Daily Pulse: Uncharted Territory

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger

The public option remains in limbo. The Senate Finance Committee is fine-tuning the bill it unveiled last week, which does not include a public option. However, Brian Beutler of TPM reports that Democrats have already submitted three separate amendments that might add a public option.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) submitted what he calls a "level playing field" amendment, which would, incongruously, create a public option that couldn't set its own rates. A second amendment submitted by Schumer and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) would create a public option much like that outlined the HELP Committee bill. Finally, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) submitted an amendment that would create a robust public option, much like the one originally drafted in the House.

It's pretty clear that no bill containing a public option in its first draft will get 60 votes in the senate. However, as Beutler reports in a second TPM piece, the Democrats are seriously revisiting the prospect of using budget reconciliation to get a health care bill through the senate with a simple majority. However, Beutler explains that Democrats are reluctant to go the reconciliation route because senate rules restrict the kind of bill that can be passed through reconciliation. For example, only provisions that "materially affect" spending can be passed through reconciliation. But what qualifies as a material effect?

Meanwhile, President Obama continues to insist that the public option isn't dead yet, Steve Benen reports in the Washington Monthly.

In other news, women's health remains a hot topic in health care reform. To understand why health care reform is especially critical for women, Public News Service interviewed Dr. Susan Wood, a scientist who famously resigned from the Bush-era Food and Drug Administration over the politicization of the approval of Plan B. Since leaving the government, Wood has returned to academia to study women's health. Some of her key findings include:

About 20 percent of women under the age of 65 have no health care insurance; in some states, women are denied coverage if they have experienced domestic violence; and when women do have coverage, they are charged higher premiums and often see a long list of preexisting conditions that are excluded, with pregnancy sometimes on that list.

If there is a public option, will it cover abortion? Rep. Lois Capps has written an amendment addressing that question. She explains her proposal in her own words at RH Reality Check.

Uncertainty remains high as the senate inches towards a bill.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit  Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

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Daily Pulse: Women's Health Beyond Pink Ribbons

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger

While the Senate Finance Committee tinkers with the Baucus Bill, First Lady Michelle Obama is taking center stage in the health care reform debate. Obama's director of communications announced last week that the FLOTUS would be focusing on the health care needs of women and children. Mindful of the conservative backlash against Hillary Clinton's crusade for health care reform, Mrs. Obama is expected to steer clear of policy issues, according to Salon's Judy Berman.

Tying health reform to women's health is a smart political move. The far Right lured anti-choicers into a corporatist tax revolt with tall tales of tax-payer funded abortions. Now the White House is reminding Progressives that it cares, in a very general, non-policy kind of way, about women's health. While Progressives will appreciate the White House shining a spotlight on reproductive health, it won't mean much without policy specifics. It certainly won't make up for the President Obama's waffling on the public option.

The failure of the private insurance system has galvanized Dr. Willie Parker, an obstetrician/gynecologist active in Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, as a passionate advocate for health care reform. In RH Reality Check, Dr. Parker tells how the status quo falls short on women's health care:

I am not talking about withholding the latest, cutting-edge, exorbitantly priced medications or treatments. No--I've had patients whose health insurance doesn't cover such basic health needs as Pap smears and birth control prescriptions. And forget about having a baby--many insurance policies don't cover prenatal care or labor and delivery, or they treat pregnancy as a pre-existing condition.

In the Progressive, Mike Ervin reminds us that disability issues are also getting short shrift in the health care debate. Ervin takes aim at a Medicaid system that won't help until a person is completely destitute. He suggests that a robust public option might be a lifeline before disability erases the savings of a lifetime.

This week, expect the wheeling and dealing on the Baucus Bill to continue behind the scenes as the Finance Committee marks up the legislation before the final committee vote. But with Sen Olympia Snowe's (R-Maine) 60th vote in doubt, there are rumblings about reviving budget reconciliation as an option for passing a health bill in the senate with a simple majority.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit  Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

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Daily Pulse: Adele Stan Talks Teabaggers (Audio)

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger

In this interview, Stan explains that while the event was billed as a grassroots convergence, it was in fact orchestrated by Dick Armey's FreedomWorks and the right wing Americans for Prosperity. The rally also received massive amounts of free publicity from Fox News host Glenn Beck, coordinator of the 9-12 project. Stan describes how all the abortion-, immigration- and death panel-talk binds social conservatives, nativists, and big business interests into a cohesive rightwing coalition.

Stan says that ,while the tea baggers have cropped up recently, the leaders of the movement have been at this game since LBJ trounced Barry Goldwater in 1964.

To learn more, check out Addie's recent writing on the Tea Parties at AlterNet. The Wing Nut Code explains the significance of those creepy yellow snake flags and other right wing symbology; and The Same Old Faces explains how old guard Goldwater partisans are still pulling the strings for the right wing.

If the embedded audio player is not working for you, please listen to the interview here.


This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit  Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

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Lack of Health Insurance cause 44789 deaths in United States every year

Paul Rosenberg at OpenLeft brings to our attention a recent study conducted by Harvard related researchers. The study concludes that 44789 deaths occur in United States because of lack of health insurance!

http://www.openleft.com/diary/15168/wher es-the-morality-45000-deaths-per-yearthe -real-cost-of-the-current-health-care-sy stem

The actual article linked below states the following in its conclusion. It is powerful indictment of the state of healthcare in United States. What a shame!!!

The United States stands alone among industrialized nations in not providing health coverage to all of its citizens. Currently, 46 million Americans lack health coverage. Despite repeated attempts to expand health insurance, uninsurance remains commonplace among US adults

Lack of health insurance is associated with as many as 44789 deaths per year in the United States, more than those caused by kidney disease (n=42868). The increased risk of death attributable to uninsurance suggests that alternative measures of access to medical care for the uninsured, such as community health centers, do not provide the protection of private health insurance. Despite widespread acknowledgment tha enacting universal coverage would be life saving, doing so remains politically thorny. Now that health reform is again on the political agenda, health professionals have the opportunity to advocate universal coverage.

Read the full article at

http://pnhp.org/excessdeaths/health-insu rance-and-mortality-in-US-adults.pdf

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Daily Pulse: Has Baucus Pulled Snowe's Trigger?

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), perhaps the only moderate Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, predicted that the committee's forthcoming bill will not include a public option with a trigger. (Note that even if the Finance Committee's bill doesn't include a public option, one could still be added later in the legislative process, with or without a trigger.)

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