Mike Ross: Go figure | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mike Ross: Go figure

Posted By on Thu, Oct 15, 2009 at 1:53 PM

MAD ABOUT MIKE: Resemblance is striking, don't you think?

Best I can tell, this article in The Hill is not a hoax:

Blue Dog Rep. Mike Ross, who made headlines by rejecting a compromise he'd negotiated on a public health insurance option, has suggested to Democratic leaders that the government-run Medicare program be opened to all Americans.

Ross (D-Ark.) has made the suggestion in meetings with House Democratic leaders and brought the idea to the closed-door House Democratic Caucus meeting Thursday.

"I – speaking only on behalf of myself – suggested one possible idea could be that instead of creating an entirely new government bureaucracy to administer a public option, Medicare could be offered as a choice to compete alongside private insurers for those Americans eligible to enter the national health insurance exchange, but at a reimbursement rate much greater than current Medicare rates," Ross said in a statement to The Hill.

The position is surprising because centrist Democrats such as Ross, chairman of the Blue Dogs' healthcare task force, have resisted a public insurance option with rates tied to Medicare.

But wait, hold that applause ....

"While I do not support a government-run public option, I do believe there are numerous other alternatives worth review and have presented and discussed many of these ideas in a concerted effort to advance the legislative process," Ross said in his statement.
But regarding opening Medicare, he added this caveat: "Let me be clear: I do not endorse this idea as it was just one of many ideas we, as legislators, have brought up and discussed in the numerous, ongoing negotiations and discussions we have had on health care reform over the past several months."

It is coincidental, but perhaps Ross' catering to liberally inclined Democrats is related to hell being raised among progressives about Blue Dogs. Paul Barton reports from Washington on efforts to shut down fund-raising that helps Dogs like Ross.

Arkansas Blue Dogs Causing Schism?

By Paul Barton

WASHINGTON – Elements of the Democratic Party seen as  “progressive” or “left-wing” are urging their brethren not to donate to party campaign committees, such as  the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The reason? Some of that cherished campaign money might go to the accounts of fiscal Blue Dogs such as Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Rep. Mike Ross, who have been major disappoints to the the left during the health care debate.

Progressives remain peeved at both – and other Democrats like them - for failing to support a robust public option as a part og health care reform.

 Take a look at this post on demconwatchblog.com within the past week:

      DemConWatch: Democratic Party's Money Raising Trouble – “DocJess.”

“ DocJess,” in a telephone interview with the Arkansas Times, refused to disclose her identity, other than to say she is a retired physician in Pennsylvania  and blogs frequently on health matters for DemConWatch.com  which monitors the actions of Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Don’t give to party arms that could end up helping Lincoln and Ross, she said.

Wrote DocJess in a recent entry: “That is, if you make a donation to the DSCC, and those particular funds went to Kent Conrad or Max  Baucus or Blanche Lincoln, how would YOU feel? Personally, I wouldn't want a dime of my money going to a blue dog. ...”
Lincoln has more than $4 million cash on hand, including at least $1 milllion from health care industry sources. Ross has close to $500,000 on hand and has raised close to $100,000 from health sources so far for 2010.

Although the Senate Finance Committee passed a comprehensive health reform bill Wednesday with Lincoln’s backing,  DocJess called the legislation  “an abomination” and a gift to the insurance company because of the lack of a strong public option medical plan to help the poor. The Pennsylvania doctor said she did not regard Maine Sen Olympia Snowe’s support of the bill, the only Republican to do so,  as any sign of political courage. Just as soon as the bill cleared committee, DocJess said, Snowe continued to give herself the option of backing out on the Senate floor. “Besides, they didn’t even need her,” the blogger said. “They [the Democrats] could have passed it themselves.”

Other bloggers are beginning to look at congressional Democrats like DocJess.

Blogs such as this one, published within the last few days,  are also starting to multiply:

Senate Democrats Fail To Speak Out Against Patriot Act Betrayal – IrregularTimes.Com
By jclifford
Right wing Democrats like Mark Pryor, Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson and Max Baucus are just waiting to prove how much they can be like Republicans. The only relevant question is whether there are enough votes to beat a filibuster. ...

While candidates such as Lincoln and Ross rely very little on the campaign fund-raising arms of the National Democratic Party, DocJess said she wouldn’t discount importance. Democrat Kay Hagan in North Carolina upset former Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole in the last six months of 2008, due in large part to millions from the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Senatorial


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