Bill Scher

Edwards: Important Goverment Role, Consumers Will Decide

Former Senator John Edwards kicked off the presidential forum by laying out his previously announced plan (which we’ve blogged about here, here, here and here.) He stressed that his plan “covers all Americans” through “shared responsibilities.” He noted that “employers are required to either cover their employees or to pay into a fund” that will provide coverage. And regarding our government’s role, Edwards said: Government plays an important role, [setting] up health care markets all across America. And in each of those markets, if you’re the consumer, you can go in and choose what your health care plan will be. Some of the choices are private insurers. And then one choice is a government plan, basically a Medicare-plus plan.

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Bill Scher

Welcome to the Presidential Health Care Forum LiveBlog

The Center for American Progress and Service Employees International Union are hosting the “New Leadership On Health Care” presidential forum in Las Vegas, starting today at 12 PM ET, 9 AM PT today. You can watch the debate at ThinkProgress, and we’ll be blogging the action right here. Check out Roger Hickey’s debate preview, The Health Care Answers We Need.

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Roger Hickey

The Health Care Answers We Need

The presidential candidates are feeling the pressure from voters to tackle the escalating health care crisis with bold and comprehensive solutions. So when the Center for American Progress and the Service Employees International Union invited all the candidates to Las Vegas on Saturday morning to debate health care, nearly all the Democratic candidates agreed to participate. (Alas, all the Republican candidates will be taking a pass.) You can view the debate and join a live blog and discussion. At the onset of the debate, former Senator John Edwards is likely to be the center of attention, and not only because of the wrenching news of his wife’s recurrent cancer. Edwards has been driving the health care debate with a very detailed plan to assure health coverage for everyone in America.

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Bill Scher

“We Are Showing The Strength of the Opposition to the President”

Yesterday on Democracy Now, Campaign for America’s Future co-director Robert Borosage discussed with Rep. Lynn Woolsey the House Iraq bill which includes a firm deadline of Aug. 31, 2008 to redeploy combat troops out of Iraq. Woolsey has been leading the effort to defeat the bill because it includes funding for the war in the interim. But Borosage made the case for the supporting the bill: I agree [with Rep. Woolsey] it doesn’t go far enough. We’d want the troops home as quickly as we could, if we could get them there. The question is, is it a valuable symbolic vote? Because if it passes and we get the majority, the President will veto it, and then you will have in the public, very clearly, a statement that the majority in the Congress is against this president’s policy and has voted against it and is for bringing the troops home at a date certain.

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Isaiah J. Poole

War Funding Family Argument

A $124 billion war funding supplemental bill is scheduled for a vote in the House of Representatives today, and progressive anti-war members are, for the most part, planning to hold their nose  and vote for it. It has been a particularly agonizing week for the progressive movement, which has been caught between its passion to end the war and the political realities of getting a bill through Congress. How tough the choices are comes through in a Democracy Now! debate between House Progressive Caucus co-chairman Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., and Campaign for America’s Future co-chairman Robert L. Borosage. During the debate, which aired Thursday, Woolsey argued passionately against voting for the bill. “It is $100 billion more to pay for the President’s surge for his escalation of this war.

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Bill Scher

Another ‘Heck Of A Job’

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales isn’t the only Bush cabinet official worrying about his job. Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson, deemed “a Brownie situation” by Sen. Claire McCaskill, is also worrying as the Walter Reed scandal continues to unfold. Trying to get ahead of the knives, Nicholson launched a (wee bit belated) review of 1,400 VA medical facilities, in an attempt to show he’s on top of things. The review was released Wednesday, finding more than 1,000 incidents of subpar conditions — including bug infestations, suicide risks and asbestos.

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Bill Scher

Another ‘Heck Of A Job’

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales isn’t the only Bush cabinet official worrying about his job. Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson, deemed “a Brownie situation” by Sen. Claire McCaskill, is also worrying as the Walter Reed scandal continues to unfold. Trying to get ahead of the knives, Nicholson launched a (wee bit belated) review of 1,400 VA medical facilities, in an attempt to show he’s on top of things. The review was released Wednesday, finding more than 1,000 incidents of subpar conditions — including bug infestations, suicide risks and asbestos.

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Bill Scher

Bush VA: We’ll Fix The “Shortcomings”

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales isn’t the only Bush cabinet official worrying about his job. Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson, deemed “a Brownie situation” by Sen. Claire McCaskill, is also worrying as the Walter Reed scandal continues to unfold. Trying to get ahead of the knives, Nicholson launched a (wee bit belated) review of 1,400 VA medical facilities, in an attempt to show he’s on top of things. The review was released yesterday, finding more than 1,000 incidents of subpar conditions — including bug infestations, suicide risks and asbestos. The spin from Nicholson’s crew of hacks? Nothing to worry about! From the W.

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Bill Scher

Gore Backs Sanders-Boxer Bill

During Al Gore’s testimony to the Senate, he offered his support for the global warming bill co-sponsored by Sens. Barbara Boxer and Bernie Sanders, which by 2050 would slash greenhouse gas emissions 80% from 1990 levels. It’s considered to be the most aggressive bill on the table, but not considered to be a candidate to reach the Senate floor, even though Boxer chairs the Senate’s environmental committee. Gore’s endorsement could strengthen it’s position.

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Bill Scher

Blog Reaction to Gore House Testimony

Al Gore wrapped up his House testimony earlier this afternoon, and blogs are weighing in. Climate Progress writes: [Gore] was beyond well-versed in the diplomatic, scientific, economic, environmental, political and moral issues at hand. After also watching the treatment of James Hansen at yesterday’s House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, I’m still grappling with how smeared Hansen was versus how well-received Gore was. Complaints that science should not meddle in politics and that politics should not meddle in science commonly surround the global warming predicament. But we are witnessing a rare, sensitive, and urgent overlap in which both actors are equally critical.

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Bill Scher

Gore And An Uncomfortable Congress

Former vice president Al Gore testified before both House and Senate congressional committees on Wednesday, giving both houses and both parties time to consider his “inconvenient truths” about global warming —and forcing members to choose between action and obfuscation. Gore came to Capitol Hill with  516,000 petition signatures calling for immediate action to stop global warming.More than 200,000 of those have come in since Thursday. David Roberts, over at Gristmill, was liveblogging the Gore hearings before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and has a colorful summation of Gore’s 10-point plan to stop global warming. No. 1: immediate carbon freeze! Then a program of reductions — 90% reductions by 2050! Wow, that’s ballsy.

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Bill Scher

Gore And An Uncomfortable Congress

Former vice president Al Gore testified before both House and Senate congressional committees on Wednesday, giving both houses and both parties time to consider his “inconvenient truths” about global warming —and forcing members to choose between action and obfuscation. Gore came to Capitol Hill with  516,000 petition signatures calling for immediate action to stop global warming.More than 200,000 of those have come in since Thursday. David Roberts, over at Gristmill, was liveblogging the Gore hearings before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and has a colorful summation of Gore’s 10-point plan to stop global warming. No. 1: immediate carbon freeze! Then a program of reductions — 90% reductions by 2050! Wow, that’s ballsy.

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Bill Scher

Step Away From The Privatization

Yesterday, the House Armed Services Committee unanimously passed reforms, in the wake of the Walter Reed scandal, to improve the ability of wounded soldiers to get needed health care. CQ Today notes that the bill recognizes that the privatization of key functions has contributed to the problems, and includes a “one-year moratorium on hiring private contractors to perform ‘Department of Defense functions’ at medical facilities”. Hopefully that will stop the bleeding, and give time to restore a system with quality service and accountability.

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Bill Scher

Gore’s 10-Point Plan

David Roberts, over at Gristmill, is liveblogging the Gore hearings, and has a colorful summation of Gore’s 10-point plan to stop global warming. No. 1: immediate carbon freeze! Then a program of reductions — 90% reductions by 2050! Wow, that’s ballsy. Second: reduce taxes on employment and production, and make up the difference with pollution taxes, mainly CO2. … It would make us more competitive. Discourage pollution while encouraging work. But carbon pollution is not priced into the marketplace… Third: a portion of the revenues must be earmarked for low-income people who will have a difficult time making this transition.

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Bill Scher

516,000 Signatures To Stop Global Warming

Al Gore’s congressional testimony has just begun, and he announced he’s delivering 516,000 petition signatures calling for immediate action to stop global warming. More than 200,000 of those have come in since Thursday. A forceful beginning to historic testimony.

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Bill Scher

Distorting The Discourse

The preview to tomorrow’s congressional testimony from Al Gore happened yesterday, a House committee hearing spotlighting the Bush Administration’s attempts to prevent our government climate scientists from telling the truth about global warming. As Environment & Energy Daily reports, the hearing found a connection to Vice-President Dick Cheney’s office: At issue is an April 23, 2003, memo between former [Council on Environmental Quality] chief of staff Philip Cooney and Kevin O’Donovan, an aide in Cheney’s office. The document discusses a 2003 study by two industry-affiliated astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, that concluded there was no convincing evidence of global warming.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Edwards’ ‘Aggressive’ Energy Plan

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards today is putting forth what he is calling an “aggressive but achievable” energy plan, elements of which mirror the kind of bold energy initiative that the Apollo Alliance has been urging presidential candidates to adopt. Edwards introduced the broad outlines of his plan on CNN this morning and was scheduled to unveil the details  in an afternoon address at the Biomass Energy Conversion Center in Nevada, Iowa. His proposal combines clean energy production and conservation, with a goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Specifically, Edwards proposes: Capping greenhouse gas pollution starting in 2010 with a cap-and-trade system.

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Bill Scher

Gore’s Global Warming Petition Overflows

While the political lowlight of the week looks to be the ongoing fallout of the Prosecutor Purge, the political highlight is sure to come tomorrow with Al Gore’s historic testimony to the House and Senate on climate change. Leading up to the hearing, Gore has been collecting signatures for a petition simply calling for Congress to “take real action now to stop global warming.” Last Thursday, Gore blogged that he had received nearly 300,000 signatures and was pushing for 350,000. But yesterday, Gore announced they broke 400,000 and now he’s hoping for 500,000 before the hearing. You can make it happen. Click here to sign the petition.

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Bill Scher

High Prescription Drug Prices? It’s Your Fault!

Today’s LA Times offers a seemingly well-intentioned article telling seniors ways they can obtain cheaper prescription drugs. But in doing so, it puffs up Big Pharma — making it seem like pharmaceutical companies are already doing all they can for seniors. At the same time, it puts the onus on seniors to do more “research, compromise and [asking of] aggressive questions” to get the medications they need at affordable prices. In particular, the LA Times writes: …millions of patients qualify for programs that could provide them with free drugs — but are unaware of such assistance. Through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers give free or low-cost drugs to the uninsured who make less than $41,300 for a family of four.

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Bill Scher

Coal-State Lawmakers Struggle With Global Warming

Today’s CQ Weekly has a big piece on how coal-state lawmakers are “well-positioned” in Congress to shape global warming legislation. And they risk falling into the trap of thinking strong legislation will be bad for jobs in their districts. The article focuses on western Virginia’s Rep. Rick Boucher, a key subcommittee chairman. It reports that the “National Mining Association and several of the biggest corporate coal producers have organized a $1,000-a-plate breakfast fundraiser for Rep. Rick Boucher this week,” but also notes that Boucher recently said “Understandably, to date I have been a skeptic about the need for a mandatory U.S. program for greenhouse gas control.

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