More on health care …

Got a mailing the other day that was paid for by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and Families USA … It complimented Sen. Menendez for “working to pass consensus bipartisan health care reform that will make sure people can get quality health care today and in the future.”

It’s good to see proponents of reform pressing their case.

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About fsnowflack
Fred Snowflack was editorial page editor and a political columnist for the Daily Record of Morristown for almost 12 years. He has won numerous awards for editorial and column writing from the New Jersey Press Association and has written a blog on county and state politics for the last three years. He lives in Ledgewood in Morris County.

21 Responses to More on health care …

  1. P says:

    You mean it’s nice to see them pressing their case in the light of day. If you don’t think they are working the legislators that they helped elect in ’06 & ’08 you are living in a dream world. I would also note that I’ve seen TV ads all summer, so this isn’t their first volley.

  2. Ted says:

    P brain implies reform proponents were seeking to secretly pull a fast one. But if P brain would open his eyes he’d see that the it’s the insurance industry who has been funding groups to spread misinformation and disrupt townhalls.

    However, P brain just might be stating the obvious again. How insightful P brain is. He observed that.constituents lobby their representatives..

  3. P says:

    Notice how the lefties get their panties in a bunch when you point out the other side of the argument. Fred/Ted would prefer to have a monologue where they provide their point-of-view, but insult, or try to shout down anyone who dares to challenge their morally superior POV. And Ted just provides the same lame name-calling as his contribution to society.

    As far as the mailer goes, I was reading my copy (actually, my wife’s since she’s the Dem in the family), and I noticed one big fib – “Robert Menendez is working to pass consensus bipartisan health care reform . . . ” they must have redefined the terms “consensus” and “bipartisan” while I was sleeping! The next time Menendez does something that even remotely resembles either it will be the FIRST TIME.

  4. Ted says:

    I think we should go back and count the shear number of P posts we’ve had to suffer be for we accuse anyone of shouting down opponents. My estimate is two P posts two the total of all others

  5. P says:

    If I post a comment I’m “shouting down opponents?”

    Stop whining and start actually providing facts, figures and logic to support your positions. You’ve yet to provide anything but your “wisdom” and expect us all to take it at face value. Nice try. Not going to happen.

    I’ll just keep providing the nice people who read Fred’s blog with my point of view, buttressed with real info and links/info on the net I find appropriate, amusing, or both and add my commentary.

    Have a nice evening. 😉

  6. Ed Ramirez says:

    Sorry to interfer with the Ted Head and P brain show but Fred

    Come on stop being so lazy, read this fro Robert Reich

    SUNDAY, AUGUST 09, 2009
    How the White House’s Deal With Big Pharma Undermines Democracy

    ROBERT REICH

    I’m a strong supporter of universal health insurance, and a fan of the Obama administration. But I’m appalled by the deal the White House has made with the pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying arm to buy their support.

    Last week, after being reported in the Los Angeles Times, the White House confirmed it has promised Big Pharma that any healthcare legislation will bar the government from using its huge purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices. That’s basically the same deal George W. Bush struck in getting the Medicare drug benefit, and it’s proven a bonanza for the drug industry. A continuation will be an even larger bonanza, given all the Boomers who will be enrolling in Medicare over the next decade. And it will be a gold mine if the deal extends to Medicaid, which will be expanded under most versions of the healthcare bills now emerging from Congress, and to any public option that might be included. (We don’t know how far the deal extends beyond Medicare because its details haven’t been made public.)

    Let me remind you: Any bonanza for the drug industry means higher health-care costs for the rest of us, which is one reason why critics of the emerging healthcare plans, including the Congressional Budget Office, are so worried about their failure to adequately stem future healthcare costs. To be sure, as part of its deal with the White House, Big Pharma apparently has promised to cut future drug costs by $80 billion. But neither the industry nor the White House nor any congressional committee has announced exactly where the $80 billion in savings will show up nor how this portion of the deal will be enforced. In any event, you can bet that the bonanza Big Pharma will reap far exceeds $80 billion. Otherwise, why would it have agreed?

    In return, Big Pharma isn’t just supporting universal health care. It’s also spending a lots of money on TV and radio advertising in support. Sunday’s New York Times reports that Big Pharma has budgeted $150 million for TV ads promoting universal health insurance, starting this August (that’s more money than John McCain spent on TV advertising in last year’s presidential campaign), after having already spent a bundle through advocacy groups like Healthy Economies Now and Families USA.

    I want universal health insurance. And having had a front-row seat in 1994 when Big Pharma and the rest of the health-industry complex went to battle against it, I can tell you first hand how big and effective the onslaught can be. So I appreciate Big Pharma’s support this time around, and I like it that the industry is doing the reverse of what it did last time, and airing ads to persuade the public of the rightness of the White House’s effort.

    But I also care about democracy, and the deal between Big Pharma and the White House frankly worries me. It’s bad enough when industry lobbyists extract concessions from members of Congress, which happens all the time. But when an industry gets secret concessions out of the White House in return for a promise to lend the industry’s support to a key piece of legislation, we’re in big trouble. That’s called extortion: An industry is using its capacity to threaten or prevent legislation as a means of altering that legislation for its own benefit. And it’s doing so at the highest reaches of our government, in the office of the President.

    When the industry support comes with an industry-sponsored ad campaign in favor of that legislation, the threat to democracy is even greater. Citizens end up paying for advertisements designed to persuade them that the legislation is in their interest. In this case, those payments come in the form of drug prices that will be higher than otherwise, stretching years into the future.

    I don’t want to be puritanical about all this. Politics is a rough game in which means and ends often get mixed and melded. Perhaps the White House deal with Big Pharma is a necessary step to get anything resembling universal health insurance. But if that’s the case, our democracy is in terrible shape. How soon until big industries and their Washington lobbyists have become so politically powerful that secret White House-industry deals like this are prerequisites to any important legislation? When will it become standard practice that such deals come with hundreds of millions of dollars of industry-sponsored TV advertising designed to persuade the public that the legislation is in the public’s interest? (Any Democrats and progressives who might be reading this should ask themselves how they’ll feel when a Republican White House cuts such deals to advance its own legislative priorities.)

    We’re on a precarious road — and wherever it leads, it’s not toward democracy.

  7. Ted says:

    To P brain. A comment won’t shout down anyone but you don’t just comment, you fill page after page with blather. Any facts you present are off the mark and the rest of your posts are “cut ‘n paste articles that do nothing but prove you are easily swayed by magazine articles. Also, you seen unable to organize your thoughts. Two or three posts to complete one thought is not uncommon. Then there’s a host of post scripts and post post scripts

    Read the damn articles yourself, form an opinion, put pen to paper and be done with it. NOBODY READS THE SECOND PAGE, OR THE THIRD, OR THE FOURTH, ETC, ETC.

  8. P says:

    Chill out Teddy. Why not post your POV and I’ll post mine.

    You’re wasting your breath (figuratively) if you think I plan to lisen to any of your “suggestions”, and the last time I checked, everything is on one web “page”, so I’m at a loss for your whole 2nd, 3rd, . . page RANT.

    I know you have a short attention span, but most of what I post can be read in a minute or two by anyone who can read at a 12th grade level.

    Given the importance of the subject matter, I would think that’s not too much to ask. And if ya don’t like what I write, just change the channel.

  9. Ted says:

    Check out the last three posts to Rove/Christie. They’re all yours, mostly cut a paste I’m sure no one read them. You’re just talking to yourself. I must be a mental mastubation thing.

    NOBODY READS THE SECOND PAGE, OR THE THIRD, OR THE FOURTH, ETC, ETC.

  10. P says:

    Ted, the only person playing with himself is the guy you see in the mirror every morning. As for the rest of your “suggestions”, see above.

    P.S. Next time, put your whole post in BOLD. It will make it look even more authoritative.

  11. Ed Ramirez says:

    Ted and P You guys need to get a room.

  12. P says:

    Rooms cost money, “Fred’s” Blog is free, and open 7x24x365.

  13. motownrepub says:

    I suggest a cage match !!

  14. P says:

    I’m sure Ted would love to take you on. Just tell him where and when.

  15. P says:

    Looks like Obama is throwing in the towel on the “Public Option” –

    from Politico.com

    Under fire, Obama shifts strategy
    . by Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei
    September 1, 2009 08:22 PM EST

    Aides to President Barack Obama are putting the final touches on a new strategy to help Democrats recover from a brutal August recess by specifying what Obama wants to see in a compromise health care deal and directly confronting other trouble spots, West Wing officials tell POLITICO.

    Obama is considering detailing his health-care demands in a major speech as soon as next week, when Congress returns from the August recess. And although House leaders have said their members will demand the inclusion of a public insurance option, Obama has no plans to insist on it himself, the officials said.

    “We’re entering a new season,” senior adviser David Axelrod said in a telephone interview. “It’s time to synthesize and harmonize these strands and get this done. We’re confident that we can do that. But obviously it is a different phase. We’re going to approach it in a different way. The president is going to be very active.”

    Top officials privately concede the past six weeks have taken their toll on Obama’s popularity. But the officials also see the new diminished expectations as an opportunity to prove their critics wrong by signing a health-care law, showing progress in Afghanistan, and using this month’s anniversary of the fall of Lehman Brothers to push for a crackdown on Wall Street.

    On health care, Obama’s willingness to forgo the public option is sure to anger his party’s liberal base. But some administration officials welcome a showdown with liberal lawmakers if they argue they would rather have no health care law than an incremental one. The confrontation would allow Obama to show he is willing to stare down his own party to get things done.

    “We have been saying all along that the most important part of this debate is not the public option, but rather ensuring choice and competition,” an aide said. “There are lots of different ways to get there.”

    The timing, format, venue and content of Obama’s presentation are still being debated in the West Wing. Aides have discussed whether to stick to broad principles, or to send specific legislative language to Capitol Hill. Some hybrid is likely, the officials said.

    “I’m not going to put a date on any of this,” Axelrod said. “But I think it’s fairly obvious that we’re not in the second inning. We’re not in the fourth inning. We’re in the eighth or ninth inning here, and so there’s not a lot of time to waste.”

    Obama’s specifics will include many of the principles he has spelled out before, and aides did not want to telegraph make-or-break demands. But Axelrod and others are making plain that Obama will assert himself more aggressively — a clear sign that the president will start dictating terms to Congress.

    “His goal is to create the best possible situation for consumers, create competition and choice,” Axelrod said. “We want to bring a measure of security to people who have health insurance today. We want to help those who don’t have coverage today, because they can’t afford it, get insurance they can afford. And we want to do it in a way that reduces the overall cost of the system as a whole.”

    Also this fall, Obama wants to slap new regulations on Wall Street firms, a goal that is now considered a higher priority than cap-and-trade energy legislation in the West Wing. White House officials think the legislation will show voters, especially wavering independents, that he is serious about making the culprits of the economic crisis pay. It also helps that it doesn’t carry a big price tag, like other Obama priorities.

    The president also plans to send Congress a report on Afghanistan by Sept. 24 that is designed to build patience after two months in a row of the highest U.S. casualties since the invasion eight years ago. Aides say they recognize they need to show progress over the next 12 to 18 months, or risk losing the support of key Democrats in Congress, who already have balked at funding Obama’s 20,000-troop buildup.

    But health care remains front-and-center in Obama’s fall strategy. “I understand the governing wisdom here in town as to where this is right now,” Axelrod said. “I feel good about where it is right now. I understand that there’s been a lot of controversy. I understand that there’s been a lot of politics. But the truth is, we’re a lot closer to achieving something than many thought possible. People look to the president for leadership on this and other issues. He feels passionately about this, and you can look for him to provide that leadership.”

    Obama has been criticized for deciding to cede much of the debate to Capitol Hill — or, as Axelrod put it, “allow Congress to consider the whole range of ideas.”

    “History will judge whether this was right or it was wrong,” Axelrod said. “We feel strongly that it was right. As a result of it, we have broad consensus on over 80 percent of this stuff, and a lot of good ideas about how to achieve the other 20. Now, people are looking to the president and the president is eager to help lead that process of harmonizing these different elements and completing this process so that we can solve what is a big problem in the lives of the American people, for our businesses and our economy.”

    White House officials say they are looking forward to “a break from the August break” — a chance to take back control of the debate after a grim month where news coverage of the issue was dominated by vocal, emotional opponents at lawmakers’ town meetings, railing against the cost and complexity of the plans being debated.

    So Obama and Democrats will return from vacation wounded, divided and uncertain of the best way to turn things around. Many Democrats, especially in the House, were spooked over break by the rowdy town hall meetings and flurry of polls showing independent voters skeptical of their leadership and spending plans.

    The mood swing is hitting some top leaders hard: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), for instance, is trailing little-known GOP contenders in his re-election race now. The news swing has been no less brutal. There has been saturation coverage of the town halls and rising casualties in Afghanistan — the latter leading to a big drop in support for the war.

    All of this makes for a tumultuous — and wildly unpredictable — fall for Obama and his party.

    Axelrod said he isn’t worried. “Part of it is born of long experience,” he said. “In Washington, every day is Election Day. I’d be lying to you if I told you I don’t look at polls — I do. But I’ve also learned that you have to keep your eye on the horizon here and not get bogged down. I am not Polyannish, but I am also not given to the hysteria that’s endemic to this town.”

    Yep, he looked at the polls and realized he was about to lose his “Change” majority.

    Don’t worry PO (Public Option) Libs, there’s always next year.

  16. Ted says:

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

    Newspapers are moving to the internet. To do so however their revenue base, advertising has to go with them.

    In the old days, simple circulation determined ad rates. Technology (the net) provides an opportunity to go beyond informing advertisers how many people probably saw their ad. Advertisers can now be told exactly how many have seen a particular ad and how much time was spent viewing the ad. And like TV, programming is key.

    To increase the number of viewers, .com divisions of the news media pay antagonists to stir things up. On this site we’re graced with P who is actually a staff of writers that may or may not include Snowflack himself

    Notice that the Snowflack brand informs us of political gossip (who appeared at what function etc. P, the staff raises controversial issues and never lets them die no matter who wins the debate – the staff guys aren’t real bright but sometimes they catch a break. It’s fun mental exercise for a while but it gets to be a bore.

  17. P says:

    And this was the post that set Ted off. “O” giving up on the Public Option, the Holy Grail of the Left. Ted must be a Yankee fan. If he was an old Brooklyn Dodger fan he would have been familiar with their mantra – “Wait till next year”, and the annual disappointment that engendered it.

  18. Ted says:

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

    Notice there are no denials from P, except that P is one person, not a staff that includes Fred

    P doesn’t deny working for the paper (either directly or indirectly)or that his/her job is to stir debate, increase the number of hits to the site and thereby enhance ad revenue.

    I think it’s sad that publishers are allowed to artificially increase its revenue by such cheap tactics. I suppose advertisers won’t mind because their ads are being viewed but eventually the public will feel used and bored to the point of changing channels.

    So Pbrain the jig is up. Reveal yourself as the paid hack that you are.

  19. P says:

    Unless Corzine can figure out a way to drop Christie down to about 40% of the vote, he’s finished. Corzine cannot stay north of that mark, so his only hope is that Daggett can take about 20% of the vote and make it a 40-40-20 split with JonBoy eking out a victory.

    NJ Governor: Christie Leads Corzine by Eight
    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    Republican challenger Chris Christie continues to lead incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine in the race for New Jersey governor.

    A new Rasmussen Reports survey of voters in the Garden State finds Christie, a former federal prosecutor, on top 46% to 38%. Independent candidate Chris Daggett gets six percent (6%) of the vote, and 10% are undecided.

    These figures are down for both major party candidates. In late August, including leaners, Christie was leading 50% to 42%. Leaners are those who initially indicate no preference for either of the candidates but answer a follow-up question and say they are leaning towards a particular candidate. From this point forward, results with leaners are considered the primary indicator of the race.

    However, it’s worth noting that other indicators suggest that Christie’s lead might be a bit softer than the eight-point advantage indicates. Results before leaners are included show Christie up by just four points. Among those who are certain how they will vote, Christie leads by six. This suggests that the GOP campaign may be like a baseball team heading into the late innings with a lead but lacking a reliable closer. They’re happy to be ahead but can’t wait for the game to end so they can breathe again.
    Traditionally in New Jersey, Democrats gain ground over the final months of the campaign. This year, Corzine is expected to heavily outspend Christie which also could be a factor.

    This is the first Rasmussen Reports poll to specifically name Daggett as a third alternative. No Republican has won a statewide race in New Jersey since 1997, but the incumbent governor is unpopular enough to give the GOP a chance this year. If the election were simply a referendum on Corzine, he would lose. Barring a significant change in the race, it is very unlikely that Corzine will attract 50% of the vote.

    But the Democrats hope to make the election a choice between two unacceptable options. If they can get some anti-Corzine votes to select Daggett rather than Christie, there remains a plausible path to victory.

    Corzine’s favorable and job approval ratings are up a bit. Forty-five percent (45%) now have a favorable opinion of him and 40% approve of the way he’s doing his job. Those figures are up from the mid-thirties in August. However, just 13% Strongly Approve of the job he’s doing and 36% Strongly Disapprove.

    Christie’s numbers are heading in the other direction. Just 42% have a favorable opinion of the GOP hopeful. That’s down six points from 48%. But Christie is still trusted more than Corzine on taxes, government spending and cracking down on corruption.

    Corzine, the only incumbent governor running for reelection this year, has been hurt by a difficult economy. Just three percent (3%) of New Jersey voters rate the economy as good or excellent while 51% rate it as poor. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say the economy is getting better while 38% say it’s getting worse.

    New Jersey voters are more supportive of President Obama’s health care plan than voters around the country. Fifty percent (50%) favor it while 47% are opposed. Nationally, 53% are opposed.

  20. P says:

    Corzine, still afraid to debate. According to some, that means he must be ahead in the polls.

    League of Women Voters says Corzine is ducking its debate
    By Matt Friedman, PolitickerNJ.com

    The League of Women Voters says that Governor Jon Corzine has refused to participate in its prime time televised debate, and that Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie won’t attend without Corzine.

    The debate – to be broadcast from the College of New Jersey on the New York City and Philadelphia ABC affiliates – is scheduled to air live at 7pm on Tuesday, October 13. It will preempt “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.”

    “We are dedicated to the voters of this state and wish the candidates valued the voters with the same dedication. New Jersey needs a third debate – held by experienced nonpartisan sponsors, in primetime, and on the most watched television stations.” said League of Women Voters Executive Director Anne Ruach Nicolas. “It is the voters who lose when the candidates do not take every opportunity to be seen and heard in fair and nonpartisan debates. Participation in our primetime debate would reach the most voters and allow the voters to make an informed decision based on the issues rather than from negative television ads and campaign controlled messaging.”

    The League applied to be one of the two debates sanctioned by the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) but was rejected in favor of partnerships that included My9 and NJN. Christie and independent Christopher Daggett — who both get matching funds — are required to participate in the ELEC-sanctioned debates.

    Corzine, although he does not take public financing, agreed to participate in the ELEC-sanctioned debates after some wrangling over the first event’s October 1 date.

    Daggett is the only candidate who has agreed to participate in the League’s debate.

    Monmouth University pollster and political science professor Patrick Murray said that the League’s debate would will be seen by more people than the other two, since it will during air prime time on two major networks in two of the country’s largest media markets.

    “They’d have to bump Wheel and Jeopardy!, which means they’d get a pretty large audience,” said Murray, whose institution will host the season’s one lieutenant governor debate.

    Ruach Nicolas said that the last time the same partnership had the gubernatorial debate, 600,000 people watched.

    The League will press on with the debate if it can only get Christie and Daggett to attend, but will not give Daggett the floor to himself, a spokeswoman said.

    “The candidates need to take this opportunity to debate for the sake of the voters,” said Ruach Nicolas.

    The Christie camp ripped Corzine for turning the event down, but said they would not debate Daggett without Corzine there.

    “We are willing to debate Jon Corzine anytime and anywhere,” said Christie spokeswoman Maria Comella. “It’s a disservice to New Jerseyans that Governor Corzine flat out refuses to debate the issues, but not surprising considering he’s spent this entire campaign running from his failed record and hiding behind negative attack ads.”

    Despite pressure from the League of Women Voters, the Corzine camp did not budge.

    “Governor Corzine has accepted the requests to participate in the ELEC debates,” said Corzine campaign press secretary Lis Smith. “Unfortunately, his schedule does not allow for him to participate in all debates offered, but he will also be continuing to travel the state to discuss the issues with New Jersey residents.”

    Matt Friedman is a PolitickerNJ.com Reporter and can be reached via email at matt@politicsnj.com.

    ==

    Maybe it’s Corzine’s laundry night.

  21. P says:

    Uh oh, when members of an Abbott district BOE start backing Christie you know it’s time to stick a fork in Corzine!

    In Democratic stronghold, 8 of 9 Elizabeth school board members back Christie
    By Editor , PolitickerNJ.com

    In a city that Jon Corzine carried 74%-22% four years ago, eight of the nine elected members of the Elizabeth Board of Education today endorsed Republican Christopher Christie for Governor.
    “Many of the Board members endorsing Chris today are Democrats, but we all know that when it comes to providing a quality education and a hopeful future for our children, party and politics aren’t a factor,” said school board president Francisco Gonzalez. “Governor Corzine has failed our kids in the last four years when it comes to education policy in our state and it is time for a change in leadership if we’re going to ensure our children receive the quality education they deserve.”
    Joining Gonzalez in backing the Republican candidate are Carlos Trujillo Raul Burgos, Armando DaSilva, Rafael Fajardo, Marie Lynn Munn, Fernando Nazco and Elcy Castill-Ospina. Joining the elected officials were former Union County Freeholder Donald Goncalves, former Elizabeth City Councilman Robert Jaspan, and former Board of Education member Tony Monteiro. All three are Democrats.
    In 2005, Corzine defeated Republican Douglas Forrester by 8,014 votes in Elizabeth, one of the state’s largest Democratic strongholds.
    The Christie campaign says the mostly Democratic school board members are frustrated with Corzine’s failure to assure funding for critical education programs as their reason for supporting the GOP candidate.
    “Corzine heavily favored stop-gap measures to fill the gaping holes in his FY 2010 budget, including funding roughly 10 percent of the education budget with one-time federal stimulus funds. This reckless accounting puts New Jersey children’s education at risk by funding the education budget with $1 billion that will not be there next year,” the Christie campaign said in a statement.
    On the other hand, I’m not so sure voters in the ‘burbs should be happy with this. The issue in the Abbott districts isn’t more money, it’s better choices and accountability.

    One other note – The comment about Corzine using $1B in one shot stimulus money to help maintain state education aid is going to be an issue for ALL school districts next year, regardless of who wins. Expect a 10% drop in aid across the board, unless the NJ Supremes step in. In that case, aid to the Abbott’s will be flat, but all other districts will see the bottom fall out.

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