Like a reluctant Sisyphus, the president is still pushing the public option up Capitol Hill. According to a report in the L.A. Times, Obama has been trying to sell moderate Democrats on the idea. That’s no easy task, as many have taken gobs of money from the private health industry and coincidentally oppose meaningful reform.
We all know by now about Max Baucus, the Finance Committee chairman, who has consistently managed to block the public option while raising millions from the health industry.
His partners in crime, so to speak, include Blanche Lincoln, the Arkansas Democrat who in effect killed (for the time being) the proposed Employee Free Choice Act.
You know you’re in trouble when it turns out that Charles Schumer, the New York senator who appears to be on board, raised more money from HMOs this term than any other senator. Should he get the benefit of the doubt? Not when he’s already proved to be such a reliable proxy for his Wall Street patrons.
Make no mistake, this is about political contributions, not angry voters in conservative districts. Sen. Richard Durbin made the point to his colleagues, as reported by the L.A. Times below: As long as Americans are going to be made to buy insurance, as the Baucus plan mandates, they want a public option. —PS
Los Angeles Times:
And at a closed-door meeting of Senate Democrats on Tuesday, Assistant Majority Leader Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) marshaled polling data from districts represented by conservative Democrats that showed a majority would back the requirement that Americans get health insurance so long as there was a public option.
“To argue that this is some fringe position is to ignore the obvious,” Durbin said.
White House / Pete Souza
President Obama listens to a question about health care at his National Health Care Forum in August.