Weekly Pulse: Obama to Promote Health Plan at Summit

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

On Monday, the White House released its plan for health care reform, which resembles the Senate bill with additional concessions for liberals and labor unions. Tomorrow, President Obama will hold a televised health care summit. Obama is billing the summit as a last-ditch attempt to solicit Republican ideas for health care reform. In fact, he’s hoping to give the GOP enough rope to hang itself.

It takes two…

As Katrina vanden Huevel argues in the Nation, bipartisanship takes two parties, but the Republicans have refused to negotiate unless health care reform starts over from scratch. That’s not bipartisanship, that’s showboating. President Obama is giving the Republicans one last chance to waste the entire country’s time so that he can point to the sorry spectacle and say, “Look, what they made us do.”

In other words, the White House has finally accepted what progressives have been saying for months: There’s no way to pass an acceptable health care reform without using the budget reconciliation process to circumvent the filibuster.

What’s in the White House plan?

What does the White House want for health reform? Kevin Drum of Mother Jones summarizes some highlights of the Obama plan: Increasing premium subsidies for working families; delaying the so-called “Cadillac” tax on expensive health plans and increasing the threshold at which plans are subject to tax; and empowering the Department of Health and Human Services to crack down on exploitative premium hikes, like the 39% increase recently announced by Anthem of California.

In AlterNet, Byard Duncan points to a lesser-known but important facet of the president’s plan, reviving the Indian Health Care Improvement Act—which would modernize the Indian health care system, which serves 1.9 million Native Americans and indigenous Alaskans, and not a moment too soon. American Indians are 3 times more likely to die of diabetes, 5 times more likely to die of alcoholism, and 6 times more likely to die of tuberculosis than any other ethnic group. If Obama’s plan is approved, the Indian Health Service (IHS) will get a 13% budget increase to address these and other pressing issues.

Stupak, stopped?

Abortion continues to cast a shadow over health reform. As Nick Baumann explains in Mother Jones, the original House health care bill only passed by 5 votes. Then Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) resigned and Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) died. Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) only voted for the House bill because he liked the Stupak abortion funding ban, which is no longer operative. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and his coalition of anti-choice Democrats supported health reform last time around in exchange for their notorious amendment. Nobody knows how many of them Speaker Nancy Pelosi can keep in the fold. At this point, she has the counter-intuitive advantage of having nothing to offer them.

The Senate’s abortion language can’t be modified through reconciliation for procedural reasons. The Stupack Pack’s bluff has been called: Either they’ll kill health reform out of spite, or they’ll fall into line. They could go either way.

Speaking of abortion, Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check reports that “Amelia”, a young pregnant woman in Nicaragua is being denied chemotherapy because it might hurt her fetus. Amelia’s doctors say she needs an abortion, but all abortion is illegal in Nicaragua. Nicaraguan women’s groups are urging people to write to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Nicaraguan government officials to protest.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

Weekly Pulse: Obama to Promote Health Plan at Summit

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

On Monday, the White House released its plan for health care reform, which resembles the Senate bill with additional concessions for liberals and labor unions. Tomorrow, President Obama will hold a televised health care summit. Obama is billing the summit as a last-ditch attempt to solicit Republican ideas for health care reform. In fact, he’s hoping to give the GOP enough rope to hang itself.

It takes two…

As Katrina vanden Huevel argues in the Nation, bipartisanship takes two parties, but the Republicans have refused to negotiate unless health care reform starts over from scratch. That’s not bipartisanship, that’s showboating. President Obama is giving the Republicans one last chance to waste the entire country’s time so that he can point to the sorry spectacle and say, “Look, what they made us do.”

In other words, the White House has finally accepted what progressives have been saying for months: There’s no way to pass an acceptable health care reform without using the budget reconciliation process to circumvent the filibuster.

What’s in the White House plan?

What does the White House want for health reform? Kevin Drum of Mother Jones summarizes some highlights of the Obama plan: Increasing premium subsidies for working families; delaying the so-called “Cadillac” tax on expensive health plans and increasing the threshold at which plans are subject to tax; and empowering the Department of Health and Human Services to crack down on exploitative premium hikes, like the 39% increase recently announced by Anthem of California.

In AlterNet, Byard Duncan points to a lesser-known but important facet of the president’s plan, reviving the Indian Health Care Improvement Act—which would modernize the Indian health care system, which serves 1.9 million Native Americans and indigenous Alaskans, and not a moment too soon. American Indians are 3 times more likely to die of diabetes, 5 times more likely to die of alcoholism, and 6 times more likely to die of tuberculosis than any other ethnic group. If Obama’s plan is approved, the Indian Health Service (IHS) will get a 13% budget increase to address these and other pressing issues.

Stupak, stopped?

Abortion continues to cast a shadow over health reform. As Nick Baumann explains in Mother Jones, the original House health care bill only passed by 5 votes. Then Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) resigned and Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) died. Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) only voted for the House bill because he liked the Stupak abortion funding ban, which is no longer operative. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and his coalition of anti-choice Democrats supported health reform last time around in exchange for their notorious amendment. Nobody knows how many of them Speaker Nancy Pelosi can keep in the fold. At this point, she has the counter-intuitive advantage of having nothing to offer them.

The Senate’s abortion language can’t be modified through reconciliation for procedural reasons. The Stupack Pack’s bluff has been called: Either they’ll kill health reform out of spite, or they’ll fall into line. They could go either way.

Speaking of abortion, Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check reports that “Amelia”, a young pregnant woman in Nicaragua is being denied chemotherapy because it might hurt her fetus. Amelia’s doctors say she needs an abortion, but all abortion is illegal in Nicaragua. Nicaraguan women’s groups are urging people to write to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Nicaraguan government officials to protest.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

Weekly Pulse: Obama to Promote Health Plan at Summit

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

On Monday, the White House released its plan for health care reform, which resembles the Senate bill with additional concessions for liberals and labor unions. Tomorrow, President Obama will hold a televised health care summit. Obama is billing the summit as a last-ditch attempt to solicit Republican ideas for health care reform. In fact, he’s hoping to give the GOP enough rope to hang itself.

It takes two…

As Katrina vanden Huevel argues in the Nation, bipartisanship takes two parties, but the Republicans have refused to negotiate unless health care reform starts over from scratch. That’s not bipartisanship, that’s showboating. President Obama is giving the Republicans one last chance to waste the entire country’s time so that he can point to the sorry spectacle and say, “Look, what they made us do.”

In other words, the White House has finally accepted what progressives have been saying for months: There’s no way to pass an acceptable health care reform without using the budget reconciliation process to circumvent the filibuster.

What’s in the White House plan?

What does the White House want for health reform? Kevin Drum of Mother Jones summarizes some highlights of the Obama plan: Increasing premium subsidies for working families; delaying the so-called “Cadillac” tax on expensive health plans and increasing the threshold at which plans are subject to tax; and empowering the Department of Health and Human Services to crack down on exploitative premium hikes, like the 39% increase recently announced by Anthem of California.

In AlterNet, Byard Duncan points to a lesser-known but important facet of the president’s plan, reviving the Indian Health Care Improvement Act—which would modernize the Indian health care system, which serves 1.9 million Native Americans and indigenous Alaskans, and not a moment too soon. American Indians are 3 times more likely to die of diabetes, 5 times more likely to die of alcoholism, and 6 times more likely to die of tuberculosis than any other ethnic group. If Obama’s plan is approved, the Indian Health Service (IHS) will get a 13% budget increase to address these and other pressing issues.

Stupak, stopped?

Abortion continues to cast a shadow over health reform. As Nick Baumann explains in Mother Jones, the original House health care bill only passed by 5 votes. Then Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) resigned and Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) died. Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) only voted for the House bill because he liked the Stupak abortion funding ban, which is no longer operative. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and his coalition of anti-choice Democrats supported health reform last time around in exchange for their notorious amendment. Nobody knows how many of them Speaker Nancy Pelosi can keep in the fold. At this point, she has the counter-intuitive advantage of having nothing to offer them.

The Senate’s abortion language can’t be modified through reconciliation for procedural reasons. The Stupack Pack’s bluff has been called: Either they’ll kill health reform out of spite, or they’ll fall into line. They could go either way.

Speaking of abortion, Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check reports that “Amelia”, a young pregnant woman in Nicaragua is being denied chemotherapy because it might hurt her fetus. Amelia’s doctors say she needs an abortion, but all abortion is illegal in Nicaragua. Nicaraguan women’s groups are urging people to write to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Nicaraguan government officials to protest.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

Polls should find out if bipartisanship is a priority

(Cross-posted from Think it Through)

Some of us have always believed that bipartisanship, like partisanship, can be a means to an end.  Sometimes you need one or the other to achieve a goal, such as passing legislation to increase or cut taxes, reform health care, or create jobs.  But the Obama era has elevated bipartisanship to an end in itself.

Pundits continually cite polls and anecdotes that suggest Americans would like to see more cooperation between Democrats and Republicans in Congress.  But we have no accurate reading of how important this really is to people, compared to other priorities.

Let’s find out.

There's more...

Going Nuclear

The Obama Administration will make available $8.3 billion in loan guarantees to build two new nuclear energy power plants, the first in over 30 years. The loan guarantees are to assist the Southern Company to build two nuclear reactors in Burke county, Georgia, outside Augusta. The story in The Hill:

In an effort to embrace a keystone of Republican energy proposals, President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that his administration will make available $8.3 billion in loan guarantees for the construction of two new nuclear power plants.



The president acknowledged that his announcement puts him at odds with many environmentalists, but he called on Republicans to get on board with other carbon-cutting proposals that along with new nuclear plants will curb greenhouse emissions.



The president, in remarks in Lanham, Md., said that the two new plants — the first in the U.S. in almost 30 years — will create thousands of construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs. 




Obama said he raised the idea of tripling loan guarantees for the construction of nuclear plants with Republican congressional leaders last week, and he thinks "there is real common ground here."





"And my administration will be working to build on areas of agreement, so that we can pass a bipartisan energy and climate bill through the Senate," Obama said.





In defending himself against allies on the left who oppose the construction of new plants, Obama said that the U.S. "cannot continue to be mired in the same old debates between left and right; between environmentalists and entrepreneurs."



"Now, I know it has long been assumed that those who champion the environment are opposed to nuclear power," Obama said. "But the fact is, even though we have not broken ground on a new nuclear plant in nearly 30 years ... nuclear energy remains our largest source of fuel that produces no carbon emissions."

It's tiring to hear the President speak of doing things for the sake of bipartisanship. Sell nuclear energy on its merits but this nonsense that we have to do things in order to placate the implacable has to stop. There are very powerful, no pun intended, arguments for the necessity of nuclear energy.

Currently the 109 operating nuclear plants generate just 17 percent of US electrical power, down from 20 percent 15 years ago. Meanwhile coal now generates 50 percent of US electricity up from 38 percent in 1990. These percentages likely need to be reversed because climate has become a more urgent issue than the disposal of nuclear waste. Ultimately, we will have to invest more heavily in wind, solar, tide and other forms of alternative energy but these technologies are not scalable to the degree required in the timeframe required and we need to have a bridge platform in the interim. The argument for nuclear can be made and it does not require kowtowing to the GOP.

There's more...

Diaries

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