Posts Tagged ‘Steve Kagen’

Kagen proposes a change to Obamacare

February 26, 2010

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…

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Kagen challenger calls for “true campaign finance reform”

January 14, 2010

Roger Roth, one of the seven Republican candidates vying to unseat Rep. Steve Kagen (D-WI) told The Sconz that he supports campaign finance reform, but hinted that current law and proposals for more aggressive restrictions favor incumbents like Kagen. One of Roth’s Republican opponents, Marc Savard, recently pledged not to accept any contributions from Political Action Committees. When I asked Roth if he would do the same, or if he supported campaign finance reform, he responded:

There are things that can be done to level the playing field between incumbents and their challengers. It makes no sense however, to have an incumbent like Steve Kagen who is a self-funded millionaire with the resources of President Obama and the National Democratic Party at his disposal and limit the legal resources available to win the election and implement true reform.

Although I did not ask Roth if he supported public financing of elections, I am going to go out on the limb and predict that the man who believes that “2010 will decide if our nation can be preserved as a beacon of hope to the world or if it will continue on a current path toward socialism,” does not support “welfare for politicians.” John McCain is the only politician who can commit such a contradiction with a straight face.

Kagen gets another challenger

November 20, 2009

Republicans are slathering over the opportunity to unseat Rep. Steve Kagen, the most vulnerable Democrat in the Wisconsin congressional delegation.

Rep. Roger Roth is the most recent addition to the GOPers fervent health care reform advocate Steve Kagen (M.D.). Roth recently returned from a two month stint in Iraq, so I’m guessing his wife is wondering when she’s ever going to get to see him again. In his official declaration of candidacy, Roth used some creative language to describe the path his opponent is taking the country down:

“In 2010 we will decide if our nation can be preserved as a beacon of hope to the world or if it will continue on a certain path toward socialism and economic stagnation,” Roth says in the letter.

“This attack comes from the liberal elite who believe that spending and wasting massive amounts of money while going ever deeper in debt is the answer to every problem.”

Unfortunately he apparently ran out of time and did not get to outline his policy on FEMA concentration camps and the war on white people. More on that later.

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?