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Progressives Rally Against Third Way

Yesterday, Third Way -- which claims to be the "moderate wing of the progressive movement" -- proved why they should rebrand themselves "the Think Tank arm of the insurance industry lobby."
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Yesterday, Third Way -- which claims to be the "moderate wing of the progressive movement" -- proved why they should rebrand themselves "the Think Tank arm of the insurance industry lobby." From an op-ed in Roll Call:

While many are fighting passionately for one particular policy proposal, such as a public plan, it would be tragic to allow the inclusion or exclusion of any single element to derail reform.

The reforms already agreed upon are by themselves historic -- a fact obscured by the currently overheated debate... What’s already been agreed to in reform is the “next New Deal” for all Americans.


In other words, after the huge progressive mandate of 2008, we should just agree to whatever Chuck Grassley, Mitch McConnell, and other Republicans want our health care policy to be.

Ironically, this op-ed by faux progressives Anne Kim, Jon Cowan, and Jim Kessler came on the same day the Los Angeles Times reported:

Lashed by liberals and threatened with more government regulation, the insurance industry nevertheless rallied its lobbying and grass-roots resources so successfully in the early stages of the health care overhaul deliberations that it is poised to reap a financial windfall.

The half-dozen leading overhaul proposals circulating in Congress would require all citizens to have health insurance, which would guarantee insurers tens of millions of new customers -- many of whom would get government subsidies to help pay the companies' premiums.

"It's a bonanza," said Robert Laszewski, a health insurance executive...

One of the Democratic proposals that most concerns insurers is the creation of a "public option" insurance plan. The industry launched a campaign on Capitol Hill against it, grounded in a study published by the Lewin Group, a health policy consulting firm that is owned by UnitedHealth Group.

Who else is the insurance industry paying off? Is it entirely coincidental that Third Way -- which has no grassroots membership and is fully reliant on big donors -- is going to bat for a proposal that would bring billions (trillions?) to the insurance industry?

If Third Way is anything other than a corporate shill, with ideas that are for sale to the highest corporate bidder, they have an obligation to make transparent how much money they get from the insurance industry.

Atrios, Baratunde Thurston, David Waldman, and other progressive leaders have joined the Twitter push-back. (The petition is set up on, the newfangled creation of progressive tech genius Jim Gilliam.)

Not on Twitter? You can kick it old-school by sending an email and or calling Third Way at 202-775-3768.

Why exactly is Third Way? Alternet reports:

Third Way was launched in early 2005 to produce policy papers and messaging tactics for congressional Democrats, with a focus on Blue Dog senators. It was then, as it is now, drenched in corporate money and tangled in ties to big business. These ties stretch from the board of trustees, thick with hedge-funders and investment bankers, to its lone senior fellow for health policy, David Kendall, a former Blue Cross Blue Shield consultant.

And they call themselves progressive? That's why progressives are pushing back.

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