Public Option Finance Committee Live Debate
I'm listening to the public option debate in the Senate Finance Committee at this link. I guess I can embed it right here:
Chuck Grassley is going on and on with his series of lies about the public option. All you need to know is that it saves hundreds of billions of dollars, and everyone who presumes to be worried about the total cost of the bill and at the same time rejects the public option is full of it.
Jon Walker has a good liveblog going. Earlier, Jay Rockefeller went to town on the Baucus bill:
10:24 - Rockefeller quoted in his defense of the public option former Cigna excutive Wendell Potter who called Baucus's bill the, "the Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act."
10:33 - Rockefeller pointed out that while the private insurance companies will receive a half trillion dollars in federal money, there is no requirement in the Mark for the private insurance companies to spend that money on care. The House bills has an minimum 85% medical loss ratio. Baucus's bill has no minimum medical loss ratio
10:37 - Rockefeller is putting the private health insurance industry on trial. He is going through all the different ways private insurance companies screw over their costumers and deny claims.
Chuck Schumer just now asked Grassley what he thinks of Medicare. He called it "part of the social fabric of America." It wasn't in 1964! Maybe in 40 years, the public option will be part of the social fabric of America. Grassley is dancing.
Bill Nelson interjects saying "how in the world do you make that leap" that a public option will lead to single payer? Grassley uses the Lewin Group statistics, not based on the public option plan on offer - also Lewin Group is owned by United Health Group and not an unbiased source.
...just to be clear, it's likely for us to lose this one. But this debate, according to Schumer, will revitalize the debate for the Senate floor. Hopefully Schumer will ensure that the floor amendment on the public option will only require a majority vote. Robert Reich has a good story on this as well.
...Orrin Hatch is trading off of the decades-old demonization of government from the Reagan era onward, saying that DC bureaucrats cannot manage health care. Well, I eagerly await Hatch, essentially a DC bureaucrat, recusing himself from all health care votes this session, including participating in any filibusters, because he clearly considers himself such a bad manager. Incidentally, the reason we're doing health care reform right now is because private management of health care has failed.
...Bob Menendez comes out for the public option. I think he may have been on the fence until now. That's another member of the leadership, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, for the public option. He's the guy who delivers resources to Senate candidates, including incumbents, so that's notable.
...Note the states Menendez singled out for having no competition in the insurance market - Maine, Wyoming, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota. Every one in the Gang of Six!
...Conrad is up. Calls his co-op crap "the public interest option"! His main complaint is the Medicare reimbursement rate, which is more of an issue than I made of it last week. We'll see if he votes yes on the Schumer amendment, which does not tie a public option to Medicare rates. I think there's a way to meet halfway on this. Tying the public option to Medicare rates saves lots of money, but it could save half that by equalizing the reimbursement rates in some states.
...Nelson asks Conrad to change the name of his co-ops to something even more indecipherable.
...Bingaman is up. He's getting some clarifications. Rockefeller is getting a little fed up with the distortions of his amendment.
...Bingaman supports a public option, but it looks like he'll only vote for the Schumer "level playing field" public option instead of Rockefeller's. That's a cost, according to the CBO, of $85 billion dollars, if you look at the House bills. So I'm sure Bingaman will come up with $85 billion in new funding to make up for that, right?
...Schumer is making a very strong case for the public option. Of course, his plan would score lower and save less money, which he admits.
...TPM has that exchange between Schumer and Grassley, where Grassley calls Medicare part of the social fabric of America.
John Ensign is dredging up that Belinda Stronach (Canadian MP) came to the US for health care canard. He won't mention that she raised money for adding the cosmetic surgery she needed - COSMETIC, not the care itself - in the Canadian health care system.
Then Ensign claimed that US health care is great because if you take away every car accident and gun death, it turns out our preventable death rate is excellent. Which is just about the stupidest thing I've heard yet in this debate. Is John Ensign calling for a total gun ban in the United States?
...Debbie Stabenow's going to wrap up the debate before a lunch break. Stabenow frames the public option as "the grand compromise," which it is.