Monday, August 17, 2009

What's Actually Going on With the Public Option?

Yesterday evening and this morning that was the question on everyone's mind and tongues. Was the President backing away, is he dropping the Public Option. Has he sold us out?

That was the topic of conversation at the places I frequent the most on the web. Everyone had their opinion and most of them was that the President and Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary had sold us down the river and done away with the Public Option, and gone the way of the Co-Ops.

Ezra Klein wrote about it today in his column at the Washington Post and he said about what I felt about it.. it is much ado about nothing, to borrow a phrase. People are so used to being screwed over they are parsing every word and can't wait for this President and everyone around him to just dump on them.

This happens every few days or about every other week. Here is what Klein said,

I wish I'd had the foresight and vision to keep a Word document tracking every time the administration "hedged" or squirmed or twisted on the public option. I've lost count of the number of headlines and blog posts I've read accusing the White House of throwing the public option overboard. This week, the big news is that Kathleen Sebelius said the public option should not "be the only focus of the conversation." Which is, you know, true. She also telegraphed an openness to Kent Conrad's co-op compromise. This story is currently on A1 of The Washington Post, the New York Times, and pretty much everywhere else.

But is it news? I remember when the problem was Nancy-Ann DeParle saying the president supported the public option because you needed a way "keeping the private plans honest," but then qualifying that statement by saying, "if there are others ways of doing that [than a public option], he’d be open to talking about it." That was in April.

And I remember Sebelius saying that "you could theoretically design a co-op plan that had the same attributes as a public plan.” That was in June.

As far as I can tell, there's been no change in the administration's position. It has always supported a public plan option. It has never claimed it essential, or the only path to competition in the insurance market. The one deviation came in July, when Obama said the words "must include" in a sentence that also had the words "public option." But it's not clear whether he was talking about the health insurance exchange or the public option. And that only happened, to my knowledge, once. That statement, not this one, was the deviation.

The question has never been whether the White House supports the public option. It's whether Congress -- and, in particular, the Senate -- has the votes to pass it. Sebelius's statement this week does not change the administration's position. But it is being widely reported because it comes in context of the sagging popularity of health-care reform, and the changing conventional wisdom on the legislative politics. Namely, many think it increasingly likely that the White House will have to compromise on the public option because it will not be able to find sufficient votes in the Senate and is growing more desperate for a deal. That may or may not be true, but that's the actual story here. Blowing up Sebelius's comments is just a backdoor way of getting at it.

I agree with Ezra.. There was no change.. but it caused the White House or Gibbs or some other spokesperson to have to come out and say forcefully that the President still supports the Public Option and has not changed his mind.. Yet, the papers and blogs and all the cable channels this morning are still screaming that he has.

People, get a grip... the media is not our friend. Don't believe what they say. They are in the pocket of big business and they are going to do whatever they can to kill Health Care reform. Listen to the President when he speaks. Listen to Dr. Dean, to Pres. Clinton, but don't listen to these idiots who are out there making a buck trying to interpret what the President is saying.. like Chuck Todd.. Who said today and Saturday and Friday, the Public Option is dead. The Co-Ops are what we are going to have.

Sorry, Chuck.. I think you are very, very wrong.

I believe we have the votes in the House to pass a bill possibly HR 3200, which is a pretty good bill all things considered, with a strong Public Option.

In the Senate, Bob Cesca has a piece up and he writes that Guru Nate Silver has it all figured out:

According to Nate Silver and Chris Bowers, there are currently 43 senators who support the public option. There are an additional five who appear to be convincible. And there are seven who are against the public option, but who haven't said they'd vote against a reform bill with the public option included. Lumping the convincible five on top of the 43 definites, that's 48. Two more and Joe Biden gives us a majority.

The blue dogs could actually, in a back-door way, vote for the public option without literally voting for it. Ten of them could vote against the GOP filibuster and against the final bill. There just needs to be the political will from the White House and congressional leadership to thread this needle.

So, all the gnashing of teeth, wailing, whining and pulling of hair is really just us reading the papers and listening to the talking heads and playing right into the Rethuglican hands. That's all it is.. As long as we think it is dead and roll over and let them have it, they win...

So, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and stop it.. quit listening to every word out of everyone's mouth like it is stabbing you in the heart. Trust me, NO ONE.. NO ONE is giving up or dropping the Public Option. Got that...

Let me repeat that... One more time..


Now, that doesn't mean we should just sit back and do nothing... We need to stay involved and stay busy... so here is what we need to do. Again, I go back to Bob Cesca, because he put this all together for us, Bob does great work and I appreciate it immensely.

The New Coalition of the Corrupt & Spineless:

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

Harry Reid (D-NV) (just because)
Phone: 202-224-3542
Fax: 202-224-7327

Max Baucus (D-MT)
Phone: 202-224-2651
Fax: 202-224-0515

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) (supports public option, but needs reinforcements)
Phone: (202) 224-5521

Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) (supports public option, but needs reinforcements)
Phone: (202) 224-4843
Fax: (202) 228-1371

Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Phone: (202)224-5824
Fax: (202) 224-9735

Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Phone: (202) 224-2043
Fax: (202) 224-7776

Joe Lieberman (I-Douchebaggia)
Phone: (202) 224-4041
Fax: (202) 224-9750

Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Phone: (202) 224-5623
Fax: (202) 228-1377

Ben Nelson (D-NE)
Phone: (202) 224-6551
Fax: 202-228-0012

Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Phone: 202-224-5274
Fax: 202-228-2183

Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (supports the public option, but needs reinforcements)
Phone: (202) 224-6542
Fax: (202) 228-3027

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (202) 228-3954

Tom Carper (D-DE)
Phone: (202) 224-2441
Fax: (202) 228-2190

Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Phone: 202-224-3441
Fax: 202-228-0514

Mark Warner (D-VA)
Phone: 202-224-2023
Fax: 202-224-6295

Mark Pryor (D-AR)
Phone: (202) 224-2353
Fax: (202) 228-0908


Overall: 72 percent
Dem: 87 percent
Ind: 73 percent
Rep: 50 percent

Overall: 76 percent

Overall: 83 percent support

Lake Research:
Overall: 73 percent
Dem: 77 percent
Ind: 79 percent
Rep: 63 percent

Consumer Reports:
Overall: 66 percent

Kaiser Health:
Overall: 67 percent
Dem: 80 percent
Ind: 60 percent
Rep: 49 percent

Now, my advice is this... Go to Senate Locator and then find the EMail addresses for each of these Senators, then open your email program, write a short email and use the poll numbers in your email.. Remind them that you are a Democrat and so are they. DO NOT MENTION THAT YOU DO NOT LIVE IN THEIR DISTRICT. THAT'S WHY I AM SAYING TO USE YOUR PERSONAL EMAIL, IF YOU USE THE FORM ON THEIR WEB SITE IT WILL ASK FOR YOUR LOCATION AND IF YOU DO NOT LIVE IN THEIR DISTRICT THEY WILL IGNORE YOU.

Keep your emails short, courteous, and polite, thank them and sign your name. Again... only your email address.. no phone number, no home address..

Now, you have your marching orders... lol Thanks to Bob Cesca, Ezra Klein and everyone else for all your hard work... Don't be discouraged... and please.. don't parse words.. The President has not changed his mind, neither has anyone else..

Just to show how funny this all is.. someone even said that Kathleen said the same thing over and over again... So she is consistent... So what made yesterday different that threw everyone in a tailspin? That's what Ezra Klein was pointing out in his article.

Thanks, and get to work.

One more thing... again from Bob..

-House Ways & Means - PASSED - "Strong" public option
-House Education & Labor - PASSED - Public option
-House Energy & Commerce - PASSED - Public option

-The reconciled final House "Tri-Committee" Bill passed with a strong public option.

-Senate HELP Committee - PASSED - Public option
-Senate Finance Committee - The name for our pain

Just a reminder....We have a bill from the House.. All we are waiting on is the Senate Finance Committee.. then Reconciliation. So, why are we worried?


nonnie9999 said...

i just watched a video of howard dean on this morning's morning joe, and he made me feel better. he said that the public option will probably be taken out of the senate bill so that it will pass, and later on, the house will put it back in. the video is in this diary. i can't figure out how to embed it.

majii said...

Thanks, Annette,
I've been calling and emailing congresscritters and the WH for about three weeks. DailyKos also has a link to a form to which you can add your name expressing thanks to the progressives in Congress. I am willing to stay the course. I'd like to see a huge march on Washington after the congressional recess, but it seems there's not enough support for it. About 3 weeks ago on DKos someone suggested Labor Day weekend, but I haven't heard or read anything since. Please send me an email if you hear anything about this.

DaBomb said...

Hi Annette,

I usually comment on Bob Cesca's blog. And I appreciate your support of the president. You don't immediately jump to conclusions and you are being proactive instead reactive.

Thanks for the insightful posts and blogs.