Tag: Senate Finance Committee

Feb 20

Friday:Obama HC Summit Plan-No Public Option,Yes Excise Tax

Yesterday, I wrote about why it is a mistake for the Democrats to cling to the Senate Finance Committee’s funding mechanism for their health insurance “reform” bill, which is a punitive, regressive excise tax on the working class’s health insurance benefits themselves, which the White House persists in calling the “Cadillac tax.”

http://docudharma.com/diar…

Since Friday afternoon is always good for a newsdump, according to Chris Bowers at Open Left, Jillian Rayfield at TPMDC, and Greg Sargent at The Plum Line, we have the usual Democratic anonymous WH sources/leadership aides

 telling us that the President intends to offer the excise tax and no Public Option to the “Bipartisan” health care bill summit next Thursday Feb 25 th.

Sargent:

Okay, I’ve got some more info for you on what the health care compromise proposal that Obama will bring to the summit next week is going to look like.

Bottom line: It’s all but certain to have the Cadillac tax in it, even though House Dems oppose it, and no public option, aides say.

http://theplumline.whorunsgov….

Oh, goody.

Now, last night at Open Left, we had the breathless BREAKING! applied to this little nugget:

Obama will support the public option if Reid will.  

http://www.openleft.com/diary/…

Based on HHS Sec Kathleen Sebelius answering an interview question put to her by Rachel Maddow.

Check out this Research 2000 polling done in Nevada, this month 2/9 – 2/10/10 :  http://act.boldprogressives.or…

88% of Nevada Democrats and 61% of Independents favor a govt. admin health insurance plan “like Medicare” for younger people to be able to obtain as a choice to compete with private plans

89% of Nevada Democrats and 56% of Independents would prefer passing health insurance reform that includes a public option, and that would make them more likely to vote for Democrats in the 2010 elections, even if this meant the bill didn’t get Republican votes.

88% of Democrats and 58% of Independents think Harry Reid should include a Public Option in Reconciliation.

Today, Friday, President Obama did a joint appearance with Senate Majority Leader Reid at a town hall in a high school gym in Henderson, Nevada.  They hugged, they praised each other, they made boxing allegories.  

 “Health care has been knocking me around pretty good,” Obama said. “It’s been knocking Harry around pretty good.”

The goal was to shift the emphasis from the unpopularity of some of Reid’s votes to, in Obama’s view, the courage it took to take expensive steps to save the economy. “Sometimes he takes his licks,” Obama said of Reid. “But he gets back up. Harry Reid has never stopped fighting.”  

Yup. Harry’s never stopped fighting.  Fighting for what, we’re not sure, and in what decade, we don’t know, but he’s still in there, swingin’ away.   Harry’s sagging in the polls in his Nevada re election race.  Nevada, with the highest percentage of veterans and retirees in the nation (think living on fixed incomes), and an economy that depends on tourism and entertainment, has been battered brutally in this recession, as it also has a 13% unemployment rate, and the 2nd highest foreclosure rates in the nation.  Harry needs a Big Las Vegas Finale to pull this one off.  

Feb 19

Why the Excise Tax Sucks

~Why the Excise Tax Sucks~

In the current Senate version of the Health Insurance Reform Bill, the funding mechanism is being called an “excise tax,”   and it is currently designed to be applied to HEALTH INSURANCE BENEFITS

There’s  4 major things wrong with the Senate version of the bill:

1.  This so called excise tax, which is regressive, hurting lower wage workers more than higher wage earners.

2.  The lack of a public option to provide a guaranteed alternative to the vampire blood sucking of private for profit insurance , and therefore, the lack of universal coverage-   this means insurers are guaranteed to have a rotating pool of “excludables,” perpetrating the caste system and the medical access lottery of the damned.

3.  The lack of universal health care coverage for all, which, aside from the moral implications, therefore still provides a mechanism for all the things wrong with the current cannibalistic system to continue.

4.  The Democrats in the Senate being unable, so far, to be willing to change the suckitudinalness and go for some serious reconciliation with the House.

Today, we’ll look at reasons to get rid of the excise tax.

Dec 17

FDR warned about Economic Royalists — Looks like he’s STILL RIGHT!

Economic Royalists:

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his speech accepting the Democratic nomination for a second term, delivered at Philadelphia on 27 June 1936, said, “The economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power.”

(emphasis added)

http://www.answers.com/topic/e…

How about a “Case Study” using a recent history of their HandiWork … and their apparent Victory — AGAIN!

Oct 09

On Learning To Love Homegrown, Or, Baucus’ Fundraising Considered

So we are now finding out the answers to some of our questions about which members of Congress actually represent We, the People…and which ones represent, Them, the Corporate Masters.

We have seen a Democratic Senator propose a policy that would put people in jail for not buying health insurance and a Democratic President who has taken numerous public beatings from those on the left side of the fence for his inability to ram something through a group of people…and yes, folks, the entendre was intentional.

But most of all, we’ve been asking ourselves: “why would Democratic Members of Congress who will eventually want us to vote for them vote against something that nearly all voting Democrats are inclined to vote for?”

Today’s conversation attempts to answer that question by looking at exactly how money and influence flow through a key politician, Montana’s Senator Max Baucus-and in doing so, we examine some ugly political realities that have to be resolved before we can hope to convince certain Members of Congress to vote for what their constituents actually want when it really counts.

Oct 07

Limpin’Along: Senate Finance Committee CBO Score Comes Back

According to what I just saw on MSNBC on my local cable channel, out here in my nearly bankrupt coastal state, the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Max Baucus (D, Sort of, Montana) their version of the health insurance reform bill that they have been balking and dawdling over for months, just came back from being scored by the Congressional Budget Office, and the price tag is:  (drumroll, please! )

829 billion dollars over a ten year period

The obscure Republican Talking Head they had on for this occasion immediately demanded we just throw the entire thing out, and start over again because this was an “830 billion dollar TAX INCREASE and the American people don’t want this plan.”

I thought, man, even I could do a better job of making the thing unpalatable as possible, why doesn’t he just say that Cal yee forn nee yah Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed the concept of health insurance reform yesterday in order to butter up Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, another coastal state, with another “moderate” Republican, and then they could have all the True Republicans run screaming from the Capitol Building calling for an air strike.

Oh, wait, they can’t do that anymore.. Darn it.

 

Sep 23

Ron Wyden: Public Option Doesn’t Go FAR Enough

Wyden amendment gaining support

By Tony Romm, The Hill – 09/22/2009

An amendment to the Senate Finance Committee’s healthcare bill that would permit employees to shop around for health insurance policies is slowly gaining momentum on the Hill.

The idea, pitched by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) last week, would open the proposed “insurance exchange” — where consumers can compare and purchase insurance plans — to Americans who already receive coverage from their employers.



What has made Wyden’s proposal especially appealing today, however, is the Congressional Budget Office’s recent cost estimate. By their math, his amendment would reduce the bill’s impact on the deficit by about $1 billion over the next 10 years.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-…

Sep 21

Considered Forthwith: Joint Committe on Taxation (HCR info)

Welcome to the 22nd installment of “Considered Forthwith.”

This weekly series looks at the various committees in the House and the Senate. Committees are the workshops of our democracy. This is where bills are considered, revised, and occasionally advance for consideration by the House and Senate. Most committees also have the authority to exercise oversight of related executive branch agencies.

And we’re back. This week, I will be looking at the Joint Committee on Taxation. With the upcoming Finance Committee mark up of the Baucus bill, this little known committee will be in the spotlight. This is the committee responsible for studying the impact of tax policy and has calculated the revenue projections for the Finance Committee bill (opens a .pdf file).

Sep 20

IF we get the Public Option, WHO will Get the Choice?

Health Reform’s Missing Ingredient

By Ron Wyden, Senator D-OR, NYTimes Op-Ed

September 17, 2009

The various bills making their way through Congress would, as the president explained, provide some consumer choice by establishing large marketplaces where people could easily compare insurance plans and pick the one that best suits their needs.

[…]

The problem with these bills, however, is that they would not make the exchanges available to all Americans. Only very small companies and those individuals who can’t get insurance outside of the exchange – 25 million people – would be allowed to shop there. This would leave more than 200 million Americans with no more options, private or public, than they have today.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09…

Wait a second, I thought the Public Option, would give us a Choice —

give US ALL a Choice?

The Insurance Exchange will be closed to “more than 200 million Americans”?

that must be a typo!?!

Sep 16

Doctors strongly In Favor of the Public Option, just like the Nation

Poll Finds Most Doctors Support Public Option

by Joseph Shapiro, NPR — September 14, 2009

When polled, “nearly 3/4 of physicians supported some form of a public option, either alone or in combination with private insurance options,”

[…]

Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, conducted a random survey, by mail and by phone, of 2,130 doctors. They surveyed them from June right up to early September.

Most doctors – 63 percent – say they favor giving patients a choice that would include both public and private insurance.

[…]

another 10 percent of doctors say they favor a public option only; they’d like to see a single-payer health care system. Together, the two groups add up to 73 percent.

http://www.npr.org/templates/s…

Hmmm? I wonder if Doctors, know anything about our Broken Insurance System?

Ya think!?

Jul 07

WSJ reports: White House Open to Deal on Public Health Plan

crossposted on Daily Kos

White House Open to Deal on Public Health Plan

By LAURA MECKLER and JANET ADAMY – JULY 7, 2009 – WSJ


WASHINGTON — It is more important that health-care legislation inject stiff competition among insurance plans than it is for Congress to create a pure government-run option, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Monday.

[…]

One of the most contentious issues is whether to create a public health-insurance plan to compete with private companies.

Mr. Emanuel said one of several ways to meet President Barack Obama’s goals is a mechanism under which a public plan is introduced only if the marketplace fails to provide sufficient competition on its own. He noted that congressional Republicans crafted a similar trigger mechanism when they created a prescription-drug benefit for Medicare in 2003. In that case, private competition has been judged sufficient and the public option has never gone into effect.

Mr. Obama has pushed hard for a vigorous public option. But he has also said he won’t draw a “line in the sand” over this point.

http://online.wsj.com/article/…

OH NO! Not that stupid Trigger Option again!

Enough Already!  

Jul 01

Who will the Senate Finance Committee Listen to?

Have you met your Senate Finance Committee?

Give em a call because your Future Health Care, or lack thereof, is in their hands.

Senate Committee on Finance

Members

REPUBLICANS

CHUCK GRASSLEY, IA

ORRIN G. HATCH, UT

OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, ME

JON KYL, AZ

JIM BUNNING, KY

MIKE CRAPO, ID

PAT ROBERTS, KS

JOHN ENSIGN, NV

MIKE ENZI, WY

JOHN CORNYN, TX

DEMOCRATS

MAX BAUCUS, MT

JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, WV

KENT CONRAD, ND

JEFF BINGAMAN, NM

JOHN F. KERRY, MA

BLANCHE L. LINCOLN, AR

RON WYDEN, OR

CHARLES E. SCHUMER, NY

DEBBIE STABENOW, MI

MARIA CANTWELL, WA

BILL NELSON, FL

ROBERT MENENDEZ, NJ

THOMAS CARPER, DE

http://finance.senate.gov/site…

Chances are, these good Senators, while they hear us, have some other Constituents, always on their minds.

Jun 14

Considered Forthwith: Senate Finance Committee

Welcome to the 12th installment of “Considered Forthwith.”

This weekly series looks at the various committees in the House and the Senate. Committees are the workshops of our democracy. This is where bills are considered, revised, and occasionally advance for consideration by the House and Senate. Most committees also have the authority to exercise oversight of related executive branch agencies.

This week, Considered Forthwith looks at the Senate Finance Committee. This committee is the other half of the health care reform debate equation. I detailed the other half, the Senate HELP Committee, last week.

In general, the Finance Committee handles tax measures and government-funded health insurance programs. As a result, this is a very powerful committee. Moreover, if health care reform dies, it will likely find its grave in this committee.