Countdown to the Health Care Summit…

On Monday, the White House released its plan for health care reform, which resembles the Senate bill with additional concessions for liberals and labor unions. Tomorrow, President Obama will hold a televised health care summit. Obama is billing the summit as a last-ditch attempt to solicit Republican ideas for health care reform. In fact, he’s hoping to give the GOP enough rope to hang itself.

It takes two…

As Katrina vanden Huevel argues in the Nation, bipartisanship takes two parties, but the Republicans have refused to negotiate unless health care reform starts over from scratch. That’s not bipartisanship, that’s showboating. President Obama is giving the Republicans one last chance to waste the entire country’s time so that he can point to the sorry spectacle and say, “Look, what they made us do.”

In other words, the White House has finally accepted what progressives have been saying for months: There’s no way to pass an acceptable health care reform without using the budget reconciliation process to circumvent the filibuster.

What’s in the White House plan?

What does the White House want for health reform? Kevin Drum of Mother Jones summarizes some highlights of the Obama plan: Increasing premium subsidies for working families; delaying the so-called “Cadillac” tax on expensive health plans and increasing the threshold at which plans are subject to tax; and empowering the Department of Health and Human Services to crack down on exploitative premium hikes, like the 39% increase recently announced by Anthem of California.

In AlterNet, Byard Duncan points to a lesser-known but important facet of the president’s plan, reviving the Indian Health Care Improvement Act—which would modernize the Indian health care system, which serves 1.9 million Native Americans and indigenous Alaskans, and not a moment too soon. American Indians are 3 times more likely to die of diabetes, 5 times more likely to die of alcoholism, and 6 times more likely to die of tuberculosis than any other ethnic group. If Obama’s plan is approved, the Indian Health Service (IHS) will get a 13% budget increase to address these and other pressing issues.

Stupak, stopped?

Abortion continues to cast a shadow over health reform. As Nick Baumann explains in Mother Jones, the original House health care bill only passed by 5 votes. Then Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) resigned and Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) died. Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) only voted for the House bill because he liked the Stupak abortion funding ban, which is no longer operative. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and his coalition of anti-choice Democrats supported health reform last time around in exchange for their notorious amendment. Nobody knows how many of them Speaker Nancy Pelosi can keep in the fold. At this point, she has the counter-intuitive advantage of having nothing to offer them.

The Senate’s abortion language can’t be modified through reconciliation for procedural reasons. The Stupack Pack’s bluff has been called: Either they’ll kill health reform out of spite, or they’ll fall into line. They could go either way.

Speaking of abortion, Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check reports that “Amelia”, a young pregnant woman in Nicaragua is being denied chemotherapy because it might hurt her fetus. Amelia’s doctors say she needs an abortion, but all abortion is illegal in Nicaragua. Nicaraguan women’s groups are urging people to write to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Nicaraguan government officials to protest.


This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. 

photo credit: thanks to ProgressOhio via flickr for the pic
By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger


Erin R.
Erin R7 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Cate S.
Cate S7 years ago

The USA is the only nation in the developed world which does not provide some form of health care for all of its citizens. Almost all civilized countries brought in some form of universal health care/health insurance shortly after World War 2. The USA also has the most expensive health care in the world. Finally, the US has a far higher abortion rates than most European countries. A nation is judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens,

Edith M.
Edith M.7 years ago

I listened intently to all the comments made at the Healthcare Summit today. Many were constructive, on both sides, Democrats and Republicans. However, McCain and Cantor stood as almost rude and Cantor says the same thing every time I see him. He was a joke with the pile of papers in front of him. My point is, that is not how we want our representatives working for us. I certainly would never vote for either, after seeing their conduct. It was very enlightening. I wish they would just pass the Health Care Bill and get it over with. It is long over due!.

Dusty D.
Past Member 7 years ago

I know this is off the subject, but if you will just take a moment to look at my Petition-I would appreciate it kindly. Thanks!

John Smith
John Smith7 years ago

thank for the post

Judith S.
Judith S7 years ago


Harriet J. B.
Harriet B7 years ago

I don't think so, but maybe; just maybe, something good can result from this.

Carole Tokaruk
Carole Tokaruk7 years ago

It appears to me that Obama wants to railroad this health bill through " doing it Obama way".And then blaming the other side if it fails. It is a sad statement of our society that thinks the killing of the most defenseless of humans is part of Health Care. Let's pay for true health and anything more should (not really) be paid by that person. Even then it is still not right.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons7 years ago

quit trying to appease the GOP for petes sake just make health care for all an executive order. Add health to the bill of rights. We don't want a watered down health reform that mandates people who have no money have to buy insurance or be fined or jailed. We want real health care reform with a public option or no deal.

Edward Craig
Edward Craig7 years ago

Single-payer is what we need.