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March 02, 2010 09:50 PM UTC

Udall makes a statement on the public option

  • by: sxp151

(About time.   – promoted by Middle of the Road)

[Update] I apologize for overstating the case here in my original headline, which said “Udall finally signs the public option letter.” I misread the Daily Kos diary, and I should not have rushed to post the diary here without getting extra confirmation from another source.

[Original diary]

Ripped off from a Kos diarist, who got it from an email from CREDO. Udall doesn’t yet mention it on his Senate web site.

Statement from Sen. Mark Udall’s office (CO):

“Senator Udall shares President Obama’s over-arching priority of enacting meaningful and comprehensive health reform that will increase quality and access and put our system on a sustainable track by lowering costs for small businesses, taxpayers, and American families. As part of reform, he continues to feel that inclusion of a public option to go head-to-head with private insurers could play a significant role in bringing down costs and offering more affordable options to Coloradans. He thinks it’s important that such a plan – like the one approved in the House bill – negotiate reimbursement rates while competing on a level playing field with the private sector, and if such a plan comes up for a vote under the reconciliation process, he would vote for it.”

Thanks to all those who visited, called, and wrote Udall.


96 thoughts on “Udall makes a statement on the public option

  1. It’s now up to 33. Here’s the list.

    Remaining: Begich, Lincoln, Pryor, Dodd, Carper, Kaufman, Nelson (FL), Akaka, Harkin, Bayh, Landrieu, McCaskill, Baucus, Tester, Hagan, Conrad, Dorgan, Nelson (NE), Webb, Warner, Cantwell, Kohl, Feingold, Byrd, Rockefeller. And of course Lieberman.

    Dodd, Harkin, Dorgan, Cantwell, Kohl, Feingold should all be gettable without too much trouble. Hard to say on the rest.

        1. what’s bayh got to lose?

          One vote as a lame duck senator will be forgotten in a few years – he is probably gaming for 2016 or becoming a lobbyist.

          My hope is that this is a peeling process where once we get to 40 the momentum will swing.

          My fear is that this is a stalling process

          where once we get to 40 the White House will

          interfere and tell the Senate to pass the bill

          with some type of bipartisanship

          (Obama told the congress today to include 4 of the R ideas from the HC summit in the bill)

          without insisting on the PO.

          1. Things look and feel a bit different than when you posted your Gibbs diary.

            Many press reports suggest that the public option is not necessarily dead. Getting 33 Senators (and counting) to sign a public letter in favor of the public option and reconciliation is not a small or bad thing.

              1. but Obama wants to be seen as a bipartisan leader – and that may get in the way of the Public Option being included.


                1. Engaging “medical professionals to conduct random undercover investigations of health care providers that receive reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid, and other Federal programs.”

                2. An additional $50 million in funding to states “for demonstrations of alternatives to resolving medical malpractice disputes, including health courts.”

                3. Additional funds for Medicaid reimbursements to doctors to correct the problem that those reimbursements are currently “inadequate in many states.”

                4. An expansion of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

                the last of those compromises Obama supports is the expansion of Health Savings Accounts, which realistically only work if you are the type of income earner who can put aside $10,000 or more per year for Health Savings.

                (not really applicable to most people I know)

                as for the other 3 proposals, i haven’t heard a lot about them, #2 and #3 seem to make sense, but #1 sounds pretty bad – i can imagine a doctor that receives federal money of any kind being investigated for controversial procedures, like abortion – even if the provider is not using funds for those specific procedures.

                maybe someone here knows more about what these compromises entail.

                1. What if only police officers could opine on police officer misconduct because there were no juries and trials were conducted by panels of police officers and citizens had no input.

                  What if investment bankers were the ones that sat in judgment of securities fraud because juries were not allowed.  What results do you think would be the norm.

                  What if the only person to hear a complaint were the partners of the person you were attempting to get restitution from.  And that if you won they would have to pay the bill.  How they would decide?

                  What if only oil companies sat in judgment of other oil companies after a spill? what would be the outcome?

                  That’s what this is, special courts for doctors, because they are too good to be judged by regular people or because we are too stupid to judge them.

                  We have juries send people to death or life imprisonment every day by interpreting complex technical evidence.  We have multimillion contractual arguments decided everyday by juries.  Contrary to what people who have never sat on a jury believe, most juries get it right, and when they get it wrong (usually they get the fault correct, but they want more punishment than the law will allow) a judge can and will generally fix it to conform with the law.

                  1. What if only oil companies sat in judgment of other oil companies after a spill? what would be the outcome?

                    You only have to look at the record of the Bill Owens COGCC to get the answer on that one.

                    1. as being lawsuit-happy, the majority of lawsuits are company against company.

                      But Duke is right–they prefer to fight their battles via their white-shoe lawyers and come together to denounce any stronger resource protections or regulations.  

                2. The Speaker has reinveted himself again to the right of the Democratic party and apparently feels his dnc conservative credentials are not strong enough.

                  I don’t know why it would bother him if the public option is left out.

                  The Speaker has said that he wouldn’t be the 60th Democratic vote for any compromise bills when running from the left.

                  That means that he supports all or nothing thinking. In other words, there wouldn’t be any bill that he would support right now that didn’t include single payer (that is paid for, or budget nuetral.)

                  Further, he apparently realized that the President is much more popular still than he is. Now we have his supporters writing letters about how upset they are that the President is interferring. I don’t hear the same complaining when party meetings are “hijacked” (a word used by a friend on the western slope)for fundraisers for the Speaker.

                  Many  party officials in several counties have broken the rules in his favor.

                  One cannot say that the party is an incumbent protection racket while at the same time depending on party insiders to break the rules for your candidate to remain viable. This becomes thinking which states only when people break the rules for me is it not a racket, but if party officals support my opponent then they are breaking the rules.

                  The President has the priviledge of supporting whom he wishes. It doesn’t break precedent, and it doesn’t break any rules.His visit raised moeny for the combined campaign which willbe shared down ticket. I cannot say that for Colorado Democratic Party officials that have chosen to break state party rules.

          2. I think he might be looking at Governor in the near future. That’s my gut feeling. I said this below–I can see him signing on right at the very end.

            And I too feel a little hopeful about the public option–it still lives, albeit it’s pulse is weak but it’s still alive. 🙂

      1. you were suggesting that Romanoff had hinted he might run in Arkansas. Then I came to my senses and realized that after seeking one office by appointment, than another and then getting caught in some rumours of another office, then announcing a campaign to run for the Senate (in Colorado) and then considering switching to Governor, but having a press confernence to confirm a Senate camapign it would be lunacy to switch again.

        As for AR (the state), I’m not sure having a D primary helps the public option cause.

        These numbers are a little out of date, but I can’t find good numbers indicating what the AR R’s think about it or Senator Lincoln.

        Since she said she opposed it last Fall, she may feel that the only way to have a chance at re-election is to run in opposition to our party and President. I know, it would be awkward for a D to run against the D party and a popular D president (popular in her state) but she may feel it’s her only hope.

        1. but i could see Byrd being given a symbolic designation on this – say when we get to number 49, the leadership allows Byrd to be the 50th signer – as a gesture for his long support and friendship of the late Ted Kennedy’s push for Healthcare.

          (that sounds so nice, it has me really believin’)

          1. Since he’s been hospitalized a couple of times in the last year, that question should probably be taken literally–where is he?

            I like your scenario a lot. It sounds plausible, it really does. Or maybe I just really want to believe.

            Check this out, when you have a chance.


            1. Reid is already on board – but still on their list.

              And many of the rest say that a reconciliation up or down vote should only be used for deficit reduction.  

              By the logic logic previously posted on this site, this healthcare reform is for budget deficit reduction so reconciliation should be a go for all of these too, at least for the budget components.

              I agree, by the way.  

              1. the dates are listed that each of the Senators made their remarks and some of them have since signed on, including Reid and Specter.

      2. She’s running as “the brave democrat that stood up to the filthy liberals”, so I doubt she’s going to reconsider her public option stance.

  2. that a few days ago he was waiting for no particular reason, and now he signs while giving no particular reason. Certainly no new reason.  (Odd word play- “no particular reason” is apparently what he needed.)

    But many of us, and the organizations that email us, think that the more often a Senator is contacted the more impact it has.  But why couldn’t a single person call multiple times in a way that it would appear they are different callers?   I’m not saying anyone would ever, or should ever, do that, but it seems like it would be freeping easy.

    I thought Harkin was for a public option as long as it had no death panels?

    And what is Akaka waiting for?

    1. Perhaps the Senate Dems are running this strategically – one Senator today, a few tomorrow…  Keep it in the news, build momentum (and pressure) for the reconciliation fix without Public Option support (or, for that matter, /with* the P.O.)

  3. I figure if I can call multiple times to bitch, I can call and thank him. Positive reinforcement and all that.

    And I would agree with sxp–we should be able to get Dodd, since he’s not running for re-election. Same with Bayh. I could see him getting on board, albeit right at the last minute.

    And I’m with Cora below–what is Akaka waiting for, other than death?  

  4. If it’s successful, which it won’t be, and then you’ll lose the Senate because you are ineffectual. Sen. Jane Norton will be one of them.

    1. One of the ones who helps you lose. Sorry, I’m so excited about coming here the day after election day and gloating I got ahead of myself!

        1. Everyone knows it. You won’t admit it yet because you want to keep your political machine jobs through November, that’s all.

          We’re accepting turncoats, but only if you have something good to offer and time is limited. Apply within!

          1. When you do and start repealing all things socialist, be sure and kill Medicare and Social Security.

            Just refund whatever anyone has paid in – and I’m sure everyone will be ok with it.  IF there’s any resistance, just play those Reagan commercials from the 60’s.  Ahhh, a young Reagan. Who could say no to that?  

    2. The sad fact is the USA spends twice as much GDP as other industrialized nations for an inferior product.

      Anti-trust busting used be a Republican issue a century ago. They realized that the capitalist market only works when competition exists.

      It’s clear that watching a basketball game is moe improtant to some Republican Senator than a million people losing all forms income.

      If the Dems would  lose the Senate, then we can always just filibuster any bill that comes our way like the Republicans are doing.

  5. Let’s not forget that it is Senator Bennet who provided the leadership and actually wrote this letter.

    Let’s also not forget that Andrew Romanoff would have killed the health care bill if he had been in the Senate because he didn’t like the deals offered to Nebraska and Louisiana.  Deals that have since been rescinded after the health care bill passed needing all 60 Democratic senators.

    Don’t believe me?  Check out where Aaron Harber has now posted the first part of the Denver Young Dems debate.

    Here’s the money quote:

    Romanoff: “If I had been in the Senate last year, for example, I would not have voted for backroom deals that benefited some states to the exclusion of others….  It would have taken just one senator in the majority party… to say no.”

    Michael Bennet is providing pragmatic leadership that will hopefully produce real healthcare reform.  That process would have been dead if Andrew Romanoff had been in the Senate.  

    1. for Bennet seeing the value of the primary.

      Notice on Saturday (8/29/09) that appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) was still all wishy-washy on the public option, saying he technically supports it but probably wouldn’t fight for it – and probably wouldn’t vote against a bill without a public option:

         Bennet said that he favored a so-called public option, which would provide an alternative insurance source for those who can’t get private insurance. “But as I stand here today, I think it’s very unlikely that the public option part of this will pass.”

      This followed a report in the Durango Herald a few weeks ago about Bennet explicitly refusing to take a concrete position on the public option – and urging other senators not to take a concrete position:

         Bennet, speaking after the meeting, said reform shouldn’t hinge on the public option, though he has said he supports it. “I don’t think we should be drawing lines in the sand,” he said.

      Now, just a few days after headlines about a potential Senate primary challenge from former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D), Bennet is aggressively insisting he will fight for the public option. The tone and the positioning represent a huge change.

      from ‘not drawing lines in the sand’ to a video mashup of his ‘support for the public option’ 2 days after Romanoff gets in.

      and the Bennet letter was started 2 days after Romanoff said he supported Medicare for all/single payer and announced his union/legislative endorsements.

      I support the effort for single payer and Bennet’s letter – and hope it succeeds, but this just proves the point that without primaries, many candidates will not stick their neck out, even when the constituents want them to.

      note: Bennet has campaigned well in these moves – much better than someone like Lincoln, who now will look totally false if she switches to supporting the PO.

      And, Specter has done well for himself by ‘seeing the light’ after voicing opposition to the PO to now signing the letter a week ago – today, for the first time, he is polling ahead of Toomey.

      (and by the way, you are mischaracterizing what Romanoff said in response to the ‘kill the bill’ argument from Bennet:


      “This is really a false choice to suggest the only option we have got is to either ‘kill the bill’ or to settle for the back room deals with a public option – less proposal is false… When insurance companies cut deals with members of the Senate to kill the public option…it points to a a Senate that is fundamentally broke…  If 41 members of the minority party are going to hold up progress with the threat of the filibuster, then it is time for someone from the majority party to call their bluff and see how long their lungs or bladders or the American people, hold out for that spectacle.”

      The President’s current proposal stripped out the 2 backroom deals for Nelson and Landrieu – something someone in the Senate should have stood up against before.

      1. really?

        Senator Bennet said that he supported the public option as early as June. Saying he that he wasn’t sure it would have the votes to pass is nowhere near the same as saying otherwise.

        Likewise, saying last summer that drawing lines in the sand was a bad idea is not the same as saying that he didn’t support the public option.  It is sort of similar to saying passing a bill that makes things better is better than no bill at all.

        Which is exactly what Romanoff hasn’t said.

        Great- Romanoff supports single payer, or Medicare for all. Which would have had no chance to pass last year or this.  And because the Senate bill was flawed, in content and process, he would have voted against it.

        I could find any number of R Senators (40 or 41) who would agree with him – scrap it and start over ’cause this bill doesn’t have the right things in it.

        You and Speaker Romanoff can keep calling it a false choice, but you’re just making stuff up.  It wasn’t a false choice in Dec.

        As for speaking up against the process, before the bill was voted on, thanks for acknowledging both the politcal wisdom and courage that took- Senator Bennet did that Dec 21 and then voted for the actual chioce Dec 24.

        I am sure that many if not all of the 60 yes votes wished they had a different bill to vote on.  But to call their vote on Dec 24th a “false choice” is just campaign baloney. And I think you know it. Or at least I would think you would.

        Bennet criticizes backroom deals (video):

        Senate passes health care reform bill three days later (not before Bennet criticized the deals, as Romanoff has said):

        Nelson caves on Medicaid bribe, asks it be withdrawn:

        What Romanoff was saying to voters: http://www.coloradostatesman.c

        I will respond in kind, with many more links

        Wade, you said you’d respond when I gave you the links, but you haven’t.

        by: RedGreen @ Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 12:48:36 PM MST

        1. since the embedded quote got lost there, just to be clear.

          But thanks for bringing that up — yet one of several recent examples where Wade makes a factually untrue charge and then waltzes off without setting things straight once he’s been called on it.

          Here’s what Wade hi’self had to say about such behavior:

          You[r] statements are lies, and if you were a quality blogger, you would write a retraction or correction. I have done it before, and it is not so hard.


          Apparently, though, it is hard to do when it involves Wade admitting he lied about Bennet’s record.

          1. I find that additioanl quote frustrating because the accusation was about my post and me. And even though I disputed his statement- he just went away.

            I did, btw, update that post now that I have better video.

            1. is frustrating for many reasons. Including Wade’s evasiveness when he’s caught lying about the primary. Remember last week when he said Romanoff had the backing of Labor, and then slipped off when numerous posters pointed out that wasn’t exactly true? it’s a pattern he’s established.

        2. you are getting facty and logical.

          Clearly, Wade feels like he can create his own facts.  I am not disputing that AR said what Wade quoted. But to then claim that it means whatever Wade wants it to mean is the creative part.

      2. I pointed out that Romanoff said, “I would not have voted for backroom deals…”

        You pointed out that Romanoff said, “This is really a false choice…”

        We’re both right — Andrew Romanoff is a career politician weasel that speaks out of both sides of his mouth.

        1. we were all having a civil discussion of healthcare up thread until you had to turn this diary into an attack on Andrew Romanoff, when you said

          Michael Bennet is providing pragmatic leadership that will hopefully produce real healthcare reform.  That process would have been dead if Andrew Romanoff had been in the Senate.  

          basically turning a pro-Udall diary into what it is now.

          and do you really think it is just coincidence that Bennet’s position on the PO was this in August

          Bennet, speaking after the meeting, said reform shouldn’t hinge on the public option

          (i.e. public option not essential)

          to now being the author of the Bennet letter?

          if that’s not a clear example of a change from the primary challenge, then tell me what it is?


          1. 1. Bennet is still saying, as recently as yesterday on Colorado Public Radio, that he doesn’t draw a line in the sand and say the public option must be in any reform bill.  He still supports the public option — as he has said many, many, many times for many, many months, including just yesterday.  Nothing about this signals he was wavering in his support until Romanoff’s candidacy.  That’s just a straw man.

            2. One important date missing from the chronology here is that just before the Bennet quote about there not being enough support, President Obama had appeared in Grand Junction (with Senator Bennet sitting near him) and said the public option wasn’t essential.  That was widely reported at the time as a big deal.  To say shortly after that Obama comment that there may not be enough support is no more surprising than saying it now.  It was true then and it is true now.

            The notion that Bennet’s position in August is any different than his position now is just not accurate.

            1. I called yesterday evening and said I was VERY VERY disappointed in him and that I wouldn’t knock any more doors for him if he didn’t sign.  Today, he signs.  Need I say more?

  6. FYI

    I just heard that Michael Bennet will be on Rachel Maddow tonight, possibly about 7:25 pm, MST to talk about the Washington reform package, and maybe the public option.

      1. And there were some vague but encouraging rumblings from McCaskill, who appears to be hedging her bets. She needs to “think about it,” because apparently she hasn’t given this a moment’s thought until just now when asked if she would sign on. Oh, and she isn’t sure what her concerns are, either. Apparently, she has to think about those, too.

  7. I remember that it also took him an especially long time to voice his support of the public option during the time of the town-hall meetings & all that hubbub… I was actually beginning to worry that he might chicken out and not sign the letter.  

    I’m glad that he’s finally done it.  

  8. What Public Option is Sen. Bennet asking senators to support?

    A long, long time ago, there was a vision of a public option that would include more than 100 million people.  This public option, sometimes called a robust public option, could actually compete with private insurance companies.  This public option exists now only in the mists of memory.

    The House Bill has an anemic public option that will eventually include only 6 million people and be too weak to offer serious competition with the for-profit, private health insurers.

    I do not believe that “the” public option that Sen. Bennet supports will amount to much of anything.  And I think that all the left progressives jumping on “the” public option bandwagon are on a fool’s errand.

      1. Medicare wasn’t much to brag about when it first passed but it has been tweaked time and again over the last 40 years and it’s a program that works well. Start somewhere. Anywhere. This is a good start.

        And to Tom Russell, I’m not a progressive; I’m a moderate. It isn’t just progressives that want a public option so please stop generalizing. Poll after poll shows that it is the singular most popular part of the health care reform bill with the general public.

        1. tomorrow the the R story will ratchet up the “gov’t takeover” story.

          It’s not true- but that’s not going to stop the R talking point.

      2. I don’t see it as a start at all.  It’s just big enough to not make a difference and then fail.  

        Medicare was much more impressive from the get-go.

        I don’t believe in foot-in-the-door thinking on this issue.  I know that some version of a public option is very, very popular, but that popularity rests, I believe, on an old, outdated vision of a public option  That dead vision is not one that either the Senate or the House is going to provide.  

      1. 6 million less healthy people enrolling in the public option in 2019.  That’s tiny.  Do you think that somehow these 6 million sick people will change the contours of the private insurance market?  Think again.  You’ve been baited and switched with the public option.

  9. Is how did Bennet find the route to success? We had a ton of very smart people trying to figure out how to make this happen. He brought forward this letter which people at first discounted as just a political stunt.

    But it’s working. And that’s not luck. So how did he foresee this? However he did it – it’s impressive.

    1. was affected by Ritter’s O&G regs.

      no wait….

      I blame Bunning….wait.

      Clearly, the rest of the Senate is trying to keep Andrew Romanoff from challenging them in a primary.

    2. But it does very likely have 51. And when it became clear that reconciliation would be required to complete the reform package, a window opened.

      1. and knows off-year elections are base elections and he wasn’t going to win just by being a competent technocrat (which is actually all I ask for, I’d much rather have a competent technocrat than an incompetent ideologue) was not going to be enough to win when the far right is so energized.

        1. The argument among the blue dogs was over the surtax. There are definitely some no votes on the public option in that set, but it’s a minority.

          But they don’t like the surtax for the reasons that Jared Polis doesn’t–it can hit small businesses disproportionately if they don’t have the right tax structure.

            1. I’m just outlining the argument. It wasn’t about the public option but the surtax. The whip count for the public option was always over 218.

      2. If the Obama administration is as behind the public option as it says it is, then VP Biden could cast the 51st vote. Thus we really just need 50 senators. So we are in need of 16 Senators as of right now. I think it would mean a lot if Rockefeller would get behind it and stop being so pessimistic

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