Tag Archives: The Washington Monthly

We, The People…


In a letter today to Democrat and Republican leaders of Congress, President Obama pointed out several points of agreement with issues voiced by Republicans during last week’s Health Care Summit.

“No matter how we move forward, there are at least four policy priorities identified by Republican Members at the meeting that I am exploring. I said throughout this process that I’d continue to draw on the best ideas from both parties, and I’m open to these proposals in that spirit,”

From The Washington Monthly:

The GOP ideas include:

1. Although the proposal I released last week included a comprehensive set of initiatives to combat fraud, waste, and abuse, Senator Coburn had an interesting suggestion that we engage medical professionals to conduct random undercover investigations of health care providers that receive reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid, and other Federal programs.

2. My proposal also included a provision from the Senate health reform bill that authorizes funding to states for demonstrations of alternatives to resolving medical malpractice disputes, including health courts. Last Thursday, we discussed the provision in the bills cosponsored by Senators Coburn and Burr and Representatives Ryan and Nunes (S. 1099) that provides a similar program of grants to states for demonstration projects. Senator Enzi offered a similar proposal in a health insurance reform bill he sponsored in the last Congress. As we discussed, my Administration is already moving forward in funding demonstration projects through the Department of Health and Human Services, and Secretary Sebelius will be awarding $23 million for these grants in the near future. However, in order to advance our shared interest in incentivizing states to explore what works in this arena, I am open to including an appropriation of $50 million in my proposal for additional grants. Currently there is only an authorization, which does not guarantee that the grants will be funded.

3. At the meeting, Senator Grassley raised a concern, shared by many Democrats, that Medicaid reimbursements to doctors are inadequate in many states, and that if Medicaid is expanded to cover more people, we should consider increasing doctor reimbursement. I’m open to exploring ways to address this issue in a fiscally responsible manner.

4. Senator Barrasso raised a suggestion that we expand Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). I know many Republicans believe that HSAs, when used in conjunction with high-deductible health plans, are a good vehicle to encourage more cost-consciousness in consumers’ use of health care services. I believe that high-deductible health plans could be offered in the exchange under my proposal, and I’m open to including language to ensure that is clear. This could help to encourage more people to take advantage of HSAs.

The President should be commended for continuing to pursue a bipartisan health care reform bill. However, such overtures are worthless. It’s obvious the Republicans are against health care reform in any way, shape or form, and are adament in their refusal to work with the President:

“We fundamentally disagree with a comprehensive proposal to reform health care.”

I’ve always thought members of Congress were elected to represent the people. The constituents. Too many times over the past few months we’ve heard of Republican, and Blue Dog Democrat members of Congress state they are opposed to health care reform. The silly reality of all of this posturing is that they’re not concerned about the constituents they serve – they’re more concerned about getting reelected!

Note to the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats: You are in office to serve us. We really don’t give a damn if you remain in office if you don’t serve us.

We, the People, are in favor of health care reform. In fact – We, The People, favor health care reform with a Public Option.

Now. Get off your asses and pass the damn bill!

Health Care: The President’s Plan


A short while ago The White House released the President’s plan for health care. An extensive and comprehensive plan, it’s an excellent compromise of  the House and Senate legislation.

The Wonk Room has an excellent overview of the President’s proposal and a comparison between it, the Senate version and the House version. From The White House:

Overview of the President’s Proposal

The President’s Proposal puts American families and small business owners in control of their own health care.

  • It makes insurance more affordable by providing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, reducing premium costs for tens of millions of families and small business owners who are priced out of coverage today.  This helps over 31 million Americans afford health care who do not get it today – and makes coverage more affordable for many more.
  • It sets up a new competitive health insurance market giving tens of millions of Americans the exact same insurance choices that members of Congress will have.
  • It brings greater accountability to health care by laying out commonsense rules of the road to keep premiums down and prevent insurance industry abuses and denial of care.
  • It will end discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  • It puts our budget and economy on a more stable path by reducing the deficit by $100 billion over the next ten years – and about $1 trillion over the second decade – by cutting government overspending and reining in waste, fraud and abuse.

Although the plan does not include a Public Option, it would be safe to say that such an option will be within the bill when it is passed through reconciliation, hopefully within the next two months.

Where does this leave the Republicans? After more than a year of record-breaking obstructionism, it’s time for them to get on the bus and work with the President and Congress on this issue, or continue their non-productive agenda.

We’ll know in three days

The President should be commended for his actions and the obvious action right now is to do what Steve Benen of The Washington Monthly said last month:

Pass the damn bill.

Just Pass the Damn Bill!


I’m a big fan of Steve Benen over at The Washington Monthly. Here’s his latest post in it’s entirety. I couldn’t agree more!

I have no idea whose advice would be most likely to influence congressional Dems on health care reform, but Paul Krugman was recently named the most influential commentator in the nation, so here’s hoping his message gets through: “Stop whining, and do what needs to be done.”

A message to House Democrats: This is your moment of truth. You can do the right thing and pass the Senate health care bill. Or you can look for an easy way out, make excuses and fail the test of history.

Tuesday’s Republican victory in the Massachusetts special election means that Democrats can’t send a modified health care bill back to the Senate. That’s a shame because the bill that would have emerged from House-Senate negotiations would have been better than the bill the Senate has already passed. But the Senate bill is much, much better than nothing. And all that has to happen to make it law is for the House to pass the same bill, and send it to President Obama’s desk.

Right now, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, says that she doesn’t have the votes to pass the Senate bill. But there is no good alternative. […]

[S]ome Democrats want to just give up on the whole thing. That would be an act of utter political folly. It wouldn’t protect Democrats from charges that they voted for “socialist” health care — remember, both houses of Congress have already passed reform. All it would do is solidify the public perception of Democrats as hapless and ineffectual.

 Americans have been waiting for this for a century. The top domestic policy priority of the Democratic Party for generations is right there in front of them, just waiting for a single roll-call vote.

House passage of the Senate bill would help millions suffering under the dysfunctional status quo. It would prove that Democrats can deliver on their agenda. It would take advantage of a once-in-a-generation opportunity and be a historic achievement. It would steer clear of electoral suicide that would cost Democrats’ their majority and leave the country much worse off.

The solution is so goddamn obvious it’s literally unbelievable that Dems aren’t rushing to embrace it.

Pass. The. Damn. Bill.

Pass. The. Damn. Bill.

Pass. The. Damn. Bill.

Steve Benen

Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8


It’s showing up on bumper stickers, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and even teddy bears.

For those unfamiliar with biblical passages, it seems pretty inocuous, doesn’t it? How nice! Let’s pray for the President! 

“Psalm 109 8 prayer for Obama”

The words of this particular psalm are far more telling:

“May his days be few, may another take over his position.”

 

“May his children be orphans and his wife a widow”

 

“Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.”

 

Courtesy ThinkProgress

I find it particularly distressing that evangelical right wing conservative leaders of our churches in this country are taking a political stance on political issues, regardless of the current interpretations of Separation of Church and State. It’s one thing to preach civil disobedience, it’s an entirely different thing to preach breaking the law.

From Diane Butler Bass at BeliefNet:

It is the personal prayer of an individual, someone who has been dealt an injustice by another–and usually more powerful–person. The words of Psalm 109 are those of deep agony, the longings of a victim for retribution and justice. This psalm is considered one of the most difficult of all the psalms–full of violent images of vengeance and death.

From Rabbi Brad Hirschfield via The Washington Monthly:

Any time the citizens of a state, particularly a democracy, invoke their faith to pray for the demise of those they oppose politically, we should be concerned.

All this is especially upsetting in light of the last weeks’ events at Fort Hood. Exactly how long is it going to take us to figure out the danger of linking faith claims and violent fantasies?

Amen!

We’ve discussed on here the implications of the tragic massacre at Ft. Hood a few weeks ago. What I find ironic now is that these are the same right wing conservative christian nutcases who are screaming “TERRORIST!” and “TRAITOR!” over the same sentiments voiced by Major Nidal Hasan…

“Allahu Akbar”