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Public Option Losing Steam? *Merge*

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by ShiningStar, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. ShiningStar

    ShiningStar Well-Known Member

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    White House Open to Health Care Reform Without Government Plan

    Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., one of six negotiators trying to hammer out a bipartisan compromise measure on the Senate Finance Committee, also tells "FOX News Sunday" that the so-called public option simply does not have the votes to pass.

    Sunday, August 16, 2009

    Momentum behind a new government-run health care plan appeared to slow considerably Sunday, as a lead Democratic negotiator called the option a "wasted effort" and President Obama's health secretary suggested the White House is ready to accept a health care reform package without it.

    Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., one of six negotiators trying to hammer out a bipartisan compromise measure on the Senate Finance Committee, told

    "FOX News Sunday" that the so-called public option simply does not have the votes to pass.

    "The fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the United States

    Senate for the public option. There never have been," he said. "So to continue to chase that rabbit I think is just a wasted effort."
    Conrad and other negotiators on the finance committee are instead pushing a system of nonprofit insurance cooperatives, as an alternative to the public plan.

    "Co-ops are very prevalent in our society," Conrad said. "They've been a very successful business model."

    Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that a public option is "not the essential element" in reform legislation.

    The White House indicated it could jettison the contentious public option and settle on insurance cooperatives as an acceptable alternative.
    "I think there will be a competitor to private insurers," Sebelius said. "That's really the essential part, is you don't turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing. We need some choices, we need some competition."

    The statement comes after Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said last week that he's "open" to a bill with no public option.

    The finance committee is the last of five committees to consider such legislation.

    Conrad had previously cast doubt on the chances that a public option could ever pass the full Senate. But with opposition to Democrats' bill growing, other top officials are starting to leave wiggle room for legislation that does not include the option as Conrad and other negotiators push hard for a co-op system.

    As proposed by Conrad, the co-ops would receive federal startup money, but then would operate independently of the government. They would have to maintain the same financial reserves that private companies are required to keep to handle unexpectedly high claims.

    The idea has met a mixed reaction among Republicans.

    On Sunday, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said a co-op system would be a step in the right direction.

    "We ought to look at it. I think it's a far cry from the original proposals," he told "FOX News Sunday."

    White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday that the "bottom line" for the president is "choice and competition in the insurance market."

    "The president has thus far sided with the notion that that can best be done through a public option," Gibbs said.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  2. MetalHead

    MetalHead Benched

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    Don't let up until this thing is deader than disco...
  3. DIAF

    DIAF DivaLover159

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    Kent Conrad mentioned last week or the week before that any plan with a public option in it wasn't likely to make it into the Senate bill.
  4. masomenos

    masomenos Less is more

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    The public option just isn't that important to the overall bill. The main reason it's in there is as a price controlling entity. Without it, all of the regulations are still in place, all of the "death panels" are still there and pretty much everything that people find scary remains unchanged. Sebelius was being 100% honest when she said that it wasn't the essential element.

    Taking it out does make the bill more palatable to Republicans though, because it decreases the increase in government. Stuff like this gets put into bills all the time because it allows the proposers to negotiate without actually pulling out the important stuff.
  5. MetalHead

    MetalHead Benched

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    Just now on Drudge..public option...dead.
  6. sbark

    sbark Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    He is just a typical politcian.........expect a vote on the bill---liberals have never been this close to their goals......wont quit that easy...

    Kent Conrad Aide: The Senator Isn’t Opposed To A Government Health Care Plan

    var addthis_pub="robport";

    Yesterday the Jamestown Sun reported that Senator Kent Conrad announced to a town hall in Carrington that he would not support a government [FONT=Tahoma, Arial, Verdana, sans-serif]health care[/FONT] plan. Given that Senator Conrad is a key vote on health care, this invoked no small amount outrage from national liberal interests and now Conrad is busy backpeddaling from that position complaining that his statements were misinterpreted by local reporters.
    The Sun’s story never quoted Conrad directly about the public option, and the senator’s communications director, Sean Neary, told Salon that the story was inaccurate. Conrad has been telling his constituents that he won’t let the government run their health care, which may be the cause of the confusion, but that language doesn’t preclude the public option.
    I put in a phone call to Sun reporter Katie Ryan to find out if she had a direct quote for what Conrad actually said, but as of right now I’m just getting voicemail.
    What wouldn’t surprise me, however, is to learn that Conrad is saying one thing to his constituents here in [FONT=Tahoma, Arial, Verdana, sans-serif]North Dakota[/FONT] and another thing to his liberal allies nationally.
  7. masomenos

    masomenos Less is more

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    Yeah, I just saw that too. The thing is, they're reporting it as a "retreat" but it really isn't. I kid you not, that's exactly what the Democrats want it to look like. It allows them to say, "Look, we dropped this major aspect of the bill in negotiation," and they'll get more votes for the bill because of it. The heart of the bill remains the same though.
  8. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    I will not believe this till the current admin is out of office.
  9. MetalHead

    MetalHead Benched

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    Recession:When your neighbor loses his job.
    Depression:When you lose your job.
    Recovery:When Obama loses his job.

    Zrin...right again.

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    White House backs away from public health care option

    By CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN | 8/16/09 4:42 PM EDT

    President Barack Obama and his top aides are signaling that they’re prepared to drop a government insurance option from a final health-reform deal if that’s what’s needed to strike a compromise on Obama’s top legislative priority.

    Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday that the public option was “not the essential element” of the overhaul. A day earlier, Obama downplayed the public option during a Colorado town hall meeting, saying it was “just one sliver” of the debate.

    He even chided Democratic supporters and Republican critics for becoming “so fixated on this that they forget everything else” — a dig at some liberals in his own party who have made the public option the main rallying cry of the health reform debate.

    At the same time, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), one of six senators involved in bipartisan Finance Committee negotiations, all but declared the public option dead in the Senate.

    “Look, the fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the United States Senate for the public option,” said Conrad, who has pushed an alternative proposal to create a network of consumer cooperatives, on Fox News Sunday. “There never have been. So to continue to chase that rabbit, I think, is just a wasted effort.”

    A White House aide said in an e-mailed statement Sunday afternoon that the president is not backing away from the public plan.

    "Nothing has changed,” said Linda Douglass, communications director for the White House Office of Health Reform. “The president has always said that what is essential is that health insurance reform must lower costs, ensure that there are affordable options for all Americans and it must increase choice and competition in the health insurance market. He believes the public option is the best way to achieve those goals.”

    But taken together, the remarks from Obama, Sebelius and Conrad suggest the White House is preparing supporters for a health care compromise that may well exclude the government option — which could help Obama win enough votes for a sweeping overhaul but touch off a nasty battle inside his own party between liberals and more moderate members who have resisted a bigger government role in health care.

    It was only in June that Obama said in a letter to Senate Democrats that “I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest.”

    A month ago, Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address that “any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange: a one-stop shopping marketplace where you can compare the benefits, cost and track records of a variety of plans – including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest – and choose what’s best for your family.”

    But in the face of hardening opposition to the idea — even inside his own party — Obama appears ready to retrench. Obama and his aides continue to emphasize having some competitor to private insurers, perhaps nonprofit insurance cooperatives, but they are using stronger language to downplay the importance that it be a government plan.

    “What's important is choice and competition,” Sebelius said on CNN’s State of the Union. “And I'm convinced at the end of the day, the plan will have both of those. But that is not the essential element.”

    The reaction in the liberal blogosphere and beyond was swift and negative Sunday.
  11. DIAF

    DIAF DivaLover159

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    Ha! This looks more and more like Bush's SS reforms from back in 2005. He can't even get his own party on board with it, and it's going to end up DOA in the end.
  12. jrumann59

    jrumann59 Well-Known Member

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    This is what I see


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