The DNC has come out with a series of brutal new ads highlighting the endless flip-flops that Mitt Romney has taken over his political career – from his pro-choice position when running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy to his support for economic stimulus (before he was against it, of course). His healthcare flip-flop is more impressive jujitsu than frankly anyone I’ve ever seen. Let his own words speak for itself:
Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’
Last night the United States came one step closer to real healthcare reform when the House passed its version of the bill. The only thing standing between the American people and reform is the U.S. Senate. Since the Republican Party has promised to obstruct the President’s agenda at every corner, it will take every single Democrat (as well as independent senators that caucus with the Democrats) in the Senate to pass this bill.
The primary obstacle is Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. He has stated publicly on multiple occasions throughout the past couple weeks that he will join Republicans in filibustering the bill in the Senate if a public option is not removed. His opposition is not acceptable. Having received over $1 million from the insurance industry, Senator Lieberman is siding with Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield over his real constituents – who support the public option by over 60%.
Lieberman is showing his true ideological colors. Having voted for the Iraq War and publicly condemning Democrats that opposed it, he was an ally of the Bush administration when Democrats needed him most. In 2006, having pledged to respect the wishes of the voters, he ran as a Democrat and lost the primary to Ned Lamont. He broke his word and created his own party called the “Connecticut for Lieberman” party (as comedian Colbert pointed out, it’s Connecticut for Lieberman, not Lieberman for Connecticut).
Having managed to split the Democratic vote in the 2006 general election, Lieberman returned to Washington as an independent, but continued to caucus with the Democrats. As a result, he retained his seniority and became the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee as Democrats gained a majority in the Senate.
It became clear that Lieberman was not going to support the Democratic nominee for president in 2008 as he began campaigning with John McCain. If that was not enough, he couldn’t definitively say whether Barack Obama was a Marxist – he would only “hesitate to say” it. Of course Barack Obama resoundingly thumped John McCain by nearly 10 million votes and the were swept into a 60 seat majority (by the time that Al Franken was finally seated in 2009). Yet there was no punishment for his betrayal of the party and its nominee. The President actually went out of his way to defend Lieberman, calling on the Senate leadership to keep him in the fold and let him keep his chairmanship.
Apparently being a thorn in the side of the Democrats is too much joy for Senator Lieberman to avoid for very long. His opposition to a healthcare bill that included a public option – that just a few years ago he said that he supported – is his latest traitorous act. Joining a Republican filibuster on the most important legislation in our generation is not acceptable. Lieberman and any other Democrats that prevent an up-or-down vote on healthcare should be stripped of their committee chairmanships and face a primary challenge from someone that will support the will of the people.
If you live in the state of Connecticut and support the public option, you should either call, e-mail or show up at the office of Senator Lieberman. Tell him that if he does not support the people of Connecticut over the big insurance giants that you will vote him out of office in 2012. Below is how you can reach him:
Washington, DC Office
706 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-4041 Voice
One Constitution Plaza
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 549-8463 Voice
(800) 225-5605 In CT
While Senator Lieberman is the only member of our caucus that has said he would join a Republican filibuster of healthcare, there are other conservative senators that need to be reminded of why they were elected. Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is one of them.
355 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
912 West Fourth Street
Little Rock, AR 72201
Fax (501) 375-7064
Toll Free 1-800-352-9364
Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska
720 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
7602 Pacific St.
Omaha, NE 68114
Tel: (402) 391-3411
House Democrats voted tonight in favor of a healthcare bill that has been making its way through Congress for the past six months. The final vote was 220 to 175. 219 Democrats voted in favor of passage and 39 Democrats voted against. 1 Republican joined Democrats in supporting the final bill while 176 Republicans voted against healthcare reform. 218 votes were needed for passage.
Before the final version of the bill was voted on 64 House Democrats joined 176 Republicans in adopting an amendment proposed by Representative Stupak of Michigan that would keep current law regarding public funding of abortion – which is prohibited. Further, it would prohibit private plans in the so-called “healthcare exchange” that would provide consumers with a number of different options for healthcare plans. The majority of Democrats contend that this amendment will result in dropped coverage for women seeking an abortion under existing private plans.
The Republican substitute amendment, which would only cover 3 million Americans vs. 36 million under the Democratic plan, lost a vote before the full House with zero Democrats voting in favor. A single Republican voted against his party on their substitute proposal – Illinois Representative Tim Johnson. The Republican proposal focused on tort reform and all but ignored the estimated 45 million uninsured Americans, along with issues such as outlawing pre-existing conditions.
If you are interested in knowing how your member of Congress voted on the Affordable Health Care for America Act, visit the following link: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll887.xml Man are they fast! The vote totals got posted within a few minutes. Also, I have included a video of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s floor speech earlier this afternoon below.
A newly published poll from the Washington Post and ABC News shows that support for the public option is on the rise. “On the issue that has been a flash point in the national debate, 57 percent of all Americans now favor a public insurance option, while 40 percent are opposed. Support has risen since mid-August, when a bare majority, 52 percent, said they favored it,” the poll found. That’s a very comfortable majority that Democrats enjoy, including among independents.
The poll also found more good news for Democrats that favor a public option. A majority of the public supports passing a public option even if it lacks any Republican votes at all:
Faced with a basic strategic choice that soon may confront the administration and Democratic congressional leaders, a slim majority of Americans, 51 percent, would prefer a reform plan that included some form of government insurance for people who cannot get affordable private coverage even if it had no GOP support in Congress. Thirty-seven percent would rather have a bipartisan plan without such a choice. Republicans and Democrats are on opposite sides of this question, with independents preferring legislation with a public option and without Republican support by 52 to 35 percent.
It’s clear where the public stands. Now Democrats needs to listen to those that elected them to change the system. Republicans will oppose any healthcare reform bill, whether it has a public option or not. We should put forward the strongest possible plan and that would be one that includes a competitor to private insurers. That is the only way costs will be driven down while protecting consumers.
Leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are signaling to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that healthcare reform must include a strong public option. The Progressive Caucus held a poll amongst its members to see exactly what support would be for a bill without a public option. According to Congressman Raul Grijalva’s tally, who co-chairs the Progressive Caucus, there would be “significant” opposition to such a bill. Grijalva went on to state that members of the Progressive Caucus want a public option with rates that are tied to five percent above Medicare.
The goal of Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky is to contain costs. “I feel confident that the White House will weigh in on a bill that makes health care affordable for the middle class,” she said. “That’s the Speaker’s litmus test, I think that’ll be his litmus test, and he will weigh in.” She has been a strong supporter of the public option, saying that competition with private insurers would bring down costs.
Read more at the Huffington Post.
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) will chair the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Prior to his passing, Senator Ted Kennedy was the chairman of this same committee in charge of overseeing the nation’s healthcare system. It was a lifelong goal of Kennedy to pass universal healthcare coverage. Harkin is a strong proponent of universal coverage, including the public health insurance option.
Harkin’s ascension to chairman should give a boost to public option proponents as Kennedy was too ill to be much of an influence on the legislation currently making its way through Congress. “I’m ready to carry on [Kennedy's] work, and I’m ready to get a health reform bill passed and to President Obama before Christmas comes this December,” Harkin said at his annual Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa.
In regards to the bill making its way through the Senate right now, “That bill — mark my word, I’m the chairman — is going to have a strong public option,” he said to thunderous applause. “We lost a great progressive, a great leader on so many issues…It now falls to me to pick up the torch,” Harkin said. “No one can take Ted Kennedy’s place, but I tell you this, I’m ready for this fight, I’m ready to lead this committee.”
Despite all of the vitriol from a vocal minority in this country, a vast majority of Americans support a public health insurance option. A Survey USA poll taken on August 20, 2009 finds that 58 percent of Americans believe that it is “extremely important” to have a public option. Another 19 percent believes that it is “quite important” to have the option. Only 15 percent say that it is “not important at all.”
Here’s the exact wording of the question:
“In any health care proposal, how important do you feel it is to give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance–extremely important, quite important, not that important, or not at all important?”
The conspiracy driven “birther” movement surrounding President Obama’s birth certificate has been well covered lately on the news. Many Republicans do not feel that the current president is legitimate, despite his overwhelming victory in November. In their racist desperation, they have latched on to this idea that Obama was born in Kenya, not in Hawaii, and is thus ineligible to be president.
A similar group of conservative wackjobs known as the “deathers” are floating the idea that President Obama’s healthcare reform will lead to euthanizing of elderly people. Former VP candidate (and recently resigned governor of Alaska) Sarah Palin went so far as calling the president’s plan “evil”. The fuss that Republicans are stirring up comes from a provision that would prevent another Terri Shiavo-like situation where the government steps in to determine whether a person should live or die (like the Republicans in Congress and Bush attempted). As the AP reports:
A provision in the House bill written by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would allow Medicare to pay doctors for voluntary counseling sessions that address end-of-life issues. The conversations between doctor and patient would include living wills, making a close relative or a trusted friend your health care proxy, learning about hospice as an option for the terminally ill and information about pain medications for people suffering chronic discomfort.
Ironically, it was George H. W. Bush’s administration that instituted a policy that requires hospitals to ask patients if they have a living will. Facts are nasty things. Of course the Republican Party never let that get in their way. Keith Olbermann tackled the issue in a Special Comment on Monday night: