The media, conservatives and the democratic deficit hawks are telling America that the cost of reforming America's health care system better not add one red cent to the deficit. Why doesn't the librul media explain to America that we are paying 10 billion dollars a month on two wars that Americans hate?

I asked Rep. Alan Grayson on a live chat on C&L how much the US of A spends each month on the wars, and he answered thus:

The appropriated cost is around $10 billion a month, which is enough to pay for the entire health care plan by itself. But that doesn't include the future health care costs for injured American soldiers, which is staggering. Nor the cost to the Iraqis or Afghans, of course.

Our soldiers get killed or maimed by one war that has been botched by Bush and we're no closer to a solution in Afghanistan after eight years of occupation and another war that Bush lied us into known as Iraq. The media is uncomfortable whenever we use the word "lie," for some reason. I wish they could give us a truer description of what happened, don't you?

Yet, the media never bothers to explain to us how much money we are actually spending each month that does NOTHING to help Americans. Well, it does fund the military complex and mercenaries like Blackwater, but why the f*&k does it matter to these budget freaks if we have to spend some jack to save the health-care system in the long run? Have they completely decided that America is staying in both countries endlessly and the costs for sustaining these wars is a non-issue?

UPDATE: You can donate to our "No Means No!" Afghanistan action here.



Blue America Alert: Blanche Lincoln now supports a quality, affordable public plan!

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For the first time since the health care debate started, Blanche Lincoln has made a positive statement about the public option. Blue America is scheduled to run ads today against her previous position that said she was worried a public plan would hurt the insurance companies.

“We want to keep what works in the private industry and make it better,” Lincoln told Arkansas reporters in a conference call today. “There’s a lot of discussion about what else we might need that we can’t get from the private sector.”

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One of our biggest concerns is that it doesn’t need to be a government plan that usurps that ability to compete in the marketplace, which I’m concerned that a totally government-run option would do,” she said.

She was afraid the poor, poor health insurers would be a cryin'. Greg Sargent at the Washington Post's Plum Line called her office and asked Blanche for comment on Monday about the ads that Blue America is running. Here's her response.

It came in the form of an op-ed today. What timing, right?

Looks like pressure from the left might be getting results, albeit limited ones, in the case of “centrist” Dem Senator Blanche Lincoln, who has been resisting any commitment to backing a public health care option.

Lincoln, who’s getting hammered by ads demanding she commit to the public option, has now shifted towards supporting one, at least in rhetorical terms. In a piece for today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, she says the final health care reform should include a public plan or a non-profit substitute.

Here’s the key graf from Lincoln (the piece is subscription only):

Health care reform must build upon what works and improve inefficiencies. Individuals should be able to choose from a range of quality health insurance plans. Options should include private plans as well as a quality, affordable public plan or non-profit plan that can accomplish the same goals as those of a public plan.

The assertion that reform “should” have a public plan or non-profit substitute is a shift from her previous position, which was only that she was “evaluating” a public plan or a substitute.

Lincoln’s position had made her a top target of the left. The Blue America PAC, which is headed by liberal bloggers Howie Klein, Jane Hamsher, John Amato and Digby, raised money for ads targeting Lincoln in her home state of Arkansas, pushing her to commit to a public option...read on

Yes, she left herself a little wiggle room, but that's what the pols have all been doing so far in the health-care debate. She's now much closer to Chuck Schumer's position than that of Max Baucus. Lincoln actually used Blue America's framing in her op-ed. We're not done yet, but all I can say is that this was made possible by your contributions and a lot of hard work by the brilliant Digby and the rest of the Blue America PAC.

d-day writes this:

In this op-ed, Lincoln makes absolutely no mention of an employer mandate to provide coverage to their workers, which Wal-Mart, America's largest employer and a virtual kingmaker in Arkansas, signed onto this week. Instead, Lincoln goes out of her way to support a public insurance option in competition with private insurance. There are weasel words there, of course - note the "non-profit plan that can accomplish the same goals." But in the final analysis, two events happened to Blanche Lincoln in health care recently - Wal-Mart's sign-on to the employer mandate and the prospect of Blue America running ads in her state ($25,000 can go a fairly long way on cable in Arkansas, by the way). She chose to specifically align herself with the element of health care policy that Blue America endorses.

But she's not all the way there, so we plan to keep pushing. But this should be a valuable lesson - every small thing you do to advance solutions to the health care crisis can make a difference. The political animals in the Senate know that on this high-profile vote, defying the public on a popular plank will cause them some difficulty. It's up to us to make sure of that.

Please support the Campaign for Health Care Choice so we can continue to raise the pressure on the ConservaDems who want to hijack this crucial policy goal

By the way, Greg Sargent's blog is a must-read every day.



Urban Study Group explains why a "Public Option" is needed

Blue America's Campaign For Health Care Choice has been awesome and I want to thank so many of you for donating and taking part in our latest campaign to expose Blanche Lincoln's non-support of the public option. You can still participate.

The liberal blogosphere is rising up against the Democratic Senators who up to this point are blocking any kind of health-care reform in America. Adam writes in Open Left: Progressives Got Our Mojo -- Holding Senate Dems Accountable

Fortunately, the public option is not muddy at all. It appears to be one big sweet spot for progressive activism -- with movement actors fighting on Obama's side (and on the side of 76% of Americans) against lame corporate Democrats who are standing in the way of Obama's agenda.

Better news -- progressives aren't missing this opportunity! We're going for it! We're fighting hard and strategically. Check out these five TV ads by movement actors...read on

Hullabaloo found this gem of a report from The Urban Institute:

The Urban Institute has released a study on the public plan option that should be of interest to those who are following this debate. They focus on the competition factor, particularly on the fact that consolidation and concentration have already made any complaints on that count moot, something we've written about here a few times:

This paper makes the argument that a public plan is important to health reform because it will contribute to cost containment, primarily by addressing problems caused by increased concentration in insurance and hospital markets. We describe how the public plan might be structured, how many people might be expected to enroll, and how much money the public plan might save. We discuss the most frequent arguments that are made in opposition to the public plan. We conclude that the private insurance industry would survive at about the same size but be more efficient and more effective in controlling health care spending.

Continue reading »



Even as Obama begins to cave on real health insurance reform Blue America will push back

I wrote some nice words about Kathleen Sibelius the last few days because she was able to articulate the phony arguments against a vibrant public option, but it looks like the administration is pulling her back.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Sebelius said that President Barack Obama does not want to drive health insurers out of business, but make them more competitive by offering working families and small businesses the option of a public plan without the high overhead costs of marketing, administration and profits. "I think there is a lot of understanding that the private market has really failed to provide affordable coverage to Americans," Sebelius said. The industry has had "a lot of opportunities" to get rid of coverage restrictions and other unpopular policies, Sebelius said, and really "hasn't served Americans very well."

However, Sebelius stressed that Obama is open to compromise on the shape of the public plan, which doesn't have to be run by the government. She spoke positively of a compromise idea that envisions consumer-owned nonprofit cooperatives, like rural electricity or agriculture co-ops. They would get started with seed money from taxpayers but then compete without government control. The plan by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., may end up in a health overhaul bill to be unveiled by the Senate Finance Committee this week.

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But White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Obama is not likely to budge on his demand for a public insurance option. Axelrod said Obama isn't wedded to the public plan being either entirely funded or run by the government and is open to "variations on the theme."

Sibelius also said on NPR that the single payer plan is off the table. We knew that already, but for her to articulate it this way is awful. The fact that she says members of Congress didn't understand the health care debate just shows how either how frakkin' stupid they all are or how corrupt. They knew what they were doing when they torpedoed Clinton's plan and it was led by the Jim Cooper's in Clinton's Congress.

I'm still doing my fundraiser as we speak, but I'm also going to focus on putting pressure on all the crummy Democrats like Blanche Lincoln so that the ball is not dropped. Sure, I need to still raise funds, but I think this Blue America action is very important at this time.

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We are raising money fast for our Campaign For Health Care Choice, and we plan to push on with your help. It's so saddening that with Americans voting out the teabagging republicans in astounding numbers---President Obama is allowing the debate to get away from him. We don't need the teabaggers votes or input since they already destroyed the global financial markets and everything else in their path. Their allegiance is not to the American people, but to the corporate donors that occupy the Health Care Industrial Complex.

Scarecrow writes:

So let's see. On Monday, in a highly publicized speech, the President tells the AMA that he wants a public option that "keeps the insurance companies honest." The leading expert on the public option, Prof. Jacob Hacker (and many others -- e.g., here, here, and here), explain why Conrad's co-op proposal is not a substitute for the public plan because it doesn't achieve the President's objectives.

But AP reports that Obama's HHS Secretary, who had already tried to give away the store, says Obama is now willing to abandon the position he took the day before? And she says the industry will blink? Are these people serious?

Yes it would seem they are very serious. That's why we are turning up the heat.

And we are always screwed by the media on everything policy wise. Whenever a republican talking point comes on the scene, they swallow it whole. Ezra Klein outTweets David Gregory because Mr. Meet the Press instantly adopted their talking points. Why would he so easily accept a falsehood? He doesn't have to worry about health care insurance I'm sure.

You can see their republican ties when as Digby writes: Cokie's Law Is Still On The Books.



The Blue America/BlogPac SCHIP ad we didn't have to run! And the New one that's running now!

Here's the ad we were going to run against Baron Hill, but he changed his vote in a timely fashion. And here's the new one that's running in the Macon Telegraph. Digby wrote the ad for us and as usual does an incredible job. Howie says:

The good news is that the ad you've been helping us finance ran. Macon is in the heart of the district and the paper covers a 60 mile radius from there, especially in Bibb and Houston Counties. The ad will be seen by approximately 106,000 of Marshall's constituents.

We're working on a few other projects at this moment...

Please donate if you can to our Blue America PAC...We're trying to raise 10,000 to pay for it...

Bill Scher has a good take on what we're doing. Check out an article on us in the National Journal: BLOGGERS VS BELTWAY: The New Whips? (scroll down) We're the new Whips!:

In an effort to help Congressional Dems pass SCHIP, the netroots are stepping up pressure on the five House Dem who voted with GOPers against extending the program...read on



Blue Dog McIntyre Flip-Flops on SCHIP! UPDATED

DailyKos:

It looks like pressure paid off. Mike McIntyre announced this afternoon that he has changed his stand on SCHIP. More from the release...

Congressman McIntyre stated, "As a long-time advocate for children for over 25 years, and as one who has consistently supported family health issues, I will not support President Bush's veto of the SCHIP bill, and I will vote to override his veto. My objection to the method of funding for this bill and my support of North Carolina's farmers and the economic well-being of our communities are well-known, but I have always supported the SCHIP program and will do what is necessary to preserve it for the sake of children and families in need. As Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee that oversees tobacco, I will also continue to do all that I can to support our farmers and our region's economy. That commitment has not changed with this vote for our children."

This flip-flop comes in the wake of national pressure, local pressure from Wilmington, NC MoveOn members, and bad publicity in the Wilmington, NC StarNews newspaper.

The Bush Dogs are feeling the pressure, as Jane says, two down and three to go...keep up those calls and letters.

UPDATE: Please donate here so we can keep the pressure up with our Blue America ad campaign.



Blue America's success! Bush Dog switching SCHIP vote!

On Monday---I told you that Blue America was running some recorded calls made by Michelle James, a full-time working mother who couldn’t afford health care for her son and volunteered to pitch in against the five Bush Dogs who are voting against the SCHIP bill and our kids. The Bush Dogs were: Jim Marshall (D-GA), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Bob Etheridge (D-NC), Baron Hill (D-IN), Gene Taylor (D-MS). I say "were" because Baron Hill is changing his vote and coming down on the side of helping sick kids. Good for him!

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on our efforts:

Washington — Democratic-leaning groups are making hundreds of phone calls in the Macon area district of Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall, deriding Marshall for voting against the funding of a children’s health program and potentially causing problems for Marshall, one of the most vulnerable congressional incumbents in the country in the 2008 elections.

The groups — Blue America and BlogPAC — are targeting Marshall and four other House Democrats who voted against the bill that would have added $35 billion over five years to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, known nationally as SCHIP and in Georgia as PeachCare for Kids...read on

We're going to keep the pressure up and do the right thing. Blue America and BlogPac are not going to stand around and complain, we're taking action. As you can see---when there's action---there's results...

Please donate if you can to the Blue America Pac so that we can continue to fight for progressive ideals...

I have a few other posts going up today on what other actions Blue America is taking....It's very cool...



Help Support Blue America's "call" in support of SCHIP

We all know that the DCCC is pressuring the Stepford Republicans into switching enough votes to override Bush's veto against SCHIP by using commercials and telephone calls. They are doing a good job on that front. You may not know that five Bush Dog Democrats are sticking with BushCo. and voting against their own party and against SCHIP.

Jim Marshall (D-GA)
Mike McIntyre (D-NC)
Bob Etheridge (D-NC)
Baron Hill (D-IN)
Gene Taylor (D-MS)

At Blue America, we're not going to stand around and do nothing and let these Bush Dogs fall on the wrong side of such a moral issue. Michelle James, a full-time working mother who can't afford health care for her son---joins Blue America and has recorded several phone messages to speak out against these Democrats that are working to undermine our children. Here's one of the calls that we've financed and is live right now...

Media error

As Jane says: "Some Things are Not Negotiable"

While we believe that there should be a big tent within the Democratic party, there are some issues that are not negotiable, and making sure kids have health care is one of them.

The calls are being paid for by the Blue America PAC and BlogPac any contribution you might like to make to support this effort would be greatly appreciated.

Howie and Digby have more.

Open Left has a nice rundown and is showing some Blue America love: The Ultimate Bush Dogs

Please use our ActBlue page to donate... We need your help!



Buh-Bye Scottie

First Draft says that McClellan might be on his way out!

(FD's site seems to be down so I linked to the article.)

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