Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Is the Public Option Dead?

Josh Marshall reports the public option is dead.

The AP is reporting that the Senate Dems have come to a tentative deal, which drops the Public Option from the senate health care bill. What is in its place, if anything, is not clear.

The Associated Press lacks details about why the public option was dropped. What is clear is Majority Leader Harry Reid ruled ruled cloture to pass the public option with less than 60 votes. This is a tactical mistake. I understand the Senate health care bill would be debated and voted on in piece meal. I actually think that is a great idea.

The good news is Sen. Ben Nelson's anti-abortion amendment failed on a 54 to 45 vote. Nelson said the amendment's failure "makes it harder to be supportive." Like Nelson was actually going to vote for the public option. Nelson just wanted to get his amendment in.

What is clear is President Barack Obama's lack of leadership on the public option. Mainly, the President and Rahm Emanuel have been trying to kill the public option. As much as people such as Kenneth Quinnell, want to have you believe the fantasy that Obama supported the public option. Obama told Senate Democrats he prefers a trigger. Obama spoke to Senate Democrats this weekend and didn't once mention the public option or Nelson's anti-abortion amendment. Obama is not conserned with protecting women reproductive rights or creating a competitive health care market. Obama wants a political victory and to increase business of the health insurance industry. The lobbying money from insurance companies will help Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

Cenk Uygur blasts Obama for not lobbying for the public option. Is this the change Democratic voters were expecting?

Update: Jay Rockefeller confirms there will be no Medicaid expansion deal.

This afternoon, Jay Rockefeller said that the new proposal to expand Medicaid coverage for those who are 133% to 150% above the federal poverty line was dropped during a meeting of key legislators this morning. “I was sad this morning,” Rockefeller told me and a few other reporters. “We walked in, and it was 133[%] to 140[%], then it’s staying at 133... So we didn’t get anything.”

Kent Conrad said Governors did not want to pay funding into Medicaid. Considering the current economic situation that is understandable.

Update: the opt-out public option is gone. Medicare will be expanded for people 55 to 64 for people 133 percent above the poverty line. The idea is to reduce cost. We just added people to the Medicare rolls that can't afford health insurance. There are good arguments to add these people for medical and humanitarian reasons. The Senate is not addressing rising health care cost. That was the whole point of the debate. This is a victory for the health industry lobbyists.

I am not even going to waste my time discussing the trigger.

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At December 09, 2009 12:24 AM , Anonymous marly said...

The people of this country need an option to purchase public health insurance. It is the right thing to do. Congress should focus on doing that for a change!

At December 09, 2009 9:53 AM , Blogger Kenneth said...

Again, it's not a fantasy that Obama said "I support the public option." He said that, not me.

Your explanation is a logical one, that he was lying when he said that and he never supported a public option. Another possible explanation is that he supported it and when he realized it wouldn't passed he compromised on another option. This second explanation makes more sense to me.

On a public level, it is certainly fair to say that Obama didn't lobby enough for the public option, although neither you nor I know what he did privately.

At December 09, 2009 7:03 PM , Blogger Michael Hussey said...

Kenneth, my view is more cynical. Obama's Chief of Staff was pushing for the trigger in the early summer. Reid also sharses blame for not going for a cloture vote. I understand the bill would have been split. I'm happy with that.

There are probaly many progressives that would support a 2012 primary challenger to Obama. (Howard Dean?) The President needs to engage the base and create jobs. If he doesn't then he is going to be a one term President.

At December 11, 2009 2:05 PM , Blogger tas said...

The President may support cute, furry puppies that lick your face because they are just too damn cute, too. In fact, Obama may have even been on the record numerous times stating, "Yes, in fact I enjoy the company of cute, furry puppies that lick my face because they are too damn cute." However, if something bad is happening to these cute puppies and the extent of Obama's support are a few statements, then he's not providing leadership for the cause of cute puppies.

We can say whatever nasty things we want about the Bush administration, but one thing they were effective in doing is providing leadership for the actions they want to take. Bush often campaigned across America to get his way. Remember the run up to the Iraq War? The foundation for that war was built on a massive public relations campaign to shift public opinion far enough to allow that war to happen. Like I said, I don't like the actions but you have to admire the leadership. Bush and his cronies took charge and got shit done. I don't see this leadership attitude with Obama... Instead, I see a president who isn't campaigning, and the Congressional leaders for the minority party turning his administration into a lame duck presidency.

Obama can say what he wants but unless he takes more action, it means nothing at this point.


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