The Errington Thompson Show – Special Healthcare Update (plus an addition)

I talk with Joan McCarter from the Daily Kos about what the heck is going on in the Senate. Joan has been following the ins and outs of the Healthcare legislation with posts two or three times per day.

This is clearly worth a listen.

Update from McJoan:

According to USA Today, there’s a new, influential voice pushing reconciliation to get a healthcare reform bill passed.

USA TODAY’s Washington bureau chief Susan Page reports that John Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress and the former head of President Obama’s transition, said some Democrats may be taking another look at the so-called reconciliation process, a budget procedure that would let Democrats pass a health care bill with only 51 votes….

The issue, Podesta said, is whether Lieberman “is trying to get to ‘no’ ” on health care. He said Democratic congressional leaders were surprised by Lieberman’s negative language Sunday on the emerging Democratic plan.

“I suspect musty folders on reconciliation got dusted off this morning” on Capitol Hill in the wake of Lieberman’s comments. “If you don’t have Lieberman and you don’t have Nelson, the question is whether you can get Snowe and Collins.” He said the Democrats were “very close” to 60 and might still be able to get there.

On Lieberman: “I’ve given up on him” — that is, on trying to figure out what he will do.

Snowe says that she’ll only support a bill if they slow things down (because being at the heart of negotiations in the Finance committee for the past year, and being one of the bipartisan Gang of Six that drug on, and on, and on, and on, and knowing this bill inside and out just hasn’t given her enough time to make up her mind). Collins isn’t going anywhere Snowe doesn’t go first. Nelson still wants his abortion amendment.

Figure out enough compromises to make any of the “moderates” happy enough to get to 60, and you risk losing progressives, particulary Brown (who personally invested a great deal in the compromise Lieberman just blew up), Sanders, Feingold, and Burris. You also risk losing a 218 majority in the House.

Let’s hope that those musty folders are being dusted off, because there very well may be no other way to achieve this. And let’s hope the issue compromises a large part of the discussion in the Senate Dem caucus meeting this afternoon.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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