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Monday, August 10, 2009

Cantwell Says "Yes" To The Public Option

Posted by on Mon, Aug 10, 2009 at 9:40 AM

I'm not sure why Sen. Maria Cantwell chose to do this on Friday's Bill Press Show, but, as NWPI notes, she went on the air and made a pretty unambiguous statement in support of the public option—and against co-ops:

BILL PRESS: So, do you support the public plan option? Yes or no?

SENATOR CANTWELL: Yes, I do. And I think that the HELP Committee did a good job of outlining it in their bill, and I think that we should try to get similar language in the Finance Committee... And we're going to be working with Senator Rockefeller and others to do that.

BILL PRESS: And uh, the Chairman, your Chairman [Max Baucus] has said... I saw again this morning... he says, basically, that um, Democrats ought to just forget about the public plan option.

SENATOR CANTWELL: Well, I disagree, in the sense that the public plan... if you think about what Medicare has been able to do, or you think about what, you know, competition really can do if we would have put the prescription drug benefit under Medicare, it would have driven down price. And the concentration of the insurance companies in these markets... and they have made... so while our, while individual wages may have gone up twenty four percent, healthcare costs, as I've said, have gone up a hundred and twenty percent over a ten year period of time. But insurance profits have gone up four hundred and twenty eight percent over that ten year period of time. So obviously, there's something going on here, where they're making a lot of money, and not driving down costs. And competition from a public option would help do that. And I think as we get into the heart of the debate, I think we can make this point, and I think we will be successful in picking up people who, who understand how important... Now, I talk to Republicans who don't want to cover people, who say, I do want to cover the uninsured, and the forty seven million people... I think when they look at this, they're going to see that having a public option is gonna be a very... the best way to provide competition.

BILL PRESS: Well... I'm glad to hear you say that, and I certainly hope you're right, I hope that that... position prevails in the end. But I'm worried about, you know, Senator Conrad, also, who's a good friend, neighbor here on Capitol Hill, who's come up with this idea of the co-op. And it seems that's the way that he and Chairman Baucus wanna go. The co-op is just... let me ask you the question: Do you think that's an acceptable option to the public plan option, or alternative?

SENATOR CANTWELL: Well, I think the devil's in the details. And I think right now, the way that they're probably looking at a co-op, is probably not the aggressive form of a public option that many would like to see, including myself. And so... I think that's going to be part of the debate.

Quite a change from all this nonsense.


Comments (15) RSS

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Vince 1
I'm glad she is saying it. I wish she had said it sooner and more often. The gangs that are attacking discussion groups are being stirred up by the selfish insurance companies, some of which have had to pay back billions in stolen monies.
Posted by Vince on August 10, 2009 at 9:57 AM · Report this
TVDinner 2
Too little, too late. Where was she a month ago?
Posted by TVDinner http:// on August 10, 2009 at 9:58 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 3
I agree, it's pretty much too late for the public option. The GOP has taken control of the debate with "Obamacare" leading to Joe Biden smothering elders while they sleeep and the Nancy Pelosi ordering the gassing of children with Downs Syndrome.

But I suppose too late is better than never? Right?
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on August 10, 2009 at 10:07 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 4
And my typing is really fucked up today, sorry
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on August 10, 2009 at 10:11 AM · Report this
cressona 5
Better late than never. Now if only she actually had some kind of a say in the Senate Finance Committee.

What galls me is that you have six senators in that committee who are negotiating the health care bill, as if they hold the reins. Never mind that those six senators, led by Max Baucus of Wyoming, represent states that have only 2.7% of the U.S. population (if I recall correctly). Never mind that three of those senators are Republicans who, with the possible exception of Chuck Grassley of Iowa, aren't going to vote for any bill anyway. In the real world, would you negotiate with someone who you know going in isn't going to accept the deal no matter how many concessions you make?

Of course, we know what's motivating Max Baucus. Take a look at the massive contributions coming to these senators, especially Baucus, from the health care industry. I don't quite understand why Obama or Harry Reid isn't standing up to this small group of senators representing a really, really small segment of America.
Posted by cressona on August 10, 2009 at 10:13 AM · Report this
I can't help but think she's finally endorsing the public option because she knows its dead. Kind of like Democrats who endorsed EFCA or the Worker Privacy Act, thinking it would never come up for a vote.
Posted by Trevor on August 10, 2009 at 10:14 AM · Report this
cressona 7
Here's what really galls me--the biased media coverage that describes the so-called "blue dog" Democrats as being fiscally conservative. They're conservative all right, but the last thing they are is fiscally conservative.

They keep talking about controlling costs, and yet they want to take off the table the most effective mechanism to control costs, the public option.

They keep talking about the burden on small business when any health care reform plan being discussed would have a waiver for small business and when in fact our current employer-funded health insurance system puts small business at an enormous disadvantage in hiring talent.

They keep talking about fully funding any health care reform, but where were they in 2003 when the Bush administration pushed through the completely unfunded multi-trillion-dollar entitlement that was the Medicare prescription drug benefit? I suppose you can throw fiscal responsibility out the window when it involves a massive handout to the pharmaceutical industry.

For me, the quintessential blue dog Democrat is Billy Tauzin of Louisiana, who went on to become a Republican, to push through that completely unfunded drug benefit, and eventually to go to work for the industry that benefited from it. Frank Rich of the NY Times was all over this yesterday.
Posted by cressona on August 10, 2009 at 10:27 AM · Report this
Loveschild 8
Never say too late, this fight is far from over and all those who come on board are welcomed. The numbers is all that counts in the end not who got first with the program or who came in the last minute. Glad that Ms Cantwell finally seems to get it.
Posted by Loveschild on August 10, 2009 at 10:32 AM · Report this
@6 is right.
And it's not 'better late than never..';
this is just an insulting ploy to have it both ways.
Cantwell is worse than useless.
Posted by We might as well send a steaming pile of shit to the Senate on August 10, 2009 at 10:37 AM · Report this
9 not that it matters, however, as your asses all belong to us anyway...
Posted by gop on August 10, 2009 at 10:38 AM · Report this
She always did.

Sometimes the Slog is dumber than Joe the Plumber.
Posted by RonK, Seattle on August 10, 2009 at 10:50 AM · Report this
Your ladyship Catnwell,
we humble peasants are ever so grateful that you bestow on us, your unworthy servants, this kind token of your Majestic consideration. We shall praise you and reelect you foreever, now that your highness has deigned to state a public option is something you support! We shall say prayers for you this Sunday and sing your praises to Almighty God.

Your most humble vassals,

Posted by Seattle Liberals ("passivitus par excellence!") on August 10, 2009 at 11:47 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 13
Nothing like the fact that three-quarters of American citizens, and similar numbers in WA state, wanting single payer national health care to throw a scare into a Senator up for election soon ....
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 10, 2009 at 11:58 AM · Report this
meowmeowkitty 14
I don't know how many e-mails I've sent to Her ladyship Cantwell, but haven't gotten any kind of response.

She's too little and too late for me. I'm sitting it out when she's up for re-election.
Posted by meowmeowkitty on August 10, 2009 at 12:51 PM · Report this
I'm disappointed in her belated public support of the public option, but I'm not so sure why people think it's dead. Unless the Republicans filibuster the final Senate bill (truly impressive and dumb, though not out of the realm of possibility), there will be a reconciliation bill between the House and Senate. It's also entirely possible that even if it's not done by the Senate, the House version will contain a public option since it can't be filibustered and enough Blue Dog Dems will be shamed (or arm-twisted behind the scenes) into voting for passage of health care reform.

I hope the Dems do exactly what the Republicans did for 6 years - close out the other party from the reconciliation process & ensure the public option is in the final language for the President to sign.
Posted by jason on August 10, 2009 at 1:19 PM · Report this

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