Howard Dean: “Kill the Senate Bill” and Senator Ben Nelson tells Obama NO

From Plum Line, which has published an advance look at a radio interview Howard Dean recorded for Vermont Public Radio. The interviews will air tonight at 5:50 PM:

“The gauntlet from Dean — whose voice on health care is well respsected among liberals — will energize those on the left who are mobilizing against the bill, and make it tougher for liberals to embrace the emerging proposal. In an excerpt Kinzel gave me, Dean says:

“This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate. Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill.”

Kinzel added that Dean essentially said that if Democratic leaders cave into Joe Lieberman right now they’ll be left with a bill that’s not worth supporting.

Dean had previously endorsed the Medicare buy-in compromise without a public option, saying that the key question should be whether the bill contains enough “real reform” to be worthy of progressives’ support. Dean has apparently concluded that the “real reform” has been removed at Lieberman’s behest — which won’t make it easier for liberals to swallow the emerging compromise.”

The question is whether Senator Sanders (I-VT) and Senator Burris (D-IL) or any other Senator agree, and I suspect the answer to that is a big YES.

And this just in from Bill Dupray at Patriot Room:

“It looks like Senate Democrats are down to Plan D. The liberals caved on Plan A, single-payer. Then Plan B, the public option, went by the boards. Plan C, the Medicare buy-in, went up in smoke last night. Now it’s on to Plan D, and nobody actually seems to know what that is yet. President Obama, in a sign of desperation, has summoned the Dems to the White House this afternoon for a knee-capping pep rally to get the team over the finish line, but it looks like other than cajoling, there is no real plan to reel in the wobbly members.”

Dupray then drops this bomb:

The problem is that Reid is having to play whack-a-mole with his own people. He takes care of Joe Lieberman by killing the public option and the Medicare buy-in. But then today, Ben Nelson (D-Neb) called the president and told him flat out “I am not on the bill” and that Mr. Obama should not expect the meeting to get him on board.

And yet another, smaller, but more targeted munition:

Markos Moulitsas (DailyKos) yesterday said the same thing.

“Insurance companies win. Time to kill this monstrosity coming out of the Senate.”

Some more news worth telling: Snowe is rock-solid NO (so no worries) and it is highly, highly unlikely that this is finished by Christmas, leaving the question of whether Senator Reid wants to bring Senators back after Christmas, before New Years.  My guess is the whole city would revolt if Reid denied their Christmas vacation — on both sides of the health care debate.

Everyone is sick of healthcare, and they really want a break.

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