Public Option: Wyden votes Yes. Twice.

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Moments ago, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee voted on the public option amendment proposed by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV).

Senator Ron Wyden voted Yes.

The amendment failed 8 to 15. Along with all the Republicans, the Democrats who voted No were Senators Kent Conrad (ND), Blanche Lincoln (AR), Bill Nelson (FL), Tom Carper (DE), and Max Baucus (MT).

Senator Wyden just released a statement on his official website. In full:

The legislation before us currently does not offer enough real competition to keep Americans from continuing to be abused by health insurers and held captive by large employers. Without the ability to hold insurers accountable for their costs and quality of service, without the ability to get a better deal and stop the ongoing erosion of wages, most working families will be no better off after this bill passes than they are today. While I have some concerns about using Medicare reimbursement rates for the public option, I have far deeper concerns about the current shortage of real choice and real reform in this health bill. I cast my vote for public option as a vote for choice and reform.

The public option amendment proposed by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) failed 10 to 13. Senator Wyden again voted Yes. Senators Nelson and Carper also voted Yes.

Update: In addition to discussing here, you can give Senator Wyden your feedback on his Facebook page, where he posted the following:

Today, in the Senate Finance Committee, I voted for the Rockefeller and Schumer public option amendments. Regrettably, both of those amendments lost, but I will continue to fight for real choices for working families as the debate goes forward. We ...must offer enough real competition to keep Americans from continuing to be abused by health insurers and held captive by large employers.

Update: Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain issued the following statement (in full):

Middle Class Oregonians suffered a major set-back today because a few Senators weren't brave enough to stand up to big-insurance money. Luckily, Oregon's Senator Wyden was not among them.

Senator Wyden and the seven other Senate Finance Committee Members who stood with the vast majority of Americans, and the members of the four other committees debating health care who have already supported reform bills that include a public option, should be proud. It is unfortunate, however, that a small group of Senators were able to derail such a crucial piece of the Finance Committee's reform bill.

Middle class Oregonians need affordable health care reform. Without a public option, reform will not lower prices enough to help families afford the care they need. As the Senate considers both the Finance Committee bill, and the HELP Committee bill, we hope that Senators Wyden and Merkley, and their colleagues who have stood with middle class Americans, continue to support a public option as part of the Senate healthcare reform package.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Rockefeller's speech was magnificent.]

    One comment about the vote count: You have the vote as 8-15 with 3 Democrats voting with the Republicans. For that to be correct, there would have to be a majority of Republicans on the committee. Not sure whom you missed among the D's, because the vote count is correct.

    It's amazing to me that 65 percent of the country supports, at a minimum, a public option, and yet the concept can only win 1/3rd of the vote in committee.

    If and when the Democrats lose seats at the national level in the next election, it will be because the self-styled moderates in the Senate are misreading the tea leaves. They won't be voted out if they accomplish meaningful reform, but they will be voted out if they prevent it.

  • (Show?)

    Sal, I got that fixed right up. Thanks.

    Full disclosure: My firm built Ron Wyden's campaign website, but I speak only for myself.

  • anti-climactic (unverified)
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    This isn't a surprise to any who have read his interviews or listened to his television and radio appearances (and haven't been listening to the fillings in their teeth).

    Thank you, Ron! I don't claim to understand the strange dance you Senators are doing in the Finance Committee, but I don't doubt for a second that you are on the side of average Oregonians. You voted for all of us again today. Now please fix the Finance Committee bill which seems like it was written mostly by the insurance companies and large employers.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Good to see this. I understood from a Wyden staffer that he plans to introduce the Free Choice amendment as well before this committee. The result on PO was entirely predictable with the Blue Dog make up. To me it looks like the PO is actually getting stronger in the Senate, although they will probably pass it under reconciliation. The important bill is not what comes from this finance committee but what come out of the Conference Report.

  • (Show?)

    Will Snowe's public option trigger amendment be introduced in committee markup or on the floor?

  • (Show?)

    What's he want, a fucking cookie? It's easy to vote for an amendment you know will fail. Voting yes doesn't excuse months of failure to actively promote the public option--and he's still dogging it in his statement!

    The hero on that committee is Rockefeller, with honorable mentions to Schumer and Cantwell.

    The next question is whether he'll vote No on the Finance disaster as is, after all the amendments. At the end of the day, praising a Senator simply for not stabbing his country in the back is pretty hollow praise; he's still doing nothing to support a public option.

  • (Show?)

    Jeezus TJ...damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

    What's worse is Baucus. Frankly, the guy is a tool.

  • Urban Planning Overlord (unverified)
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    Sal, you think because the Democrats don't get through a public option the public is going to be so mad they will vote for ... a REPUBLICAN??????

    What about co-ops?

  • (Show?)

    "Jeezus TJ...damned if he does and damned if he doesn't."

    What does this mean? Wyden has NEVER actively argued for a public option. He even managed to argue against it while voting for it. When has he "done?"

  • (Show?)

    What does this mean? Wyden has NEVER actively argued for a public option. He even managed to argue against it while voting for it. When has he "done?"

    Besides casting the correct votes?

    I would like Wyden to be a vocal proponent of the public option. I've said so a number of times. But beating the shit out of the guy WHEN HE VOTES THE RIGHT WAY seems counterproductive, at best.

  • (Show?)

    "But beating the shit out of the guy WHEN HE VOTES THE RIGHT WAY seems counterproductive, at best."

    Why? What's it counter-produce? Perhaps the right amount of opprobrium would get Wyden to vote NO on a merged bill or a conference bill without a PO.

    I'm not beating the shit out of the guy; I'm saying that breathlessly reporting he voted YES twice on two amendments that had no chance--while disparaging what he's voting for--is chronicling virtually meaningless behavior. It's not BAD behavior; it's just behavior worth nothing and should under no circumstances improve anyone's opinion of Wyden's committment to the PO--because he hasn't one, really.

  • bradley (unverified)
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    I didn't see Wyden asking for anything, TorridJoe. You really need to chill out.

    If Wyden had voted against the public option you would have been ranting about him for that. His vote helped shift 3 no votes on Rockefeller to yes votes on the weaker Schumer amendment. I think getting Nelson, Bingaman, and Carper to change their vote on public option really helps public option moving forward, and I doubt they would have voted for Schumer if Wyden hadn't supported Rockefeller first. Wyden could have just voted for Schumer if he was just covering his ass. Voting for Rockefeller helped put the pressure on the moderates on the committee to vote for Schumer.

    You sound pissed off that Wyden voted the right way. That's pretty fucked up.

  • (Show?)

    "I didn't see Wyden asking for anything, TorridJoe."

    Wyden's not, his fans are.

    "If Wyden had voted against the public option you would have been ranting about him for that."

    Duh. Wouldn't you? The issue is the same--failure to advocate for the PO.

    "His vote helped shift 3 no votes on Rockefeller to yes votes on the weaker Schumer amendment."

    It was only two--Bingaman was a yes on both. And where on earth do you get the backing for this argument? Schumer's is much weaker, without Medicare rates or in fact any fixed rates. That's a much likelier reason why they voted for it, not anything Wyden does. Since when is Wyden a kingmaker on this issue in Finance?

    "You sound pissed off that Wyden voted the right way. That's pretty fucked up."

    Then you misheard. I sound unmoved, because it's a fairly meaningless gesture that doesn't unmake past failures and doesn't suggest any improvement in his position moving forward.

  • bradley (unverified)
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    TorridJoe, you are mad at Wyden because he didn't advocate for public option. Okay, so if he had advocated for the public option, theoretically it would have led other members to support the public option - that has been your argument. But then just now you say this --

    "That's a much likelier reason why they voted for it, not anything Wyden does. Since when is Wyden a kingmaker on this issue in Finance?"

    So which is it? Wyden should have argued loudly for public option because it would have helped other Finance Democrats do the right thing, or, it didn't matter what Wyden did on public option because no Finance democrat cares what Wyden does on public option? Heads you lose, tails I win.

    Which brings me back to my point. Anyone who would attack a guy for not voting for a bill, and then turn around and attack him for voting for the same bill, is being a jerk in my book.

    Wyden voted the right way. Thank you, Senator. Now please go fix the bill.

  • (Show?)

    Then you misheard. I sound unmoved, because it's a fairly meaningless gesture that doesn't unmake past failures and doesn't suggest any improvement in his position moving forward.

    Meaningless? Hardly. Frankly, this is the most conservative committee in the Senate..probably in the entire Congress. To have Wyden vote yes (as well as some others..10 votes is good) bodes well for it for the floor fight ahead.

    Wyden doesn't vote yes...wind goes out of some pretty big sails.

  • (Show?)

    TJ wrote, I'm saying that breathlessly reporting he voted YES twice on two amendments that had no chance

    Breathlessly? Really? It's not like I went with the screamer "BREAKING!!!!" or "WYDEN VOTES YES!!!1!!1! WOOT!!!!"

    There's nothing breathless about this post. It's just the facts, no commentary at all.

    Or are you saying that, after months of speculation and discussion, we shouldn't have reported his vote?

  • anti-climactic (unverified)
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    "Senator Ron Wyden: The Public Option Doesn't Go Far Enough" ran on the front page of Huffington Post on September 21. In it he blows the whistle on the wimpy House and HELP public option and says he wants to expand it to everybody. I would rather have someone fighting for a robust public option than trying to sell me on the current anemic version that I will not be allowed to sign up for.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathleen-wells/senator-ron-wyden-the-pub_b_293189.html

  • Joe (unverified)
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    So TorridJoe, if I understand you correctly, by him saying, "I cast my vote for public option as a vote for choice and reform." Is somehow to be understood as, "Dogging it in his statements... Has no commitment to the PO (Public Option)... has NEVER actively argued for a public option..."

    I'm pretty sure that his statement ACTUALLY does show support for the public option. Or how about his June 9th press release where he says, "With regard to a national public option, Senator Wyden has made clear that he is not wed to the approach he put forward in 2006 and is open to a national public option on Day One." Or from the same press release, "Senator Wyden’s Healthy Americans Act has for more than two and a half years contained a provision allowing states to pursue their own public option on “Day One.” This happens to track the approach recommended by the Oregon Health Fund Board. His legislation would also require the Federal government to establish a public option in any state that lacked a variety of health plan choices equal to what Members of Congress currently receive."

    But hey, what do I know?

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    Hey TJ, if this is you "unmoved", I'd hate to see you when you're actually pissed off.

    And Kari doesn't do "breathless" reporting---for that, you have to read Hovde in The Oregonian.

    Oh, and just so I have something in my comment that is directly commenting on the post---I'm pleased that Wyden voted the way he did and hope he fights for a public option all the way to the floor and final vote on this issue.

  • tepidjoe (unverified)
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    I was wrong about Wyden all along. He supported the strongest public option offered and called his vote for public option "a vote for choice and reform." He made me look bad to the dozens of readers of my blog who now will think I don't know any more than they do when it comes to politics. And now I'm in a real hole, so I suppose I had better keep on digging.

  • Jake Oken-Berg (unverified)
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    Wow TJ. I used to find your analysis compelling. Now I realize that you would rather find fault with everything, and everyone that doesn't agree with you 100% from the beginning. That's a great strategy for getting people to listen to you (sarcasm noted). Why don't you pause for a second, say 'thank you' when one of your representatives makes the correct decision, and then go back to your negativity a day later?

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    The usual doomsday hysteria breaks out on the progressive blogs because the PO didn't pass the Baucus committee. Sheesh.. there was never any chance it was. But what is clear at this point is that the PO can pass with 50 votes, either with cloture or with budget reconciliation. That matters. And that is good news.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    From Huffpo, after today's vote why the PO is showing growing strength and is now likely to pass:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-creamer/growing-momentum-for-publ_b_303415.html

  • (Show?)

    UPO - I think that these Democratic Senators are suffering from the Gordon Smith syndrome. They have a much better feel for the pulse of what people want in Washington than they do with people in their home states.

    In particular, Harry Reid and Blanche Lincoln would be better off helping to pass meaningful health care reform that serves the public interest than by trying to cater to insurance lobby or to a voting constituency that will not support them under any circumstances.

  • LT (unverified)
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    I heard on the radio something about Reid saying that the Finance Comm. bill and the HELP Comm. bill must be melded--that public option would never work because of Medicare reimbursment rates.

    So I called both Schrader's local office and Merkley's DC office and suggested they ask who sets Medicare reimbursement rates if not Congress.

    Talk about the public option all you want, but if reimbursment was done at the same Medicare rates as have existed for years (NY comes out a lot better than Oregon because of a formula set years ago) Oregonians might not have a positive experience with the public option, even if it was written the way activists wanted it written.

    Details matter more than slogans, guys!

  • (Show?)

    We will have a solid public option, or Kari will take the boulders chained to Carla Axtman’s legs off and she will run to D.C. full sprint, and put the smack down when she gets there two hours later. If she weren’t held back, like a boxer who trains blindfolded, we would have a political blood bath on our hands all the time - got to pick the battles. I would not want to battle her, and I’ve only been reading this blog for like a year.

    Nice vote Senator Wyden!

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    "Rockefeller's speech was magnificent."

    Sal: You must have missed the part where Rockefeller was addressing opponents and saying something about having a public option because if the people don't get it they will push for single-payer - which Rockefeller doesn't want. Nothing magnificent about that, but it probably played well in West Virginia.

    As for the public option I'll repeat my point on T.A.'s thread: "The important point to note is that no one is providing details about what the public option would comprise. If it makes it through the current health insurance reform farce that won't necessarily threaten the insurance corporations because their lobbyists can bribe their surrogates in Congress to ensure it will be inadequately funded and organized to guarantee failure."

    Given the fact that we have five, I believe, committees and plans in Congress and one in the White House, mostly funded by insurance-medical-pharmaceutical (MIP) lobbyists, this so-called reform is looking more and more like a farce every day.

    Torridjoe and I have had our differences on this site, but for the most part I'm with him on this thread.

  • Wrench Monkey (unverified)
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    The DP has moved so far to the right that anything that Richard Nixon would have supported seems far-left. The majority of Democrats who have been led to the edge of the cliff believe foolishly that individual mandates for buying unaffordable and inefficient private insurance is a worthwhile project, just like expanding the war into Pashtunistan or torturing by proxy are worthwhile projects.

    Shame on you who know the truth but continue to obfuscate in order to continue to have access to the new mandarins.

    Medicare for All.

  • JJ (unverified)
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    Kudos to Baucus, Conrad, Nelson, Lincoln and Carper for having the guts to stand up for the American people against the destruction of our healthcare system. Make no mistake about it, a vast majority of Americans oppose the government run Obama-care trainwreck of an idea that is the public option...and quite honestly I'm not only ashamed of but embarrassed for every Democrat who voted in favor of it. Since Wyden failed the Oregon Bar Exam three times I'm not surprised to see him fail the integrity and intelligence test that defined this vote, not once, but twice. What a disgraceful day for the Senator....he owes all Oregonians an apology for his behavior today.

  • (Show?)

    or Kari will take the boulders chained to Carla Axtman’s legs off and she will run to D.C. full sprint, and put the smack down when she gets there two hours later. If she weren’t held back, like a boxer who trains blindfolded, we would have a political blood bath on our hands all the time - got to pick the battles. I would not want to battle her, and I’ve only been reading this blog for like a year.

    Uh...I'm going to consider this a compliment...ROFL

    Kari doesn't tell me what to do. I pick my own battles.

  • (Show?)

    Respect, Carla, respect and I don't think anyone tells you what to do. :-)

  • RyanLeo (unverified)
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    The Public Option is dead on arrival.

    All of those Democrats who did not vote for it are from states with a history of electing Republicans. They did not vote for it because they feared that it would come back to haunt them during reelection.

    Welcome to party politics where liberals bash conservatives, conservatives reply that they are just following the values of their constituents, and moderates are in the middle of the two brats sending each to their corner for a "time out."

  • (Show?)

    RyanLeo - Moderation is not about siding with 35 percent against the opinion of 65 percent. Nor is it code for siding with a given industry at the expense of every other industry and consumers.

    Opposition to public-interest reforms that are supported by an overwhelming number of people in this country is not rooted in moderation.

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)
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    Baucus, Conrad and Lincoln just made a serious attempt at the murder-suicide of the Democratic party.

    All three of their home states support the public option by pluralities or better. Arkansas by a wide majority, and Lincoln voted against her own constituents' wishes. What, does she think that an otherwise conservative state that supports Democrats mainly on pocketbook issues will re-elect her after she stamps all over the biggest pocketbook issue today? Maybe because they're so attracted to the Democratic positions on guns and abortion, in Arkansas?

    It isn't over yet, and so neither is my association with the Democratic Party. But these quislings need a serious trip to the woodshed from their leadership, or from any Democratic Senators who are interested in staying in office.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    "Kudos to Baucus, Conrad, Nelson, Lincoln and Carper for having the guts to stand up for the American people against the destruction of our healthcare system."

    It is a safe bet that upper management and their lobbyists in the insurance-medical-pharameceutical (MIP) complex are saying the same thing with the proviso that they consider themselves the only American people that count.

    The American healthcare system has been in decline for generations and looks like it is about to tilt into a free fall. And some people want to keep it that way. What on earth can they be thinking? What kind of people are they?

    No doubt some of these people are those in middle management who get bonuses for figuring out some way to deny people care despite having paid premiums for years.

  • (Show?)

    Kudos to Baucus, Conrad, Nelson, Lincoln and Carper for having the guts to stand up for the American people against the destruction of our healthcare system. Make no mistake about it, a vast majority of Americans oppose the government run Obama-care trainwreck of an idea that is the public option...and quite honestly I'm not only ashamed of but embarrassed for every Democrat who voted in favor of it. Since Wyden failed the Oregon Bar Exam three times I'm not surprised to see him fail the integrity and intelligence test that defined this vote, not once, but twice. What a disgraceful day for the Senator....he owes all Oregonians an apology for his behavior today.

    Play him off!

  • Jim (unverified)
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    "Kudos to Baucus, Conrad, Nelson, Lincoln and Carper for having the guts to stand up for the American people against the destruction of our healthcare system. Make no mistake about it, a vast majority of Americans oppose the government run Obama-care trainwreck of an idea that is the public option...and quite honestly I'm not only ashamed of but embarrassed for every Democrat who voted in favor of it. Since Wyden failed the Oregon Bar Exam three times I'm not surprised to see him fail the integrity and intelligence test that defined this vote, not once, but twice. What a disgraceful day for the Senator....he owes all Oregonians an apology for his behavior today."

    Was this from The Onion?

  • (Show?)
    So which is it? Wyden should have argued loudly for public option because it would have helped other Finance Democrats do the right thing, or, it didn't matter what Wyden did on public option because no Finance democrat cares what Wyden does on public option? Heads you lose, tails I win. Which brings me back to my point. Anyone who would attack a guy for not voting for a bill, and then turn around and attack him for voting for the same bill, is being a jerk in my book.

    There's an inordinate amount of supposition here, that isn't reflective of anything I've said. Wyden should be arguing loudly for the PO because it's quite clearly the best policy, and has the support of a majority of his constituency. I never said anything about "helping Finance Democrats do the right thing;" that was you. And I certainly never had any illusions that Wyden held some superior power over the money flooding in to Baucus and Carper, et al.

    "Your point" is similarly fattened with things you made up for me to say--when did I attack Wyden for not voting for a bill? Aside from there not BEING a bill to vote for or against up to this point, I've spoken of his advocacy, and continued weaseling with media and electorate alike about where he stands. Being "open" is not the same as being "in favor of" or "committed to," but he wants for you to have that idea, similarly touting a voluntary, weak state-based version in HAA as a "public option" at times.

    For someone who has done almost nothing to promote the public option as the crucial component of health care reform that it is, voting Yes on amendments known beforehand to be losers is barely news, and certainly requires little political courage. That was MY point.

  • (Show?)
    So TorridJoe, if I understand you correctly, by him saying, "I cast my vote for public option as a vote for choice and reform." Is somehow to be understood as, "Dogging it in his statements... Has no commitment to the PO (Public Option)... has NEVER actively argued for a public option..."

    No, dogging it was continuing to voice concern about Medicare reimbursements, which is eminently fixable.

    As you point out, Wyden evinces "support" by claiming he is "open to" a PO, or that his bill actually has a PO (which it flatly doesn't), or that it would go just GREAT with what he personally has been working on (but then again it doesn't matter).

    When you say twice in one interview that it doesn't matter whether the health exchange is fully private or has a public option, as Wyden did last week, you are not advocating for a public option--you are saying it's like peanut sprinkles on your banana split: swell, but hardly integral.

  • (Show?)

    "Why don't you pause for a second, say 'thank you' when one of your representatives makes the correct decision, and then go back to your negativity a day later?"

    I wasn't being negative at all--I was responding to the absurd congratulatory position awarded to Wyden for voting on something without risk, without effort, and without conviction. Can I say thanks for nothing? Because that's what it was worth. 15-7 fails just like 15-8. But if folks are going to defend someone who essentially took Chuck Grassley more to heart than his own constituency this summer when it came to "bipartisanship," forgive me if I don't bow and scrape over small favors.

    Jeff Merkley deserves our thanks, for not only voting yes when it was his turn, but for being a vigorous, forthright and honest advocate for a strong public option. My primary-election opposition to Merkley centered around the feeling that he would simply fill the seat, vote like a Democrat, and stay quiet...not what we need at all. Happily I was completely wrong about his efforts so far; he has been proudly vocal and open about his views, and unashamed to directly advocate for progressive ideals in the theater of debate. So my non-huzzah for people who just "cast the vote" is a consistent one. And least favorite are those who really WON'T fight for something--but to cover their asses will try their hardest to make it appear to voters that they are.

  • (Show?)

    Happily I was completely wrong about his efforts so far

    Well, TJ, it's good to see that you're able to admit when you were wrong. And not just a little one-time oops, but rather an error of judgment that caused you to spend months and months bashing the integrity of everyone associated with the target of your misplaced opprobrium.

    Hopefully, someday, you'll recognize that you're deep in the midst of a second episode of the same exact behavior pattern.

  • k.s.hasselaer (unverified)
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    "The Public Option is dead on arrival."

    As well it should be and good riddance!

    Every day thousands of Americans are losing their health insurance. It's time to bail them out. Not with a public option, which continues to enrich the blood-sucking insurance industry, but with a not-for-profit, health care for all, true reform system: Everybody in, nobody out. "Not politically feasible", the excuse made by some " progressive" members in congress, is a self-defeating, self-fulfilling prophecy. It is a cynical subterfuge meaning "I am up to my ears in pharmaceutical and health insurance industry money." No more money from the poor to the pockets of the rich. Single Payer Health Care for All!

  • (Show?)

    torridjoe,

    No offense, but the more I think about it, you remind me of the character Toby Ziegler from The West Wing.

  • RyanLeo (unverified)
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    Sal,

    Moderation is the US Senate. Time and time again over the years, the House always passes legislation that is on target with the popular mood of the masses. After which, the US Senate pares that legislation down so that it is pragmatic and more incremental change than fundamental change.

    I am not disputing the polling on public opinion. It shows across the board that well over 50% of the US public supports a public option that injects real competition in the current healthcare market.

    That being said, the opening salvo with Baucus, Kent Conrad and other Democratic Senators conveys a couple of things:

    1. Private finance of election supported by the 1st Amendment " to petition the government for a redress of grievances" has created a behemoth of a lobbying system in which elected Representatives and Senators are more accountable to their 6 and 7 figure donors than to their constituents.

    2. A court system that has recently ruled that unlimited amounts of private donations, from nonprofits, is protected "freedom of speech" under the 1st Amendment.

    3. Money means more than districts to many politicians.

    This debate on healthcare has revealed that the problem is not a matter of political leaning, but one of campaign finance. In my opinion, all of those Democrats feared that if they voted yes for the public option, they would not receive the hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars from the healthcare lobby in order to secure reelection in Republican leaning states.

    I am sorry, but a system where special interests with very deep pockets regularly spend tens, hundreds, and millions of dollars "to petition the government for a redress of grievances" is not how the Founding Fathers foresaw the future of our Federal Democratic Republic.

    How is the healthcare lobby "redressing grievances" when they are spending tens of millions to lobby against popular opinion?

    How are teacher's unions "redressing grievances" in Oregon when they regularly spend hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars to get "their" candidates elected?

    The same goes for the prison guard union in California, the National Rifle Association, The US Chamber of Commerce, and every single special interest group who is ready to unload thousands of dollars come every election cycle.

    The US political system needs an enema. The organized money has to go and we need to get a publicly financed election system nationwide so that we have more than lawyers, doctors, businessmen, and spoiled Ivy League brats representing the majority of this diverse, multi-cultural nation of ours.

  • chris #12 (unverified)
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    Wyden voted right--twice? Big F'n deal. I think TJ is right. Wyden hasn't been a proponent of public option from day 1. But I really don't care that much about Wyden, I'm more concerned that his party of "change" is about to screw up one of the most important reform efforts of the century. Wyden, like most other Democrats, has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the health care industry, he's not going to rock the boat. The Democrats are going to blow it, and I worry that the new, fascist, tea-bagging Republicans are going to take over.

  • tepidjoe (unverified)
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    While you might think I was wrong about Jeff Merkley I was actually right on every horrible and untrue thing I once said, but Merkley wisely now listened to my every criticism and is now super-correct like me, thanks to my earlier scathingly unfair criticism. Wyden never agreed to drink my kool aid on the public option and never adopted the 10 million person public option as his number 1 issue and remains no fan of the limited public option today because it will have absolutely no effect on insurance company behavior. He is wrong if he votes for public option and he is wrong if he votes against public option. Come to think of it, they are all wrong except me, except when they say things my way before and vote my way before saying things my way again. Because I'm super-relevant. I'm tepidjoe.

  • anon (unverified)
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    "tepidjoe", you may want to check yourself. Mark (TorridJoe) is a big guy and will knock you into Clackamas Co. if he ever catches you. Or it you live in Clackamas, he will knock you into SE Portland, probably right into Madisons.

    The real torridjoe isn't convincing the ones with the only serious clout (besides Wyden, DeFazio and Blumenauer) in Oregon Democratic circles these days. This was sent out by AFL-CIO yesterday ----

    "Senator Wyden and the seven other Senate Finance Committee Members who stood with the vast majority of Americans, and the members of the four other committees debating health care who have already supported reform bills that include a public option, should be proud. It is unfortunate, however, that a small group of Senators were able to derail such a crucial piece of the Finance Committee's reform bill."

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    Jeff Merkley deserves our thanks, for not only voting yes when it was his turn, but for being a vigorous, forthright and honest advocate for a strong public option. My primary-election opposition to Merkley centered around the feeling that he would simply fill the seat, vote like a Democrat, and stay quiet...not what we need at all. Happily I was completely wrong about his efforts so far; he has been proudly vocal and open about his views, and unashamed to directly advocate for progressive ideals in the theater of debate. So my non-huzzah for people who just "cast the vote" is a consistent one. And least favorite are those who really WON'T fight for something--but to cover their asses will try their hardest to make it appear to voters that they are.

    I had mentioned to you at the time this was going on that you were deeply and seriously wrong about Jeff. I'm telling you now that you're making a similar mistake with Wyden.

  • Emmit Goldman (unverified)
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    It's good to see that BO posters are now interested in polls. Here are some:

    64 percent would pay higher taxes to guarantee health care for all U.S. citizens (CNN Opinion Research Poll, May 2007)

    69 percent think it is the responsibility of the federal government to provide health coverage to all U.S. citizens (Gallup Poll, 2006)

    67 percent "think it's a good idea [for government] to guarantee health care for all U.S. citizens, as Canada and Britain do, with just 27 percent dissenting" (Business Week, 2005)

    59 percent support a single-payer health insurance system (CBS/New York Times poll, January 2009)

    59 percent of doctors back a single-payer system (Annals of Internal Medicine, April 2008)

    73 percent feel that health care is either in a "state of crisis" or has "major problems" (Gallup, November 2007)

    71 percent feel that we need "fundamental changes" or to have the U.S. health system "completely re-built," compared to just 24 percent who wish only for "minor changes" (Pew Research Center, 2009)

    Support for Obama-care has been manufactured by the same people who have manufactured consent to the Obama policies of more military spending and militarism as well as continuing bailouts of the financial industry.

    The tea partiers are no more delusional than the DP secular mystical worshipers who think that Obama policies are "progressive".

  • Del (unverified)
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    <h2>At least you can say he is persistent.</h2>

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