Encouraging Sign From Wu; Hat Tip to D.C. Dems; Finger Wag at Kitzhaber

Steve Novick

OK, so now there's a press release from Wu that makes it sound like he may have been holding out for something that is actually a good thing:

“We are in the final stages of putting into writing an agreement that would begin to move the American health care system away from paying doctors for the number of procedures and toward rewarding quality and results."

So let's hope he's making good policy on the way to voting yes. And oh, by the way, in response to comments on my last post: I did call Wu's office prior to my last post and they just said he was undecided. I'm glad they are saying something different now. And one more thing: Context matters. If [Peter DeFazio](http://www.defazioforcongress.org) voted no I would assume that it was on hardnosed progressive grounds. But Congressman Wu voted for Bush Medicare. That would make me look at a no vote on this from him in a very different light. 

Meanwhile, a HAT TIP to  the Congressional Democrats for something I was not aware of until I read today's Times: part of the financing mechanism is applying the Medicare tax to unearned income (capital gains).  A progressive move. As you may know, I share an interest in taxing unearned income same's earned income with our good Senator Ron Wyden. (Whose tax reform bill does not go all the way there - he did have to get Judd Gregg on the bill -- but took a step toward that.)   

And a WAG OF THE FINGER to my man John Kitzhaber for not letting us know how HE thinks our delegation should vote on the health care bill. C'mon, John, I know you disdain D.C. but you must at least have an opinion.  These Bradbury people are beating me up, saying you're not taking enough specific positions on issues. Give me something to work with, willya?

  • (Show?)

    Even a vote for bad reasons is a good one on this bill. LBJ was willing to hurt his party politically for a strong Civil Rights and Voting Acts. That not being the case for POTUS and Comgressional leadership today, a No vote is the only thing that can save us.

  • backbeat (unverified)

    Can someone please explain to me how people are going to all of a sudden be able to afford the mandated premiums to insurance whores? This makes no sense to me at all. Do you have an extra $100 a month to spare? How about $800? anyone?

  • Kurt Hagadakis (unverified)

    Amen, backbeat.

    I think I'm just going to get a medical alert bracelet that says "uninsured and will not pay". I'd rather die than fund those bastards' lifestyle. Also looking forward to that being a mandatory item for job applications. And, of course, we've managed to criminalize the issue.

    But, hey, it'll make the Dems look bad if we don't pass it, so screw all that!

  • TroyB (unverified)

    Seems pretty obvious Kitzhaber is going to keep his head low until he wins the primary, and we're stuck with him. I wish we had two candidates that we could get excited about (ala Merkley/Novick 08) but it feels like we're ultimately looking at stopping Dudley instead of pushing for a progressive governor.

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    Steve, Kitz is half-heartedly for this bill: this is about insurance more than anything else, and his concern is for health. how we provide care -- who pays, where you go, etc -- acounts for about 10% of what affects a person's health (he cited this again at the debate sponsored by the Mult Dems). he's given every indication he supports the bill but it's so far away from what he deems to be most important, it's hard for him to express excitement. that's not too far away from Wyden, although in a different way; both are for this passing, but neither believes this comes anywhere near the real issues that have yet to be dealth with.

    and they are both right.

  • Bradbury for Governor (unverified)

    Bradbury Released a Statement Earlier Today On This:

    "Today I am calling on the Oregon Congressional delegation to vote for the amended Health Care Reform package before them.

    We stand at a momentous point in U.S. History. The passage of Health Care Reform this weekend will improve the health and quality of life of every Oregonian and every citizen in this country.

    As I have traveled throughout the state talking with Oregonians the issue of Health Care comes up time and time again. I have heard stories of bankruptcy and lost homes because of staggering medical bills. Small business owners have reported double digit increases in premiums for their employees year after year. And I have lost count of the number of times I have met an individual or family without health insurance who is simply hoping nothing goes wrong.

    This cannot continue. The reform package before Congress today is a giant first step in making health care available to every Oregonian. It also saves taxpayer money and allows businesses to hire more individuals.

    There are a lot of critical reforms that will take place in the next 6 months as a result of passage: Small business health care deductibility, banning lifetime and annual limits on coverage, allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26, doubling funding for community health centers and closing the Medicare Part D “donut hole”.

    Let me be clear, this is not a perfect bill. From the beginning I have been a strong advocate for the public option being part of any Health Care Reform. I am disappointed that it is not in this final piece of legislation. As Governor I will continue to press Congress to pass a national public option because a public option will drive down costs even further.

    Passage of this health care reform bill is only the beginning. As Governor I will lead the state in filling the gaps left by this legislation to ensure that every Oregonian has access to affordable and quality health care. This means continuing the work of the newly created Oregon Health Authority to drive down costs, increase coverage and partner with the federal government to provide coverage for every citizen. “ – Bill Bradbury, Candidate for Governor

  • Details Count (unverified)

    Steve, I know you are one of those low information Oregon Democrats (as in read what you want and don't exhibit the intellectual curiosity of challenging your political preconceptions), but here's why DeFazio has been "undecided" right up to about 5:00PM today when his local offices closed:

    DeFazio’s Objections Could Set Off Other Members

    Some of us have read the CBO report and the reconciliation bill, not taken other organizations word for it as I see you've done in another thread. They too do not represent the facts fully and correctly.

    Now, if this is not changed, that mean's Wu is voting to continue the situation in Oregon where people lose their doctors when they turn 66 and become eligible for Medicare UNLESS they spend extra money for a supplemental policy. And even if they get subsidies, 20% of those subsidies go to the corrupt health insurance industry that could have gone into providing more and better health care at lower cost to Medicare recipients (starting with not even requiring them to have to buy a supplemental policy to even get to a doctor.)

    The fact that this is even an issue at this late hour demonstrates exactly the deceit in this whole charade and the sick and twisted character of those who have stolen our Democratic Party.

  • Kitz is half-hearted (unverified)

    T.A. hits it on the head at last. Kitzhaber's stance on health care reform is as half-hearted as his campaign has been. He even told an audience a few months back that the debate over the public option was a "sideshow." Thanks.

    There is a choice in the Democratic primary. Bradbury is running a progressive campaign, and isn't afraid to take a stand no matter how much money Chris Dudley has.

    If you want to push for a progressive governor, and you really enjoy pushing a lot and pushing hard, you can try to find Kitzhaber and get him to commit to something and say you're going to hold him to it. Make sure you stretch first and get warmed up.

    Or, you can just vote for Bradbury.

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    I’m pleased to hear you call Wu’s office before your post. This issue is a hot one for us with lots of calls being made and the reports trickling back to me are a response closer to the press release than was implied by your first post.

    I think the Defazio is the key. You may think it a progressive gesture for Defazio to vote no but for me it is indistinguishable from any other no vote. I will find it hard to forgive any no vote. But, holding out for medicare parity for Oregon is worth a fight to the last minute.

    Wu’s vote for Part D still has to be played out. Please don’t say it is progressive to vote anti-Bush because it lends credence to the anti-Obama votes and we are not like them. This new bill will plug the donut hole. Next we have to attack the anti-negotiation clause. Eventually, Part D will be a real benefit to aging Americans.

    And, just think what Boehner would say about the deficit busting Bush bill today! He is so focused on hurting Obama that he’d never vote for a prescription drug benefit, regardless of the details. Right?

  • Details Count (unverified)

    You may think it a progressive gesture for Defazio to vote no but for me it is indistinguishable from any other no vote. I will find it hard to forgive any no vote.

    That's because you are a low-information Democrat who actually doesn't know how fundamentally this bill demeans true Democratic values. This has become a win, for wins sake, not principled health care reform. A NO vote is the morally correct vote.

    But, holding out for medicare parity for Oregon is worth a fight to the last minute.

    So in your formulation, in which you apparently advocate voting YES even if the Medicare parity is not restored (leave aside the numerous other equally immoral "tradeoffs" in this bill), low-income seniors that are those who are least likely are simply pawns to be traded away for a win? Real nice.

  • Details Count (unverified)

    That should have read:

    But, holding out for medicare parity for Oregon is worth a fight to the last minute.

    So in your formulation, in which you apparently advocate voting YES even if the Medicare parity is not restored (leave aside the numerous other equally immoral "tradeoffs" in this bill), low-income seniors that are those who are least likely to have supplemental insurance and therefore have the most difficulty getting a doctor to accept them as patients, are simply pawns to be traded away for a win? Real nice.

    And remember, this bill doesn't require any doctor to accept any patient, whether that patient has Medicare, or someone with an policy from the exchange. Many people will find they have the crappy insurance under this Republican dream plan of welfare for private insurance companies and they still won't have access to the medical care they feel they need.

    Nor does it actually require insurance companies to change their policies on pre-approval or claims denials. In Oregon it doesn't even require any significant changes in your appeal rights to the state insurance division because Oregon's weak appeal system already complies with the weak NAIC standards.

    A "Yes" vote if Medicare parity isn't restored, particularly one in response to political pressure by the low information non-Medicare age dwindling Democratic "activist" base, promises to tear the Democratic Party in Oregon into to politically powerless factions. Thanks a lot.

  • Joel (unverified)

    Steve Packer wrote: "Please don’t say it is progressive to vote anti-Bush because it lends credence to the anti-Obama votes and we are not like them."

    Well we are like them if we keep voting in the same crappy people just because they had a letter after their name that is the same as ours. Wu has not done anything and it is time for him to go. If we are going to have a leg to stand on when we speak about our party being better than we actually have to be better - which means purging the bad performers. Wu has to go.

  • TruBlueProgressive (unverified)

    Kitzhaber's silence on the national health care debate is why when I think of Kitzhaber I think "we can do better." Add to that his support of a sales tax and that's why I think Bradbury is better.

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    nice try, Bradbury fans. good spin. Kitz has the same feelings about the health care reform effort as many progressives: we are falling so short of what should have been done, and we're expending energy on the wrong things. if Bradbury wants to wave the flag for this bill, yay. but Kitz' reticence on this cannot be spun into being against reform. that's dishonest, and you know it.

    the fact is, both candidates have said (i've been there to hear it) that we have to wait & see what happens at the federal level (they've said that on a number of issues; it is a sad fact of life). being "for" this bill means dick; it is no indication of resolve to care for Oregonians, and you know that. both men will do all they can to work within whatever system the Congress sets up; they'll both look to leverage federal money, to seek innovative ways to deal with a lack of resources, etc. it's pathetic to pretend Bradbury cares more or is going to work harder on health care - it's absolutely dishonest. they both, after all, worked together to create the Oregon Health Plan.

    this health care bill is only a first step; we still need to continue the work to get rid of health-care-for-profit. but far more importantly for the long term, we have to work on making Americans healthier, and that's not something we do via health insurance. which is Kitz' main point here.

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    You've gotta hope that Bradbury isn't planning on out-healthcaring Kitzhaber.

    In the two months left, he'd be best off focusing in other areas where he has a chance to provide some positive distinctions between himself and The Once and Future.....

  • pammy (unverified)

    Let's face the facts here folks. Kitzhaber's previous stint as governor was pretty lackluster. His campaign this go around is far worse. A man shouldn't run for governor again merely as a cure for boredom. I for one wish we had a "next generation" candidate running instead of my grandfather's Oldsmobile.

    Does Kitz's campaign feel to you like watching "This is Spinal Tap" reruns for the umpteenth time on late night TV or is it just me?

  • Kurt Hagadakis (unverified)

    I'm with pammy. One has to think that there must be some cynical calculation that after watching Ted, even Kitz reruns might be interesting.

    <h2>Has anyone running come out and said s(he) would fight continued use of the Guard in the Middle East?</h2>

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