I joined a conference call with Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin who has introduced the “If you like your Health Plan you can keep it” act.
He spoke about the “high risk pool” in Wisconsin to cover people in particular situations. He stated Obamacare killed the high risk pool giving the example of a pair of cancer patients who he represents who losing coverage and at best if they qualify for subsidies might raise their out of pockets costs from $20K to $30k (without subsidies the cost goes to $40K).
The bill is a real grandfather clause as oppose to Obamacare. 40 co-sponsors in the GOP exist. Mary Landreau is offering another such bill but it’s unclear if it actually does what it says.
The idea is to hold democrat senators who voted for Obamacare accountable and ask them the key question: “Did you really believe President Obama when he said: If you like your healthcare plan you can keep it?”
After that he took questions all questions from us summarized below:
Aaron Goldenberg: Freedomworks blogger: Is there any interaction with democrats on doing a bill together along your lines? & TheCruz/lee plan was attach Obamacare issue it to a must-pass bill what it the plan to force vote on the bill?
Sen Johnson: The bill has been handed it to dem senators, but Sen Johnson doesn’t want a phony bill as a cover vote. We need to put pressure so the bill is narrow & we have to make sure the house is utilized strategically with House hearings. We need house, bloggers & media putting pressure and bring it up only when we can pass it on its own merits.
DaTechguy: As all democrats were united in keeping Obamacare from being defunded or delayed can we stick even Democrats who did not vote for it in 2010 with the bill?
Sen Johnson We need to win the political argument Langford bill would help win in court of public opinion. If President Obama didn’t know he was lying he was disengaged
Dave: Western Free press: Harry Reid has blocked bills will he block this?
Sen Johnson Reid is in firm control of senate, we have to either win election or win in the court of public opinion. The administration has been clever to delay implementation of Obamacare till after elections to avoid political consequences. Now that is it failing people are understanding and the press is almost being forced to cover it and people are understanding. We need supermajority of public opinion to get Reid to move.
Ken: Are democrats worried about the “keep your healthcare bill”?
Sen Johnson: If you can keep your healthcare then you don’t have to use the exchanges, the real issue is the loss of freedom, it’s the only thing that makes the exchanges work by forcing people to overpay. The Democrats counter to this danger when the exchanges is when (not if) they fail they will just blame the insurance companies & the GOP and I suspect this has been the plan all along.
Allen Ginsberg: Red Alert politics: How do we reach out to voters we don’t usually reach?
Sen Johnson: We have to inform Americans. We need to point out the victims of an ever-expanding ever intrusive government. We have to gather the stores and have people talk about them and bring up the best examples. We need to stop sending pols to Washington who want to grow government
Steve from the Minority Report Blog: What makes your clause bullet proof as opposed to the old clause and will you get pushback from Ins companies?
Sen Johnson: Unlikely to get pushback as insurance companies can easily re-constitute plans. In making the bill we used the same type of language as the base clause, but didn’t allow the mandates that weakened it. Only modification was striking of mandates and expanded the date of coverage till Dec 31 2013.
Yid With Lid: CNN ran report that ins company exec being intimidated by admin to keep them silent on Obamacare, will there be any investigation of this?
Sen Johnson: Frustrating in Senate as the senate has no interest in any hearings, any action must be in the house. The fear of citizens fearing retribution from government is a sad commentary on the state of the country.
It was a good call, I suspect that the media will totally ignore Sen Johnson’s bill and concentrate on Senator Landreu’s bill in order to give the democrats maximum cover. I think the best possible move it to get a house sponsor and get it launched there ASAP.