Senate HELP Draft Bill Has Public Plan Option
Politico Pulse gets leak of Senate HELP cmte draft: “THE SENATE HELP COMMITTEE IS ABOUT TO COME OUT WITH A ‘LEVEL PLAYING FIELD’ OPTION SIMILAR TO WHAT SCHUMER PROPOSED IN MAY … If HELP does go in this direction, it won’t be as liberal as the House, but it will be a strong alternative to the coop plan that is the emerging idea in the Finance Committee, but that progressives hate.”
Politico reports Republicans to launch health attack today: “Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) have set up a public discussion at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston on Tuesday, hoping to gin up public opposition to the public plan.”
Sen. Olympia Snowe tells AP she will only back a delayed “trigger” for public plan option: “Snowe said it would be unfair to include a government-run health insurance option that would take effect immediately.”
Daschle pushes taxing of employer benefits and delay of public plan option. ABC: “Daschle today said Democrats’ plans are far different than McCain’s in that they would only impact so-called ‘gold-plated,’ high-end health plans, which are typically offered only to well-compensated employees. ‘We’ve said you can’t eliminate the exclusion — nobody’s saying that, at least on our side. At what level does it become gold-plated? That’s part of the debate.’ … Daschle is also backing a proposal — developed by the Bipartisan Policy Center — that would delay a federal ‘public option’ for health coverage for at least five years.”
FDL’s Jane Hamsher rips tax plan: “…taxing the benefits of people who agreed to work for $30,000 a year just so they could get health care coverage is a non-starter. We’re well on the path to a ‘grand compromise’ where the insurance industry gets bailed out and the public gets screwed, because that’s what the system is set up to do.”
Republicans being threatened/cajoled to join in a compromise. AP: “Mainstream Democrats close to President Obama are warning Republicans about insisting on too many changes to the president’s health care overhaul, saying the Democratic-controlled Congress will move ahead without GOP input if they do.”
NYT adds: “Whether Mr. Obama can have a more bipartisan outcome with health care remains unclear. He has invested so much political capital in a health care bill that not to have legislation would be politically disastrous for him. If that means passing a bill without Republican support, some Democrats say, Mr. Obama will do it.”
CBS poll show urgency for health reform hinges on income: “Americans with lower incomes want to see a major overhaul of the health care system in the U.S., greater government involvement, and more are willing than their higher-earning counterparts to pay more in taxes in order for all Americans to have health care coverage.”
Ezra Klein debunks notion public plan means price controls, pointing to Medicare: “If it underpaid providers, providers would stop accepting it. And if they stopped accepting it, then people would switch to a private insurer because they’d want to be able to keep their doctor and they’d be willing to pay the difference to do so. Just as private insurers could lose members if their rates weren’t low enough, the public plan could lose members if its rates were too low.”
TPM’s Josh Marshall exposes insurance industry real objective. Zero competition: “the opposition to a so-called ‘public option’ comes almost entirely from insurance companies who have developed monopolies or near monopolies in particular geographic areas. And they don’t want competition. Note, I’m not saying more competition. I’m saying any competition at all. As Zack Roth explains in this new piece 94% of the health care insurance market is now under monopoly or near-monopoly conditions — the official term of art is ‘highly concentrated’. In other words, there’s no mystery why insurance costs keep going up even as the suck quotient rises precipitously. Because in most areas there’s little or no actual competition.”
Health Care for America Now blog reports on pressure being applied to western Senators.
American Prospect editors debate public plan option.
KevinMD indicates AMA rep has taken a hit: “The repercussions after Obama’s speech to the AMA’s delegates continue to be felt. Not least of which are the murmurings of the other professional physician groups, who say that the AMA does not represent a majority of physicians.”
CQ reports CBO won’t score savings for prevention: “Preventive care — at least the sort delivered by doctors — doesn’t save money, experts say: it costs money … [Sen. Harkin] has provided the agency with an assortment of reports concluding that preventive care — particularly community- and employer-based programs aimed at encouraging people to exercise and improve their diets — does save money. CBO hasn’t budged … [Thomson Reuters Healthcare's Ron] Goetzel … acknowledges that preventive care provided by health professionals is costly … But preventive measures undertaken in the community, or at work, can be cost-effective, he argues, because they don’t involve the medical community … Harkin and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., chairman of the HELP panel, included provisions in the health overhaul bill that would authorize grants to communities to build sidewalks and parks, and Harkin struck a deal with the restaurant industry to require new labeling on menus telling consumers the amounts of calories, fat, sodium and sugar in foods.”
Are There 60 Senate for Carbon Cap?
Coal Tattoo reports Sen. Byrd opposes House bill, Rockefeller has “concerns:” “It will be interesting to watch things develop, and see if Byrd and Rockefeller move on this at all — especially since the United Mine Workers union said last week that, under the current bill ‘the future of coal will be intact.’”
Rep. Waxman defends bill on Air America’s Montel Across America
Treehugger reports Europe wants a stronger US bill: “…Europeans didn’t even wait until the bill was officially passed before they came out to announce they ‘demand more’ from the US … [Swedish minister for the environment Andreas] Carlgren’s voice takes on an additional authority, too–Sweden takes the helm of the EU’s revolving presidency until December, which just so happens to be when the Copenhagen climate talks are set to take place.”
Grist reports on possible MoveOn campaign: “The progressive activist group MoveOn is trying to rally its 5 million members behind an aggressive campaign to strengthen the climate and energy bill that passed the House last week. If at least two-thirds of voting members consent, the group will begin a ‘full-court press to fix the bill, and turn up the heat on senators who might be tempted to side with Big Oil and Coal.’”