Politics and Media Headlines 3/16/09

In unity there is fatuity (by Mike Flugennock at Stop Me Before I Vote Again)
Where is the American left while all this hell is breaking loose? Why, they're helping lay astroturf for Barack Obama! Read on to find out more about the massive Kool-Aid party being organized to boost the Obama Agenda -- and presumably, the Obama approval rating, which has apparently sunk to something more appropriate to normal objective reality.
See the story below.--Caro


Unity '09: Dem groups quietly align (Politico)
A broad coalition of left-leaning groups is quietly closing ranks into a new coalition, "Unity '09," aimed at helping President Barack Obama push his agenda through Congress. Conceived at a New York meeting before the November election, two Democrats familiar with the planning said, Unity '09 will draw together money and grassroots organizations to pressure lawmakers in their home states to back White House legislation and other progressive causes.

It's a New Progressive America (Center for American Progress)
CAP reports show a majority of Americans agree with progressive principles, and want the government to take a stronger role in the economy, writes Ruy Teixeira.
So why not take advantage of it, Mr. Obama?  Why do you keep pushing toward the right?--Caro

Administration Is Open to Taxing Health Benefits (New York Times)
The Obama administration is signaling to Congress that the president could support taxing some employee health benefits, as several influential lawmakers and many economists favor, to help pay for overhauling the health care system. The proposal is politically problematic for President Obama, however, since it is similar to one he denounced in the presidential campaign as "the largest middle-class tax increase in history." Most Americans with insurance get it from their employers, and taxing workers for the benefit is opposed by union leaders and some businesses.
Always hit the little guy.  Always.  So is Unity '09 going to support this?  See the problem when you tie your support to a person, rather than a set of principles?--Caro

THIS He Keeps on the Table? (by Alegre)
BHO's said single payer health care is "off the table".  The one thing that will ensure that all are covered and have access to health care services and he's told us he won't even consider it as he revamps our health care system. So imagine my shock and disappointment when I read that he's willing to consider taxing employer-provided health insurance... I expected this from the Republicans - in fact McCain proposed this sort of tax during the campaign and BHO went after him in campaign ads.  But I sure as heck didn't expect this from a DEMOCRAT!

Sunday: What color is the sky in their world? (by riverdaughter at The Confluence)
[A]dding a new tax on top of the hidden tax we all pay without coming up with a plan that will cover all of us?  I'm sorry, I can't get aboard that train.  The middle class is already subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich middle men who are the insurance industry.  And I'm not talking about the hapless claim reviewers who work in cube farms.  I'm talking about the stingy fat cat capitalists who run UnitedHealthCare and Aetna and the rest.  These people need to be reined in.  The gravy train has to stop for those people who always seem to get a piece of the action and produce nothing of value before I sign on to a new tax.

Click here for more politics and media news headlines.

Carolyn Kay

Tags: Media, Politics (all tags)



Yes, if only those leftwingers would

stop hindering his agenda, Obama could finally make some progress.

by Geekesque 2009-03-16 12:45PM | 0 recs
Open letter to President Obama

http://www.citizen.org/hrg/healthcare/ar ticles.cfm?ID=18398

Open Letter to President Obama from Mass. Physicians

February 18, 2009

Honorable Barack Obama, President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

We applaud your commitment to enact legislation that will improve health care in the United States.  Health care continues to be a critical issue for workers at the bargaining table and -- as the crisis in the auto industry shows -- without a real solution responsible employers lose their competitive edge while employees suffer.

The undersigned labor leaders from Massachusetts, ask that you pursue a strong agenda for national, universal, publicly-funded health care as the best solution to address out-of-control health care costs and unacceptable levels of health care disparities.

The best way to achieve your goals of universality, quality, and cost effectiveness is a national program based on improving and expanding Medicare to cover everyone.  This would be accomplished by passing HR 676, the "Medicare for all" legislation.

Although much-touted by some policy makers in Washington, the Massachusetts Plan has failed to address our concerns about costs and disparities and in some cases, has even made them worse.

The chief problem with the Massachusetts plan is that it leaves private insurance companies at the center of the system through an individual mandate and expensive public subsidies supported by taxes for plans that still don't provide enough coverage.

The law is too expensive for many individuals forced to buy health insurance.  It has failed to control costs and it has cost the state far more than initially projected.  As a result, many critical health care facilities that serve low-income communities are facing huge cuts, while health care premiums continue to rise by double digits year after year.  The Massachusetts Plan is widely recognized as unsustainable and now that we are facing an economic crisis, it is even more problematic.

As John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO has said, "Who would have thought that Massachusetts ...would take a page out of the Newt Gingrich playbook for health care reform?  Forcing uninsured workers to purchase health care coverage or face higher taxes and fines is the cornerstone of Mr. Gingrich's health care reform proposals.  And it is unconscionable that Massachusetts has adopted this misguided individual mandate."

We are part of a growing number of labor leaders in the labor movement who support HR 676, the "Medicare for All" bill, that is very similar to previous efforts sponsored by our own Senator Edward Kennedy.  We believe that, given the lessons of Massachusetts, this approach is the most fiscally prudent and morally imperative direction for successful health care reform.

We thank you in advance for your commitment to health care reform and look forward to working with you to make it a reality.


(500 signatures omitted for brevity)

See http://www.citizen.org/hrg/articles.cfm? ID=18395

by architek 2009-03-16 07:03PM | 0 recs
But Caro....

You spend MOST of the Primary hanging with the McCain/Palin supporters?

NOW all of sudden, you're in charge of Democratic Purity?

I think you handed in that card a while ago..

So, YES, let's join the Republicans (that is your agenda is it not) in knocking everthing Obama does...

Folks like Riverdance were ALL OVER McCain/Palin, Now all of sudden, they are lefties again?

Come on, you people have ZERO crediblity. ZERO!

You know, we really are better off if you would just go hang with the Republicans at Confluence and Allegres's PalaceofInternetCrazies.com

by WashStateBlue 2009-03-16 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics and Media Headlines 3/16/09

I wonder does anybody under stand the meaning of "considering."

By definition it means thinking about. looking at, taking into account. It does not mean enacting, making it policy.

And speaking of lemmings Alegre or riverdaughter immediately look at anything Obama says and run off a cliff screaming see, see - I told you so and the likes of you follow them right over the cliff.

Political Punch re taxing healthcare benefits -

But Obama administration aides immediately characterized the Times report as much ado about very little, saying the idea is on the proverbial table along with nearly every health care reform idea under the sun, but not being pushed or particularly supported by the White House.

"I saw this, the article you're talking about," White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee said on "Fox News Sunday." "I thought that was highly overstated. That is not in the president's budget. The president's budget -- you have it there on the table. It does not include this provision. This appears to be coming from (when) the administration and representatives of the administration went to Congress and said, 'We are open to all ideas to talk about health reform.'"

Goolsbee noted that "there are some people in Congress who are pushing this, but that is not the president's idea."

by jsfox 2009-03-16 01:06PM | 0 recs

And speaking of lemmings Alegre or riverdaughter immediately look at anything Obama says and run off a cliff screaming see, see - I told you so and the likes of you follow them right over the cliff.

I honestly DO think Caro has no idea what she thinks, that is why she ENDLESS cuts and pastes other peoples points of view, that puts a little stinger on the end, like "See, I told you, Riverdance agrees with me..."

But, it's really the other way around, isn't it?

She got gut shot when Clinton lost, wandered into the world of New Republicans, like Riverdance, who twisted themselves in pretzels to try to somehow JUSTIFY Sara Palin...


Now, that's all behind us, right?

Suddenly, these people are the Left Wing Purity Police?

How does that work again?

The mind boggles...

by WashStateBlue 2009-03-16 01:23PM | 0 recs
Goolsbee said point blank, we cant afford the ill.

http://online.wsj.com/public/article_pri nt/SB119681696156513818.html

"While the leading Democratic presidential candidates agree on most policy issues, a sharp dispute has emerged: Who would do more to provide health coverage for the uninsured?

Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been engaged in a bitter back-and-forth over whose health plan covers more people. Former Sen. John Edwards has jumped in, saying his plan is the best of all.

  •  The Players: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards all claim to have universal health-care proposals.
  •  The Background: Clinton and Edwards, but not Obama, would require all Americans to have insurance.
  •  The Bottom Line: Mandates may be needed to get everyone insured, but it's unclear if these plans provide enough subsidies to make the mandates affordable.

The argument concerns whether the government should require all Americans to get insurance. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards would require people to get insurance, either through work, a government program or new health marketplaces that all three candidates promise to set up. Mr. Obama would only require that children be insured.

Other elements of their plans are similar, including subsidies to help lower-income and even middle-income families pay premiums, and various proposals to cut the cost of health care. The candidates say they would pay for their plans by rolling back President Bush's tax cuts for upper-income earners and by savings in health spending through various measures.

None of the Republican candidates has proposed a universal health plan. But with the race tight and health care the No. 1 domestic issue for Democrats, the differences among Democrats have become a point of continuing tension.

Mrs. Clinton charges that Mr. Obama's plan would leave 15 million people without insurance. Outside experts agree that number is in the ballpark. If people aren't required by law to buy insurance, many won't. There are millions of children, for instance, who remain uninsured, even though they qualify for free or subsidized government programs.

In addition, all three candidates want to bar insurance companies from rejecting sick people or charging them more. But it is hard to require companies to insure expensive sick people if they aren't guaranteed that cheap healthy people will balance them out.

On the campaign trail, Mrs. Clinton has attacked Mr. Obama for his plan, saying it betrays the Democratic principle of universal coverage. Her campaign has demanded that he take down an advertisement that claims his plan "covers everyone."

Mr. Obama has replied that her attacks are more about politics than substance; they didn't come, he noted, until she lost ground in the polls. But his advisers don't dispute her central charge. Rather, they claim Mrs. Clinton's plan would also leave millions without coverage.

Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee argues that if Mrs. Clinton's health plan is enacted, she will have to waive the mandate for millions of people. That is because, he says, there isn't enough money for subsidies to make health insurance affordable enough for people to buy it.

"You can't put in a mandate until health care is affordable," he says. He predicted that a Hillary Clinton administration would wind up exempting 20% of the uninsured, or about 10 million people. That is the percentage of uninsured adults who were exempted in Massachusetts, the only state to try an individual mandate.

That view may not be true. Ken Thorpe, a health-policy expert at Emory University who has advised all three major Democrats, said he ran cost estimates for the Clinton plan at the Clinton campaign's request, and found there should be enough money to make insurance affordable for all. He said he ran three scenarios with varying levels of subsidies -- from $100 billion a year to $120 billion a year. The campaign chose one in the middle: $110 billion.

If it turns out that isn't enough money to make health premiums affordable, Mrs. Clinton would have to spend more on subsidies, one of her health-care advisers said.

But, the adviser said, it is wrong to assume that 20% of Americans will be exempted. It is impossible to say for certain, because the campaign has not explained how large the subsidies will be or who will qualify for them.

The Obama plan does some other things to get people insurance. It allows adults up to age 25 to stay on their parents' insurance even if they aren't in school. And it attempts to lower the cost of insurance overall through a reinsurance plan, whereby the federal government would cover some expenses of some of the most costly patients.

Outside experts note that the Clinton and Obama plans propose spending about the same amount of money, while Mr. Obama uses some of his to pay for the reinsurance plan -- an initiative that could cost tens of billions of dollars. That should help lower premiums across the board, but it means there would be less available for direct subsidies."

by architek 2009-03-16 07:09PM | 0 recs
Oh give it up

it's getting old. She LOST!

by DTOzone 2009-03-16 10:28PM | 0 recs

Could you show some courage and possibly post in your own diaries more than once out of ten?

I don't hate you.  You aren't worthy of hate.  You are a figure of fun, fit for mockery.  You're going to whine and bitch the whole way to a progressive future.  Don't you see that?

by Reaper0Bot0 2009-03-16 03:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics and Media Headlines 3/16/09

by thatrangeofshadesbetweenredandbluestuff 2009-03-16 10:12PM | 0 recs
Ok, I can take the worst economic turndown in history, but if you tell me disco is coming back,
 I will be among the first to use WA states new assisted suicide law.
by WashStateBlue 2009-03-17 05:14AM | 0 recs


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