Tester Waffles on Public Option: ‘I Don’t Need it’

by JC

“If the votes aren’t there, you’ll have to say you did the best you could and then you move on,” said Tester.

Just move on, huh. What a leader. If you have half the Senate looking at each other, saying the votes aren’t there, expecting the next guy to stand up and take a stand, well then you’re just being a defeatist. Not hardly what we elected you for, Jon.

“If the votes aren’t there” is just a euphemism for “my vote’s not there.” Politicians love to talk in passive terms because it allows them to not commit to a position publicly until they actually have to vote.

I call it the eternal finger pointing of the Senate: “if there is an uncommitted block of votes in the Senate, then I don’t have to take a stand either.” So what you get is a bunch of uncommitted Senators looking at each other and blaming the other for their own inability to take a stand–or have principles, for that matter.

What, you afraid to tell the “pull the plug on Granny” deather/birther crowds they’re whack? You know how to bust an ornery bull upside the head with a two-by-four. How about a few choice words for the bull the republicans have let out of the chute?

The AP’s Matt Gouras reported yesterday on Tester’s stand on the public option.

Tester said Wednesday he could envision voting for a health care reform bill with or without the option that would let the uninsured buy into a Medicare-type government program.

“I don’t need it either way,” Tester told the Associated Press between meetings with constituents. “I could either support it or not support it.”

With or without, support it or not. Talk about taking a stand! Must have been taking some Gumby lessons from the senior Senator. Even after dumbing down health care reform to a tepid pot of left-overs, Tester still misses the point.

Tester said he like such insurance reform as preventing companies from banning pre-existing injuries, canceling insurance when disease strikes and others that could rein in the double-digit cost increase of medical bills.

“Is that meaningful change?” Tester said. “If you have a pre-existing condition and you can’t get insured, that’s a meaningful change.”

About half of the country gets it’s health care from private insurers. So i guess he’s only really proposing “meaningful change” masquerading as insurance reform for the haves. Let’s treat the middle class to a little cost savings and call it “reform.”

For the have nots? Most people who have pre-existings cannot get insurance for a variety of reasons, cost being one of them. What’s the cost going to be for somebody trying to get a plan with cancer? Affordable? Subsidies for those who aren’t eligible for Medicaid, yet can’t afford a plan? Mandates and IRS penalties?

How you going to control costs and minimize cost shifting without universality?

“I trust Max” Tester said.

And just what has Max done to earn your trust, Senator? Set you up with some nice campaign financing deals with his buddies?

The Democrat said he has spent little time looking at more liberal legislation out of the House because he doesn’t think it will make it to the Senate floor.

If you haven’t looked at the House legislation, Jon, how can you come to a conclusion that it won’t make it to the Senate floor? Trusting what your buddy Max has to say?

I’d say this is a little closed-minded of you. And it sets you up for a battle to come to logger-heads with House progressives who say they won’t vote on a conference report that doesn’t include a public option. So what you going to do?

“Say you did the best you could and then you move on.”

Right… You might just have a block of progressive voters who will help you do just that, Senator. Just not the sort of “move on” that you had in mind. Hows about moo…ve on back to the farm?

In other health reform news, TPM reports on the list of 13 dem senators who haven’t committed to a public option. You might call them the “Gang of 13”:

One thing that’s striking about this the list is how reluctant senators are to take a firm position. Compare that to the situation in the House, where dozens of liberals have vowed that they’ll oppose any health care bill without a public option, and it casts some doubt on the conventional wisdom that health care reform will pass without a public option after the Congressional Progressive Caucus caves to pressure from Democratic leadership and conservatives in their own party.

“The immovable object meets the unstoppable force…”

Politics and corporations win and the people lose.
“C’est la vie”

  1. Chuck

    Damn him anyway. I was a huge supporter of Jon until this weak ass position. Tester and his staff have become them. They like their jobs and have been corrupted by the power of being in the game and they are unwilling to risk that for principle. Fuckin Tester…you disgust me more than Max.
    In 3 months I will have no health insurance and lot’s of preexisting conditions. I guarantee you that no one will write me a policy without exclusions and I will pay 20 grand for premiums. Fuck you Jon, corrupt bastard.

  2. petetalbot

    I posted a comment on an earlier piece about the same time you were publishing the post above, JC. So, if you don’t mind, I’ll copy it here:

    I still hold out hope for Tester. He’s worked hard for better medical benefits for veterans, so it’s not a stretch to see him supporting real reform for the poor and middle class (read: public option). He’s also bucked Max on a few senate votes (the bank bailout comes to mind — he voted “no”).

    Still, I can see your concern here. The AP story gives us some pretty lame quotes from the junior senator.

    The “I trust Max” made me puke slugs.

    I guess we’ll see in September but we need to keep the pressure on.

    • JC

      Yep, Jon needs to get pressured by his progressive base. That’s why I wrote this the way I did. He need to see the world from our side of the debate once in a while, instead of just assuming our support because we voted him in a few years ago.

  3. ladybug

    Selling out comes easy for Sen. Jon. First the handouts to AIG and BIG banks. Then he forked over 200,000 acres of roadless public land to timber barons, and now unemployed, uninsured and underinsured get thrown under the bus to support Max. Pathetic.

    • petetalbot

      Again, I appreciate yours and others concerns, ladybug, but I believe Tester voted against the “AIG and BIG banks” bailouts, as I mentioned in my comment above.

      I still think Jon is a decent man and will do the right thing. If I’m proven wrong and he continually follows Baucus’ lead, I’ll certainly join your chorus.

      • JC

        If you’re talking about the TARP bailout bill, yes Jon did vote against it.

        Project VoteSmart is always a good place to go and look up voting records. They break it down by categories, and a bunch of other good stuff.

        • petetalbot

          I was talking about the TARP bailout but I was working from memory. It’s much easier than doing research but thanks for the link anyway.

  4. Chuck

    If anyone wants Bill Lombardi’s cell phone number , (Tester’s State Director) and this blog can keep me known only as Chuck…tell me where to email it.

  5. jacksmith

    NO CO-OP’S! A Little History Lesson

    Young People. America needs your help.

    More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% of republicans). Basically everyone.

    According to a new AARP POLL: 86 percent of seniors want universal healthcare security for All, including 93% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans. And 79% of seniors support creating a new strong Government-run public option plan, available immediately. Including 89% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans, STUNNING!! Senator Max Baucus, You better come out of committee with a strong government-run public option available on day one.

    The History:

    Our last great economic catastrophe was called the Great Depression. Then as now it was caused by a reckless, and corrupt Republican administration and republican congress. FDR a Democrat, was then elected to save the nation and the American people from the unbridled GREED and profiteering, of the unregulated predatory self-interest of the banking industry and Wallstreet. Just like now.

    FDR proposed a Government-run health insurance plan to go with Social Security. To assure all Americans high quality, easily accessible, affordable, National Healthcare security. Regardless of where you lived, worked, or your ability to pay. But the AMA riled against it. Using all manor of scare tactics, like Calling it SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!! :-0

    So FDR established thousands of co-op’s around the country in rural America. And all of them failed. The biggest of these co-op organizations would become the grandfather of the predatory monster that all of you know today as the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry. And the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry.

    This former co-op would grow so powerful that it would corrupt every aspect of healthcare delivery in America. Even corrupting the Government of the United States.

    This former co-op’s name is BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD.

    Do you see now why even the suggestion of co-op’s is ridiculous. It makes me so ANGRY! Co-op’s are not a substitute for a government-run public option.

    They are trying to pull the wool over our eye’s again. Senators, if you don’t have the votes now, GET THEM! Or turn them over to us. WE WILL! DEAL WITH THEM. Why do you think we gave your party Control of the House, Control of the Senate, Control of the Whitehouse. The only option on the table that has any chance of fixing our healthcare crisis is a STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION.

    An insurance mandate and subsidies without a strong government-run public option choice available on day one, would be worse than the healthcare catastrophe we have now. The insurance, and healthcare industry have been very successful at exploiting the good hearts of the American people. But Congress and the president must not let that happen this time. House Progressives and members of the Tri-caucus must continue to hold firm on their demand for a strong Government-run public option.

    A healthcare reform bill with mandates and subsidies but without a STRONG government-run public option choice on day one, would be much worse than NO healthcare reform at all. So you must be strong and KILL IT! if you have too. And let the chips fall where they may. You can do insurance reform without mandates, subsidies, or taxpayer expense.

    Actually, no tax payer funds should be use to subsidize any private for profit insurance plans. So, NO TAX PAYER SUBSIDIES TO PRIVATE FOR PROFIT PLANS. Tax payer funds should only be used to subsidize the public plans. Healthcare reform should be 100% for the American people. Not another taxpayer bailout of the private for profit insurance industry, disguised as healthcare reform for the people.

    God Bless You

    Jacksmith — Working Class

    Twitter search #welovetheNHS #NHS Check it out


    Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSM8t_cLZgk&feature=player_embedded)

    American HEROES!! :-) Click replay to play http://bit.ly/j31oU

    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbWw23XwO5o) CYBER WARRIORS!! – TAKE THIS VIRAL

  6. problembear

    it is at critical moments like this where leadership is needed most…….. it is sad when men of craven cowardice leave our country bereft of direction or mission by their inability to stand for anything. both senators should hang their heads in shame.

    i for one, am embarrassed to have either of them representing montana.

  7. mick

    Tester is worse than Burns. Two fingers work great for stuffing your pockets with corporate cash,or for giving a Senatorial reach around.

    • petetalbot

      Worse than a racist, misogynist, corporate-owned, Abramhof-controlled, Bush-supporting auctioneer? I don’t think so.

  8. mick

    I do! Misrepresenting,or making false statements, is worse than the Devil I knew! The troops are not home, road less lands are being given away,and now this slap! I helped pay for a whore, where is the happy ending. Is this a snuff film?

  1. 1 Ya just gotta give a little! – Missoulapolis

    […] What?  Move on? Move on? Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth. […]

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