Dean fired a shot across the bow to Democratic lawmakers not committed to including the public option as part of healthcare reform.
“We are here; we’re not going away. We voted for change a few months ago. We expect change. And if we don’t get it, there’s going to be more change,” said Dean.
Success on healthcare reform is a must for Democrats, Dean told The Hill. “I think it’s going to be a catastrophic problem for the Democratic Party if they can’t get this bill out.”
Liberals do not have the stomach for concessions, Dean said. “The public option is the compromise position,” he said. “That’s going to be the difference between real reform and a bill that doesn’t do anything.”
Governor Dean's right about it being a problem for the Democratic Party if they can't get out an actual health reform bill with a strong public option out of Congress. Believe me, I'm already writing down the names of those who have opposed a strong public option to remember in the next Democratic primary for these politicians. They need to know that they're facing significant electoral risk if they oppose real health care reform and instead passes a bill that's nothing more than a mandated bailout of the murder-by-spreadsheet industry.
Actual health reform legislation shouldn't be sacrificed on the altar of bipartisanship. Unfortunately, we have a few Senators with a bipartisanship fetish. We know the one Senator with the BIGGEST bipartisanship fetish is Senator Max Baucus, who's planning to sell us out by partnering with four Republicans and three Democrats in a "coalition of the willing,"to make sure that his Finance bill is the only one that passes Congress.
Here's more about what he's planning to do to worship at the altar of bipartisanship:
Yet in the last month, he began leaning heavily on six Finance senators who he thought would be most amenable to a bipartisan compromise: Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.).
The group is just as notable for who isn’t a part of it. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) is chairman of the health subcommittee of the Finance Committee and a veteran of past health-care fights, but he has clashed with Baucus. Rockefeller is advocating liberal proposals, such as a strong public-insurance option, that Baucus does not believe can pass the Senate.
Baucus must first stitch together enough votes to pass the bill out of committee. But his hope is that the bipartisan coalition that helps him do that will then become the foundation upon which he can build a filibuster-proof majority in the full Senate, and maintain a seat at the table through the conference committee, the sources said. The moderate-to-conservative composition of the group has stoked longstanding liberal concerns about the premium that Baucus places on bipartisanship.
“The Coalition of the Willing won't produce a cheaper or better or even more popular health reform,” wrote Harold Pollack, a public health policy researcher at the University of Chicago, on The New Republic website. “The opposite is more likely. The saddest thing here: These seven senators may be absolutely right that they can make or break what gets through the United States Senate.”
Senator Baucus is also hiding the CBO numbers of several proposals, which could include a public option, from other Democratic Senators. He's refusing to share these CBO numbers with the other Finance Democrats. Could the reason why he's hiding the CBO numbers of several proposals, is because it involves a strong public option, and he doesn't want that CBO score to come out?
Citing fears that the budget numbers would be leaked, staff for Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) e-mailed staffers for other Democratic committee members on Thursday evening that they intend to keep the scores private until the committee bill -- known as a mark -- is written, a senior Democratic aide said. There is no set timetable for the completion of a committee bill.
Senators and staff learned of the general trillion-dollar number that had come back from the Congressional Budget Office at a closed-door committee meeting Wednesday evening, aides said.
The CBO individually scored multiple parts of the committee proposal, but no agreement as to which parts will make up the whole has been made. The purpose of getting the CBO scores was to enable the committee to piece together a proposal that comes in at around a trillion dollars. With the agreement yet to be reached, it's unclear how the bill, which doesn't exist yet, can be said to have a cost of a trillion dollars.
The CBO, in other words, provided the committee with a number of options that could come in under a trillion dollars, but what those options are remains secret.
The reason for keeping the scores private until the committee bill is written, is so that we don't have the power to effect change in the Finance Committee before the committee bill is written if the CBO shows a very favorable scoring of the public option. This is what Senator Max Baucus and his coalition of the willing is doing---trying to hoodwink and bamboozle us.
I've been thinking about how we can put pressure on Senators Max Baucus, Conrad, Harkin, Klobaucher, Durbin, Wyden, and others to support the public option.
That local grassroots pressure is going to come from us. Because we're going to use the Organizing For America (OFA)'s phonebanking tool. It's going to be like the old days where we did a lot of campaign phonebanking. This is what we'll be doing this weekend.
First, I need for you to sign up with OFA here. Once you sign up, you can go to the health care action center, and click on the "Call Your Neighbor" icon to talk to local people about their Senator or Representative's efforts on health care reform and ask them to support President Obama's health care plan which will help lower costs through the use of a strong public plan.
You even can target different states.....say, states like Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Louisiana, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, and New Mexico. I'd suggest that you select the state you want to call from the drop-down menu. You get about 25 people to call, and your target is about 50 people to call.
Think about that. That's people we can reach, the constituents of these Senators and Representatives, and ask them to help us fight for a strong, robust public option in order to keep the insurers honest as President Obama has said. It also puts even more pressure on Senators like Baucus and Conrad at the local grassroots level.
Tomorrow, I'll be posting an action diary with talking points for each state when we do phonebanking. It'll be like the old campaign days, only that we're campaigning as hard as we can for REAL health care reform with a strong, robust Medicare-like public option!
For today, all I want you guys to do is to sign up with Organizing For America and keep on making phone calls to these Senators today:
CALL Senator Dodd at (202) 224-2823 and ask him to put in OPTION A, which is the strong, robust Medicare-like public option, NOT OPTION B, which is the Conrad co-op proposal, in the markup.
ALSO, PLEASE CALL the phone numbers of ALL the Senators on the HELP Committee with these talking points below and tell them to support OPTION A, not OPTION B, in the mark-up:
Tell Senator [Name] that you DO NOT want the 7-year trigger for the public option and take it off the table, and that you want him to support an affordable strong, robust Medicare-like public option. We NEED a strong, robust Medicare-like public option NOW OPEN TO ALL AMERICANS AND AFFORDABLE, not more of the SAME broken system that's given us unaffordable premiums, little private insurance coverage, and rising co-pays. Also, DON'T TAX OUR EMPLOYER HEALTH BENEFITS. Instead, follow the proposal by President Obama to tax the wealthy above $250,000, eliminate the overpayments in Medicare Advantage, and put tax capital gains to help fund health care reform. TELL YOUR SENATOR NO ON THE SCHUMER COMPROMISE AND NO ON THE CONRAD CO-OP COMPROMISE.
These are the members of the HELP Committee to CALL since they're having their markup.
Tom Harkin (IA): (202) 224-3254
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD): (202) 224-4654
Patty Murray (WA: (202) 224-2621
Jack Reed (RI): (202) 224-4642
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT): (202) 224-5141
Sherrod Brown (OH): (202) 224-2315
Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA): (202) 224-6324
Kay Hagan (NC): (202) 224-6342
Jeff Merkley (OR): (202) 224-3753
Then PLEASE CALL the rest of the Democratic Senators to urge them to support a strong, robust Medicare-like public option in health care reform!
Please CALL Senator Max Baucus at (202) 224-2651
Please CALL Senator Olympia Snowe at (202) 224-5344
Please CALL Senator Charles Schumer at 202-224-6542
Please CALL Senator Edward Kennedy at (202) 224-4543
Please CALL Senator John Rockefeller at (202) 224-6472
Please CALL Senator Ron Wyden at (202) 224-5244
Please CALL Senator Kent Conrad at (202) 224-2043
Please CALL Senator John Kerry at (202) 224-2742
Please CALL Senator Blanche Lincoln at 202-224-4843
Please CALL Senator Debbie Stabenow at (202) 224-4822
Please CALL Senator Maria Cantwell at 202-224-3441
Please CALL Senator Bill Nelson at 202-224-5274
Please CALL Senator Robert Menendez at 202-224-4744
Please CALL Senator Thomas Carper at (202) 224-2441
CALL the White House at: 202-456-1111 and E-MAIL them as well to let them know that you DO NOT want the Conrad co-op alternative, and that you want a strong, robust Medicare-like public option instead!
Please recommend this diary so others can see the phone numbers and call today! Also, please let me know if you've signed up with the OFA because I'm going to need your help with the phonebanking events for this weekend!
Update: A kossack has requested that I link to his diary so you can check it out about Wesley Clark fundraising for Blanche Lincoln.
UPDATE#2: Please RECOMMEND this diary by LibMachiavelli! It has excellent suggestions for how preventing Max Baucus from being one of the Senate conferees on health reform.
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