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?
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?
“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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
The DCCC sent out an exceptionally well-done clip today pointing to the difference between Obama's vision of Hope and the Republican vision of failure. Please take a look at it. There's no doubt that the Republicans are on a mission to not just obstruct, but to undermine-- everything, from health care reform to the economic recovery and even to the safety of the nation itself. The clip puts forth a strong message, a compelling message. But it just isn't bipartisan enough. After all, it isn't only Republicans who want the single most important piece of Obama's change agenda-- substantive health care reform-- to fail. Plenty of Democrats get the exact same huge handouts from the exact same Medical-Industrial Complex and Big Insurance lobbyists and CEOs. And they will do anything to prevent single payer health care from passing-- or even being brought into the discussion!
I've got the full story up at DownWithTyranny, but John called from the airport and asked me to remind everyone to please consider helping out with the Blue America initiative to save the public option. As John keeps pointing out, health care reform isn't really a Republican vs Democratic issue; it's an issue for the welfare of all American families-- which is why a staggering 83% of Americans want the public option.
Blue America has launched this new campaign to persuade senators who routinely take a great deal of money from Big Insurance to work for their constituents, not for their campaign contributors. We are working with Brave New Films to put together a series of TV commercials that we will start running next month in Arkansas, home of two anti-reform Democrats, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor. Please read more about the plan-- and consider helping us put it into effect-- here at our Blue America page.
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.
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."
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.
Our Blue America candidate today is Judy Feder from northern Virginia in the 'burbs outside Washington, an area that used to be dependably Republican but... well no more. Judy joins us at Firedoglake today at 2pm (EST) for a two-hour discussion of the issues in her campaign, particularly health care policy, her field of expertise. But just because she is the dean of Georgetown's Policy Institute and has spent an entire career trying to figure out how to make universal health care work for all Americans, that doesn't mean she isn't paying attention to the other issues important to us all. This morning Judy sent me two things, the video intro she shot for us last night and the answer to a question about FISA and if she would be any different from the rubber stamp incumbent, Frank Wolf, who has been a big backer of warrantless wiretapping and retroactive immunity. Judy's response:
No one in this country should be above the law and saying Alberto Gonzales told me it was okay is hardly an excuse. I oppose retroactive immunity for the telecoms who engaged in illegal surveillance. Unfortunately, Frank Wolf has again sided with the President on this issue voting in favor of immunity for those who circumvented the FISA courts and our legal process.
If you decide to donate to Judy's campaign today-- or to any Blue America candidate you want to see elected-- don't forget that this is the end of our Air America contest and if you add in a penny it goes as a vote towards that candidate. Donate here at our Blue America page.
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...
Georgia blogger FlackAttack at Tondee's Tavern is covering this in great detail. But the short of it is that progressive Robert Nowak and Macon Mayor (which is what Marshall was before becoming a congressman) Jack Ellis are both running for the Democratic nomination in GA-08. They're both stunned by Marshall's anti-S-CHIP stance and his disingenuous arguments about why he supports Bush's veto. But Nowak has pointed out a myriad of reasons why he thinks GA-08.
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...