Bennet Pushes For Reconciliation On Public Option

Bennet Pushes For Reconciliation On Public Option

Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) have signed a letter to Harry Reid asking for a public option to be brought before the full Senate under budget reconciliation rules because it will save BILLIONS according to CBO projections.  How often has the government been right about their projections, and what is $25 Billion compared to the trillions of red ink we are now buried under?

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t his terminology suggest that a reconciliation package is already in the works even though the White House is doing the dog and pony, health care show on the 25th?  These are Bennet’s words, not mine.

And if that doesn’t work, we will be looking at Obamacare through the signing of a presidential executive order, right?

Lord help us make it to November…

Bennet Leads Push to Include Public Option in Health Insurance Reform Reconciliation Package

CBO Projections Show Public Option Could Yield Savings of At Least $25 billion

February 16, 2010

Denver, CO – In his continued effort to pass health care reform that lowers costs and leads to higher quality care, Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, is leading the effort in the Senate to pass health insurance reform that includes a public health insurance option under budget reconciliation rules.

Bennet has written a letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid and is circulating it for additional signatures. In the letter, Bennet highlights findings from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that said a public option could yield cost savings of at least $25 billion. Bennet also pointed to the fact that a public option would provide Americans with a low-cost alternative to private insurance and improve market competitiveness.

In addition, the letter noted that there is substantial Senate precedent for using reconciliation to enact important health care policies, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), COBRA, and Medicare Advantage.

“Too many people in Washington believe that just saying you are for health care reform is a substitute for actually getting something done,” said Bennet. “While some choose to stall progress under the pretext of principle, more and more Americans are losing the health care coverage they need. Coloradans deserve better than political leaders who care more about the special interests than the people we’re supposed to represent. They deserve a Washington that is more concerned about the thousands of dollars being lost by families struggling to pay for coverage than the millions being spent by special interests intent on stopping reform in its tracks.”

In the letter, Bennet also pointed to widespread public support for a public health insurance option as evidence that the American people see it as an essential component of health care reform that lowers costs and improves the quality of care.

Late last year, before voting in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Bennet criticized the backroom deals, delay tactics and political posturing that led to the removal of the public option in health care reform.

The full text of the letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid is included below:

The Honorable Harry Reid
United States Senate Majority Leader
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Leader Reid:

We respectfully ask that you bring for a vote before the full Senate a public health insurance option under budget reconciliation rules.

There are four fundamental reasons why we support this approach – its potential for billions of dollars in cost savings; the growing need to increase competition and lower costs for the consumer; the history of using reconciliation for significant pieces of health care legislation; and the continued public support for a public option.

A Public Option Is an Important Tool for Restoring Fiscal Discipline.

Are You Freakin’ Kidding Me? Fiscal Discipline and Congress in the same breath? Really?????

As Democrats, we pledged that the Senate health care reform package would address skyrocketing health care costs and relieve overburdened American families and small businesses from annual double-digit health care cost increases. And that it would do so without adding a dime to the national debt.

We know what your pledges are worth; ‘for it before you were against it’.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined that the Senate health reform bill is actually better than deficit neutral. It would reduce the deficit by over $130 billion in the first ten years and up to $1 trillion in the first 20 years.

These cost savings are an important start. But a strong public option can be the centerpiece of an even better package of cost saving measures. CBO estimated that various public option proposals in the House save at least $25 billion. Even $1 billion in savings would qualify it for consideration under reconciliation.

Put simply, including a strong public option is one of the best, most fiscally responsible ways to reform our health insurance system.

A Public Option Would Provide Americans with a Low-Cost Alternative and Improve Market Competitiveness.

A strong public option would create better competition in our health insurance markets. Many Americans have no or little real choice of health insurance provider. Far too often, it’s “take it or leave it” for families and small businesses. This lack of competition drives up costs and leaves private health insurance companies with little incentive to provide quality customer service.

A recent Health Care for America Now report on private insurance companies found that the largest five for-profit health insurance providers made $12 billion in profits last year, yet they actually dropped 2.7 million people from coverage. Private insurance – by gouging the public even during a severe economic recession – has shown it cannot function in the public’s interest without a public alternative. Americans have nowhere to turn. That is not healthy market competition, and it is not good for the public.

If families or individuals like their current coverage through a private insurance company, then they can keep that coverage. And in some markets where consumers have many alternatives, a public option may be less necessary. But many local markets have broken down, with only one or two insurance providers available to consumers. Each and every health insurance market should have real choices for consumers.

There is a history of using reconciliation for significant pieces of health care legislation.

There is substantial Senate precedent for using reconciliation to enact important health care policies. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicare Advantage, and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), which actually contains the term ‘reconciliation’ in its title, were all enacted under reconciliation.

The American Enterprise Institute’s Norman Ornstein and Brookings’ Thomas Mann and Molly Reynolds jointly wrote, “Are Democrats making an egregious power grab by sidestepping the filibuster? Hardly.” They continued that the precedent for using reconciliation to enact major policy changes is “much more extensive . . . than Senate Republicans are willing to admit these days.”

There is strong public support for a public option, across party lines.

Once again, AYFKM?  I trust Rasmussen more than the NY Times and the overwhelming opinion is that this bill in it’s entirety should be scrapped and Congress should start over. “…61% of U.S. voters say Congress should scrap that plan and start all over again.” (A little sidenote from Rasmussen, “It’s interesting to note that in a separate survey earlier this week 63% of voters said, generally speaking, it would be better for the country if most incumbents in Congress were defeated this November.”)

The overwhelming majority of Americans want a public option. The latest New York Times poll on this issue, in December, shows that despite the attacks of recent months Americans support the public option 59% to 29%. Support includes 80% of Democrats, 59% of Independents, and even 33% of Republicans.

Much of the public identifies a public option as the key component of health care reform – and as the best thing we can do to stand up for regular people against big insurance companies. In fact, overall support for health care reform declined steadily as the public option was removed from reform legislation.

Although we strongly support the important reforms made by the Senate-passed health reform package, including a strong public option would improve both its substance and the public’s perception of it. The Senate has an obligation to reform our unworkable health insurance market – both to reduce costs and to give consumers more choices. A strong public option is the best way to deliver on both of these goals, and we urge its consideration under reconciliation rules.

So there you have it kids.  The future is looking like the progressives are going to shove Obamacare down our throats using reconciliation….just like we knew they would.

Now Maloney Is Taking Her Shot Against Gillibrand

I wonder how used Rep. Steve Israel feels now that someone else is now set to run against Gillibrand after he stepped aside at the pleasure of the usurper-in-charge?  I wonder if Maloney is going to get a phone call from the resident select asking her not to run and keep the path clear for Gillibrand?  OR…I wonder if Maloney is going to get help from the WH because she is more in tune with their radical leftist regime than Gillibrand?

Last month, Rep. Steve Israel of New York said he deferred to a request from Obama to sit out a bid to run in the Senate primary against appointed Sen. Kristin Gillibrand.

Israel was poised to announce his candidacy until the president intervened at the request of Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Bob Menendez of New Jersey.

New York Throwdown: Maloney to Challenge Gillibrand in Senate Primary

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney plans to announce a primary challenge to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on her Web site Thursday morning, according to two sources including a member of New York’s congressional delegation.

Maloney disputed that characterization in a brief hallway interview.

“Where did you get that from?” she asked. “It’s not true.”

Regardless of the timing or venue, several of her New York colleagues, including Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Anthony D. Weiner, said Maloney has told them she will run. She has also indicated to political allies in her “silk stocking” district on Manhattan’s Upper East Side that she is preparing a bid.

New York Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing, whose district overlaps with Maloney’s and who shares a close working relationship with the congresswoman, said an announcement on Maloney’s Senate intentions was pending, but could not confirm a specific date.

The decision to run sets up what could be an expensive primary.

Gillibrand was appointed earlier this year by Gov. David A. Paterson when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton became secretary of State, with the special election in 2010 to determine who will serve out the remainder of Clinton’s term. Since then, Gillibrand has struggled to consolidate support among Democrats, particularly those from downstate, and her centrist voting record during two terms in the House could provide fodder for a divisive contest.

That is something national Democrats have tried to avoid, with New York’s senior senator, Charles E. Schumer , Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Menendez and the White House all taking pains to clear Gillibrand’s path to the nomination.

Their main target on that front was Rep. Steve Israel who indicated to colleagues this spring that he was preparing a run, only to abruptly shift course in May at the behest of President Obama.

Up to this point, Democrats have not felt the need to stage the same sort of intervention with Maloney or with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy , an anti-gun activist who represents the 4th District, on Long Island.

Israel, said one Democratic operative who asked not to be identified, “could have been a real problem, a real threat,” thanks to his popularity downstate as well as his fundraising abilities.

Bing predicted that Maloney would benefit from the “tremendous amount of press” she recently received for cosponsoring legislation overhauling credit card fee practices (PL 111-24).

He said Maloney’s legislative record is “more significant than Sen. Gillibrand’s.”

Gillibrand was first elected to the House in 2006 from a moderate swing district based in the Upper Hudson Valley, where she compiled a record on gun rights, immigration and fiscal conservatism at odds with the base of New York’s Democratic party. Maloney will no doubt seek to exploit Gillibrand’s House votes in a primary.

In May, CQ studied the differences in the House voting records of Gillibrand, Maloney and Israel, revealing that Maloney, a member of the liberal Progressive Caucus, has a voting record that is significantly more in tune with Democratic orthodoxy than Gillibrand’s.

A few other items of interest from Maloney’s GovTrack Bio:

Maloney is a far-left Democrat according to GovTrack’s own analysis of bill sponsorship.

Maloney is a leader. Other Members of Congress tend to cosponsor Maloney’s bills. For more, see congressional statistics.

The top campaign contribution to Maloney in 2007-2008 was $16,200 from employees of Triumvirate Environmental. Carolyn Maloney’s net worth was between $17,009,100 and $83,585,994 in 2007, according to Maloney’s mandated financial disclosure statements. For more information, see the Center for Responsive Politics’ page for Maloney.

Campaign Contrib. Sector Totals

Energy & Natural Resources$6,900$0$6,900
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate$130,250$48,500$81,750
Lawyers & Lobbyists$31,650$2,500$29,150
Misc Business$42,600$2,500$40,100

Carolyn Maloney sits on the following committees:

Member, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

New Yorkers better think before they vote for another Chris Dodd and Barney Frank who is just another multi-millionaire with nothing better to do than put forward legislation that hurts everyday working citizens, (i.e. Credit Card Reform Bill).  Oh, I forgot, New York is screwed because the other choice is Gillibrand.

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