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Here is What Politics Is Really All About

Editor’s note: This from the US Chamber:

CBO Still Working, Senate Vote Faces Delay

Friday, Nov. 13, 2009
by Anna Edney

CBO did not come back to Senate Majority Leader Reid this week with final scores on his healthcare overhaul proposals as Democratic leadership had hoped, diminishing chances the Senate will take up the overhaul next week.

Reid had filed a procedural motion that could allow the Senate to move to the legislation next week. Instead, CBO continues discussing with Reid’s staff the proposals the agency has had for nearly three weeks.

Leadership expects to have the scores completed early next week, said Reid spokesman Jim Manley. The delay makes a vote on the motion to proceed to the bill more likely after the Thanksgiving break.

Reid cannot cobble together a final Senate bill without the scores, but Republicans are hoping to scare moderate Democrats from one by casting them as flip-floppers.

The Republican National Committee came out with a Web video today comparing Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., if she votes for a motion to proceed on the overhaul bill, with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and his infamous claim during the 2004 presidential election that he voted for an $87 billion Iraq war spending measure before he voted against it.

Landrieu is the third target in a series of eight flip-flop videos the RNC has planned. The first landed in Arkansas against Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln and a second came out Thursday against Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb.

Each is considered a moderate Democrat that leaders are attempting to woo for overhaul votes, particularly on the motion to proceed, which needs 60 votes. The RNC plans to release the same video against a different Democratic moderate each day next week, said RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho.

Moderates have been working to come up with a plan that would look less like a government-run proposal. Reid said he will include a public option in the yet-to-be-released Senate bill that allows states to opt out if they choose.

Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., said he is working on an alternative in case Reid cannot garner 60 votes for the opt-out that would create a nonprofit board to offer insurance coverage in states where private insurers fail to offer affordable plans.

Meanwhile, Kerry wrote Reid today asking him to include a provision in the overhaul that would allow the exchanges to exercise discretion over which private insurance plans can offer insurance through the exchange.

Kerry offered the idea as an amendment during Senate Finance Committee debate on the overhaul, but he withdrew it when Finance Chairman Max Baucus promised to work on the issue with him.

“Under my amendment, and a similar provision that was included in the House-passed bill, exchanges would negotiate with plans for lower bids, encourage plans for select networks, and exclude plans that do not offer good value and cost-effectiveness,” Kerry wrote.

He said the exchange in Massachusetts negotiates with plans, saving 6 percent on the cost of premiums.

Reid also is reportedly considering increasing the Medicare payroll tax for those earning more than $250,000 to help pay for the overhaul, theAssociated Press has reported. The tax increase hike could make up for Reid’s earlier move to increase the value of high-cost “Cadillac” insurance plans that would be eligible for taxation under the overhaul. A union source said Reid is considering raising the taxable value of a family plan to $23,000 from $21,000.

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November 14, 2009 - Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , ,

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