Should House Progressives have Press Conference De-ligitimizing Baucus/Wellpoint Bill?

A current Vice President for Wellpoint was Baucus' Chief of Staff last year.  Baucus' Chief of Staff last year is a Wellpoint lobbyist this year.   Enzi's former chief of staff is a wellpoint lobbyist.
The PDF of Baucus' outline showed Liz Fowler, a Vice President for Wellpoint last year as its creator.

Should the progressive caucus in the house force media coverage of Baucus' Bill as being illegitimate?   I think they should have a press conference calling the Baucus Bill Caviar for Insurance companies and a crap sandwich for Americans....  Even today Di-Fi (Dianne Feinstein) on CNN emphasized how important the finance committee bill is for the final law that will be signed.

http://blog.littlesis.org/2009/09/11/cur rent-wellpoint-lobbyist-ex-enzi-staffer- wrote-key-parts-of-baucus-plan/

Still more evidence that Wellpoint wrote the Baucus plan: the insurance company's lobbying efforts in DC are headed up by Senator Mike Enzi's former chief health adviser at Senate HELP, Stephen Northrup. Enzi is a member of Baucus's so-called "Gang of Six" shaping the bipartisan compromise bill.

In fact, key provisions in the Baucus plan apparently draw on industry-inspired legislation first introduced by Enzi in 2006, while Northrup was still his chief health aide.

http://bravenewfilms.org/blog/?p=71894

When Industry VPs Write Laws

Max Baucus' plan had the name of Liz Fowler, a former WellPoint VP who now works for the Finance Committee, in the metadata. When you have WellPoint personnel instrumental in writing the laws, you get little provisions like this:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2009/07/05/AR2009070502770. html?hpid=topnews

A June 10 meeting between aides to Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and health-care lobbyists included two former Baucus chiefs of staff: David Castagnetti, whose clients include PhRMA and America's Health Insurance Plans, and Jeffrey A. Forbes, who represents PhRMA, Amgen, Genentech, Merck and others. Castagnetti did not return a telephone call; Forbes declined to comment.

If I were a congressperson who did not want the final bill to look like the finance committee bill I'd have a press conference using words like "lobbyist written", "not change we can believe in", "crap sandwich", "insurance wet dream" etc... to get some traction.

Tags: obama (all tags)

Comments

27 Comments

by TarHeel 2009-09-13 06:05AM | 0 recs
Re: De-ligitimizing Baucus/Wellpoint Bill?

If you can figure out how to pass a bill WITHOUT the finance committee, then maybe.

It sucks but there is no way around Baucus, and a million full page ads in the NYT asking "Will Senator Baucus Balk Us?" won't change that.

by Jess81 2009-09-13 06:10AM | 0 recs
Re: De-ligitimizing Baucus/Wellpoint Bill?

Oh, and if that weren't depressing enough, keep in mind that since this is going to be a Democrats only bill, every Democratic member of the finance committee has to approve it.  Behold:

MAX BAUCUS, MT
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, WV
KENT CONRAD, ND
JEFF BINGAMAN, NM
JOHN F. KERRY, MA
BLANCHE L. LINCOLN, AR
RON WYDEN, OR
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, NY
DEBBIE STABENOW, MI
MARIA CANTWELL, WA
BILL NELSON, FL
ROBERT MENENDEZ, NJ
THOMAS CARPER, DE

It's a fucking corporate murderers row.  Blanche Lincoln AND Ben Nelson?  Jesus.

by Jess81 2009-09-13 06:14AM | 0 recs
I do not want 60 votes

I want reconciliation...

What I'm suggesting is pre-emptively delegitimizing
whatever the finance committee bill passes

by TarHeel 2009-09-13 06:22AM | 0 recs
You can't get to reconciliation

without the Finance Committee.

by DTOzone 2009-09-13 10:55AM | 0 recs
you don't get it

the finance committee will pass a steaming pile of dung...

yes they will pass something and yes it will suck.

pre-emptively poo-pooing the finance committee would help the final product..

as opposed to Di-Fi who just today said the final bill will look like the finance committee product.

the individual committee bills do not have to reflect at all the final product...

do you think the final senate bill will look like the senate HELP committee bill?

by TarHeel 2009-09-13 11:11AM | 0 recs
Well that's too bad

take it up with the founding fathers who designed the Senate...or better yet, take it up with the MEMBERS of the Finance Committee. If progressive can't influence them, they have no power...period.

by DTOzone 2009-09-13 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: you don't get it

Without the finance committee, there is no final product.

by Jess81 2009-09-13 02:27PM | 0 recs
Re:About the committee

I don't think you need all the Democrats, even if you don't get Snowe (probably will). the basic makeup is D-13, R-10. (This post is not intended to support the existence of this redundant failure predicting diary.)

Democrats: 13
MAX BAUCUS, MT
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, WV
KENT CONRAD, ND
JEFF BINGAMAN, NM
JOHN F. KERRY, MA
BLANCHE L. LINCOLN, AR
RON WYDEN, OR
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, NY
DEBBIE STABENOW, MI
MARIA CANTWELL, WA
BILL NELSON, FL
ROBERT MENENDEZ, NJ
THOMAS CARPER, DE

Republicans: 10
CHUCK GRASSLEY, IA
ORRIN G. HATCH, UT
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, ME
JON KYL, AZ
JIM BUNNING, KY
MIKE CRAPO, ID
PAT ROBERTS, KS
JOHN ENSIGN, NV
MIKE ENZI, WY
JOHN CORNYN, TX

by QTG 2009-09-13 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re:About the committee

Okay, so you can lose two Democrats and still get it out of committee.  Pick up Snowe and you can lose three.

by Jess81 2009-09-13 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re:About the committee

...that is, assuming abstentions and not no votes.

by Jess81 2009-09-13 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: De-ligitimizing Baucus/Wellpoint Bill?

It is possible to bypass a key committee if the President so chooses. Point in fact the 1964 Civil Rights Act, where President Johnson forced the Senate to vote on the House bill after bypassing the Senate Judiciary Committee which was chaired by Southern Democrats.

Unfortunately the health care legislation is far more convoluted and now that a few days have passed since the President's speech it is increasing evident that the speech was, as Anthony Weiner characterized it, a Rorschach test. Progressive senators like Sherrod Brown thinks that the President "implied" a public option, while Claire McCaskill is glad that the President "hand-cuffed" the public option. While Olympia Snowe (who increasingly is calling all the shots now) went so far as to say that the President has more or less taken the public option off the table. Will we have a public option? Maybe but the devil is in the details.

If you really are interested you should read Robert Reich's blog on this subject.

But the penchant of this administration to cave to the right-wing's demands on anything and everything is very troublesome. Today the HHS secretary said that the President is going to go above and the beyond the Congressional bill to block any public funding of abortion. Again what does that mean? Does it mean that individuals participating in the exchange cannot have an abortion? I find the constitutionality of that to be questionable. Or does it mean that people who are insured by public option cannot get abortion? That again is open to question because the administration says that the public option will be run like a private company. Or does it mean that low income people getting subsidies cannot get abortion? Because once again abortion is more prevalent in the lower SEC.

by tarheel74 2009-09-13 08:56AM | 0 recs
actually you can
but that's not what I'm arguing.
I'm arguing the the progressive caucus pre-emptively point out all the lobbyists that are writing the finance committee bill. to destroy it as a template for whatever becomes law..
by TarHeel 2009-09-13 10:04AM | 0 recs
Wow the President runs the Senate? who knew?

It is possible to bypass a key committee if the President so chooses. Point in fact the 1964 Civil Rights Act, where President Johnson forced the Senate to vote on the House bill after bypassing the Senate Judiciary Committee which was chaired by Southern Democrats.

Mike Mansfield bypassed Eastland, not the President...and if you remember, it didn't work. The House bill was filibustered until Mansfield and LBJ agreed to a compromise bill to get Republican votes that weakened the House bill considerably. The only reason Eastland was bypassed was because he never had any intention of passing anything out of his committee, not because he would've weakened it.

by DTOzone 2009-09-13 10:57AM | 0 recs
if the president

told McCaskill or some of the reasonable centrist senators neither he nor the DNC nor the dscc will help them , the president can't twist arms

by TarHeel 2009-09-13 11:12AM | 0 recs
McCaskill doesn't need their help

see that's the great thing about corporate money and incumbency, it takes the power not only out of the people's hands, but out of the party's hands too...and the DSCC isn't under the President's wing. He can bitch all he wants, what hte DSCC does is up to Bob Menendez.

by DTOzone 2009-09-13 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Wow the President runs the Senate? who knew?

Mike Mansfield did LBJ's bidding. Look the point is can a bill be introduced in the Senate bypassing a key committee? Sure it can. The problem here is it won't.

That leaves us with the specter of a severely diluted and maybe even an anti-people health care bill. All indicators suggest that the finance committee bill will be exactly something that is like Commonwealth Care and shift the cost burden on to the consumer. That will be a disaster.

by tarheel74 2009-09-13 03:17PM | 0 recs
Yes he did

unfotunately Harry Reid does no do President Obama's...one of the first things he said is "I don't work for the President"

by DTOzone 2009-09-13 03:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Should House Progressives

The House Progressives need to demonstrate they have the stones to force a public option through the House, first and foremost.  There will be plenty of time for posturing over the conference committee process later.

by Steve M 2009-09-13 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Should House Progressives

There you go again, saying interesting stuff.

by Jess81 2009-09-13 02:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Should House Progressives have Press Conferenc

I am cutting back on posting here and elsewhere as I focus on my business. So, by necessity, this will be a post that is mostly just a collection of trends and thoughts rather than one with a clear thesis.

The central problem with your argument can be found in both the responses you find here (most of which are not really trying to solve the health care crisis) and  the answer to this question: What would your strategy produce that the horror stories Americans have sent the WH and Congress, the open threats to not support the bill without PO from the CPC, polling data, etc have not produced? The fact is- there is no reason beyond centrist focus on picking up votes from regressive extremists that motivates what you are seeing. Snowe, for example, is now not even supporting the idea of a trigger despite the fact it was something she advocated.

Part of the issue is attention span. We are now on a week to week historical cycle in which bad faith actors can simply make shit up without any consequence. Part of it is you have a dedicated group of Obama cheerleaders who will try to defeat any questioning of Obama. Part of it is that the electorate lacks critical thinking skills, knowledge of the subject and multiple other factors that are required for the correct policy here to be discerned and implemented.

Moreover, I do not forsee the progressives having any impact because they will probably fold. If they do not fold, they will have some impact. But the amount of that impact compared to what the insurance industry has gained will be minimum.

They face a steep battle because the WH is pressuring them to fold and a blogsphere that has no sense of history and that wants to be relevant.

You can already see the outlines of that starting to take shape with MSM and blogs, from which I have seen the shift since Wednesday.

I believe in my gut that the public option is dead because the Democrats do not have the will to govern effectively as opposed to govern out of fear of Reaganism.  Indeed, part of the reason I am starting to focus on my business rather than more activism is that I think there has been so much damage to the economy as a result of regressive policies that I do not want my future business to be economically linked to the American economy.  

The core issue is one of political leadership, and I do not see any likelihood of that leadership style changing until absolute failure occurs or this generation of Democrats are replaced by those who did not come to politics during the Reagan era. I also do not see the American people doing anything about until failure occurs because Americans are no longer involved in their system. If Wall Street is any indication, I am not even sure they will do anything when failure does occur.  

Frank Rich and Paul Rosenberg separately discuss how President Obama's leadership, the nature of the Democratic Party and the nature of our government will lead to this result again and again.  I think Obama is besides the matter. He's more a symptom of systemic problems. I read them together, and, reading them, I am ready to move on.

Frank discussing Obama's wait until the last minute style of leadership:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/opinio n/13rich.html?pagewanted=1&adxnnlx=1 252843473-0Vu7QAorWenNGkxXPwAs1A

Rosenberg discussing how Obama (and I would add the Democrats) are still children of Reagan (because even with large majorities and strong public support, they still look to the parent (the GOP) for solutions:

http://www.openleft.com/diary/15072/obam as-health-care-speech-in-perspective

Read these articles together because they together reflect the landscape.  There is a lot more. But, at the end of the day, the issue remains the same:

How does a program that has consistently polled at 55 percent or more become defined as "extremist" while the extremist regressive plan that Baucus is pushing, with the WH's support, come to be considered as moderate?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090913/ap_o n_go_pr_wh/us_obama_health_care_32

The  only way this happens is that the system is no longer working.

by bruh3 2009-09-13 04:25PM | 0 recs
We should pack it in now

Just accept handing the White House and possibly the House of Reps back to the Republicans in 2012.  

What a bunch of dumb focks we Democrats are.    Look how we have totally screwed the pooch here.    The Republicans have kicked our ass on health care.   They are controlling the message, they are landing the body blows.

Democrats need to remember the old saying ... united we stand, divided we fall.     Otherwise the beatings will continue.    

... Or I guess I could have just said Democratic pressers attacking other Democrats are D.U.M.B.

by RichardFlatts 2009-09-14 05:42AM | 0 recs
PhRMA
has just announced another 150 MIllion in TV ads
specifically supporting the Baucus bill
by TarHeel 2009-09-14 05:54AM | 0 recs
They need to do something

Something which seizes headlines.  They need to demand more loudly an audience with Obama, and they need to denounce the Baucus bill as a wasted of time.

by Drummond 2009-09-15 11:13AM | 0 recs
no

I think dems need to stick together otherwise we'll be OUT in 2010 and Obama might be out in 2012. Sounds to me like Baucus will have his own set of problems dealing with prog. dems on his committee.  

I'm convinced more than ever that we have to pass the best we can get before year end or face retribution at the polls. Is a public option vital? Yes. Even if it costs you congress? No.

I'm sure there are lots of back room negotiations going on - the dems will need repugs on other key votes as well - unless they want to push through EVERYTHING with no repugs and risk losing in 2010 and having them undo what we did.

I would not be at all surprised if we do wind up with some sort of public option - it just may be called something slightly different and not be exactly as what we expect.

Fight the good fight for now - but we have got to stand together on this at the end. It is very important that the Dems claim "Victory" over the republicans at the end of this. Also - if there are no repugs anywhere on the bill or their suggestions are nowhere in the bill - they will have a field day spinning the "mr. hopey/changey/reach across the aisle/no redstate/bluestate" bull shit.....Obama will become "just another politican".

by nikkid 2009-09-15 01:35PM | 0 recs
Re: no

Your arguments smack of the frightened Democrat (or disguised republican).  If the Democrats pass just anything so they can say they passed something, they are more likely to see their demise than if they pass a bill with good benefits for the people.  In the former instance, they are left backfooted, trying to put lipstick on a pig- and people are sick of that kind of politicking.  They will know that we didn't have these kinds of compromises when it came to bailing out the banks.  In the latter instance, the Democrats can espouse an impassioned, honest, principled position- eg, this was necessary to ensure that all Americans no longer have to live in fear that they are one illness from poverty; the American dream has been restored.  

Obama will become just another politician if he passes a watered down bill for the sole purpose of being able to say, I did it, I gave you a health care law (even if it is a boon for the insurance industry).  See, the distinction lies in being able to say I took the political risk of doing the right thing for the American people and I stand by it.  That's the change we need and desire.

by orestes 2009-09-16 10:43AM | 0 recs
Press

I'm going to vehemently and in the strongest way possible, continue to demand that time plod along without hesitation toward the inevitable climax which will be the signing by the President of a Bill, which then becomes law, which probably won't be perfect. And I mean it!

by QTG 2009-09-15 03:36PM | 0 recs

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