Endgame On HCR

After today, I agree with Frank:

Finance is going to report a no-PO bill but then Senate leadership has to merge it with the HELP bill. The ConservaDems will threaten not to vote for cloture. Will Reid call their bluff? What if PO supporters start making the same threat? All it takes is 1 or possibly 2.

If Senate leadership reports a PO-included bill to the floor, then the PO game is won. If it is not, then we should whip Progressives in the Senate to filibuster it (just like the Progressive Caucus in the House.) Suppose they do not?

Then we are back where we started - depending on the CPC to hold the line and get the PO in the conference report. Honestly, the public option is in better shape now than I would have imagined. And no, I do not credit Obama's 11 dimensional chess for that. I do credit his Bystander Presidency for allowing this to happen though. There is something in that at least. NOTE: One wildcard is Snowe voting for BaucusCare. The Village will get all whipped up in that case.

Speaking for me only

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    So Chuck and Jay, your move (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:21:30 PM EST

    for once. In the finance Committee I mean.

    Hell, probably in the floor vote too.


    I think your proposition (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by andgarden on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:26:32 PM EST
    that what's important is what makes it to the Senate floor is correct. I think the President can win a cloture battle within the Democratic caucus.

    The trouble is that Conrad might convince them that it's more convenient to s¢rew the liberals again. (Whether they'll give any thought to 2010 is another story).


    here is where the House (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:27:44 PM EST
    comes into play.

    Conrad has to accept a PO or kill HCR, if the CPC holds fast.


    Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by andgarden on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:30:10 PM EST
    But no one ever lost money betting that the Democrats would cave.

    A first time (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:39:29 PM EST
    is always a first time.

    Sade (none / 0) (#15)
    by andgarden on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:40:57 PM EST
    Thought you meant the Marquis (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 07:11:08 PM EST
    You might as well have, since this is torture and we're getting f^cked.

    A different take (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Left of the Left on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:30:55 PM EST
    I do credit his Bystander Presidency for allowing this to happen though.

    I agree, with actual leadership the PO might've been settled a while back, maybe even a robust one. But instead we have this.

    I'll be glad for a PO, but unfortunately it will simply embolden the White House to keep on saying nothing and claiming victory at the end.

    Also (none / 0) (#7)
    by Left of the Left on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:32:44 PM EST
    The Left blogs will probably trip over themselves rushing to Booman's POV.

    At the end of the day (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:38:46 PM EST
    it does not matter what is credited for the policy, so long as the policy is good.

    If it is enacted and it is bad (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Coral on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:18:49 PM EST
    2010 is going to be very interesting.

    Agree with this take (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:38:12 PM EST
    See my reply to lilburro.

    But my point is he did not stand in the way of others fighting for it . . . so far.


    You note, incorrectly IMHO, that (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by scribe on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:40:34 PM EST
    If Senate leadership reports a PO-included bill to the floor, then the PO game is won.

    There's always conference, and with a bill this complicated, the conference could (and quite easily would) strip the Public Option out just so we could get "a bill" reported out and voted on.

    Remember that a lot of the progressive caucus in the House might find some weasel room on their pledges if the bill that comes out of conference lacks a Public Option but Obama needs "a bill" so he can check that box on his list of things to do.

    So, now is the time not to rest on laurels, but rather to redouble efforts.

    And to find a primary challenger for Conrad.

    Message from Schumer (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by nycstray on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:53:02 PM EST

    Dear Friend,

    I wanted to give you quick update about our work to pass a public health care option.

    My amendment to add a public option to the Senate Finance Committee bill came up just two votes short of being adopted by the full committee this afternoon.

    This is unfortunate news but not a surprise. Remember, the Senate Finance Committee is more conservative than the Senate as a whole. And 4 out of 5 Congressional committees with jurisdiction over health care reform have passed a public option.

    This is the opening day of our fight, and I will continue to work to improve the health care reform bill as we take the legislation to the Senate floor.

    The more the people hear the facts about the public option, the more they support our efforts. We must continue to work together and speak out. If we continue to fight, I am confident we will pass health care reform with a robust public option.



    Chuck Schumer
    U.S. Senate

    Maria Cantwell (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:14:34 PM EST
    Is working on an alternative to the public option as we speak:

    While progressive senators work to win 60 votes for a public option, a new alternative to the government-run insurance plan is beginning to emerge on the Finance Committee.

    Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington said a few moments ago that she is planning to offer an amendment to give states the power to negotiate down the price of insurance. If insurance companies agree to cover a chunk of the uninsured, states would help pay for the coverage. The states negotiate with insurers to set the cost and coverage of the program. The rates wouldn't be tied to Medicare or Medicaid, but set at the state level, she said.

    "It's a way to get a foothold. If you can cover 75 percent of people that way then it's definitely a public plan for the big chunk of the uninsured," Cantwell said.

    The idea is modeled after her home state's "basic health plan," which offers coverage to about 75 percent of the uninsured in Washington, she said.

    Cantwell said she is waiting on a CBO cost estimate before introducing the amendment.

    LOL (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 06:15:43 PM EST
    I wonder where she gets that "75% of the uninsured" number.  To qualify for Washington Basic Health you can make no more than 200% of the poverty line.  I don't have the statistics, but I speculate that there are plenty of people that make 300 or even 400% of the poverty line who can't afford insurance or can't get insurance for health reasons.

    Doubt it. 200% of Fed poverty (none / 0) (#33)
    by oldpro on Wed Sep 30, 2009 at 01:29:28 AM EST
    level is $42,000 for a family of four.

    Last January, Washington had 800 folks on a waiting list for the Basic Health Plan (funded by the legislature).  Then...budget cuts (a $9B hole in the state budget) so now about 14-15,000 are on the waiting list.  That may balloon when the next state cuts come (another billion in the hole) next session when the 'supplemental' budget will only supplement caseloads...everything else will take cuts.

    It's still "the economy, stupid!"

    I don't know where/how/why this ammendment can be of any help in reforming healthcare.  It sounds like a last-chance backup 'just-in-case plan' to me.

    BTW...Maria just gave a very compelling speech in support of Sen. Rockefeller's amendment and the public option specifically...offering a Costco analogy for bulk purchasing driving down prices to her Republican friends on the finance committee!  Pretty darn good.


    Not sure how willing the states would be (5.00 / 4) (#26)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 06:22:21 PM EST
    If insurance companies agree to cover a chunk of the uninsured, states would help pay for the coverage.

    If this would require the states to pay more than what they are currently paying as their contribution for Medicaid, I don't see states signing up for it. Most, if not all states, are having trouble making ends meet as it is.


    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by cawaltz on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 07:20:32 PM EST
    I'd agree. As it stands alot of states have cut SCIP and Medicaid in order to balance their budgets. Not quite sure why she thinks that if these states aren't using the existing programs to cover the uninsured that creating a new program would do the trick.

    BTW, a plan that is composed of (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 06:28:10 PM EST
    of only private insurance options does not meet my criteria for a "public" plan. It is only private industry insurance configured in a slightly different way with a faux "public" label pasted to it.

    Oh god (none / 0) (#29)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 07:18:42 PM EST
    Maria Cantwell working on "an alternative" to the public option is like the waitress at Denny's offering to add a fresh splash of lukewarm water to a customer's cup of weak tea.

    That's hilarious (none / 0) (#34)
    by shoephone on Wed Sep 30, 2009 at 11:22:47 PM EST
    And such a perfect analogy.

    My Gawd (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 09:19:10 PM EST
    If we make it through this and finally get the outcome we all deserve you would think that we finally have the stamina to at least find Osama soon too.  Just sayin

    It seems like quite a risk (none / 0) (#8)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:34:12 PM EST
    to send something through the Senate to Conference without a public option.  I guess if you go back to Booman:

    The only committee that would present a problem was the Senate Finance Committee. The sticking point there was the public option. If he announced that he wouldn't sign anything without a public option, the bill would get nowhere in the Finance Committee, and the effort to pass a bill without resorting to the budget reconciliation process would die an early death, with the administration taking the blame for their intransigence.

    Why couldn't Obama have manipulated the Finance Committee enough to have them pass a bill like the one they seem prepared to pass now, and just say, guess what, your piece of crap gets rolled into the other Senate bill?  At least that could've gotten us out of the territory of talking about triggers and co-ops as compromises.  The Finance Committee could've flown in the face of "common sense" (a PO) and talked up their co-ops and passed that regardless, no?

    Totally agree (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:37:28 PM EST
    If anyone needs convincing that Obama does not care about the PO, his total silence on the Finance committee actions is all the evidence a reasonable person needs.

    Fighting to have it in the Finance bill would have insured its inclusion.

    Obama is a bystander on the PO.


    judging by today (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:45:24 PM EST
    the only person he would've had to go after to get his way is Blanche Lincoln.  Esp after July 7, 2009, when Franken was sworn in.

    to elaborate (none / 0) (#21)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:55:48 PM EST
    an executive approach with regard to the Finance Committee of "if you come up with something better than a PO, we'll look at it" could've worked equally as well (if not better) than "just create competition."  Because, again, we know that the co-ops don't work, and a robust public option does.  

    Anyway, I guess there's no use crying over spilt milk, but I agree with your push to have people acknowledge it is the Progressive Caucus and the activists behind them who are keeping the public option alive.  There should be something learned from this, and if what we learn is that the President is a bit of a weak fighter, it is a better lesson than OMG The President is a Genius!!!


    One other unlikely possibility (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by andgarden on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:40:11 PM EST
    He issues a veto threat after Finance reports out its non-PO bill.

    Which the Pres. recently did (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:50:00 PM EST
    re too-weak consumer protection agency creation.

    This morning I read that Obama is going to (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by hairspray on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 08:25:04 PM EST
    Copenhagen to join Michelle.  The WH word was that the HCR was "in good shape" and didn't need him. Why am I getting the feeling that he likes the pomp and circumstance of the job, but not the hard work and body contact?

    Any idea when the final vote on (none / 0) (#19)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:50:41 PM EST
    the Senate Finance will be cast?

    Probably (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:01:58 PM EST
    by early next week, at the latest.