From The Hill, Congress' newspaper of record, Thursday, October 8:
1. House liberals CLAIM they have NEARLY enough votes to pass HR3200 thru Pelosi's Place.
2. "In sight" are the 218 confirmations necessary for a squeaker of a "success," says the most prominent proponent of the progressives' pet public option.
3. Liberal leader Lynn Woolsey, however, refuses to cite her head count in public.
4. And, in order radically to reshape 16% of the national economy in accord with leadership's leanings, an ample majority will be required.
5. House Whip Clyburn, on the other hand, who is charged officially with counting votes and herding members, disagrees with the progressive poobah.
6. Clyburn reportedly told Woolsey, who has refused to provide her Whip with a roster, that his ongoing tally does not show such support for the government program.
7. Clyburn's spokeswoman says declaratively, "we are not there yet."
8. CBO's friendly scoring of Baucus yesterday actually and ironically undermines the progressives' preferences down in Pelosi's Place.
9. Rep Wiener on this morning's Coffee Joe, MSNBC, was blatantly bummed.
10. Moderates, dogs and freshmen are NOT going to stick out their insecure necks for a bill that's going to be beheaded upstairs.
11. Indeed, House centrists called out Ms Woolsey yesterday, claiming she was only able to name about 150 members on her side in last Thursday's caucus.
12. Indeed, an unnamed PROGRESSIVE source cites only 176 solid ayes, with 15 leaners.
13. CBO, once more amiable to Baucus, says the Gatekeeper's goodies glean $81 billion in savings over ten years.
14. But that comes only with the catastrophic cutting of Medicare and Medicaid by $404 billion.
15. It also tallies tragic taxes on small business, insurance companies, manufacturers of medical devices, all of which will surely be passed on to consumers.
16. Baucus also places painful impounds on "cadillac" benefit packages, mostly merited these days by unionists and residents of the overwhelmingly blue Northeast.
17. Indeed, 150 plus House liberals signed a letter yesterday to Ms Pelosi demanding NO taxes on benefits, assessments central to Baucus and HELP.
18. Senator Kerry is the creator of "cadillac" taxes.
19. President Obama has said repeatedly that his "favorite" source of revenue derives from impositions on plum plans like his own.
20. Baucus also banks, for a hefty hunk of how to pay for all this, on FINING those caught breathing without insurance.
21. Either way, it is becoming clear that ANY passage of reform will betray the central tenet of Obama's campaign, his pledge never to raise rates on those earning under 200G.
22. Indeed, the poor and middle class will be those most targeted by Obamacare, most of the revenue raised arises from there.
23. Yes, CBO was obliging to Baucus, but Finance's finished effect will NOT be the MERGE to emanate from summit-like meetings between Reid, Rahm, Orszag, DeParle, Obama and the uber-folk in upper house.
24. Furthermore, CBO's scoring relies on revenues arising in 2010 but benefits busheled out only in 2013, phased in, and not filled out completely until 2015.
25. That is, Elmendorf depends for his estimation on 10 years of revenues and only 5 years of outlays to arrive at his $81 billion bonus.
26. And, by all accounts, under Baucus 25 million Americans will remain uninsured.
27. $900 billion dollars for a few percentage points increase in citizens covered?
28. Baucus says he'll conduct his committee's roll call next Tuesday.
29. Yet, the Gatekeeper almost never meets his self-imposed deadlines.
30. And the nuclear option, Senate reconciliation, becomes off limits after Thursday, October 15.
31. Rockefeller and Wyden, meanwhile, threaten to kill Baucus in committee, which is why the chairman keeps postponing.
32. Remember Yom Kippur?
33. Two days subsequent, a pair of amendments in Finance intended to force the public option were defeated, 13 to 10.
34. Five committee democrats, Baucus, Carper, Nelson, Lincoln and Conrad, sided with a solid GOP against the government designation.
35. Today, only 30 Senate dems signed a letter to Reid demanding the PO be included in the MERGE.
36. Thirty others, therefore, refused.
37. The president, though, has been speed dialing for 2 weeks, pushing the PO.
38. The same day, yesterday, that CBO buddied up to Baucus the accountant of last repute also reckoned the federal deficit to be a whopping $1.4 trillion, triple last year's record of red, and a catastrophic 9.9% of GDP.
39. Moreover, Elmendorf expressed pessimism that Baucus' bid to cut Medicare provider rates by 25% would never come true.
40. "The mechanism governing Medicare's payments to physicians has frequently been modified to avoid reductions in their payments," reported the mature mathematician, "the long term budgetary impact could be quite different if these provisions were ultimately changed and/or not fully implemented."
41. In other words, either Medicare will be cut catastrophically, painfully impacting our parents, or Congress will down-the-road back away from cuts, with severe consequences for the deficit.
42. Pelosi's plan is in profound peril in lower parliament, it's too progressive for ultimate passage in upper house, and an important portion of the party will not put itself out for a piece so problematical.
43. Reid, meanwhile, today lambasted Republicans as partisans (LOL!) out to destroy his endeavors most dear.
44. Does Reid come across to you as a curator who's confident?
Left claims 218 in sight for 'robust' public plan - TheHill.com
Other sources:Liberal tells House Democrats that they have nearly enough votes to pass their preferred version of health insurance reform.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told a closed-door caucus meeting that the group’s “whip count” showed it had 208 of the 218 votes needed to pass what liberals call a “robust” public option. That version would link rates to Medicare plus 5 percent.
Woolsey would not confirm the 208 figure in an interview, but three sources in the meeting said that is the number she cited.
“I said we have the votes to pass a robust plan,” Woolsey said. “This is without leadership stepping up and saying, ‘We’re for this.’ ”
Woolsey declined to provide a list of names to House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who has been tasked by leadership with keeping track of where the votes are.
Clyburn told Woolsey that his ongoing, informal tally doesn’t show the liberals’ version of the public option having that kind of support.
“That’s not the vote count he has,” said Clyburn spokeswoman Kristie Greco. “We’re not there yet.”
But any momentum liberals sensed early Wednesday was dampened after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced its analysis of Sen. Max Baucus’s (D-Mont.) bill, noting that it would extend coverage to millions of Americans while also cutting the deficit.
Blue Dogs and other Democratic centrists are certain to note the CBO score as proof that the House bill should hew more closely to the Senate Finance Committee legislation.
Some House members, particularly centrists, questioned Woolsey’s 208 figure, noting that last Thursday the Progressive Caucus presented Pelosi with only about 150 names. Centrist Blue Dogs are infuriated by the continued push for a government-run plan they believe the Senate will never agree to.
And another Progressive Caucus source said the liberals’ whip count, begun last week at the behest of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), found 176 solid “yes” votes, about 15 “leaning yes,” 30 undecided and 23 solid “no” votes.
In the face of unified Republican opposition, Democrats are working to find the 218 votes they need within their 256-member caucus. The public option, which would compete with private companies to drive down costs, has emerged as one of a few key obstacles to getting that number.
Liberals want reimbursement rates for physicians to be equal to Medicare rates plus 5 percent. Centrists, especially Blue Dog Democrats, don’t like the public option, echoing Republican concerns that it will not just lower rates but put private insurers out of business.
Blue Dogs are frustrated that the caucus is still debating the public option, which they don’t expect to be included in the Senate health bill.
“The broader caucus is still spinning its wheels and mired in the public-option debate that many moderate Democrats don’t believe survives in the Senate or conference,” said Blue Dog leader Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.). “We are not giving the same kind of attention and energy to the other things that really matter in this bill.”
The Senate Finance Committee is working on a plan that would tax high-cost healthcare plans. But 150 House Democrats have signed a letter opposing such a tax, which is staunchly opposed by organized labor.
Democratic sources say that Pelosi is sticking with a plan for a surtax on individuals making more than $500,000 and families bringing in more than $1 million, possibly coupled with a $20 billion tax on medical devices.
Last week, White House economic adviser Larry Summers and health czar Nancy-Ann DeParle presented a long list of other possible revenue-raising measures to House leaders, such as a fee on brand-name drug makers. Democratic sources said nearly all the ideas were met with some form of opposition, except for limiting the size of health flexible spending accounts.
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