TPM News

After weeks of waiting and wondering, leaders in both chambers of Congress have announced their intentions with respect to the public option. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is rounding up the votes for a bill with a government insurance plan that will negotiate rates with providers. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is standing behind something similar--with the addition of a clause allowing states to opt out--and is trying to keep his caucus together in the face of unanimous Republican opposition. But what about the rest of reform?

Right now, it's impossible to compare what the Senate is trying to do with what the House is trying to do because Reid hasn't unveiled his bill yet. But though there will surely be some major differences, both proposals will contain some of the same underlying architecture.

The basic theme of health care reform is that insurance would be mandatory, subsidized and regulated. As is the case today, for the first many years after enactment, most people in the country would be insured by their employers--in fact, large and medium-sized businesses would be required to provide insurance for their employees. Uninsured people would either be roped into existing entitlement programs like Medicaid, or required to buy regulated insurance--typically through an "exchange," which, comprised of hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of customers, would theoretically have the bargaining power needed to keep premiums down.

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Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), whose endorsement of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the NY-23 special election helped to give him a huge boost against moderate Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava, posted this note last night on her Facebook account, commenting on Hoffman's defeat by Democrat Bill Owens:

The race for New York's 23rd District is not over, just postponed until 2010. The issues of this election have always centered on the economy - on the need for fiscal restraint, smaller government, and policies that encourage jobs. In 2010, these issues will be even more crucial to the electorate. I commend Doug Hoffman and all the other under-dog candidates who have the courage to put themselves out there and run against the odds.

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With one year to go, the field of challengers to Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) is becoming a crowded place. Seven Republicans have filed paperwork with the FEC, and a handful more have reportedly been meeting with the NRCC as national Republicans try to vet a competitive candidate.

Grayson, of "die quickly" and "K Street whore" fame, is a juicy target for Republicans, especially the relatively unknown who can make his comments an issue. Cue real estate developer Armando Gutierrez Jr., who has based his entire early campaign around defeating Grayson.

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A California Republican aiming to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) next year has gotten a boost from conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).

DeMint announced last night his Senate Conservatives Fund was endorsing state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore over former Hewlett Packard chief Carly Fiorina. The group supports only "rock solid" conservatives, organizers told supporters on a conference call last night as election results came in.

DeVore "will work with me to shake things up," DeMint said, and "vote the right way ... stand up in our conference meetings and say, 'Folks this is wrong let's turn this thing around.'"

DeMint's fund already has endorsed Republican senate candidates Marco Rubio in Florida and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania.

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Back in south Florida after a trip to Morocco, the high-profile attorney who has been sued for allegedly operating a fraud scheme out of his law office met with federal prosecutors last night and criminal charges are likely to come soon, the Broward-Palm Beach New Times reports.

In a suit filed Monday, the law firm of politically-connected Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein [alleged]( that he set up a side business that sold phony legal settlements to outside investors with promises of guaranteed high returns.

There have been a flurry of developments in the Rothstein case in the last 24 hours, so we rounded up a few articles worth taking a look at:

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Ned Lamont, the Connecticut businessman who defeated Sen. Joe Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic primary only to lose the general election, has now announced the formation of a statewide exploratory committee.

Lamont's press release doesn't say exactly which statewide office he'll be seeking, but the language points towards a gubernatorial campaign, with its criticism of the current Republican Gov. Jodi Rell: "Like businesses, states thrive with strong executive leadership, and they fall behind with weak leadership. As measured by the loss of jobs, young people leaving our state, and the never-ending budget crisis, Connecticut's Chief Executive is simply not getting the job done."

The full press release is available after the jump.

Late Update: Lamont has now made it official, that he is exploring a run for the governorship.

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A new SurveyUSA poll in Kentucky finds that Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist and son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), has a narrow lead in the Republican primary for Senate against the establishment favorite, Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

The numbers: Paul 35%, Grayson 32%, within the ±4.7% margin of error. Back in August, Grayson was ahead of Paul by 37%-26%. This is a Republican-held open seat, currently occupied by retiring GOP Sen. Jim Bunning.

In the Democratic primary, Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo leads state Attorney General Jack Conway by 39%-28%, with a ±4.1% margin of error, compared to a 39%-31% Mongiardo lead in August.

And here are the general election match-ups: Grayson leads Conway by 43%-39%, and he leads Mongiardo by 48%-38%. Conway leads Paul by 44%-39%, and Mongiardo and Paul are tied at 43%-43%. The margin of error is ±2.4%.

Daniel Horowitz, the attorney who represented shock jock Michael Savage in his recent copyright infringement suit against the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is set to go up against CAIR again as counsel for the co-author of Muslim Mafia.

And, Horowitz told TPMmuckraker in a phone interview this morning, he's relishing the opportunity for Round Two with the Muslim civil rights group.

A judge ruled mostly in CAIR's favor yesterday in a suit seeking to block Dave Gaubatz from publishing documents taken by his son Chris, who went undercover as a Muslim intern at CAIR.

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