Tag Archive: health care reform

Official and Unofficial New Jersey Reactions to Health Care Reform

The picture of #hcr passing on TwitpicThe House has just approved the Senate bill 219-212 (roll call), but as we wait for the House to act on the Reconciliation Bill, we will start to post (excerpts of) official reactions as they come in. Feel free to share your own reaction and responses. I understand President Obama will make a short statement later tonight and I have embedded the player after the jump, or you can go to White House Live.

Rush Holt put out a statement:

“For me, the debate about health insurance reform always has been about the families who struggle to secure the coverage they need. It’s about the small business owners who face rising premiums. It’s about the seniors who can’t pay for their prescription drugs,” Holt said.  “In supporting reform of our broken health insurance system, I stand with the families, seniors, and small businesses who I represent and who will soon have greater control over their health care.”

“Health care reform has been a long time coming – almost 100 years in the making. Yet, as soon as the President signs this into law, benefits will be felt immediately,” Holt said. “Small businesses will be able to receive tax credits to purchase insurance, insurance companies will be banned from dropping coverage when someone gets sick, and seniors confronting the ‘donut hole’ will receive $250 to pay for prescription drugs.”

Frank Pallone:

        “The history of failed attempts at health care reform reaches back decades,” said Pallone. “But more important than the historical achievement  is what the reformed system will do for everyday Americans. We aren’t just making history, we are making a better health care system.”    

   “Our health care system is in crisis, millions of Americans are going without insurance, and rising health care costs are bankrupting many American families, said Pallone. “The reform bill will stop insurance company abuses, lower health care costs and give almost all Americans quality health care coverage, the same as members of congress.”

Bob Menendez:

“From the beginning, we approached this historic legislation with one simple truth in mind: good, affordable health insurance should be a right, not a privilege for the wealthy. The health of American families should never be viewed simply as a commodity used to maximize profits. Yet, millions of families struggle every single day with health insurance that is unaffordable, unreliable or unavailable. Today, we have accomplished insurance reforms sought for generations that will protect the health and economic security of our families and our nation in three main categories.

President Obama’s remarks to the nation:

Good evening, everybody.  Tonight, after nearly 100 years of talk and frustration, after decades of trying, and a year of sustained effort and debate, the United States Congress finally declared that America’s workers and America’s families and America’s small businesses deserve the security of knowing that here, in this country, neither illness nor accident should endanger the dreams they’ve worked a lifetime to achieve. (continued in full, in Comments)


Sunscreen, deck chairs, and political illiteracy – the Kill the Bill Rally in D.C.

I was in D.C. yesterday at the Code Red Rally to Kill the Bill on Capitol Hill. You’ve already heard the most egregious news:

Kill the Bill Rally sign (Tea Party) March 2010 in D.C.

Congressmen John Lewis called a nigger.

Congressman Barney Frank called a faggot.

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver spat on.

An afternoon in the sun with my overwrought, but politically/historically illiterate, countrymen is an eye-opener. Reasonable arguments can be made against this bill – from both sides – but I heard none of them yesterday. What I heard convinced me more that the Tea Party, out in force in our nation’s capital, is likely to do more harm to the GOP than it may do to us. From a civic perspective, I have to like that the Tea Party brings out masses previously disengaged, but as yet they haven’t moved beyond fist-waving. They generate noise, but so does a tantruming 3-year-old, with as much historical perspective.

We encountered mostly non-voters (I asked) who wanted to “take over” Congress with no recognition of the irony that they already have the power to do that, but fail to exercise it. The rhetoric was 100% spewage from Glenn Beck in a universe where talk show hosts are deemed 100% credible.

These people simply didn’t know stuff. Old guys on Medicare “horrified” at government health care. A lady: this “takes away my Medicare.” Her friend: “no, it means we have to take Medicare whether we want to or not.” Reconciliation demonized, but eyes glaze with the news that all major changes in health care in 3 decades came via reconciliation … and Republicans use it too.

Tea Party tries to liberate

Rayburn Office Bldg. (click to enlarge)

Tea Party tries to liberate Rayburn House Office Building After a couple hours rallyers were supposed to lobby. But it was a nice day, and lobbying’s not fun like a lawn party. So, as conservative star power like Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), Mike Pence (R-Indiana), Tom Price (R-Georgia) and Marcia Blackburn (R-TN), and a coiffed, shiny Jon Voight moved among adoring white people, rallyers re-applied sunscreen and looked for trouble.  A mob tried to liberate the Rayburn House Office Building, bewildered as to why Capitol Police denied them overtake of the building.

Balls v. no balls: John Adler, you did this to yourself

balls  -noun: Ron C. Rice

From facebook:

Ronald C. Rice:  Message To Wavering Congressional DEMS: With this information, please grow a backbone and pass what we sent you to DC to do in the first place. Rep. Adler, we are watching, please don’t let NJ and those that supported you when you supported President Obama down [snip]

Ronald C. Rice:… and that’s why you can start calling his opponent Congressman Runyan. I rather have a Republican in that seat that I know is a an actual Republican than one that supports Obama and progressive politics to get elected and then acts like a Repug. Good riddance to him and all fair weather DEMS, we hardly knew ye all.

What the hell does it say about the re-election chances of the hard-won candidacy of Rep. John Adler, when an almost comically insubstantial candidate like Football Republican Jon Runyan can issue a testosterone-charged message like You can run but you can’t hide as he did when he formally got into the race last night. And have it all be taken seriously. Which, it is – and should be – but only because of how Adler squandered his own chances, and poorly served the people who needed him most.

Runyan? Really? Burlington County voting records show he registered as a Republican November 10, 2009, 1 day before the news that he was his county’s choice to lead the charge against Adler. Between 2000, the year Runyan registered to vote in Burlington, and 2008,

Runyan only voted in 5 general elections, sitting out 4. He has no record of money contributed to political candidates. Some football players are very smart – my father was – so this isn’t about football-players-are-dimwits. But there’s nothing in this guy’s record or history that suggests he’s even a particularly civic-minded citizen, let alone a man who should be deciding national policy.

And yet, this is who the Burlington and Ocean GOP (who are not as lost as last time) and the GOP in that little slice of Camden County have put their faith in to beat Adler.

And – wow – if that wasn’t enough, it is Adler who’s earning high praise from the Tea Party people. And now Americans for Prosperity, led in NJ by Steve Lonegan, is taking credit for Adler’s stubborn refusal to enact health care reform, citing AFP-led rallies in Toms River and Marlton supporting Adler for not changing his vote.

Great. We’ve got Tea Party and AFP activists overjoyed with Adler, and the incumbent himself thumbing his nose at his party. And stronger politicians – like Newark’s Councilman Rice – openly challenging him.

John Adler, you walked away from your responsibility to the people who needed you most in your District (Adam will have more on this) and played right into the hands of the far-right. I don’t know who’s going to knock themselves out for you this time, congressman. I do know quite a few people who were there for you last time, who will not be there for you again. Nicely played.  

Slide#14, or Why Health Care Reform Helps Now

In the leaked DCCC (Chris Van Hollen) memo I posted earlier today there’s a mention of Slide #14. Time’s Swampland Blog has posted the PowerPoint in question (link to .ppt file), a 14-slide presentation of “Talking Points on Health Reform. Here’s Slide #14 on immediate benefits of reform:

DCC list of immediate Health Care Reform benefits

I’ve taken enough shots here at how the new health insurance exchanges don’t start until years from now that I felt I should post on these benefits. Frank Pallone gave us a similar list last year. The main points are the temporary high-risk pool until the exchanges go into effect, thereby helping those who can’t get insurance now, and a number of insurance reforms that protect people who already have insurance. Also, relief on the “Donut Hole” for seniors in the Medicare drug plans. In summary, there are significant benefits that John Adler should vote for even though major portions of the reform are not implemented immediately.

Latest from Adler on Health Care Bill: Nothing Changed

Youtube user ctrimarchi has just posted a fragment of John Adler townhall which is labeled as being from March 13 in Toms River. He is facing a crowd that sounds hostile to health care reform.

An audience member asks him about the Senate health care reform bill, correctly pointing out that if the bill is approved by the House it can be signed by the President and become law. There’s no need for reconcilation or any other votes. So, he asks, will you vote for the Senate Bill?

Adler’s answer sounds like a no and gets cheers, but I actually think it was evasive. (It may be that he said more, but the video “conveniently” cuts off and indeed may be deliberately misleading if he said more.) He says he would not vote for the Senate bill “if that were the final bill.” But of course it is not the final bill, the point of having a second bill pushed through reconcilation is that some provisions will be changed.  So Adler implicitly left open the chance of voting for the Senate bill, because he knows it will be changed in reconciliation. Needless to say, such positive votes would be welcomed at Blue Jersey and by most of the people who voted for Adler and Obama, and are opposed largely by people who will not vote for Adler anyway. I’ve expressed my skepticism that Adler will vote the right way but he has not closed the door. In his recent interviews he has insisted on seeing the actual reconcilation bill before deciding on his vote. We expect to see this bill this weekend, or Monday at the latest. The right wing is spreading some absurd propaganda that the bill will be passed without a vote, and I suppose if you think Saddam had nuclear weapons and W. was a good President you might be dumb enough to believe it.  

Politico has posted a memo from Chris Van Hollen which went to Adler’s district director amongst others laying out the timelime this week and giving some advice.:

I continue to encourage all of you not to get into debates about process and to try and persuade your Member not to get into process arguments either. At this point, we have to just rip the band-aid off and have a vote — up or down; yes or no? Things like reconciliation and what the rules committee does is INSIDE BASEBALL. People who try and start arguments about process on this are almost always against the actual policy substance too, often times for purely political reasons.

The rest of the memo is below the fold

Health Care Reform: Adler on Fox News Sunday sounds like a no vote

John Adler has posted his appearance on Fox News Sunday to discuss health care reform. He appeared today with another “no” vote on the House bill, Jason Altmire (D-PA), who despite representing a district McCain won by 11 points, sounded considerably more positive about the possibility of voting “yes” this time instead of voting to “do nothing.” Both Democrats say they’ve not made a final decision.

The highlights that in my opinion lead to a pretty clear conclusion:

Adler is again on Fox News.

Adler is still saying he needs to “read the bill first” which in this case, since the Senate bill has been available for months, means see the final deal for a reconciliation fix. But can any reconciliation deal truly be final before the House votes on the Senate bill?

Adler keeps talking about the needs of “my businesses” and cost containment, and not at all about the health needs of his residents. Indeed, if you visited from Mars, you would never imagine from the interview that he is elected by citizens rather than selected by business owners.  

He wants to change the fee-for-service system, and isn’t satisfied with the pilot projects in the bill. He wants to “mandate” that the “good pilot projects” (with good patient outcomes that save money) automatically go national. That’s fine, but does it fit in reconciliation, and does a more radical program lose votes with more cautious members? As Wallace says, this was talked about for a year but didn’t get traction. Also, usually reconciliation measures expire after ten years, so how could you wait to see how the pilot projects do and then mandate something for a year or two?

Adler is supposedly “pro-choice” but sits by silently as the “pro-lifers” openly hold the bill hostage. He’s enabling them. If he cared in the slightest, he would at least say something, much less cancel out Stupak’s switched vote personally.

Adler says he’s had good recent conversations with the President and the Speaker, but she is “looking elsewhere” for yes votes.

Do you agree that adds up to a no? It infuriates me but that’s what I see.  

Embed under the fold.

FDU Poll: Obama, Congress, Menendez, and Health Care Reform

Yesterday, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll put out a release on New Jersey’s views on pension reform, and today they’ve got New Jersey’s views on federal issues from the same sample of 801 registered voters (3.5% margin of error.)

First up, President Barack Obama is at a 53% job approval rating (an improvement on the sub-50 showing last time). Disapproval is at 38%, so the the net +15 matches the margin he beat McCain by in 2008. His numbers with independents are 53-33.

On the other hand, the right track/wrong track numbers for the country are at 38-52, hardly surprising with 10% unemployment, massive deficits, and victory-less wars.  

Democrats lead the generic ballot for U.S. Congress 47-39 with leaners. That doesn’t exactly suggest many Democratic incumbents will be swept away, though I don’t doubt NJ3 is a battlefield.

If the election were held today, Senator Bob Menendez would get 38%, a (hypothetical candidate) Tom Kean Jr  would get 39%, Someone else gets 6%. Not the numbers we’d like to see, but not unfamiliar either. The pollster notes that Menendez did worse with the subgroup that was asked about him closer to the questions about health care reforms.

Senator Menendez is at 29-25, favorable-unfavorable, and Senator Frank Lautenberg is at 42-29. The negative ads of 2006 have been forgotten as Kean Jr is at 28-11. Kean was at 33-32 at the end of the last campaign, so you can see that campaigns matter.

As for health care reform, the numbers are lousy but not disastrous, as you know if you follow it in national polls. 37% think they will be better off and 42% think they will be worse off if health care reform passes. On the other hand, for the “country as a whole,” “better” leaads “worse” 45-40. No doubt the numbers are dragged down by strong Republican opposition, but the two sets for independents are 31-35 and 41-33. The numbers are very striking by race, because only 28% of “Whites” think they’ll be better off. Overall, 35% say they’d advise their memver of Congress to vote for a health care reform bill, 40% against, and 25% don’t know. That 25% is more Democrats and Independents, so they need to be won over, perhaps by the reality of the bill helping them. (Cough, cough, too bad some genius designed most of the benefits to start years from now.)

Adler considering voting for health care reform

Well, we’re on the final push for health care reform and Democrats are rounding up every last vote they need. Here’s the Wall Street Journal on John Adler:

Rep. John Adler (D., N.J.), a freshman who won a Republican-leaning district in 2008, is also undecided, after voting no last fall. He said the Senate bill did a better job containing health costs.

In an interview, he said he had spoken directly to the president about the issue and was not worried about Republican arguments that Democrats would pay a political price for supporting the health bill. “I think people shouldn’t be worried about their careers. They should be worried about doing what’s right.”

He did emphasize cost controls in his previous criticism so it’s pretty consistent. If you live in the district it might be good to phone. The Senate bill is well short of what progressives wanted, but I think we’d regret not having in ten years. There’s also this interview with Fox News (I don’t think this is same interview) where he is undecided, but he keeps emphasizing the viewpoint of business.