Here’s the DCCC talking points & plan for h/c vote

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Since the Democrats intend to actually vote on the health insurance bail out next week, now that Speaker Pelosi has repeated that the Public Option is Off of Our Table, and said,

 “I’m quite sad that a public option isn’t in there. ”  


Sad in the Baby Seal Syndrome way, as she also said she was for single payer, herself  (eyeroll icon øø),

….   they’ve sent out a memo with the schedule (try not to laugh too hard at the thought of the them sticking to one) and some talking points for Congresspeople to take back to their districts during the Easter vacation.   They also told the members to just shut up on reconciliation:……

“At this point, we have to just rip the band-aid off and have a vote – up or down; yes or no?” the memo said. “Things like reconciliation and what the rules committee does is INSIDE BASEBALL.”

“People who try and start arguments about process on this are almost always against the actual policy substance too, often times for purely political reasons.”

I take it they are going to do everything in their power to prevent just that – an up or down vote – from occurring with the Senate and the Public Option, so look for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ proposed amendment to mysteriously and quietly vanish into the ether.  

They think that a final vote may occur Friday Mar 19 or Sat the 20th, before the President begins his Indonesia and Australia trip.   First the CBO must score it for cost, probably done by Monday, then the House must approve using reconciliation to pass it, then the bill goes to the Rules Committee, gets posted online, and a 72 Hour Clock will start.  Then a Manager’s Amendment will be posted online, which allegedly can overlap with the other Rules Committee Reconciliation Clock, and then a final vote can occur or the Democrats can screw this up further or the Republicans can figure out how to grandstand it.

Here are the talking points for the Easter Bunnies to take back to their districts, from the DCCC memo, aka page #14…

This is the stuff that voters don’t have to wait four years to see happen:


•tax credits for small businesses to buy insurance coverage

• prohibit children’s pre existing conditions exclusions in all new plans

•temporary high risk pool for those who do have pre existing conditions

•prohibits dropping sick people from insurance that they have already, if they have the temerity to get sick  

• eliminate lifetime caps and restrictive annual limits

• some sort of premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high admin costs (I’d like to see the enforcement mechanism on this and the other things)

• more appeals process for new plans (no wonder the bleeping lawyers like it)

• require plans to cover dependent children on the same plan to age 26

• require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost sharing

• the senior citizens on Medicare get to get rid of the *** **** prescription drug Donut Hole  


You can see some great things in here, IF, and this is a mighty big if, there are serious enforcement mechanisms. ( The America of the 21 Century: Hi mom and dad ! Not only am I still living in your basement, single, unemployed and in credit and old school loan debt, but I’m on your insurance ….  )

But one can also see the one gaping, glaring flaw-  existing, for profit, private health insurance companies are also going to be highly motivated to not offer new policies with these restrictions, which leaves people out of having anywhere to go, except to an expensive, high risk state pool, because there IS NO PUBLIC OPTION.  

Meanwhile, President Obama is suffering from buyer’s remorse, because he wants to strip enticing things out of the Senate version of the bill that were used to entice Senators to vote for it in return for forgetting all about that pesky Public Option.  The Senators are cranky.  Really can’t blame them.  What’s with this, President Obama, you bought ’em, you own ’em now.…   Vermont (Leahy and Sanders), Massachusetts (Kerry, is that you? thought so) , Connecticut (home of Joe Lieberman and Chris Dodd), Florida (the other Nelson), Montana (Baucus), Louisiana (Landrieu, the Oil Creature who also gets so much DSCC $ ), the Dakotas (Kent Conrad). And don’t forget Ben Nelson’s Nebraska and his Cornhusker deal so his state gets lots more Medicaid money in perpetuity.

 My guess is that most of them will stay in, but the President scores points for trying to please heartless Republicans and upset House Dems who are jealous that they didn’t get nicer things, too.  My further belief is that if they would actually benefit some desperately sick people, and not just end up as kickbacks in some bureaucrat’s pocket, that they ought to stay in.  But that they ought to be further expanded to any state with Senators that are actually voting for the bill.

Oh wait. That would cost money.  Well, yes, when one gets too bipartisanshipthingee, that can can happen.  When one has to compete with the Urban DC Legend that the Republicans have crafted about domestic entitlement spending supposedly bankrupting us, but they IGNORE MILITARY AND DOD CONTRACTOR ENTITLEMENTS in that category, and then make bills that still let private companies go on being creative about making ways to not remit insurance benefits, you end up with this.

I disagree with the memo’s author that watching the Democratic majority Senate of 58 hide behind procedure, and the perpetual excuse of the threatened filibuster, so we don’t get to see who’s too chicken to vote against a cost saving, life saving, and humane piece of health care legislation, is merely politics and being done for “purely political” reasons.  It is us, the voters, being told to wait four more years,  who have to deal with the negative consequences and figure out ways to protect ourselves from the unexpected.  The Senate merely goes on being The Chamber of No.


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  1. ….  should be an interesting Easter break.

    Glenn Greenwald at Salon, has updated his “The Democrats scam becomes more transparent”

    As I’ve noted before, the column I’ve written which has produced the highest level of hate mail over the past year (in terms of volume and intensity) was when I compiled the evidence back in August that the White House was working to ensure there’d be no public option in the final bill at exactly the same time Obama was publicly insisting he favored it. The very idea that the President might be saying one thing in public and doing the opposite in private was outrageous and conspiratorial; a politician (or, at least, Barack Obama) would never do such a thing.  Yet all along, that’s exactly what the White House was doing, and it continues to do exactly that even though there is, at least, a significant chance that there are sufficient votes to enact the public option.  That’s the reason their explanations and excuses make no sense:  because the real reason there’s no public option — they don’t want one — is the one they can’t or won’t admit.

    • Xanthe on March 14, 2010 at 19:36

    a little long in the tooth?  I know, I know – and who am I to talk – I just paid off some bills for my 40 year old son so he wouldn’t lose his condo.  

    I wonder how high the premiums will be to keep 20 somethings on.  And actually I see the sense of it for undergraduate school but graduate school – Is this a signal not to expect employers to continue insurance – or a signal there just won’t be the jobs out there.

    Or was it a votegetting device for younger people?

    The larger point is:  Obama and the DLC look like incompetents since it has taken so long to get the damn bill done and it changes incessantly.  It’s a Rube Goldberg so who knows how the thing will work out anyway?  As it gathers deals rolling along, it looks like one of those formless monsters who are growing in all directions before our very eyes on some space tv program.  

  2. when debating with your favorite dittohead.

    Many from the low info crowd take issue with the matter of health care being a “right” in this country. The Declaration of Independence mentioned the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” How can this be achieved without access to adequate healthcare? Ask them to explain this.

    It seems that public education is a right, but not the means to ensure that a child enjoys sufficient health to benefit from their time in school?

    These corporatist shills gladly give the health insurers and providers a pass, instead blaming our problems on the people of our country, citing unhealthy living habits. Granted, the U. S. seems to have the highest obesity rate in the world (which is likely due to multiple factors, and really, could be a full story in and of itself), but there are at least 15 other major countries with higher rates of smoking and alcohol consumption, longer life expectancy and yet pay a lower percentage of their GDP for healthcare.

    Many of the same people who foam at the mouth at every penny of taxes paid to the government will gladly fork over even more to the private corporations.  

    You can see the underlying data for yourself here and here.                                                    

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