Friday, July 17, 2009

The Blue Dogs are Republicans in Sheep's Clothing

The Blue Dog Democrats may actually try to block House Democrats' health care bill. They're not happy campers and they're just going to throw a hissy fit until they get what they want.
A leader of the conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats told CNN Wednesday he and other group members may vote to block House Democrats' health care bill from passing a key committee if they don't get some of the changes they want.

"We remain opposed to the current bill, and we continue to meet several times a day to decide how we're going to proceed and what amendments we will be offering as Blue Dogs on the committees," said Rep. Mike Ross, D-Arkansas.

Ross said the bill unveiled Tuesday by House Democratic leaders did not address concerns he and other conservative Democrats outlined in a letter late last week to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The conservative Democrats don't believe the legislation contains sufficient reforms to control costs in the health care system and believe additional savings can be found. Their letter to leaders raised concerns about new mandates on small businesses. Blue Dogs also say the bill fails to fix the inequities in the current system for health care costs for rural doctors and hospitals.

Digby points out the obvious:
This is inconsistent. You cannot control costs in the health care system while demanding higher payments to rural doctors and hospitals...The same with the mandates on small businesses. House Democratic leaders actually exempted small businesses from the employer mandate with a higher amount of payroll than what was initially in their discussion draft - up to $250,000. But the Blue Dogs want larger small businesses to be exempted as well. That means less money in the system, because businesses would pay 8% of payroll for each employee if they don't provide health care. So the Blue Dogs want both cost controls, less cost controls, and more targeted health spending. It's not supposed to make any sense.
I think we should give the Blue Dog Dems a "time-out" until they can act appropriately and learn how to play on their team.

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