Great news from the house today!! on the senate side harry is threading reconciliation too (bottom of the page).
Pelosi nixes healthcare deal with Blue Dogs
Speaker Nancy Pelosi is nixing a deal she cut with centrists to advance health reform, said a source familiar with negotiations.
Pelosi is planning to include a government-run public option in the House version of the healthcare bill. She wants to model it on Medicare, with providers getting reimbursed on a scale pegged to Medicare rates.
Pelosi is now effectively withdrawing her support. In leadership meetings last week, she said the public option in the House bill should be linked to Medicare.
Good, We have to go into conference with STRONGEST hand possible. A medicare+5% (or +10%) public option brings down the costs as much as 100 billion more than the other types of PO (CBO). That number will be FAR bigger if Wydens free choice act passes in the final bill as well (that is more doubt-full IMO, for shame).
Pelosi has also told her fellow leaders she still wants an income surtax on the wealthy, rather than a tax on "Cadillac" health plans, as a means to help pay the $1 trillion cost of the bill. The rest is to be made up with savings in Medicare by eliminating wasteful spending.
That will worry many members who led the charge against the surtax when it was rolled out.
I think Adding high insurance surtax in there is a good idea too. Since CBO loves it and we need CBO on our side SPECIALLY in a reconciliation scenario. IF the bill is deficit neutral in long term (like CBO claims Buacaus bill is) it WONT need to be sunset! (under reconciliation). we need to have the funding mechanism lowering long term health-care costs and we have it in the Bucuas bill, his bill needs to be PURGED of everything except its funding mechanism (and maybe its payment incentive plans, I have heard positive things about it). That's fair enough compromise to me. That is good politically, policy wise AND procedurally.
Pelosi wants decisions on the public option and tax this week. She wants to produce a bill that will be a starting point for negotiations among the disparate and, at times, warring factions of the Democratic Caucus.
"The Speaker is committed to having a strong public option in the House bill because it is the best way to promote competition, control cost and keep the insurance companies honest," said Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami. "The caucus continues to meet to discuss the legislation and its provisions."
Looks like the house is preparing to rumble, and I am DELIGHTED that the bill is actually moving to center-left at this point not the other way. That means Obama admin officials are NOT trying to push the PO away or replace it (at this point) it might point to the opposite in fact. Harry Reid gave some signals today as well in using reconciliation. Here is Hairy Harry on reconciliation (fox calls is calling it the "Nuclear Option btw. hahaha what a joke, Recon is completely within senate rules)
Reid gives GOP direct warning on healthcare
"If we can’t work this out to do something within the committee structure, then we’ll be forced to do reconciliation," said Reid, who said the tactic would be used as a "last resort."
Reid then spelled out how healthcare would pass under budget reconciliation proceedings, giving his colleagues a clear picture of what they face if they fail to reach bipartisan agreement.
"On reconciliation, under the order, there’s only 20 hours of debate," Reid explained. "There would be a free amendment process, which would take some time.
"We’ve done reconciliation on many, many different issues in recent years," he said. "We’ve done it on a number of healthcare issues."
Harry is right SCHIP (when first passed in 90's) AND cobra both passed via reconciliation! for people who dont know (or the people doubting the strength of reconciliation in this issue). So there are clear working precedents for this bill to go through it.
This news and Harry's move are VERY encouraging for progressives and PO advocates IMO. These are concrete facts, not some anonymous quotes or belt way talking points.
For people who want to watch the finance committee mark ups it has resumed. Feel free to add anything interesting you see there here!
Even with this good news we must still be on guard. While Plosi is going in the right direction here we must keep up the calls and the pressure so they keep on it. From the same article above.
Democrats are to discuss the public option at a caucus meeting Thursday. That discussion will include replacing the public option with nonprofit "cooperatives" that would compete with private insurers but would not be run by the government. A Senate Finance Committee bill has a similar provision.
The Blue Dogs chose the member who will present the co-op proposal.
Bucaus is blowing serious gaskets in that hearing! he is in a chiken fight with Orin hatch right now who is talking non stop. he wants to go to amendments. see it here, very entertaining:
Rofl Bacuas is saying he will be staying there all night to answer Orin's questions. He REALLY wants to move through this QUICKLY. about time he found some (apparent)spine.