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.
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.
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.
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.