Reporting the Big Picture

So I’ve been meaning to say if you want to follow the latest on the Health Care reform and the public option, there is no better source then Open Left and Chris Bowers. Here is a partial run down of the various efforts to influence the House bill:

The remaining barriers to passage of the health care bill in the House are two-fold:

1. Bart Stupak’s Regressive Block. Representative Bart Stupak is still looking to round-up forty votes to prevent he bill from going to the floor unless abortions are not covered under all health care plans that receive subsidies in the new insurance exchanges.

The leadership is convinced that if Stupak is able to offer an amendment to that affect on the House floor, that it will pass. If the amendment passes, it will kill the entire bill, because dozens of pro-choice Democratic votes would be lost. As such, the leadership will not allow any amendments to the health care bill on the floor. This means that once the bill hits the floor, that is the bill that will go to conference committee.

2. The Tri-Caucus Progressive Block. For months, the Progressive Caucus, the Black Caucus and Hispanic Caucus (and, I think, the Asian-American Caucus) have been trying to round up House Democrats who would vote against a health care bill unless it included the Medicare +5% option. Now that the bill will not include the Medicare +5% public option, the tri-caucus is sounding noncommittal about the bill.

What’s notable is that Chris Bowers makes no effort to be objective, in fact he’s actively pushing for a particular outcome, but he’s still more informative then most media sources. It’s matter of focus.

A typical media source reports a development, quotes a few people on the meaning of the development and maybe outlines the basic facts of the issues. The result is snap shot of a hugely complicated and constantly shifting reality, with side commentary from PR professionals trying to mislead people.

By contrast Open Left is constantly building a complete picture, looking to see if there is contradictory information from other sources and updating the picture rationally, instead of trying to present each day’s developments as game changing and shocking.

And of course the whole picture is what’s important. Lots of members of Congress want something to happen, make a scene, or throw a wrench in the process, but the important thing is if those actions change the big picture. If you want to know that then reading Open Left will get a lot further then the AP wire.


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