Pelosi leaves Blue Dogs to twist in the wind on health care reform

Rick Moran
It seems pretty clear that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has enough votes to pass a health care reform bill in the House without having to worry about support from the moderate wing of her party. After promising to include a strong public option, the progressive caucus has hopped on board while the speaker and her leftist allies wave goodbye to the Blue Dogs who are still standing on the platform.

Mike Soraghan of The Hill has the details:

Pelosi's decision to move away from the agreement that was made with a group of Blue Dogs to get the bill out of committee would steer the healthcare legislation back to the left as she prepares for a floor vote.

Pelosi is planning to include a government-run public option in the House version of the healthcare bill. She wants to model it on Medicare, with providers getting reimbursed on a scale pegged to Medicare rates."The speaker is full-steam-ahead," said a senior Democratic aide.

But a Pelosi aide said nothing is final, and the proposal to revert to the more left-leaning version of the language would be vetted before the entire Democratic Caucus.

Blue Dog Democrats, many of whom represent rural districts where Medicare reimbursement rates are low, vehemently oppose tying the public option to Medicare.

Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and a group of fellow Blue Dogs had negotiated a deal with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in July that would remove the link to Medicare. Under that plan, officials with the government-run plan would negotiate individually with providers.

That move, which drew howls of protest from liberal members, prevented the bill from getting stuck in committee. But Ross returned from the August break saying he couldn't support a public option under any circumstances, essentially withdrawing his support for the deal.

If it passes, health care reform will not only be seen as a Democratic bill, but a liberal Democratic bill. The left is going to ram through this public option - at least in the House - and may the devil take the rest.

And the Senate? Harry Reid will be under enormous pressure to include the public option when the two sides meet in conference. But Reid has problems of his own and it is doubtful he will even get a majority if he insists on including the public option. Hard to see the House and Senate actually being able to reconcile their positions which makes me think that this thing will drag on through November. Perhaps it will be a last minute thing before the Christmas recess. Either that or liberals will have to swallow hard and live without the public option, in which case a deal may come before Thanksgiving.

In case you haven't noticed - and I know you have - Obama STILL isn't leading on this issue. He still acts as if this were a campaign. He gives speeches. He gives interviews. He jawbones on it every day. But Pelosi and Reid still seem to be calling the shots. The "White House bill" he outlined during his joint session speech is nowhere to be seen. It may have been just a gimmick to get the networks to cover the speech.

If this bill does pass, it will not be because of any particular genius possessed by the president but rather because all the heavy lifting was done in Congress - a body in which his party possesses the largest majority in a generation.

If he can't get the bill passed, it will expose this charlatan for the incompetent boob we know him to be.




It seems pretty clear that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has enough votes to pass a health care reform bill in the House without having to worry about support from the moderate wing of her party. After promising to include a strong public option, the progressive caucus has hopped on board while the speaker and her leftist allies wave goodbye to the Blue Dogs who are still standing on the platform.

Mike Soraghan of The Hill has the details:

Pelosi's decision to move away from the agreement that was made with a group of Blue Dogs to get the bill out of committee would steer the healthcare legislation back to the left as she prepares for a floor vote.

Pelosi is planning to include a government-run public option in the House version of the healthcare bill. She wants to model it on Medicare, with providers getting reimbursed on a scale pegged to Medicare rates."The speaker is full-steam-ahead," said a senior Democratic aide.

But a Pelosi aide said nothing is final, and the proposal to revert to the more left-leaning version of the language would be vetted before the entire Democratic Caucus.

Blue Dog Democrats, many of whom represent rural districts where Medicare reimbursement rates are low, vehemently oppose tying the public option to Medicare.

Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and a group of fellow Blue Dogs had negotiated a deal with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in July that would remove the link to Medicare. Under that plan, officials with the government-run plan would negotiate individually with providers.

That move, which drew howls of protest from liberal members, prevented the bill from getting stuck in committee. But Ross returned from the August break saying he couldn't support a public option under any circumstances, essentially withdrawing his support for the deal.

If it passes, health care reform will not only be seen as a Democratic bill, but a liberal Democratic bill. The left is going to ram through this public option - at least in the House - and may the devil take the rest.

And the Senate? Harry Reid will be under enormous pressure to include the public option when the two sides meet in conference. But Reid has problems of his own and it is doubtful he will even get a majority if he insists on including the public option. Hard to see the House and Senate actually being able to reconcile their positions which makes me think that this thing will drag on through November. Perhaps it will be a last minute thing before the Christmas recess. Either that or liberals will have to swallow hard and live without the public option, in which case a deal may come before Thanksgiving.

In case you haven't noticed - and I know you have - Obama STILL isn't leading on this issue. He still acts as if this were a campaign. He gives speeches. He gives interviews. He jawbones on it every day. But Pelosi and Reid still seem to be calling the shots. The "White House bill" he outlined during his joint session speech is nowhere to be seen. It may have been just a gimmick to get the networks to cover the speech.

If this bill does pass, it will not be because of any particular genius possessed by the president but rather because all the heavy lifting was done in Congress - a body in which his party possesses the largest majority in a generation.

If he can't get the bill passed, it will expose this charlatan for the incompetent boob we know him to be.