One of the sources said White House officials are “deep in conversations” with Snowe on a much smaller health care bill than Obama originally envisioned.
The modified proposal would include insurance reforms, such as preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, according to the source.
The potential deal would give insurance companies a defined period to make such changes in order to help cover more people and drive down long-term costs. But if those changes failed to occur within the defined period, a so-called “trigger” would provide for creating a public option to force change on the insurance companies, the source said.
Snowe is pivotal to the debate because she may be Obama’s last possibility for getting a Republican senator to support his push for a health care overhaul.
This isn’t what I voted for. I did not vote for a man who allows his administration to solicit opportunities to water down the initiatives he promised. I did not vote for a man who reaches across the aisle to find a place to sit. I did not vote for a few more years. I did not vote for “Well, we could.”
Oh, I can’t say it nearly as well as Anne Lamott already did.
We did not know exactly how you would proceed to restore our beloved Constitution. It seemed beyond redemption, like my kitchen floor did briefly last week after my dog, Bodhi, accidentally ate 24 corn bread muffins. You said you would push back your sleeves and begin, that it would take all of us working harder than we ever had before, but that you would lead. While acknowledging the financial and moral devastation of the last eight years, you said you would start by giving your people healthcare. You would do battle with the conservatives and insurance companies. You said in your beautiful way many times that this was the overarching moral and spiritual issue of our times, and we understood this to mean that you took this to be your Selma, your Little Rock.
I hate to sound like a betrayed 7-year-old, but you said. And we believed you. Now you seem to have abandoned the dream. That is why moderates and liberals and progressives like myself all seem a little tense this summer. It is time to call your spirit back. We will be here to help when you get back from vacation. We want to help you get over the disappointment of Mr. Grassley’s cold shoulder, of Mr. Enzi blowing you off, even that nice Olympia Snowe standing you up. We can and will take to the streets again, march and hold peaceful rallies, go door to door, donate to any causes that will help get out the truth of what a public option would mean. But we need you to shake off the dust of the journey and remember the promises of Dr. King, and we need you to lead us toward what is no longer so distant a shore.
And on the subject of wanting bipartisanship:
Of the total votes cast that long-ago November day, I’m guessing that about 1,575 people wanted you to try to reconcile the toxic bipartisanship that culminated in those Sarah Palin rallies.
The other 66,880,655 of us wanted universal healthcare.
We still do. In very durable results, more than three-quarters of the U.S. wants at least a public option, including more than 60% of Republicans polled. This means that if the Senate were stocked with the Republicans who were asked for their opinions, they would have the necessary supermajority to shut down debate and just vote in a public option.
In fact, there are only three groups that don’t seem to be in favor of a public option: insurance companies, corporate media and our elected representatives.
And it only takes a few minutes of cable news viewing to arrive at the assumption that the “centrist” position on healthcare reform, according to Brooks and other establishment people, is a bill without a public option. The health insurance lobby in collusion with both the corrupt and spineless Blue Dogs and the lying hacks who control the cartoonish Republican Party have successfully convinced large chunks of Washington that the public option is some sort of ultra-left concoction manufactured inside the secret underground Wellstone Memorial Lib-ratory located beneath Howard Dean’s cavernous walk-in Birkenstock closet.
The reality, however, is that a healthcare reform bill with a robust public option is both extraordinarily popular and fiscally responsible, while, on the other hand, the kind of “centrist” bill that David Brooks wants is actually more expensive and generally more corrupt. In other words, a bill without the public option can hardly be called “centrist” by any definition of the term.
If Brooks wants “fiscal restraint,” as he writes in his column, he’d endorse the public option. What I’m about to write is old news, but with the apparent prevalence of breaking news stories on cable news about bears wandering into suburban swimming pools, I suppose it’s easy for people to forget. Nevertheless, here it is. You may recall that the CBO scored the Kennedy HELP bill as costing around $1 trillion over ten years. But that was an early version of the bill without a public option included. What did the bill cost with the public option inserted into the mix?
Why don’t the politicians support a public option? They’re isolated. They’re surrounded by people who thought “Yes, we can” was a brilliant stroke of marketing, period, and the energy around the election was an unsustainable fluke. They’re hounded by (and identify with) people who lead industries that don’t bear nearly the same risk we do in health care costs and for whom a doubling of health care costs in a decade is a mere annoyance. They’re used to laughing at the idealists, because for the last eight years, they really couldn’t get anything done.
And, maybe, we’re talking too much to each other and not enough to them. We need to puncture that isolation. Don’t assume your representatives know where you stand. Complain to your local media when they insist on covering the controversy instead of the groundswell. Sign MoveOn’s petition. The text is very simple.
“President Obama, we’re counting on you to fight for bold change on health care–including a strong public health insurance option. It’s the key to breaking the stranglehold that private insurers have over our health care system.”
Donate to help them advertise. And don’t forget to tell your health insurance story and your child’s and your parents’. Stories are important. They bind us together in this. They carry a weight that even our numbers can’t always convey and penetrate where we can’t always go. The health insurance industry may have the money. They have the media. They may even have the politicians. But they don’t have the stories, and they can’t control ours except by making things better.
That’s exactly what we want done, and we’re not about to compromise.
Update: Someone in the comments mentioned hope. Not to pick on her, but hope isn’t going to cut it. In the words of the immortal Shel Silverstein:
Well it wasn’t too very long ago you know some folks walked with a hi-dee-ho
And other folks walked around kind of low
Sayin’ Yowzah and Sho nuff and Yassuh boss
It was ashes to ashes and dust to dust and they didn’t believe in makin’ a fuss
So they quietly moved to the back of the bus
They just say Yowzah and Sho nuff and Yassuh boss
And when things got rough they did a little prayin’
Little arm wavin’ and a little bit of swayin’
Didn’t do no good they kept right on a sayin’
Sayin’ Yowzah and Sho nuff and Yassuh boss
So they all went out and did a little standin’ little less askin’ and a lot more demandin’
Little less liftin’ and a little less totin’ a lot more thinkin’ and a lot more votin’
A lot less hopin’ a lot less waitin’
A whole lot more demonstratin’a lot less pearly gate’n’
A lot more fightin’ and a lot more walkin’ until finally no one at all was talkin’
Like Yowzah and Sho nuff and Yassuh boss
The end of this story is plain to see they finally achieved equality
And now like you and me they can stand up strong and free
And say Yes sir and Of course sir and Anything you say JB
Clearly, there is more work to be done.
This entry was posted on Friday, September 4th, 2009 at 8:31 am and is filed under Politics, Stephanie Zvan. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.