Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Democrats turn to Clinton in Senate healthcare push

November 10, 2009

Former President Bill Clinton is due to visit Capitol Hill today to talk healthcare reform with Senate Democrats and their independent allies. PHILANTHROPY-CLINTON/

The meeting’s important because Democrats have yet to find the 60 votes they need to stop Senate Republicans from blocking President Barack Obama’s signature domestic issue. House Democrats got their end of the job done over the weekend by passing landmark legislation.

Clinton’s presidency was overshadowed by his own failed bid to reform the healthcare system in the 1990s. But NBC said he could help sway Democrats wavering in the current debate, including Sen. Blanche Lincoln of his home state, Arkansas. CONGRESS BUDGET

A big obstacle that Clinton, Obama and Senate Democrats face seems as old as human nature: people who will cooperate — if they get their own way.

This time, a small clutch of moderates want their own way on the so-called public option, a proposal to offer government supported low-cost health coverage that is anathema to Republicans and the insurance industry.

Some senators are categorical about what they want.

For independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut — a state long associated with insurance interests — opposition to the public option is a moral issue. “If the public option plan is in there, as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote,” he said at the weekend on Fox News.
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But his independent neighbor to the north, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, sounds like Lieberman’s polar opposite: “It would be outrageous to me, that when you have an overwhelming majority of Americans wanting a strong public option, that we do not deliver that.” SANDERS

Others are not so categorical — until you get to the nitty gritty.

Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska told NBC he could back a public option, but not if states have to make the effort to opt out. Why? Because he doesn’t want them in the system unless they want to be there.

“I don’t think there is anything to be gained by opting out,” Nelson said. “I would look at the ability of the states to opt in, so that the states could make the decisions themselves.”
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It seems a small distinction but may prove important. Reform advocates fear their adversaries could easily defeat healthcare reform at the state level, where small numbers of health insurers can sometimes hold a near monopoly.

Obama hopes to sign a healthcare reform bill by the end of the year.

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Photo Credits: Reuters/Chip East (Clinton); Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Lincoln); Reuters/Mike Segar (Lieberman); Reuters/Chris Helgren (Sanders); Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Nelson)

Comments
5 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

why does’t the conservitives bring up all the bills that was rejected by a liberal congress. bills like haveing bank of america investigated fannie may investigated and of course acorn. the automob le industry all these things made democrats money so bring it up

 

I am concerning about the cost and the deficit on our kids. I think the first step out country needs to do is to find ways to reduce current health care cost, then work on new reform.

Thanks

Posted by Tri Nguyen | Report as abusive
 

Healthcare reform is a major plank of the Obama Administration. Bill Clinton is a gifted speaker, facts at his finger tips, passionate to the core and a wonderful communicator. His input is crucial as he could galvanize much needed support. Health-care reform is so very crucial. The Democrats are determined to get the reform passed.Yes they will;

 

The Democrats screwed up, pure and simple. The abortion amendment earned them one(!) republican vote and cost them 39(!!!) of their own. That’s 38 LESS than without the amendment. What did they need it for?
Now they have to get rid of it, which will be way more difficult (as in impossible) than was the fight not to put it in.
And so we travel back in time, as if it was 1809, not 2009.
As far as Mr. Clinton, how would he be of help, I wonder.

Posted by Laz | Report as abusive
 

“why does’t the conservitives bring up all the bills that was rejected by a liberal congress. bills like haveing bank of america investigated fannie may investigated and of course acorn. the automob le industry all these things made democrats money so bring it up”

Why don’t the conservatives mention all of the bills that were rejected by a liberal congress; such as bills to have Bank of America and Fannie Mae investigated, along with Acorn and the automobile industry. These things should be revealed because they all made money for the Democrats.

Hope this helps!

 

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