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Chuck Schumer is probably the Democrat on the Finance Committee that Obama should be listening to, instead of wasting his time on Baucus. After all, Schumer's the guy (update: formerly--brain cramp) tasked with keeping--and increasing--the Democratic majority in the Senate. In this instance, he's reading the political tea-leaves correctly. Comprehensive healthcare reform, that expands access, provides universal and affordable coverage, and that reins in the massive growth in insurance premiums and health related costs requires a strong public option. Beyond that, it's what large majorities of the American people consistently say they want.

Go figure. Anyway, here's Schumer this week, forcefully pushing the "go it alone" for a good bill effort.

Brian Beutler asks if his colleagues "are game":

On Meet the Press this Sunday, he told David Gregory that Democrats are "considering alternatives" including "getting 60 Democratic votes and maybe an occasional Republican here or there on a bill [and] looking at reconciliation."

And, according to Greg Sargent, "Schumer has also told colleagues he believes political work has to be done in advance to sell "reconciliation" by persuading voters that the GOP is wholly opposed to reform of any."

The questions now are, how many colleagues is he pushing, and how receptive are they to his suggestions? In other words, is he going to be able to pull enough Democrats together to get the party to switch gears completely and back a Democrat only solution to the health care impasse?

If you judge by Bowers' public option whip count among the Senate, where he's got 45 definites yeses on a public option, and 16 maybes, the chances seem good to me for leadership to be able to pull enough Dems together to do this. (BTW, Kent Conrad, where are you getting your whip count?)

Schumer also has an ally in the House, in the form of Rep. Anthony Weiner:

"We need some adult supervision, so we need the House to act," Weiner said during an appearance on MSNBC. "Honestly, this is getting ridiculous over there."

Weiner's words reflect a growing frustration with the Senate for not having moved forward on healthcare, letting members of the Senate Finance Committee continue to try to cobble together a reform bill by mid-September.

The New York liberal decried a "vacuum" of leadership during the August congressional recess, and called on the House to move forward to fill the void....

Weiner called on President Obama to make his own position more clear as the health debate progresses, too.

"I think the time has come for the president to say here's why we need it and here's what it is," he said. "We need to the president to be very clear what he wants, and then we'll do it."

I disagree with Weiner on one thing--yes, the Senate needs adult supervision, but it doesn't have to be the House. It should President Obama, it's time he got his hands dirty in this debate and started twisting some arms, because this goes down, it's on him. However, Harry Reid doesn't need to wait for Obama to start the ball rolling.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:02 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Question, mcjoan (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, drmah, soms

    And I've been asking this in other diaries:

    What good is the public option to a family of four earning $67,000/yr. who doesn't get employer-based coverage, and has a diabetic child if they have to purchase a $10,000/yr. policy and shell out another $10,000 in out-of-pocket expenses every year to pay for the public option plan because they don't qualify for the subsidies?

    •  wait 4 years and see where you are at. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      think about the future.

      Republicans===the party of the 1% rich people in America. Or in other words..The Party of NO!

      by jalapeno on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:07:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You would qualify for subsidies (9+ / 0-)

      The bills have subsidies starting at 4x the poverty threshold, that is a bit over $88,000 for a family of four.

      Also, the plans all have caps of no more than $5000 on out of pocket expenses.

      Beyond all that, I don't know how old your child is, but what about SCHIP?


      "Sick Around the World"

      Watch it, sent it along to all you know.

      by oxfdblue on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:08:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not under the Senate Finance Cmte. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That's at 300 percent FPL.

        Even worse, the Finance Committee minimum benefits package is at 65 percent of actuarial value.  That's a $5,000 deductible and $10,000-$12,000 out-of-pocket expenses cap.  [The HELP Committee bill has this figure at 75 percent, which is what the average large employer plan is.  The House bill has this figure at around 70 percent, which is what MA law is.]  That's not much help to a Sonoma County (Lynn Woolsey's district) family earning $67,000/yr. with a diabetic child.

        •  Why bother (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The Senate bills are almost worthless.


          "Sick Around the World"

          Watch it, sent it along to all you know.

          by oxfdblue on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:17:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Where does this mythical family of four (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Regina in a Sears Kit House

          get coverage from now?  And how much do they pay?  We pay 12k a year for a family of four through employer provided coverage and none of us have ANY health issues.

          Can your mythical family of four even get coverage for the diabetic child - isn't it a pre-existing condition?

          Give me government-run healthcare over Wall Street-run healthcare anyday...

          by trillian on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:17:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here in MA they can. (0+ / 0-)

            In NY, NJ, and VT they can, but it's a helluva lot more expensive than here in MA.  Just go to the Connector website (, and compare the MA policies to those on

            •  Well, IIRC in MD (0+ / 0-)

              diabetic care is fully covered by all insurers. State law mandates it.

              One of my coworkers is diabetic, he goes through a dance with the insurance company every time we change. But they cover it.

            •  Don't be a tease (0+ / 0-)

              You've been throwing numbers around for this family of four all thread.  What will a policy on ehealthinsurance cost them?

              And what about the other 46 states.  Could they get coverage there at all?  

              And what is this diabetic child going to do without a public option once she gets off her parents plan?  Many diabetics have an incredibly hard time getting coverage at all or at an affordable price for  18 or 19 or 25 year old just starting out.

              Give me government-run healthcare over Wall Street-run healthcare anyday...

              by trillian on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:31:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The legislation ... (0+ / 0-)

                ... has guaranteed issue underwriting (modified by age) nationwide.  Insurers can only vary premiums by geographic region, family structure, and age (by a limited amount).  That's its purpose.

        •  Is My Math Right? (0+ / 0-)

          $5,000 deductible.
          $10k OOP expenses every year = 35% of eligible cost.
          So the actual cost of medical services for the diabetic child is more than $35k/yr.  Do I have that right?

          I'm not sure the Finance Committee version will ever see the light of day.

          •  Meaning ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... if the cost medical services for a diabetic child is $35K/yr., the family could purchase a $10K/yr. policy and then have to shell out another $10K in out-of-pocket expenses, which totals $20K/yr.

            Now these families would probably purchase a more generous policy -- say, a $15K/yr. policy with a $2K/yr. out-of-pocket expenses cap (expenses totaling $17K/yr.).  But that's still not nearly enough relief.

        •  That's not going to be what passes. (0+ / 0-)

          Democracy needs accountability. Investigate and prosecute the Torture Thirteen.

          by Mimikatz on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 02:15:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Err ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Here's Section 122, Subsection c, Paragraph 2 of H.R. 3200:


        (A) ANNUAL LIMITATION- The cost-sharing incurred under the essential benefits package with respect to an individual (or family) for a year does not exceed the applicable level specified in subparagraph (B).

        (B) APPLICABLE LEVEL- The applicable level specified in this subparagraph for Y1 is $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a family. Such levels shall be increased (rounded to the nearest $100) for each subsequent year by the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (United States city average) applicable to such year.

        (C) USE OF COPAYMENTS- In establishing cost-sharing levels for basic, enhanced, and premium plans under this subsection, the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent possible, use only copayments and not coinsurance.

        In other words, the out-of-pocket expenses cap is $5K for an individual and $10K for a family.

    •  PO should drive down prices (0+ / 0-)

      through competition.

      but i guess insurance may still be too expensive.

    •  Please Clarify (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Why do you think they would have to spend all that money on health care under the public option?

      •  Because ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... $10,000 is the amount of services on average a person on the plan would use each year given the cost-sharing arrangements I described.

        •  So... (0+ / 0-)

          ...with a $5k deductible, and 65% benefit on the other $5k, they pay about $8k plus premiums, whatever they are.  Is that right?

          I still don't see the Finance Committee bringing any viable bill to the floor of the Senate.

          •  Actuarial value isn't like that. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Actuarial value is just a rough estimate of the cost-sharing arrangements.  The greater the actuarial value, the lower the deductible, the co-pay, and/or out-of-pocket cap.

            I agree the 65% actuarial value will be a non-starter with a vast majority of the Democratic Caucus even on the Finance Committee.

    •  Public option would help you more than you know (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      First of all, your current insurance has a built in 30-40% "overhead".  So, imagine if this were Medicare you were buying into with a 3-4% overhead.  Wouldn't your premiums go down?

      Second, your insurance is more like a coupon.  You probably pay large deductables and co-pays.  And they have, like mine, been getting larger.  You may be avoiding certain things, like screening mammograms and colonoscopies to avoid the large co-payment, even if the screening procedures are covered at all.  

      Third, you are shooting the dice with private insurance.  Have you checked your "maximum benefit"?  Mine is $250,000 over my lifetime.  Once that's reached, no more insurance.  Also, your insurance company can, and probably will, drop you like a hot rock if you or anyone covered develops a hugely expensive illness.  They'll find some clause in your insurance contract that lets them terminate coverage or deny coverage for certain medical procedures.

      Fourth, you are already paying for uninsured care.  Those unpaid bills are being charged to insured patients in the form of higher costs and lead to higher premiums.   And care for the uninsured is the most expensive care of all since it's in the emergency departments when a disease is at a critical stage because it hasn't been cared for.

      Fifth, if you lose your $67,000 per year job, you won't lose your health coverage.   You may feel safe now, but companies haven't stopped laying off, closing, or outsourcing.

      So you will benefit from the public option in more ways than you know.

      Those who yell do so because their arguments are so weak they can only be supported by massive amounts of hot air. Sue, West Allis, Wisconsin

      by Puddytat on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:23:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Losing Job, Keeping Insurance (0+ / 0-)

        How do you keep up the premium payments without a job, even under the public option?

        •  It's dealt with differently (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Matt Z

          in the different bills that are under consideration.  My preference would be to include it with Unemployment Compensation.  It sure beats COBRA with 100% payment of the entire premium for only 18 months.  It would also prevent conditions that were being treated under previous insurance from being discluded from a new job's insurance plan as a "pre-existing condition".

          However, what would completely solve the problem would be single-payer.

          Those who yell do so because their arguments are so weak they can only be supported by massive amounts of hot air. Sue, West Allis, Wisconsin

          by Puddytat on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:45:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  If there is no medical underwriting ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... private plans and the public option will have similar overhead.

        I'm a single guy living in MA, where we have no lifetime caps, no medical underwriting, etc.  My BCBSMA HMO Blue Enhanced Value costs $6,700/yr.  [For families, this policy costs $18,200/yr.]  My employer pays for 85% (and 73% for families).    Now there are no deductibles and a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap for an individual and $4,000 out-of-pocket cap for a family.  [The PPO costs $9,000/yr. and $22,000/yr. for an individual and family.]

        •  Overhead for Medicare is 3-4 % (0+ / 0-)

          Would be similar for public option since there would be no extravagent CEO or executive salaries, no shareholders to pay, no armies of nitpickers to deny coverage or kick people off the insurance, or lobbying expenses.

          When you think "public option" think "Medicare".  

          Those who yell do so because their arguments are so weak they can only be supported by massive amounts of hot air. Sue, West Allis, Wisconsin

          by Puddytat on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 02:11:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And overhead ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... would be similar for insurance companies if the public option and insurance companies have identical underwriting requirements.

            The main thing that makes the public option cheaper than private alternatives is the public option's bargaining power to negotiate lower payments -- I mean salaries -- for providers.  That's what made HMOs in the 90s so much cheaper -- that because of the narrower networks, providers has less power to negotiate higher payments (salaries).  Again, the cost of health insurance is equal to the salaries of the providers.

    •  pre-existing condition (0+ / 0-)

      It seems like this family's premiums are high because of the pre-existing condition.  Hopefully the public option (and private plans under appropriate regulations) could not charge extra for that.

      All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

      by fizziks on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:51:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And then Russ Feingold declares "No bill before (8+ / 0-)

    Christmas...if at all."

    And says why don't we try some pilot programs in a few states first...

    What's the hurry, right Russ?

    WTF are you smoking in Wisconsin, Senator?

    What a tool.

    •  Feingold said that??? Grrrrrr....... (7+ / 0-)

      For what reason? To give the Republicans more time to rally the public against the bill?

      Good's like the blind leading the blind. It's enough to make me run for Dan Burton's seat and crack some heads in Congress!!!

      by Democratic Tribune on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:08:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Feingold is not interested in being a team player (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tuffie, Jeff Y, soms

        this session. Like Wyden, it appears Feingold's got a bruised ego.

        •  Interesting how centrists (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          want to get in shots about Feingold and they are personal shots.  Hmmm.

          They "prefer an America where parents will lie awake at night worried if they can afford health care their children need."

          by TomP on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:10:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've never been a Feingold fan and it has mostly (6+ / 0-)

            nothing to do with ideology. I do disagree strongly with him on his gun positions (he is too pro-gun for me) and his position on the advise and consent role of the Senate. However, my biggest problem with him has always been his tendency to stab fellow Democrats in the back. He is similar to Lieberman in that way. And I think he cares more about his adherence to ideology than he does in passing legislation that would help Wisconsin residents.

            And I am not a centrist by any stretch of the imagination. I am, however, a big fan of party unity unlike Feingold. In the battle of progressive, midwestern Senators, I would take 20 Senator Wellstones over 100 Senator Feingolds any day of the week.

            But, if it makes you feel better to label everyone who disagrees with you a centrist, go for it.

            •  Having been the recipients (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              divineorder, math4barack, polar bear

              of many of your comments in my diary, I came ot the conclusion that you are a centrist.  I asplogize if I was mistaken.  Perhaps we see the politcial spectrums differently.

              In any event, I agree with preferring Wellstone.

              Feingold is good on war and peace issues and civil liberties. He is okay on many other issues.  

              I would disagree with him on gun control, but I think such a disagreement is academic at the moment.

              What does party unity mean?  I am a fan of principle over party.

              I don't always agree with Feingold and in fact no longer belong to Progressive Patriots.  Nonetheless, I disagree with your personal attack on him.  For the most part, he is a solid vote for progressive outcomes.  Even when I disagree with him, I think he votes on principle.  I do not think he is bought by corporate interests.  

              They "prefer an America where parents will lie awake at night worried if they can afford health care their children need."

              by TomP on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:34:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think I personally attacked him. I think (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                all Senators have huge egos. Big deal.

                By party unity, I mean backing major party legislation like health care, climate change, presidential appointments, the stimulus bill, the budget, etc. I have no problem with negotiating to make a stronger bill, but I have a problem with not voting on major issues because the bill isn't perfect. That is what I've seen Feingold do. I also have a problem with publicly sabotaging a fellow Democrat like Feingold did with his compliments of McCain during the campaign or even his personal comments of Edwards. I may have agreed with the comments on Edwards, but Feingold shouldn't have said them.

                Lastly, I doubt we see the political spectrum all that differently I just think we have different priorities and tactics. I'd guess our views would line up close to 90% on major issues.

        •  Wyden has turned into an enigma... (3+ / 0-)

          I know he is bright, I know he is savvy, I know he has been Mr. Health Reform since Reagan, and I know that almost none of his plan has been seriously discussed, but in my humble opinion, Wyden's State by State Subsidy and Mandate plan responds to the political climate and needs of 1995, not 2009.

          Things have changed. Outsourcing, benefit dumping, bankruptcy to avoid legacy costs, Enron, 403b and 401K collapse as retirement, and state retirement funds decimated, along with job mobility, class mobility and health care mobility.

          I really like Ron Wyden, and I really want him to step forward and say, Public Option Now. The country is not the same country economically that is was 12 years ago, and the only plan that will save small business is a strong, prompt public option. I hope he is listening.

          Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

          by OregonOak on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:31:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  No, he is predicting, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        not hoping or saying he will make it happen.  He may be fed up with the Gang of 6.

        They "prefer an America where parents will lie awake at night worried if they can afford health care their children need."

        by TomP on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:10:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's up to you, New York, New York... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlanF, beltane, Jeff Y, oxfdblue

    I'm glad to see Schumer and Weiner refusing to back down on this. It high time we decided to "go it alone."

    I defy the tyranny of precedent. I cannot afford the luxury of a closed mind. I go for anything new that might improve the past. ~ Clara Barton

    by AuroraDawn on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:05:25 PM PDT

  •  If Chuck Schumer had Harry Reid's job (9+ / 0-)

    we would have had a good bill already. Why do we have a weak, electorally insecure person in the majority leader's position?

    The weak in courage is strong in cunning-William Blake

    by beltane on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:05:27 PM PDT

  •  45 plus 16 = 61. Who's the Republican? (4+ / 0-)

    Who's the GOPer who said "maybe" to a public option?

  •  take a page from W (5+ / 0-)

    Baucus, you are either with us or against us.

    Take his chairmanship away
    if that doesn't work,
    suspend him from the caucus
    if that doesn't work,
    let him be #41 and insignificant

    Republicans===the party of the 1% rich people in America. Or in other words..The Party of NO!

    by jalapeno on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:06:07 PM PDT

  •  Refresh my memory (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    superfly, GN1927, Matt Z

    Isn't the public option that Schumer one that isn't exactly strong?

    -6.75,-3.85 Republicans drove the country into a ditch and now they are complaining about the cost of the tow truck.

    by Sagebrush Bob on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:06:08 PM PDT

    •  Shumer's version isn't tied to Medicare rates (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and thus not as strong as originally proposed, yes.

      But even this weaker version should be 20-25% percent cheaper than a comparable private insurance plan, since there is no profit margin, no big salaries, lower admin costs.

      The key here is to get it passed, get people in it, make it work and keep expanding it. The bigger is gets, the more market power it has to drive down costs, but we have to get it passed, even in a weaker form, so it can be strengthened as SS and Medicare were expanded over the years.

      It's not Democrats v. Republicans or Liberal v. Conservative. It's People v. Money.

      by superfly on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:34:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely correct (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nepolon, Sagebrush Bob, Matt Z, sillycilla

      He wants a public option designed from the vantage point of a "fair playing field" with private insurers---strong limits on funding and the ability to bulk negotiate with drug and healthcare providers.

      Public Option in Name Only coupled with mandates so that in effect, most people will either choose a private insurance option because the public option won't be much better, or will not be eligible for the public option.

      This is why Cooper asked point blank why he is being attacked by dkos while Schumer is not:

      The whole premise of the poll is that I oppose a public option, and that is simply not true. I have repeatedly said that I'm FOR a public option, and that there are multiple ways to do it. I agree with Sen. Chuck Schumer's position on the issue, and the Daily Kos is not attacking him.

      The answer to which is that Schumer is expert at playing the media and controlling perceptions of himself, which is why the guy who cleared the field of any competition in TN so that Harold Ford could run, cheered the demise of Glass Steagall, pushed through Mukasey as attorney general, list goes on and on and on---media management is why this guy is seen as some sort of progressive choice for majority leader.  It is simply insane.

      Once again this site disappoints.

      "My favorite is van Susteren"--Kirsten Gillibrand, FoxNews 'Progressive'

      by GN1927 on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:35:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Officially its Bob Menendez in charge of DCCC but (0+ / 0-)

    everyone still goes to Schumer.

    Sorry I have to run to the Senate floor to abolish torture.

    by bten on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:06:22 PM PDT

  •  The House being the adults (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The whole "adult supervision" line has to be a deliberate play by Weiner. It is usually the House that is portrayed as unruly and uncooperative while it is the Senate that has the "adults" who will tame them.

  •  Guess Schumer needs to talk to Feingold (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tuffie, roycej, cybrestrike

    Feingold is undecided on voting for the health care plan. Perhaps it isn't pure enough for him? He's voted against the Democratic agenda more than any other Democratic Senator this session. More than Bayh, Landrieu, both Nelsons, Pryor and Lincoln. He is from a safe, blue state and is more of a problem than the conservadems. Yet, he gets nothing but praise here.

  •  Did Schumer check with Saint Russ first? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, LordMike

    The Anointed One Who Must Never Be Questioned is not confident, not confident at all.  Reading the diary on Russ's latest sermon from the mount, he feels that maybe by Christmas, we might get a "state-by-state" kind of thing.  Like the one he proposed with his good friend, the sincere and concerned Senator from South Carolina, former impeachment manager Lindsey Graham.

    Go away Russ. Leave the legislating to those who truly give a shit.  

    Andrew Mellon & GOP: 'In a Depression, assets return to their rightful owners'

    by Tuffie on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:07:54 PM PDT

  •  I agree... I (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RichM, Mimikatz, rhp

    think Obama needs to stop being above it all.

    There could be an argument made that delegating responsibility is best, especially after eight years of Bush, but there comes a time when it stifles action.

    "ENOUGH!" - President Barack Hussein Obama

    by indiemcemopants on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:07:59 PM PDT

  •  I don't get the big deal about 60 votes (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, mmacdDE, mwmwm, givemhellHarryR, Matt Z

    Looked at politically, yes, it's politically hazardous to have to ram it through. But isn't FAILING AT HEALTH CARE REFORM a lot more politically damaging? On the substance and the politics its a no brainer.

  •  schumer is making up for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bten, Matt Z

    supporting mukasey.

  •  Good news. (17+ / 0-)

    Bingaman Becomes First Member of 'Gang of Six' to Broach Go-It Alone Plan For Dems

    Sen. Jeff Binagaman (D-NM)--one of the six members of the Senate Finance Committee who have been hashing out a health care reform bill for months--says that if bipartisan negotiations go nowhere, he'd support an effort to circumvent a filibuster and pass legislation without any Republicans.


    It's a start.  

    They "prefer an America where parents will lie awake at night worried if they can afford health care their children need."

    by TomP on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:08:16 PM PDT

    •  Whenever I read about that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It kills me.  I'm imagining what these fawktards, who are paid $~180,000 yearly, of my money no less, sitting in some committee room arguing over . . . WHAT exactly?

      Are facts and figures being considered?  Are they slowly reading competing versions of the bill at each other?  Are they dicking with formulas in Excel, hastily phoning up their pages to help them figure out how to work the computer?  Are they playing fucking battleship?

      Come on!

      Careful, Slippytoad will piss on you!

      by slippytoad on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:21:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great. He was the most likely Dem to leave that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, TomP

      gang. Hopefully, soon he will decide to actually leave it and it will become a gang of 5.

      Then, with the demands of Snowe, Enzi, and Grassley that Pelosi, Reid and Obama keep the PO out of any future health care reform legislation if they vote for the bill out of committee, Baucus may decide enough is enough and leave. As your recent diary pointed out, he (Baucus) did say that he would vote for a public option.

      That would just leave the four Republicans in that Gang of Six.

      •  That is my hope. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mimikatz, math4barack

        Leaving Conrad behind.

        They "prefer an America where parents will lie awake at night worried if they can afford health care their children need."

        by TomP on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:36:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The question becomes do we have (0+ / 0-)

        enough votes on the Finance Committee to pass a public option or co-ops?  We need 12 votes to pass it out of committee. Conrad is a no vote. Nelson, Carper and Lincoln are leaning nos. That means we don't have enough to pass a bill out of committee. On the other hand, we only have 6 votes for a co-op because most Democrats won't support a co-op. The committee is pretty deadlocked right now.

  •  Those who watched the McCain Townhall Meeting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, beltane, Jeff Y

    know that the wingnuts in the crowd have been told and are convinced that the use of reconciliation is unconstitutional and are being whipped into a frenzy.
    The use of the reconciliation is going to fuel a fire the like as we have not seen in decades.

    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain." Friedrich von Schiller

    by SmileySam on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:09:28 PM PDT

  •  VICTORY on this will TASTE BETTER (9+ / 0-)

    if it is done without Republicans.

    Torture good, Healthcare bad, Marijuana evil.
    Doc in the Twitterverse

    by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:09:36 PM PDT

  •  "Schumer's the guy tasked with keeping-- (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, itskevin, bten, Matt Z

    and increasing--the Democratic majority in the Senate."

    Not anymore, now it is Bob Menendez.

  •  If Harry Reid doesn't make healthcare (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trillian, slippytoad, mjd in florida

    w/public option happen I'm going to start a group up that demands that he resign his leadership position.

    I mean let's face it, the Repugs aren't going to vote for ANY healthcare bill - period, end of story.


    "I feel stupid and contagious. Here we are now, entertain us" - Kurt Cobain 1991

    by Jeff Y on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:10:11 PM PDT

  •  Time for some muscle (0+ / 0-)

    and thanks, Chuck, for adding your shoulder to the wheel.

    There is no other option but the public option. If the thugs think they can bully the nation into capitulation, make them prove it, publicly, repeatedly.

    Make those liars justify a vote to not protect Americans from rapacious insurance companies.

    I'm so mad I'm spitting battery acid.

    Humoring the horror of environmental collapse:

    by mwmwm on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:11:28 PM PDT

  •  On Harry Reid's term (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, mjd in florida, Matt Z, beltane

    Just a note--

    His term as Leader is up this December 31.  He has held the position for four years.

    There are definite grumblings about Schumer replacing him.


    "Sick Around the World"

    Watch it, sent it along to all you know.

    by oxfdblue on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:11:54 PM PDT

  •  Here's an angle..... (6+ / 0-)

    Something just occurred to me....  

    Regardless of the merits of the public option, if Obama and the Democrats can just shove it through in spite of the massive lobbying effort and huge $$ expenditures of the healthcare industry, then the big corporate sponsors of the Republican Party will have less incentive to keep funding the GOP.  The healthcare corporations went to the mat on this issue-- they gave it their best shot.  If they lose, all those obstructionist Republicans and Blue Dogs may find it harder to raise money in the future, because they didn't perform for their corporate clients.

    Regulate banks, not bedrooms

    by Eagleye on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:12:33 PM PDT

  •  Couldn't agree more.... (2+ / 0-)

    the Senate needs adult supervision, but it doesn't have to be the House. It should President Obama, it's time he got his hands dirty in this debate and started twisting some arms, because this goes down, it's on him. However, Harry Reid doesn't need to wait for Obama to start the ball rolling. And if he has to use Chuck Schumer and the DSCC coffers for a little added pressure, he shouldn't be afraid to do so.

    so true...I think when the President returns from Martha's Vineyard, things are going to least that's my hope.

  •  I thought the vp (5+ / 0-)

    was in charge of the senate? Isnt that what we learned last election?

  •  Could someone explain what Chuck means by (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, sweeper

    Level playing field?

    I don't like the sound of that.  Sounds like he is talking about a watered down public option.

    It's the fascism, stupid!

    by lastman on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:15:43 PM PDT

  •  Still waiting/hoping for Obama's Michael Douglas (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    moment from The American President. When he showed some goddamn emotion and said "I AM the President of the United States and the people voted for something different..."

    (not golfing with the president of USB?! AHHH....I mean, you can meet with the man who helped raise $250k for your campaign and whose bank is under investigation for all sorts of typical shady bullshit...but GOLFING on Martha's Vineyard with him? Maybe in the Roaring 90's...but now? Golf with Paul Krugman or some cop from Boston. But come on, dude! That's NOT change we can believe in. That's not even fucking change. Didn't realize how pissed off that made me until I started writing this. Sorry.)

    When the hell will Obama say, "Enough!" and start kicking some ass. Regulate Wall Street like you mean it. Push and pass environmental legislation that's bold. Demand a public option and start behaving like you give a damn. Because we know you do and we respect cerebral, mature and cool demeanor -- especially in the face of adversity.

    September? Please? Will you BRING IT then? Or will it be more equivocation and hesitation?

  •  One of the Gang Of Six is breaking (5+ / 0-)

    Sen. Jeff Binagaman becomes First Member of 'Gang of Six' to yak about Dems-only bill.

    "Where all Obama's people to help him with this now? He is like Michael Jordan on a VERY, VERY, VERY bad team". - Bill Maher.

    by blackwaterdog on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:16:17 PM PDT

  •  Doing NY proud (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WereBear, math4barack

    I live in NY. Our state govt. in Albany is a total cesspool, but these two guys - Schumer and Weiner -are doing me proud right now, particularly Anthony Weiner. And while I don't always agree with Chuck Schumer, in this instance he is showing why is is a pretty effective senator, overall, and is showing some actual leadership (unlike, for example, Harry Reid).

    Stop bitching and start a revolution!

    by Randian on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:17:05 PM PDT

  •  Isakson . . . (0+ / 0-)

    Is there a realistic reason to continue to list Johnny Isakson as a 'Maybe' on this issue?

    That seems like padding and then it makes me wonder if other Senators on Bowers list (that I know less about) aren't padded too.

    I'm participating in Isakson's town hall on Thursday, but I can't see any realistic way that he votes for any Democratic bill.

    If you don't stop lying about me, I'm going to have to start telling the truth about you. Barack Obama

    by dbratl on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:17:55 PM PDT

    •  No. Isakson isn't going to vote for the final (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      bill. I don't think Bower's list is terribly accurate. He has some yes votes that I think are maybe and vice versa. Nate Silver had a better list out. I'd use that.

    •  Perhaps it's statements like this: (0+ / 0-)

      But given his furious attempt to dissociate himself from the end-of-life counseling provision he'd authored (by complaining that it was being suggested he wrote the HR3200 language, which he didn't, but the HELP provision he'd had inserted is almost identical), I'd consider it highly unlikely that we'll have his vote when crunch time comes around.

      In America, 60% of bankruptcies are because of medical bills, and 80% of those people had health insurance

      by sullivanst on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:47:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Schumer says it is going to get done... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, jds1978, Matt Z

    then I'm sleeping better at night.

    He is my Senator; a cautious and savvy politician who lives and breathes The Art of the Possible.

    This is heartening news indeed.

    Pootie fan? Me too! Check out my cat advice blog.
    The Way of Cats

    by WereBear on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:20:28 PM PDT

  •  Schumer or Durbin should replace Reid (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, Matt Z, Diebold Hacker

    I've been patient with Reid, but really, the man doesn't have the spine for the Majority Leader post. Compare him to past Leaders like LBJ and it's just pathetic. (Yeah, he's better than Bill Frist, but who isn't?) Schumer and Durbin are clearly better suited for the necessary arm twisting that comes with the job.

    Plus, unlike Reid, Schumer and Durbin have their Senate seats until they quit or die, so they don't have to act all worrisome about keeping their jobs.

  •  Rainbows and Unicorns (0+ / 0-)

    "Comprehensive healthcare reform, that expands access, provides universal and affordable coverage, and that reins in the massive growth in insurance premiums and health related costs requires a strong public option."

    And you actually believe that ANY of the bills in the House or Senate will actually accomplish this? You could have 100 Senators and 435 Representatives all call themselves Democrats and you'll get garbage anyway, because they don't know shit about anything.

  •  Question of Timing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pundit, askew

    This has to be done this year.  It has to have a public option.  All Democrats know both of these things (and so do the Republicans, which is why they are trying to stop it).  Obama strategy, which strikes me as sound, has been to try to stay above the fray as long as possible.  But after Labor Day, we need bills moving forward in both Houses.  The House is on the faster track, which is good.  Since Schumer is on the Finance Committee, he seems like the guy who is going to drive this on the Senate side.  Obama's personal involvement should be to push it across the finish line.  Ideally, that will be in conference.

    BTW, Weiner used to work for Schumer, and his House seat is Schumer's old House seat.  They're a great team.

  •  DSCC has an email fundraiser going on. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AndersOSU, missississy

    Maybe it would be a good idea to let them know that you're going to wait and see how the Senate votes on the public option.

  •  Schumer no longer heads DSCC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That's now Bob Menendez's job.

    Obviously Schumer knows what it takes to get Dems elected to the Senate, though, and remains a formidable fundraiser.

    In America, 60% of bankruptcies are because of medical bills, and 80% of those people had health insurance

    by sullivanst on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:22:42 PM PDT

  •  One might think that he may be just a tad (0+ / 0-)

    concerned over the fate of Conservadems in the next election, but whatever his reason or motivation, we need powerful voices to push this legislation through. So, while I am not enamored one iota of Mr. Schumer, he is still a significant player in furthering reform.

    Language is wine upon the lips. -Virginia Woolf

    by valadon on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:23:00 PM PDT

  •  Your affirmation that we probably will get (0+ / 0-)
    5 of the undecideds is an encouragement to me. I believed it, but you are an expert on health care and its politics. Therefore, I now have more confidence.

    thanks mcjoan !


    •  not an expert (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jds1978, math4barack

      but my assessment is that there are a substantial number of conservative democrats who will vote whichever way the wind is blowing.  Look at that whip count - the only outright nos are Lieberman and Collins...  Everyone else is hedging - even Nelson.

      The problem is - those 45 yeses might vote for it - but not all of them will work for it, and some might even work against it.

      We have always known that heedless self interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics. - FDR 1936

      by AndersOSU on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:41:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  GOP wants to kill the economy (0+ / 0-)

    Conservatives want mandates for private health care, but no public option.  I thought that money was one of the most important things for them, people need to out them for trying to kill the economy.

    •  Sure, they want to kill the economy. (0+ / 0-)

      It will make people miss Zombie Reagan even more!  They'd rather have every American (except for themselves) eating dirt and living in piles of pig shit, rather than let anything happen that actually helped people.  Doubly so, if they don't get the credit.

  •  Tip o' the hat to Chuck Schumer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slippytoad, Randian

    When "bipartisanship" is trying to get along with flat-earth insane teaabaggers - it doesn't work.

    Wish our President would've figured it out a few months ago.

    Due to the wrecked economy, as a cost cutting measure, the light at the end of the tunnel will be turned off this coming Thursday - God

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:24:13 PM PDT

    •  What I wonder is (0+ / 0-)

      Is Obama stringing the GOP along precisely so he can expose how unwilling to work with them they are?  So he can expose them as the rock-ribbed obstructionists that they are.  So he can display for the American people that there is no longer any need to listen to a party composed of NO?

      in my happy-bunny dreams, I sometimes hope that this is so, and that he is letting the Republican Party wind their own noose of irrelevance.

      Careful, Slippytoad will piss on you!

      by slippytoad on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:27:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You should also put up Schumer's interview (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on Morning Joe yesterday, which was excellent.  Scarborough actually provided a platform for a meaningful discussion.

    With Reid in trouble, Schumer is the de facto Senate Majority Leader right now, and he has stepped into the breach to redirect the bill.  It looks to me that he has been angling for a Dem-only effort and he seems to be taking the initiative with the White House and on his own to get this thing done.  Senators listen to Schumer because he helped deliver the majority.  I don't know to what extent the White House has provided a green light to Schumer, but regardless, seeing Schumer running the show in the Senate is a hopeful sign.

    What comes across to me from Schumer's interview is his blunt statement that you can't get any savings without a public option. The President has never mentioned public option's cost savings features in the number of times he has spoken on the subject.  That is clearly deliberate in order to keep the Senate Finance Committee charade alive.

    Schumer, on the other hand, has given public option a second wind.  We really need the President to step in and say I want public option because it's the only way we're going to bring down costs.  Until he says that consistently, I can't say that I have a lot of faith in his willingness to take the risk for meaningful health care reform.

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:27:11 PM PDT

  •  Only 59? (0+ / 0-)

    If, heaven forbid, this goes on much longer, it's quite likely that either Kennedy will die, or will be so physically incapacitated that it will be impossible for him to go to Washington to vote.

    Then I wonder what the people who love to say "Dems have 60 Votes" will be able  to say when the truth is "Dems have 59 votes"! (Assuming they would ever get there in reality)

    Hey, that would mean that a defeat would in fact be the fault of Republicans!

  •  Level Playing Field is code... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... for watered down.

    The whole point of the public option is that it isn't a level playing field!  The government uses its size and influence to drive down costs, creates the biggest pool to distribute risk across, and doesn't have revenue overhead for profits.

    "Level playing field" implies the government is restricted in its cost savings ability, or restricted from charging the plan members "too little", so insurance companies can compete.

    •  Be careful.... (0+ / 0-)

      It's not what you think. There will be firewalls in the plan that will actually prohibit it from using existing government agencies.

      I heard someone make the argument that, among other things, that the government plan would have an advantage because it could use the IRS to collect premiums!

      No way.

      Now, that bottom line is that in fact the public plan will not be able to be as cost effective as it would be if there were not the firewalls.

      That's the advantage of single payer. But we know that's off the table.

    •  Bingo (0+ / 0-)

      While Schumer is from a deep blue state with lots of political cover to have come out swinging for a strong, robust public option.  His performance has been disappointing to say the least.

      "My favorite is van Susteren"--Kirsten Gillibrand, FoxNews 'Progressive'

      by GN1927 on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:41:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not Necessarily (0+ / 0-)

      One purpose of the public option is to guarantee competition in states where there are effective health insurance monopolies.  Providing consumers with choice is essential if you are going to have mandates, which in turn is essential if you are going to get universal coverage without single payer.  The public option will serve this function whether it is "watered down" or not.

  •  The public option is useless (0+ / 0-)

    Wake up.

    It's really Thirteen Hundred and One Payer.

    The Democratic Party has thrilled the biology community by creating a whole new class of invertebrates, utterly worthless in office. David Michael Green

    by neaguy on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:28:53 PM PDT

  •  If Reid loses his reelction in 2010 (0+ / 0-)

    at least one good thing could come out of it. Durbin or Schumer are the two most likely to replace him.

    "be a loyal plastic robot boy in a world that doesn't care" - Frank Zappa

    by Unbozo on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:30:16 PM PDT

  •  Obama will probably have to lead the Leader (0+ / 0-)

    if anything is to get done.  He can't grow a pair for Reid, but maybe he can convince him that if Reid doesn't get anything done with sixty seats in his caucus, Obama intends to lead the charge to see him replaced as Majority Leader.

    AFAIK, it doesn't take 60 votes to do that, Harry.

  •  Feingold needs a good ass-kicking (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, Prince Nekhlyudov

    And Schumer is the one who can do it!

  •  The most Obama will ever say is that he prefers (0+ / 0-)

    the Public Option but the public option is only one aspect of health care reform. He cares more about bipartisanship and getting some bill passed than the quality of the bill and whether it has a public option.

    And Obama loves Grassley no matter how many times Grassley stabs him and health care reform in the back.

    I don't know that Obama will ever set a date and publicly say that it is time to move on in some definitive and clear way.

    Obama is a follower and not a leader on health care which is as important an issue as exists.

    •  Read The Diary (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      askew, valadon, Matt Z, math4barack

      Schumer made the point that you and most of the posters here are missing.  The ground work has to be laid for doing this by reconciliation.  You have to make the case that the Republicans will not vote for anything.  The longer Obama can keep making it seem as though he is willing to work with the Republicans, the better off we will be.

      Obama is a Chicago pol.  He defeated (1) the Clinton machine, and (2) the Rove machine.  I think he knows a few things about politics.

  •  Grassley: Health deal may not be 'possible' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Man, what a surprise. I could swear he was going to make it happen. And of course he blames the White House.

    "Where all Obama's people to help him with this now? He is like Michael Jordan on a VERY, VERY, VERY bad team". - Bill Maher.

    by blackwaterdog on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:39:23 PM PDT

  •  How can we get Joe Lieberman to go along with (0+ / 0-)

    the public option? Put unending pressure on him.

    He's the only
    "No" that caucuses with the Democrats.

    Sen Joseph Lieberman I CT
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? No
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-4041 | Fax: 202-224-9750
    Web: | Write:

    That goes for all the "Don't knows" as well.

    Sen Max Baucus D MT
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-2651 | Fax: 202-224-0515
    Web: | Write:
    Sen Evan Bayh D IN
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-5623 | Fax: 202-228-1377
    Web: | Write:
    Sen Mark Begich D AK
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-3004 | Fax:
    Web: | Write:
    Sen Robert Byrd D WV
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-3954 | Fax: 202-228-0002
    Web: | Write:
    Sen Thomas Carper D DE
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-2441 | Fax: 202-228-2190
    Web: | Write:
    Sen Kent Conrad D ND
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-2043 | Fax: 202-224-7776
    Web: | Write:
    Sen John Isakson R GA
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-3643 | Fax: 202-228-0724
    Web: | Write:
    Sen Mary Landrieu D LA
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-5824 | Fax: 202-224-9735
    Web: | Write:
    Sen Blanche Lincoln D AR
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-4843 | Fax: 202-228-1371
    Web: | Write:
    Sen Bill Nelson D FL
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-5274 | Fax: 202-228-2183
    Web: | Write:
    Sen E. Benjamin Nelson D NE
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-6551 | Fax: 202-228-0012
    Web: | Write:
    Sen Mark Pryor D AR
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-2353 | Fax: 202-228-0908
    Web: | Write:
    Sen Olympia Snowe R ME
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-5344 | Fax: 202-224-1946
    Web: | Write:
    Sen Jon Tester D MT
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-2644 | Fax: 202-224-8594
    Web: | Write:
    Sen Mark Warner D VA
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-2023 | Fax: 202-224-6295
    Web: | Write:
    Sen Ron Wyden D OR
    Supports the choice of public Healthcare option? Don't know
    Contact information:
    Phone: 202-224-5244 | Fax: 202-228-2717
    Web: | Write:


  •  If Obama plays "above the fray" (0+ / 0-)

    he will go down.

    He will have to reveal his cards after his vacation.  Whether he would like to, or not.

  •  Here is what I like about Shumer (0+ / 0-)

    He is a strong Senator, and I don't think he is afraid of anybody.  And when he sees that one option is better than others, he just says so and figures that others will eventually come along, although they are rarely as fast at thinking as he is.

  •  I agree with all the points in this diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, valadon, Sybil Liberty, Matt Z

    except for the last one. That it is Obama's role and responsibility to do the House and Senate's work for them at this stage of the negotiations. Twisting arms at this stage is the responsibility of the legislative branches.  The President's time will come when they have all threshed out what will be in the final bill.

    For one thing we the people do not know what arm twisting is already going on either in the government or the private secotor. What we know we deduce, believe, listen to or reject or try and influence ourselves from the media, the blogs, the opinionated population and pressure on all of them.

    I believe personally that this emphasis away from the Cult of the Presidency is the best movement i have seen in the political stage since I first came to America in 1958.  It started really with John Kennedy in my lifetime anyway, although history does show us that in fact FDR probably was the one who persuaded the Congress to start abdicating their Constitutional responsibilities first because of the Depression and then because of WW2.

    I believe it is extremely healthy and will go a long way to start re-balancing the scales of power in this nation. The Executive, the Judicial, the Legislative and the People.  

    I approve heartily of these tactics, at this point anyway in the dance that is being danced. I reserve judgement if noone asks me to dance and i am left a wallflower when the music stops!

    •  If you think Rahm Emanuel isn't... (0+ / 0-)

      wheeling and dealing on behalf of the president you're kidding yourself.

      The president is the leader of the party.  The presidents people coordinate legislative efforts.  It is their strategy to let Representatives and Senators to stick their neck out on all these proposals to give the appearance the White House isn't involved.

      The problem is the white house is involved, and that they're signaling that the public option doesn't need to be on the table.  They're signaling that the insurance companies need to be taken care of.  Anything that disrupts the insurance companies is liberal push-back to what the White House wants.

      That's why I'm so disappointed with Obama.  I knew Obama would be centrist... but I'm still surprised by the extent of his centrism.

      •  In this specific presidency, yes, the (0+ / 0-)

        president is the leader of the Democratic Party. The office of the Presidency in the American form of government is as the president of all the nation.

        that is my point.

      •  Huge Disappointment (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sybil Liberty, soccergrandmom, Matt Z

        First he wins the election by something close to a landslide, destroying years of Democratic tradition.  Then he gets Congress to pass an economic stimulus bill of unprecedented size with only 2 Republican votes.  Then he appoints the first Latina to the Supreme Court.  Now, he's actually going to get healthcare legislation passed, again with no Republican help.  What's next, cap and trade?  Will the disappointments never cease?

        •  Plus under the Constitution the President is the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Matt Z

          head of state, not the leader of the majority party, although he may be, but it is not a Constitutional requirement, as we well know.

          By the way I remember reading a diary you once wrote about that 60's tv series 'The Prisoner'. It was an absolute favorite in my family from the oldest to the youngest and i still think of it often, especially when i feel i am living in an episode. Very Kafaesque or maybe Lewis Carroll.

  •  what's up with feingold saying we wont get a (0+ / 0-)

    bill passed this year? This is making me extremely nervous and worried.

    "Love the life you live. Live the life you love."- Bob Marley

    by sillycilla on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:55:19 PM PDT

  •  My web-mail to schumer - (0+ / 0-)

    THANK YOU for standing up for the public option in medical insurance.

    I want to add the no democrat, even the blue dogs, should consider passing a mandate to buy insurance where there is no public option.

    If the option goes, the mandate MUST go.

    Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

    by bobtmn on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:55:25 PM PDT

  •   I am loving Weiner but when he says this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "I think the time has come for the president to say here's why we need it and here's what it is," he said. "We need to the president to be very clear what he wants, and then we'll do it."

    I'm thinking I really was hallucinating what I heard Obama say and read in the transcript of that last town hall or Weiner listened about as well as TV pundits and blogs.

    The same town hall where everyone focused in on Obama's "a sliver or aspect" statement when answering the 2nd question about the public option made a strong impression on me because of his answer to the first question about the public option.
    He did such a good job of saying here's what it is and here's why we need it. He explained the exchange and how the public option is, what the public option is and can do and why we need it. He even got big applause for why we need it. I guess they want the competition in there to keep the insurance companies honest too.
    He brought up the 3 main objections to it and answered each of them.
    I was very happy. It cleared up many misconceptions and lies about isn't just the opposition who talks about it being free, being government funded, putting financial pressure on taxpayers etc (It is fully funded by premiums just like all insurance and the subsidies for those who need help can be for any of the insurance plans on the exchange and so on)

    Of course they still think that because while that answer was the one I expected to hear often repeated it has disappeared into the ether. They repeated the "sliver/aspect" comment saying "he's backing down". (I would have wanted to say to the kid who asked that question...'were you listening, I just explained how that worked and why it is not unfair. There are a thousand pages, a hundred other parts of the reform that matter. Do you have another question. He was nicer and his wording made media and progressives lose their mind...or at least lose his first answer and somehow decide he waited until his 2nd question on public option to waver)

    Anyway I hope we go for a good bill instead of baucus committee crap who had not even discussed the public answer.
    But Schumer says "getting 60 Democratic votes"? Does he have better news about Kennedy and even Byrd being able to be there to vote?
    I am sick of lobbyist piggy banks blue dog "conservative" Dem crap. Conservative? Then they should insist on a strong public option so we don't waste family, business and taxpayer money, so we can likelier keep prices down, keep subsidies lower.

    And we should talk about prices like this
    US worst in preventable death ranking

    If the U.S. health care system performed as well as those of those top three countries, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths in the United States per year, according to researchers writing in the journal Health Affairs.

    Researchers Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine tracked deaths that they deemed could have been prevented by access to timely and effective health care, and ranked nations on how they did.
    Nolte said the large number of Americans who lack any type of health insurance -- about 47 million people in a country of about 300 million, according to U.S. government estimates -- probably was a key factor in the poor showing of the United States compared to other industrialized nations in the study.

    "I wouldn't say it (the last-place ranking) is a condemnation, because I think health care in the U.S. is pretty good if you have access. But if you don't, I think that's the main problem, isn't it?" Nolte said in a telephone interview.

    We are #1 I guess. We have the most prevatable deaths in people under 75. If having the least is better than we are 19th out of 19.
    101,000 unnecessary deaths per year...
    That's what...33 9/11s death tolls every year?
    About 2,000 people every single week who die because they weren't getting care that could have kept them alive. They just look at a conditions that are entirely treatable...if you can get treatment.

    Shouldn't that matter more than protecting the profit of insurance companies?

    And what a sick country to have "FOR PROFIT" when it come to our health. Many of the other nations have private insurance as they are providing universal coverage...but they are non-profit. People are not expected to pay for multimillion dollar salaries and shareholder profit and huge bonuses to get their health care.

    Something went really wrong in this country. Oh well at least we get to walk around with semi-automatic weapons and we have the death penalty too and ha-ha on them, we have the highest percentage of population in prison.  
    I wonder if their politicians who set policy get bribes big donations from the very interests they are setting policy for like ours do.

    Maybe we should be yelling in town halls.

    Maybe we should be yelling at town halls

    •  I am seriously wondering, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      how many effing times does the president have to say:

      "here's what it is and here's why it is needed"

      ? if Weiner, like all pols, isn't happily promoting his own agenda in the name of Anthony...

      As if.

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 02:30:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The main person Obama needs to work on is (0+ / 0-)

    Harry Reid.  Reid needs to shit or get off the pot and let Durbin take over.

  •  Dumb and Dumber (0+ / 0-)

    Between giving Baucus veto power over health care in his committee or trusting Schumer to act on his words have the same effect; no single payer or public option.

    Baucus is a paid shill for Pharma, Insurance and Hospital groups and Schumer doesn't have a history of standing for his espoused positions.  Quite the opposite.  Wait for a knife in the back from Schumer if any viable bill gets to the floor, as unlikely as that is.

    •  I'm worried about Schumer too (0+ / 0-)

      ...extremely. I'm not sure he would 'knife the bill', but I'm worried all the same.

      The next Ted Kennedy, he is not.

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 02:35:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama needs to, Obama needs to... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, Sybil Liberty

    Obama needs to get involved!!!  

    Insightful and fresh analysis, much changed from yesterday and the day before - all while Obama is on vacation in Martha's Vineyard.

    I'm shocked to learn that 1 in 12 Americans do not know that the bird, is in fact, that word.

    by dansac on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 02:19:56 PM PDT

  •  Get off your ass, Mr. President, and fight. (0+ / 0-)


    •  yes of course (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      askew, Matt Z

      the president does not deserve a week of vacation to spend, uninterrupted, with his family

      he should get off his ass right this minute and do your bidding

      of course

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 02:50:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  want to know (0+ / 0-)

    A few simple questions; 1) Why do you progressives believe that you have the right to bypass the US constitution and impose legislation on the rest of the country when no such power has been granted to Congress? Along those lines, if you believe there is such a power please cite it along with influential pre-ratification delegates to either the federal convention or state convention that can affirm this. Do you also understand that just because you want something to be so, it is immoral and and an an assault through the coercive force of the federal government upon those who have not given their consent for such a radical extraconstitutional departure from a legal, limiting and binding compact in which power was granted only to legislateon matters external to the states for their benefits, thus General Welfare and neither local nor specific.
           2) Do you understand that the only true rights man has are those which are contained within himself, such as life, liberty and fruit of labor, that anything that another must provide for is not a right, but only something that can be gained either through voluntary exchange or voluntary gifting?  This goes back to the immorality in  that no one has the right to determine another's conscience, nor to take away from one other that in which that one has consented to for that in which he can truly be represented in. This is why no just government can legislate from afar for something local. It only enables an oligarchal form of government that is then influenced by specific interests to the exclusion or even deprivation of other's interests. We who choose to not be enslaved whether in fact or practice will not allow this. We can only ask that you stop considering the government as your god to provide for all the wants of life and correct all the wrongs.

  •  Bravo, Chuck! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The "R" word, reconciliation, is the key. The math sounds good. Keep it up. And Chuck Schumer pushing for reconciliation, in my book, and in yours, should make up for any "sins" he committed such as pushing for W AG nominee Michael Mukasey. For more on reconciliation and how it works, read   this

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