It is difficult to figure out what is spin and what is fact after yesterday’s visit by the president to the Senate Democrats. If health care reform is truly as important as he says, and the Senate version of health care is genuinely health care reform, then the public option will be tossed aside and the ban on abortion with federal money endorsed and secured, and the 60 votes.
But if it isn’t really about health care, then big fights over both issues and others should erupt.
Republicans and sensible independents and Democrats need to keep jamming the Senate with phone calls and e-mails via the “Take Further Action” button in the Free Our Health Care box in the right column.
They also need to visit and contribute to ReverseTheVote.org.
And they need especially to call three Democrats via the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121: Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota. Lincoln, Bayh and Dorgan will face the voters in 46 weeks, so let them know that support for Obamacare will mean your support for their opponent.
Blanche Lincoln has cooked up one of the worst bits of class envy, pseudo-populism with her attack on executive pay within the insurance industry. I write about it in today’s Washington Examiner column, and will devote a lot fo the show to it as well. Her sponsorship of this bit of demagoguery leads me to conclude she will in the end throw in with Obamacare and be a loyal Pelosi/Reid soldier. That should doom her re-election. I will try and find for today’s show State Senator Gilbert Baker, one of the Republicans trying to get the nomination to take on Lincoln. You can contribute to his campaign here.
The maneuver of the day is to try and use the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Health Benefits Program as a vehicle to support the public option. Watch that space carefully. I administered the FEHB as General Counsel and Deputy Director of OPM from 1986 to early 1989, and the program was extremely expensive and suffered from all the problems associated with what the professionals call “adverse selection,” meaning that annually the federal workforce would switch plans to fit their circumstances, a practice that led to enormously high costs generally and to the loss of high-benefit programs which would see a flood of the entrants each year who were in greatest need of the most expensive medical procedures. FEHB is a wonderful benefit for federal employees, but it is wildly expensive, and the details about how the OPM and FEHB will be involved could change the CBO scoring of any plan dramatically.