A Public-Spirited Option for Public Optioneers

Steve Novick

Remember, friends, if you're in a blind fury about the absence of a public option in the health care bill, there's a targeted way to express your anger. Most Democrats wanted a public option. Arkansas Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln was as responsible as anyone for taking it off the table. She has a primary challenger, Lt. Governor Bill Hunter. Here's a link to his web site. Lincoln also voted for the Bush tax cuts, is lousy on the environment, is against the Employee Free Choice Act ... In short, an excellent target for your progressive wrath. As soon as I get a new job and a paycheck, I am sending money to Bill Halter, this year's Ned Lamont! (But unlike Lamont he's not a multimillionaire, far's I know, so he could use the money). 

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    Lincoln didn't kill the PO; while she definitely needs replacement it would have taken 9 more Senators like her to kill it. That they don't appear to exist, those 10, suggests where the finger would be better pointed. Halter in that seat wouldn't have given us a PO.

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    DailyKos has a list of Democrats who votged against HCR, along with the Obama and Kerry win percentage in their districts. I went ahead and plopped them into excel, and found that of the 29 No/No voters, only 5 had an Obama election win of over 50%. The rest came from districts that averaged(median) 40% for Obama.

    Of the 5 Yes/No voters who didn't support the final passage, 3 were from districts over 50% Obama, and substantially so (median 60% support).

    From this, I conclude that while there are a handful of Democratic Congressmen who are clearly corrupt, specifically in order: Artur Davis, Dan Lipinski, Stephen Lynch, John Barrow, Larry Kissell, John Adler, Glenn Nye, and Mike Arcuri, the vast majority of Democratic No voters are holding down districts that would naturally vote GOP, and have therefore decided to reflect the will of their constituents.

    I also conclude the following: Whether this bill is just the beginning of reform, or the final nail in it, depends entirely on the next election.

    If the GOP sweeps come November, our Reps will be brave just to hang on to what modest reform they've written in here. If it's a wash, then further adjustments will work. In fact, the only way we get a public option is to win dramatically next election, because that is the only thing we can do to keep the momentum going.

    Keep that in mind when reading the screeds of purity trolls screaming about how progressives need to punish Democrats for not ramming through single payer health care in one fell swoop. Those wishes are not grounded in reality, which purity trolls have a very shaky grasp of anyway.

  • backbeat (unverified)

    Meanwhile, not a damned word here about a "Democratic" President sticking a coathanger in my uterus.

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    backbeat: Meanwhile, not a damned word here about a "Democratic" President sticking a coathanger in my uterus

    That's because, backbeat:

    1. We don't have a "Democratic" President. We have a Democratic one.
    2. President Obama isn't forcing you to have a back alley abortion, or even one from a clinic, if you don't want it
    3. He is reaffirming that Federal dollars won't go to finance abortions, which is what it took to pass this bill
    4. As any panicked (GOP-supporting) boyfriend will tell you, abortions are really not that expensive, compared to the alternative; money is almost never the obstacle to getting one
    5. HCR will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, which will reduce the number of abortions in this country, without trampling on the rights of women
    6. Reporting lies and distortions is not the job of a news department. News should be about facts, for both liberals and conservatives.

    Voters should also pay attention to facts, rather than believing lies they pull out of their ass, but maybe I'm asking too much of you.

  • backbeat (unverified)

    You aren't a woman, are you Steve?

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    backbeat: You aren't a woman, are you Steve?

    Nope. But I saw the woman I love make a long personal journey from being a pro-life Catholic to a pro-choice member of the United Church of Christ, an entirely personal transformation of reasoning and faith. And in that journey I learned that the topic of abortion has no moral absolutes.

    And also, I learned that knee jerk liberal sanctimony smells just as bad as that which comes from smarmy right-wing church ladies. (Who are women I must remind you, since you clearly pretend to yourself that you speak for all women.)

    Here's a question for you, Backbeat. Chinese women are often pressured by their husbands to have ultrasounds to see if their baby is a girl, so they can abort it, and have a boy under their one-child policies. Are you all in favor of this practice? Should there be government subsidies to foster it?

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    Uh oh, Steve. Looks like Halter's not immune to years-old single-issue baggage:


  • Winston Smith (unverified)

    This is directly from THE RECONCILIATION ACT OF 2010 (HR4872) which passed last night:

    Public Health Insurance Option.—a public plan (only available through the Health Insurance Exchange) with payment rates established by the Secretary. The public option would be required to offer basic, enhanced, and premium plans, and would be allowed to offer premium-plus plans. Payment rates for prescription drugs not covered by Medicare Part A or B will be covered by the public option at prices negotiated by the Secretary.
    Page 213 (of 1347) http://docs.house.gov/rules/hr4872/111_hr4872_rpt1.pdf

    Search: "Public Option" and then tell me why people are saying there is no public option! Weird...

  • Win McCormack (unverified)

    Bill Halter's primary campaign is being run by Oregon's own Carol Butler--Wyden '98, Measure 43, Healthy Kids--so EVERYONE should send money--lots of it. Column in WA POST said its's the most important primary race in the country... WMcC

  • Kurt Hagadakis (unverified)

    Should there be government subsidies to foster it?

    Why are the current government subsidies for as many as you care to have never seriously considered (as in ending them). ANY position would be a step forward because it would be based on policy. We've got one, but no one dare characterize it. Basically, business expects 5% yearly growth and how 'ya gonna do that every year without increasing population? The fact is there is no viable, mainstream US model for population control. At this point I don't even want change. I just want what we are doing made much more explicit.

    We can't begin to discuss that because we're not politically mature enough to explicitly talk about all the knock on issues. Yeah, the Chinese policy is brutal toward women. It's better for the environment. If you're forced to choose between US, as is, and China, as is, your choice will come down to how much you believe it's humans uber alles. We can't begin to discuss that.

    The Chinese should at least be sporting, though. Flip a coin and let the parter that wins decide the sex, not always the man. What I care more about, is the way the Chinese nouveau riche are being quietly allowed to beat the quota. And they all own cars.

  • Ricky (unverified)

    There will never be a public option now.

  • msmelharmon (unverified)

    Steve: "abortions are really not that expensive, compared to the alternative; money is almost never the obstacle to getting one"

    Oh, well then, that makes everything just fine. As long as money isn't the MAIN obstacle, let's just take away insurance coverage for abortions and add money to the list of obstacles, shall we?

    Never mind that if I'm on my husband's insurance or my parent's insurance I'm going to need to ask them to purchase the separate "abortion rider". But then, I guess your statement above would indicate that abortion needn't be covered by insurance at all since it's so inexpensive. Interesting that viagra and infertility treatments are often covered but a procedure to stop a pregnancy isn't covered. At least not without a rider. "Gee, hmmm, it's February and I'll be unintentionally knocked up in November, so I guess I should buy that abortion rider this year".

    And for the record----panicked GOP-supporting (or DEM-suppporting) boyfriends don't often offer to help pay for abortions. Instead, they claim you're a slut sleeping around who can't prove it's theirs and they run for the hills.

    And while the lack of clinics that perform abortions is currently sometimes a more difficult barrier sometimes than money, do you think that there will be more or less clinics in the future when women--having to choose between purchasing a separate abortion policy (if their insurance company even offers it) or rolling the dice on not getting pregnant--don't have "abortion insurance", causing the clinics to work on a cash only basis which means fewer women will be able to afford abortions or afford them in a timely manner?

    Abortions cost $250-$600 on average, depending on the length of pregnancy. How many people that kind of extra money just laying around in this economy? That is a huge amount of money to someone just scraping by and barely making rent or putting food on the table. So, you're pregnant, trying to scrape by AND you're trying to save nickels and dimes to get what should be a basic medical procedure, knowing that with each passing week the cost of the procedure increases. Yes, it's cheaper than having a kid but that doesn't mean that insurance should just not cover it. If anything insurance should cover it becuase it IS the cheaper option. But then, that would deny the insurance industry a future customer, wouldn't it?

    <h2>The whole abortion/insurance discussion makes me want to scream.</h2>

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