Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) has thrown in the towel. His direct colleague,
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), has been doing everything in his power
to get Bunning to retire and has
Bunning won't run for reelection in 2010.
The likely Republican candidate will be Kentucky Secretary of State
Trey Grayson. The Democrats are probably going to have a primary between
Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and Attorney General Jack Conway. No matter
who wins the primary, Grayson is probably the favorite simply because
the state is relatively red.
Maloney May Not Run Against Gillibrand
Despite an announcement last week that Rep. Carolyn Maloney
would announce her candidacy for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat this
week, her staff now
no such announcement is forthcoming right now.
Maloney is under tremendous pressure from the entire Democratic
establishment not to run against appointed senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
in a primary. President Obama has said that if she runs, he will personally
campaign for Gillibrand. The Democrats really don't want an expensive
and divisive primary and the pressure may be getting to Maloney.
AP: Senate Finance Committee Rejects Public Option
The AP is
that the Senate Finance Committee has reached agreement on a health-care
reform bill that does not include a government-run public option.
However, it does include the creation of a network of co-ops that would compete
with private companies. The key idea here is to make sure these co-ops
do not evolve into a single-payer system. The bill would prevent
insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing
conditions, however. Such a bill might get most of the conservative
Democrats on board and maybe even one or two Republicans.
However, this AP report has not been confirmed and might be a trial
balloon to judge the reaction.
The main problem with a network of state co-ops is that they would
probably be too small to be viable and would certainly be too small to
negotiate good deals with health care providers and drug manufacturers.
The authors of the bill consider this a feature rather than a bug
since a government plan or a single national co-op would drive a hard
bargain and reduce health-industry profits. The proposed bill would
tax gold-plated employer-supplied health plans to raise revenue to
pay for insurance for poor people.
Another aspect of the plan is that it would not require any employers
to provide health insurance for their employees. As a consequence,
many employers might drop existing health plans, leaving employees
to fend for themselves.
The bill written by the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Committee is quite different and the two would have to be reconciled.
And of course, the final product would have to be reconciled with
the final House bill.
Progress on that bill stalled Friday when the blue dogs balked at
the cost of the plan.
But majority leader Steny Hoyer said a vote before Friday is not in the
Governor Patrick in Trouble
A new University of New Hampshire
shows that only 35% approve of the job he is doing while 56%
disapprove. Clearly this is a ominous sign for him in next year's
gubernatorial election. But Massachusetts is a very Democratic state
and the Republicans do not have a strong candidate yet.
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