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It was a roller coaster week
for proponents of the public option. While the Senate Finance Committee
rejected two proposed public option amendments, four of the five
health bills produced by congressional committees include a public
option. The next stage is to put those bills together in a process
called conference, that results in a final piece of legislation that
the House and the Senate will vote on. In this video clip, Marcy
Wheeler tells VideoNation that progressives can continue the fight
for a public option by emulating a tried and true Blue Dog strategy:
Focus on building a bloc of votes, not on flipping the opposition.
This strategy is working pretty well in the House where dozens of
progressive members have pledged to vote against any bill that doesn’t
include a public option.
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In an exclusive audio interview with Tristam Korten, whose two-part series on
anti-health reform crusader Rick Scott ran in Salon this week, Korten
and I discuss how Scott is personally bankrolling a multimillion dollar
campaign against health care reform.
Who is this man? Scott used to run the largest hospital chain in the
country, until the firm was found to have defrauded Medicare out of $2
billion. Scott was never charged, but he was sent packing in the wake
of the scandal. He has since founded Solantic, a Florida chain of
bare-bones walk-in clinics that profit by offering the uninsured lower
rates than they’d get at the ER. Why are their rates lower? Because
hospitals currently jack up the price of ER visits to compensate for
the fact that so many uninsured patients don’t pay their bills at all.
If we had universal health insurance, everyone would pay the same price
and Solantic wouldn’t seem like such a good deal.
As Korten and I discuss in our interview, Scott has been accused of
discriminating against employees who don’t meet his marketing-driven
image of an attractive, “clean cut,” young staff. Solantic recently
settled out of court with several staffers who said they were fired for
refusing to enforce the company’s biased hiring policies.
Korten’s research was supported by a grant from the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute.
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