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Members of the CPC draw a line on the public option

a little night musing's picture

Alegre reports on today's yesterday's press conference in which members of the Congressional Prograssive Conference announced their letter to Pelosi, Waxman, Rangel, and Miller, stating exactly what they expect of a public option.

July 31, 2009
...
Dear Madame Speaker, Chairman Waxman, Chairman Rangel, and Chairman Miller:

We write to voice our opposition to the negotiated health care reform agreement under consideration in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

We regard the agreement reached by Chairman Waxman and several Blue Dog members of the Committee as fundamentally unacceptable. This agreement is not a step forward toward a good health care bill, but a large step backwards.
Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, for a public option with reimbursement rates based on Medicare rates - not negotiated rates - is unacceptable. It would ensure higher costs for the public plan, and would do nothing to achieve the goal of "keeping insurance companies honest," and their rates down.

To offset the increased costs incurred by adopting the provisions advocated by the Blue Dog members of the Committee, the agreement would reduce subsidies to low- and middle-income families, requiring them to pay a larger portion of their income for insurance premiums, and would impose an unfunded mandate on the states to pay for what were to have been Federal costs.

In short, this agreement will result in the public, both as insurance purchasers and as taxpayers, paying ever higher rates to insurance companies.

We simply cannot vote for such a proposal.

Sincerely,

Are they saying that they won't vote for "any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, for a public option with reimbursement rates based on Medicare rates - not negotiated rates" - or are they merely rejecting the compromise plan? I can't tell.

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mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

I still fail to see how it works. Don't get me wrong, the Medicare reimbursement rates is essential. But, they seem to have conceded the program should be opened up to more than the expected 4% of the under 65 population, nor that the program must include the ever important Medicare provider network. And, none of the plans in Senate call for the Medicare reimbursement rates, so how will this be reconciled? I just feel like this is a bit disingenuous. Hope I'm wrong.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

(and I assume you meant to write "hey seem to have conceded the program should not be opened up to more than the expected 4% of the under 65 population")

But they've drawn some kind of a bottom line, which is more than can be said of most of the folks who supposedly represent us. And we can see if they stick to it.

I'm still asking for the whole enchilada. And I'm not saying weak tea is better than none: I agree with you, my own personal bottom line includes requirement that the subsidies actually be adequate (I'm very concerned about the definition of "affordable"), and that the bill allow the States to experiment with single-payer systems. I'm actually curious to see if they follow through even on their own weak tea, though.

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

I'm of the mind that the subsidies will never be enough. But that's just me. Of course, I don't qualify for the subsidies, so maybe I'm wrong.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

Can you explain what you mean by this "you, please?

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

there is a political will to increase wealth in the hands of the wealthy.
there is no political will to turn back the clock to before Reagan's dishonest depiction of America's needy as Cadillac-driving welfare queens.

"he who will not work shall not eat" goes back to, IIRC, the colonial charter of Connecticut (or maybe it was Rhode Island and Plymouth Plantations, it's been more than 30 years since I had that history class).

we have an anti- class in this country that is the nearest thing to a majority.

Some of it is anti-abortion. Some of it is anti-tax. Some of it is anti-regulation.
Some of it is anti-immigration. Some of it is anti-women. Some of it is anti-science.
Lots of it is anti-"other". (for example, anti-marriage equality or anti-women's rights or anti-minimum wage increases or anti-public schools).

All those voices put together are, right now, along with many progressive voices disappointed with what's in the bills in Congress to reform health care, yammering at legislators and their staffs that "we don't need no stinkin' ...."

and then people are surprised when legislation gets watered down or talked to death and there's no change in the status quo.

Stupid people are surprised, and manipulative people (such as Faux Noise) pretend to be surprised.

The "you" is the voices against ... stem-cell research, voting rights, abortion, teacher pay increases, withdrawing GIs from Iraq and Afghanistan, health care reform, expanding SCHIP, continuing to fund WIC, public health measures, food safety regulations, on and on and on and on and on ... not counteracted, those voices triumph.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

I guess I was wondering why you posted this comment here, in this particular discussion.

It does seem as if by "you", you mean us.

I've said I would not oppose a bill that contains a public option that really is a step along the way to single-payer, I've stated several times what that means. I'm working to get these things in the bill (and to get people to address the problem of insurers not paying for covered care), or to have it replaced with HR 676, which is my preference, obviously.

But if the bill that we end up with is one that will force people to buy crap insurance with too much out-of-pocket expenses and inadequate (and vulnerable) subsidies, then yeah, I hope that bill fails. And that we go back next year and push for something better.

I for one do not hold the position that "any" bill is better than no bill.

And I repeat: if this thing fails, or if what is passed is crap, I go back to the trenches the next day and keep pushing for single-payer.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

If you, and by this I mean progressive Democrats, middle of the road Democrats, Conservative Democrats, Blue-Dog turncoat DINO Democrats, libertarians, politicians, lobbyists, media blabbermouths, lawyers, "experts," Republicans, pundits, academics, workforce advocates, insurance company limpets, corporate overlords of the legislature expressing their opinion via campaign funds, and bloggers, collectively, make enough noise, raise enough confusion, force enough poorly thought-out attempts ... the end result is to completely stymie action. It bogs down in confusion and cacophony and dilution and disillusion. Nothing good results. You get new labels on the status quo ante.

What's the solution?
Organized opposition to the money would be my tactic.