Reforming health care

Over at Onward Oregon, Rick Ray is calling on Oregonians to rise up and demand a public hearing for SB 27 - John Kitzhaber's Oregon Better Health Act.

We were informed this afternoon by Representative Mary Nolan that the Democratic legislative leadership has decided to kill SB 27 – the Oregon Better Health Act – by not granting it a hearing or work session. ...

Through the Archimedes Movement process, literally thousands of people from all over the state have worked hard to create and improve SB 27. At the very least it deserves a public hearing, thoughtful consideration and the chance to be decided on its merits.

Meanwhile, the Senate passed SB 329 - the Bates/Westlund health care bill. According to the Statesman-Journal, it includes elements of the Kitzhaber's plan and would set up bigger reforms in 2009:

The bill is based largely on the work of a Senate committee but blends in elements from the Archimedes Movement led by former Gov. John Kitzhaber, the Oregon Health Policy Commission and the Oregon Business Council.

"All of us agree we must lower costs, improve quality and provide access to 100 percent of all Oregonians," said Sen. Ben Westlund, D-Tumalo, the co-chairman of the committee.

The bill sets up a seven-member board, which would develop a system with coverage for basic services and present its work for approval by the 2009 Legislature. It comes with $2 million attached.

"If this bill does what it is supposed to do, there will be more difficult decisions ahead in 2009," said Sen. Alan Bates, D-Ashland, the other co-chairman.

Discuss.

Comments

  • JTT (unverified)
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    Jeez...I thought that SB27 already had 3 public hearings. Sounds to me like Kitzhaber isn't being a good team player, banging on the Dem leadership after a victory with SB 329, which passed the House yesterday 53-5. We should take time to thank the leadership for their hard work to get a health care reform bill through will near unanimous support, not harrass them.

  • Outraged O (unverified)
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    This is totally ridiculous and is certainly a real shame. As a lifelong Democrat who, like so many of you, spent so much time and effort working to change the leadership in Salem for so many years - we now have something like this happen.

    For over 2 years, more that 7,0000 Archimedes members have been meeting across this state in living rooms, churches, civic centers, etc... to build and educate a movement around health care. And now we run into our own team and the new house speaker Minnis2.0 (who I only call this since she used to do the same thing).

    This article said that SB329 "includes elements of the Kitzhaber's plan and would set up bigger reforms in 2009" - except that it doesn't include the stuff that actually matters, the stuff that scares the leadership, the stuff that will actually move us towards reform. It's a shame that Bates and Westlund let so many believe they took the best of SB27 when instead they took the best of a movement and left those people to hang in the wind.

    Yayee!! Go Leadership!! Proud to be a Democrat today :(

  • JHL (unverified)
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    At the very least it deserves a public hearing

    What?! SB 27 has already had public hearings! Let's call this for what it is: Kitzhaber and Archimedes are annoyed that Democrats chose to move forward on SB 329 instead of SB 27.

    Right now, Kitzhaber seems more intent on trying to burn the party by propagating the message that the "Democratic leadership" is flat-out opposed to health care reform, even if they pased 329 yesterday.

  • capitol_staffer (unverified)
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    I'm gonna partially agree with all these posts. It was a great day yesterday when SB329 passed because we all know how it is a good first step. The only thing was that we were all under the impression that SB27 was going to be the next one up?

    The feeling inside the building was that both of these bills would move forward together and so that is where the outrage is coming from. Senate leadership and House leadership basically bamboozled folks on this one and there are a lot of pissed people down here and a lot of finger pointing.

    As far as Kitz goes? He's got a right to be upset but he's not burning the leadership here. They basically told him that yesterday from what I heard. There were lots of opportunities for them to have done this earlier on in the session but the wanted to burn him and burn into the mind of Oregonians that SB329 took all the best parts. In short, they wanted to screw him out of a ballot measure.

    So yes, SB329 is a great step but without it's companion piece there plenty of reason for the upset by Archimedes and health advocates in general who got strung along.

  • Anonymous Democrat (unverified)
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    If the Archimedes people were so intent on passing SB 27, maybe Archimedes lobbyist Liz Baxter shouldn't have said in the Oregon Health Forum News that Archimedes "doesn't care" whether SB 27 passes.

    Then what... they suddenly changed their minds when it looked like SB 329 was going to pass?

    We're heading down the path towards serious health care reform and universal access. It's a time to start planning the next step, the infighting should end!

  • Changing Topics (unverified)
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    TIME OUT!

    Clearly all these emails are staffers cause who else is sitting at their computer on a beautiful day?

    Instead of trying to change the subject and try to make this seem like it is all about an angry Kitzhaber - the man who we all feel proud about as Oregonians. Let's try to keep this on the subject which is what happened to SB27 is sad. They have a valid argument about this?

    As this is my only post today cause I have other work to do - I will ask that if you are employed in Salem by a legislator - like JHL and JTT then leave this online discourse for the public please.

  • stacy (unverified)
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    a correction to all. it did get a hearing way back in may in a special committee but has yet to get a hearing since they amended the bill to address concerns from opposition.

    what they would like is a hearing in front of the committee it has been sitting in for the past month and half collecting dust.

    s

  • BulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Looks like Westlund & Bates’ staff are trying to protect their bosses. When the light shines on what really happened with this process, it'll come out about AARP being the new face of the health insurance industry.

    SB329 is a big "do nothing" bill that has lots of window dressing without the passage of SB27. On it's own, SB329 just the regurgitation and recycling of state Medicaid dollars, only covers those currently without any healthcare and it address, to a degree, the Oregon Health Plan. Big employeers, self insured etc. get to opt out and therefore, SB329 will only cover and/or impact about 27% of the population. For small business, it's mandatory insurance with a PROMISE that the rates will be affordable.

    That is why, SB27 supporters know that both bills needed to be passed, but the personalities, particularly in Westlund’s office, is such that “it’s all about the glory, and only glory for ME and perhaps my boss.”

    SB329 is the platform in which Bates & Westlund hope to spring from for statewide office, and frankly, I don't really care about that. What I do care about, is that the D leadership in the house lied to SB27 supporters and Westlund & Bates used the energy of SB27 supporters to support their bill and then pissed all over SB27 because they want the headlines allllll for themselves.

    The "hard work of the D leadership." Give me a break. How about the cow-towing to AARP/ Insurance who pull the chain of Westlund's health care staff? I think AARP should hire Westlund’s staff who was “in charge” of passing SB329 to be the new “poster child” to maintain the status quo of our health care system.”

    The House D leadership lied. I thought that is what the R's were good at.

    Oh, and one more thing: SB27 did have public hearings, but not a hearing to move it out of Ways & Means as JHL asserts. Yet another LIE.

    This isn't about Kitzhaber. This is about a process that should have gone forward, SB27 had the votes to go forward and was thwarted because of cowardice and deceit.

    I was glad SB329 passed. But SB27 should have passed too on it's own merits and not be killed because of AARP and it's cronies.

  • BulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Dear Changing Topics:

    You are right. It is a beauiful day. It's just when I saw the first post out of the chute blasting Kitzhaber and telling lies, I couldn't help my fingers.

    Shame on me for even responding to such dribble.

    Off to enjoy my day! BulahJo

  • JTT (unverified)
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    To changing topics: As a member of the public (I just got done mowing the lawn), I just think this sounds like sour grapes.

    To capitol_staffer: if Kitz just wanted to run a ballot measure, why didn't he?

  • D-tourist (unverified)
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    As usual the whole SB 27 stunt was all about Kitz, his image, his ego. The no compromise, take no prisoners approach may have worked during Kitz' days as Dr. No with the Republican legislaure when he had the veto stamp. But now he can't work with a Democratic majority in both chambers. What's that tell you?

    Hmmm...So, when he left office saying the state was "ungovernable" was that because of Republican control in the Legislature or, perhaps, did it have something to do with him and the way he leads?

    When are loyal Democrats going to learn Kitz does not want to help other Democrats lead, he wants to lead all by himself despite his admission that the state was "ungovernable" under his leadership.

    How quickly we forget. He already threatened a challenge to our sitting, incumbent Democratic Governor in a way that COULD HAVE seriously undermined his re-election, had the Gov. not kicked into to gear at the same time Republicans were tanking in historic proportions. Now Kitz supporters call Democratic control of the Legislature: Minnis 2.0. Give me a break!

    I don't drink the Kitz Koolaid. I hope his defeat on SB 27 marks the beginning of the end of his activism in the Democratic party. He simply doesn't play well with others.

    And I am NOT a legislative staffer. Just an active D who wants our party to support its new elected leaders...you know...the ones who have made Oregon "governable" again.

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Because SB27 supporters were told that their bill would be given a fair legislative process. It's a good bill.

    Trouble didn't start till AARP schemed to kill SB27 and co-opted Westlund’s staff, (so the rumor goes, but it’s from a good source, and I, thankfully don’t work in the capitol).

    AARP incidentally helped CRAFT the very language, side-by-side, shoulder to shoulder with Kitzhaber and Archimedes members that AARP now objects to. Even when the language around SB27 was changed, AARP didn't care. They have a lot at stake losing a market share of seniors that they now sell supplimental insurance to.

    AARP went behind closed doors, they lobbied/threatened legislators that if they voted to move SB27, they would be hit with a direct mail piece during the next election cycle, saying they took a "bad vote" on a senior issue.

    None of this was done in public during a hearing. Oregon is supposed to have a Public Hearing process. So much for that.

    My understanding is that SB27 supporters talked about a ballot measure, but the legislative process is SUPPOSED to be transparent. So much for that too, I suppose.

  • (Show?)

    Ignoring the fine print of both bills for a second, let's look at the group dynamics of the supporters two bills.

    Bates and Westlund and their allies spent many many months interviewing, holding hearings around the state, with all kinds of stakeholders; They then spent many more months working with the legislators in both houses to come up with something imperfect but useful that they believed could both pass the lege and survive public scrutiny and the inevitable villification from the Hair Club for Growth.

    During this long effort, they consulted frequently with the "Kitzhaber is GOD" crowd and had Kitz doing his PowerPoint presentation all over the place with them, providing him and his ideas with lots of free public face time.

    The Kitzhaber groupies seem to be an earnest bunch who have received The Word from The One True Kitz (Sorry about that B!X) and Know for a Fact that theirs is the the Only Pure Path to salvation.

    That's all they need to know.

    They could not care less about messy practicalities, or what The Rabble will accept. The legislators have to, you know, actually pass laws and make policy, AND if possible, get re-elected.

    Not surprising as Kitzhaber as Governor was one of the most arrogant and dismissive punks to ever hold the office. One could argue that his high handedness contributed to the Righty Backlash, at least here in Oregon....

    I guess you can gather that "We" don't "all feel proud about {Kitz} as Oregonians". Besides, the two (2) times taht I sat through Kitz's onslaught of Truth, he seemed to be aiming at National (or perhaps Global) more than state...... Wassup with that?

  • D-tourist (unverified)
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    Pat Ryan you hit the nail on the head. Well said, well spoken. Time for Kitz to let others have the reigns. But, alas, he can't let go.

  • Portland Dem (unverified)
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    I'm an Oregonian I'm a Democrat I like Kitzhaber I like the Leadership

    I don't like seeing these posts.

    There's politics and then there is hate and I'm seeing some hate here and not politics.

    PDX Dem

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Okay. You are correct, PDX Dem.

    But the Legislative Alert that was sent out by Kitzhaber's group did nothing to be disrespectful of SB329. The smear by the orignal post on this site by JTT, Annon Democrat, D-Tourist was an attempt to smear SB27 folks.

    The "mmmmmm-ing" on my end is that SB27 folks HELPED pass SB329 after being told by none other than Alan Bates that the two bills were compatible and complimentary. However, fueled by Westlund's so-called health care policy expert, the two bills were being messaged that they were "competing and that SB27 was killing SB329."

    Nothing was further from the truth. Bates was right.

    As far as Kitzhaber is concerned, it's not like I'm a "huge fan" as he was "pro-mandatory motorcycle law" which is where I think Mr. Ryan holds a grudge. As far as dissing Kitzhaber, I find it very amusing that D Tourist bashes Kitzhaber for considering running against Kulo this last primary, but they seem to be such a HUGE fan of Westlund, betcha they supported his run as an Independent. Probably even still wears one of those green bracelets that folks were wearing over a year ago.

    Sometimes, you just got to give up the ego. Both bills should have passed. But it was ego that shelved SB27 and not on Kitzhaber's part. Frankly, I wish Kitzhaber's ego was bigger, maybe then he would run against Gordon Smith.

  • Portland Dem (unverified)
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    Again, I'm not taking any sides here so stop proselytizing me.

    These post seem to show me a few things.

    1) Archimedes people are upset the didn't get a hearing 2) There are some Democrats who hate(strong word) Kitzhaber 3) SB329 Passed - which is a good thing/start

    Okay then. With all that being said:

    Why not just give an opportunity for SB 27 to be voted up or down in one of the chambers? Why not give Oregonians the best of all the legislation?

  • BulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Intent was not, (trust me) to proselytize you, or anyone else.

    You suggestion is a good one. In fact, It's all that SB27 folks were asking for.

    <<why not="" just="" give="" an="" opportunity="" for="" sb="" 27="" to="" be="" voted="" up="" or="" down="" in="" one="" of="" the="" chambers?="" why="" not="" give="" oregonians="" the="" best="" of="" all="" the="" legislation?="">>

    That's it. That's all. Nothing more.

    Trust me, SB329 passing is good. SB27 passing with SB329 is better for all of Oregon. You may or may not know this, but the two bills were supposed to merge. The rub is that SB329 folks in this blog, started out blasting Kitzhaber, his organization and his "groupies"

    Kitz's alert said NOTHING bad about SB329. He never has said anything bad about SB329 and in fact lobbied in FAVOR of SB329. Says so I think right on their website.

    Anyway. More important things:

    Does Westlund still have "groupies?" Mebbe he and Kitz outta start a Health Care Groupie Club. It'll be fun!

    I hate to think that Westlund lied about being sincere about merging SB 329 & SB27 in the earlier days of the legislative session. Now his chance to prove me and a LOT of other SB27 supporters wrong.

    If SB329 had the big element in it that SB27 has, the Medicare waiver that AARP objected to because of how it would have cut into the supplimental health insurance market, all of this squabbling could have been avoided.

    Off to swimming pool with the kids.

  • (Show?)

    Kitz governed at a time when Oregon was flush with revenue; almost none generated because of him. He is remembered for his strong evironmental stances, too strong for some. He is remembered by many as the Governor who's Oregon Health Plan was unsustainable. Many activists supporting SB27 switched over to SB329 because they thought it had more chances for passage. Count the votes, perhaps they were on to something.

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Yawn

    When are you anti-SB27, Anti-Kitzhaber because you think it makes "Ben Westlund look bad" people gonna get it?

    Being Pro-SB27 doesn't pull down Ben Westlund.

    Remember, Pro SB27 people helped pass SB329.

    First, Oregon, and other states for that matter, were flush with revenue because of another good Democrat: Bill Clinton. As far as OHP being unsustainable, yeah. Kitz is on record of admitting that as the entire package was never fully implemented, it went ka-plunk. That is why he advocates for the Medicare waiver, so that won't happen again. SB329 is on the same path as OHP.

    As far as citizen activists switching over to only supporting SB329, malarkey. Counting votes? Sorry. I don't count votes, sounds like you do though. On the House or Senate side? Both? Gee.

    It ain't about Kitz. It is about a process that was not allowed to happen because of AARP/Insurance.

    As for loving the "House D Leadership-right or wrong!!!" that's like saying my "country, right or wrong." Or better yet, "My mama, drunk or sober."

    We're allowed to have opinions different than AARP who lobbied/threatened sitting D leaders.

    Gee, maybe AARP can do all the fundraising, doorknocking etc. this next election cycle? Eh? Would love to see how they do that since they are supposedly "non-profit." But then again, maybe their insurance underwriters, Aetna, UnitedHealth, etc. can just write the checks.

    NOW. I'm off to the pool, this time I MEAN it!

  • Jefferson Smith (unverified)
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    Seems like we need a Rodney King moment (of the "can't we jsut all get a long" variety..I know that sometimes we can't and shouldn't). The people we who are pushing for health care reform, it seems to me, should be focusing on movement building more than engaging in a circular firing squad.

    Interesting topics of conversation: --What are the missing pieces of 27 that should be fought for? --How might those things be advanced? (One thought is appointing Kitzhaber -- clearly one of the (the?) leading health policy thinker in the state -- to the federal committee. Future legislation? Ballot Measure? Emergency hearing? (unlikely) --What are the great things about 329 that should be trumpeted to the heavens?
    --How can we build political power for the public interest so that "best policy wins" a bit more often -- and/or that we have more faith in that (not weighing in here on which is the better policy) -- All seem fair questions for debate.

    Questions that seems less helpful: --Which health care reform advocates screwed whom first or most? --Who sucks more? --[Others I can't think of right now]

    And kudos to the Archimedes people and the 329 folks for getting this stuff on the legislative agenda. 329 does allow for a federal conversation -- and wouldn't have that element but for the Archimedes folks. And health care reform wasn't on the short lsit agenda early in the session. I heard lots of "none of these bills is moving" early on in the session. But for the work of BOTH the Archimedes and the Bates/Westlund crew, it probably wouldn't have cracked the priority list at all. And if health care reform is not "done," well that's a legitimate concern that we should cover.

    I suppose I'm merely suggesting that focusing on "what we want to do" more than "who did what to whom."

    (Don't even know if that post was helpful at all...but my brother is waiting in the car on this sunny day so that I can spend some time with my nephew...and I'm being a bad uncle.)

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    1) The Medicare Waiver, congressional authority for Oregon to be able to engage in a conversation about re-vamping our health care system and creating better health.

    2) Let SB27 have a vote out of Ways & Means and into a subcommittee as AARP forced the two bills, SB27 & SB329 to split apart instead of merging.

    3) SB329 should be trumped with accolades. However, it's companion piece, SB27 is compimentary and compatable and makes SB329 sustainable. Ask Alan Bates. It's his quote.

    4) The objection was never, "who screwed who first." Kitzhaber sent out an e-mail alert on SB27 with NO icky talk about SB329 and Kitzhaber started to be blasted by Westlund-ONLY folks. You know who you are.

    Look. This isn't or should be "who gets credit for what." Frankly, I don't care.

    As a plain ol' citizen, I was looking forward to having a discussion about what health care in Oregon could look like, come up with a plan, get it approved by Congress, then have a chance to compare and contrast what I have now with what it could look like with SB27. And then, in the 2009 session, have the legislature implement a new health care system that truly covers all Oregonians and makes it affordable by having Medicare dollars in the health care system. And have it be sustainable.

    In short, there is no reason why both bills shouldn’t be given equal play, especially since SB27 supporters helped pass SB329.

    With only Medicaid and current employer dollars in the system, SB329 ain't gonna hold water very long. Had SB329 inserted the Federal wavier like SB27 does, great. But that discussion wasn't allowed to happen when the rubber hit the road. Thank you AARP/Insurance companies.

    Word on the street: What few instances there are on the "federal stuff" on SB329 was to only window dress it up so it could be said, (although not in fact) that SB329 is just like SB27. SB329 doesn't have the Federal Waiver, is unsustainable without SB27.

    How much can insurance companies like that? Just think: Detractors of health care reform can again say, "seeeeeee, this is what happens when the government tries to get involved with the free market.

    Why not give the Republicans another failed instance on health care reform that they can use against us, if not this next election, how about the 2010 elections after SB329 is implemented? Why don't we just load their quiver more?

  • (Show?)

    I'd like to point out that folks behind the bill that Bates/Westlund did have been working on it for a few years as well. They toured all over the state and listened to people. They tried to get a ballot measure, but with people so overwhelmed with ballot measure petitions going around (and a severe lack of employees to get the signatures), it didn't get on the ballot. It's gone through some changes while going through the legislative process. But it's not like they didn't work on it just as hard as the Archimedes people did.

    And anyone who accuses Merkley as being Minnis 2.0 is just plain wrong. Merkley is a great speaker of the house and has had a lot to contend with this cycle. While trying to push through the list of items they'd come up with before the session began, he's also had to fight against the House Republicans (who act like they're still in the majority) and try to get the 36 votes needed for revenue bills. No one's perfect, but he's done a great job and should be commended for it. Not compared to someone who ran the House for the benefit of a small number of people who supported her and the other members of the Republican leadership.

    As much as I'd wish it would happen, we can't get everything done this cycle. Sometimes decisions have to be made as to which items will come up for a vote, as there's only so much time left. And with House Republicans stalling, trying to make Democrats break their promise of ending on time, it's even harder to fit everything in. If it doesn't come up for a vote this session, I'm sure there's a really good reason for it. But that doesn't mean we can't all then step up to work on a ballot measure for next year's election cycle.

  • Oden or Durant (unverified)
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    I agree with Jenni. This one must have been a tuff call to make and a difficult decision.

    It's like Oden or Durant? It's a tough call.*

    (*note to readers. I am not likening our health care crisis to basketball)

  • Oden Fan (unverified)
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    Oden!

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Durant.

    As to Ms. Simmons comment: Right on.

    The issue is that SB27 folks used BlueOregon as a forum to put out a legislative alert and the first blog to come out of the block, well, you can take a look at it for your self.

    No one is accusing the Speaker or anyone of doing a bad job. But the process behind SB27 should have been more transparent, not hammered out behind closed doors. Oregon has an open hearing process that is not soley exclusive to Washington, D.C. based lobby groups like AARP/Insurance companies.

    Kitzhaber is a great Democrat as is Bates & Westlund. All three of these gentlmen worked hard over the last couple of years, in fact, they worked together on health care to then see it come down to a person come out so nasty on Kitzhaber and his supporters in this blog thread.

    The rest is just airing of a process that wasn't allowed to happen in Salem because of AARP.

    Maybe Oden.

  • AnonStaffer (unverified)
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    AARP wasn't the only group opposed to 27, just the loudest one. Several other D interest groups lobbied against it because it would have given lots of stuff for R's to use against our vulnerable house members next fall.

    It's not surprising leadership chose 329 because it had buy in from many organizations and was really worked on both sides of the aisle.

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    AnonStaffer? mmmmmmmmmmmm. C’mon.

    Name just one, just one D group that lobbied against SB27 in its final form.

    Look. If people want to send out a legislative alert on SB27, let them. You get nothing trashing SB27, Kitzhaber & The Archimedes Movement.

    Language in SB27 was changed to incorporate the concerns of the "Several" other D interest groups.

    Also, it wasn't that AARP was the "loudest voice." They were the stealthiest one. Said in public, till just a couple of weeks ago, that they were "neutral" on SB27 while they worked behind closed doors threatening Democrats.

    It wasn't ever a question of choosing one bill over another. Leadership never had to choose. Both should have passed as (and yet again, to use the words of Senator Bates, one of the authors of SB329) “SB 27 & SB329 are compatible and complimentary.” I bet you and Senator Bates sure go around in circles. Bet he just loves you.

    SB27 had tons of organizations and really worked on both sides of the aisle too. You all can't claim that one all by yourself. Although you’d like to, I’m sure since SB329 seems to be all about hating SB27.

    And last: Leadership didn't "choose" SB329. AARP/Insurance companies did.

    Why are you so hateful on SB27? Do you love AARP/Insurance companies that much?

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Correction: <<although you’d="" like="" to,="" i’m="" sure="" since="" sb329="" seems="" to="" be="" all="" about="" hating="" sb27.="">>

    Should have read: Although you'd like to, I'm sure, since in YOUR mind, SB329 is all about hating SB27.

    There are things I like, like alot in SB329. I don't seem them as "one OR the other" like you seem to think.

  • JWCDB (unverified)
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    Medicare is a huge issue that won't go away. SB 27 is the only proposal I've seen that is bold enough to go after that part of the status quo, so I'm disappointed, but not surprised, to see it nixed. It would still be nice to see the differences debated openly, rather than through competing quotes. Though 329 is a step in the right direction, I agree that 329 is similar enough to 27 that it could take the wind out of ballot measure sails, because the public might not see the difference. The funny thing is, though, that SB 27 is the more moderate of the bills, in the sense of fiscal responsibility (existing tax base, no new taxes, cuts entitlements.) I just got an email from Wayne Scott, who voted against 329, that he's still deciding on SB27 (though I guess that's a pretty safe thing to say right now...) All that said, the key issue is, the longer we postpone the Medicare elephant in the room, the fewer options we'll have, other than running up the deficit until Beijing sends in the repo man. If we can't even talk about it civilly in Oregon, how can we imagine it happening in D.C?

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    AMEN to that!

    Folks, I hope those of you who support both bills, as I do and others, take the time to write your legislator through the action alert that Blue Oregon was kind enough to send out and ask that SB27 continue the process. We need both bills for comprehensive health care reform. We Can Do Better! :-)

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    According to the Statesman-Journal, it (SB329) includes elements of the Kitzhaber's plan and would set up bigger reforms in 2009:

    Some facts, even though most of you blowhards above clearly don't care:

    The statement it (SB329) includes elements of the Kitzhaber's plan is false. SB329 only includes legally inconsequental elements of SB27 and therefore does not in fact establish law that includes any of the meaningful elements of Kitzhaber's plan.

    a) The preamble of SB329 was replaced with the preamble of SB27, but the legal provisions, the only part that matters, took nothing substantive from SB27. b) This lie appears to have been started by "Hope For A Healthy Oregon" (www. hopeforahealthyoregon.com), after the attempt to actually merge SB329 and SB27 failed because Bates and Westlund refused to allow Oregonians a say in whether we should be provided with an option other than the private health insurance industry. HFAHO is a shell organization that has been sending out emails that say: Their year’s work was introduced as Senate Bill 329 and has been amended to include components of former Governor John Kitzhaber’s Archimedes plan and ideas from Governor Kulongoski’s Oregon Health Policy Commission and from the Oregon Business Council proposal along with input from many other citizens. c) The media has parroted this misrepresentation rather than get the facts. In their defense, this may be because the only contact information for HFAHO is Hope for a Healthy Oregon | PO Box 1571 | Bend | OR | 97701. This only appears at the bottom of the emails they have been sending, and doesn't even appear on their website to which the email refers the recipient. I have been told by associates they do not answer email asking for more contact information.

    The statement: (SB329) would set up bigger reforms in 2009 is false ,if you believe those reforms should include ending the bloodsucking role of the private health insurance industry in our health care system. SB329 is the state component of what MIchael Moore is taking on in Sicko: The sellout by a segment of the Democratic Party to the health insurance industry.

    a) The only substantive legal effect of SB329 is to force people who currently do not have health insurance to buy private health insurance. It establishes no law that would change that monopoly role of private health insurance in 2009 or ever. b) SB329 has nothing to do with providing universal health care. SB329 is a universal health insurance coverage plan, and that is a big difference: c) SB329 does not have any provisions which control the cost of insurance in any meaningful way. The only way costs will be controlled is if SB329 supporters and administrators continue to reduce the services included in the basic coverage to a level that is so low we will still have effectively uninsured people - people needing services that are not covered by the basic package they are forced to buy. d) Insurance companies will put a stop to any supposed attempt to control policy costs, at least without reducing the services they must cover, by refusing to write health insurance in Oregon. e) SB329 could be a disaster for small business in this state, and for anyone who currently gets their insurance from an employer or organization that buys from a private health insurance company, if the number of companies willing to write health insurance in the state drops, limiting competive choice, or the cost of keeping insurors in the state is reduced coverage under the basic plan for those required to buy insurance. f) SB329 exacerbates the true looming health care crisis in this state: A baby boomer population just starting to become eligible for Medicare and lower than average Medicare reimbursement rates. The problem facing baby boomers in this state under SB329 will not be whether you have insurance, but whether you will even be able to find a doctor who will accept Medicare. One of the big differences between SB27 and SB329 is that SB27 makes this an issue in a way that is designed to create pressure for the reform needed at the national level. SB329 does nothing of the sort because the primary goal and effect is simply to force the uninsured into the greedy clutches of private health insurance companies. g) SB329 does not even provide what the Edward's health plan provides: An option for people to fulfill the mandatory purchasing requirement by buying coverage from a state government entity analogous to Medicaid. (Edwards' plan provides that people could buy health insurance from a federal entity analogous to Medicare.) h) SB329 creates a public health record that is the property of the health insurance industry, and that you have a limited right to control. SB27 would create a private health record that you own and over which you have sole control. If you don't think that matters in the balance of power between you and payers in decision making about your health care, you are an idiot.

    The word is out that right now SB27 will not reach the floor of the Senate and the House because unnamed Democratic "leadership" has ordered that SB27 be killed by not moving it out of the Ways and Means Committee. This raises a serious question whether we in the Democratic rank-and-file are being stabbed in the back by our own party.

    a) SB27 has 9 Democratic, 3 Republican, and 1 Independent listed sponsors in the Senate; 11 Democratic and 1 Republican listed sponsor in the House. Several weeks ago we learned that a majority can pull SB27 out of Ways and Means as they did with Real ID. Bates and Westlund could introduce the action to pull the bill out of Ways and Means. We are being sold out by a corrupted Democratic minority in the pocket of the private health insurance industry, and a cowardly Democratic majority who lack the personal character to do the right thing. b) SB27 simply makes it a state priority, and establishes a planning effort, to decide what kind of health care system we actually want. None of the "reforms" under SB329 will take effect before reforms arrived at under the SB27 process would take effect. The difference is that SB329 dictates we will buy insurance from private health insurance companies when reforms go into effect, SB27 says we get to decide if we want an SB329 system, an Edwards' style system, or "Medicare-for-All" to be the reform that goes into effect. c) The AARP is part of the health insurance industry. AARP makes a great deal of money from selling insurance products. We got Medicare Part D because Republicans in the AARP leadership were key advocates for it. Medicare Part D has the same philosophy as SB329, in that it requires that people buy insurance to cover health care needs from private insurance companies. d) I fully agree with AARP that we should have national health care reform. The evidence is overwhelming, however, that the AARP has worked behind the scenes with corrupted Democrats to stop us from getting a national health insurance plan, or even a plan like Edwards has proposed. Similarly, from what an average citizen has access to, it is apparent in this debate here in Oregon they have worked behind the scene with Bates and Westlund to make sure we don't actually start something in this state that would push aside the AARP and the private health care industry, as well as corrupted Democrats in the pocket of that industry. That includes making outright false statements about SB27 to their members. e) Kulogonski has abdicated all leadership on health care reform, as his been characteristic of his failed administration. f) The Oregon Democratic Party leadership have proven how truly useless they are by not standing up for Democratic Party principles - which most certainly do not include selling us out to private health insurance companies.

    You may not get to see Sicko before it's too late. But if you are already are upset based on the pre-release information you've heard, you can do something now by making it known to the Democratic leadership in the Oregon legislature you want action on SB27 this coming week. Here's who you can call:

    • Senate President: Sen. Peter Courtney, 503-986-1600, (SB27 sponsor)
    • Senate Majority Leader: Kate Brown, 503-986-1700, (not an SB27 sponsor)
    • Senate Ways and Means Co-Chair: Kurt Schrader, 503-986-1720, (not an SB27 sponsor)
    • Sen. Alan Bates, 503-986-1703, (SB329 sponsor, not an SB27 sponsor)
    • Sen. Ben Westlund, 503-986-1727, (SB329 sponsor, not an SB27 sponsor)
    • Speaker of the House: Rep. Jeff Merkley, 503-986-1200, (not an SB27 sponsor)
    • House Ways and Means Co-Chair: Rep. Mary Nolan, 503-986-1436, (not an SB27 sponsor)
    • House Majority Leader: Rep. Dave Hunt, 503-986-1900, (not an SB27 sponsor)

    Notice how few of these "leaders" who claim to stand for Democratic Party values are SB27 sponsors? We need names of who actually is blocking SB27, and we need those names exposed here and everywhere in the media.

    And you folks in the media reading this: There is grassroots anger at Democratic "leaders" amongst those who understand even the most basic issues about health care (most of the posters here don't have a clue about the issues). They are screwing with the health of our family and friends, and we feel no party loyalty other obligation that will stop us from pushing back.

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    AARP wasn't the only group opposed to 27, just the loudest one. Several other D interest groups lobbied against it because it would have given lots of stuff for R's to use against our vulnerable house members next fall.

    As in all disinformation, there is a bit of truth to this but it is spun to divert attention from the whole truth.

    The truth is that there are D's interest groups who are against SB27.

    The spin into disinformation is the claim that that is because this would give R's an issue to use against "vulnerable" D's.

    Put up or shut up AnonStaffer: Who are those interest groups and what issue does SB27, which has 4 Republican and 1 Independent sponsor, give R's against vulnerable D's? SB 27 is not a plan, it is a process whereby the people of Oregon get to decide how they want the health care reform, there is not issue in that that can benefit R's.

    There are incumbent D's who might find certain special interest groups withdrawing support to support other D's, and one can look at the list of non-SB27 sponsors in the leadership and the sponsors of the propaganda front "Hope For A Healthy Oregon" to get a starting idea of who both might be:

    • AFL-CIO
    • AARP
    • AFT-Oregon
    • SEIU
    • Oregon Primary Care Association
    • Coalition for a Healthy Oregon
    • Oregon Business Council
    • Oregon Business Association
    • Assoc. of Hospitals & Health Systems
    • Oregon Nurses Association
    • Northwest Health Foundation
    • Oregonians for Health Security
    • Oregon Health Care Assoc.
    • Oregon Small Business for Responsible Leadership

    They don't put this on the website anywhere I can find, but it's my guess that the law requires they put it in their email because they are sending unsolicited email. (I never signed up with them, that's for sure, I think they got my email when I attended the Bates and Westlund "bread and circuses" roadshow.)

    Each of these groups certainly are not opposed to the general idea of providing health care. Each derives a selfish benefit from the health care system as it is now, however, and from forcing the uninsured into the system as it is now.

    For the AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFT-Oregon --- and I fully support unions, including state and federal measures to authorize a union as soon as enough people sign the card calling for a union --- health care coverage is one of the few recruiting tools they have left. A single-payer universal health care system would take that away.

    As already noted AARP makes a pretty penny selling insurance products and is one of the major reasons we have the atrocity that is Medicare Part D.

    The Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, and the Oregon Health Care Association are trade groups whose membership includes private, for-profit businesses that do quite well under the current system.

    And so on...

    The lies are going to stop, and the backstabbers and liars are going to be exposed starting now.

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    "The truth is that there are D's interest groups who are against SB27." AnnonStaffer, name one who lobbied against SB27 in its final form??. Just one. I asked you once, don't make me ask you again...

    ahem I'm not a blowhard on SB329. Been called worse though. :-)

    SB27 isn't "Single Payer" although I know LOTS and LOTS of people supportive of SB329 who are.

    Neither SB27 or SB329 are "Single Payer." So lets get away from that for a moment, and just ask ourselves, what's it gonna take to get SB27 a vote out of committee on moving foward?

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    "bulahJo McCallaster", I was not including you in the group of blowhards at all. You and "Outraged O" are the only two who understand what is going on.

    Also, there is lobbying and then there is lobbying. The interest groups listed do not all have paid lobbyists working against SB27. From what I've been gleaned from materials sent me by folks with a dog in the fight, and my own citizen contacts with our legislators, that list I cited includes many folks who aggressively lobbied in their own way against SB27, with and without paid professional lobbyists.

    So I agree: AnonStaffer, put up or shutup, start naming names so we can confront those skulking in the shadows who are screwing with our health and lives. (Media people, where are you? When it comes to politics, telling us who is screwing who is actually supposed to be your job as a witness for the people.)

    SB27 is a process to design a plan, not a plan per se. Whatever health care system we the people want at the end of the process will be the result. That can include a state health insurance plan, or it may not. It would be up to us. The point of SB27 is that it gives us by law one thing SB329 absolutely does not: A choice about whether we want private insurance companies to continue to have their greedy hands around the neck of our health care system.

    The best that can be said about SB329, and I fully supported passage of SB329 --- if and only if --- the legislature also passed SB27, is that for some folks it could be a reassuring complement to SB27. That is, some folks find the very thought of a process offputting because it involves uncertainty (or worse, maybe they won't get everything they selfishly want), even though SB27 requires by law that the process it starts must produce substantial results in roughly the same time frame as SB329 requires that the "reforms" it specifies would be put into place.

    In that scenario, SB329 is a panacea that would ease the minds of those folks who are anxious about that false uncertainty because it would give them one certain option in 2009. However, it will only be the panacea it should be if SB27 is also passed. Those who support Democratic candidates when it serves their self-interest, self-serving Democrats, and Democratic "leaders" alike that are working to kill SB27 don't want SB329 to just be a panacea. Their goal is to make sure the current system, from which they derive self-interested benefits that have nothing to do with making sure everyone receives the best possible health care, stays in place. At least for the foreseeable future, that is, and until they have insured they have a direct role in shaping a new system that preserves their self-interest.

    In the scenario where we get SB329 but not SB27, SB329 is not a panacea. Instead it becomes the main battle front in the war over health care reform in this state because we don't have the SB27 process to sort this all out amicably. The outlook for our health care system in 2009 actually becomes even less certain because there are no guarantees in such a high-stakes fight, although we can be relatively assured most of us average folks will be some of the biggest losers for the reasons already discussed. Those whining here in their self-centered, and self-aggrandizing, childishness about "getting along" haven't seen anything yet in this fight for health care reform if SB329 passes and SB27 is killed in the slimy political maneuvering going on right now. The best thing they could do to be someone special on the right side of history is to wear out their phones and keyboards for the next week telling everyone they know to contact Salem and demand that SB27 be passed.

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Hey, what happened to JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer? (FYI folks, it's all the same person) Seems like they "took off" when the light started to shine on them.

    Just like a cockroach.

    Wonder what AARP/Insurance Companies promised this person after session?

    The irony. SB27 supporters, as citizen activists, lobbied for Healthy Kids, SB27 & SB329. Wrote letters to the editor statewide, OP-ED pieces, come to the capitol to lobby on behalf of ALL 3 bills just to be pissed on by some arrogant, political wanna be.

    All that aside: I still hope people participate in BlueOregon's "send your legislator" a note supporting SB27 moving out of Ways & Means. That is all this was supposed to be, a simple request, and then for JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer to come out with narcissistic, condescending, toxic venom drooling from their fangs towards SB27 supporters.

    It didn't have to come down to this. Both bills are, in the words of Alan Bates, co-author of SB329 and a supporter of SB27: "Compatible & Complimentary." But alas, I repeat myself but feel it necessary as this thread has, although it's informative, gotten kinda long.

    Let’s work together to move SB27.

  • JTT (unverified)
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    bulah, no I actually didn't run away...just got tired of bantering with people who clearly are AM-insider folk...Your craziness is showing and I just don't even try with crazy people.

  • BulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer:

    I'm soooooo glad you are back! I never get tired of bantering with "SB329 ONLY" folks, especially since SB27 supporters helped carry SB329.

    As far as being an AM insider, nope. :-) Well, other than getting their e-mails, but I get Hope For A Healthy Oregon too, the SB329 people. I get health care newsletters and legislative updates from a lot of groups and organizations because I'm concerned citizen about health care as an issue, not a political football.

    I'm just someone who supports SB27 & SB329 and the open public hearing process.

    And if you don't "just don't even try with crazy people," why respond??

    All SB27 supporters want is to move the bill out of Ways & Means, get its hearing and move to the full floor of both chambers.

    A post was sent out to BlueOregon to ask citizens to respond and JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer just couldn't leave it alone.

    Just had to be nasty to the very people who helped pass SB329.

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    JTT - I'm not an AM insider either. I too just get their emails too and ask lots of questions of anybody who cares to talk to active citizens seeking accurate information.

    On that score, by the way, I have to give the AM folks much higher marks than the SB329 operatives. What a lot of SB329 supporters, starting right with Bates and Westlund, apparently can't deal with are well-informed citizens. Quite typical to try to smear citizens who are better informed as being "crazy", or otherwise being condescending.

    Everyone needs to ring the phones of the hook in the legislature starting Monday at 8:00AM to get SB27 out of Ways and Means to a floor vote in both chambers, to pass it in those floor votes, and then put the pressure on Kulongoski to sign it. And demand they name names of Democrats, Democratic legislators, and Democratic interest groups that are being obstructive in accomplishing that, since that is the majority with whom the power to get SB27 passed solely rests.

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Dear PO'D Dem:

    Thanks for your words, one little item though: Alan Bates is on record of actively supporting SB27 and pledged that after SB329 passed, he would devote his leadership to passing SB27. I believe him.

    I think that "JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer" is just sour that they realized they made a HUGE blunder in smearing SB27 supporters with the original post that came out after SB27 supporters used BlueOregon as a vehicle to help communicate with our elected officials.

    I’ll spare everyone a monologue on the beauty of blogging on BlueOregon and other political sites where opposing points of view can be aired. I, for one, am happy this dialogue is happening.

    It just goes to prove that the SB329 ONLY-AARP/Insurance Companies are hand in hand.

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    The issue is that SB27 folks used BlueOregon as a forum to put out a legislative alert and the first blog to come out of the block, well, you can take a look at it for your self.

    Just a meta-clarification here... Nobody "used" BlueOregon for anything. I posted this item here because I saw the Onward Oregon alert myself -- and it seemed like it might spark an interesting conversation here. Which it did.

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Mea Culpa. Point well taken Mr. Chisholm and my apologies.

    It was not my intent to use the phrase "used BlueOregon" in a negative way with respect to this blog, rather my intent was point out that blogging via BlueOregon provides a valuable service.

    I admit, I was in a hurry and my fingers got ahead of my thoughts on how that statement may be interpreted.

    Respectfully, Bulah Jo

  • pacowan (unverified)
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    as a moderately informed observer who was paying most attention to other issues (energy and environment), but had followed the archimedes movement, and the failed healthcare initiative before that, i would like to say that i was pleasantly surprised to see SB329 pass with the language that it had. i know it's not perfect, but this is much more than i was expecting. chalk that up to the tyranny of low expectations, perhaps, but oregon is not yet as progressive as it needs to be to pass something truly groundbreaking. we're getting there, though. congratulations everyone who worked on this.

  • onehealthcarevoter (unverified)
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    OK folks-stop the finger pointing, totally unhelpful in achieving the goal of a health care system we can all depend on-a few quick thoughts

    1- listen to Jefferson-totally spot on- 2- A quick note on the “non supporters of SB27” many (though not all) of the groups listed on the Hope for Healthy Oregon site were/are supporters of both 329 and 27; so stop impugning their integrity 3- This is not about any one effort, entity or individual- this is about all of us, so let’s utilize the opportunity of the passage of SB 329 to move forward. The subcommittees set up under 329 will allow for the conversation that must happen on the financing and benefit design. One note- the original Oregon Health Plan was “unsustainable” because the “employer mandate” ended up not being included, not necessarily the Medicare dollars. We must determine a fair system of financing period, and indeed the Medicare piece is important in the long term sustainability of our health care system, but it is not the only piece- so let’s be sure we continue to engage! 4- This legislature did more this session to reduce the cost of health care than any in the past 3, so let’s move on-the concepts in 27 are key to success and if we are to battle the powerful health care industry, we must be together.

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    You know, after looking at the list again PO'D Dem cited, (although I do agree with them on almost every other point,) there are a few on that list who I know have been staunch stalwarts on true reform and actively supporting SB27.

    They've worked hard, honestly and above board.

    With respect to Jefferson, Yep. To quote you: "totally spot on."

    It'll be interesting to see if the employer mandate with SB329 will ever take effect. You are however correct that the original Oregon Health Plan failed because of the employer mandate, amongst other reasons.

    And you are "totally spot on" with respect to Moving ON. "the concepts in 27 are key to success and if we are to battle the powerful health care industry, we must be together."

    So. Let's work together, get SB27 it's hearing, move it to the floor. Go through the process. In your words, SB27 determines a fair system of financing. By passing SB27 out of ways and means, we can continue to engage. Otherwise, Oregon's conversation about sustainable health care reform goes "ka-plunk" this session.

    That is why I find JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer soooo condescending and factually inaccurate. We needed both bills, not just the AARP/Insurance Companies vision of health care reform.

    SB27 supporters helped pass SB329 because we understand that both bills together give Oregonians a fighting chance. To just have this kind of vicious venom strewn all over SB27 supporters from JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer is pretty disheartening.

    Sounds pretty personal to me.

    Thank you for your voice of reason and for pointing out the list of folks cited earlier. I went back and looked. You were right.

  • JTT (unverified)
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    no bulahJo, I'm not a SB27 or Kitzhaber hater. I'm just tired of people like you and PO'D Democrat saying that SB 329 is a big "do nothing" bill, downplaying the significance of its passage, and smearing Westlund as somehow beholden to AARP or the insurance industry. It's not AARP that will hit lawmakers for voting on SB27 in the next election, it's the Republicans. I'm not intent on "smearing SB27 supporters"...as you say, I just think that SB329 supporters clearly did their homework and gathered the necessary support for reform.

    You say that what isn't in 329 but is in 27 is a Medicare waiver. Is there such thing as a Medicare waiver?

    I thought fundamentally SB27 was all about starting a national conversation. Would you do me a favor and read section 9 of SB329 and tell me that isn't a national conversation that is actually broader than the SB27 conversation? As the Archimedes Movement people say: "we can do better". I think SB329 just did...it's too bad you still think it's a "do nothing bill".

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    I cannot follow who is responding to who at this point. Part of the game by a lot of Democrats who actually are saying one thing about support for SB27 in this battle, but actually doing quite another, is to confuse the argument to distract attention from their duplicity. I'm not going to get sucked into that game, so I'm going to make general comments responding to points others made. Take the following as responding to themes, and not to the individuals I'm quoting except where I say specifically say so:

    Alan Bates is on record of actively supporting SB27 and pledged that after SB329 passed, he would devote his leadership to passing SB27. I believe him.

    Anyone is free to believe whatever makes their world go round. After watching him live, talking to his office, and following his actions rather than listening to his double-talking, I don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth. From the facts I've been given and ferreted out so far, it's his duplicity, including with AARP, that makes him the lead rogue in this drama. I've already laid out the facts why the real bums in this tawdry drama are the Democrats like him who say one thing, but who in fact have not exercised their power as the Democratic majority.

    2- A quick note on the “non supporters of SB27” many (though not all) of the groups listed on the Hope for Healthy Oregon site were/are supporters of both 329 and 27; so stop impugning their integrity

    What they "were" in terms of what they said in their double-talking to accomplish their own goals, is quite distinct from what they "are". I've outlined the facts about what they "are", in terms of what actions they actually have and have not taken to date. I think it is fair to say that none of the players on that list with significant resources have told the Democratic "leadership" to pull SB27 out of Ways and Means, or it would have happened like yesterday.

    People want to defend the names on that list, fine, start naming names and saying exactly what actions they have taken in the last 72 hours, and have announced they will take in the next 120 hours, to put unbearable, merciless pressure on the Democratic majority to pull SB27 out of Ways and Means. I haven't seen any public announcements from "BS For a Healthy Oregon", I haven't received any email from them except the ones containing their lies about SB27 to mislead people into supporting SB329, and I certainly have not received any email telling me to call my elected officials to demand SB27 be passed like I received for SB329. That may change this week, of course, I'll thank them at the end of the week if it does. In the meantime I'm not giving them any credit they haven't earned, and right now that is precious little. Just who gets the mail out of that P.O Box 1571 in Bend, by the way?

    And to "onehealthcarevoter": Over a matter as serious as this, a contemptable little worm like you should not even dare to presume to lecture me to stop impugning the "integrity" of people who've demonstrated their integrity on this issue is questionable at best.

    OK folks-stop the finger pointing, totally unhelpful in achieving the goal of a health care system we can all depend on-a few quick thoughts

    1- listen to Jefferson-totally spot on-

    I only can find one comment in this thread from "Jefferson Smith", and there is nothing I can find in that that is material, much less truly "spot on". There is a difference between the Harold Hill that first rolled into River City, and the first Jefferson Smith that went to Washington. What has this Jefferson Smith done in the last 72 hours, and what will he do in the next 120 hours to make sure SB27 passes this week? All I see is a bunch of dumb BS by him and a few others here about letting this critical moment go by, talking down to people they don't really seem to respect about having a Kumbayah moment.

    120 hours to go Jeffy, put up or shut up by bringing what you have to the table to get SB27 passed over the resistance of a Democratic minority and interest groups who are just fine with the demise of SB27, even as they passively claim to support it.

    Like I said before, the folks that Jeffy apparently wants to throw in with are screwing with the life and health of my working family and friends. They had better not even think they are going to get away with that without a pitched political fight to the end, and hopefully some damage to their political fortunes if they persist in hurting others for their own ends.

    And by the way, a self-aggrandizing, punk white kid quoting a black man who was viciously assaulted by a bunch of bigotted white cops, for the purpose of currying favor with interest groups who are working with a bunch of privileged white politicians in the Oregon legislature to kill the best shot we have for reforming the health care system to benefit of everybody in the form of SB27, sure comes across as condescending and as insulting a lot more people than just Rodney King.

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    JTT is actually mouthing the latest line by Westlund that we don't need SB27, now that the true Republican in him has found sympatico, sold-out or cowardly Democratic minority and protected the health insurance industry. Just to refresh everybody's memory, refer back to the list of Democratic "leaders" who have decided to kill SB27 by not letting it out of committe.: Brown, Schrader, Bates, Westlund, Merkley, Nolan, Hunt. And don't forget, silent back-stabbing Democratic Governor Ted K., who hasn't used the power of his office, and the cowardly Oregon Democratic Party leadership, who similarly haven't used their resources, to call on the Democratic majority to pass SB27.

    JTT is kind of slow child too. Get this straight JTT: SB27 is about having a national debate about how we want to reform the health care, including whether or if we want private health insurance companies to keep their greedy hands around the neck of our health care system. SB329 is about making sure they do, and most of Section 9 really is about asking for the necessary federal support to keep private health insurance industry in charge in Oregon. That includes asking for increases in Medicare reimbursement rates so costs that Medicare doesn't cover are not shifted back on private health insurance companies like they are now, either because people can't find a doctor and end up using emergency services, or because the medical providers have to adjust costs for privately insured patients to cover costs for Medicare patients that are not covered by Medicare.

    SB329 calls for a national debate to benefit very different interests than SB27, although some of the same conversations will occur in those two very different debates.

    One starts to hope that this debate over health care in every state and the national level, perhaps catalyzed further by Sicko, might result in a historic re-orientation of political power in this country. Whether we can force faithless Democrats in interests groups like those listed above out of the Democratic Party while drawing in disaffected voters who aren't Democrats, or perhaps just build a new party and leave a neutered Democratic Party to the faithless while similarly neutering the Republican Party, could be the only real question.

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Well. I'm not much for going after allies, who I think are trying to help this SB27 conversation move forward. I believe, still do, that Bates was telling the truth. On that PO'd Dem, we're gonna have to disagree, but I hope agreeably. I know a lot of legislators worked to champion SB27.

    This is an ugly mess, isn't it? All SB27 folks wanted, was to get SB27 out of Ways & Means and on to the floor. The votes were there, and that is why Merkley & Hunt gave it the green light only to change their minds. Interesting that JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer is trying to claim "you didn't have the votes!!! You didn't have the votes!!" Sorry, but there just isn't the credibility factor with JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer.

    Be all that as it may. It'll be interesting after seeing the SB329 ONLY supporters try and get a dialogue going with us SB27 & SB329 Punks. Oh, and yeah, JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer: you think SB27 was fundamentally about starting a National Conversation. You think. Quit thinking. It doesn't help.

    As far as the threat about the R's using SB27 against D's up for this next election cycle: That's just the newst, latest & greatest excuse to shelve SB27. Especially since it had as much bi-partisian support as SB329.

    And yes, from your above quotes, JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer: you are a SB27 hater. You just can't stand the fact that SB329 won't work unless SB27 goes with. Takes away your glory, doesn't it?????????

    Just read the first few posts on what JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer says:

    "As usual the whole SB 27 stunt was all about Kitz, his image, his ego. The no compromise, take no prisoners approach may have worked during Kitz' days as Dr. No with the Republican legislaure when he had the veto stamp. But now he can't work with a Democratic majority in both chambers. What's that tell you?

    Hmmm...So, when he left office saying the state was "ungovernable" was that because of Republican control in the Legislature or, perhaps, did it have something to do with him and the way he leads?

    When are loyal Democrats going to learn Kitz does not want to help other Democrats lead, he wants to lead all by himself despite his admission that the state was "ungovernable" under his leadership.

    How quickly we forget. He already threatened a challenge to our sitting, incumbent Democratic Governor in a way that COULD HAVE seriously undermined his re-election, had the Gov. not kicked into to gear at the same time Republicans were tanking in historic proportions. Now Kitz supporters call Democratic control of the Legislature: Minnis 2.0. Give me a break!

    I don't drink the Kitz Koolaid. I hope his defeat on SB 27 marks the beginning of the end of his activism in the Democratic party. He simply doesn't play well with others."

    JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer, those are YOUR words.

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    It's not AARP that will hit lawmakers for voting on SB27 in the next election, it's the Republicans.

    This is a re-hash of same disinformation, being spread by a Democratic minority to cow the Democratic majority. We all know the political tactic of simply repeating things until people think they are true. The fact is the Democrats spreading this are covering for themselves. Tell us JTT, in exactly what races and over what aspects of SB27 are Republicans going to be hitting Democrats? And to which Democratic members and in what races are "BS For a Healthy Oregon" members making it known they will put up Democratic candidates compliant to their interests if the cowardly Democratic leadership doesn't play ball with them?

    Just a meta-clarification here... Nobody "used" BlueOregon for anything. I posted this item here because I saw the Onward Oregon alert myself -- and it seemed like it might spark an interesting conversation here. Which it did.

    Which raises a very interesting question Kari: Your own words suggest that you only mentioned SB27 so far to drive traffic. This is a blog which takes political positions (it is "Blue Oregon", after all) and you have no problem aggressively advocating for certain legislation like Healthy Kids. If you are sympathetic to SB27, do you support it? If you do support SB27, do you feel you would unacceptably risk currying disfavor with Democratic interest and leaders from whom you seek favor if you use this forum to support it? Are you contemplating using this forum in the next 120 hours to actually aggressively advocate that the Democratic majority move SB27 to a vote out of Ways and Means, and to pass it on the floor of both chambers?

    The beauty of issues like this is how they lead to historic power realignments. I"m becoming more optimistic that SB27 supporters locally, and national health insurance advocates nationally, are going to fare well in such a power realignment over the next four years.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
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    I just sent this to the Oregonian (and house leadership):

    Dear Editor,

    It was the classic insider versus outsider struggle. The insiders controlled the hallways of the Capitol, the outsiders rule the meeting halls throughout the state. The leadership of the Oregon House of Representatives seem eager to please the insiders, and to muzzle the outsiders.

    Thousands of Oregon citizens met throughout the state to discuss how to replace our miserable health care system with a better one. They came up with a process to continue this discussion, taking it nationwide, and took their idea to the Oregon legislature - it became Senate Bill 27. They followed the rules hoping for a fair hearing.

    Senate Bill 27 became buried so deep in committee you'd have to pipe daylight to it. The best way to replace our miserable health care system is through directions gathered from meeting halls throughout Oregon, but big money fears this forum - they prefer the halls of the Capitol. We won't accept limits on this discussion, we shall overcome!

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    I believe, still do, that Bates was telling the truth. On that PO'd Dem, we're gonna have to disagree, but I hope agreeably. I know a lot of legislators worked to champion SB27.

    No problem there bulahJo McAllaster. You are leading a charge here from a position of principle that I respect, so I have no desire to squabble over such matters. And believe me, nothing would make me happier to be wrong about Bates and see him on TV and in the newspapers playing a key role over the next 120 hours moving SB27 to final passage. I"ll be the first to call his office and thank him profusely for doing that if he does. Unfortunately, it is my experience watching him deal with grassroots folks who support the values that distinguish SB27 from SB329 even more than they support the specific legislation in SB27, and the disappointing contacts I've had with his office on that score, that lead me to such skepticism about Bates.

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Easy there big guy.

    We are in the public court of opinion. We are, at least I am, for the last two days, have been working to move opinion, or to at least move people to action to get them to communicate with their legislators.

    What I don't want to see happen, is the JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer's of the world come out with "Seeeeeeee I toooooold yooooou so" that we, SB27 supporters can't play nice.

    Kari was making a point. Jefferson Smith was making a point, (and I happen to know that The Bus Project is a very good coalition partner with SB27, they put some muscle behind their words and have been active legislatively on SB27, as in like, in the building talking to legislators) and to AHealthCareVoter, he/she is working this issue too.

    I agree with everything you say. But, our allies on SB27 are there. If they weren't, we wouldn't have gotten as far as we did without their help.

    Hang in there.

    We need to win people over in this forum with facts, just the facts. In political dialogue, when the playing field is level, we, progressives always win. This forum, in many respects is a way to level the playing field.

    Don't give the SB329-ONLY people any ammo. Recognize those who have worked with SB27, shoulder to shoulder. Side-by-side.

    It's okay to be angry. Trust me. That is why I've been at this blog. I've never done anything like this before. But going after Jefferson, Kari & AHealthCareVoter is no way to change the other lurkers out there watching all of this unfold.

    Let events unfold, but let's steer the conversation on what really happened in Salem via AARP/Insurance Companies and JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer.

    Those are our enemies. Stay focused.

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    The best way to replace our miserable health care system is through directions gathered from meeting halls throughout Oregon, but big money fears this forum - they prefer the halls of the Capitol. We won't accept limits on this discussion, we shall overcome!

    A truly excellent and positive letter Robert G. Gourley. Besides bulah's strong comments, this is by far the most uplifting thing I've come across about SB27 in the last too many days. We still have at least 120 hours, we need to wear out our fingers dialing and typing our elected officials and the media to keep the spotlight on this fight. This is what politics that matter is all about. It is the combination of touching truth, genuine goodwill, and firm conviction in your letter that is going to win this thing yet.

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Hang in there on Bates. He is a man of principle. I've never met him, but I have been watching him and I know good friends who talk to him as constituents. He's never, ever lied to them.

    I don't expect him to do anything except to act with integrity. I am praying that I'm right. Otherwise, I'll let you take a free "told you so" and a swing at my nose. wink :-)

    Ah. Mr. Gourley, how nice of YOU to join us. Love the letter, 'cept: SB27 did see light at the end of the tunnel. Votes were there. Had the "green light" from leadership. It was going to go forward. I do so hope that you will bring friends to our party!

    Then, "ka-plunk." 120 hours left. Betcha AARP/Insurance Companies and JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer are just rubbing there hands with glee.

    I can hear it now: "Shut down Ways & Means. Shut down Ways & Means. Shut down Ways & Means."

    SB329 needs SB27 to be sustainable. Without it, it's a re-hash of OHP. We can do better here in Oregon AND start a national conversation.

    AARP in their June AARP Bulletin even now says that Medicare must be addressed, but CALIFORNIA is the place to do it. No mention on how much further along Oregon is. If CALIFORNIA is the place where they want to start, it'll take MUCH longer to get comprehensive health care reform. What? Don't we care that all of a sudden that R's in California might use a California version of SB27 against Democrats? All of a sudden it’s okay for states, where they have a larger market share, to start there than us little ol’ pissants here in Oregon???

  • JTT (unverified)
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    PO'd said: SB27 is about... Oh, I see. So SB 27 is about a single-payer socialized-medicine system. Yeah, I definately think that Democrats should vote on that...because socialized medicine has SO MUCH support in this state and in this country.</sarcasm>

    BulahJo said: Quit thinking...

    I still haven't seen any substantive responses to my questions (e.g. Section 9 in SB 329: the national conversation, nor the SB 27 Medicare "waiver"). I'll stop thinking if you'll start answering my questions about why SB 27 really needs a hearing...)

    P.S. I'm not JHL/Anonymous Democrat/D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer...I speak for myself and only myself. I don't post under other pseudonyms.

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    We need to win people over in this forum with facts, just the facts. In political dialogue, when the playing field is level, we, progressives always win. This forum, in many respects is a way to level the playing field.

    I have to disagree with one thing here though. We are in the court of public opinion about politics. In politics, people don't respond to facts per se (although they really want to believe they do.) They respond to leaders and advocates that most genuinely and aggressively defend the values they hold. This battle is about values, more than it is about facts, and helping people understand who it is that actually shares and defends their values, and who it is that just says they do for their own personal ends.

    I'm confident that more people actually support the values behind SB27 than the values behind SB329, and I am more than convinced there are clear differences between the two. As I said, SB329 and SB27 together serve one set of goals and values and we now have SB329. SB329 alone serves a very different set of goals and values, and those who in effect argue now that we should let SB27 go because we have SB329 are serving yet another, largely self-centered, set of goals and values. The only objective I and those I know have in supporting SB329 and SB27 is fighting for the life and health of everybody, but most particularly those who are being harmed most by this health care system. We don't have to balance off other competing personal interests and goals like some of the commentators (not the SB27 supporters) here of those two factions who are not actually supporting SB27 by calling for the Democratic majority to now do the trivially easy work, because they are a majority, of moving SB27 out of committee and passing it on the floor of both chambers.

    The objective of the SB27 supporters I know is not to convince those who passively or actively oppose SB27. The goal is to let people who otherwise haven't been heard to make themselves heard based on how they feel advocates for SB27 genuinely speak for their values, and to make it politically untenable for the Democratic majority who are not doing that trivially easy job of now passing SB27. If those Democratic members and SB329 supporters who also support SB27 want to cut their nose to spite their face by letting SB27 fail because their personal sensibilities are somehow how not catered to or because they can't stand up to certain special interests who would just as soon sacrifice them as support them, I can't help that. They'll have to suffer whatever political fate they make for themselves. I have to wonder, though, what kind of commitment those folks actually have to defending the life and health of everyone else if they did that.

  • BulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Then answer my question that I posed first: What D special interest groups lobbied against SB27? mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    But I'll play nice and answer yours anyway. Why not? Never let it be said that SB27 people don't play nice and work together and answer questions posed to them, unlike you, JHL/Anonymous Democrat/D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer. Deny it allllllll you want, you're the one and only.

    The waivers that SB329 asks for are Federal Waivers, but are mostly "house cleaning" waivers, one of which however is important: Bringing up Medicare reimbursement rates here in Oregon. SB27 also asks for that. The Waivers in SB329, except for the "BIGGIE" that SB27 asks for, asking for a conversation on what a health care system could look like has been completely sanitized at AARP's request.

    The reason SB27 really needs a hearing is so that it will be allowed to pass. But I guess AARP/Insurance companies wouldn't like that, now, would they? Not to mention, in your case, it would take away some of the perceived glory you think you currently have under that green belt of yours. What an big ego you have!

    I must admit, I feel like Little Red Riding Hood talking to the Big Bad Wolf: What Big Teeth You Have!!!

    Don’t pretend that you don’t know what a federal waiver is. SB329 has them in there, all softball waivers that without SB27 “big ask” will not allow it to be sustainable. Will allow “nay-sayers” on health care reform, (and yes I repeat myself) to gett yet again the opportunity to point out another failed Democratic policy on health care.. “Interfering with the free market system just made matters worse.” How are D’s supposed to run on failed policies? In this case, a re-hash of OHP and expect to win?

    And no. SB27 & SB329 isn't about single-payer or socialized medicine. Although lots of people I know who support both bills also happen to support Single Payer. I think I pointed that out earlier too, you must have missed. Nice try though at the disinformation machine, yet again.

    So glad you came back to join us. Missed playing with you. So much fun. I expect a response from you.

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    I still haven't seen any substantive responses to my questions (e.g. Section 9 in SB 329: the national conversation, nor the SB 27 Medicare "waiver"). I'll stop thinking if you'll start answering my questions about why SB 27 really needs a hearing...)

    You got a substantive answer, I'll repeat it because, as I said, you are a slow child: SB329 and SB27 are about two different national debates, some conversations in that debate, such as aspects of Medicare, are of a pieces, but for different ends and benefit different interests.

    You just don't like the substantive answer, because in fact you have specific self-interested goals that don't include the life and health of everybody, and most importantly those being hurt by a health care system which private health insurance companies have by the throat.

    Oh, I see. So SB 27 is about a single-payer socialized-medicine system.

    Nope, but throw out this type of blatantly unfactual propaganda is a typical dishonest tactic by those who don't want to admit they don't have the life and health of everybody, and most importantly those being hurt by a health care system which private health insurance companies have by the throat, as their primary and only goal.

    SB27 has nothing to do with socialized medicine or the health care delivery system per se, which will always be a mix of non-profit and for-profit providers generally free to conduct their operation anyway they choose. SB27 doesn't even specify a payer mechanism, all it says is that we the people would get to decide what kind of payer system they want. If we decide we want to set up a state health insurance system similar to Medicaid, we can do that, and if we decide we don't want to, we don't.

    And by the way, in case you don't know it, Medicaid and Medicare really are just types of insurance systems. The state Medicaid systems and the federal Medicare system don't hire doctors, run hospitals, or dispense medications. The private businesses that do provide those types of health care services to a great degree decide whether or not they even want to accept patients with Medicaid or Medicare "insurance".

    SB329 just says we get no choice in the matter, we (or our employer) have to buy insurance from a private health insurance company if we are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare. To me that is a lot more government coercion and interference in the system than providing us with the option of deciding whether we want to create an the option of buying state health insurance.

  • JPJ Eugene (unverified)
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    Re: Another critical health care reform bill: SB 27...

    I'm astounded. Legislative leadership won't allow a public hearing on SB 27! What the...?

    (SB 27 is the Health Care reform measure proposed by former Gov. John Kitzhaber and the "We Can Do Better" coalition.)

    Oregon Legislative leaders have crippled the democratic process with this action. Citizens deserve to know on the record exactly which corporate special interests are opposing SB 27!

    House and Senate elected leaders: You must NOT stifle debate on this critical health care reform measure. You must not stumble under pressure from big pharma and medical insurance giants.

    Problem corporate interests include the multinational pharmaceutical and out-of-control insurance companies, but also AARP's profit-making subsidiary which sells health insurance. AARP has strongly opposed SB 27. Most voters are unaware of that fact.

    Legislators: Don't allow your honor to be shamed by the greedy and the powerful.

    Convene a hearing. Let supporters and opponents of SB 27 come forward in a balanced legislative hearing to present testimony. You owe this to the people of Oregon.

    Extend the legislative session if necessary.

    Don't close the doors on democracy!

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    By the way, pointing at another thread: The way that Democrats were able to move a constitutional amendment to passage this quickly and not move SB27 speaks volumes about cynical, self-serving politics over other values.

    Sorry bulahJo, I've heard most of the same elected officials who are responsible as of now for passively or actively blocking SB27 move this ill-considered constitutional amendment for the most cynical and selfish political reasons. That starts with our Governor and almost every one of the Democrat "leaders" who are not sponsors of SB27. They needed to work hard to fund Healthy Kids out of the general fund, not trash our Constitution with subject matter that should be worked out in the legislative process. I have no problem calling them out for betraying so much of what I stand for as a Democrat. If they kill SB27 by blaming insignificant citizen advocates like me who get in their face for their unprincipled actions, that would speak volumes about how much they really care about providing health care for all in a responsible and sustainable way.

    Folks, you can decide if you want to remain in silent disagreement for the direction this Democratic leadership is taking us, or you can speak up and demand we be taken another direction. The rest of the week I'm going to be trying to talk to family and friends who are disgusted with our Democrats majority in both chambers to let that be known, the argument has been made in this thread that needs to be made.

    Bet you didn't expect that JTT, did you? Do you support this constitutional amendment? Who do you believe cares most about reforming our health care system in a responsible and sustainable way?

  • BulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    JPJ Eugene:

    Thanks for joining in! Bring Friends! We love our friends, SB329 & SB27 supporters! There is room for everybody at this table! Good healthy discussion going on, (well, most of the time) and our goal is what you state: Get SB27 a hearing and move this puppy!

    Yo, Kari: What's the record for the longest blog thread? Are we in the running?????

    :-) Bulah Jo

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    You know, earlier on in the session JTT, you looked like you supported the principles behind SB27 back when the two bills were going to be merged. We were on the same page. I'm a total neophyte at this, but I hope this link thing works. I read Kari's directions at the bottom to embed a link.

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    http://www.blueoregon.com/2007/03/health_care_ref.html

    Nope. didn't work.

  • AnonStaffer (unverified)
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    You all are still arguing amongst yourselves over things you know nothing about? I don't think the length of the thread counts Bulah when every other post is the same rant from you and PO'd.

    Leadership doesn't move bills that don't have the votes, you didn't move, you didn't have the votes- it's as simple as that- not a conspiracy by pharma, the insurers, aarp or anyone else.

    It's shameful the way you are name-calling bates and Westlund staff for doing their job by passing 329. If you are looking for someone to blame on the failure of 27, lay that at the feet of the man who launched it. The legislative process is built on compromise and he only knows how to govern with an iron fist- guess that doesn't work when you're not in charge. He should have built real coalitions and relationships, but all he has are some crazy activists on his side.

  • AnonStaffer (unverified)
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    You all are still arguing amongst yourselves over things you know nothing about? I don't think the length of the thread counts Bulah when every other post is the same rant from you and PO'd.

    Leadership doesn't move bills that don't have the votes, you didn't move, you didn't have the votes- it's as simple as that- not a conspiracy by pharma, the insurers, aarp or anyone else.

    It's shameful the way you are name-calling bates and Westlund staff for doing their job by passing 329. If you are looking for someone to blame on the failure of 27, lay that at the feet of the man who launched it. The legislative process is built on compromise and he only knows how to govern with an iron fist- guess that doesn't work when you're not in charge. He should have built real coalitions and relationships, but all he has are some crazy activists on his side.

  • ellie (unverified)
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    Wow. When I saw the comment count, I was excited because I expected a serious health care discussion. Instead, I am disgusted.

    Congratulations, "PO'D Democrat" -- you just won this week's award for abusive name-calling.

    This kind of shameful behavior is embarrassing and serves no constructive purpose. You want more Republican leadership? Continue this kind of in-fighting.

  • BulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Name calling? Talk about calling the kettle black!

    All this blog thread started out to do was to ask folks to contact their legislator and what is the first posting after that request????

    As far as Bates staff, no problem there. And yes, both offices "did their job" passing SB329. For that, (yet, again I repeat myself) Congrads! Now you should read all of the postings and understand that supporters of SB27 helped significantly to pass SB329 only to be called nasty names.

    Lucky for us SB27 supporters, we're resilent, and our bones don't break so easily.

    And Ellie, you should be disgusted by the name calling, no constructive dribble that has been coming from JTT, JHL/Anonymous Democrat/D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer. Now, I'll have to go and look up your previous blog posts to see if you should be added to that little list. Looking up JTT, JHL and the others has been a hoot and a half.

    And noooooo. I don't want more Republican leadership. I vote Democrat, I give to Democrats, I walk for Democrats. I phonebank for Democrats. I expect my leaders to lead, make hard decisions. The irony, is letting SB27 out of committee, (and I know, JHL/Anonymous Democrat/D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer that it just kills you when I say this) but SB27 has the votes in both chambers, and from support on both sides of the party aisle.

    That's why Merkley & Hunt gave it the green light only to kill it because of AARP/Insurance companies.

    Take a look at where this debate USED to be when the bills were supposed to be merged; http://www.blueoregon.com/2007/03/health_care_ref.html#comments

    OH. WAIT. I forgot. The new spin is that it got killed because the R's were gonna use SB27 to hammer democrats. Nooooooo. If that was true, then SB329 wouldn't have passed with bi-partisan support either.

    You say: "Lay the failure of SB27 at the feet of the man who launched it." So typical of you. Soooo personal. Just when I thought you MIGHT have something of substance to say JHL/Anonymous Democrat/D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer, you go and disappoint me.

    Oh, well.

    Hope springs eternal.

  • selfemployedmom (unverified)
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    Quoting AnonStaffer, "He should have built real coalitions and relationships, but all he has are some crazy activists on his side."

    The people who will be counting on these services for the long term won't care who bestowed this opportunity, let alone the protestations of small minded people who have axes to grind.

    Bottom line. Contact your legislator and tell them they deserve the right make a real, sustainable difference to Oregon. Not a "good enough for now" kiss on a boo boo, plaster patch approach.

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    Leadership doesn't move bills that don't have the votes, you didn't move, you didn't have the votes

    Hey AnonStaffer - save your BS for idiots like ellie.

    As you have been asked before, tell us which Democrats are against SB27, and why they would. Then we could get to the heart of the matter what constituencies they are are actually representing. These are Democrats who say they are for major health care reform, and how they aren't sold out to various interests (including their own personal business interests). They don't even have the common courtesy to answer citizens who ask them directly who is opposed to SB27 when they call their offices.

    We can go on from there, with you telling us which Republicans who voted for SB329 would vote against SB27. Since you obviously want us to believe you have all this really inside information that we average folks just couldn't possibly know.

    The fact is that faithless Democrats want to cover for other faithless Democrats by not forcing them to either vote against the interests who own them by voting for SB27, or by being exposed as faithless by voting against SB27. I'm happy to have that vote, since staffers like you who cover for them have such disregard for the right of the people to know exactly who is against them and who is for them.

    I haven't taken up what leadership is about, and how you actually are making an argument that our Democratic "leaders" are anything but.

    So put up or shut up. Start naming names, so we can start cleaning house.

    And ellie, since you also seem to feel you have so much knowledge about how politics work, why don't you tell us which Democratic seats are at risk by voting for SB27, and specifically why? I have no fear of trying to drive backstabbing Democrats out of Salem so good Democrats can take their place.

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    PO'D.

    No name calling. I know, it's hard NOT to be mad, but it gets us nowhere. Stay on the substantive stuff.

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    No name calling. I know, it's hard NOT to be mad, but it gets us nowhere. Stay on the substantive stuff.

    I'm not even close to mad.

    All I'll say is that this is politics with some serious real life consequences. People make their decisions in no small part by watching how and when fools and jerks are suffered gladly, and how and when they aren't, in the political battle over an issue like this where all sides have a lot at stake. That of course goes both ways, and I'm well aware that some people who'll never support SB27 anyway will justify that by saying people like me are fools and jerks. As long as folks understand that I am just one citizen who speaks only for myself, and that as I've already made clear I'm not a spokesperson or anything even close to being of standing with AM or SB27, Que Sera Sera.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
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    Just a couple of comments, 'cause I haven't had time to read everything. First, I know my union - SEIU Local 503 - was lobbying for passage of SB 27 & SB 329 - AND Healthy Kids, restoring the Health Plan Standard, etc. We had a huge health care agenda.

    Second, yes, I wanted not-for-profit, single-payer on the table 'caused I see no great move by Americans to discard their socialistic road system. Folks who think a socialistic approach to problems is dead are just badly informed. The market approach to health care is one of the dumbest moves mankind has ever made. Market approach works when making more and selling for less per item is the best outcome. We want folks to NOT go to doctors, hospitals, and take NO drugs because such folks are HEALTHY! That's counter the forces that drive a market based system.

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    Robert G. Gourley - Do you know what SEIU has been doing in the last 120 hours and will be doing in next 120 hours? In my quest to find out who is killing SB27, I had one brief call to SEIU and didn't get connected with anyone who could tell me. In addition, do you know where Kate Brown stands on using her now limited time in office to use her energies to pull SB27 out of Ways and Means and on to passage on the floor?. She is not listed as a sponsor of SB27, by the way. No one in her office, she is the Majority leader mind you, would tell me where she stands, and who actually is blocking SB27.

    bulahJo McCallaster - As I commented on the K. Brown, thread but is apropos here because I have found Kate Brown's office to be one of the most condescending and rude when I as just an average citizen called in wanting to know facts about SB27, seems Kate Brown has a bit of a problem with name-calling. From the Oregonian:

    Brown called opponents of ATV regulation "e-mail wackos" who flooded legislators with comments. She commended her colleagues for passing the bill. "The fact we were able to find middle ground and pass anything on ATV safety legislation is amazing."

    As I said before, this is politics, not personal relationships, so I could care less about name calling, or being assailed for name calling (I don't see you as doing that.) when the "name calling" is earned.

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    Robert G. Gourley - Do you know what SEIU has been doing in the last 120 hours and will be doing in next 120 hours? In my quest to find out who is killing SB27, I had one brief call to SEIU and didn't get connected with anyone who could tell me. In addition, do you know where Kate Brown stands on using her now limited time in office to use her energies to pull SB27 out of Ways and Means and on to passage on the floor?. She is not listed as a sponsor of SB27, by the way. No one in her office, she is the Majority leader mind you, would tell me where she stands, and who actually is blocking SB27.

    bulahJo McCallaster - As I commented on the K. Brown, thread but is apropos here because I have found Kate Brown's office to be one of the most condescending and rude when I as just an average citizen called in wanting to know facts about SB27, seems Kate Brown has a bit of a problem with name-calling. From the Oregonian:

    Brown called opponents of ATV regulation "e-mail wackos" who flooded legislators with comments. She commended her colleagues for passing the bill. "The fact we were able to find middle ground and pass anything on ATV safety legislation is amazing."

    As I said before, this is politics, not personal relationships, so I could care less about name calling, or being assailed for name calling (I don't see you as doing that.) when the "name calling" is earned.

  • PO'D Democrat (unverified)
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    Sorry for the double post. The problem seems to be on BlueOregon's end, on my end nothing happened the first time the post was attempted.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
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    Regarding contact with our lobbying efforts, the path to this is from membership to leadership - folks outside that chain of contact would do better by having a conversation with a mirror.

    As to who specifically to contact regarding efforts to block SB 27's moving forward, the rumor is the House leadership.

    http://www.leg.state.or.us/house/

    But that's only a rumor.

  • Marvin McConoughey (unverified)
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    Thanks for all the informed comments. As a poorly informed voter, due to personal apathy on this issue, I commend the vigor of those who do care. I have not developed a preference for any specific health care legislation, but I do have a strong desire that any plan adopted to have sufficient teeth to control costs, to charge more to those whose personally-chosen misdeeds injure their health, and to prevent cases such as in California, where a woman died on the hospital floor, in the emergency care section. As for town hall style meetings, I do not attend them, and no one I know well has attended. They may not be authentic indicators of the public position.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
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    Marvin you may not attend town hall meetings - which in fact may also be church meetings, union meetings, school meetings, etc. - and you might find it more convenient in a blog. There are folks who do many of these, and blogs can be printed out and quoted in another context.

    So the word can get out, especially a new idea someone else hasn't considered. Such communications will take time, and those who are uninformed need time to consider - that's the process. When the process ends with a vote, as was proposed, the final result is democratically represented. Democracy has only one claim to fame, it is the most just form of government, the governed ALWAYS get what they deserve.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    "Just like a cockroach."

    If by cockroach, you mean "someone who doesn't troll the blogs 24/7", then yes.

    I don't see a reason to try and muddle through more abuse from PO'd and Bulah, but I would like to pop up just to say that I am not JTT nor any of those other people you grouped together.

    It's possible... just barely... that more than one person has a different opinion than you two.

  • bulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    "Trolling the blogs 24/7" By looking at the number of other posts in Blue Oregon and other sites, again, look who's calling the kettle black!

    Alllll one has to do to figure out that JTT/ JHL/Anonymous Democrat/ D-Tourist/AnnonStaffer are all one and the same. YOU!

    Frankly your comment, "more than one person has a different opinion other than" mine were my thoughts about YOU! You "SB27 people" hater.

    Wait till SB329 needs help to be implemented. Have fun and a great day!

  • JHL (unverified)
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    (rolls eyes)

  • Miles (unverified)
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    There is no such thing as a Medicare waiver. Medicaid has waiver provisions, which most states (including Oregon) have taken advantage of. Medicaid waivers are granted by the executive branch, so all you have to do is convince the Secretary of HHS that you have a good idea that meets all the criteria, and you get your waiver.

    Medicare does not have waiver provisions. The only way that Oregon would be allowed to "pool" Medicare money and spend it elsewhere in the health care system is if Congress passes a law specifically allowing that to happen and the President signs it. No one needs the Oregon legislature's permission to ask Congress to do that, so anyone who wants to include Medicare in the "conversation" should start down that road by lobbying Smith and Wyden.

    As for the merits of SB 329 and SB 27, there are a large number of similarities. The key differences involve Medicare (see above), and the fact that SB 27 envisions a broader, more comprehensive reform that requires everyone to participate. SB 329 is a significant reform, but it allows those with Medicare and private employer health insurance to keep their existing coverage. Whereas SB 27 tries to solve the health care crisis by changing the health care of the 83% who already have coverage, SB 329 tries to solve it by covering the 17% uninsured.

    Politically, I understand why the Dems are shying away from SB 27.

  • Portland Dem (unverified)
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    So basically I have just read 80 somethin' comments posted by like 8 people.

  • BulahJo McCallaster (unverified)
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    Miles:

    Your comments are very good and I'm happy to take a stab.

    You are correct in that there is no provision, currently for a Medicare Waiver. On it's face, the current SB27, like it's predecessor that later became the Oregon Health Plan, is "illegal" if it should pass. State law cannot supercede federal law.

    Part of the intent of the current SB27, (again like it's predecessor) is to change the law. Both Smith & Wyden have said that they would champion SB27 getting a hearing should it pass. I believe that Max Baucus, of Montana who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, is in agreement. As I'm sure you know, Smith & Wyden sit in that committee as well. Why this is significant is because the Finance committee the committee of jurisdiction for Oregon to get a Medicare waiver.

    Although the first SB27 was passed during Bush The First's administration, it wasn't until Clinton took office that we got the waiver and to a degree influenced the tenor of the health care debate during that presidential election in 1992. On national TV, during the debates, Clinton said he would allow Oregon to have our waiver. Oregon’s waiver was seen as part of a way to significantly change health care in this country. However, Medicare was not part of that conversation and therefore, we’re still in this “health care rut” both her in Oregon and nationally.

    You other point is also significant. You are correct in your observation that the 83% of the folks who currently have coverage would be impacted by SB27. However, one of the provisions of SB27 is that we Oregonians would have the opportunity to compare and contrast a health care system that we could design, as in what would work best for us, (not private insurers) and make the decision to go with a new version, and then again have it reviewed by the 2009 legislature. Or, Oregonians could reject the design, which I doubt would happen. Many, many conversations would take place by all the stakeholders at the tables to hammer out what would work best for us and us little people would be part of that discussion on what the design would look like.

    Although those folks who have insurance are of course, insured, that doesn't mean they are secure and feel safe, nor does it mean they are happy with cost. Many people with insurance are just one illness away from personal bankruptcy. By giving these folks who have insurance the opportunity to compare what they have now, with what they could have, it helps to make a health care system more transparent with respect to people knowing “what they are giving up” (if anything) vs. “What they are going to get.” In other words, we Oregonians are the ones who have to buy-into a new design.

    SB329 is significant reform, without SB27, there is pause for serious concern.

    Concerns around SB329 is that because, as you cite, employers who are self-insured, (as in Mega employers) and those on Medicare are able to opt out. That leaves SB329 with covering those under current OHP and those without insurance, or about 27% of Oregon’s population. What incentives are there for smaller employers who currently have insurance to continue to do so? Can they just drop their private insurance and go with the provisions under SB329? "Pay or Play" model, if you will? I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with that as it’s on the premise of : the bigger the pool, the more spread out the risk. I’m not sure if SB329 allows for that to happen. But rather, simply mandates that all employers must provide insurance, very much like mandatory automobile liability insurance. Instead of rates for car insurance going down however, they went up.

    In many respects, SB329 models itself like the Massachusetts model and already they are going broke. If SB27 had passed along with the design of SB329, the risk pool in Oregon would be 3 million people, much bigger than what is provided for under SB329 and it would have allowed for the federal dollars that come into Oregon with Medicare to be incorporated.

    Things such as long-term care, community based care, prescriptions, annual physicals and check ups, health services that our senior community uses in this day and age.

    Because of the discussion that SB27 would allow us to have, should it pass, (yeah, yeah, I know wink hope springs eternal) services such as those I just noted could be covered and I am sure that our senior population would LOVE a health plan that covered services that they actually want and could use. Medicare benefits will cover end of life, but hardly, and I mean hardly, anything for preventive care or prescriptions. Those that fall into the donut hole with Medicare Part D are in a tough spot.

    That is the principle reason AARP opposes SB27. Theoretically, it would seriously cut into their supplemental insurance market as currently they sell the very services that SB27 could provide under SB27, The Oregon Better Health Act. AARP help to craft the very language that they now oppose when their folks up at National AARP realized what could happen.

    Politically, given the political spin machines of AARP/Insurance companies and other sympathizers, it's hard to get through the rumble of it all to see the intent of what SB27 really does. But I don't believe that the real reason SB27 got squashed is because the House D leadership believes that SB27 could be used against them by the R's in the next election. Far mare socially inflammable legislation was passed this session that could do much damage to vulnerable D's.

    Granted, it's a good argument, but it's a false one. A smokescreen, if you will, about what really happened and who put the brakes on SB27. AARP/Insurance companies & their sympathizers.

    Thank you for your comment and I hope you blog again.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
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    According to my dictionary, blog is not a verb,

    http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/blog

    Anyway, where do we go from here. I know some have not given up on passage of SB 27 by this session, but I have my doubts.

    So according to the rules here, would where we go from here better qualify as a new topic?

  • Miles (unverified)
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    On it's face, the current SB27, like it's predecessor that later became the Oregon Health Plan, is "illegal" if it should pass.

    Actually, OHP used an existing provision in the Medicaid statute (known as a Section 1115 statewide waiver). While you are correct that it was a new use of 1115 authority, it did not require a change in the law. That is a far cry from SB 27, which envisions a change in the Medicare law that would send Medicare money directly to the state, rather than directly to doctors and hospitals. That change is going to be opposed by both parties (Republicans because it's a "big government" program, and Democrats because it "dismantles" the 40 year-old Medicare program -- the only single-payer system in this country).

    My concern with SB 27 isn't that it's a bad idea, it's that we could spend 5-10 years trying to get the changes in federal law. I'm all for including Medicare, but the reason AARP is opposing those provisions isn't because they sell insurance, it's because Kitzhaber's plan will reduce the services that Medicare beneficiaries receive.. There's no way around that. You talk about paying for long-term care and community care for the elderly, but those things are wildly expensive and cannot be done within existing resources.

    Where do we go from here? We get behind SB 329. There are going to be lots of discussions over the next 18 months where the details of the new system are going to be fleshed out. Kitzhaber needs to be a part of that discussion and push for his ideas. He also needs to separately pursue the changes he wants to make in the Medicare program. If he's successful, then the 2009 legislature can add Medicare to the mix. If not, then we've still made significant progress towards covering the more than 500,000 Oregonians who lack insurance.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
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    I just received the following from Representative Mary Nolan under the subject "Response to your concerns about SB 27:"

    Thank you for your note about SB 27. It appears you have been misinformed. The legislature held 3 extensive public hearings to consider SB 27. Although the normal practice for most bills is to hold a single public hearing followed by a work session, the Democratic leadership of the legislature insisted on holding multiple hearings because the bill proposes such significant, complex and innovative policy changes. The Democratic chair of the Senate Committee on Health Policy conducted the hearings in a way to grant maximum access to the public, including having the hearings available for real-time streaming over the internet.

    Indeed, based on the testimony received at these hearings, amendments to the original bill were adopted. However, even with the amendments that were offered to improve the bill's policy elements, significant immediate and long-term fiscal questions about the bill and its implementation remain.

    As co-chair of the legislature's budget committee I am responsible for managing the process by which the legislature approves funding for all state services as well as many local school district programs, community colleges, universities, and city- and county-shared services like roads, mental health care and community corrections and probation. Part of my responsibility is to decide, in consultation with the Senate co-chair and the other Representatives and Senators on the committee, how to allocate limited committee hearing and work session time.

    Another crucial part of my responsibility is to orchestrate the budget committee's work in a way that assures that the legislature approves a balanced budget, as the Oregon Constitution demands.

    We have passed quite a few important pieces of health care legislation this session. Among others:

    • SB 362 expands the prescription drug purchasing pool making life saving medications more affordable for all Oregonians.

    • HB 2213 requires insurance companies to provide information on the costs of certain hospital procedures and services.

    • SB 329 creates Healthy Oregon Act and establishes the Oregon Health Fund program

    • SB 3 will send the Healthy Kids Act - an act that will insure all children in Oregon - to the voters for approval this fall

    Because of the important issues that must still be resolved with SB 27 and the need to complete budget work for all agencies before July 1, and most importantly a significant lack of agreement among the proponents of SB 27 and the legislature, I have decided that further consideration of the proposals in SB 27 is best undertaken during the period known as the interim. The interim, which is expected to begin by July 1, is the time when legislative committees have the opportunity to explore complex and/or innovative proposals in detail.

    You may not agree with my decision. If you were in my position, you may have prioritized this bill ahead of the other services that are delivered by the state or by our local partners using state money. Thoughtful, well-meaning people can -- and often do -- disagree. Please understand that I made this decision after very careful review of literally hundreds of proposed services and programs that competed for both attention and funding.

    I personally look forward to assisting the legislature in pursuing expansion and reform of health care delivery in Oregon. SB 27 is one framework for that effort, and I expect it and the Archimedes Project will continue to shape that discussion with the public.

    Sincerely,

    Mary Nolan State Representative, SW Portland

    I replied listing the committee meeting I attended, along with the testimony stored in the online audio archives I accessed, only to not once here testimony against Senate Bill 27 - noting how she even omitted any specifics in her claim "important issues that must still be resolved with SB 27." This was the pattern throughout the session, like talking about someone behind their back, while smiling to their face.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
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    That's "hear," not "here." Same applies to any other of kind.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
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    I challenge anyone to find in the audio archives found at,

    http://www.leg.state.or.us/listn/2007s.htm

    any testimony or floor debate speaking AGAINST Senate Bill 27.

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