Fineman: Kucinich a Yes on Healthcare Reform

Via National Review online editor John McCormack and The Hill reporter Jordan Fabian, Howard Fineman apparently reported tonight that Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich, previously a no on healthcare reform, will vote aye. If this report pans out -- and we should know for certain by tomorrow morning, when Kucinich is slated to hold a press conference -- the Democrats would have their first announced no-to-yes switcher on healthcare reform. The goal of 216 is looking increasingly achievable for Nancy Pelosi.

More as we hear it...

Tags: 111th Congress, Dennis Kucinich, healthcare reform, progressives (all tags)



RE: Fineman: Kucinich a Yes on Healthcare Reform

One certainly hopes this is true. I wonder if it makes an actual vote more likely? I've got to admit I'm a little torked over this "deem and pass" crap.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-03-16 09:00PM | 0 recs

The goal of 216 is looking increasingly achievable for Nancy Pelosi.


I don't know... they whip count on The Hill has 214 firm No's/lean No's (bot including DK now). That means Nancy Has to get all but 1 of the undecideds to pass the bill - several (3-4?) of those voted no the first time around and are in tough re-election battles come Nov.

by vecky 2010-03-16 09:08PM | 0 recs
RE: 216...

Chris Bowers had a thought on that... His point is if the Hill count is accurate, then why aren't they hammering home the meme the Bill is about to fail.    Something doesn't jive.

by FUJA 2010-03-17 03:16AM | 0 recs
deem and pass

Sounds like counterproductive trickoration that may turn off some of the last undecideds....

by esconded 2010-03-16 09:13PM | 1 recs
RE: deem and pass

This much I know, Pelosi and Slaughter would not be wasting their times with complex legislative maneuvering if it were not a net gain for them in terms of votes.

As for Kucinich, heh.  Will Jane Hamsher call for him to be primaried from the left?

by Steve M 2010-03-16 09:31PM | 0 recs
Jane's going to be lonely over there

Perhaps she can work on getting that movie deal.

Obama has been dismantling the left kill the bill crowd for some time now. I guess Jane's going to be the last woman standing, if this news is correct.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-03-16 10:19PM | 0 recs
RE: Jane's going to be lonely over there

Take your pissing inside the tent to some other blog where they deal with that nonsense all too regularly.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-03-16 10:36PM | 1 recs

Hopefully some more house dems will see this as inspiration and change their minds as well.

by Chuckie Corra 2010-03-16 09:41PM | 1 recs

So Kucinich caved....friggin coward. Is there a single person with principles left in congress.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-03-16 10:11PM | 0 recs

Dennis Kucinich has more principles in his left pinkie toe than, well...  you get the picture.

Principles does not involve cutting off one's nose to spite their face.

Kucinich knows there is real reform in this bill, and that it is better to build upon that reform than cheer as the country heads deeper into the abyss, hoping that maybe then people will be ready for single payer. Real reform happens in stepts.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-03-16 10:28PM | 2 recs
RE: Principles?

lol, your support is really contagious-- "steps into the abyss" or something.

I'm just wondering though, because it does seem that the deeper path seems likely, if the country is going to look toward Democrats for the solution then, having not offerered it now... tricky steps to follow.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-03-16 10:35PM | 0 recs
RE: Principles?

I don't know whom I would hold up as the paragon of principle, but it sure wouldn't be the guy who had a 95% rating from National Right-to-Life right up until the moment he decided to run for President.

It takes courage to be an effective liberal legislator, and lord knows we have too few of those, but it really doesn't take much courage or principle to be a flat-out concern troll.  Anyone can sit there and say over and over, "I'm not voting for anything until it's perfect."

by Steve M 2010-03-16 11:26PM | 2 recs
RE: Principles?

I don't know who has a 95% approval from the NRLC. You'll have to fill me in on that reference.

Michelle Bachmann goes out today and claims "grandma isn't shovel ready" to the paltry crowd of 300+/- disaffected teabaggers (even they must know this bill is going to pass). Dennis Kucinich has been fighting for real progressive reform, like reducing the pentagon budget by 10% and distributing it to social programs and education. He gets branded a traitor.

When Dennis Kucinich initially announced his intention to vote no, I said not a word. People really skewered him. But the man has been fighting for healthcare reform his entire life. I can't see how killing the bill is successful to that end. And I guess neither can he.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-03-17 01:13AM | 0 recs
RE: Principles?

If the vote now fails because of Artur Davis (who back in Nov said he preferred the Senate version of the bill) and Ike Skelton (who back in Nov said he was opposed to the PO) i'll never forgive either of them.

Only 8 more to go and these nitwits are in the NO column.

by vecky 2010-03-17 02:59AM | 0 recs
RE: Principles?

I still believe it is going to be very, very hard for any Democrat to cast the deciding vote against health care reform.

Paradoxically, it is almost easier to commit to a NO position earlier, because then at least you're not the one.

by Steve M 2010-03-17 03:11AM | 0 recs
RE: Principles?

Kucinich had a 95% rating from the NRLC, right up until he decided to run for President and had a miraculous conversion.  There's the most progressive member of Congress.  There's your deeply principled representative.  We won't even talk about all the times he promised the people of his district that he wouldn't run for President a second time if they sent him back to Congress - and then he filed his Presidential papers the day after he assured himself of reelection by winning the Democratic primary.  Now that's what you call chutzpah.

It would be one thing if health care was the cause of Kucinich's life and he just couldn't bring himself to accept a second-best outcome.  But as Nate Silver discussed just a few days ago, Kucinich has voted against EVERY major bill in this Congress.  He voted against the first health care bill.  He voted against the hate crime bill.  He voted against the budget.  He voted against cap and trade.  He voted against financial regulation.  Nothing is good enough for him.

I think it is patently obvious that this is all just holier-than-thou posturing.  The bottom line is that it accomplishes absolutely nothing for progressive causes.  Even if you think he really is the sincerest progressive on the planet, isn't that kind of a problem?

by Steve M 2010-03-17 03:08AM | 2 recs

If he had real principles he would have stuck to his guns and voted no. This bill isnt real reform, you justy foolishly want to believe it is.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-03-16 10:35PM | 0 recs
I think you misunderstand what principles are

I'll leave it up to the man who has not only proven himself to be the most progressive member of Congress, but who has fought for real healthcare reform his entire political career to determine the merits of the bill.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-03-17 01:16AM | 1 recs

it looks like arms CAN be twisted and pressure CAN be applied by the President.

We had been hearing otherwise for a year now.

Too bad he only likes to twist progressive arms.

by jeopardy 2010-03-16 11:27PM | 1 recs
RE: well

Well, I don't think the President has been inviting all those Blue Dogs to the White House the last couple weeks just to have a beer.

I honestly have no idea what accounts for Kucinich's switch.  Maybe the President twisted his arm, or maybe the Speaker offered him a lifetime supply of Keebler cookies, or who knows what.  I admit I am curious.

by Steve M 2010-03-16 11:34PM | 1 recs
RE: well

Can we all just get along now? "The Left" - from Sherrod Brown to Sanders to Grayson is behind this. Meanwhile the real enemy is out there...

by vecky 2010-03-17 12:20AM | 0 recs
RE: well

Hey, I have been on board for a long long time now.

It amazes me that the entire Republican caucus and the entire insurance industry can be against the bill with all their heart, and some people still think the bill will be a huge boon for the Republican Party and a huge giveaway to the insurance industry.  They are all just pretending, apparently.

by Steve M 2010-03-17 12:56AM | 2 recs
I think most are

Howard Dean is my go-to guy on healthcare reform. When he supported this bill, explained his support, and elaborated on what future work is required, my (previously) conditional support was solidifed.

Not to mention that this bill contains real reform that I personally need.

Dennis Kucinich, as noted above, further proves your point. That from the far, far left to the moderate, Democrats know that there is real reform within this bill that is desperately needed, and that this bill is a good foundation on which to build (e.g., Bernie Sanders' provisions that allow states to set up single payer in the future).

I think there will always be iconoclasts and contrarians. It's part of the democratic party. The Republicans are the neo-fascist party, where everything is lock-step. I think the responsible progressive opponents (e.g., Dennis Kucinich) served a very important purpose in trying to steer the bill to the left, although ultimately, their efforts were in vain.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-03-17 12:57AM | 2 recs
RE: I think most are

The thought is they may have given Kucinich the ERISA waiver so that states could create their own Single payer or PO plan.     If this is true, big win for Dennis and a good addition to the bill.    

Let's pass this damn bill, and then let's start working on getting Grayson's bill to pass... because the previous offered POs were BS and would have done very little as written... the only boon was putting the infrastructure in place to be expanded, similar to the history of Social Security.  Grayson's bill is a true PO that should help with premiums.    Even if it was compromised for 50 and older or something else, getting it into law would make it a lot easier to lower the buy in over time.   Both of these would be huge.    

by FUJA 2010-03-17 03:25AM | 1 recs
ERISA waiver

It would be very good. I hope so.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-03-17 05:40PM | 0 recs
RE: well

Obama's been giving speeches in Dennis's district, where he called Dennis out *by name*, and even told a story of a woman in the district on her death bed who is asking Dennis to vote for the bill.

Obama's been promising to withdraw future support for Dennis, and groups like moveon have coordinated with the White House to threaten primary challenges.

Meanwhile, a year into it, the White House hasn't put that kind of pressure on a blue dog even once.

THAT'S the problem.

by jeopardy 2010-03-17 10:08AM | 1 recs
No thanks

No thanks and I can tell you that my representative will absolutely lose his seat in November if he votes yes. This bill is garbage. And for those who say the insurance companies are against it, well they may be, but the drug companies are in full support of this bill because its going to line their pockets.

The result of this is going to be be higher premiums for most folks. Obama keep cherry picking facts in order to make his case. In the end, passage will result in an electoral disaster for the party in November and the end of his Presidency. What happened to his concern and focus for Jobs and the economy? How about he pushes real reform and abolishes the department of education, which creation of was vehemently opposed by Senator Moynihan, Congresswoman PatSchroeder and Shirley Chisholm.



by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-03-17 10:05AM | 0 recs

The three most important letters in relation to the effectiveness of this bill. With a mandated minimum MLR the bill works, the feedback mechanism keeps premiums at a reasonable level no matter how much insurance companies try to game the risk pool.

There is a reason why people like Kos and Howard Dean were urging a no vote a couple of weeks before the final vote and a yes vote at the last minute, and in my opinion that reason is the reinsertion of the 80/85 rule. But just about zero of the blog debate this fall actually revolved around the nitty-gritty of the bill, in challenging the merits of Kucinich backed HR676 I found not a single person versed enough in the actual text to debate the issue with me, all anyone knew about it seemed to be its subtitle "Medicare for All", which it decidedly isn't. Equally I find that most people who talk about "crap insurance" and premiums going up for "most folks" couldn't define ACB or what makes a plan a QHBP if you put a gun to their head.

At times it seems that 99% of the debate from the Left on this bill is just drawn from Kip Sullivan's talking points as presented at PNHP over the last seven months and not from any kind of independent examination of legislative text.“public-option”-was-sold/

PNHP lined up behind a piece of legislation that was so sloppily written that it was literally impossible to score by CBO and so could not have been the basis of comprehensive HCR. To that degree HR676 was simply a joke, or to be charitable a vision of what truly Socialized Single Payer would look like in a world where providing free unlimited medical, dental and vision care to illegal immigrants and free long term care to them and everyone else in the U.S. was actually some sort of achievable goal in the near term. It wasn't, we don't even have a chance in hell of reforming even current Medicare to the standard mandated by HR676, still less extend its protections to everyone who happens to be within our borders at any given time. But to understand that you would have to read and then analyze the provisions of the bill that was being pushed by PNHP, Kucinich, and the FirePups, something that even the principals never seemed compelled to do.

The real bait and switch was not the Public Option, it was people holding out the hope that there actually was a realistic alternative out there. There wasn't, at least I have yet to see a text based political defense of HR676 anywhere. There were never going to be 51 or 216 votes for Nationalized Health Care and conversion of almost all doctors into salaried public employees. Nor were we ever going to be able to afford eminent domain compensation for a government takeover of every private for profit hospital, clinic, dentist, optometrist and pharmacy. The whole thing was a fantasy, a pure piece of aspiration. If you read it.

So I cannot take the kind of overheated rhetoric deployed by BuckeyeBlogger seriously because frankly I doubt he has actually read through the relevant portions of either bill and come to an independent judgement. The bill is structured in a way that many of the parts with universal approval come up front while the parts that might be painful like mandates are backloaded, the idea that this will create instant angst this fall falls apart on first examination of the bill language, people are not going to revolt when they learn they can't be turned down for insurance or booted off of it for getting sick.

Yes I expect my premiums to go up. Because for the last three years what health care I was able to access was paid for by charity or out of my pocket. And I would kind of like that bleeding basal cell carcinoma in my ear to be treated, a condition that as of today is uninsurable but may well be by this time next week. Forgive me for being selfish. And informed on the actual text.

by Bruce Webb 2010-03-17 12:55PM | 2 recs
Failed my own test

It's not 'ACB' its 'ABP' Acceptable Benefits Package, or the minimum package of benefits needed to qualify a plan to be a QHPB, a Qualified Health Benefit Plan. Under these bills insurance companies can't just decide that some treatment is not covered or too experimental just because the don't want to pay for it, instead those standards are set nationally. Meaning they can't offer "crap insurance", and the existence of a mandated MLR means they can't just jack up rates whenever they like.

by Bruce Webb 2010-03-17 01:02PM | 0 recs

under the 80/85 rule, how do the insurance companies increase profits.Do it set up correct incentives when it comes to controling health care costs?

Also, is the exception to the 80/85 rule still in there? I'm talking about the one that gives a single gov. official discretion to waive the rule.

by jeopardy 2010-03-17 01:17PM | 0 recs
RE: Question



by jeopardy 2010-03-18 12:09PM | 0 recs
I have a preexesting condition.

The condition arose in my previous job. I was laid off. I cannot get health insurance in any new job until this bill becomes law. No insurer will carry me.

So, what do the Kill Bill crowd have to say to me? Tough? My medical bankruptcy will help bring the public option pony faster?

A few days ago, there was an inflamatory diary over on another, famous site. I won't link to it, because I feel the issue is too controversial.

But controversy aside, the diary did attempt to note the demographic difference between those supporting this bill and those opposing it.

To apply just a small amount of the diarist's sentiment, who are the most vocal opponents of this bill on the left? We have millionare filmmakers (and those fishing for a movie deal), we have pointy-headed Beltway politicos, we have famous progressives with jobs like blogging and consulting. They are telling me to kill this bill. ButI'm also guessing that in most cases, they aren't striggling to make ends meet. They aren't presently precluded from being insured due to a preexesting condition.

And what about those in my situation? What about you? What about the millions of poor currently without health insurance? I don't hear these people rallying against the bill. I don't hear the SEIU or any of the other unions opposing this bill?

I'm sure there are those on the left who have a principled, rational-based opposition to this bill. I would like to hear it. But a lot of what I hear over on those other sites is those jockying to be the stopped clock right twice a day in the event it fails, and those hoping to poke Obama in the eye over this.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-03-17 06:38PM | 0 recs
RE: I have a preexesting condition.

wow, nice generalizations there.


I happen to be unemployed right now. I'm not a "millionaire film maker."

But I don't like that this bill 1) doesn't have real enforcement of anything good and does have enforcement for the mandate, and 2) further enshrines the position and power of the for-profit health insurance industry as the centerpiece of our system.

We need to move AWAY from for-profit health care, not bolster private companies with taxpayer money (which will then be used in part to buy off more politicians).

by jeopardy 2010-03-17 07:19PM | 0 recs
I thought I was a socialist

But I don't like that this bill ..., and 2) further enshrines the position and power of the for-profit health insurance industry as the centerpiece of our system.

What do you say to the european countries that use for profit corporations as the centerpieces of their systems?

I concede what is missing on our end, of course, is free choice and the choice of a not for profit alternative. But that is nit what you are arguing. You are arguing for running a large part of the American economy out of business.

Not only would the government seizure of the for-profit health insurance industry be a political non-starter, there are grave legal and ethical challenges to the eminent domain seizure of every hospital, pharmacy, and insurance agency, and conversion of every doctor and medical professional to a public employee.

I thought I was a socialist, but a government seizure of that magnitude sits very poorly with me.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-03-17 11:35PM | 0 recs
RE: I thought I was a socialist

That's not what I meant. I meant to post "for-profit health insurance", not for-profit health care".

I apologize for the confusion.

I want single payer. this does not mean doctors on the public payroll. Instead, the gov. just takes the place of the insurance agencies. The hospitals, pharmacies, doctors, etc are all still private.

Nevertheless, the goverment has a great record of running or paying for many things that are natural monopolies that don't work well in a free market system. Look at the highway system and subways, national defense, police and firefighting, mail delivery, utilities, parks from local to national, the court system, government research (especialy non-marketable academic and theoretical research), health and safety regulators and inspectors, etc. The list could go on and on and on.

And if there's anything that the government could do well, that's to pool risk. And that's basically the only socially useful contribution that the insurance industry performs.

And industries come and go. I will shed no tears for the loss of one that systematically kills people in the name of higher profit. 

by jeopardy 2010-03-18 12:06PM | 0 recs
Can anybody tell me

what in the bill is different from current law in terms of recissions?

Current law in many states is that recissions are illegal except for misrepresentation and materiality. That is the loophole that insurance companies use ALREADY to rescind, And states like CA haven't been able to stop it from happening despite the general ban on recissions.

So what do we get in the bill?


"except that this section shall not apply to a covered individual who has performed an act or practice that constitutes fraud or makes an intentional misrepresentation of material fact as prohibited by the terms of the plan or coverage."



Seems like the same damn thing to me.And it hasn't/doesn't work to end recissions.

Now, this was in the Senate bill in December. It may have changed since then (god, I hope so). If anybody knows, please comment.

by jeopardy 2010-03-17 01:58PM | 0 recs
RE: Can anybody tell me

Insurance companies can no longer use previous or existing medical conditions to cancel coverage. I guess they could cancel if you lie about any of the remaining criteria used to determine premiums -  age, tobacco use, residence area and family composition. That's my reading atleast.

by vecky 2010-03-17 07:04PM | 0 recs
RE: Can anybody tell me

you don't seem to understand.

They use accusations of fraud NOW to cancel coverage. THey find that you got one chest x-ray 20 years ago and that you didn't list it, for instance.

They don't tell you "we want more profits so we are not covering you anymore." They do it through bogus "fraud" assertions.

by jeopardy 2010-03-17 07:11PM | 0 recs
RE: Can anybody tell me

ok, i think i get what you are saying. You are saying that they will no longer ask about your past medical history or price anything based off of it, right? (except for the few things you listed).

If that's the case, if they don't charge more for people with existing medical conditions, then maybe it really would be mroe difficult for them to allege "fraud" to get out of paying.

by jeopardy 2010-03-17 07:15PM | 0 recs
RE: Can anybody tell me

You're right, though, that that change is an artifact of the community rating and guaranteed issue provisions, not a direct result of the ban on rescissions.

I had the same question as you, to tell the truth, and I think I'm pretty darn knowledgeable about insurance.  So just the other day, I put the question to one of the senior partners of my firm, someone who has practiced law in the insurance coverage area for over 20 years:  How does the proposed bill change the status quo with respect to rescissions?

This is what he said.  The bill permits rescission in two circumstances: (1) fraud or (2) intentional misstatement of material fact.  In some states, this is already exactly what the law provides, so there would be no change.  In other states, though, rescission is allowed for any misstatement of material fact, intentional or not.  So limiting rescission to cases of INTENTIONAL misstatements would indeed be a limit on rescissions that doesn't exist in some states.  As far as he knows, that's the only change.  If there's a state that goes even farther in terms of allowing rescission - like, you can even rescind for misstatements of IMMATERIAL fact - I'd be pretty surprised, for sure.

By the way, the line between fraud and intentional misstatement of material fact is pretty thin.  And I assume everyone is willing to let insurance companies rescind policies if there's actual fraud in the application - right?

by Steve M 2010-03-17 07:52PM | 0 recs
RE: Can anybody tell me

thanks for the info.

there are a few problems with how it is in even the toughest states.

1) there are major problems with enforcing it. This is the case even in those states that want to enforce it (to say nothing about states governed by the GOP)

2) in the event of actual enforcement, the insurance companies settle with the person. They drag out litigation for years while the patient is sick, dying, and bankrupt, and if the person doesn't give up the suit, they just settle with them.

Basically, i'm going to go ahead and assume that if the insurance companies can still profit from those types of tactics, then they will continue to use them.

I have seen nothing in this bill that changes that, and the enforcement is an unfunded mandate to the cash-strapped states to enforce it (despite them often not able to enforce their identical laws).

by jeopardy 2010-03-17 08:08PM | 0 recs
RE: Can anybody tell me

Enforcement is complicated because the insurance companies have very good lawyers (like their lobbyists!) and determining what is a "material fact" in medicine is very difficult. A lawyer will argue "Well that chest X-ray you took back in '54 is indicative of an extra 0.5% chance of heart failure (see associated pile of documents showing statistical correlation) and had we known that we would have put you in a higher risk pool with a greater premium, so in not telling us about it you cheated our poor innocent company of hundreds of dollars over the years so we cancelled your policy."

Now with there being only 4 variables in determining premiums - age (pretty straightfwd), location (again), family size (again) and tobacco history (maybe) it's much more simple. I mean in "fraud" claims you either lied about your age or didn't. If it ever goes to court you don't need a bunch of medical experts and high priced lawyers to testify on your behalf.  The only loophole I can see them exploiting is tobacco usage. So we'll have to keep an eye on that.

by vecky 2010-03-17 09:55PM | 0 recs
Looks like I can come back

now that almost everybody seems to have come to their senses.

by QTG 2010-03-18 08:22AM | 0 recs


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