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FDL Action

FDL Action Health Care Update: Friday (12/11/09)

by: FDL Action

Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 20:21:56 PM EST

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Friday, December 18.

1. Jon Walker is concerned that Ben Nelson could get his way and gut "the single best remaining piece of reform, Medicaid expansion." Walker concludes that "If using reconciliation is the only way to protect the Medicaid expansion, the decision to use it should be a no-brainer for every real Democrat."

2. Jon Walker suggests that "if you are are going to tax 'Cadillac' plans, you need to index it to make sure it only ever taxes actual 'Cadillac' plans." To accomplish this goal, Walker suggests "index[ing] the cap to roughly 165% of the average premium on the Federal employer health benefit (FEHB) exchange."

3. Jane Hamsher points to a new poll indicating that 38% of Americans favor the individual mandate to buy insurance, while 51% oppose it. Hamsher adds, "When it appears in the ads of a Republican challenger who notes that the IRS will act as Aetna's collection agency, I bet those numbers get dramatically worse."

4. Jon Walker calls Ben Nelson's latest idea - to make states "opt in" to health reform - "literally and completely insane." C'mon, tell us how you really fell about Ben Nelon's stupid idea, Jon. :)

5. Jon Walker writes that "Ezra Klein has a new, strange, and incorrect defense of the individual mandate in the Senate bill." Walker argues that "[t]he argument that removing the individual mandate would price unemployed people, like the reader, out of the individual market is not true."

6. Jane Hamsher discusses "the impoverished left/right dialectic that dominates the media coverage of politics, and its inadequacy when it comes to discussing the dynamics of the health care debate." It's a fascinating discussion; here's a sampling. "With unemployment at 10%, the idea that you can pass a bill whose only merit is that 'liberals hate it' just because the media will eat it up and print your talking points in the process is so cynical and short-sighted it's hard to comprehend anyone would pursue it. It reflects a total insensitivity to the rage that is brewing on the popular front, which is manifest in every single poll out there."  Good stuff.

7. Jon Walker goes after Ezra Klein again, this time for "[doing] the discussion on health reform a big disservice by making false claims about what could, in fact, start a race to the bottom in the insurance market."

8. Jon Walker argues that the fact there is a "hardship waiver," as well as restrictions on undocumented immigrants to buy insurance on the new exchange ("even if they were willing to pay full price with no tax credits") both "undercut arguments for an individual mandate."

9. Finally, I've got a state blog roundup, including lots of discussion about "Liebercare," "Loserman," and Jane Hamsher taking "a corporate conman to the woodshed."  

This was a fascinating, sometimes infuriating, occasionally highly entertaining week in health care reform. Next week promises to be more of the same.  Stay tuned!

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Thursday (12/17/09)

by: FDL Action

Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 20:42:21 PM EST

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Thursday, December 17.

1. Jon Walker discusses "The Unholy Trilogy For Insurance Profits: Individual Mandate, Broad Age Rating, And Hardship Exemption." According to Walker, "Forcing the young to buy coverage with huge government subsidies, but having a way to price the old out of the market, is in fact the health insurance companies' dream." Is that the way to keep them from running a 2009 version of "Harry and Louise," to make their "dream" come true? Hmmmm.

2. Jane Hamsher reports on her MSNBC appearance this morning with Dylan Ratigan, at which time he made her argument for her, that "40 million new customers forced to buy your product with no competition and no regulatory body to oversee it is a pretty sweet deal." For more, see item #1, above, on the "health insurance companies' dream."

3. Jon Walker continues his back-and-forth on whether or not to "kill the bill" with Nate Silver of In this installment, Walker accuses Silver of responding to his answers, "but only to a straw man, crib notes version of my answers." Who knew that dueling, wonky, blogger diaries on the intricate details of health care reform legislation could be so enthralling? :)

4. Speaking of exciting, I definitely recommend that you check out the heated exchange between Mary Landrieu and Howard Dean last night on Hardball. Jane Hamsher transcribes it, which is particularly cool given that it's not easy to transcribe spittle flying around a TV studio. Heh.

5. Jon Walker responds to an article by Jonathan Cohn, which tries to "defend the individual mandate in this bill by claiming the Netherlands also has an individual mandate." According to Walker, "The problem is the health care system produced by the Senate bill would be nothing at all like the health system in the Netherlands," and he lays out exactly why that is the case.

6. Jon Walker reports that Ben Nelson "has rejected Harry Reid's latest compromise on the abortion language," and that Nelson "is trying to go for the full Stupak amendment." Walker adds that "[w]e wouldn't need to be worrying about Ben Nelson's mountain of demands right now if they would just go with reconciliation." So true.

7. Jon Walker rebuts one of the "better-sounding arguments for passing the Senate bill", that "we can fix it later." The problem with that argument, of course, is that Walker "can't imagine there being a time anytime soon where the Democrats have more power." Neither can anyone else, which is why they need to get as much done now as possible, on health care reform and on a whole host of other issues.  But they won't get those things done if they keep letting John McCain's Best Friend Forever pull a "Liebercare" on everything. Once again, if this hasn't been stressed enough, it's time to go to reconciliation and pass strong, progressive health care reform legislation now, not "later."

8. Last but not least, do NOT miss Scarecrow's post on the confrontation between Lanny Davis and Jane Hamsher on the Ed Show this evening. According to Scarecrow, "After just one round with Jane on the Ed Show, Lanny's credibility was in need of a waaaambulance. He was last seen being wheeled out on Joe Lieberman's gurney, on the way to the emergency ward."  Ouch!

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Wednesday (12/16/09)

by: FDL Action

Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 20:26:54 PM EST

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Wednesday, December 16. We'll call this the "Joe must go" edition.

1. Jon Walker writes about the "sad defeat of Dorgan's drug re-importation amendment, which would have saved American consumers billions on their prescription drugs."  Walker notes that "[a]llowing Americans to buy cheaper drugs from Canada or Europe was one of Obama's campaign promise on health care," and also that this is a "very popular, bipartisan idea that would actually help 'bend the cost curve' on our health care spending." But now, it looks like it's not going to happen, and that's extremely unfortunate.

2. Jane Hamsher comments on the story that the White House is "very not pleased...with Dr. Dean speaking out about health care reform and this plan."  The amazing thing is that the White House isn't upset with Joe Lieberman for all the bad stuff he's been doing, but is upset with Howard Dean for saying that we should scrap the current Senate bill, go to reconciliation and get a much stronger bill with public option, Medicare buy-in, etc.  It's surreal.

3. Jane Hamsher reports on remarks by Sen. Russ Feingold, who said, "This bill appears to be legislation that the president wanted in the first place, so I don't think focusing it on Lieberman really hits the truth."

4. Jon Walker demolishes the "great big myth that reconciliation would not work for health care reform." According to Walker, "That is pure nonsense," as "reconciliation would still protect the guts of reform." In addition, "provisions [not related to the budget] will only be removed if they fail to get 60 votes to wave the Byrd rule for those provisions."  So why aren't they doing this?

5. Jon Walker argues that the health care "bills could easily be redesigned to increase insurance coverage by roughly 30 million Americans at a fraction of the cost if we drop the massive giveaway to the insurance companies, and the individual mandate." A new, revamped bill would contain "insurance market reforms," "the House's employer mandate and slightly increased small business tax credits," "Medicaid expansion to 150%-200% FPL," "Maintaining or expanding CHIP program," and a "permanent COBRA expansion with subsidies."  According to Walker, such a bill, "depending on design, should cover close to 30 million more Americans, and for less than a net cost of $500 billion" - "a fraction of the cost to the government (with a bill done through reconciliation), and without enriching the health insurance companies trying to kill real reform."  Again, why aren't they doing this?

6. Jon Walker writes that Bernie Sanders isn't buying "the myth that reconciliation would not work for real health care reform." Unfortunately, Harry Reid is buying it. Sigh.

7. Michael Whitney comments on "Jello Jay Rockefeller's rant against Howard Dean on MSNBC this afternoon," in which he asked, "So what do I do? do I take my football and run home and sulk?" Whitney's punchline: "No, you're going to kick it!"  Heh.

8. Jane Hamsher notes that Robert Gibbs never called Joe Lieberman "irrational," as he essentially did about Howard Dean earlier today.

9. Jon Walker answer Nate Silver's "20 questions for the 'bill killers.'"

10. Jon Walker explains "How CBO Director Doug Elmendorf Wrote The Health Care Bill."  In brief, Elmendorf put together a memo last May which "basically put the absolute limits on what Democrats would even attempt in health care reform." According to Walker, "There is no real logic to it, he simply decided what he thought was enough regulation to make something part of the budget." Somehow, given where we are right now, ending today's health care update with the words "no real logic" seems highly appropriate.

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Tuesday (12/15/09)

by: FDL Action

Tue Dec 15, 2009 at 21:02:46 PM EST

( - promoted by teacherken)

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Tuesday, December 15. We'll call this the "Joe must go" edition.

1. Jane Hamsher writes about the "manufactured outrage of Joe Lieberman" regarding criticism over "money paid to his wife Hadassah by the Susan B. Komen 'Race for the Cure.'" Hamsher adds that "if Senator Lieberman is 'deeply offended' by the suggestion that his wife is a lobbyist, one has to wonder what he did for all those years when she was working for the biggest lobbying firms in Washington DC."

2. Jon Walker comments angrily on the message from the White House that Democratic Senators should "do anything to pass a bill with the title of "health care reform," even if that "health care reform...helps almost no one for four years, will not lower drug prices, will not slow down the out-of-control growth of health care costs, will make most Americans health insurance worse, will leave millions uninsured, provide no competition for the insurance companies, and not end medical bankruptcy in this country."  Getting excited yet?

3. Jane Hamsher says it's "time to hold progressives in Congress to their promise" to "do what they have repeatedly promised to do - vote against any bill that does not have a public option." Hamsher urges everyone to "Call progressive members of Congress now and ask them if they intend to deliver on their promise to vote against this bill."

4. Jon Walker argues that "Without the option of a government-run insurance entity or extremely tight regulations to guarantee everyone has access to quality, cost effective health insurance, an individual mandate is both immoral and bad policy." Other than that, it totally rocks! (snark)

5. Michael Whitney asks for "help to run a TV ad in Nevada telling Harry Reid to be brave - or lose his seat.". Specifically, the "ask" is for Reid to use reconciliation, to not allow Joe Lieberman to write the health care bill, and to "restore democracy to the country and the Senate."

6. Jon Walker points out that "Joe Lieberman has never made a secret about his desire to bring down the public option," and that "Harry Reid must have known this whole time that he would never get Joe Lieberman's magical 60th vote on a bill with a public option." The bottom line is that if "Reid had gone with reconciliation, Joe Lieberman would not be writing the bill as we speak." So why didn't he? Did he actually trust Joe Lieberman to do the right thing here? If so, all I can say is "wow, just wow."

7. Jane Hamsher says she agrees with Howard Dean's call to kill the Senate health care bill. Hamsher concludes: "If I wanted Joe Lieberman writing a health care bill, I would've voted for John McCain. Howard Dean is right. Kill LieberCare."

8. Jon Walker notes that "While everyone has been fretting about Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson has remained an equally big hurdle to get 60 votes for cloture." Believe it or not, even though Nelson "has already played a big role in removing the public option, preventing the bill from ending the anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies, and possibly killing the CLASS long term insurance program," he also wants abortion language that "will likely end up one of the biggest rollbacks of women's reproductive rights in a generation." In short, with Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?

9. Jane Hamsher reports that even though Byron Dorgan "had the votes to pass his drug reimportation amendment, which would have saved the public over $100 billion and the government $19 billion," it's not going to happen guessed it, "Joe Lieberman says it can't be part of LieberCare!"  So here's the bottom line choice for the White House and Harry Reid: either tell Joe Lieberman to take a hike and go to reconciliation, or pass a watered-down health care "reform" bill without its best, and also most popular, elements. I believe this is what's known in the vernacular as a "no brainer," but why does something tell me the great brains in Washington, DC won't be able to figure it out? On second thought, maybe it's not their brains as much as it's their spines, specifically their willingness to stand up to bullies like Joe Lieberman?

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FDL Action Health Care Highlights: Monday (12/14/09)

by: FDL Action

Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 20:39:44 PM EST

( - promoted by KathyinBlacksburg)

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Monday, December 14.

1. Jon Walker declares that "There is no longer a Democratic party in the United States Senate" and that "All the senators who were formally members of the Democratic party have switched to the Liebocratic Party."  Yes, today was a frustrating day, to put it mildly.

2. Jon Walker reports that "health insurance stocks are up dramatically today after Joe Lieberman's threat to filibuster health care reform." Well, doesn't that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy?

3. Michael Whitney asks everyone to sign the petition "asking Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) to call on Susan G. Komen for the Cure (@KomenfortheCURE) to dump Hadassah Lieberman as a compensated 'Global Ambassador.'"

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Friday (12/11/09)

by: FDL Action

Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 20:20:51 PM EST

(FDL Action reports some important updates here. - promoted by KathyinBlacksburg)

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Friday, December 11.

1. Jon Walker says that the "'Medicare buy-in' idea might not really be Medicare at all, it might in fact be fake Medicare, one which "would lack almost all the benefits of Medicare." Walker adds, "A Medicare buy-in program that does not actually allow people to fully buy into real Medicare is a farce."

2. Jane Hamsher writes that Harry Reid, "who is solely responsible for crafting the bill that he introduced in the Senate, decided that there should be a limit on lifetime benefits."  Meanwhile, "Reid is also manipulating procedure to keep the Dorgan drug reimportation amendment, which would save both the government and consumers hundreds of millions of dollars, from coming to a vote." Hamsher wonders why "Reid never uses the powers he has against Joe Lieberman."  

3. Jon Walker believes that, "For the past few days, Obama and Reid have rather publicly fought against bringing down America's health care costs."

4. Jane Hamsher writes a letter to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, calling on them to "ask Hadassah Lieberman to step down as a 'Global Ambassador' for the organization in light of the inherent conflict of interest her continued presence brings." Hamsher invites everyone to sign a petition urging the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to do just that.

5. Jon Walker writes that Harry Reid has "quietly gutted one of the most important consumer protections in the bill, the ban on annual limits."  Walker argues that by adding the "'unreasonable' qualifier {Reid} added is a loophole you can drive a school bus through." Jane Hamsher adds that the Department of Health and Human Services knew about this and even has been "quietly promoting" it for a while now.

6. Jon Walker reports that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has concluded that the "new excise tax on employer-provided health insurance will result in most people getting worse health insurance from their employer, insurance that covers less."  Walker adds that if "this excise tax is the core of the plan to 'bend the cost curve,' it is a failure."

7. Jon Walker argues that the "reason Reid dropped the annual limit from the Senate bill was to make his bill appear cheaper in the CBO score, and make insurance premiums appear lower." "Of course," Walker points out, "eliminating the ban on annual caps makes a mockery of the entire idea of 'insurance.'"

8. Finally, Jon Walker has highlights of CMS' analysis of the Senate health care bill. Overall, Walker concludes, "the report is a mixed bag," with "very slightly higher" national health expenditures in 2019, but on the other hand it "shows a bad bill can still greatly expand insurance coverage without noticeably increasing our national health care spending." Ergo, Walker concludes, "Imagine what could be done with a good bill that is not full of massive corporate give aways."

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Thursday (12/10/09)

by: FDL Action

Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 21:22:56 PM EST

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Thurssday, December 10.

1. Marta Evry says that Rep. Bart Stupak's New York Times op-ed is not harmless, as Stupak claims, but "would effectively ban reproductive choice services coverage in the exchanges." According to Evry, "We  can't let that happen. We just can't." Evry urges that everyone join a "One Voice for Choice" phone bank or start one of your own: "It's easy, it's fun, and best of all, you will make a difference."

2. Jane Hamsher reports that Mike Stark of Stark Reports is "back up on the Hill for FDL, covering Congress."

3. Jane Hamsher points out that Harry Reid claims he has no time for a House-Senate conference, but that he has time to attend a "$1,000 plus per plate fundraiser" this weekend.  Hamsher encourages people to call likely Nevada Democratic voters and let them know what Reid is up to.

4. Jon Walker says that the Senate health care reform deal is actually "less a health care deal, more an agreement on vague parameters for a possible deal." As Walker notes, "It is always easier to reach agreement on vague ideas," but as "with all things in this health care reform effort, it will all come down to details, details, and more details."

5. Jon Walker believes that nobody should be "shocked when the Democratic base doesn't turn out in 2010." Walker asks, "Who would want to support a party" in which "a simple temper tantrum by Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, or Ben Nelson really cause the other roughly 300 elected Democrats in Washington to abandon every promise they made and every principle they claim to stand for?"

6. Jane Hamsher writes about Nancy Pelosi saying "that a bill without a public option is now possible in the House."  Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, apparently isn't going to be one of those votes, as he told Mike Stark that "what the Senate is doing is effectively emasculating an opportunity to have a public option."

7. Jon Walker reports that Joe Lieberman, "the biggest champion of the health insurance industry in the Senate, will chair the committee that oversees [the OPM-run] 'alternative' to the public option." Can we say "foxes and henhouses?"

8. With signs that the Senate health care bill might just "ping pong" straight past the House of Representatives without a full conference between the two chambers, a frustrated Jon Walker asks, "Why Don't We Just Go A Step Further And Abolish The House?"

9. Jane Hamsher asks, "what kind of a platform we should ask Medicare for All candidates to agree upon?" Hamsher adds that "[i]f you'd like to volunteer to lead a search committee in your district for a single payer candidate, you can do it here."

10. Finally, check out Jane Hamsher on the Ed Show as she  invites Progressives to recruit primary challengers for any "Democratic member of Congress [who] decides to support the corporatist agenda and vote for a health care bill that makes the insurance companies say 'we won.'"

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Wednesday (12/9/09)

by: FDL Action

Wed Dec 09, 2009 at 19:55:57 PM EST

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Wednesday, December 9.

1. Marta Evry points out that it's far too early to "fold up our tent and start our Christmas shopping early" with regard to protecting women's reproductive rights in health care reform legislation. Evry notes that, "so far, One Voice For Choice is the only campaign going on out there that's targeting the Stupak coalition of conservadems" on this issue. She encourages everyone to join a "One Voice for Choice" phone bank or start one of your own. Thanks.

2. Jane Hamsher says that "despite the fact that the country wants a public option, the President campaigned on one and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid both promised there would be one in the final bill, the woman who took $763,000 from health care interests for her upcoming Senate race is allowed to dictate what happens." And that woman's name got it, Blanche Lincoln, who until recently claimed on her website that she supported "a quality, affordable public plan." And if you believe that one, I've got some awesome, low-priced private insurance I'd like to sell you. :)

3. Jon Walker writes that, at this point, "it is impossible to even evaluate this pile of vague ideas that may or may not be part of this 'deal.'" Walker concludes, "Fancy names like 'Medicare buy-in' sound good, but it could easily be worthless subterfuge, just like the trigger. I recommend everyone stay very skeptical and hold judgment for a day or two until we actually know what we are dealing with."

4. Jane Hamsher is incredulous that OFA is fundraising off of a health-care reform package that she sees as - to put it mildly - subpar.

5. Jon Walker warns Howard Dean that the "Medicare buy-in" he is talking about "might not at all resemble the Medicare buy-in that [he] wants." Or it might. The main thing right now is to "wait until you hear details" of this plan; until then, "we are simply chasing vapor."

6. Jane Hamsher urges everyone to sign a petition urging President Obama to "save the public option and make these statements more than mere campaign promises."

7. Jane Hamsher reports that she contacted Physicians for a National Health Program to see what they thought about lowering the Medicare age to 55. The response was that it "only works if it is mandatory...Otherwise it becomes the place where all the sickest patients get dumped."

8. Jon Walker asks, "Why Did Snowe Not Demand Giving Americans The Freedom To Buy Cheaper Drugs From Canada?" More broadly, Walker finds it "very unfortunate that Snowe decided to use her new-found power for evil instead of good."

9. Jon Walker notes results from a new Quinnipiac poll indicating strong support for a public option, "even as Senate Democrats look to kill the idea."

10. Jane Hamsher provides a timeline indicating longstanding support in the Obama administration for a "trigger," stating that this is "something that Rahm Emanuel has been fighting for all along."  

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Tuesday (12/8/09)

by: FDL Action

Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 19:13:51 PM EST

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Tuesday, December 8.

1. Marta Evry reminds everyone that doing a "One Voice for Choice" phone bank is "easy, it's fun, and best of all, you will make a difference." What more can you ask for? :)

2. Jon Walker writes, "As a substitute for the public option, this OPM exchange is worthless, but I strongly hope this OPM exchange is structured to at least help fix the terrible, state-regulation-gutting "nationwide plan" idea."

3. Jon Walker says that the "grand compromise possibly being discussed is frighteningly similar to my theoretical compromise, although it is noticeably weaker," and that "Harry Reid, Barack Obama, and the Senate Democrats could have saved themselves lot of heart burn by hiring me four months ago." Yes, but then what would they do with all the time they would have saved? Focus on the economy and jobs? Deal with climate change? Pass comprehensive immigration reform? Pass appropriations bills so that federal agencies don't have to operate for months on continuing resolutions?  What ARE you thinking, Jon Walker? (snark)

4. Jane Hamsher asks rhetorically, "You Mean 'We'll Fix It In Conference' Was Just BS?" The sarcastic answer? "No!"

5. Jon Walker explains how Medicare expansion can be "done right" ("Simply dropping the age for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 50 would help tens of millions of Americans, and be a win for progressives.") or "done bad" ("Conversely, I can imagine a convoluted set of restrictions that would prevent the proposal from helping basically anybody.").  Unfortunately, Walker concludes, "it sounds like the negotiations are much closer to the latter than the former."

6. David Dayen reports that a motion by Barbara Boxer to table Ben Nelson's anti-abortion amendment has passed with 54 votes. According to Dayen, "So the question becomes, what now?" Good question.

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Monday (12/7/09)

by: FDL Action

Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 20:39:02 PM EST

( - promoted by KathyinBlacksburg)

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Monday, December 7.

1. Marta Evry asks that you consider joining a "One Voice for Choice" phone bank or starting one of your own. As Evry says, "It's easy, it's fun, and best of all, it works."

2. Jane Hamsher says sarcastically that there's "[n]othing like having Joe Lieberman running the country." Except maybe John McCain or George W. Bush running the country?

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Friday (12/4/09)

by: FDL Action

Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 20:48:15 PM EST

( - promoted by KathyinBlacksburg)

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Friday, December 4.

1. Jane Hamsher points to a new Mason-Dixon poll indicating that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid trails two potential GOP opponents.  This doesn't make Hamsher particularly sad, to put it mildly, given that she believes Reid "is doing what he always intended to do - take the public option out of the bill."

2. Jon Walker warns that "unless we do health care right, every private sector union will be dead in nine years." The reason? "Manufacturing in this country will not expand or even survive as long as health care insurance is an ever-growing overhead cost," which means "there simply will not be a manufacturing sector to unionize." I'd add that there won't be a healthy economy in general if health care costs continue to rise and health care expenditures make up an ever-growing portion of our GDP.

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Thursday (12/3/09)

by: FDL Action

Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 19:06:35 PM EST

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Thursday, December 3.

1. Jon Walker reports that "Thomas Carper's terrible new "alternative" to a public option is not winning over progressives in the House," with Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona saying, "I think that compromise is totally unacceptable...It basically emasculates the public option." Jon Walker adds, "If there is a choice between Carper's worthless fig leaf and no public option at all, I would choose the latter." Yes, it's that bad.

2. Jon Walker writes about a report in Politico that " Snowe, Lincoln, and Landrieu have submitted an amendment that would effectively eliminate all state regulations concerning what insurance companies must cover." According to Jon Walker, "This is a very bad amendment that will make health insurance worse for millions and millions of Americans." Uh, guys? That's not what we mean by "reform."

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Wednesday (12/2/09)

by: FDL Action

Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 20:25:58 PM EST

( - promoted by KathyinBlacksburg)

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Wednesday, December 2.

1. Jane Hamsher announces the launch of One Voice for Choice, "a national phone bank that will launch calls into the districts of the Representatives who voted for Stupak." For more on this, see Politico. To volunteer, please click here. Thanks.

2. Jon Walker reports on Day #3 of the Senate "debate" on health care reform, with not "a single vote on any amendment." Given this snail's pace, Walker concludes that a final vote by Christmas is "highly unlikely."

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Tuesday (12/1/09)

by: FDL Action

Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 19:21:06 PM EST

( - promoted by KathyinBlacksburg)

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Tuesday, December 1.

1. Jon Walker has some advice "for every potential manufacturer and transnational company looking to expand...don't start a single business-or expand an existing one-in this country until we really try to rein in health care costs." Walker elaborates, "As a nation, we will not be able to compete going forward if we are spending upwards of an extra $6,000 on our workers health care compared to Germany, Japan, Canada, the UK, etc." But wait, aren't those all "socialist" countries? (snark)

2. Jon Walker takes issue with Peter Orszag's assertion that "basically everything that has been put forward in health policy discussions for a decade is in this [health care reform] bill." To the contrary, Walker writes, "This is not true at all, and Orszag knows it. The Senate bill does not even contain many of health care reforms championed by Obama on the campaign trail last year." The result, in Walker's view, is that the "bill does not do is take the serious steps that could reduce our national health expenditures by trillions of dollars in this country."

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Monday (11/30/09)

by: FDL Action

Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 20:28:39 PM EST

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Monday, November 30.

1. To put it mildly, Jon Walker believes that the Urban Institute's new report "endorsing the idea of a super-hard trigger for a robust Medicare-style public option" is off base. Walker argues that the idea of a "magical robust theoretically super-awesome trigger" is "purely a fantasy of health care wonks that does not have a prayer of ever becoming law."  And Walker has a great punchline to all this, apparently riffing off of Prince's "When Doves Cry": "This is what it sounds like when veal moos." Wow, what did Jon Walker eat for Thanksgiving anyway? LOL

2. Jane Hamsher argues that the  opt-out provision "was a trojan horse, championed by liberals who were negotiating against themselves," and that in the end, it failed to pick up a single Republican vote. Now, we're going to get the same charade with "the sequel, 'The Return of Trigger,' starring the Urban Institute and other featured players." Something tells me this is a sequel we don't want to see, but may be forced to anyway.

3. Jon Walker has some good news, "What The Senate Bill Does Better, Part 3: Starts With Greater Access To The Exchange."

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Friday (11/27/09)

by: FDL Action

Fri Nov 27, 2009 at 19:25:48 PM EST

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for "Black Friday" (November 27).

1. On Wednesday, Jane Hamsher asked, "Why is HCAN Defending Blanche Lincoln From A Primary Challenge?"  The answer: "[HCAN] will continue to operate as part of the Democratic party infrastructure, try to kill primary challengers and move to protect their 'own.'  And that means Blanche Lincoln.  If health care reform happens in the meantime, well, what a happy coincidence." Or "unhappy," as the case may be.

2. Yesterday, Jane Hamsher wrote about "The PR Push That Helped PhRMA Buy the Government." Included in "Government" are "the 42 members of Congress who helpfully inserted lobbyist language into the Congressional Record in favor of endless patents on biologic drugs on behalf of the prescription drug industry." So nice of those 42 members of Congress, huh?

3. Jane Hamsher wonders, "How is Newt Gingrich Not a Lobbyist?", and concludes that the "definition of 'lobbyist' seems a bit too flexible to prohibit the biggest of the professional influence peddlers from getting their claws in." Not that we'd ever think Newt Gingrich had claws or anything. Heh.

4. Jon Walker provides "13 very specific proven solutions" for OMB Director Peter Orszag, who had "defended the Senate health care reform bill's minor cost-control measure" by suggesting that critics had no ideas of their own for controlling costs. Among the 13 ideas Walker presents: "Turn all health insurances companies into non-profits;" "Allow Medicare to directly negotiate lower drug prices;" "create a much stronger risk adjustment mechanism [on the new exchanges];" and "Create a robust public option that can use Medicare rates and Medicare's provider network." I believe the ball is now in your court, Mr. Orszag! :)

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Tuesday (11/24/09)

by: FDL Action

Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 20:09:45 PM EST

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Tuesday, November 24.

1. Jon Walker explains "the difference between really trying and pretending to try" by Majority Leader Harry Reid on the public option. Walker quotes Gerald Seib of the Wall Street Journal, who writes, "Maybe Mr. Reid plans to push as far as he can with a bill including a public option, to show his party he has done all humanly possible, before yanking the public option just before the whole effort goes off a cliff."  The problem for Reid, though, is that such a maneuver is not likely to fool anyone. Or, as Walker puts it, "his party's base will not buy it." So much for that idea.

2. Jon Walker has the second part of his series on what the Senate health care bill does better: "the Cantwell basic health program," which Walker argues "is much closer to how sensible countries have designed their regulated health insurance marketplace or exchange." Wait, we're gonna start being "sensible" now? Ha.

3. David Dayen predicts that immigration could become a new sticking point for health care reform legislation, with "Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), a key ally of Barack Obama's from Illinois, [saying] today that he would find it 'extremely difficult if not impossible' to vote for a health care bill that included the restrictive and discriminatory measure on undocumented immigrants that appears in the Senate's version and has the White House's support." If it's not one thing, it's another...

4. Scarecrow explains why there needs to be a viable public option, arguing that "[w]ithout it, health insurance reform will be just a very bad, very foolish, and very expensive experiment - and clearly not the platform Democrats should want in 2010."

5. Jon Walker asks, "Is PhRMA Afraid Of The Progressive Block?" The question is prompted by the fact that PhRMA is running ads in Connecticut urging Joe Lieberman to support the current Senate bill. Verrrry interesting.

6. Michael Whitney points to a powerful new video contrasting Blanche Lincoln vowing on the Senate floor to oppose a public option with thousands of uninsured Arkansans in Little Rock for a free health care clinic. It's powerful stuff, and if you'd like to help us run the ads, please click here. Thanks.

7. Finally, Jon Walker compares the Senate filibuster to a game of "Shoots and Ladders" with "made up rules." Walker concludes that "Senate Democrats have to decide if keeping their fun, made up rules is more important to them than helping millions of Americans in need." Why does something tell me they're going to go with the "fun, made up rules?"  Sigh.

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Monday (11/23/09)

by: FDL Action

Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 20:01:29 PM EST

( - promoted by KathyinBlacksburg)

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Monday, November 23.

1. Yesterday, Jon Walker took on Nate Silver, who "believes progressives should trade the public option away, but what he wants in return is far more useless and an even tougher political battle."

2. Jane Hamsher says it all "comes down to a simple question: will Harry Reid allow for majority rule? Or will he let corrupt members of his own caucus block a majority of the public and Congress who want a public option?" Hamsher urges everyone to sign the petition to Harry Reid to pass the public option.

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Friday (11/20/09)

by: FDL Action

Fri Nov 20, 2009 at 20:05:13 PM EST

( - promoted by KathyinBlacksburg)

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Friday, November 20.

1. Jon Walker asks, "Is Harry Reid Laying The Ground Work To Betray Progressives For Snowe's Vote?" In the end, Walker concludes, "Reid does have the power to get a public option passed, there is no good excuse for failure." Cool, so don't fail! :)

2. Jon Walker says that "the crack team of reporters at the Washington Post don't know how to read" and that they "make the ridiculous claim that the public option would not be able to keep down costs." Other than that, they totally know what they're talking about. Heh.

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FDL Action Health Care Update: Thursday (11/19/09)

by: FDL Action

Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 19:55:07 PM EST

( - promoted by teacherken)

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Thursday, November 19.

1. Jon Walker lays out "eight things wrong with the Senate health care bill," beginning with "Delays Start Until 2014" and including "Nationwide Plans Gutting State Regulation." Definitely a few things that need to be fixed here.

2. Jane Hamsher has a statement from FDL on the Senate health care bill. The statement concludes, "If Harry Reid truly cares about fighting for the good of the country over the good of Wellpoint, he will immediately dispense with the opt-out and move to reconciliation and allow a majority in the Senate to deliver to Americans what they want and desperately need." Unfortunately, it doesn't appear at the moment that Reid is so inclined.

3. Speaking of the opt-out, Jon Walker writes that the "CBO has concluded that the design of the opt-out provision will end up denying the public option to roughly a third of the population in this country." Needless to say, that would not be good.

4. Jon Walker identifies the "most frightening line in the CBO report," regarding risk adjustment mechanisms in the Senate bill that are "dangerously weak." According to Walker, "that might not sound scary, but that line should strike fear in the hearts of any health care policy expert." Find out why by clicking here.

5. Jon Walker writes that "at the request of AHIP, [the] Senate bill guts state  health insurance regulations." Walker says that this "is a dramatic move by the federal government, forcing states to deregulate their health insurance markets," and that it could "gut state health insurance regulations and create a race to the bottom." Other than that, it's great! (snark)

6. Jon Walker examines the House and Senate health care bills and concludes that the House bill is 12% more cost-effective than the Senate bill.

7. Jon Walker analyzes "how the Senate abortion language differs from Stupak". In short, the Stupak amendment "would make it practically impossible for any insurance provider to offer abortion coverage on the exchange for a variety of financial and legal reasons."

8. Jane Hamsher contrasts Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) "hold[ing] health care...hostage" while Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter "brings Olbermann clinics to Arkansas." Quite a contrast.

9. Finally, Jon Walker reports that, "{l}ike a monster in some B horror movie," Tom Carper is now working with Olympia Snowe "to bring back the trigger, which [Carper] has comically named the 'hammer.'" The hammer? What, is this named after Tom DeLay or something? Weird.

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