Saturday, August 1, 2009

Health-care reform: The progressives awake!


Rachel Maddow: The gloves come off on health-care reform.

I feel a little more hopeful about health-care reform today. It looks as if progressives in Congress may be finally waking up from the dead.

New York Rep. Anthony Weiner's move to showcase the hypocrisy of conservative House members on government-run health care was hilarious. He proposed to eliminate Medicare. Of course, not a single congressman voted for it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's strong language painting insurance companies as villains was good to hear.

It also sounds as if House Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) thinks the Blue Dog Democrats can be brought to heel on a public option. In a letter to constituents, Frank wrote:
I am a strong supporter of single payer, and I do reluctantly accept a full public option as the best we can do. So I am strongly committed to a public option and I will not vote for a bill that does not include a nationwide, genuine public plan.
Meanwhile, 57 members of Congress have signed a letter saying, "Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, for a public option with reimbursement rates based on Medicare rates — not negotiated rates — is unacceptable," and promising not to vote for the Blue Dog "compromise" bill currently on the table.

Signers include Illinois congressmen Luis Gutierrez (D-4th), Phil Hare (D-17th) and Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-2nd). I'm deeply disappointed not to see the names Danny Davis (D-7th), Bobby Rush (D-1st) and Jan Schakowsky (D-9th) on this list. If your representative's name isn't there, urge him or her to take the pledge.

While you're at it, send a note to Pres. Onamby-pamby urging him to promise he won't to sign any bill without at least a strong public option. Remind him that when we voted for change, we didn't mean small change. Tell him you want real change, like the single-payer option he used to say he supported.

There's also hopeful news on single-payer, perhaps. In order to get
Weiner to withdraw his amendment to replace the House Energy & Commerce Committee's bill with the single-payer H.R. 676, Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said that he had spoken with Pelosi, and she had pledged that single-payer would get a debate and floor vote and a debate on single payer in the full House! I'll believe it when I see it, but if it turns out to have been a mere ploy to get Weiner to shut up, Waxman is going to be up against the wall when the revolution comes.

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