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View Diary: Health Series: Bingaman Video Exclusive (Edited by LoE) (70 comments)

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  •  Sen. Bingaman opposed Rockefeller today (7+ / 0-)

    Rockefeller put forth an amendment today to force insurance companies to spend 95% of all federal subsidy money on health care and not administration costs, executive salaries or bonuses.

    Sen. Bingaman spoke against the amendment and said that he would not support or vote for it.

    He might be good on health care in some ways, and your work here is very admirable, but your senator really made a bad choice today.

    Rockefeller's amendment has been discussed and people have said that it would be a good test of whether or not a senator is on the side of the insurance companies or on the side of the people.  Bingaman came down on the side of the insurance companies.  He also opposed Rockefeller's public option.  

    Here is Sen. Bingaman, protector of insurance companies:

    •  I am not sure why he opposed (7+ / 0-)

      Rockefeller's public option. He has in fact been consistent in his strong support of the public option.

      He voted against a version of it at one point because it included a mandate to buy into it rather than offering a choice to buy into it. I can find out from his staff what their objection was to this particular version. Once the advocates of single payer in NM understood the reason for his vote, they actually thought he had done them a favor. He is actually pretty well liked by Health Securities for New Mexicans, which is our main advocacy organization for single payer health care.

      I am also not sure why he opposes use of the MLR. This is a very new proposal. I live and work in NM. At one point, NM used MLRs to judge the effectiveness of non-profits. My particular program showed an MLR of zero although we were actually providing more in the way of services than required, and thus should have had an MLR of 110% or more. The problem was that, due to a quirk in the state's IT system, we could not register any of our clients. A rather ignorant state official announced to the newspaper that we were taking money but not providing services. There was a huge bruhaha and eventually we were vindicated.

      I doubt Bingaman's response is related to that particular incident, but the state department of health did have a terrible time managing MLRs. Eventually, they dropped it as an evaluation measure. As far as I know it wasn't really applied to insurance companies who were far more sophisticated than either the state or non-profits and local governments and would have easily gamed the system.

      Senator Bingaman fought hard to remove the Medicare subsidies Bush awarded to insurance and pharmaceutical companies and to return those subsidies to the beneficiaries. He's definitely not in the pocket of insurers.

      I blog on healthcare issues for Tikkun Daily as Lauren Reichelt.

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:07:23 PM PDT

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    •  Bingaman voted for Rockefeller's PO but was (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kitsap River, TheFatLadySings

      very dissapointing today.

    •  I have been waiting (3+ / 0-)

      for the result of your interview, and you did a good job.  I wish there was more of the process of taking the two committee bills and getting one bill out of it.  It must be strange to be on both committees.

      I also wish people who should know better - Senators in particular - would stop saying they need to get 60 votes to pass anything in the Senate.  They need 50 votes, with the VP as the tiebreaker, to pass anything.  The Republicans have made this myth that the mere threat of a filibuster should move legislation to the right, but that is far from true, especially with reconciliation as a possibility.  I think there needs to be an instistence from leadership that breaking filibusters is a party obligation, though anyone can choose not to vote for any bill.

      If not me, who? If not now, when?

      by ramara on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:13:58 PM PDT

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      •  I generally agree with that remark. (4+ / 0-)
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        SarahLee, Kitsap River, KayCeSF, ramara

        This interview occurred on September 18, before Kirk was named to replace Kennedy. At that point, the Dems did not have the votes to block a fillibuster without winning support from a Republican.

        When Kirk was appointed (after the interview) the dynamic changed entirely. The Dems can block a fillibuster and now need only 51 votes to pass a bill. It is possible for purple dems to vote for cloture but against the bill, still leaving enough votes to pass it.

        I imagine Bingaman's current strategy is aimed at moving the bill out of finance so it can be improved on the Senate floor.

        Remember, if MLR has the votes, an amendment can be added on the floor.

        I blog on healthcare issues for Tikkun Daily as Lauren Reichelt.

        by TheFatLadySings on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:20:52 PM PDT

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      •  The 60 required votes (0+ / 0-)

        puts too much power into too few hands.  This defeats the mandate for change that the majority desires and worked for last election.

    •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That was the wrong choice.

      Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

      by Kitsap River on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:17:11 PM PDT

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      •  Hard to say without knowing the reason. (2+ / 0-)
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        KayCeSF, ramara

        At least from my perspective. If the amendment would cause it to fail in the Finance committee, it would make more sense just to get something out of finance and add it on the floor. Or,it could be that New Mexico's disastrous attempts to track MLRs convinced him it was a bad idea.

        I seriously doubt that he's been bought off by insurance corporations. I've been watching his policies for years.

        Bingaman tends to strategize ways to move legislation through the process. Also, he will vote no if he has an objection to a particular facet or provision and then get a bill reintroduced later without the offending clause.

        I blog on healthcare issues for Tikkun Daily as Lauren Reichelt.

        by TheFatLadySings on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:25:30 PM PDT

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        •  I've been watching his policies for years too. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings, princesspat

          I'm in Santa Fe.  He's always been an honest broker for our state, and working on legislation in D.C.

          I really appreciate your diary.  I was about to address the issue McJoan has with Bingaman.  I do not believe it is even in this man's personality to play with words.  He's always been methodical about legislation.  I like him.

          And I'll remind everyone, on the Finance Committee, he voted for the PO.  That's more than I can say for others on that committee.

          Yes, TheFatLadySings, he does ten to strategize ways to move legislation, and I agree with everything you have said.

          Well done!  Great diary!  I really appreciate it, especially since he's my Senator!  Thanks!

          •  Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
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            We must be neighbors judging from your moniker. I live in Espanola.

            I hate to sound like I'm on his campaign committee or anything. I run a health and human services department and have to get down and dirty with the realities of policy and legislative process a lot. I would vastly prefer to sit down with Senator Bingaman than with most of our state legislators. Not to mention the congressional delegations of yore. Let me see...would I like to re-experience the Domenici/Wilson duo again? Bingaman's about as straight as they come. In fact, our entire northern NM delegation is good. In fact, our entire delegation is good considering what it used to be.

            I believe that the left's weakness is that we fail to understand the legislative process and then don't strategize. We shoot from the hip.

            I really enjoy the strategizing and process work.

            I blog on healthcare issues for Tikkun Daily as Lauren Reichelt.

            by TheFatLadySings on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:20:19 PM PDT

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            •  Precisely! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              We do shoot from the hip most of the time. I worked in a law firm for many years and learned some things about the legislative process, and still I have a lot to learn.  I tend to intuit that there is a process going on with Bingaman, and the ins and outs of trying to get a strong bill through that can pass, is important.  I, too, enjoy the strategizing and the process at work. Maybe that's why I am more patient about this HCR Bill.

              I also knew Bingaman before he became our Senator when he was an attorney. I found him to be a very genuine and kind man.

              Hi Espanola!  :D

              Oh and perish the thought of interviewing the Domenicis or the Wilsons. I can't imagine how you even interviewed them at all. I'm so glad those two are gone!  Historically, NM politicians have been such a mixed bag. It's getting better.

          •  Oh duh. You said you were from Santa Fe. (1+ / 0-)
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            Duh. Email me. Maybe we know eachother.

            I blog on healthcare issues for Tikkun Daily as Lauren Reichelt.

            by TheFatLadySings on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:21:32 PM PDT

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        •  Not saying he's been co-opted (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I doubt he has, actually. I take your word for it that he's on the up-and-up, as you've had a lot more time observing him and his policies and their effect on New Mexicans than I possibly could have from Washington state.

          I just think he made the wrong choice, that's all.

          Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

          by Kitsap River on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 12:25:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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