submits an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require, including a comprehensive description of the State legislation or plan for implementing the State-based health plan; and
15
(4) the state submits a ten-year budget for the plan that is budget neutral to the Federal government."

Posted by: shrink2 | October 14, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

scrivener50, the Cheneys just called. Please phone Dick and say you'd love to join their new lobbying firm!

Posted by: NotBubba | October 14, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"DDawd, I love that idea of letting the states opt out of offering a public option if they chose. I 'd love to see how many would actually opt out. heh. I understand that any and all can opt out of participating in medicar and medicaid, but we haven't seen THAT happen, have we?

Posted by: margaretmeyers"

I think it's a good idea too. Might also be more politically viable for the states to let the firestorm die down a bit before opting back in.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 14, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitol-briefing/2009/10/rep_wexler_resigning_for_think.html?hpid=topnews

I think the URL says it all. Too bad, I liked him. Also memorable for going on Colbert to say he enjoys hookers and crack.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 14, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

DDawd, I love that idea of letting the states opt out of offering a public option if they chose. I 'd love to see how many would actually opt out. heh. I understand that any and all can opt out of participating in medicar and medicaid, but we haven't seen THAT happen, have we?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 14, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

As to Rockefeller, I would only comment that sometimes you sacrifice a pawn as part of your strategy to win in chess. I'm sure that if he thought the possibility of a public option was now foreclosed, he would have voted no. The spotlight now shifts to Harry Reid, who can put the public option in and force the opposition to muster 60 votes to take it out. Are those beads of sweat emerging on his forehead?

When the vote comes up for the final vote in the senate, it will be very difficult for moderate Ds and Rs to vote no and shovel dirt on its coffin. There's a lot of "strategery" involved here. The real winners and losers will emerge when the curtain falls in the last act.

Posted by: optimyst | October 14, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised Christie is attacking Dagget. I thought Dagget was drawing the majority of his support from disappointed Democrats. Isn't Christie risking driving those voters back to Corzine?

Posted by: nodebris | October 14, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"How could they call themselves Republicans if they supported a massive new government healthcare bureacacy"

That would make a lot more sense if the last GOP president and congress didn't initiate and pass a massive, unfunded expansion of Medicare.

Posted by: nodebris | October 14, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/07/dems-discussing-public-op_n_313054.html

What about this proposal? It allows states to opt out of the public option at their own discretion.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 14, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

It's called a "phyrric victory" when you win the battle but lose the war. How much longer can you bury your head in the sand and ignore the fact that social security/medicare/medicaid and the United Socialist States of America IS BANKRUPT! Nimrod-in-chief clearly does not grasp the concept of actually paying for something. But, by god, you now have voted for the sleeves out of my vest. Good Luck!

Posted by: IQ168 | October 14, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

AndyR3, the important difference between having medicaid/medicaid as the public option versus FEHP is that FEHP offers many more policies by more insurers. In PA, medicaid offers just 3 policies, while my FEHB had over 18. It would also allow uninsured working people to join other working people in a pool, as opposed to a public assistance program. I think a lot of uninsured working people would be able to pay for their own policies if they could join FEHP. And Bangkokian should be glad to know that FEHP would offer him/her exactly what it offers Senators (if he lives in the DC metro area).

Chris, I love the thinking about Corzine-Christie-Dagget. It explains Christie's falter that has not benefited Corzine. It's kind of like a jobless recovery, isn't it?

My question is, everybody mentions Snowe and Collins as swing votes here. Voinovich has also voted with the Democrats in the past. We hear nothing about him. He isn't running again -- couldn't he also be a swing voter?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 14, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

The public option is coming, but at a time when the (Socialism!) noise over the cost of portability, rescission and everybody pays for everybody (the substrate of universal coverage) has died down. To push it now would be to kill it. The only way a country this size with the proportion of people in poverty we have can pay for the three items above is single payer.

The American middle class can not insure the American poor unless the middle class is really healthy and frankly, optimistic about its future. That is the great challenge.

I said last week "as the dow powers through 10,000" etc., will we end up like countries with very strong equity markets but a tiny middle class?

Universal health care the way we want it does not exist in any large country until you get to Japan, a country with (1)(a little over) one third our population and (2)a far smaller proportion of people in poverty and (3) a very strong culture bound social (as opposed to rugged individualism) compact.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 14, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

A trigger will never work. The insurance companies know how to play the game. They will do just enough to keep the trigger from happening. In the meantime Americans will suffer and die.

The Repubs do not care one iota about Americans who do not have health care.

Sick dogs.

Posted by: DownriverDem | October 14, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

ABOUT THE 'FIX' COMMENT THAT 'THEY' APPARENTLY DON'T WANT YOU TO READ

Once again, a comment intended for "The Fix" today has elicited a full-screen "held for blog owner" message -- despite the fact the The Washington Post's web sites generally do not "hold" comments "for the blog owner" unless the software detects foul language.

I have reason to believe that my comment was subject to blatant CENSORSHIP and/or prior restraint imposed by U.S. government "fusion center" operatives who apparently use warrantless surveillance programs (and "spoofed," or faked, web pages) to harass and censor "targeted" U.S. citizens, in violation of their constitutional rights.

This journalist has written extensively about this issue; in recent weeks, the instances of blatant censorship had diminished in frequency. Apparently, this draconian censorship of U.S. media sites and reader comments continues.

For those who may be interested in what the apparent censors do NOT want you to read:

You may (or may not, depending on the extent of the censorship) find the commentary at http://poynter.org under the "Reporting and Writing" forum; or at the end of the following thread of the ACLU "Freedom Blog" (thanks to the ACLU for making this link available):

http://blog.aclu.org/2009/01/26/internet-filters-voluntary-ok-not-government-mandate

I also intend to post the apparently censored "Fix" post in the "comments" section of my blog site under the article: "How U.S. Spy Ops Censor Web Political Speech," at: http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 14, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"As I understand it alot of senators support the idea of the letting the public buy into the FEHP as a possible public option since the system is already in place."

Does anyone know if Snowe supports this, as a trigger option?

Posted by: drindl | October 14, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Winners/Losers?

We are just now moving forward in the Senate putting together one bill from the 4 out of the committees.

Without a public option, there are no winners. We will not forget those who sold us out.

Posted by: DownriverDem | October 14, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

bobfbell,
I completely disagree, the insurance industry greatly misplayed their had on this last attempt to spoil the bill. First off nobody trusts insurance companies to begin with, and when they put out a 'study' the day before the biggest vote to date on healthcare reform it looks like what it is, a political hell mary.

There is a sense of inertia in DC that this will pass in some form. With Snowe on board I would expect some other moderate GOPers will start to look at possibly standing behind this bill (look for George LeMieux to possibly vote yes for this since Crist has already come out for healthcare reform).

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 14, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Excuse me. I still don't understand why anyone should feel optimistic. Give me the odds that the conference committee will turn out a bill with a public option.

The Insurance lobby rules and the public gets the shaft again.

Posted by: llnstoner | October 14, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Does Olympia Snowe want to run for President? She has the opportunity. She has emerged as the shepherd of health care reform. She is smart to take the long view in her public statements.

Everyone else is responding to this rumor and that rhetorical flourish (even Senator Wyden, who has been at this for years seems irritable and reactionary), the White House included. Senator Snowe is acting like a grown up.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 14, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I think its funny that Republicans are being beat up by Democrats and the liberal controlled MSM for opposing Obamacare. Why wouldn't they? How could they call themselves Republicans if they supported a massive new government healthcare bureacacy, massive government instrusion into 1/6 of the American economy, massive amounts of goverment debt to pay for it and massive tax increases? What exactly would be different between a Democrat and a Republican? Also, I don't remember the Democrats being labeled the party of no by the media when they opposed Republicans efforts to reform the bakrupt social security system.

Posted by: RobT1 | October 14, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

YAY Move On. BOO GOP!

Posted by: JONWINDY | October 14, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Really premature to declare a final score between "winners" and "losers." We are just heading into the 4th quarter and the game is still on the line.

Pardon my cynicism but I believe the health care insurance industry has played the game masterfully to date. They played rope a dope initially lulling their opponents into a false sense that they would be part of the solution and help to mend some of the most obvious abuses in the system. At the same time they continued to work their constituencies in the Congress to demonize any "public option" as a betrayal of the free enterprise system and sure path to killing grannie. Then, when the public was dazed and confused, they sent in the fresh reserves in the third quarter to put the nail in the coffin: a political version of the WILDCAT offense designed to confuse citizens about how any health care reform bill would mean increases in their premiums.

The end result of how insurance has played the game is that after the opponents have played hard for three quarters and are getting a bit tired, the team wearing the insurance unis is fresh and have shifted the momentum their way.

Next will come the two minute drill; Big Insurance will pull out all the stops; a new Harry and Louise will emerge off the bench, the trainers will come on to the field during a time out to dispense more GATORADE (AKA lobbying funds and renewed campaign contributions) to revitalize and renew the home team and its cheerleaders.

If sports has proven anything to us it is that the game is not over until the clock registers 0:00. We are a long way from that point.

Posted by: bobfbell | October 14, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

EVERY American should DEMAND that we, the tax payers, be entitled to the SAME health insurance program enjoyed by the super privileged members of Congress. Those GOPers who keep opposing the health care reform are such hypocrites who don't give a hoot about the suffering majority of the populace while they have all the perks. The report by CBS news on Congress's health insurance should arouse the ire the public NOW and demand equal treatment.

Posted by: Bangkokian | October 14, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Will Health Care Reform improve or worsen the overall quality of Health Care?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=6290

.

Posted by: usadblake | October 14, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Mark,
As I understand it alot of senators support the idea of the letting the public buy into the FEHP as a possible public option since the system is already in place. The other option is that people can buy into Medicare, which would be a more direct public option. I don't think this later option will fly with the moderate dems in the senate, so I see a 5 year trigger being included that has the FEHP as the model for the public option.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 14, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Going after Daggett? They're getting worried. This might actually drive some traffic to him.

As for this outside-the-beltway thinking, please enlighten us. Or is it simply easier to take pot shots?

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 14, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I also agree with AndyR about the centrist Ds. The euphoria that Ds felt about becoming a majority party was based on a strategy by Dean and Schumer to run centrist or conservative Ds in conservative areas. If Ds want to be a national and not a bicoastal party they will have to deal with that. The alternative is to cede the plains west and the mountain west and even the coastal south to the Rs.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 14, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Thank, Andy. Did I hear her correctly on FEHB?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 14, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Mike, I think Liebermann's supporters want him to vote against it no matter what, and I think he will follow what they say. I think you will see the White House and Harry Reid pressuring Collins alot more then they will Liebermann.

Also I think as long as there is no direct public option added then Snowe will stay on board. The idea of a trigger (probably after 5 years) is OK with Snowe so I think that will be added in conference with the house. I would also like to see Chris Dodd shelf his proposal in leau of the Baucus/Snowe Plan.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 14, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

As to Lieberman and a perhaps a few other conservative Democrats--is it possible that, even if they don't support the bill and eventually vote "no," they will still not go along with a Republican filibuster?

I can see Lieberman in particular (as an independent) being kicked out of the Dem caucus for filibustering with the Republicans--that's process, not policy. Most voters will only care how their senator voted on the bill itself. Lobbyists and deep-pocketed PACs, of course, will remember the cloture vote.

Posted by: mikenmidland | October 14, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

BTW,
This is just like Pawlenty to come out with a plan when the issue has already been decided. CC, I think you need to empose a no Pawlenty post rule on yourself for a week. You seem to be the only person who cares about this guy.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 14, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Mark,
She has said in the past that trigger would work for her, and I think that will be the carrot that they offer the House when they meld the deals.
I would also say that moderate democrats in general are winners too. They got the bill they wanted and have come out of the first 9 months of this congress in the driver seat of where the agenda goes. That is a good thing I think for the Democratic prospects in the next election.
Liebermann isn't going to vote for this because every major insurance company is incorporated in hartford. He is a paid stooge of the health insurance compainies and he will vote the way they want him too. I would focus on making up his loss with Collins and possibly someone like Burr in NC.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 14, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I think you have it all wrong about the public option. The insurance industry has now dropped to the bottom in trust by the public. the latest report was a lie and shown to be so. The actual possibility of a strong public option has increased immensely. Senator Snowe will now back a strong public option as well if included. She has signed on not understanding the implications that she is now forced to vote on any overall healthcare bill and the White House amplyfying her participation was a brilliant move to force her vote, no matter what!

Posted by: marden1 | October 14, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Cillizza gives us his view as someone from inside the beltway. That is not how the rest of America thinks.

Posted by: edgar_sousa | October 14, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

I want confirmation on two statements I thought I heard while half listening to the SFC on my 'puter.

I thought I heard Sen. Snowe complain that the competitive option should have been the Fed Employees Health Care Plan. She said it would be hard to explain to voters why they did not have the same options as Senators, I think.

Second, she floated the idea of a triggered public option, right?

So if the conference committee takes her input, would that mean that a triggered public option of buy-in to FEHP would be on the table? Or have I been guilty of half listening and not hearing?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 14, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

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