Archive for Friday, March 19, 2010

Obama, Democrats lobbying hard for health vote

March 19, 2010


— President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders lobbied intensively for historic health care legislation today, striving to resolve a last-minute dispute over Medicare while gaining another precious “yes” 48 hours ahead of a climactic vote.

With a showdown set for Sunday on the House floor, Democratic leaders still didn’t command the 216 votes they needed, so every undecided lawmaker was the focus of personal attention from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House, and every “no”-to-“yes” conversion was trumpeted by party leaders.

Obama, who delayed an overseas trip to help ensure passage of the legislation, planned to meet with Democratic lawmakers at the White House Saturday afternoon.

In an 11th-hour pitch, the president spoke to an enthusiastic crowd at George Mason University in Virginia, lobbing attacks at the insurance industry with his coat jacket off and sleeves rolled up.

“The only question left is this: Are we going to let the special interests win once again, or are we going to make this vote a victory for the American people?” he said.

Obama described the stakes in stark terms, using words uttered so rarely out of the White House that they seem all but banned: “If this vote fails.” What then? “The insurance industry will continue to run amok,” the president said, pointing to rising rates, denials of coverage and limits on care.

Every vote counts

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, the vote-counting spotlight swung to Rep. John Boccieri, D-Ohio, who announced that he would support the bill despite voting against an earlier version. “I’m not worried about the election,” he said. “I’m worried about doing what’s right.”

Boccieri became the fourth House Democrat to switch from “no” to “yes.” Shortly after he announced his decision, Pelosi predicted: “When we bring the bill to the floor, we will have a significant victory for the American people.”

The good news aside, the White House and Democratic leaders faced a last-minute snag as some lawmakers complained about a provision in the bill on how health providers are paid under Medicare. Pelosi and senior White House officials raced to find a solution.

“I’m a ’no’ unless they fix it,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. “We spent months working this out. If we don’t get it in this bill, we will never get it.”

The conversation was all about how Democrats would vote because Republicans have formed a virtually impenetrable phalanx of opposition for the past several months.

Retiring Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., and first-term Rep. Betsy Markey, D-Colo., announced their support Thursday; liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, did so earlier this week.

The momentum wasn’t all in the right direction for Democratic leaders. Some rank-and-file Democrats who backed sweeping health care legislation when it passed the House in November showed signs of defecting. Weaker restrictions on federal funding of abortion was a concern, but not the only one.

Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., a former union activist, said even a one-on-one meeting with Obama on Thursday hadn’t convinced him that the legislation did enough to reform the health system and rein in insurers and drug companies.

“I’m still currently opposed,” Lynch said today. “But the president asked me to think about it, and if there were some type of measure that might move me to a better place on the bill, then he wanted to hear about it.”

What's in the bill

With the addition of the 153 pages of revisions, the bill would expand health care to 32 million uninsured, bar the insurance industry from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions and trim federal deficits by an estimated $138 billion over the next decade.

Beginning in 2014, most Americans would be required for the first time to purchase insurance or face penalties if they refused. Large businesses would face fines if they did not offer good-quality coverage to their workers. Millions of families with incomes up to $88,000 a year would receive government help to defray their costs.

To address concerns of House Democrats, those subsidies were raised by an estimated $25 billion over a decade in the package of changes offered Thursday. Seniors who experience a gap in coverage in the Medicare prescription drug program would receive a $250 rebate this year — an election-year bragging point for Democrats as they look toward the fall campaign with control of Congress at stake. A special deal giving extra Medicaid money to Nebraska was struck in exchange for more Medicaid money for all states, though other special deals decried by Obama stayed in the bill.

The changes also included another of Obama’s top priorities: Federally guaranteed student loans would now be made only by the government, ending a role for banks and other for-profit lenders who charge fees. The savings, an estimated $60 billion over a decade, would increase Pell grants for needy college students as well as support for programs such as aid to historically black colleges, a priority of the Congressional Black Caucus.


notajayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

"What's in the bill"

And then, what's not:

WASHINGTON – It was a bold response to skyrocketing health insurance premiums. President Barack Obama would give federal authorities the power to block unreasonable rate hikes.

Yet when Democrats unveiled the final, incarnation of their health care bill this week, the proposal was nowhere to be found.

Ditto with several Republican ideas that Obama had said he wanted to include after a televised bipartisan summit last month, including a plan by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma to send investigators disguised as patients to hospitals in search of waste, fraud and abuse.

And those "special deals" that Obama railed against and said he wanted to eliminate? With the exception of two of the most notorious — extra Medicaid money for Nebraska and a carve-out for Florida seniors faced with losing certain extra Medicare benefits — they are all still there.

For the White House, these were the latest unfulfilled commitments related to Obama's health care proposal, starting with his campaign promise to let C-SPAN cameras film negotiations over the bill. Obama also backed down with little apparent regret on his support for a new government-run insurance plan as part of the legislation, a liberal priority.

notajayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

beobachter (anonymous) says…

"Amazing how many health bill experts there are posting on this forum."

Please, oh great BeO, share your own expertise with those of us who are so lacking.

Oh, wait, forgot - you didn't come by to say anything useful, just to be critical of other posters. As usual.

Liberty275 8 years, 2 months ago

Amazing how many people are willing to allow the federal government to force them to buy a product from a corporation merely because they are American. I can't wait to see how the SCOTUS rules on that.

If the fed can make you buy from an insurance corporation merely because you are American, they can as easily make you buy from any corporation. Maybe the next congress will force us all to buy guns.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 2 months ago

The Obamtanic has sighted the icebergs and has gone to full speed ahead.

David Albertson 8 years, 2 months ago

Looks like the GOP is gonna lose this battle. Once again the Republican party is on the wrong side of history. These "no" votes are going to hurt them in the years ahead. You can count on that. How can you be against protecting consumers, reducing the deficit and giving tax breaks to small business? It's proof that the GOP is only interested in stopping Obama, no matter what he does. They don't give a rats ass about the common man. The Dems are far from perfect but atleast they have my interests at heart. I can't wait until 2012 when the 2nd Obama landslide leaves the Greedy Old Puppets in disbelief. Yes We Can.

Godot 8 years, 2 months ago

As Pelosi and Obama have both said, when the bill passes, we will all learn what is in it. The shameless, cowardly, criminals of the Democrat party in Congress are willing to use every ruse and trick in the book, they are willing to overturn the Consitution, to pass a bill that they do not even understand.

Godot 8 years, 2 months ago

Will the feckless Democrats who do not know what they are signing into law come crying to the taxpayers for relief when the budget deficits and national debt go exponential from the burden of their folly? Will they do this the way millions of homebuyers who did not understand their mortgages have done? You can bet your life on it. This is just the beginning. We will never, ever stop arguing about "health care." And we will never, ever, stop paying, and paying, and paying for it.

Godot 8 years, 2 months ago

If it is true that we will never stop paying for Bush's wars, then how will we pay for Obama's wars? And how will we pay for a new, massive, every growing (Obama, Pelosi and Hoyer have promised that this is just the "starter home") entitlement? We will pay for it by transferring all wealth from individuals to the government, and the government will dole out pittances to those that the coalition in power deems to be deserving.

Coming soon to a Slaughter House Bill near you, or maybe simply by an executive order signed by BHO, retirement savings accounts to be required to invest in Treasuries (to fund Obamacare) and payouts limited to a lifetime annuity, the monthly amount to be determined by the needs of the government. In other words, the Dems will confiscate your private retirement savings to fund their utopia.

BigPrune 8 years, 2 months ago

Caterpillar announced this bill will cost them $100 Million the first year. I wonder if they'll have to lay off some employees?

Godot 8 years, 2 months ago

"The Department of Labor and the Department of the Treasury (the "Agencies") are currently reviewing the rules under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the plan qualification rules under the Internal Revenue Code (Code) to determine whether, and, if so, how, the Agencies could or should enhance, by regulation or otherwise, the retirement security of participants in employer-sponsored retirement plans and in individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) by facilitating access to, and use of, lifetime income or other arrangements designed to provide a lifetime stream of income after retirement. The purpose of this request for information is to solicit views, suggestions and comments from plan participants, employers and other plan sponsors, plan service providers, and members of the financial community, as well as the general public, on this important issue..........

  1. Should some form of lifetime income distribution option be required for defined contribution plans (in addition to money purchase pension plans)? If so, should that option be the default distribution option, and should it apply to the entire account balance? To what extent would such a requirement encourage or discourage plan sponsorship?

Ask Teresa Ghilarducci. She and the prez are buds.

Godot 8 years, 2 months ago

I gave you all the clues you need. Dept of Labor 401K Treasuries; Teresa Ghilarducci.

danemary 8 years, 2 months ago


notajayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

beobachter (anonymous) says…

"Actually nota, I was simply expressing my appreciation for all the brilliant insights being shared here by those who have not even seen final bill. My ability to see into the future simply is not up to their superior capabilities. But then I don't listen to Fox, Beck or the druggie. Which simply means I'm an uneducated liberal who attempts to think for myself."

Or you could ask someone how to use Google.

See, BeO, the reconciliation bill was posted Thursday. One of the reasons they're voting Sunday is that Pelosi, unlike Reid, promised to post the final version 72 hours before a vote. Maybe your problem is that you were trying to look into the future.

Of course, if you tried doing something like - oh, I don't know - actually reading the story a message board is attached to before posting to that board, you would have seen that it wasn't "Fox, Beck or the druggie", but our own award-winning LJW, by way of the Associated Press, who said what's in the bill. Maybe you could scroll up and read the part at the end that says "What's in the bill".

Or you could just keep being an uninformed troll who doesn't want to know, and keep your eyes and ears firmly closed, pretending the pabulum being spoon-fed to you is 'thinking for yourself' (thanks for that, by the way, I haven't had such a good laugh in tears), and that anyone who tells you things that challenge your fragile delusions must be listening to "Fox, Beck or the druggie".

Sunny Parker 8 years, 2 months ago

Beo...Pay for your OWN health care and your OWN health insurance.

Why should I, and others, pay for your medical bills?

You are ignorace at its best!

Rich Noever 8 years, 2 months ago

The Who should rewrite it to say "Will be fooled again and again and again......"

notajayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

beobachter (anonymous) says…

"sunny, I already do."

Then what do you want our money for, BeO?

"And the ignorance is from right wingers who can't understand we are already paying for everyone's care one way or the other."

Hmmm. Earlier you criticized the right-wingers for lending their insight when they "have not even seen final bill" - when it appears YOU were the only one that didn't know it was already posted. So it would appear our dear BeO is the one being critical without bothering to gind out what he's talking about.

"Which simply means I'm an uneducated liberal who attempts to think for myself."

The key word in that sentence being "attempts", you finally said something accurate, BeO.

purplesage 8 years, 2 months ago

How does Speaker Pelosi figure this is a "victory for the American people" when there are so many who do not want this kind of "reform?" The liberal elites think they know better what we need than we do ourselves. But it isn't for them. Witness the President evading the answer whena Fox new reproted asked if HE would accept the health care plan that he is attempting to ram down the unwilling throats of the American public. C'mon election year!

notajayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

"So you admit you're a liar."

Well, he did call himself an "uneducated liberal" earlier, so he's not a total liar.

Mike Ford 8 years, 2 months ago

Man, there are a lot of loud fearful people posting on this blog. How is it that you have no problem backing tax cuts for the rich and failed wars. Where was your moral outrage then? Oh I get it, only you get permission to wreck a country after Bill Clinton leaves you with a budget surplus and you squander it by getting China to finance a couple of wars. Was it also you that thought to use the drug trade and the contras to finance a war as your forgettful hero was waving under a helicopter. I'll do what few people have done on this blog as a whole; tell the right if you're going to throw stones don't break your own glass house of consequences. Comprehensive actions occur when Republicans neglect things like schools, infrastructure, and the health of a country. You act irresponsible through two terms of Reagan which I survived and two different Bushes and something has to be done. The Republicans are like the bad renter that you can never seem to stop from damaging things and then have the audacity to complain when they are confronted with their social negligence and are forced to deal with consequences. If the GOP cared for people and didn't profess to the Bob Dole "Dont' get sick" health plan and actually cared, oh well that's never going to happen. Abortionists, Obamacare, and a caucasian minority? REALLY?

notajayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

Ah, good, tuschie's here with his 'the Republicans don't have a plan' mantra.

In response to your moronic belief that doing something, that just doing anything is better than having Republicans in charge, I have two words: Jimmy Carter. And I have absolutely no doubt that history will look equally as critically as the country's latest one-term president who was elected for the same reasons.

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