FDL Action Health Care Update: Wednesday (12/16/09)

Here are the FDL Action health care reform highlights for Wednesday, December 16. We’ll call this the “Joe must go” edition.

1. Jon Walker writes about the “sad defeat of Dorgan’s drug re-importation amendment, which would have saved American consumers billions on their prescription drugs.”  Walker notes that “[a]llowing Americans to buy cheaper drugs from Canada or Europe was one of Obama’s campaign promise on health care,” and also that this is a “very popular, bipartisan idea that would actually help ‘bend the cost curve’ on our health care spending.” But now, it looks like it’s not going to happen, and that’s extremely unfortunate.

2. Jane Hamsher comments on the story that the White House is “very not pleased…with Dr. Dean speaking out about health care reform and this plan.”  The amazing thing is that the White House isn’t upset with Joe Lieberman for all the bad stuff he’s been doing, but is upset with Howard Dean for saying that we should scrap the current Senate bill, go to reconciliation and get a much stronger bill with public option, Medicare buy-in, etc.  It’s surreal.

3. Jane Hamsher reports on remarks by Sen. Russ Feingold, who said, “This bill appears to be legislation that the president wanted in the first place, so I don’t think focusing it on Lieberman really hits the truth.”

4. Jon Walker demolishes the “great big myth that reconciliation would not work for health care reform.” According to Walker, “That is pure nonsense,” as “reconciliation would still protect the guts of reform.” In addition, “provisions [not related to the budget] will only be removed if they fail to get 60 votes to wave the Byrd rule for those provisions.”  So why aren’t they doing this?

5. Jon Walker argues that the health care “bills could easily be redesigned to increase insurance coverage by roughly 30 million Americans at a fraction of the cost if we drop the massive giveaway to the insurance companies, and the individual mandate.” A new, revamped bill would contain “insurance market reforms,” “the House’s employer mandate and slightly increased small business tax credits,” “Medicaid expansion to 150%-200% FPL,” “Maintaining or expanding CHIP program,” and a “permanent COBRA expansion with subsidies.”  According to Walker, such a bill, “depending on design, should cover close to 30 million more Americans, and for less than a net cost of $500 billion” – “a fraction of the cost to the government (with a bill done through reconciliation), and without enriching the health insurance companies trying to kill real reform.”  Again, why aren’t they doing this?

6. Jon Walker writes that Bernie Sanders isn’t buying “the myth that reconciliation would not work for real health care reform.” Unfortunately, Harry Reid is buying it. Sigh.

7. Michael Whitney comments on “Jello Jay Rockefeller’s rant against Howard Dean on MSNBC this afternoon,” in which he asked, “So what do I do? do I take my football and run home and sulk?” Whitney’s punchline: “No, you’re going to kick it!”  Heh.

8. Jane Hamsher notes that Robert Gibbs never called Joe Lieberman “irrational,” as he essentially did about Howard Dean earlier today.

9. Jon Walker answer Nate Silver’s “20 questions for the ‘bill killers.'”

10. Jon Walker explains “How CBO Director Doug Elmendorf Wrote The Health Care Bill.”  In brief, Elmendorf put together a memo last May which “basically put the absolute limits on what Democrats would even attempt in health care reform.” According to Walker, “There is no real logic to it, he simply decided what he thought was enough regulation to make something part of the budget.” Somehow, given where we are right now, ending today’s health care update with the words “no real logic” seems highly appropriate.