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The Speaker cometh March 21, 2010

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Women.
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Affordable Health Care for America No Longer “Optional” November 8, 2009

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous, Money.
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Yesterday, HR 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, passed the House of Representatives with a slim 5 vote margin to make history in America. The sweeping bill includes a public option-so the public option government health care plan is no longer “optional”. If you would like to hear the bill read out loud, visit this website HearTheBill.org .

Yours truly was glued to C-SPAN for most of the day. It was fascinating to look at cspan.org last night, and check out the member speeches the choose to post on their site.  I stood amazed (well, sat on my couch actually)

  • at the breadth of stories (both true and false) told on the floor,
  • the mind numbing use of repetitive phrases,
  • the patience of Rep. Dingell and each subsequent presiding member as they politely requested that members “heed the gavel” and that visitors in the galleries ” were guests of the House” and had to adhere to House rules,
  • the utter lack of interest in Rep. Wally Herger’s floor speech (D-CA District 2) from his colleagues seated nearby-presumably from his own party
  • Speaker Pelosi’s floor speech where she reminded her colleagues that HR 3962 would not treat being female as a reason to deny coverage for a “pre-existing condition”.
  • Speeches by Rep. Waxman, Rep. McDermott (WA) , Rep. Miller (CA), Rep. Velasquez, Rep. Slaughter, Rep. Meek
  • The lifelong commitment of Rep. Dingell and his family before him to providing health care for all Americans,
  • The surprising inclusion of the Stupak amendment, the most restrictive amendment since the Hyde Amendment on abortion rights
  • The misused, recurring call of “parliamentary inquiry” to the chair
  • The various descriptions of the weight of the bill and the number of pages (Jon Stewart summarizes it well)

No matter if you approve or disapprove, this day has been a long time coming-since the time of President Roosevelt or even President Truman-no bill has gotten this far. The next few weeks will still be crucial, especially with the “poison pill” of the Stupak amendment now contained within the bill, sort of like an odd political pregnancy.

Pelosi Promises Muscle for the Middle Class October 16, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Health Quote of the Week.
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On October 15th, Speaker Nancy Pelosi held her weekly press conference where she expounded on the public option and how the House health reform bill would turn out.

“I speak for the House of Representatives. I want to send our conferees to the conference with the most muscle for the middle-class,” she said. “That is best achieved by going to the table with a public option.”

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I appreciate Pelosi’s reference to the middle class.  Who are the middle class today? Here is one definition I always recall. My family attended an informational meeting for a neighborhood K-8 parochial school and the headmaster described the financial burden this way:

“If you make less than $40,000 a year, you will receive financial aid. If you make more than $100,000 a year, then you don’t need financial aid.  If you make between $40-100,000 you will hate me eventually. Why? Because every time you turn around, you will feel like my hand is reaching for your wallet.”

That is how I think of the middle class-that space between $40-100,000. This group has seen annual double digit increases in post-secondary education for their children (more expensive relative to income than it was for them); health care and housing.

Speaker Pelosi says she will fight for the middle class. Let’s hope she can also hold the President to his promise to not raise taxes on the middle class and have her conferees united enough to take on the Democrats in the Senate. (Maybe the Senate Democrats will become a more unified group in the next two weeks as well.) That’s the trouble with the “big tent” philosophy -it is a big tent!

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