In what has to be seen as one of the least surprising developments of the current political season, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu has finally dropped all pretense of “centrism” or “objectivity” or “Blue Doggy-Style” and embraced Obamacare with all her bleeding heart.
The official Landrieu release reads as though it was written months ago, and it’s an awfully full-throated endorsement of legislation Landrieu has been acting as though she was on the fence about for quite some time…
“While many of us expressed cost and bureaucracy concerns about early drafts of health care reform legislation, it is clear that the product the Senate is debating is a dramatic improvement. Senate Democrats have developed a consensus that combines the best blend of private and public approaches to reduce cost, expand coverage and increase choice and competition for Americans. The Congressional Budget Office and the nation’s premier economists have confirmed that premiums will go down or remain stable, so that wages for millions of Americans can increase.
“If this bill is passed, 31 million uninsured Americans would have access to quality health care coverage. This reform bill creates an insurance exchange that will ensure that families would always have coverage – regardless of whether they change jobs, lose a job, move or get sick. We have also established immediate options for people who cannot get insurance today. About 11 percent of people in Louisiana have diabetes, and 32 percent have high blood pressure – two conditions that insurance companies could use as a reason to deny coverage. It would establish a high-risk pool to enable people who cannot get insurance today to find an affordable health plan.
“Although we eliminated the public option, about 900,000 Louisianians who do not currently have insurance and 200,000 residents who have non-group insurance could get affordable coverage through the health insurance exchange. For the 70 percent of Louisiana families that make less than $88,000 a year, the government would offer an affordability subsidy to help them purchase insurance, and a Medicaid expansion would bring health care coverage to more working families. Small businesses get help too. In Louisiana, more than 50,000 small businesses could be helped by small business tax credits to make premiums for their employees more affordable.
“Our bill has shored up Medicare for seniors, and extended the Medicare Trust Fund for an additional nine years. More than 600,000 Louisiana seniors will also begin receiving free preventive care, and thousands more will have the price of their brand-name drug in the Medicare Part D coverage gap cut in half.
“At my request, the bill also includes provisions to address part of Louisiana’s Medicaid shortfalls and to extend health care coverage to 29,000 young adults who ‘age out’ of the foster care system each year.
“These are monumental gains that will help restore fiscal responsibility to a system that has run amok with waste, fraud and abuse. While there is still some work to do, I am confident that we have found enough common ground for the Senate to seize this historic opportunity. I look forward to moving this legislation forward before the holiday recess.”
Yes, my head is spinning as well. I won’t even attempt to analyze all the dubious claims and outright lies in the statement; suffice it to say it’s Algorical.
Landrieu is awfully lucky she has five years left in her term, because her approval ratings were already in the tank before tonight’s announcement. A poll released on The Dead Pelican today shows that Landrieu’s support has completely cratered since March, when she had a 60.7 percent approval rating and an approval index of plus-3. Those numbers degraded to 54.2 percent approval and a minus-8.5 in October, and this month they’re at 45.6 and minus-22; were Landrieu up for re-election this fall she’d be seen as virtual dead meat against most of the state’s higher-profile Republicans.
But she’s not up for re-election, and Landrieu has reason to hope that the people of the state will get over her shameful behavior during the health-care debate and full-throated rebuke of her constituents today. Of course, that’s not necessarily the case for her brother Mitch, who is now running for mayor of New Orleans in the spring. The younger Landrieu is up against a gaggle of political nobodies in the mayoral race, but given that he’s been embarrassed in two previous attempts at the Big Easy’s top political prize nothing is guaranteed.
Fat chance Mitch will reel in much support from the medical community now.