Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pelosi Bites Blue Dogs

Let’s hear it for Nancy Pelosi!  I have often called on her to step down as Speaker if favor of someone with the gumption not to cave in to Repuglicans and Bush Dogs.  Nevertheless, when she does something right, integrity demands that I give her credit due.  This time she did.

nancy-pelosi ...Pelosi is planning to include a government-run public option in the House version of the healthcare bill. She wants to model it on Medicare, with providers getting reimbursed on a scale pegged to Medicare rates.

"The speaker is full-steam-ahead," said a senior Democratic aide.

But a Pelosi aide said nothing is final, and the proposal to revert to the more left-leaning version of the language would be vetted before the entire Democratic Caucus.

Blue Dog Democrats, many of whom represent rural districts where Medicare reimbursement rates are low, vehemently oppose tying the public option to Medicare.

Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and a group of fellow Blue Dogs had negotiated a deal with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in July that would remove the link to Medicare. Under that plan, officials with the government-run plan would negotiate individually with providers.

That move, which drew howls of protest from liberal members, prevented the bill from getting stuck in committee. But Ross returned from the August break saying he couldn't support a public option under any circumstances, essentially withdrawing his support for the deal.

Pelosi is now effectively withdrawing her support. In leadership meetings last week, she said the public option in the House bill should be linked to Medicare.

Other Blue Dogs involved in the deal have said they realized the public option they negotiated was likely to change before it went to the floor.

Pelosi has also told her fellow leaders she still wants an income surtax on the wealthy, rather than a tax on "Cadillac" health plans, as a means to help pay the $1 trillion cost of the bill. The rest is to be made up with savings in Medicare by eliminating wasteful spending.

That will worry many members who led the charge against the surtax when it was rolled out.

Pelosi wants decisions on the public option and tax this week. She wants to produce a bill that will be a starting point for negotiations among the disparate and, at times, warring factions of the Democratic Caucus.

"The Speaker is committed to having a strong public option in the House bill because it is the best way to promote competition, control cost and keep the insurance companies honest," said Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami. "The caucus continues to meet to discuss the legislation and its provisions."... [emphasis added]

Inserted from <The Hill>

The way BARF is currently set up, many middle class people will be hit by the surcharge, breaking Obama’s promise not to raise takes on people making under $250,000.  It also contains no adjustment for inflation and no control on what rates companies charge.  During the campaign, Obama said he will finance health care with a tax on the wealthy.  Since they got all the benefits from the Bush/GOP tax cuts, it’s only fair that these people give some of that largesse back.

BARF currently contains no public option, without which thwe insurance has no incentive to keep rates down, and without which, millions will be left out with no insurance and no way to pay for health care.


the walking man said...

A public plan with no teeth to force lowering of private rates is as ineffective as trying to form a bi-partisan program.

Annette said...

The House I believe has the votes to push it through with the public option.. if they do.. that's what they should go for.. the hell with them..

If the Senate can get it done with no republican votes.. and if they push the rethugs I don't think they dare filibuster the health care.. I really don't.. if they do, it will be suicide for them..

I honestly think when it comes down to the final vote there will be some who will vote for anything that is put out there, just because they know someone has to.

TomCat said...

Mark, how do you figure that a public option has no teeth? If I can get public insurance at 3/4 the expense of private insurance, and it's just as good (if not better), I'd go public. The only way private insurance can compete is to cut into those huge profits and lower rates.

Interesting thought on the Senate, Annette. You may be right.

Randal Graves said...

But if they are forced to give back, how will the economy grow in order to fund your socialism? It's class warfare, I tells ya!

Stimpson said...

I'm wondering ... maybe Pelosi and company had to be seen to be giving the Blue Dogs a chance to be team players before finally telling them to piss off. Cuz now Pelosi can say she tried to be reasonable with them but they weren't interested in reason. Maybe the "compromise" attempts were all part of a mainstream Dem strategy.

Naw, fuck that. That's giving Pelosi too much credit.

Brother Tim said...

I'll give Pelosi the benefit of the doubt...........again. But I'll not endanger my health by holding my breath.

the walking man said...

a public plan that is only as good as expanded medicaid is a public plan with no teeth, I am writing this from a hospital where a young friend of mine has just undergone medicaid paid for surgery and no doctor showed up after the opening of her belly was done(endometriosis), no monitor was on her during her time in recovery and she is being discharged as soon as she urinates, That is a bare bones minimum plan with no teeth that will not force insurance companies to do shit.

Jack Jodell said...

Mike Ross should be booted from Congress. The only people he represents are big pharma and health insurance companies! His district overwhelmingly supports public option, but he's working against it all the way. "Begone, Satan!"

TomCat said...

Folks, please be nice to Randal. He's been smoking the Kool-Aid... again. ;-)

Stimson, I had the same thought, but considering her long history of caving in, and considering that she knows that, if she does not pull this off, she will be the next famous politician on Dancing with the Stars, I think she grew some courage out of sheer necessity.

Brother, I hear that clearly!!

Mark, I believe that expanding medicaid is part of BARF, not the public option, which more closely resembles Medicare.

Thanks, Jack. One of yours, I suspect? If so, do to him what we Oregon progressives did to goose-stepping Gordon Smith. Add him to the unemployment roll.