Feingold gives his support, blames Obama

Senator Russ Feingold issued a statement today, saying that he would vote to support the current draft of healthcare legislation being considered in the Senate, in spite of the fact that it doesn’t include a public option. He also pretty much said that we lost the public option because of a lack of leadership on Obama’s part. Here’s a clip:

…I’ve been fighting all year for a strong public option to compete with the insurance industry and bring health care spending down. I continued that fight during recent negotiations, and I refused to sign onto a deal to drop the public option from the Senate bill. Unfortunately, the lack of support from the administration made keeping the public option in the bill an uphill struggle. Removing the public option from the Senate bill is the wrong move, and eliminates $25 billion in savings. I will be urging members of the House and Senate who draft the final bill to make sure this essential provision is included.

But while the loss of the public option is a bitter pill to swallow, on balance, the bill still delivers meaningful reform, and the cost of inaction is simply too high. This bill significantly expands coverage and helps protect Wisconsinites from high costs and insurance company abuses, such as denying or restricting coverage based on pre-existing conditions. The bill also improves a flawed Medicare formula that denies Wisconsin fair reimbursement rates, encourages the kind of low-cost, high-value care practiced in our state, increases access to home and community-based long-term care, and reduces federal budget deficits by $132 billion over the next decade…

And, for what it’s worth Howard Dean agrees that a great deal of the blame resides with Obama.

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  1. Posted December 21, 2009 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I really don’t get this. It’s obvious that anything I would think was better would have been harder to pass. This is barely passing, so I don’t see where the political space for improvement is going to come from. I may not like it, but that’s the way D.C. works now. And the bill is a big improvement over the current status quo, and cause to celebrate.

  2. Feltch
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Rahm Emanuel, the President’s Chief of Staff, was Bill Clinton’s Political Director. And Rahm Emanuel’s take away from Bill Clinton’s failure to get health insurance passed was ‘don’t get on the wrong side of the insurance companies.’ So their strategy was cut a deal with the insurance companies, the drug industry going in. And the deal was, we’re not going to attack your customer base, we’re going to subsidize a new customer base. And that script was pre-cooked so it’s not surprising that this is what comes out the other side.

  3. Senate Watcher
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    It appears to be a done deal. All they had to do to get to 60 was pay off Ben Nelson.


    “Nelson secured full federal funding for (Nebraska) to expand Medicaid coverage to all individuals below 133 percent of the federal poverty level.”

  4. Meta
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Looks like Dodd was paid off too:

    A $100 million item for construction of a university hospital was inserted in the Senate health care bill at the request of Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who faces a difficult re-election campaign, his office said Sunday night.


  5. Posted December 21, 2009 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know that I believe a damned word out of his mouth, but I just read that Lieberman is saying that Obama never so much as asked him to support the public option. If true, this totally pisses me off.

  6. Kim
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    If true, that’s absolute bullshit… No one in the administration even asked him to support the public option?

  7. Murph
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Glenn Greenwald has some good comments on the White House’s asks or lacks thereof:

    When FDL and other liberal blogs led an effort to defeat Obama’s war funding bill back in June, the White House became desperate for votes, and here is what they apparently did (though they deny it):

    The White House is playing hardball with Democrats who intend to vote against the supplemental war spending bill, threatening freshmen who oppose it that they won’t get help with reelection and will be cut off from the White House, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) said Friday. “We’re not going to help you. You’ll never hear from us again,” Woolsey said the White House is telling freshmen.

    That’s what the White House can do when they actually care about pressuring someone to vote the way they want. Why didn’t they do any of that to the “centrists” who were supposedly obstructing what they wanted on health care? Why didn’t they tell Blanche Lincoln — in a desperate fight for her political life — that she would “never hear from them again,” and would lose DNC and other Democratic institutional support, if she filibustered the public option? Why haven’t they threatened to remove Joe Lieberman’s cherished Homeland Security Chairmanship if he’s been sabotaging the President’s agenda?

  8. Posted December 22, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Permalink


  9. Robert
    Posted December 28, 2009 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    There’s a good chance, Mark, that President Obama is not as much in the dark as you are about what Lieberman is, and who he actually works for. Still, you’re right, they should have at least pretended to believe otherwise.

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