# Health Care For America Now

Ads thanking Boswell and other health care reform news

Health Care for America NOW and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are running television ads this week thanking 20 Democrats in relatively tough districts who voted for the House health care reform bill last Saturday. If you live in the Des Moines viewing area, you may have seen this commercial about Congressman Leonard Boswell:


Corporate-funded conservative groups have targeted Boswell in negative ads this year because of his vote for the climate-change bill in June. Ads attacking the health care reform project (many funded by insurance industry fronts or the Chamber of Commerce) have been plentiful this summer and fall too. It makes sense for reform advocates to thank Boswell, as Iowa Republicans are gearing up to challenge him with State Senator Brad Zaun or some other well-known figure.  

In other health care reform news, Tom Harkin is among the Senate Democrats trying to keep the "Stupak amendment" language on abortion out of the Senate's version of health care reform. He's absolutely right that some people pushing amendments are trying to kill the bill rather than make it better. A lot of questions have been raised about whether defeating the bill was Representative Bart Stupak's main goal. Since 1992, Stupak has been involved with the fundamentalist Christian "Family" group and has lived in their house on C Street in Washington.  

Stupak claims that as many as 40 House Democrats would reject health care reform without his amendment, but yesterday House Whip James Clyburn said the Stupak amendment only gained 10 votes for the bill. Meanwhile, more than 40 House liberals are threatening to vote down the final bill out of conference if it contains the Stupak language.  

Final note: MyDD user Bruce Webb wrote an interesting piece about what he views as "the most important and overlooked sentence" in the House health care reform bill:  

Most of the criticism of HR3962 coming from the left revolves around the belief that the House bill has no premium and so no profit controls, that it in effect delivers millions of Americans into the hands of insurance companies who can continue to raise premiums at will while denying care by managing the risk pool in favor of those unlikely to make claims. This just is not true, not if the provision in this one sentence is properly implemented. In a stroke it guts the entire current business model of the insurance companies, based as it is on predation and selective coverage, and replaces it with a model where you can only make money by extending coverage to the widest range of customers and or delivering that coverage in a more efficient way.

 Like they say, go read the whole thing.

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Follow Grassley's advice to find affordable health care

Health Care for America Now, in conjunction with the Iowa Citizen Action Network, is running an online ad that links to a “job application” citizens can fill out to request a position with Senator Chuck Grassley’s office.

You may recall that Grassley told a constituent at a recent town-hall meeting to “go work for the federal government” if he wanted the same health insurance plan the senator enjoys:

Excerpt from an ICAN press release, which I have posted in full after the jump:

Senator Grassley, whose health care bills are picked up by taxpayers, pays $356.59 a month for health insurance.  The most he pays when visiting a doctor or hospital is $300. His “Let Them Eat Cake” attitude ignores the plight of working families, farmers, and small business owners in Iowa who don’t have adequate, affordable health care and are going broke trying to keep up with insurance premiums and medical costs.

“Polls show that the majority of Iowans, like the majority of people in America, want health care reform that achieves quality, affordable health care for all,” said Betty Ahrens, Executive Director, Iowa Citizen Action Network. “Senator Grassley keeps blocking progress in the Senate Finance Committee. He talks about bipartisanship but is showing no intention of compromise, and after his comments in Waukon, we know just how out of touch Senator Grassley is with the real struggles of his constituents in Iowa. Everyone here should see this video, and we will do what we can to make sure Senator Grassley knows his “Get a Job Like Mine” solution to the health care crisis is unacceptable.”

Excerpt from the “job application”:

I work hard, and I pay my taxes, but I cannot keep up with health care costs that are rising four times faster than wages if I can even get health care at all, what with all the denials of needed care that my insurance company throws in my way. Meanwhile, Members of Congress get health care that’s affordable, and nobody is going to deny care to an elected official!

Senator Grassley has so graciously offered to provide me health care as good as he has if I work for the federal government, and so I am applying for a position in Senator Grassley’s office in the hope he will make good on that promise. If he cannot, the only hope I have to obtain quality, affordable health care for me and my family is if Senator Grassley drops his opposition and supports real health care reform – reform that gives me a choice of public or private insurance, make care affordable, and delivers good benefits.

Volunteers will deliver the “job applications” to Grassley’s office next week. Although he’s not going to change his mind about a public health insurance option, we can show how out of touch he is with Iowans.

Fortunately, a group of Senate Democrats are strongly committed to the public option, dimming prospects for a bipartisan compromise on health care that would please Grassley.

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Health Care for America Now running new tv ad in Iowa

Health Care for America Now launched television commercials in 10 key states today. Here is the Iowa version (click here to view the others):

It’s a good ad. As Jason Rosenbaum writes,

This is the vision of a public health insurance option. Contrary to Republican talking points, nothing in the proposed plans for a public health insurance option would take away your choices and your relationship with your doctor. Nothing.

If you donate at least $10 to keep this ad on the air, Health Care for America Now will send you  a “high-quality, union-made t-shirt” (view the shirt here).

I’m also looking forward to seeing the commercials Blue America has in the works, which you can support by donating here.

Even if you can’t afford to make a donation, you can express your support for the public option by signing the petition at StandWithDrDean.com and sending an e-mail to your senators.

It wouldn’t hurt to contact your House representatives to let them know we need a public option. If the final bill out of the Senate ends up looking like the latest draft circulating in the Senate Finance Committee, we’re going to need House Democrats to vote this sham reform down.

UPDATE: According to slinkerwink at Daily Kos, the House Democrats’ draft health care bill does contain a public option. Thanks to members of the Progressive Caucus, including Iowa’s Dave Loebsack, for making this happen.

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No one could have seen this coming

I’m shocked, shocked to read that

Hospitals and insurance companies said Thursday that President Obama had substantially overstated their promise earlier this week to reduce the growth of health spending.

Mr. Obama invited health industry leaders to the White House on Monday to trumpet their cost-control commitments. But three days later, confusion swirled in Washington as the companies’ trade associations raced to tamp down angst among members around the country.

Jason Rosenbaum has more on the story at Health Care for America Now.

Looks like the White House was a bit too eager to herald a breakthrough with various interest groups that want to block serious health care reform.

I think David Sirota was on to something when he wrote on Monday,

Isn’t President Obama legitimizing voices that will use that added credibility later on to try to derail serious health care reform? Today’s press conference has the President of the United States effectively saying that the health insurance industry should have a major seat at the health-reform table – and that it should be trusted. But any serious health care reform will need to take on the health insurance industry in a way that will make that industry unhappy. When that eventually happens, won’t the previous efforts to legitimize the health insurance industry’s voice add credibility to its opposition to reform? […]

Obama’s political calculus throughout his life has been to avoid making enemies. He seems to believe that he can make lots of different interests happy – and on many issues, that’s certainly possible. But on some issues, like health care, it’s a binary fight: Either you appease the health industry and preserve the status quo they are making big bucks off of, or you take on the health industry and make real change. Touting the industry’s “voluntary” commitment to not rip off consumers seems more in the appeasing camp than in the “real change” camp.

Obama won’t be able to get the health care reform we need without making enemies among those who profit from the current system. When push comes to shove, he may need a dose of FDR’s “I Welcome Their Hatred” tonic.

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Memo to Chuck Grassley: It's not 1993 anymore

Senator Chuck Grassley laid out his case against a “government-run” health care plan on the Senate floor yesterday. He used some of the same arguments he’s been making in conference calls with reporters and in his guest editorial at Politico.

I don’t know whether Grassley and the insurance lobby will be able to scare Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus away from supporting a public health insurance option.

However, after reading the highlights from recent opinion research that Richard Kirsch summarized at the Health Care for America Now blog, I am confident that the American public will not buy rehashed Republican talking points from 1993. For more on this point, follow me after the jump.

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