Democrats agree to drop government run insurance option

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Post by racehorse » 12-16-2009 06:32 PM

HB3 wrote: Obama: Do Not Fear; This Health-Care Bill Puts Us on the Edge of a Large, Scary Cliff

It was with an odd statement that Obama announced the progress he had made in meetings with Senate Democrats today on the health-care bill he's desperate to pass by Christmas, no matter what's in it.

“We are on the precipice of an achievement that has eluded Congresses and presidents for generations,” Obama told reporters after meeting with Senate Democrats for about an hour at the White House complex.

If you're thinking to yourself that the word "precipice" has negative connotations, and you're wondering why the great orator would use it to illustrate his grand victory, you have reason to wonder. Here are the two definitions of the word, both quite unnerving when applied to the health-care debate:

1. a cliff with a vertical, nearly vertical, or overhanging face.
2. a situation of great peril:

If Bush had done it, the clip would have been on loop as Freudian proof of Bush's dislike of Americans and his intention to get rid of them via risky health-care overhaul, but when the greatest orator of our time stumbles over his words, nary a newscaster will mention it.

But maybe I'm underestimating Obama. Perhaps his intent was to delve into our collective cultural memory to evoke famous, inspiring cliff imagery from American cinema as a metaphor for his great generational health-care triumph.

You know, like, this one:

[there follows several images from contemporary cinema of people/cars flying off cliffs]

Well, in that last one, they do at least get out alive, so maybe the President is trying out a new pitch. "Obamacare: You could get off this frightening, sheer cliff face alive, but you will hang in terror for a while unsure about your fate." Come to think of it, that is rather apt. Touché, Mr. President. Touché. Welcome to the precipice.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/T ... ealthc.asp


http://politicalwire.com/archives/2009/ ... e_day.html

December 16, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Our Democratic friends are about to walk off a political cliff here."

-- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), quoted by the New York Times, on trying to pass health care reform without any Republican support.
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Post by joequinn » 12-16-2009 08:24 PM

This development is an abomination, and Obama's supporters in this forum have much to answer for in helping to bring things to this pass...
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Post by rumike » 12-16-2009 08:53 PM

joequinn wrote: This development is an abomination, and Obama's supporters in this forum have much to answer for in helping to bring things to this pass...


The only thing I have to answer to is my conscience, not to you or anyone else. I have been pushing for a public option since day one, and have been overtly critical of this latest version of the bill.

So exactly how do you plan to make us answer for anything, Joe?
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Post by racehorse » 12-17-2009 12:43 AM

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2009/ ... _bill.html

December 16, 2009

Sanders Will Not Support Current Bill

In an interview on Fox Business News, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he's not ready to vote for the current Senate health care reform bill.

Said Sanders: "I'm struggling with this. As of this point, I'm not voting for the bill... I'm going to do my best to make this bill a better bill, a bill that I can vote for, but I've indicated both to the White House and the Democratic leadership that my vote is not secure at this point. And here is the reason. When the public option was withdrawn, because of Lieberman's action, what I worry about is how do you control escalating health care costs?"

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Post by racehorse » 12-17-2009 01:03 AM

racehorse wrote: http://politicalwire.com/archives/2009/ ... e_day.html

December 16, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Our Democratic friends are about to walk off a political cliff here."

-- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), quoted by the New York Times, on trying to pass health care reform without any Republican support.


If a truly good health care bill were to pass and become law without any GOP support, Democrats would receive all the credit. However, if an abysmal health care plan becomes law over unified GOP opposition, Democrats will receive all the blame from the American people.

It is no surprise Democrats are so desperate to receive at least some Republican support for this legislation which appears at this point not to be forthcoming.
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Post by racehorse » 12-17-2009 01:14 AM

racehorse wrote: http://politicalwire.com/archives/2009/ ... _bill.html

December 16, 2009

Sanders Will Not Support Current Bill

In an interview on Fox Business News, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he's not ready to vote for the current Senate health care reform bill.


Bernie Sanders like Joe Lieberman is technically an Independent and not a Democrat. He may have the political courage other like minded Senators do not have and feel he can successfully stand up to the Democratic leadership because of this. His stand certainly complicates things for them, as does Lieberman's.
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Post by racehorse » 12-17-2009 03:44 AM

http://www.creators.com/opinion/susan-e ... nsName=ses

What Will Democrats Do?

A Commentary By Susan Estrich

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Whatever it takes.

Whatever Joe wants.

That's the short answer to what the Democrats will do to get health care reform passed. If Joe Lieberman doesn't want 55-year-olds to buy into Medicare, they won't. Poof. Gone.

There is only one number that matters right now, and that number is 60. Anything that would cost the Democrats 60 votes will have to go. The perfect is the enemy of the possible. The possible is the art of politics. This is not about getting a perfect bill — just one that can pass.

Opponents of reform have taken to the airwaves. The ads are great, really. If you haven't seen them, watch them. Once. Too many times and you may start worrying. Forget Harry and Louise, who shot down Hillary and Bill. Barack and Harry and Rahm have their work cut out for them.

The ads are moving numbers. They're convincing undecideds, jolting Democrats and confirming Republicans' worst horror-show scenarios. If you're wondering why even some of those most likely to benefit from the Democratic plan — people who don't have insurance or have terrible plans — are worried about what Harry Reid is doing, you have to do no more than turn on the television to understand. Whoever you are, there's a story to scare you.

And if you don't think that scares politicians in marginal districts even more, you need medicine.

This is not, for many Democrats, an easy vote. If the bill passes, the potential for those who voted for it to be blamed for anything that goes wrong with everyone's health care forever is both real and undeniable. Imagine how much Hillary would have been blamed for everything that went wrong had her plan actually passed.

But the only thing scarier than the current campaign that is turning people against health care reform is the price Democrats will pay, starting with the man on top, if they can't get something through.
The Obama administration has gotten closer to achieving this major step than any prior administration, notwithstanding their best efforts. But that, potentially, only makes failure harder to swallow.

This is not horseshoes. You don't get credit for getting close. Quite the contrary: The closer you get the more scorn gets heaped onto you for losing. Then it's really your fault. Vince Lombardi could have run political campaigns. Democrats cannot go to voters in the midterm elections campaigning on a platform of failure: Good news, we couldn't do it. And by the way, big war!

So the numbers are falling. So be it. Democrats can't afford to pay attention. They will fall even more if they fail. Failure is even less popular than health care reform.

Fortunately, there are some good signs for Democrats, even as the ads warn of a terrible future where everyone gets health care. For one thing, whether the recession is over or not, things are definitely on the up. There is not a sense of relief, but there is at least less of a sense of impending doom. The banks are back to making money instead of borrowing it. The market is back. Any day now, there might even be more jobs, which counts for more than anything else.

And the Republicans, God bless them, will do everything in their power to steal defeat from the jaws of victory. At a time when they are actually succeeding in convincing the country of their fears about health care, much, much more of their energy is going into attacking each other. Taking a page from the book of the Democratic Party of my youth, they seem to be more interested in being right than in winning, which almost always leads to failure.

After all, the perfect really is the enemy of the perfectly OK.
--

Estrich is the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law Center. She serves on the Board of Editorial Contributors for USA Today, as a presidential appointee on U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and as a mayoral appointee on the City of Los Angeles Ethics Committee.

Estrich first gained national prominence as national campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988, but she has been at the forefront of the academic and intellectual debate for decades. After graduating as a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with highest honors from Wellesley College in 1974, Estrich went on to attend Harvard Law School. She was selected president of the Harvard Law Review and received her JD magna cum laude in 1977.
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Post by racehorse » 12-17-2009 12:23 PM

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/printp ... 99579.html

December 17, 2009

The Democrats' Health Care Plan Doesn't Deliver

By Sen. John Thune

Every year around the holidays, many of us spend time thinking about what truly matters in our lives. For a lot of people in my home state of South Dakota, and around the country, that includes the peace of mind that comes with knowing they will be able to get good health care when they need it. There is much we in Congress can do to help bring about a health care system that provides that peace of mind and works for the American people.

That means reform that moves us forward by truly lowering costs for families and small businesses, helping the uninsured, and not adding to the deficit. But under the bill Democrats are trying to push through the Senate, 90 percent of Americans who buy insurance in the private market will get no real relief from skyrocketing premiums, and in some cases will end up paying even more. That's not moving forward, it's moving in reverse.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the Democrats' plan will leave Americans struggling under the same hefty premium increases they have been paying for years - premiums that will continue to increase at double the rate of inflation.

The way things stand now, if you get health insurance through work, as 83 percent of all privately-insured Americans do, your premiums are expected to go up by about five and a half percent each year through 2016. That's too much, but it's virtually the same pace they would be expected to go up under the Democrats' bill.

Premiums for a typical family in that situation run close to $14,000 a year now, with employers paying the lion's share. That number will jump to about $20,000 a year by 2016 under the Democrats' so-called reform plan.

It gets worse if you're self-employed and buy insurance on the individual market. If you're in that group, your rates are currently expected to go up by about five and a half percent a year. But under the Democrats' plan, you can expect to see your rates increase even more, by nearly eight percent per year.

American families are facing more than just higher insurance premiums. The Democrats' plan comes with a price tag of $2.5 trillion in its first 10 years of full implementation. And with this $2.5 trillion price tag, your premiums will keep going up just as much as they do now.

The Democrats propose to pay for that, in part, with almost $500 billion in cuts to Medicare and another $500 billion in higher taxes. Some of that cost will be paid directly by taxpayers, and some will be passed on to them because of new fees on drug companies and medical equipment makers. But there also will be the increased costs the bill levies on employers. Those new costs, combined with their share of the higher insurance premiums, will mean smaller paychecks for those who have a job, and fewer jobs created for the millions of unemployed.

At a time when we are struggling with a 10 percent unemployment rate, Democrats are pushing a health care bill that will harm the small businesses we are counting on to create the jobs in the first place. The National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's leading small business association, recently concluded that in one way after another the Democrats' bill "fails small business."

There are approaches that can make our health care system better, cheaper and more efficient; and Republicans have offered a number of solutions that would provide needed relief. But the current bill under consideration in the Senate simply costs too much, and provides no real reform to lower costs.

The American people understand that, and an ever-widening majority of them oppose the Democrats' bill. The people are right to demand that we start over and give them the real reform they deserve.
-
Thune is a Republican Senator from South Dakota.
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Post by racehorse » 12-17-2009 03:31 PM

http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm? ... CD206837AC

Left rebels against health reform

By: Mike Allen

December 17, 2009

12:44 PM EST

In a stunning reversal of fortune for President Barack Obama, top progressives are attacking the health-reform plan moving through the Senate as “hollow,” “unsupportable” and a sellout to corporate interests.

Republicans, after plotting for months to sink the signature legislation of Obama’s first year, suddenly think that Democrats might wind up doing it for them.

Most dangerously for White House chances of assembling 60 Senate votes, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean launched a third day of attacks on the emerging bill, arguing in a Washington Post op-ed that it meets none of his benchmarks for “real reform.”

“[A]s it stands, this bill would do more harm than good to the future of America,” Dean wrote, then took to the airwaves to amplify his case.

Ed Schultz, an influential liberal radio host, declared on his “Ed Show” on MSNBC: “The base is restless. They are wandering in the wilderness, Mr. President. … They want to know, where are you? … Right now, Mr. President, your base thinks you’re nothing but a sellout — a corporate sellout, out that. … The only people who like this current bill right now, Mr. President, is the insurance industry — they get a bunch of new customers.”

Markos Moulitsas, founder of Daily Kos, wrote on his Twitter feed: "Time to kill this monstrosity coming out of the Senate." And "Kos" blogged: "You pass a s——-y program now that further bankrupts our nation, and we won't be talking about 'fixing' it in a few years, but whether it should even exist."

With polls showing erosion in both Obama’s popularity and in support for health reform, the White House mobilized to try to tamp down the rebellion from such essential allies.

Senior adviser David Axelrod called in to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to argue that Dean’s criticisms are "predicated on a bunch of erroneous conclusions."

“To defeat a bill that will bend the curve on this inexorable rise in health-care costs is insane,” Axelrod said. "I think that would be a tragic, tragic outcome. I don’t think that you want this moment to pass. It will not come back."

Liberals contend that the bill has been watered down so much that Congress should kill it and start over. The White House warns that health reform could be doomed for the rest of this presidency, and probably beyond, if it falters now.

The attack from the left comes at a delicate juncture when a delay of more than a couple of days could sink any remaining chance that the Senate can pass it by Christmas. Senate Democrats are circulating a possible schedule that would have them taking the final vote on Christmas Day.

Right now, Democrats are at least two votes shy of the 60 they need to pass the bill, with liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) saying he has not committed to vote for the bill in its current form.

The other, moderate Sen. Ben. Nelson (D-Neb.), has a completely different set of concerns, saying he’s still looking at compromise language designed to bar federal funds from paying for abortion – though the National Right to Life Committee has said the proposal by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is not acceptable.

But Obama’s problem now is on the left. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann told viewers Wednesday night that the Senate version has become “unsupportable … a hollow shell of a bill”: “This is not health, this is not care, this is certainly not reform.”

Pulling back the curtain on White House efforts to rein in Dean, Axelrod said the former governor “got on the phone with Nancy-Ann DeParle, our point person on the health care issue, [who] went through point by point.

“She explained why he was wrong,” Axelrod continued. “And he simply didn’t want to hear that critique. I saw his piece in The Post this morning, and it is predicated on a bunch of erroneous conclusions.”

Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, said on “Morning Joe” that business lobbyists “are winning” on a host of Washington issues, including health reform.

“There is no cost containment here,” she said. “Reconciliation [a Democrats-only strategy requiring only 51 votes] is a very pragmatic alternative.”

Asked if she would enthusiastically support Obama for reelection, Huffington replied: “This is not really the question. … Depends on the alternative. … The American middle class was let down. … Can you really say this White House is on the side of the American people?”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) accused the Democrats Thursday of abandoning the goal of true reform to the political imperative of simply passing any bill they can label health reform.

“It's now an effort by a political party to protect itself. They're in a political panic, quite frankly,” Graham told reporters. “Nobody really cares what it is anymore as long as they can get it passed, signed, and claim a political victory. That is going to do a lot of damage to long-term health care reform efforts. And I would urge them not to do this. They're walking off a cliff.”

Peggy Noonan, the columnist and former Reagan speechwriter, told Axelrod on “Morning Joe”: “On the issue of health care, you are losing the left, you are losing the right, you are losing the center. That looks to me like a political disaster.”
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Post by racehorse » 12-17-2009 04:22 PM

http://mcconnell.senate.gov/record.cfm? ... 43&start=1

Completely Reckless, Completely Irresponsible

from the Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

Thursday, December 17, 2009

‘And here’s the most outrageous part: at the end of this rush, they want us to vote on a bill that no one outside the Majority Leader’s conference room has even seen. That’s right. The final bill we’ll vote on isn’t even the one we’ve had on the floor. It’s the deal Democrat leaders have been trying to work out in private’

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Thursday regarding the importance of getting it right on health care reform:

“Senators on both sides acknowledge that the health care bill we’re considering is among the most significant pieces of legislation any of us will ever consider.

“So it stands to reason that we’d devote significant time and attention to it.

“Indeed, some would argue that we should spend more time and attention on this bill than most — if not every — previous bill we’ve considered.

“The Majority disagrees.

“Why? Because this bill has become a political nightmare for them.

“They know Americans overwhelmingly oppose it, so they want to get it over with.

“Americans are already outraged at the fact that Democrat leaders took their eyes off the ball. Rushing the process on a partisan line makes the situation even worse.

“Americans were told the purpose of reform was to reduce the cost of health care.

“Instead, Democrat leaders produced a $2.5 trillion, 2,074-page monstrosity that vastly expands government, raises taxes, raises premiums, and wrecks Medicare.

“And they want to rush this bill through by Christmas — one of the most significant, far-reaching pieces of legislation in U.S. history. They want to rush it.

“And here’s the most outrageous part: at the end of this rush, they want us to vote on a bill that no one outside the Majority Leader’s conference room has even seen.

“That’s right. The final bill we’ll vote on isn’t even the one we’ve had on the floor. It’s the deal Democrat leaders have been trying to work out in private.

“That’s what they intend to bring to the floor and force a vote on before Christmas.

“So this entire process is essentially a charade.

“But let’s just compare the process so far with previous legislation for some perspective. Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve done and where we stand:

• The Majority Leader intends to bring this debate to a close as early as this weekend — four days from now, on this $2.5 trillion dollar mistake

• No American who hasn’t been invited into the Majority Leader’s conference room knows what will be in that bill

• This bill has been the pending business of the Senate since the last week of November — less than four weeks ago.

• We started the amendment process two weeks ago.

• We’ve had 21 amendments and motions — less than two a day.

“Now let’s look at how the Senate has dealt with previous legislation.

“No Child Left Behind (2001):

• 21 session days or 7 weeks.

• Roll Call votes: 44

• Number of Amendments offered: 157

“9/11 Commission/Homeland Security Act (2002):

• 19 session days over 7 weeks.

• Roll Call votes: 20

• Number of Amendments offered: 30

“Energy Bill (2002):

• 21 session days over 8 weeks

• Number of Roll Call votes: 36

• Number of Amendments offered: 158

“This isn’t an energy bill. This is an attempt by a majority to take over one sixth of the U.S. economy — to vastly expand the reach and the role of government into the health care decisions of every single American — and they want to be done after one substantive amendment. This is absolutely inexcusable.

“I think Senator Snowe put it best on Tuesday:

‘Given the enormity and complexity,’ she said, ‘I don’t see anything magical about the Christmas deadline if this bill is going to become law in 2014.’

“And I think Senator Snowe’s comments on a lack of bipartisanship at the outset of this debate are also right on point.

“Here’s what she said in late November:

‘I am truly disappointed we are commencing our historic debate on one of the most significant and pressing domestic issues of our time with a process that has forestalled our ability to arrive at broader agreement on some of the most crucial elements of health care reform. The bottom line is, the most consequential health care legislation in the history of our country and the reordering of $33 trillion in health care spending over the coming decade shouldn’t be determined by one vote-margin strategies – surely we can and must do better.’

“The only conceivable justification for rushing this bill is the overwhelming opposition of the American people. Democrats know that the longer Americans see this bill the less they like it. Here’s the latest from Pew. It came out just yesterday.

“A majority (58 percent) of those who have heard a lot about the bills oppose them while only 32 percent favor them.”

“There is no justification for this blind rush — except a political one, and that’s not good enough for the American people.

“And there’s no justification for forcing the Senate to vote on a bill none of us has seen.

“Americans already oppose this bill. The process is just as bad.

“It’s completely reckless, completely irresponsible.”
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Post by racehorse » 12-17-2009 05:15 PM

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/7281 ... s-eve-vote

DeMint promises to delay health bill, force Christmas Eve vote

By Alexander Bolton

12/17/09
03:15 PM ET

Sen. Jim DeMint said Thursday he is prepared to use every procedural tool to delay a vote on the Democratic healthcare legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is planning to schedule votes around the clock over the next week to meet a deadline of passing the bill by Christmas. Without the cooperation of Republicans, the marathon schedule would end with a vote on Christmas Eve.

Reid hopes that Republicans will waive some of the procedural formalities so senators are not forced to spend the evening before Christmas milling about the Senate floor.

But DeMint (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Republican Steering Committee and a leader of the conservative opposition, told The Hill he will not yield back any time.

DeMint also said he would force the Senate to return to Washington after Christmas to vote on a $290 billion increase to the federal debt limit. Treasury officials told lawmakers that they need an increase of borrowing authority to keep the government solvent beyond Dec. 31.

“I’m not going to waive any time,” DeMint said in an interview, when asked whether he would force Reid to go late into Christmas Eve to pass healthcare legislation. “I think it’s our responsibility to stretch this out because every day we do we have time to tell Americans what’s in it."

DeMint said Democrats hope “they can pass it before Americans know what’s in it, while people are thinking about Christmas and being with their families.”

Senate Democrats concede that they will have to return to Washington between Christmas and New Year’s Day to pass the increase in the federal debt limit if a single GOP member objects to expediting that vote.

DeMint made clear he will not cooperate.

“We’ll be back here the day after Christmas if Democrats want it,” said DeMint.

Reid is just as adamant about passing the healthcare bill before Christmas, a deadline Senate Democrats have talked about for weeks.

“We’re going to finish this healthcare bill before we leave here for the holidays,” Reid said on the Senate floor Thursday.

To meet that goal, Reid has tentatively scheduled a 1 a.m. vote Friday to cut off debate on the defense-spending bill, which also includes an extension of unemployment benefits and COBRA subsidies for people who have lost their jobs. If the Senate votes to quash the filibuster, lawmakers would proceed to final passage after 30 hours of post-cloture debate, or at 7 a.m. Saturday, according to Democratic sources briefed on the plan.

For the Senate to pass healthcare reform by Christmas, as Reid has pledged, the Senate leader would then have to file take a series of necessary procedural steps that would force votes all week at odd hours.

Reid must file motions to end debate on: the manager’s amendment, which includes all the final-hour changes made to win the support of 60 Democratic senators; the 2,074-page healthcare bill, which lawmakers have been debating on the floor; and on the underlying legislative vehicle, the Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act.

Republicans may force Senate clerks to read the entire manager’s amendment but that will not disrupt the schedule. That’s because reading the amendment, which will be shorter than the 2,074-page healthcare bill, is not expected to take more than eight hours.

Reid could offer the manager’s amendment on Saturday morning and keep to his schedule as long as he files cloture sometime before midnight.

Cloture motions need one day to ripen, so the earliest the Senate could vote to end debate on Reid’s manager’s amendment would be 1 a.m. Monday.

Democrats would have to allow 30 hours of post-cloture debate to elapse before voting to approve the manager’s amendment. A second cloture vote to end debate on the initial healthcare bill would happen as early as 7 a.m. Tuesday, followed by another 30 hours of post-cloture debate before a vote to adopt that amendment to the underlying bill.

Democrats would then have to repeat the same process on the third motion to end debate on the underlying bill, setting up a cloture vote at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

At any time, the chamber could move up a final vote if every senator agrees. But if a single senator objects, the earliest a final vote on the final package could take place would be 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

And if Republicans object to fast-tracking the increase in the federal debt limit, as DeMint has threatened, the Senate would be forced to return the following week.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said Treasury Department officials have informed him that the administration needs new borrowing authority by Dec. 31. Conrad said the administration may be able to extend the deadline for a short time because of loan repayments it has received from Citigroup and other banks.

Conrad said Thursday he expected a Christmas Eve vote to pass the healthcare bill.
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Post by racehorse » 12-18-2009 01:35 PM

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/ ... 56544.aspx

THE LATEST HEALTH-CARE SCHEDULE

Friday, December 18, 2009 1:04 PM

by Mark Murray

Here's the rough outline of how the weekend should play out with health-care votes in the Senate for this weekend and Monday.

Saturday:
A approximately 7:30 am ET, the Senate will vote on the Defense funding bill. Since the D.C. area is expecting a snow storm, it should make for some interest pictures of members walking/driving in for the vote.

Sometime after the vote, Senate Majority Leader Reid will have to introduce a critical health-care amendment called the "manager's amendment." Once he does, we expect Republicans will make the Senate clerk read it aloud. I've been told the reading may take from six to eight hours. What's most important is that, from Reid's procedural-strategic standpoint, the reading must be done before midnight. So it could be a long night. If they get done reading the bill in a reasonable hour, I suspect there will be some health-care speeches on the floor.

There shouldn't be any health-care votes on Saturday, just the vote on the defense bill in the early morning.

Sunday:
No votes, just speeches.

The Senate will probably come in sometime after members go to church. Not sure how long they stay in session. TBD.

Monday (early, early morning):
-- At about 1:00 am ET, the Senate will take it's most important health-care vote. This will be the vote to break the filibuster on the "managers' amendment." Reid will need 60 votes. At this point in time, he does not have 60.

While there will be other health care votes up until Christmas Eve, THIS VOTE WILL DETERMINE THE FATE OF THE SENATE HEALTH-CARE BILL.
Here's why: The amendment will include all the last-minute fixes, most importantly stripping the public option and suitable abortion language. Once this part of the bill is passed, it's effectively done. If Reid gets 60 on this, the other votes on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday should fall into place like dominoes.
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Post by racehorse » 12-18-2009 04:06 PM

http://www.kentucky.com/522/v-print/story/1065434.html

Posted on Fri, Dec. 18, 2009

Liberal MoveOn.org opposes Senate health care bill

The Associated Press

The liberal group MoveOn.org is opposing the Senate health care bill and urging Democrats to block it.

In a letter to members Friday, MoveOn.org complained that the legislation has no government-run insurance option and no expansion of Medicare.

It urged its members to sign a petition saying, "American needs real health care reform - not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies."

The letter also called on members to send a message to Senate progressives such as Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Roland Burris of Illinois and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin to "block this bill until it's fixed."

MoveOn.org says it has 5 million members. Liberals such as Howard Dean have widely criticized the Senate bill.
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Post by Cherry Kelly » 12-18-2009 04:11 PM

AP Writer
RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Writer at approx 2:30 -- Dec 18, 2009

Republicans threaten health care read-a-thon

clip:
At a news conference Friday in the Capitol, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., accused Democrats of trying to ram the health care bill through with dozens of changes as yet unseen, and promised to do all they could to prevent it.
clip

Sen Snow - gop - said voting on Christmas Eve - "unrealistic"

20" of snow expected in DC area....

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Post by racehorse » 12-18-2009 04:17 PM

http://news.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/prin ... 05_08.html

Friday, Dec. 18, 2009

It's now Democrat vs. Democrat on health care

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - It's one of the oldest spectator sports in American politics: Democrat vs. Democrat. Welcome to the health care overhaul edition.

With just days remaining to prove that they can meet a self-imposed Christmas deadline and pass President Barack Obama's signature initiative through the Senate, Democrats seeking a rendezvous with history instead detoured to an intraparty brawl.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was poised to release the latest version of the Senate legislation as early as Friday, but it was unclear what kind of reception he'd get. Labor leaders said the bill was soft on the insurance industry, and former party chairman Howard Dean said he'd vote against it if he were a senator.

All eyes were on the only known Democratic holdout, moderate Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, whose primary concern is that abortion funding restrictions in the bill were too lax. Nelson indicated Thursday he still was not happy but would keep talking with Reid, who needs 60 votes to push through Republican opposition.

Nelson, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, was vague throughout the day about his intentions, eventually telling reporters, "I hope we're getting closer" to agreement.

"Without modifications, the language concerning abortion is not sufficient," he said earlier in the day in a written statement that summarized the results of days of private negotiations. The second-term Nebraskan opposes the procedure and wants tighter restrictions written into the overhaul.

Any hopes the bill's supporters had of a Republican casting a critical 60th vote vanished when Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine said after a meeting with Obama that the Democrats' timetable for a pre-Christmas vote was "totally unrealistic."

Republicans, who have been going all out to kill the bill, couldn't believe what they were hearing from Democrats.

"If you live long enough, all things can happen," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on the Senate floor. "I now find myself in complete agreement with Dr. Howard Dean, who says that we should stop this bill in its tracks. ... Dr. Dean, I am with you."

Former President Bill Clinton came to the defense of the Senate bill. Clinton, whose ambitions were humbled by the collapse of his own health care remake, reminded Democrats that political pros don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

"Take it from someone who knows: These chances don't come around every day," Clinton said in a statement. "Allowing this effort to fall short now would be a colossal blunder - both politically for our party, and far more important, for the physical, fiscal and economic health of our country."

Liberals are furious over the compromises Reid had to make to keep the bill alive. Gone is a government insurance plan modeled on Medicare. So is the fallback, the option of allowing aging baby boomers to buy into Medicare. The major benefits of the bill won't start for three or four years, and then they'll be delivered through private insurance companies.

Overall, the legislation is designed to extend coverage to millions who lack it, ban insurance company practices such as denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions and slow the rise in medical spending nationwide.

The bill would require most Americans to purchase insurance, and it includes hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to help lower- and middle-class families afford it.

"If I were a senator, I would not vote for the current health care bill," Dean wrote in an opinion piece published Thursday by The Washington Post. "The winners in this bill are insurance companies; the American taxpayer is about to be fleeced in a situation that dwarfs even what happened at AIG."

The White House challenged Dean, noting that the insurance industry actually opposes the legislation.

"We're on the doorstep of doing something really meaningful," top White House adviser David Axelrod said in an interview.

The bill would cover an additional 30 million people and put into motion a range of experiments that may yet succeed in slowing the growth of health care costs.

Politically powerful labor unions panned the Senate bill but stopped short of calling for its demise, saying they hoped lawmakers ultimately would improve it.

The AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor federation, and the Service Employees International Union both expressed deep disappointment. The Senate bill includes a tax on high-cost insurance plans that unions fear will hurt their members.

SEIU president Andy Stern scolded Obama, saying the president should remember his campaign promise to bring change to America. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the Senate bill "bends toward the insurance industry."

Both union chiefs said they hoped the bill that finally emerges from Congress would reflect the House-passed measure, which incorporated a government insurance option and omitted the insurance tax.

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Associated Press writers David Espo, Erica Werner and Charles Babington contributed to this report.

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