Senate Finance Committee Drops ‘Public Option’

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ASSOCIATED PRESS: After weeks of secretive talks, a bipartisan group in the Senate edged closer Monday to a health care compromise that omits a requirement for businesses to offer coverage to their workers and lacks a government insurance option that President Barack Obama favors, according to numerous officials. Like bills drafted by Democrats, the proposal under discussion by six members on the Senate Finance Committee would bar insurance companies from denying coverage to any applicant. Nor could insurers charge higher premiums on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions. But it jettisons other core Democratic provisions in a reach for bipartisanship on an issue that has so far produced little. MORE

healthcare_1.jpgPOLITICO: That could bring even greater pressure on Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who has been challenged by more liberal senators who say he is sacrificing key Democratic priorities on health care reform to win the votes of a few Republicans. MORE

TOM PRICE (R-GEORGIA):  Supporters present this “public option” as a vehicle to provide coverage for the uninsured and a way to compete with private insurers. But there should be no misunderstanding: a government-run plan is simply a backdoor path to a government takeover of health care. […] With Washington in control of the delivery of medicine, the quality of care for patients becomes secondary. Since the government views care in terms of dollars and cents rather than patients and their doctors, medical decisions are always made with a focus on the bottom line, rather than the patient’s best interest. I know. I have seen first-hand how government-run programs ration, delay and deny care. MORE

DAILY KOS:  Right now, it seems [Max Baucus] has all the cards – he’s been putting together the Finance Committee bill in secret, with his gang of six, and it looks like that bill’s going to be little more than warmed-over Romneycare. Kent Conrad’s co-ops instead of a public option, no employer mandate, subsidies for people making only up to 300% of FPL. Utter crap. Baucus thinks he can get away with this because he lives in a relatively conservative state, he isn’t up for re-election until 2014, and he’s getting all that tasty lobbyist money from the insurance industry. Follow the fold to see why Baucus isn’t as invulnerable as he thinks he is. MORE

DAILY KOS: You should not get too bent out of shape over the Senate finance committee’s Health Insurance Reform bill. The final Senate bill will also need to be reconciled with the house bill, which is stronger than both of the Senate proposals. The likelihood of a public plan not being tacked on in either reconciliation is pretty unlikely. MORE

PHAWKER: For most of my adult life I have been without health insurance. When checking in for doctor’s appointments and asked by the receptionist who my health insurer was, I would always respond with “I voted for red-cross101.thumbnail.pngBill Clinton.” It was meant as a joke, but nobody thought it was very funny, least of all me. Mercifully, I have been reasonably healthy my whole life, but that won’t last forever. To think that the only industrialized nation on Earth NOT to offer universal health coverage to ALL its citizens will remain that way,  just so a bunch of crony capitalist predators can financially rape the sick and infirmed for fun and for profit — all because true power in this country lies not with the people, nor even their elected leadership in Washington, but instead within the blinged fist of a pitiless corporate oligarchy that will crush any reform effort that threatens their ability to enrich themselves obscenely at the expense of the powerless — is too depressing for words. Next time I go to the doctor and they ask me who my health insurer is, I will tell them that I voted for Obama. And once again, no one will laugh.

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BORN IDENTITY: Birthers of A Bizarro Nation 

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WIKIPEDIA: Questions and conspiracy theories about Barack Obama‘s citizenship, and other challenges to his eligibility to become President of the United States, have circulated before and after his victory in paranoia2.thumbnail.jpgthe US presidential election of 2008. A number of fringe activists, pundits and political opponents allege that he is not a natural born citizen and so is not eligible to be President of the United States under Article Two of the U.S. Constitution. Individuals promoting eligibility claims have been dubbed birthers, drawing a parallel with 9/11 conspiracy theorists, who have been nicknamed “truthers”.[10] The movement has been widely criticized by mainstream conservatives. A few members of congress have proposed legislation to prevent future occurrences of such issues. MORE

TIME: State officials in Hawaii on Monday said they have once again checked and confirmed that President Barackhawaiimoon.thumbnail.jpg Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen, and therefore meets a key constitutional requirement for being president.  Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said she hoped to end lingering rumors about Obama’s birthplace. “I … have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen,” she said in a brief statement. “I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago.” MORE

HuffPo contributor Mike Stark chases GOP congressmen around Captitol Hill trying, often unsuccessfully, to get them to answer on camera whether or not they believe Barack Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States. Most refuse to answer, one even ducks into a drugstore and pretends to be looking at pens for 10 minutes just to avoid the camera. In one hilarious segment, Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia) literally runs away. Stark, an ex-Marine, gives chase, at one point pulling up alongside the fleeing congressman and declaring, “You’re in pretty good shape for an older guy.”

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