Senate Dems Urge Public Option by Reconciliation

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 3:03 pm

For the past few weeks, House liberals have been urging Democratic leaders in the Senate to bring up the public insurance option via the budget reconciliation process, which would sidestep the filibuster and allow a simple majority-wins vote on the contentious public plan. Now some senators are joining the party as well.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), four upper-chamber Democrats — Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Michael Bennet (Colo.) — argue that including the public option would improve not only the Senate’s health reform bill, but also “the public’s perception of it.”

There are four fundamental reasons why we support this approach – its potential for billions of dollars in cost savings; the growing need to increase competition and lower costs for the consumer; the history of using reconciliation for significant pieces of health care legislation; and the continued public support for a public option….

The Senate has an obligation to reform our unworkable health insurance market — both to reduce costs and to give consumers more choices. A strong public option is the best way to deliver on both of these goals, and we urge its consideration under reconciliation rules.

With the pressure increasing on Democrats to reach across the aisle, it’s not likely that Reid would take such a controversial step. Then again, there’s been no indication that the Republicans’ calls for bipartisanship are in any way sincere. And of course, Reid’s slumping popularity in Nevada leaves him with little to lose.

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29 Comments

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4 Senate Democrats Ask Reid To Go Back To Public Option
Pingback posted February 16, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

[...] The Washington Independent has more on the letter: “The Senate has an obligation to reform our unworkable health insurance market — both to reduce costs and to give consumers more choices. A strong public option is the best way to deliver on both of these goals, and we urge its consideration under reconciliation rules,” the senators wrote (Lillis, 2/16). Go to Source [...]


Alan8
Comment posted February 16, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

I've been getting emails from progressive groups urging me to call my representatives and urge them to support these four senators and the public option.

Here's my response:

Why do we have to call them? Haven't they heard about it? Isn't that their job? Don't they represent us?

The answer is: “No” they don't represent us. And the fact that you're asking me to call them shows that you know it too.

I now vote for the Green Party, which DOES represent us. I look forward to NOT having to call my GREEN-PARTY representative once they're in office.

Former Democrat


rehoff
Comment posted February 16, 2010 @ 5:56 pm

Boy, are you a misguided optimist. Not that I am opposed to a Green Party however, take a look at the reality in Germany my friend.


larrysteve
Comment posted February 16, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

Listen progressives, if you want the public option you'e gonna have to fight for it with the same passion that the status quo repubs have shown in fighting against it. They have many independent-minded voters convinced that medicare-for-all will come at the expense of those who already have medicare, or have low-cost coverage thru their employer. In addition, dems, you need to talk more about how the public option will SAVE YOU MONEY, and less about covering the un-insured.


Dave
Comment posted February 16, 2010 @ 6:05 pm

Well, techincally, Former Democrat,

The Green Party is ALL ABOUT citizen involvement. You're right that we wouldn't need to continually petition them about making the correct choices or representing us, but the one thing the party is not about is sitting back and letting “others” do democracy for you.

Leftwing Progressive


monkey99
Comment posted February 16, 2010 @ 7:07 pm

It's about time the Dems got a pair. Don't talk about it, just do it.

Let's get something done in this country instead of coddling a bunch of whiny do-nothings. If reconciliation is the key, turn that sucker and let's move on to the next item of business.


Tom
Comment posted February 16, 2010 @ 8:18 pm

A vote for the Green Party is a vote for George W. Bush. They put him in office -intentionally- and gave us all the problems we have now. The Republicans are successful because their supporters don't cut and run when they don't get everything they want. The Greens, however, will never ever get anything they want -just more leaders like GWB and S. Palin


Bill Haywood
Comment posted February 17, 2010 @ 12:10 am

Reid is a weakling. There's no way he would act on principle. He hasn't any.


mercurychaos
Comment posted February 17, 2010 @ 12:32 am

Because they can't read your mind. Because being voted in doesn't tell them all the things that their constituents actually care about.

And because they're supposed to be serving everyone and not just the people who voted for them. I called my rep's office today, even though he's a Republican and therefore unlikely to vote for reform. I figure the Republicans with Democratic reps and senators probably have no qualms whatsoever about calling them and telling them how much they *don't* want reform, so why should I feel like I've somehow got no right to tell my rep what I think he should do? That's not democracy.


mercurychaos
Comment posted February 17, 2010 @ 1:34 am

Yep:

http://healthcare.change.org/blog/view/yes_you_…


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marcie1812
Comment posted February 17, 2010 @ 9:52 am

If these democrats don't get something meaningful through for healthcare reform, they are no different than the republicans. For 8 years they whined that they couldn't get anything done because of the republican majority and republican president. Now they have a majority and a democratic president and all they seem to be able to do is make up excuses why they STILL can't get anything done. It's almost time to vote out ALL encumbents and get some people that are serious in congress for a change.


pacerjkp1492
Comment posted February 17, 2010 @ 10:12 am

As someone who has been dealing with such deficiencies of the present health care system as “the donut” for the last three years, I am a firm supporter of a “robust public option” in whichever health care reform proposal that can be passed by this Congress. It appears thatan Reconciliation is the only way that the Democratic majority can overcome the intransigent tactics of the Republican minority to getting such a health reform bill passed


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mercurychaos
Comment posted February 17, 2010 @ 11:08 am

Seriously. My dad generally votes Republican (though I strongly suspect that he voted for Obama last time) but if he doesn't like the Republican candidate and there's someone running from the Green party, he votes for them to “help” them towards ten percent of the popular vote (which would give them equal federal funding in the next election, and thus the ability to win over even more people who would otherwise vote Democratic.)


Robert OBrien
Comment posted February 17, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

2/17/2010 4:00 Pm EST
Latest count is nine senators, including Sen. Kerry from my home state, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


0JosephHill0
Comment posted February 17, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

Oh puhleeze…sounds like you've swallowed the 'Democratic' Party mantra that shuts genuine progressives out of the political debate. How in the world could anybody believe that the GREEN Party deliberately works to elect someone from the Republican Party–a party whose candidates (in most cases) espouse principles that are the EXACT opposite of what the GREENS stand for?!

The Dems want everybody to get used to voting for a “Lesser Evil” in every election cycle. I refuse to vote for any “Lesser Evil”….particularly when they are almost as evil as the Republicans. I believe that every serious citizen has a duty to vote for the candidate who comes closest to his own values.

The DNC plays its 'loyalists' like a violin. EVERY election in the past 20 years is billed (by the DNC) as THE most important election in American history. Well, the Dems have been losing elections for quite some time by refusing to stand up for anything that might alienate Republican voters. I see no point in voting for Dem Party candidates if they end up voting like Republicans.

I would venture to say that about half of the people who end up voting for Democrats do so only out of fear that a 'Greater Evil' Republican might otherwise win. What kind of “democracy” allows only two parties–neither of which represents a majority–to vie for electoral office?

Until we can offer a level playing field for ALL political candidates, we will be forever stuck with voting for either a Republican or a Republican-Lite 'Democrat'. The Republicans and Democrats are like two mafia families who want to deny power to anybody else; they treat America like their very own “Cosa Nostra”, and they act in concert to keep power in their own hands. Just check out the ballot access laws and all the other hurdles they place in the way of any 3rd party participation in the political process.

I suggest that anyone who calls him/herself a 'Progressive' has a responsibility to vote for progressive candidates…no matter what the DNC hacks say about “wasted votes” and “spoiler candidates”. It's time to start voting our Hopes instead of our Fears.

There is no such thing as a wasted vote. In a time when overwhelming numbers of citizens don't like either of the major parties we should have a REAL alternative. Maybe then we'll get more than a 50% turn-out among eligible voters who see NO viable candidate representing the Public–rather than Corporate–interests,


JANET
Comment posted February 18, 2010 @ 4:57 pm

NOW THERE ARE 17 (CHUCK SCHUMER JUST SIGNED ON) THIS IS TURNING INTO A MOVEMENT AND EVERYONE NEEDS TO GO TO: WHIPCONGRESS.COM AND SIGN THE PETITION AND GET THE PHONE NUMBERS OF YOUR SENATORS AND PHONE THEM ASKING THEM TO SIGN ON…… I FEEL LIKE BUZZFLASH HAS PRETTY MUCH BURIED THIS STORY, AND IT'S EXTREMELY IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW.


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JANET
Comment posted February 18, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

NOW THERE ARE 17 (CHUCK SCHUMER JUST SIGNED ON) THIS IS TURNING INTO A MOVEMENT AND EVERYONE NEEDS TO GO TO: WHIPCONGRESS.COM AND SIGN THE PETITION AND GET THE PHONE NUMBERS OF YOUR SENATORS AND PHONE THEM ASKING THEM TO SIGN ON…… I FEEL LIKE BUZZFLASH HAS PRETTY MUCH BURIED THIS STORY, AND IT'S EXTREMELY IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW.


louis vuitton
Comment posted July 3, 2010 @ 3:23 am

As someone who has been dealing with such deficiencies of the present health care system as “the donut” for the last three years, I am a firm supporter of a “robust public option” in whichever health care reform proposal that can be passed by this Congress. It appears thatan Reconciliation is the only way that the Democratic majority can overcome the intransigent tactics of the Republican minority to getting such a health reform bill passed


Cole...
Comment posted July 14, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

A Reconciliation might even make the Democrat look like a Democrat–like move the public's perception of the demo as a sell out corporate bribe taker into a revitalized fresh new FDR did it mode.


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even


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