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Traditional Public Option Foes Faltering as PCCC Takes Support Fight to Harry Reid, Nevada Airwaves with New Ad

Traditional Public Option Foes Faltering as PCCC Takes Support Fight to Harry Reid, Nevada Airwaves with New Ad

This may come as a surprise to viewers of Glenn Beck, but the “public option” is maintaining its popularity –  57% support for a public option — as indicated in a Washington Post-ABC  poll, released Oct. 19.  But despite the polling and Beck’s ramblings, the Obama administration continues to indicate publicly that they favor a public option, but that its presence in the final bill isn’t essential.

 

 

By all accounts the final battle for a health care reform bill is set; apparently, it is a fight that will take place solely within the majority party and largely within the senate.  The GOP minority, along with the health insurance lobby and conservative media outlets, will participate, but as an outside force bent on killing reform.  Their attacks, while numerous and well publicized, are having little to no effect upon public support.

 

AHIP’s ‘Hatchet Job’ Backfires

The latest salvo from the insurance lobby came in the form of a America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) report.  The report was meant as a warning to the Senate Finance Committee, released on Oct. 12, the day before the committee’s vote which sent their version of a reform bill on to the full senate.  Upon closer examination of the AHIP report — which warned of higher premiums as a result of reform — it became apparent that its gloomy forecast was a false assessment, examining only parts of the Senate Finance bill.

 

Further, as Paul Krugman noted in his Oct. 15 New York Times column, the result of the AHIP “hatchet job” was to signal policy makers on how to improve health care reform:

 

One [AHIP] argument was particularly striking: the claim that attempts to limit Medicare spending would lead to higher insurance premiums. In fact, the report assumes that 100 percent of any reduction in Medicare payments to hospitals will translate into higher costs for patients with private insurance…

 

…What’s more, this argument stands the usual logic of markets on its head: if you believe AHIP’s story, competition raises prices instead of reducing them. And it doesn’t matter where the competition comes from: anyone who gets a better deal, whether it’s Medicare or a private insurer, makes life worse for everyone else. I don’t believe that, and neither should you.

 

…Specifically, it claims that a public insurance option would be a bad thing — not because it would be inefficient, but because the public plan would negotiate better prices. Isn’t that an argument for, not against, such a plan?

 

 

In Krugman’s view, AHIP was “overreaching,” crying wolf about a version of the bill which had already been weakened by senators seeking to appease industry lobbyists.  By strengthening the proposed health exchange and individual mandate, the pool of insured could be large enough to ensure a level of competition that would put downward pressure on prices.

 

“The insurance industry won’t like these changes,” Krugman notes, and as a result of AHIP’s behavior, “that matters less than it did a week ago.”

 

Glenn Beck…*sigh* Well, Just Doing His Thing

Likewise, conservative media opposition doesn’t seem hold the sway it did in recent weeks.  Perhaps it never did, but the level of noise generated by right-wing commentators, echoed in the mainstream press, often gives the illusion of influence.  Consider the Oct. 12 assertion from Glen Beck, that forty-five per-cent of doctors “say they’ll quit” if health reform passes.

 

Of course, this is absurd.  Politifact.com noted Oct. 15 that Beck’s claim is based upon a false reading of a bad poll.  In the same manor that health insurance lobbyists are overreaching, as Krugman indicated, Beck is unwittingly signaling congress that they need not be timid in their reform efforts.

 

Yet, the fact remains that the Obama administration, while supportive of a public option as a means to ensure competition, won’t go so far as to demand it.  They’ve done well to confront their critics as they have recently, publicly questioning the objectivity of Beck’s employer.  Obama, himself, addressed the dishonest resistance posed by AHIP and others within his most recent (Oct. 17) weekly address to the nation.

 

These are positive signs for those urging the White House to show some spine in defending health care reform in general, and specifically, a public option.  What we’re still anxiously waiting for, though, is for the administration to stand up to the foot-draggers within their own party.

 

As always, thanks for reading, and be sure to let me know what you think.  Will Obama bring the Democrats into line?  If not, there are some willing to do so on his behalf.

 

PCCC Pressures Harry Reid with New Ad

From The Hill, Oct. 19:

 

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) launched an ad in Nevada urging Sen. Harry Reid to muscle through a public option as part of healthcare reform.

 

As majority leader, Reid (D-Nev.) is responsible for merging the Senate [Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions] Committee’s legislation with the bill passed by the Finance Committee. A number of leading Senate liberals have publicly urged Reid to include a public plan…

 

This is not the first time they have sought to encourage Reid.  As I noted in my Oct. 9 post, the PCCC petitioned Reid to strip uncooperative Democrats of the committee leadership posts should they facilitate a Republican filibuster.  That was a suggestion.  This new effort sounds more like a threat.

 

Here’s the PCCC ad:

According to the PCCC, since their campaign was featured on MSNBC‘s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Oct. 19, the progressive organization has already raised enough to air the above ad 194 times.

 

I think the PCCC is applying they’re pressure on the proper target.  With Obama’s approval rating at 57% and rising (also from the WaPo-ABC poll), focusing such a campaign at the president could have undesirable consequences, possibly pushing reluctant Democrats further away from a public option.

 

Elsewhere on Care2:

Mark Seltzer, “Health Insurance Reform Priorities,” Oct. 19. – Seltzer encourages readers to try an intellectual exersize, prioritizing 13 separate insurance reform goals.

 

Sign the Petition – Health Care is a Right, Not a Privilege

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Image from Flickr.com user, borman818 via CreativeCommons.org

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12:52PM PST on Feb 16, 2010

The Public Option LIVES!!!!

For months now D.C. insiders and T.V. blowhards have said the public option is dead, but Senator Michael Bennet (CO) just proved them wrong and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Jeff Merkley (OR), and Sherrod Brown (OH) have already stood up to join him.

These four Senate Healthcare Heroes are circulating a letter calling on Majority Leader Reid to use reconciliation to pass healthcare reform with the choice of a public option.

CLICK HERE TO SEE A SAMPLE SCRIPT AND REPORT YOUR CALL
http://act.boldprogressives.org/cms/call/bennet_letter/?source=dfa1

Thanks to your hard work, 120 House Democrats signed and delivered the Polis/Pingree letter to Harry Reid a little over a week ago.

Four Senate Healthcare Heroes saw that leadership and your hard work -- and aren't sitting around and hoping for change -- they're taking the lead and making it happen.

Think of it this way: if this was a football game, House Democrats threw the Senate a Hail Mary pass and these four Senators just caught it. But now, they have to score the touchdown. That means we need to call on other Senators to join them.

So today, members of Democracy for America, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, CREDO Action, and MoveOn are calling their Senators and demanding they sign Senator Bennet's Public Option letter too -- and join these Healthcare Heroes in fighting for real reform.

We won't quit until we win.

Charles Chamberlain, Political Director
D

12:15AM PDT on Oct 28, 2009

Lets see the once great nation AMERICA now borrowing from China to support our needs! From a Country that once lent billions to other country's cause they had nothing, we have now become the beggers. You progressives make me sick, ss in the hole how many trillions? medicare and medicad in the hole how many? These programs have worked how? They substain people thats it. Now they want health care, i bet if you asked your dr. if you paid cash it might just cost less, and as for leaving this site cause you dont agree with someone thats tuff this site has been highjacked by the left a few years back, been here for a long time and have seen it go from caring about your pets to THIS>

6:13PM PDT on Oct 25, 2009

Cindy,
Again I agree with your taxation theory completely and with the necessity to expand the income of the middle class. The middle class and the poor have been losing ground to the cost of living for years and the rich just keep getting richer.
Oh, by the way, you and Steve R. have shown me that the public option is possible and Harry Reid ,etal have come up with a plan that even the Republican conservatives should (but probably won't) accept. Now if we can get Medicare fraud under control it would reduce our deficit even further. Thanks for your enlightening input. I will always keep an open mind to others views on a subject.

5:08AM PDT on Oct 25, 2009

"Cindy, Again I don't disagree with you. I was just trying to make the point that currently our federal deficit is equivalent to $4700 for each citizen of the US."

Yeah; no problem. I understand the math, but also tend to think it's a rather pointless, and potentially frightening (I don't have an extra $4700!!!) calculation. It's on par with saying that the average spent on luxury yachts and trips to the Seychelles is $X / year for the average American.

Meanwhile, I think the poor should not be taxed; those communities need all the money they have and then some. Plus the middle class is a far better tax revenue base when its income is expanded. Increasing middle class income should be the priority; tax revenue will grow significantly if we do that. Lastly, the top marignal rates need to go back to historical norms (immediately reverse Bush-era tax cuts; and perhaps add a few percentage points to make up for lost revenue during the Bush years.)

That's what I'd support, and what I believe Obama was advocating during the campaign.

-cindy

3:33PM PDT on Oct 24, 2009

Cindy, Again I don't disagree with you. I was just trying to make the point that currently our federal deficit is equivalent to $4700 for each citizen of the US. Of course I don't believe the poor and middle class should have their taxes increased by that much. That would be stupid. I also believe the Republican philosophy of continually cutting taxes but keeping spending at the same levels or cutting spending by gutting worthwhile programs is wrong. But I also believe it is wrong to expect the government to keep growing larger without having to raise taxes to cover the increased expense. We have to do it in our own lives, why shouldn't the federal government have to also?
Also, I lost my job and had to choose a different career due to Reagonomics, so you don't have to convince me that it was wrong. I just disagree with the way our federal government has been headed with their runaway spending since Clinton left office after balancing the federal budget. Things haven't improved in that area since the Democrats took over congress and the White House this year and that is disappointing. With all the work that has been done to get us out of the recession, it is still spending as usual in congress. All the new jobs created in the federal government just this year add not only new salary expenses for them but also for the huge staff of people each of them have to hire to help them do the job they were appointed to do. That needs to be offset by cuts in jobs that aren't needed.

2:14AM PDT on Oct 24, 2009

BTW, Roger, this is not really accurate, in a practical sense:

"it would cost us an additional $4700 in taxes annually per person"

We have a progressive tax system. Folks who make $40 grand a year would pay next to nothing. Folks who make $100 grand a year, might pay a few hundred more. But over a 40-year work-life, the 40K/yr folks earn about $2.4 million less than the 100K/year folks. So even paying little to no additional tax has built-in suckiness for the 40K folks, when comparing.

Meanwhile, the $300 grand and above earners pay a bunch, and in fact do fund a lot of government services for the rest of us, already. Philisophically one might argue they're entitled to keep all they make, but that would be greedy, stupid or whatever you want to call it. The economy would implode; and no one would make money or pay taxes.

Once again, the Republican/Conservative postulate, that began in earnest with Reagan, has failed. History proves that quite conclusively.

-cindy

1:52AM PDT on Oct 24, 2009

I think this is a bit reactionary, Roger:

"Cindy, Our country is definately currently or durng the GWB years getting their money's worth when deficit spending is basically selling our country to the Peaple's Republic of China and any other country-friendly or enemy that wants to buy Treasury bonds to help finance our greedy deficit spending."

The Chinese are not buying our country; they're loaning us money. New Amsterdam, which became New York, will not become New Beijing ... be calm my American brother.

The US also had huge debt following WWII. But the top marginal tax rate was around 80%, which helped bring us out and created immense US wealth. It's now 35% for everything above 380 or so grand per year.

So Americans need to stop being stupid by voting for Republicans (I think it's motivated by fear and ignorance, not greed.) We need to raise taxes on higher wage earners, and increase lower and middle incomes, which worked great under Truman and Clinton. That benefits everyone, including the upper classes, since the wealthy become stinking wealthier when the society is empowered to buy stuff; and when more of what we (our government) spends buying stuff instead of paying interest (that's nearing 10% of everything our government/we spends ... close to $400 Billion that could buy stuff for our country and from our businesses -- and people, in the form of civil servant wages.)

Reaganomics was exactly wrong. We can see that now.

-cindy

9:30PM PDT on Oct 23, 2009

Cindy, Our country is definately currently or durng the GWB years getting their money's worth when deficit spending is basically selling our country to the Peaple's Republic of China and any other country-friendly or enemy that wants to buy Treasury bonds to help finance our greedy deficit spending. Are we getting our money's worth when we have to continually lay off more US workers so we can pay the interest on those Treasury bonds by continually increasing the imports from the countries that we sold those Treasury bonds to. Look in the stores and tell me that most things being sold aren't made in other countries (mainly China which holds TRILLIONS of dollars of US Treasury bonds). We want lower taxes but demand increasingly more government services and studies and allow the are just as guilty of causing runaway government deficits as our representatives in congress. I have always been a proponent of a balanced budget ammendment to the constitution. If we could get that through congress and get taxes back up to the levels needed to cover our current federal budget (it would cost us an additional $4700 in taxes annually per person) and maybe we could start actually paying off our multitrillion dollar national debt and reduce our unemployment rate by allowing us to decrease our imports and actually recreate jobs here in the US. You see anyone that doesn't fight to get our federal deficit under control and still demands more government sevices and lower taxes is a hypocrit.

11:44AM PDT on Oct 23, 2009

"Comparing congress' and our President's salaries to salaries in the private sector is absurd. People supposedly get into politics to because they want to serve the public, not because of the pay increases they can give themseves"

Really? You believe that only the financially independent should serve? Well, here's a short list of presidents who could not have served absent a reasonable salary, which by your definition is "greedy."

John Adams ($25,000/yr)
Abraham Lincoln ($25,000/yr)
Harry Truman (~$125,000/yr)

I think the country got our money's worth, and then some. (Had we paid GW Bush $1 billion a year to NOT serve, we would have saved 100s of Billions)

Your thinking is absurd, if you actually "think" about it.

-cindy

10:12AM PDT on Oct 23, 2009

Cindy,
Comparing congress' and our President's salaries to salaries in the private sector is absurd. People supposedly get into politics to because they want to serve the public, not because of the pay increases they can give themseves. Many people in congress voted against giving themselves pay raises when the money wasn't there. For that they should be commended. The ones I am bashing are the ones who voted for the pay raises when the money wasn't there.
Steve R. To answer your question about Medicare and choice of medical providers, the "Medicare and You 2009" handbook that they sent my wife makes no mention of requiring you to go to only 'Medicare approved' medical providers. All medical providers are "Medicare Approved" even chiropractors.
You will never have a public option that will pay 100% of all your medical costs. Even Medicare has a copay up to a cetain dollar limit. That isn't even on the table but you can always dream. The " Medicare discount" means that my insurance and Medicare pay for each medical procedure or office visit at a certain dollar ammount. If a medical provider charges more than that, the part that is discounted is written off by the medical provider after you pay your share of the copay.
You see, my wife has MS and I deal with insurance claims, prescription claims and Medicare claims on almost a daily basis. I am very familiar with both my for-profit insurance and with Medicare, which apparently you are not.

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