August 16th, 2009
06:21 PM ET
11 years ago

Carville: Dems should force GOP to filibuster health care reform

WASHINGTON (CNN) – After two weeks of sometimes contentious congressional town hall meetings on health care reform, and amid growing signals from the Obama administration that it may be willing to compromise on a key aspect of health care, Democratic strategist James Carville said Sunday that congressional Democrats should force Republicans to filibuster health care reform in the Senate.

“What about this?,” Carville said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “Suppose they pass a House bill that can get 56 Senate Democrats.” Then, Carville suggested, instead of using reconciliation, a special budgetary maneuver in Senate procedure that frustrate GOP attempts to mount a filibuster, Democrats should call for a vote. “And make [Republicans] filibuster it. But the old kinda way is that they filibuster it and make’em go three weeks and all night and [Democrats] will be there the whole time.

“Then, you say, ‘They’re the people that stopped it. We had a majority of Democrats. We had a good bill. They stopped it.’"

The Democratic strategist also rejected any comparison between the Clinton administration’s failed efforts at health care reform in 1994 and the Obama administration’s efforts now.

Filed under: Extra • Health care • James Carville • Mary Matalin • Popular Posts • State of the Union
August 16th, 2009
03:08 PM ET
13 years ago

Conservative Democrat gets The Last Word

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A member of the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, a group of more moderate to conservative Democrats in the House of Representatives, predicted Sunday that the version of health care reform legislation currently being hashed out by bipartisan negotiators in the Senate Finance Committee will come to dominate the reform debate.

Related video: Ross holds town hall, gets standing ovation

“At the end of the day, there’s going to have to be some common ground here,” Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas said on CNN’s State of the Union, when asked about viability of a public insurance option in any reform legislation.

“The reality is that it takes sixty percent to get this done in the Senate. It’s probably going to have to be bipartisan in the Senate – which I think it should be,” Ross said.

“I know that a lot of members of my party in the House don’t want to hear this,” said Ross, but “my guess is about 90 percent [of the final bill presented to the White House] will be reflected from what’s in the Senate Finance Committee bill.”

Ross also took the opportunity to lay down his guiding principles for health care reform.

Related: Ross responds to RNC in radio ad

Filed under: Health care • Mike Ross • State of the Union
August 16th, 2009
03:02 PM ET
August 16th, 2009
02:17 PM ET
13 years ago

Sebelius: There will be competition with private insurers

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A day after President Obama appeared to suggest that his administration might be open to health care reform legislation that does not include a public health insurance option, one of Obama’s top aides on the issue left the door open to accepting nonprofit health insurance co-ops, a proposal that has gained traction in bipartisan negotiations in the Senate Finance Committee.

“I think there will be a competition to private insurers,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “that really is the essential part, that you don’t turn over the whole new marketplace [after health care legislation is enacted] to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing. We need some choices, we need some competition.”

At a town hall in Grand Junction, Colorado Saturday, Mr. Obama seemed to downplay the necessity of having a public insurance option in the final version of any health care reform legislation presented to him by Congress.

“The public option – whether we have it or we don’t have it – is not the entirety of health care reform,” the President said. “This is just one sliver of it, one aspect of it. And, by the way, it’s both the right and the left that have become so fixated on this that they forget everything else . . .”

August 16th, 2009
02:16 PM ET
August 16th, 2009
12:48 PM ET
13 years ago

TX Dem: Bill without public option 'would be very, very difficult'

WASHINGTON (CNN) –On the same day that a Cabinet member signaled the administration’s willingness to forego inclusion of a public health insurance option in the final version of health care reform legislation, a Texas Democrat who is also a registered nurse suggested that the public option might be a deal breaker for at least some House Democrats.

“It would be very, very difficult,” to support a bill that lacked a public health insurance option, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “because, without the public option, we’ll have the same number of people uninsured. If the insurance companies wanted to insure these people now, they’d be insured.

Johnson added that “an option that would give the private insurance companies a little competition” is “the only way” to be sure that insurance is available to low income people and people without employer-provided coverage.

Filed under: Democrats • Health care • House • State of the Union
August 16th, 2009
11:20 AM ET
13 years ago

Doctors', seniors' advocacy groups defend health-care overhaul

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Leaders of organizations representing America's doctors and senior citizens on Sunday defended proposals by President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders to overhaul the nation's ailing health-care system.

Appearing on "FOX News Sunday," Dr. J. James Rohack, president of the American Medical Association, and John Rother of AARP - formerly the American Association of Retired Persons - called a comprehensive overhaul necessary. Their support is a reversal from past opposition to proposed health-care reform by both organizations.

Republican opponents have called health-care proposals so far too sweeping and unnecessary, but Rohack and Rother said the integration of the system requires a broad approach.

"There are some moving parts that if you just do one and don't do the other, you're going to have unintended consequences," said Rohack, head of the nation's largest doctors' advocacy group.

Rother, executive vice president of policy and strategy for the largest senior citizens' advocacy group, said properly addressing excessive health-care costs and waste requires addressing both health insurance coverage and how health-care treatment is delivered.

Both men rejected accusations that a health-care overhaul would bring rationing of health treatment based on bureaucratic measures such as cost and economic productivity of patients.

Filed under: Health care
August 16th, 2009
11:14 AM ET
11 years ago

Sebelius on swine flu: 'We're preparing for the worst'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday that high priority populations will likely have completed the full regimen of swine flu vaccination by Thanksgiving."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday that it would likely be Thanksgiving before the most vulnerable, high priority populations are completely vaccinated against the H1N1 or swine flu virus. In the meantime, Sebelius said parents and schools need to make back-up plans to deal with possible illness.

“We’re playing out a whole variety of scenarios,” Sebelius said on CNN’s State of the Union. “We’re preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.”

Sebelius told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that the administration was “optimistic” it would have a vaccine available by around mid-October.

“But the regimen will take about five weeks,” Sebelius said, “A first shot, three weeks delay, second shot, and then about two weeks for full immunity. So we’re really need to work between now and Thanksgiving with lots of social mitigation – keeping kids home from school if they’re sick. I would urge every family have a back-up child care plan.”

“If a parent gets sick, was is the plan?,” Sebelius also said Sunday, “because we know the disease spreads quickly and we will not have fully immunized even priority populations until about Thanksgiving.”

“We’re looking at schools as great partners for possible vaccine programs beginning in the fall to get kids immunized as quickly as possible because this is a children’s flu,” the Obama aide also said.

August 16th, 2009
11:08 AM ET
13 years ago

Aide: Obama 'can't prevent employers from dropping coverage'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="HHS Secretary Sebelius discussed health care reform Sunday on State of the Union."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A top Obama aide said Sunday that even if health care reform legislation is passed, the president cannot prevent employers from dropping health care coverage.

Asked about Mr. Obama’s comments Tuesday at New Hampshire that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the president could not ensure that employees would not lose coverage if Democrats succeed in passing health care reform legislation.

“Clearly, he can’t prevent employers from dropping coverage,” Sebelius told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “and it happens all the time although health reform will stabilize that marketplace.”

“I think, at the end of the day, what [Obama’s] saying is that you’re going to have a stronger employer-based system – encourage more employers to stay where they are and encourage more doctors to actually participate in the system. Clearly, he can’t mandate that a doctor not retire or that an employer not switch a plan that might have a different network of doctors."

Sebelius also told King about a deal the administration has struck with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry that will help contain costs for prescription drugs especially for senior citizens covered by Medicare who need prescription drugs.

Related: Health care in America

August 16th, 2009
10:08 AM ET
12 years ago

Democratic senator: Public health insurance option dead

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Demoractic Sen. Kent Conrad said Sunday that his party does not have the 60 votes necessary in the Senate to stop a filibuster of a health reform bill that includes a public insurance option."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A key Senate negotiator said Sunday that President Barack Obama should drop his push for a government-funded public health insurance option because the Senate will never pass it.

Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota said it was futile to continue to "chase that rabbit" due to the lack of 60 Senate votes needed to overcome a filibuster.

"The fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the United States Senate for a public option. There never have been," Conrad said on "FOX News Sunday."

Conrad is one of six Senate Finance Committee members - three Democrats and three Republicans - who are negotiating a compromise health-care bill that would be the only bipartisan proposal so far.

Filed under: Health care • Kent Conrad • Popular Posts
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