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January 22, 2010

Chill Out: Pelosi hasn't given up on health reform

People are getting way too worked up about Nancy Pelosi's announcement that she doesn't have the votes to pass the Senate's health reform bill right now.

"In every meeting that we have had, there would be nothing to give me any thought that that bill could pass right now the way that it is," Pelosi said yesterday, "There isn't a market right now for proceeding with the full bill unless some big changes are made."

Now, maybe Pelosi doesn't have the votes right now, but such is the life of the Speaker of the House. Just because she doesn't have the votes in hand doesn't necessarily mean she can't get them.

If Pelosi does have the votes right now, she'd be a fool to say so. In the wake of Martha Coakley's defeat, all eyes are on the House. If health care reform is to survive, the House will have to pass the Senate bill "as is." But that wouldn't necessarily be the end of the story. The Senate could still fix some stuff the House doesn't like through budget reconciliation. In theory, it could even put the public option back.

Pelosi would be foolish announce that the House could pass the Senate bill right off the bat. She'd lose all her leverage with her Senate colleagues. If Pelosi assures them she has this all wrapped up, the Senate won't change a thing.

Pelosi's using the oldest negotiating trick in the book: "Sorry, guys, my hands are tied. The yahoos in my caucus will never accept your deal. I guess the whole thing goes down in flames. That is, unless you give them X. Then maybe I can talk some sense into the hoopleheads."

Pelosi probably needs some major concessions in order to get the votes. For example, there are probably at some hardline House Democrats who would get on board if the Senate first passed reconciliation instructions abolishing the so-called "Cadillac plan" tax. Getting rid of the tax is a high priority for the labor movement.

I've been told by several experts on legislative procedure that it is possible to pass the reconciliation instructions first as long as the president ultimately signs the health care bill first.

So, don't panic. Pelosi has shown no signs of giving up on health reform. She's just doing her job.


I hope you're right, Lindsay, but my gut tells me that Democrats have reverted to being the feckless finger-pointing scaredy-cats they've always kind of seemed like. I would give almost anything to be wrong about that.

Nancy Pelosi should tell Harry Reid to pass a public option through reconciliation, and then she can get the House to vote for the HCR bill the Senate already passed.

Really, the one bright spot in this whole situation is that we have Nancy. She's accomplished an amazing amount of amazing stuff -- beating privatization, turning us into an anti-withdrawal party in 2006, passing cap&trade out of nowhere, and getting the health care bill through once. If she can't save us, nobody can.

I think one thing worth keeping in mind is that, for the most part, none of this has really changed. The House doesn't want to pass the Senate bill, but they didn't want to do that on Monday either. Now the reality of the Senate has changed, so maybe they'll ultimately be forced to do it whether they want to or not, but my sense has been all along that they're just kind of holding the line and feeling out the new landscape. I don't think, at least not now anyway, that a 256 member House Democratic caucus is going to be the governing entity that puts a bullet in HCR.

Ya know, I really like Nancy Pelosi, but a couple of things.

1. There's no way you can credit Nancy Pelosi with stopping privatization. Yes she drove a hard line on it, and was very helpful with media messaging, but she's still in the House. If 218 House Republicans had decided they wanted to pass Bush's plan, there's nothing she could have done to stop them. Depending on how you like it, SS privatization died either because enough Republicans genuinely didn't want to go there, or because they didn't want to go there knowing they couldn't break a Senate filibuster on the deal.

2. In retrospect, I'm not sure the cap and trade bill wasn't a mistake. Don't get me wrong, I'm completely in favor of the policy, but House leadership twisted a lot of arms very hard to get that bill passed for...nothing. The Senate isn't going to pass any sort of climate bill this Congress, and most people thought they never would. It would be a lot easier to whip votes for HCR now if leadership hadn't deployed a hefty share of their ammunition getting the votes for a futile climate bill.

I don't think you're giving Pelosi enough credit on stop SS privatization. She managed to get zero Dems (or maybe 1 near the end) to sign on to the Republican plan, which can be a very difficult thing to do when you're talking about Blue Dogs. For once it was Republicans who got scared of what would happen if they messed with Social Security all by themselves, and that helped greatly on pulling the plug. Ah, the good old days of being in the minority! (and yes that last was at least half sarcasm)

Should we cut 500 billion from seniors,MANDATE H.C under threats of fines and imprisonment, impose taxes on ALL medical devices, taxed for 10yrs. while only getting 6yrs. of service. Or maybe paying for The unions H.C. till 2018, or paying ALL of Nebraska's H.C.all at a cost of 2.4 trillion and yet 25 million people still won't be covered. This is CRAZY!!!! Oh by the way I'm still waiting for transparency. Obama's in Ohio right now and after giving a speech just kicked out all cameramen before questioning session. Pitiful!!!

You're right Cliff, we should trust Republicans (which is where most of your 'points' come from) in terms of healthcare. The party that pushed so hard hard against Medicare (Reagan said it would be the end of freedom in the US) and had continually tried to get rid of it since ... until last summer. And have offered no plan of their own.

If Pelosi is doing this as a negotiating ploy, then she's stupid. The Senate has 41 Republicans, of whom 40 voted no and one is positioning himself as a conservative leader. Those Republicans can still filibuster reconciliation; the only difference between reconciliation and a regular vote is that you can't filibuster reconciliation to change the bill, only to kill it.

I'm pretty sure that stripping a Cadillac plan tax in favor of an income tax is just going to piss more people off. Unions aren't popular outside the Democratic base.

A LINE IN THE SAND - From jacksmith - WorkingClass

My Fellow Americans and People Of The World

A strong Government-run MEDICARE like Public Option is STILL! CRITICAL!

We have had a long hard struggle to find out what would be the BEST! that this congress and the Whitehouse could do to fix our highly dangerous, poor quality, most costly, and MOST! disgraceful healthcare delivery system in the world. It is clear that congress can do much more for the American people than what is proposed so far.

It is clear that congress can pass a strong GOVERNMENT-run public option CHOICE. Available to everyone on day one. Expand Medicare and not levy any new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. LET THIS BE YOUR LINE IN THE SAND!

Lastly, there can be NO! INDIVIDUAL MANDATES without a strong Government-run MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. Or the American people WILL! and SHOULD! revolt with an all out CIVIL WAR against congress and this Government.

House and Senate progressives and the tri-caucuses should aggressively push for the inclusion of a strong Public Option, Medicare expansion, and no new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. If the obstructionist kill meaningful healthcare reform, then you should kill this bill. Because it will be far worse than the healthcare disaster we have now. It's failure will be on the obstructionist heads. And they will be punished and replaced.


What is proposed in the Senate bill is the worst case scenario for health-care reform. It would shift trillions of taxpayer, public and private dollars into the hands of the private insurance industry (The single most costly, deadly and dangerous product sold in America). And it would compel by law millions of Americans to financially support this oxymoronic criminal enterprise. You cant have a individual MANDATE WITHOUT A STRONG PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE!

You will have NO! realistic way of controlling cost and quality. Cost will continue soaring through the roof bleeding the American people dry, and KILLing our economy. And our quality of healthcare will continue to decline below our current ranking of "WORST! quality of healthcare delivery in the developed World".

From the very start, the American people have been crystal clear about what they wanted. They wanted a humane single payer system like the rest of the developed world has (HR676). Or at least a humane strong GOVERNMENT-run public option CHOICE!! This is what the American people gave the democrats control of the house, control of the senate, and control of the Whitehouse to do.

Those of you that can, should prepare now to remove every member of congress that fails to support YOUR healthcare reform with a strong Public Option, Medicare expansion, and no new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. Run against them in teams if you have to. But take them out. And replace them with a strong single payer or PRO PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE candidate.

Now! is the time to bring maximum pressure on your members of congress. Contact your representatives and spread the word.

The Public Option


I have to tell you now that the H1N1 virus is a man-made WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION! and TERROR! It is a WEAPONIZED version of a flu virus. It has swept the planet infecting millions. And causing a global pandemic that has killed tens of thousands, and injured millions.

The H1N1 virus is the product of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! It was released in the U.S. in Texas in early January of last year, but not recognized until around April 2009 in California. The reason I know this is because when it came to America, it came to see me FIRST! How sweet...

This was around the time the MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! assaulted the Whitehouse with all their devils deals to cripple and weaken YOUR! healthcare reform. Especially your right to have a single payer system like HR676 (Medicare For All) which most of you wanted.

They don't even want you to have your HUGE!!! compromise position of a strong government-run MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. To compete with their DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, MURDEROUS, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT PRODUCT (The single most costly, deadly and dangerous product sold in America).

They also wanted to take away your rights to have your government meet it's responsibility to use it's full power to regulate, negotiate, and control drug cost, healthcare cost and quality. Something every other civilized country in the developed World has done for it's people. Their Greed! moral degeneracy and lack of patriotism knows no bounds.

Many of you will remember that before we knew about H1N1. I posted a open message to the President and Congress warning them to be vigilant about their health, and cautious about any medical advice they received. As I said then "they will not hesitate to try and hurt you".

The U.S. and the World have been under a BIOLOGICAL TERROR ATTACK! for over a year now. It is CRITICAL that We The People Of The United States take away control of our healthcare system from the GREED DRIVEN MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!

For our own National security, and the security of the world.

A Strong, government-run, MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. Available to everyone on day one, with the full unfettered power of the federal government to regulate, negotiate, and control cost and quality. Would be the most workable way to deal with this global crisis at this time. Including patent suspensions as needed for national security or the greater good.

As an American I invite the peoples of the World to help us fix our healthcare crisis. And bring pressure on our government to meet it's responsibility to protect global security by controlling, and removing the corrupting influence of GREED and the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT motivations from healthcare in the U.S. and around the World.

I call on the governments of the World and the global intelligence community to track down these MASS MURDERERS, and bring them to justice. CONNECT THE DOTS! And be vigilant that they don't slip in another viral strain on you under the cloak of H1N1 sequestration.

Further, the proposed patent protection on biologic's must be stripped from the US bill. And greatly shorten/restricted, or abolished completely. This is a grave danger to humanity and global security.

I think President Obama is doing the best he can at playing the disastrous deck of cards he inherited from the previous administration. And I think he is doing an excellent job. But the wolves and devils of the medical industrial complex! are trying to exploit, and take advantage of his good heart, and desperate desire to help suffering Americans. But we must be strong and insist that healthcare reform be done right for the American people. Or everyone loose's.

This is all I can say in a message post. I'll try to find a way to tell you more later.

God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings

jacksmith - Working Class

p.s. The so-called nominal H1N1 virus is designed in such a way as to make it more lethal to children and young adults. The medical community must be more vigilant of secondary bacterial infections in the young caused by H1N1. And remember, a viral infection is also a transfer of genetic code to you. Think about it, and be vigilant. :-(

Alon, where are you getting this?

Those Republicans can still filibuster reconciliation; the only difference between reconciliation and a regular vote is that you can't filibuster reconciliation to change the bill, only to kill it.

That doesn't fit with anything I've read.

No, you're right - I was thinking about the conference bill. Because I did read some progressives propose to add the public option back in conference, filibuster any amendment that would kill it, and then pass it with a bare majority, based on the assumption that conference bills are not subject to filibuster.

Reconciliation has that other problem, the 10-year sunset provisions. Plus, it pisses off process hawks and gives moderates an excuse to vote no.

Bear in mind, Snowe and Collins have just said they're still open to health care reform, which basically means, "Now that we're important again, give us something to water down the bill at a random place so we'll vote yes." It'd be just like the stimulus.

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