Archive for March 17th, 2010

Miles Mogulescu | Huff Post | March 16, 2010

For months I’ve been reporting in The Huffington Post that President Obama made a backroom deal last summer with the for-profit hospital lobby that he would make sure there would be no national public option in the final health reform legislation. (See here, here and here). I’ve been increasingly frustrated that except for an initial story last August in the New York Times, no major media outlet has picked up this important story and investigated further.

Hopefully, that’s changing. On Monday, Ed Shultz interviewed New York Times Washington reporter David Kirkpatrick on his MSNBC TV show, and Kirkpatrick confirmed the existence of the deal. Shultz quoted Chip Kahn, chief lobbyist for the for-profit hospital industry on Kahn’s confidence that the White House would honor the no public option deal, and Kirkpatrick responded:

“That’s a lobbyist for the hospital industry and he’s talking about the hospital industry’s specific deal with the White House and the Senate Finance Committee and, yeah, I think the hospital industry’s got a deal here. There really were only two deals, meaning quid pro quo handshake deals on both sides, one with the hospitals and the other with the drug industry. And I think what you’re interested in is that in the background of these deals was the presumption, shared on behalf of the lobbyists on the one side and the White House on the other, that the public option was not going to be in the final product.”

Kirkpatrick also acknowledged that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina had confirmed the existence of the deal to him.

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St. Patrick’s Day HISTORY: Must-Know Facts, Trivia For Irish Holiday (PHOTOS)

Huff Post- Posted: 03-17-10 11:50 AM

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today, March 17, 2010, La Fheile Padraig (St. Patrick’s Day in Irish) is being celebrated around the world.

St. Patrick’s Day is a great excuse to party, whether you are Irish or not. Though the holiday began as a Catholic feast day, it’s become a secular celebration of Irish culture.

Named after St. Patrick, who lived in the fifth century AD, St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Ireland.


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Dennis Kucinich Flips On Health Care Reform: Will Support The Bill

Huff Post- Ryan Grim First Posted: 03-17-10 10:15 AM   |   Updated: 03-17-10 10:51 AM

After an intense White House lobbying effort, Dennis Kucinich announced on Wednesday morning that he has decided to vote for health care reform when it comes before the House in the next few days, reversing his previous position and giving a boost to President Obama, congressional leaders and the reform effort.

“In the past week it’s become clear that the vote on the final health bill will be very close,” Kucinich said at a Capitol Hill news conference. “I take this vote with the utmost seriousness. I’m quite aware of the historic fight, which has lasted the last century.

“I have doubts about the bill. This is not the bill I wanted to support,” Kucinich said even as he promised that he would vote “yes” on the proposal.

“If my vote is to be counted, let it count now for passage of the bill, hopefully in the direction of comprehensive health care reform,” the Ohio Democrat said.

Kucinich had been one of the few remaining holdouts who felt that the bill did not go far enough. Kucinich, a former presidential candidate, objected that the bill did not include a robust public insurance option tied to Medicare rates and did not include a provision to allow states to enact single-payer legislation if they so chose. His support gives House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a much-needed vote as she looks for 216 members to move the package through this week.


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