Wow, I feel obnoxious using “Obamacare.” It’s been almost exclusively used for misinformation purposes, but you gotta give it to those crazy townhallers, it’s catchy.
Steve Kagen, a Democrat from Northeastern Wisconsin, is proposing an amendment to the health care bill that will require businesses selling health care products (pills etc.) to disclose all their prices on the internet.
Kagen said he first offered his proposal as an amendment to the health care bill the House passed in June. But House leadership barred amendments from being attached to the bill.
He introduced his measure Thursday as a stand-alone bill at the same time Obama was hosting a bipartisan summit on health care reform.
Kagen is a former doctor and a millionaire. He is also the most vulnerable member of the Wisconsin Congressional delegation. He won his first election 51-49 in a huge Democratic year. In his second election, which was another great year for Dems, Kagen got up to 54 percent.
Kagen’s lack of seniority is only one part of what makes the 8th district (wikipedia map of it) the best target for the GOP in November. The main population hubs are the Fox Cities and Green Bay. Traditionally Republican territory, many state politicos (mainly from the Dem side) are commenting that the “Fox Valley is changing.” Both Brown and Outagamie counties voted solidly for Obama in 2008, his margin of victory (10+) much more substantial than any margin Clinton enjoyed during the 90’s (The Fox Valley gave less support to Ross Perot than the nation).
Nevertheless, Kagen has some work to do if he wants to keep his seat. I do believe that health care reform is an issue close to his heart, but I also bet that this bill would be a great way for him to get some positive name recognition in his district. What he’s proposing is simple and popular. It’s very hard for the GOP to portray this as a government takeover of private business –– people understand and appreciate basic consumer protections. The voters of the 8th district may be right-leaning and somewhat distrustful of government, but there is not a meaningful enclave of Ayn Rand objectivists who will oppose making big pharmaceuticals post their prices online. Just in case you thought the Badger Herald editorial page was indicative of typical Wisconsin voters…