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Maria Cantwell: "I wouldn't vote for a bill that doesn't have Medicare reform and the public option"

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t0dd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:53 PM
Original message
Maria Cantwell: "I wouldn't vote for a bill that doesn't have Medicare reform and the public option"
Source: Miami Herald

WASHINGTON Sen. Maria Cantwell said unless significant changes were made she would be unable to support a major health care reform bill unveiled Wednesday by the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The Washington Democrat, a member of the Finance Committee, said the measure from Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., did not include a government-run insurance option and failed to overhaul the Medicare reimbursement formula which is critical to Washington state.

"I wouldn't vote for a bill that doesn't have Medicare reform and the public option," Cantwell said in a telephone interview. "What would I tell the people in Washington state?"

Baucus has spent months trying to negotiate a bipartisan bill with Republican committee members, but in the end he failed to gain any GOP support. Cantwell's opposition may be an early sign Baucus could have trouble from some Democratic committee members. The committee is expected to consider the legislation next week.

Baucus' bill would extend health care coverage to 29 million of the estimated 47 million people who don't have it, expand Medicaid to cover some of them, require everyone to have health insurance and create new state insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, where consumers could shop for a plan. The bill would also bar insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

The Montana senator said his bill would cost about $862 billion, a lower price tag than any of the other health care reform bills currently floating around Capitol Hill.

As Baucus unveiled his plan, the White House released a new analysis of U.S. Census numbers which showed the number of uninsured people in Washington state had grown from 763,000 to 808,000 in 2008. The number includes people who haven't had insurance for an entire year and does not include those who have lost their coverage because of the recession.

Cantwell has faced some criticism because she had not spoken out decisively in favor of the so-called public option.

But Wednesday she made clear it was critical if she was to support the bill. The senator said such an option would likely lower premiums by creating competition for private insurers and provide a much needed safety net for people living in poverty or near-poverty.

"The public plan would be cheaper than subsidies for the insurance companies," Cantwell said.

Cantwell and the other Democratic members of the state's congressional delegation have long-insisted any reform bill has to include changes in the Medicare reimbursement formula. Medicare reimbursements for doctors and hospitals in Washington state are among the lowest in the nation. The current formula punishes states like Washington which have efficient health care systems and rewards those that have inefficient systems, Cantwell said.

If the efficiencies already adopted by Washington state were imposed nationally, Cantwell said it could save Medicare roughly $100 billion a year.

Cantwell said she and others will likely offer amendments when the Senate Finance Committee meets next week.

"It's a long process," she said. "We will see what happens."


Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics/AP/story/12372...



Are the dominoes falling..?
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musiclawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. excellent
anyoner have an e-mail link for her. These people need to be rewarded like pavlov's dogs every time they get it right.
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chknltl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Link to Sen. Cantwell:
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Diane R Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:58 AM
Response to Reply #4
16. The photo in your posts always brings a tear to my eye...it's speaks volumes, doesn't it?
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chknltl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. I still have the HOPE
Senator Obama needed our trust...... and our help to become President. Our job is not over yet, I believe he still needs our help. So does that child he holds, so do all of our children! Our children and our President are counting on us. Change We Can Believe In has only started with our making Barack Obama our President. It sputters at the moment but with our help, I still believe that We The People can prevail. We've made it this far didn't we? Yes We Did and Yes We Can!
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JBoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
2. The Obama admin needs to line up a reveal program for supporters.
Just like how he had a continual stream of people announce their support during the Primaries.

He needs to have one Senator a day state "I won't vote for a bill without a public option". Create the tide.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:59 PM
Response to Original message
3. Uh, where did the Medicare requirement come from? An excuse not to vote for a public option?
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 07:09 PM by BlooInBloo
Not denying that various fixes are needed, but this is the first I've heard of that being a requirement.

And I don't trust a DAMN thing Cantwell says.

EDIT: She's been wishy-washy the whole way. I think the Medicare "requirement" is just an excuse to vote 'no'.

http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&=&q=m...

Anybody got the $ of healthcare industry contributions she has received?
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AllentownJake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. If it is Part D
Than it is understandable. One of the worst pieces of legislation during the Bush administration.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Where did it come from as a sine qua non for THIS bill?
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 08:23 PM by BlooInBloo
I didn't say it wasn't a good idea on its own merits. I question where it came from as a requirement for THIS bill.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #11
24. The reason is the need to be budget neutral
Edited on Fri Sep-18-09 09:00 AM by karynnj
This is the committee in the Senate that has to look at the cost and revenue side of the bill. Many liberal Democrats have called Part D a huge give away of money to the drug companies.

Although it appears that this is NOT what Cantwell is speaking of - it likely is a major part of the possible savings Obama referred to.

The fact is the bill has costs that come from, among other things, the subsidies to help people afford insurance - which if anything need to be increased over what they are. The Finance bill has various ways they are cutting costs or raising money. Fixing Part D to eliminate the give aways Bush et al included is a sensible way to do it. I think it is reasonable to look at the changes Cantwell is recommending and see if WA's experience could be expanded nationwide.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:16 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. Not about Part D
"For years our state has been penalized by a Medicare payment system that rewards for the volume of care provided instead of the quality of care doctors provide their patients. Medicare providers in Washington State achieve exceptional health care quality at a lower cost than providers in many parts of the country. Unfortunately, this means our state's providers get paid almost 30 percent less than providers in high-cost states like New Jersey. Providers in these high-cost states are not producing better health outcomes for their patients; they are just pocketing more of our money. If every other state in the country were as efficient as Washington, the nation would save more than $50 billion a year.

On June 15, 2009, I introduced the Medical Efficiency and Delivery Improvement of Care (MEDIC) Act (S. 1262) to help address this problem. My bill would shift the Medicare payment system to one that better rewards providers who offer efficient, high-quality health care. This will help fix Washington state's low Medicare reimbursement rates, making it easier for seniors to find new Medicare providers, while also helping to incentivize better health care practices nationwide. Because one out of every five dollars spend on health care in America comes from Medicare, improvements to this program affect the entire health care industry, helping to drive a better health care system for everyone."

http://cantwell.senate.gov/issues/health_care.cfm

I argued to her staff more than once fixing Medicare should also include eliminating the so-called donut hole.
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 07:47 AM
Response to Reply #14
22. Thanks for posting that
It indicates one of the major flaws with the Baucus legislation, which is trying to suck half a trillion dollars out of Medicare funding. What difference will it make to have "Medicare for all" if the reimbursement rates are so low that doctors will not take any more Medicare patients?

If a bill were proposed by the Rethugs to lower Social Security payments so that FICA taxes could be cut for younger workers, you'd have the AARP howling it's ass off about that. Baucus' bill is a similar transfer of money from the old to the young. Where's the yelling?
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chknltl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 07:10 PM
Response to Original message
5. Thank You Sen. Cantwell ......KnR nt
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Left coast liberal Donating Member (889 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
6. Good. I sent plenty of faxes to her. Glad she got the message.
:hi:
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Demoiselle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
7. Good for her. nt
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:02 PM
Response to Original message
8. Good for us. I call her offices couple times a week regularly now.
Thank you, Senator. Stick to it.
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SandWalker1984 Donating Member (533 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:04 PM
Response to Original message
9. Hold the flowers & emails, re-read what she said first!
Read carefully what she said as you may have missed this one sentence:
The senator said such an option would likely lower premiums by creating competition for private insurers and provide a much needed safety net for people living in poverty or near-poverty.

Safety net for people living IN or NEAR poverty. No mention about a public option for those of us in the middle class who aren't living in poverty (yet) but have worked hard to gain a few assets that disqualifies us from Medicaid, yet we cannot afford health insurance at the current rates.

What about us? Don't we deserve a public option too? Us, the working middle and lower-middle class taxpayers? The ones that are the backbone of this country, that backs the dollar with our productivity?

The dollar would be worthless paper without our contributions, yet she wants to leave us out of the public option???

Rather than praise her at this point, I would ask her to clarify her position in more detail before I get out the pom poms.
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Iowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:53 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Yep. That jumped out at me too.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. You are so right. nt
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 12:09 AM by Mithreal
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EmeraldCityGrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:31 AM
Response to Reply #9
15. As much as I'd like to give her credit,
she's disappointed to often in the past.

Read between the lines indeed.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #9
17. She hasn't yet earned my trust.
And this phrasing is, at best, odd.

The public option is supposed to be just that... not an insurer of last resort for the poor.

The subsidy envisioned by HR3200 combined with expanded medicaid is the safety net for the poor. The only purpose of the public option is to control systemic cost inflation.
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
18. Thank you, Sen. Cantwell.
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
19. Don't hold your breath
Maria Cantwell votes with the R's more often than she ever has the D's.

I'll believe it when I see it.

Julie
native of Washington State, would really like to have two Democratic Senators
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dhpgetsit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
20. On the other hand she did support raising the inhrtitance tax threshhold.
So I guess I'll give her a "C" now.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
23. The Baucus bill may not be able to get out of committee as is
There are 23 members on the committee - 10R, 13D. To have a majority, you need 12 votes. Cantwell and Rockefeller have stated with no ambiguity that they will not vote for it and all the Republicans are nos - unless something changes, it has only 11 votes.

I assume that these statements were made to give leverage to those offering amendments. I think a much better bill than Baucus' will result.
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