House Progressives Won’t Support a “Trigger” Either

Friday, September 4, 2009


While President Obama betrays the uninsured and under-insured, as well as his base by not supporting single-payer healthcare for all Americans, the infuriating news comes that the White House is now secretly negotiating with Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe to support a health care compromise called euphemistically called a “trigger” proposal.

Mr. Obama seems bound and determined to do anything in his power to not take a decisive leadership role and fulfill the mandate he was given by the voters to pass meaningful healthcare reform. He has become lost in the morass of bipartisanship.

In theory, under the so-called “trigger” plan, the government would set certain market goals for health insurance companies to meet, if they don’t meet these goals, a public health insurance option would kick in. But it is not clear how or who would pull such a trigger.

But according to the House Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), her 60 House progressives will not support a “trigger” proposal and she made it clear they will block health care reform without a public option.

As President Obama courts his Republican opponents in the senate and hosts closed-door meetings with the leaders of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries at the White House, the president is sprinting further and further away from the progressive base of the Democratic party. If healthcare reform goes down in flames, the president may find the political center a lonely place to spend his remaining 3 years in office.

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18 Responses to House Progressives Won’t Support a “Trigger” Either

  1. lea-lea says:

    Losing 60 votes in the U.S. House is no laughing matter.

    Obama seems to be under the influence of Rahm Emanual now. It’s a shame because everything started out so well, so promising.

  2. Joe in Colorado says:

    Obama is behaving more like a senator than a president. He seems afraid to wield the power of his office and use the political capital he has — political capital that is shrinking by the day. Even Republican lawmakers are asking why the Democrats don’t pass healthcare reform since they have the majority in the Congress. Obama is losing steam quickly and I doubt is another flowery speech will reverse the decline in his political fortunes.

  3. The Center Square says:

    @ Joe: That’s a very good way to express it — “behaving more like a senator than a president.” On issue after issue, Obama has left the hard work to the most dysfunctional, politicized, unmanageable, utterly broken institution we have: the House of Representatives.

    [Sidebar: Obama did not campaign on single-payer, so I don’t give him grief for not pursuing that.]

    That being said, I really do believe it is easier said than done. I think if Obama had put his entire presidential muscle behind the public option from the very beginning, it still would have led to stalemate in Congress. His gains in the Progressive Caucus would have been offset by losses among Blue Dogs and other moderates.

    Obama is showing us that he does not know how to herd congressional cats. In fact, I fear we have entered an era in which thoughtful legislation is all but impossible because we, the people, continuously reward those who politicize our government. If we keep sending the likes of Pelosi and Boehner to Congress, perhaps no president can get the people’s business done.

  4. bradfrmphnx says:

    Is Obama George Bush Jr. in “blackface?” Because I’m having a very hard time differentiating his domestic policies with Bushy’s right now.

  5. Tiny Dancer says:

    Thank goodness for progressives.

    Progressives are the last island of reason on Capitol Hill. If they’re silenced, we’re up the creek without a paddle.

  6. Matteo says:

    According to the GOP and the Blue Dogs, the cost of expanding Medicare to create Single-Payer for all Americans is too high.

    But consider:

    Cost of War in Iraq

    Cost of War in Afghanistan

    Cost of all U.S wars since 2001

    It’s just a matter of priorities, folks.

  7. JollyRoger says:

    We don’t have to back this joker in 2012. I’m completely comfortable with never casting another vote for him. If he doesn’t deserve it, let him go down.

    It may be a mistake to vote for anyone already sitting in Congress, save Dennis Kucinich.

  8. libhomo says:

    Matteo: Another irony is that single payer is cheaper. We would spend less of our GDP if we went that way.

  9. Fran says:

    I posted an editorial from the paper today.
    A tongue in cheek piece about how we here in America throw pizza parties to raise money for people who are uninsured or underinsured.
    Nice effing health care system!

  10. DMason says:

    As usual, these are some of the best comments on the healthcare reform debate swirling around the Obama administration. I don’t know what I can add other than to say, we’re the only industrialized nation in the world that allows 15% of it’s people to go uninsured. It’s wrong and it must stop.

  11. Prairiedog says:

    $905 billion for all U.S wars since 2001?

    So, we’re basically talking $1 trillion? OK, Blue Dogs and Yellow Dogs, what are you yapping at regarding the cost of universal healthcare for Americans?

    Crickets. Nothing but crickets.

  12. Chris says:

    If the base could get 51 Senators on board that’s one thing, but so far all signs point to it being impossible to pass the Senate with the public option as it’s currently written– reconciliation or no reconciliation. I could understand the complaints if we actually had a chance of passing, but all I hear is public option or nothing, which is an asinine betrayal of liberal principles since the rest of the bill actually helps folks get health insurance. The trigger is actually a good middle ground since it would basically require insurance companies to meet the same standards as if the option was there or else it actually comes into effect– it’s the same as if the option actually was there.

  13. libhomo says:

    chris: The whole point of the public option is to give people a chance to get away from the HMOs and insurance companies.

  14. Chris says:

    No, the whole point was to force insurance companies to meet a publicly-set standard of care and cost control. At least, that’s what we’ve been saying for months now whenever some right-wing nutjob freaked out about “socialized medicine”.

  15. Randy Arroyo says:

    I thought the idea was expanding Medicare for all and closing the 80/20 gap. Medicare works well and the majority of people who have it, like it. Doctors like it because they don’t need prior-authorization to provide care. Medicare for all would’ve been the single-payer system to contain costs, get insurance out of healthcare, and provide coverage for the 50 million Americans uninsured. I’m disappointed to see Obama walk away from what would’ve been a solution to a grave problem.

  16. JollyRoger says:

    I’m willing to bet that they’ll get to 50, which is as far as they need to get, if they tighten the screws. One “Blue Dick” dem has already indicated he’ll vote for a public option.

  17. Kristin says:

    This very thing happend to Clinton alot during his presidency. Checks and Balance you have to love it. As far a Obama and Bush being similar they are fiscally they only differ on some social issues. The social issues that most of us supported Obama’s bid to presidency.

  18. An AfroGuy in Brooklyn says:

    His “O”-Ness asked the progressive House Dems how far they’re willing to compromise on healthcare.

    They don’t him, “not at all.” The president needs to stop push polling this fucker and lead. He’s running out of time. I want to hear him say the public option is alive next Wednesday night. If not, I’m all done with him.

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