The Employment Policies Institute (EPI), a front group created by veteran lobbyist Richard Berman, is planning an advertising blitz claiming that healthcare reform is too costly. The ads will run in Nebraska, North Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Connecticut and Maine. “We’re putting some serious money behind it,” said Berman.
If you had any doubt about who some Senators on the Senate Finance Committee really, truly care about, consider their recent votes. Just look at the votes against creating a public option to compete against private insurers. Then, consider the giddy response of the industry, according to an article in the trade press:
"We are pleased by the rejection of both the Rockefeller and the Schumer amendments containing public plan options," says Tom Currey, president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Falls Church, Va.... America's Health Insurance Plans, Washington, is also welcoming committee rejection of the amendments. "The government-run plan is a roadblock to reform," AHIP spokesman Robert Zirkelbach says.... "[W]e are very pleased with this outcome," says Janet Trautwein, president of the National Association of Health Underwriters, Arlington, Va.
Heads are spinning after the discredited Senate Finance Committee blocked the public option from being part of the health care bill proposed by Senator Max Baucus of Montana and then voted for spending $50 million on the (also discredited) abstinence-only education program that President Obama had pressed to eliminate from the federal budget.
CMD's Wendell Potter has become a frequent guest on Democracy Now!. Host Amy Goodman interviewed him again on September 30th: "Efforts to create a government-run health insurance plan were dealt a setback Tuesday after the Senate Finance Committee rejected a pair of amendments to create a public option.
Television ads from a new Montana-based group called CO2 Is Green claim: "There is no scientific evidence that CO2 [carbon dioxide] is a pollutant. In fact higher CO2 levels than we have today would help the Earth's ecosystems." The ads urge voters to contact their Senators and Representative, "and remind them CO2 is not pollution." The ads are meant to stoke opposition to climate change legislation.
There are so many problems with the health care reform bill proposed by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, it is little wonder that members of his committee have proposed more than 500 amendments to fix it. Unfortunately, some of the worst amendments that would make the bill even more of a gift to the health insurance industry are being offered by Republicans. If there is a God in heaven, they will not be adopted. But many other amendments are vital, including those that will make this key bill more like the better bills that have been reported out of four other Congressional committees. All of those bills call for the creation of a public insurance option, which is an absolutely critical element of reform. Without it, all of us who are not eligible for an existing government-run program, like the Medicare and VA programs, will be forced to buy coverage from the private insurance industry, which is dominated by a cartel of huge for-profit companies.