See post above. Schiff did not sign the “Blue Dog” letter, and did sign a letter calling for the inclusion of a public option.
In 1998, Democrats scored a coup by persuading state Senator Adam Schiff, a former federal prosecutor, to run again incumbent Republican James Rogan in a hotly-contested Congressional race here in Los Angeles. At the time, it might have been the most expensive Congressional race in history. And it was bitter: I know, because I walked precincts for Schiff and maxed out to him in contributions. Given California’s strong blue trend, his seat is a safe one now.
And so Schiff seems to have decided that people like me who worked for him don’t matter. He signed onto a letter from the Blue Dog Coalition (of which he is member), warning that he could not sign onto to the health care reform package that the leadership is preparing:
The drive to remake the nation’s health care system suffered yet another setback in Congress on Thursday when a pivotal group of House Democrats demanded changes in legislation the leadership was drafting on a fast track.
The emerging bill “lacks a number of elements essential to preserving what works and fixing what is broken,” 40 members of the Blue Dog Coalition of moderate to conservative Democrats wrote party leaders. To win their support, they said, any legislation would need to be much more aggressive in reining in the growth of health care as well as in addressing a disparity in Medicare payments they said adversely affects rural providers.
“I don’t think we have significant cost-containment mechanisms in the proposal yet,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. He said he favors provisions aimed at preventing overtreatment of patients and overpayments to doctors, hospitals and other providers.
What exactly this all means isn’t clear, especially since the Blue Dogs have so far refused to place the letter on their web site. One important cost containment provision would be a strong public plan; does Schiff oppose that, too? He worries about overpayments to doctros and patients — but apparently not to insurers, even those insurers have cooked the books to deprive doctors and patients of payments. It’s also not clear whether this is just a speed bump or a real setback.
Whatever the Blue Dogs have cooked up, it surely isn’t good: it is a typical conservative Democrat way of watering down legislation and preventing real reform. They usually oppose things like strong public plans or (heaven forbid!) single-payer — precisely the things that will save money — and then complain that the plan is too expensive.
Schiff seems to be out front and center on it. And unlike, say, Democrats from swing districts, Schiff is safely nestled in Los Angeles, Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena. Many of the people in his district could use a more efficient and affordable health care system. But he’s way past that now — that was for when he actually had to care about the people in his district. I hope he’s happy.