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Daily Health Care News – 8/18/09


Public Option Called EssentialWashington Post

Several leading Democrats voiced concern Monday about an apparent White House shift on health-care reform, objecting to signals from senior administration officials that they would abandon the idea of a government-run insurance plan if it lacked the backing to pass Congress.

Alternate Plan as Health Option Muddies DebateNew York Times

The White House has indicated that it could accept a nonprofit health care cooperative as an alternative to a new government insurance plan, originally favored by President Obama. But the co-op idea is so ill defined that no one knows exactly what it would look like or how effectively it would compete with commercial insurers.

Liberals revolt over public optionPolitico

The White House’s signal that it’s willing to back off support for a public health insurance option has sent congressional liberals into full revolt, bluntly warning the administration that no legislation will pass without a government-run plan.

Where Is Kent Conrad Getting His Whip Count?Huffington Post

There are 60 members of the Senate’s Democratic caucus — so why is Sen. Kent Conrad insisting that that there aren’t enough votes to pass a public health insurance option as part of comprehensive reform bill?

Boehner Blasts PhRMA On Deal With White House Kaiser Health News

The drug industry’s decision to agree to $80 billion in concessions to the White House was short-sighted, will hurt drug manufacturers and their customers, and "has all the markings of a deal gone sour," House Minority Leader John Boehner wrote Monday to his former colleague, Billy Tauzin, who now heads the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Sixty House Liberals To White House: No Public Option, No Health Care Reform Greg Sargent

One interesting side plot in the health care wars: The debate over the public option has suddenly reminded us that there are in fact two houses of Congress, something that’s been easy to forget amid the media obsession with the “bipartisan” negotiations in the Senate.


Where’s Mr. Transformer?Eugene Robinson

It’s true that politics is the art of the possible, but it’s also true that great leaders expand the scope of possibility. Barack Obama took office pledging to be a transformational president. The fate of a government-run public health insurance option will be an early test of his ability to end the way Washington’s big-money, special-interest politics suffocates true reform.

Three Reasons Why a Strong Public Option is Likely to be Part of Health Insurance ReformRobert Creamer

Hasty headlines to the contrary, it is very likely that a strong public option will be part of a final health insurance reform bill when it finally passes Congress this fall. There are three reasons.

This Is Reform?Bob Herbert

It’s never a contest when the interests of big business are pitted against the public interest. So if we manage to get health care “reform” this time around it will be the kind of reform that benefits the very people who have given us a failed system, and thus made reform so necessary.

Grassley Says He Would Sabotage A Health Care Bill Whose Provisions He Favors in Order to Advance Partisan AgendaMatt Yglesias

As you can read here and here Chuck Grassley was on MSNBC earlier today explaining that he might vote “no” on a health care bill even if he thinks it’s a good piece of legislation if that bill doesn’t get support for other Republicans besides Grassley.

Obama Addresses Veterans — A Constituency That Benefits From A Public Health Insurance PlanThink Progress

Today, President Obama addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix, AZ. In his speech, Obama reassured veterans about his health care plan: “One thing that reform won’t change is veterans health care. No one is going to take away your benefits.” Still, many veterans are reportedly wary of health reform. But ironically, one of the key pillars of reform — a public plan — is currently benefiting millions of veterans who rely on the government-provided care of the Veterans Health Administration.

Co-Ops Are the Single Dumbest Idea I Have Heard in the Health Care Debate in Twenty YearsHealth Care Policy and Marketplace Review

I am sure you have heard the story about the committee that was charged with designing a horse but, because of the bureaucratic ways of the committee process, instead ended up creating a camel.

Whole Foods FightNew York Times

Of all the sideshows to the Great 2009 Health Care Debate, the Whole Foods boycott may take the prize as the most unexpected.

Republicans: A Co-op Plan Is Government-Run Health CareMarc Ambinder

That’s what the Republican National Committee is now saying, with some help from Senate Majority Leader Harry Read. The RNC forwarded a press release/research memo to reporters today claiming that a "’public option’ by any other name is still government health care." But does it smell as sweet? Probably not to supporters of a true public option, and it was perhaps out of a desire to alleviate those concerns (and pose a future co-op passage as a White House victory) that Reid deemed co-ops as "some type of public option" in early July–a quote the RNC references prominently.

Robert Reich live reader chat 1 pm edtPolitico

The right ticked off. The left ticked off. A muddle in the middle. How did Obama get into this mess? How does he get out of it?

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Jason Rosenbaum

Jason Rosenbaum

Writer, musician, activist. Currently consulting for Bill Halter for U.S. Senate and a fellow at the New Organizing Institute.