Washington Post—My late husband, Ted Kennedy, was passionate about health-care reform. It was the cause of his life. He believed that health care for all our citizens was a fundamental right, not a privilege, and that this year the stars — and competing interests — were finally aligned to allow our nation to move forward with fundamental reform. He believed that health-care reform was essential to the financial stability of our nation’s working families and of our economy as a whole.
Still, Ted knew that accomplishing reform would be difficult. If it were easy, he told me, it would have been done a long time ago. He predicted that as the Senate got closer to a vote, compromises would be necessary, coalitions would falter and many ardent supporters of reform would want to walk away. He hoped that they wouldn’t do so. He knew from experience, he told me, that this kind of opportunity to enact health-care reform wouldn’t arise again for a generation.In the early 1970s, Ted worked with the Nixon administration to find consensus on health-care reform. Those efforts broke down in part because the compromise wasn’t ideologically pure enough for some constituency groups. More than 20 years passed before there was another real opportunity for reform, years during which human suffering only increased. Even with the committed leadership of then-President Bill Clinton and his wife, reform was thwarted in the 1990s. As Ted wrote in his memoir, he was deeply disappointed that the Clinton health-care bill did not come to a vote in the full Senate. He believed that senators should have gone on the record, up or down.
Ted often said that we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. He also said that it was better to get half a loaf than no loaf at all, especially with so many lives at stake. That’s why, even as he never stopped fighting for comprehensive health-care reform, he also championed incremental but effective reforms such as a Patients’ Bill of Rights, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and COBRA continuation of health coverage.
Tag Archives: option
For those of you who don’t know what “public option” is, it is the viciously debated proposed health care insurance program that would be offered by the government. There’s tons of support for it …
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Posted by Audiegrl
Schultz’s take on the process was what our friend Ogenec would call ‘neo-progressive‘, and lacked understanding of what Alter called ‘the sausage making‘ involved in getting a bill through Congress. It was easy to see the direction the show was heading, when Schultz opened with a phone poll asking “Are you disappointed in the way President Obama is handling health care reform?” Hit 1 for yes, and 2 for no. BTW, I took Ed’s poll, and after selecting 2 for no, they wanted to transfer me to a operator to discuss a time-share property. 😉
Neo-progressive opinions are nothing new, but are often exasperated by the 24/7 news cycle. The pundits and reporters don’t take time to understand the developments and the facts. Instead, must make a quick assessment of the facts, and make up the rest with speculation or half-baked ideas and opinions. This is not doing their viewers any favors and often unnecessarily leads to voters getting riled up, before they even know the facts.
So for me, I’m with Alter on this one. Even though he tried to explain (from experience) the long legislative process to Schultz, and all of the benefits that were in the new bill… but it was no use… To Shultz, everything hinged on the bill passing with Public Option, and anything other than that, was just a pile of junk.
Sorry Ed, but when you talk like this, you belong in your own segment of Psycho Talk.
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Moments ago, the Senate voted to begin its full debate on historic health care reform legislation instead of obstructing it with a filibuster.
Tonight’s vote marks the biggest victory to date for our grassroots effort to pass health care reform with a public option. We cannot give enough thanks to the over 100,000 signers of our petition at CitizensForAPublicOption.com for helping to fundamentally shift the momentum towards meaningful reform.
Not long ago, a few loud opponents of reform armed and organized by the insurance industry dominated this debate. Now the American people, the majority of whom support a public option, have spoken out and gained the upper hand.
Not long ago, the public option seemed like little more than a pipe dream. Now it’s part of health care bills in both the Senate and the House.
Not long ago, members of our own Democratic caucus weren’t sure they could even support an up-or-down vote on health care reform legislation. Tonight they voted to end the Republican filibuster.
But despite this good news, the fight for meaningful health care reform is not over. As we debate amendments to this legislation in the coming weeks, we will work with our colleagues to ensure it continues to address the “Three C’s” of meaningful reform: competition, choice, and cost reduction. And we will firmly oppose any effort to eliminate the public option.
Tonight we celebrate a milestone no one thought we could reach just months ago. Tomorrow the fight continues. We will not let up until the President signs a bill we can all be proud of.
Thank you for your support.
Decision day for health care in the House +Obama States Strong Support For House Health Care Reform, Public Option
posted by GeoT
With the House of Representatives set to vote on health care reform during a session today, the White House announced its support for the legislation on Friday and singled out the public option as a laudable aspect of the reform effort
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is traveling to Capitol Hill on Saturday to try to close the sale on his signature health care overhaul, facing a make-or-break vote in the House certain to be seen as a test of his presidency.
Obama scheduled a late-morning visit with House Democrats convening a rare Saturday session on legislation to remake the U.S. health care system, extending coverage to tens of millions now uninsured and banning insurance company practices such as denial of coverage based on pre-existing medical problems.
Late Friday, House Democrats cleared an abortion-related impasse blocking a vote and officials expressed optimism they had finally lined up the support needed to pass Obama’s signature issue.
Statement from Whitehouse
The Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, a bill that represents a critical milestone in the effort to reform our health care system. H.R. 3962 will provide needed insurance reforms for Americans with insurance, expand coverage for those who do not have insurance, lower costs for families and businesses, and begin to reduce the Nation’s deficit. It meets the President’s criteria for health insurance reform: it assures that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care that is there when they need it and does so without adding a dime to the deficit.
This legislation is the product of unprecedented cooperation and countless hours of hard work by Members of the House of Representatives who share the President’s conviction that the Nation cannot wait another year for health insurance reform. They have forged a strong consensus that represents an historic step forward.
The House legislation includes critical reforms to the insurance industry, so that Americans will no longer have to worry that they will be denied coverage, or that their coverage will be dropped or watered down when they need it most. It covers virtually all Americans and ensures that all Americans with health insurance are protected against high out-of-pocket spending.
The Administration is pleased that the bill includes a public health insurance option offered in an exchange. As the President has said throughout this process, a public option that competes with private insurers is one of the best ways to ensure the choice and competition that are so badly needed in today’s market.
Full Text of Statement: Click Here
AP Sources: AARP to endorse House health care bill
WASHINGTON — Officials are telling The Associated Press that AARP_the seniors’ lobby_will endorse the health care overhaul bill that House Democrats are preparing to take to the floor.
Officials with knowledge of the group’s decision told The Associate Press on Wednesday that the senior’s lobby has decided to give the $1.2 trillion measure its seal of approval. An announcement is expected Thursday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement has not been made.
The endorsement, in advance of floor votes as early as this weekend, would be a major boost for President Barack Obama’s signature issue.
“We think we’ll have the votes”
Oct. 29 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a $894 billion health care bill Thursday that would extend coverage to 36 million Americans through a mix of subsidies, tax incentives and penalties on individuals and small businesses, but the final package falls short of the more liberal vision of a public health insurance option.
Party leaders would like to start debate on the bill next week and hope to have a final vote before Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11.
The long-awaited introduction of a combined House health care bill produced few major surprises. After weeks of public hand-wringing, leaders – and party liberals – bowed to political reality by allowing doctors and hospitals to negotiate their rates with the government under the public plans.
Unveiling the bill at the Capitol, Pelosi said the bill would meet the goals of “affordability of the middle class, security for our seniors, responsibility to our children. It reduces the deficit, meets President Obama’s call to keep the costs under $900 billion over 10 years and it insures 36 million more Americans.”
“The bill is fiscally sound, will not add one dime to the deficit as it expands coverage, implements key insurance reforms and promotes prevention and wellness across the health system,” Pelosi said.
The bill would cut the deficit by about $30 billion over the next 10 years.
States can opt out of the public option, but how many will?
The Public Option: Let’s Not Opt Out and Say We Did
By MICHAEL GRUNWALD – Insurers are furious that Senate majority leader Harry Reid’s health-care-reform bill will include a public option – even though it lets states opt out if they don’t want the government-run insurance alternative.
Liberals are ecstatic with Reid over that same public option – even though opt-out states would be able to keep their markets completely private, which would limit the public plan’s power to negotiate volume-based discounts in other states. (Read “Understanding the Health-Care Debate: Your Indispensable Guide.”)
It’s an impressive bipartisan consensus regarding the power of inertia. For all the disagreements over the public option, almost everyone agrees that making it the default is a big deal, and that the compromise allowing opt-outs is a pretty modest compromise. That’s because reams of studies have shown that default settings really, really matter. If Reid’s legislation had omitted a default public option but allowed states to opt in if they wanted one, insurers would be ecstatic and liberals would be furious.
The classic example of the power of the default is the opt-out 401(k) savings plan. In a 2001 study, only 36% of the participants signed up for a retirement savings plan when they had to opt in – even though their employers were matching their contributions. Free money, and only 36% took it! But when participants were automatically signed up for the same plan but given the chance to opt out, 86% of them stuck with it. Scholars have found similar status-quo results with organ donations. If we have to sign up, very few of us become organ donors. If we have to opt out, most of us remain organ donors. Similarly, when our electronic gadgets come with the energy-saving auto-power-down function enabled, we’re cool with that; if we have to enable it ourselves, we rarely bother.
Insurance Stocks Plunged As Reid Announced Public Option, Spiked After Lierberman Vowed to Filibuster It
Posted by Audiegrl
ThinkProgress/Zaid Jilani—Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that he would be including a version of the public option (with a state opt-out provision) in the Senate’s final health care bill. Although all of the details of the public plan are yet to be determined, progressives cheered the move. As Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) admitted, without all the pressure that progressives in and out of Congress put on legislators, it is unlikely there would have been a public option included in Reid’s final bill.
Yet this afternoon, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) broke with the Democratic caucus that he is a member of and vowed to join a Republican-led filibuster if the public option is not removed from the bill. In response, insurance company stocks — which plummeted Monday as Reid made his announcement — shot up after Lieberman made his announcement around 1:30 pm