Posts Tagged ‘health care reform’

What Massachusetts is really about…

January 19, 2010

Market Watch:

As Massachusetts voters on Tuesday decide who will fill Edward Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat, shares of Aetna Inc. and other large insurance companies rallied on the thinking that the close race further thwarts efforts at health reform.

On Wall Street, the major stock indexes advanced, led by health-care stocks including Coventry Health Care Inc. (CVH 26.72, +1.52, +6.03%), recently up 5.6%, and Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY 37.43, +1.61, +4.50%), which advanced 5.1%.

Go after Feingold on healthcare…say progressives

December 29, 2009

The latest in the health care debate:

U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold has come under fire from the liberal activist group Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which this week launched a $20,000 television ad campaign that takes the Middleton Democrat to task on health care reform.

In a 30-second spot set to air on broadcast television in the Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee markets, PCCC urges Feingold to vote against any final health care bill that does not include a public insurance option. Feingold last week voted for a Senate bill that does not include a public insurance option despite the fact that he is a strong proponent of the proposal.

I’m guessing that most people on this committee have health care, unlike the tens of millions of people the current legislation will (hopefully) extend it to.

How about some Xmas greed from Feingold & Kohl?

December 23, 2009

Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman. The two most unsavory members of the Senate Democratic caucus were naughty all year but Santa Reid still stuffed their stockings full of goodies. Lieberman may be an Orthodox Jew but he at least understands what the Christmas spirit is about: greed.

Meanwhile, our two Jewish senators seem to have missed that point and they’ll be spending Christmas getting what Jews traditionally get: disapproval from self-righteous gentiles.

Voters across the country are angry over sweet deals in the Senate health bill for a handful of Democrats who once threatened to block the legislation. Some Wisconsin residents are also wondering why their own senators failed to cut similar deals for the Badger State.

Conservatives, meanwhile, are trying to use the outrage over these special provisions – from millions of extra Medicaid dollars for Nebraska to $100 million for a medical center in Connecticut – to stoke opposition to a bill that’s becoming increasingly unpopular with American voters.

In Wisconsin, Walter and Elaine Moede of Sturgeon Bay were so angry about the special deal for Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson that they made public their letter to Sens. Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl demanding the senators fight to secure more Medicaid dollars for Wisconsin.

“Your vote is every bit as crucial as Senator Nelson’s, so there is no reason to expect that you cannot give us as your constituents the same protection as he has obtained for his,” they wrote.

How to get health care reform

November 16, 2009

Push stories like this one:

The Rudies’ son Brandon, 3, who was badly injured in a freak accident on the family’s Outagamie County property on July 11, has become something of a poster child for reform, thanks to U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, a reform advocate.

The Rudies, who live in the Town of Dale, say they only want someone on their side when it comes to getting affordable health care for all.

“I hope everything turns out on a positive note. Everybody in the country already has enough worries and stresses, like about losing their jobs,” Scott said.

The Rudies are staring at a mountain of hospital bills since Brandon tumbled under a lawn mower and suffered severe injuries to the left side of his face.

Why is it only in the Democratic primary (think John Edwards) that human interest stories are used to push for humane health care change? Barack Obama used to reference his late mother during the campaign, but now he spends more time explaining how health care won’t be changed “too much” than urging people to extend health care to those who don’t have it.

Republicans love to evoke vague anecdotes from the “failed” European or Canadian system. Why don’t Democrats come back with real anecdotes from the failed American system?


I hope so too, Feingold

September 11, 2009

An uncharacteristically long article in the Green Bay Press Gazette discusses the health care positions of Wisconsin lawmakers, including the predictable talking points from Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s point man on preserving the status quo. I know that’s a corny thing that a press secretary would say, but I can’t think of a more accurate way to describe it. It’s good to see Feingold put the emphasis on the public option:

“I’m glad he laid out the need and value of a public option approach,” Feingold said. “I hope he doesn’t negotiate it away.”

Refreshing yet depressing to hear Feingold openly suggest that Obama may give away the public option in an attempt to pass something and save face politically.

Paul Soglin says it’s time to move on beyond consensus-seeking. The Republicans are not going to budge.

Tricky Paul Ryan

August 31, 2009

Paul Ryan making headlines at Wispolitics with some insight into the health care reform bill that even liberals are beginning to assume is dead:

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (left) predicted House Democrats would move forward with a health care bill including a public option that he said has a chance to pass despite concerns raised over summer recess about the bill.

“They can’t bring a bill to the floor that doesn’t have a public option because a majority of the Democratic caucus is dramatically in favor of a public option,” Ryan, R-Janesville, said on Sunday’s “UpFront with Mike Gousha.”

The key to getting enough votes is whether so called “blue-dog” Democrats will remain on board with the public plan, Ryan said.

But he predicted that House leaders may be able to get Dems in line similar to the way they did when cap and trade legislation looked to be short on votes before it ultimately won House passage.

“I think the odds are they’ll probably have the chance to pass this,” Ryan said. “This majority is very good at exercising discipline within its ranks and passing controversial legislation.”

He expressed skepticism about the health care cooperatives being talked about in the Senate, saying they are not like co-ops most people are familiar with and amount to a “public plan in everything but name only.”

Ryan also commented on the town hall meetings taking place, saying that they reflected concern not only about health care, but the growing role of the federal government overall.

While Ryan said he believes the public option would lead to rationing, he rejected the notion that the bill would create “death panels” and said exaggerations aren’t needed to fight the bill.

There are two ways to receive this supposedly frank analysis of health care reform (I sure hope it’s frank):

1. Paul Ryan is a reasonable, honest man who cares more about keeping his constituents updated with affairs than scoring political points for his party. House Republicans made a horrible blunder in allowing him to become the de facto head of the party’s health care opposition.

2. Paul Ryan is a shrewd politician who is wagering political capital on cool, condescending disapproval of the Democrats over angry, foot-stomping demagoguery. By admitting defeat he simultaneously accomplishes two goals: he appears moderate and honest and he very effectively communicates the danger of the Democratic majority.

As you can probably guess, I am a subscriber to the second theory. The same congressman who has been busy proposing radical right wing alternatives to virtually every major piece of legislation is not a moderate and he does believe in using whatever rhetoric necessary to convince the American people to embrace him over his opponents. Why else would his proposed health care bill be three pages long and not include any explanation of the costs? Paul Ryan may be smart enough to be a policy wonk, but he is not on Capitol Hill to be one. He is there to be a politician. He is there to be the next Newt Gingrich.

Many politicians are so confined to their talking points that the bullshit they spin comes out looking like bullshit to a large proportion of listeners. By slightly dressing up their bullshit, Ryan and his team come out sounding much more convincing, and moreover, their words get attention. Rather than go the normal route, “I believe the American people, once they see what is in this bill, will not allow their representatives to go ahead…” he plays the martyr card, much in the way of his political ancestor Dick Nixon, “You know I hate to say it but I gotta be honest with you…the good guys might not win this one.”

On the other end we got Tammy Baldwin playing the same game.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin expressed confidence health care reform would pass, but said while she would have given passage 75 percent odds last month, she’s now down to 55 percent certainty.

“I’ve seen over the pass several weeks just how strenuous the opposition to change really is,” Baldwin, D-Madison, told UpFront. “There are stakeholders who profit mightily from what the status quo is and are resisting it at all odds.

“I do think we are going to prevail and pass legislation providing health care, high quality health care, for all Americans, but the road is going to be steep.”

I hope they’re both right.