Obama Talks to Senate Democrats
President Barack Obama urged Senate Democrats to finish work on the health care bill. The President met with Democrats near the Senate floor. Obama did not address controversial issues, such as the House Stupak-Pitts anti-abortion amendment or using cloture. Obama's talk was a pep rally speech that didn't affect Democrats on the liberal or conservative ends. Sen. Roland Burris reiterated he will only support a bill with the public option.
"My position has not changed at all," said Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL). "I've compromised from a single payer, to a strong public option with Medicare plus five, to now a negotiated bill with an opt out. So I've made my moves."
Sen. Ben Nelson will continue, in his attempts, to kill the health care bill.
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) told reporters Obama's presentation was only persuasive to those who have already decided to vote for the bill. "I think he was...for those who have made a decision to be supportive, I think he was persuasive," Nelson said.
Nelson's stance his to support his base: lobbyists. OpenSecrets.org reveals Nelson has benefitted from the generosity of insurance companies and the health care industries.
Insurance - $1,258,299
Health Professionals - $452,045
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products - $288,583
Nelson is using the House's Stupak-Pitts amendment as a devisive wedge to kill the health care bill. The Hyde amendment already makes federal funds for abortion illegal. What Nelson is pushing for is force health insurers to drop abortion coverage. Insurance companies paticipating in the health care exchanges do not want to worry about being in violation of federal laws. It is easier for health insurance companies to drop abortion coverage. Nelson has always been anti-abortion. Nelson didn't voice his concerns about abortion coverage until after the Stupak-Pitts amendment was placed in the House bill.
Ezra Klein argues the public option is not necessary for the health care bill.
Do we allow a health care bill that will not allow Medicare to negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry for lower drug prices? The government is forbidden from making the same kind of deals Wal-Mart makes with the pharmaceutical companies.
Do we want a bill that would discourage health insurance companies from providing private coverage for abortions? Let alone the restrictions put on publicly financed abortions.
Do we want a bill that would mandate every American buying health insurance but no public option or exchanges to control costs?
My answer to these questions is a resounding no.