The Latest

As near as I can tell, the Blue Dogs on the Energy and Commerce Committee are still being allowed to hold up health care legislation. Does anyone have a list of the E&C Committee Blue Dogs? I know that Mike Ross (Arkansas) is their “leader,” but I haven’t seen a list of all seven.

Meanwhile, I think Howard Fineman is wrong about the GOP not having a health care plan.

They have a plan; they just don’t want the public to know what it is. If you check in with all the major right-wing think tanks, they’re all pushing variations of this same plan:

  1. Scale back subsidies to, or else outright eliminate, government health care programs such as SCHIP and Medicare.
  2. Phase out employee benefit healthcare by eliminating tax breaks for employers who offer benefits and taxing the benefits as income.
  3. Encourage states to deregulate so that insurance companies are free to risk-rate at will, cranking up peoples’ insurance premiums as they get older and/or sicker.
  4. Write federal legislation that would allow people to purchase policies in another state. This would allow the insurance companies to set up shop in low-regulation states and market junk policies to the young and healthy with no pre-existing conditions. Everyone else would be left behind in higher-risk pools, meaning most people would be paying higher premiums.
  5. The “solution” for people who can’t afford insurance is to pay for medical expenses out of a Health Savings Account. Yes, people who can’t afford the premiums certainly must have plenty of disposable income to put aside into a savings account.
  6. The other “solution” for being priced out of insurance as you get older is Cato’s brilliant “insurance insurance” plan.

John McCain openly pushed for most of these ideas during last year’s presidential campaign, but since then the GOP mostly has kept its lipped zipped on most of these details except for the “purchasing insurance across state lines” idea.

If I were a reporter I’d be running all over Washington with some of the think tank studies and pinning down GOP legislators on whether they endorse or reject these “ideas.”

21 thoughts on “The Latest

  1. Sadly maha, if you were a reporter, you’d do no such thing — at least judging by the standards of today’s reporters.

  2. found this on their website

    Blue Dog Leadership Team

    Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Administration
    Rep. Baron Hill (IN-09), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Policy
    Rep. Charlie Melancon (LA-03), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications
    Rep. Heath Shuler (NC-11), Blue Dog Whip

    Blue Dog Members

    Altmire, Jason (PA-04)
    Arcuri, Mike (NY-24)
    Baca, Joe (CA-43)
    Barrow, John (GA-12)
    Berry, Marion (AR-01)
    Bishop, Sanford (GA-02)
    Boren, Dan (OK-02)
    Boswell, Leonard (IA-03)
    Boyd, Allen (FL-02)
    Bright, Bobby (AL-02)
    Cardoza, Dennis (CA-18)
    Carney, Christopher (PA-10)
    Chandler, Ben (KY-06)
    Childers, Travis (MS-01)
    Cooper, Jim (TN-05)
    Costa, Jim (CA-20)
    Cuellar, Henry (TX-28)
    Dahlkemper, Kathy (PA-03)
    Davis, Lincoln (TN-04)
    Donnelly, Joe (IN-02)
    Ellsworth, Brad (IN-08)
    Giffords, Gabrielle (AZ-08)
    Gordon, Bart (TN-06)
    Griffith, Parker (AL-05)
    Harman, Jane (CA-36)
    Herseth Sandlin, Stephanie (SD)
    Hill, Baron (IN-09)
    Holden, Tim (PA-17)
    Kratovil, Jr., Frank (MD-01)
    McIntyre, Mike (NC-07)
    Marshall, Jim (GA-03)
    Matheson, Jim (UT-02)
    Melancon, Charlie (LA-03)
    Michaud, Mike (ME-02)
    Minnick, Walt (ID-01)
    Mitchell, Harry (AZ-05)
    Moore, Dennis (KS-03)
    Murphy, Patrick (PA-08)
    Nye, Glenn (VA-02)
    Peterson, Collin (MN-07)
    Pomeroy, Earl (ND)
    Ross, Mike (AR-04)
    Salazar, John (CO-03)
    Sanchez, Loretta (CA-47)
    Schiff, Adam (CA-29)
    Scott, David (GA-13)
    Shuler, Heath (NC-11)
    Space, Zack (OH-18)
    Tanner, John (TN-08)
    Taylor, Gene (MS-04)
    Thompson, Mike (CA-01)
    Wilson, Charles (OH-06)

  3. It does seem like reporters would ask them just what they see as the solution to the looming health crisis. I would even say, each time anyone says no, ask them their solution and ask for figures too since so often cost is mentioned. Once someone says what they think will work and how much it will cost, have someone run the figures. Have someone see if it offers anything worthwhile. All suggestions welcomed, but don’t give us that insurance insurance crap.

  4. I’m starting to believe that if we as a people are so stupid that the Republican tricks work AGAIN, we don’t deserve any better…
    Jesus, the people in Soviet Russia had no choice but to spew the party line. In private, they knew their government was a joke, and would say so, as long as nobody from the government could hear them. They knew that the news from PRAVDA had no truth in it whatsoever. Yet, we here, led by our stupid/lazy/incurious MSM, seem to go for the shiny lure of ‘no taxes’ right onto the dinner plate. And there, the Corporatist’s garnish us with lemon, butter and parsley, with a nice crisp Chablis, and get fatter.
    If I could find a job outside the US, I’d jump in a minute. But, I can’t even find one here that I can work because of the leg problems I’ve got (but I’m not disabled enough to collect anything. And I don’t have health care, so I can’t even afford to look for a doctor who would classify me as disabled so that I could collect. Which, I’d rather not do. I’d rather work. But I can’t find a job that I can work without being on my feet. It’s a vicious circle).
    AMERICA! What a country!!!
    Move over Haiti, we’re taking your place in the Third World.

  5. Don’t actions have consequences anymore? It seems not. Come next election the Democrats will simply fall in line behind the blue dogs and support them for re-election without a murmur.

  6. Baron Hill is on Energy and Commerce. I voted in his district in 2008 and have been working facebook to make sure his current constituents (I’ve moved my registration back to California since I’m not getting to Indiana much this year) know the CBO scores the plan as creating a budget surplus. In Bloomington at least his BS about cost won’t fly.

  7. Come next election the Democrats will simply fall in line behind the blue dogs and support them for re-election without a murmur.

    Unfortunately true. Uber-blue dog Ben Nelson is my senator; I know from many long years of frustration that when there’s campaign money in it for him (e.g., from the insurance-industry lobby), he makes up his mind that he’s doing the right thing for everybody in supporting the lobby’s wishes. No amount of persuasion or reason is thenceforth allowed to penetrate his big, hollow, wooden head. His staff prepares and disseminates his canned responses to all emails, letters and phone calls of exhortation to the contrary. When he gives phone interviews on a controversial issue, he is clearly heard to be reading from a script. GRRR. Bad senator!

    The Nebraska Democratic Party needs to cut Ben Nelson off from the money bowl, but they’re terrified to do so because they think his brand of right-of-center “D” politics is the only kind of “D” that can win elections here. Never mind that during the Reagan/Bush I years, we elected liberal Bob Kerrey as our governor, and then our U.S. senator. It particularly galls me that Nelson now has Kerrey’s old senate seat.

    I’m not sure how to deal with these belly-crawling dogs, other than to say “Money’s the key.” Money is what they smell, and salivate to. Even if a blue dog loses re-election, he’ll just become a lobbyist to stay near the money.

  8. I was at a town hall with Gene Green last night. At least he was supposed to be there and was in Washington of course. I went with a group supporting a National Health Program ( the only thing we can afford) We had a disruptive group from a variety of far right wing groups. They were for all the things you list and did not want to pay for anyone health except their own. They were capitalists, they said. I am about ready to suggest all health care be sold on Ebay to the highest bidder. I have written a couple of ads. ‘For Sale: Cancer cure: I will cure your cancer and have unlimited resources from the drug companies for your care. Only the most expensive for you. Money back guarantee. Not transferable. Two Million dollars or best offer.’ Note: bids only from the currently terminal.

  9. I think that if the righties really want health care to be “capitalism,” then health treatments should come with a money-back guarantee.

  10. I am about ready to suggest all health care be sold on Ebay to the highest bidder.

    Hmm, health care as pure capitalism… sure would give those skeezy “Magic Bullet” infomercials a whole new meaning.

  11. When you see all of these so-called “ideas” for changing health care in one place, you begin to realize how out-of-touch and yes, foolishly stupid conservatives really are. They delusionally believe that capitalists noblely will provide manna to the masses if only the heavy yoke of taxation is lifted from their golden shoulders and that those who are poor are only that way because they are lazy and shiftless and subhuman and therefore deserve our scorn and punishment. Weird and deviant beliefs….

  12. Cato’s brilliant “insurance insurance” plan.

    The greatest idea since Credit Default Swaps.

  13. I’m thinking about selling a kidney on Ebay,I hear they fetch about $100,000., and you don’t need to be the original owner!
    Now that’s about a ugly as it gets.

  14. In these times you gotta think outside the box, er, assylum…….
    Buddy, can you spare a liver?

  15. Blue Dog Jim Matheson is my rep. Being in Utah, he’s the Democrat of the kind that would be a Republican anywhere else, and politically I don’t think he has a hell of a lot of choice. However, I did call him up and give the staffer a big polite earful of what I wanted from health care reform (i.e., liberal version).

  16. Thank you S – not that I was going to vote for Harman, but now I have more fuel to stoke the fire burning in Mahattan Beach to unseat her.

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