A Day of Tidbits: Did Clinton Help Kill the Public Option? Which Reporter Has the Wall Street Speeches?
by Gaius Publius
It's been a day of fascinating small bits of news. Let's look at just two that have caught my eye.
Did Hillary Clinton Help Rahm Emanuel Kill the Public Option?
For example, did you know Hillary Clinton may have helped the Senate reject the public option during the ACA debate? Read this FOIA-released email exchange between Neera Tanden ("a former Obama administration senior adviser") and Hillary Clinton from 2010 and decide for yourself (h/t Stuart Zechman):
(Click to enlarge.)
It almost reads like Tanden was working for Clinton as well, but I could be wrong. The key sentences are: "The one question I wanted to ask you is about your idea on using FEHBP as a kind of public option. I know you gave that to Rahm [Emanuel] last August, and then mysteriously, it was in the Senate Finance package like a month later."
FEHBP is the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. It was dangled in front of us as a substitute for a while. Here's what the people at the Kaiser Health Network had to say at the time (my emphasis):
10 Experts Weigh In On Plan To Replace Public Option In Health BillIf I read this right, it doesn't look good for Clinton, especially in light of this, from Politico very recently:
By KHN Staff December 14, 2009
Can a spinoff of the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program which is the health insurance coverage for eight million federal workers and their families, as well as members of Congress, help some of the country’s uninsured?
Many Senate Democrats are betting it would and have proposed that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which manages the FEHBP, oversee national health plans as part a Senate health bill compromise reached late Tuesday to replace the public option.
Although the specifics of the proposed spinoff have not yet been released and could change, it would likely include at least two national plans from private insurers. These plans would be administered by OPM....
Clinton revives support for health care 'public option'"Clinton supported the public option ... during the drafting of the Affordable Care Act" — except that, apparently, she didn't. Just the opposite in fact. She appears to be the source of the bait-and-switch that Rahm Emanuel passed to those "moderate Senate Democrats" who tanked it.
Hillary Clinton wants to bring back the public option, offering a competing vision to Bernie Sanders’ support for a more progressive health care system.
Clinton's campaign has updated its website to note her continued support for the government-run health plan that was dropped from Obamacare during the law's drafting. The idea was popular among progressives who prefer a single-payer plan -- like the one Bernie Sanders is touting.
Clinton supported the public option in her 2008 presidential campaign, and during the drafting of the Affordable Care Act a year later, Congress debated allowing a government-run plan to compete with private insurers. However, the public option was eliminated from the legislation because of objections from moderate Senate Democrats who opposed a greater government role in providing health care.
I'd love to hear the explanation of that one. Maybe some reporter would do something like was done in the clip at the top.
By the way, the Washington Post, which has spotted the same email, has spun its contents this way (h/t Lee Fang):
Former Obama health adviser sought to credit Clinton with ACA reform ideas, per e-mailsCredit Clinton with "ACA reform ideas" — including the public option? According to the Post article, "Tanden also remarked that a proposal to open the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program to all Americans was initially proposed by Clinton during her first bid for the presidency." If Clinton did indeed propose, in 2008, opening FEHBP to the public — and that needs to be checked — it had to be as an addition to the public option, which she then supported. Because after the election, Clinton apparently proposed it as a replacement for the public option. Not the same thing.
Neera Tanden, a former Obama administration senior adviser on health-care reform, was working to push the impression that many of the health-care ideas proposed by the administration were in fact part of Clinton’s 2008 campaign platform, according to e-mail correspondence released Friday between her and the former secretary of state.
I think there's a larger story here, and the Post hasn't found it. Just the opposite in fact — they appear to have buried it.
Which Reporter Has a Copy of Clinton's Goldman Sachs Transcripts?
And then there's this. Apparently, according to Morning Joe's Mika Brzezinski, some reporter has the Clinton speeches after all. From Gawker:
In defiance of her supporters’ wishes, her critics’ open calls, and even her own promises, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton continues to block the publication of transcripts from the speeches she gave to several banks, including Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, in 2013 and 2014. According to MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, however, Clinton may no longer have much of a choice.Gawker speculates that this may all be a "carefully orchestrated" leak by Clinton’s own press team, but I'm not sure. Unless the reporter has just the most boring speeches, of course, in which case, never mind.
As the Nevada caucuses were wrapping up on Saturday, Brzezinski mentioned off-handedly that she “[knew] a print reporter who has the actual transcripts, and they are working on this.”... Brzezinski did not elaborate on the identity, employer, or motivations of the unnamed reporter who apparently obtained access to the speech transcripts.