Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On to HCR!

I suspect that everyone will be posting an analysis of Obama’s proposed fixes to the Senate bill.  I like most of them, but rather than duplicating many efforts, I’d like to look at what the upcoming summit means.

Responding to the release of Obama’s health care plan, the House Minority Leader forgets to mention that the plan pulls the plug on grandma:

“This new Democrats-only backroom deal doubles down on the same failed approach that will drive up premiums, destroy jobs, raise taxes, and slash Medicare benefits,” said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). “This week’s summit clearly has all the makings of a Democratic infomercial for continuing on a partisan course.”

What’s interesting about this official response is that it appears to fall directly into a trap that the White House has been quite candid about in their off-the-record comments. The White House is using this summit on Thursday to “shine a light” on the lack of any serious counterproposals from the Republicans. They will also be able to demonstrate that independent experts disagree with Republican assertions that the proposed legislation will drive up premiums, increase the budget deficit, create death panels, raise taxes (except on the wealthiest Americans), or slash Medicare benefits.

There’s a basic clash that is being set up on the White House’s terms. On the one side, the White House is presenting this as a situation where health care reform is going to pass. That aspect is removed as part of the debate. All that remains to decide is what precisely will be in the legislation. On the other side, the Republicans simply want to defeat any health care reform, no matter what is in the bill. But that position violates the entire premise and spirit of the summit, including its aspirational bipartisanship. It also means that the Republicans do not concede that some reform is urgently needed. That’s why the Blue Anthem rate hikes of 39% are being put forward by the White House. How can hikes that large not require a response?

The Republicans had already convinced their supporters that the battle to kill health care reform was won. This puts them in a bind. How can they concede that something needs to pass? How can they accept the very premise of the summit that they feel politically compelled to attend? Yet, if they do attend the summit and they behave in the way they’ve been behaving, they’ll be sharply corrected by representatives of the Office of Management and Budget, the Congressional Budget Office, and the Joint Committee on Taxation.

It appears that the Republicans are headed full-steam into a political trainwreck. If they engage seriously during the summit, embracing the premise that reform needs to pass, they’ll enrage their base beyond description. But if they petulantly refuse to accept the premise and keep repeating their mantra that the American people have already rejected reform, they’ll come off exactly the way the White House wants them to come off. And then the Democrats will have renewed momentum for passing a bill under reconciliation rules

Inserted from <Alternet>

To point out just how absurd their position is, here’s some great video from the Daily Show.  (Big thanks to RJ, who sent me this in an email.)


The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Apparent Trap
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

The President’s plan has one huge fault.  It lacks a public option, despite wide-spread public support for it:

public-option …A batch of state polls by the non-partisan Research 2000 shows that in multiple states represented by key Dem Senators who will have to decide whether to support reconciliation, the public option polls far better than the Senate bill does, often by lopsided margins.

Here’s a rundown, sent over by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which commissioned the polls:

* In Nevada, only 34% support the Senate bill, while 56% support the public option.

* In Illinois, only 37% support the Senate bill, while 68% support the public option.

* In Washington State, only 38% support the Senate bill, while 65% support the public option.

* In Missouri, only 33% support the Senate bill, while 57% support the public option.

* In Virginia, only 36% support the Senate bill, while 61% support the public option.

* In Iowa, only 35% support the Senate bill, while 62% support the public option.

*In Minnesota, only 35% support the Senate bill, while 62% support the public option.

* In Colorado, only 32% support the Senate bill, while 58% support the public option.

When the White House unveiled its new proposal to take to the summit, it did not include a public option, as expected. Obviously, including one would have made it easier for Republicans to argue that Dems aren’t making a good-faith effort to compromise, since the public option is the centerpiece of the dreaded “government takeover” that Republicans have warned against.

But if the summit yields no compromises, and Dems decide to forge ahead on their own and pass reform via reconciliation, including the public option at that point might make some political sense, if the above polls are to be believed.

Inserted from <The Plumline>

At the very least we need to include a Medicare expansion, as Keith Olbermann and Howard Dean discussed.


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Bold Progressives are undertaking a campaign to press for the public option.  Please join me in signing it.  To do so, click here.


the walking man said...

One thing that won't happen in a public forum not on the senate floor is that filibuster rules will apply.

Personally I hope the republican dark nights bring their usual broadsword and they find themselves shredded by a scalpel.

It will be an interesting day, any word on the format of this thing yet?

Infidel753 said...

any word on the format of this thing yet?

They should definitely have the tiger.:-)

I hope our wavering Senators are looking at those state poll results. This looks like a clear case of "If the people lead, the leaders will follow."

Holte Ender said...

The Republicans will be be twitching and nervous about going into the Lions Den in the full glare of public opinion and media attention. They have had enough time to prepare their arguments, but that wouldn't take very long, saying NO doesn't take a nano second. I'm sure, no matter what happens, they will claim a victory.

Mauigirl said...

Stewart did a great job on that one! I signed the petition and shared it on Facebook.

TomCat said...

That is my hope as well, Mark. I have no idea whatsoever.

Infidel, the people are already leading. I think too many Sentors, mostly Republicans, but a few DINOs too, have their pockets stuffed full of corporate cash.

Of course they will, Holte. They did after Obama huminiated them at their own convention. Faux Noise will back them up. But they have a problem. There are only so many ways to say NO.

Thanks Mimi!

Hill said...

I know I'm a broken record on this subject, but unless it's Medicare For All, it's worthless.

Beekeepers Apprentice said...

Could make for some fun:)

Just saw an msnbc.com headline, that the bill is dead already. They're a bunch of chicken littles over there, though, so I don't know if I give it much credence.

Sky Girl said...

Will sit back an watch with anticipation. Repugs always say they win everything, even with their battle-wounds dripping blood.

Oso said...

ain't gonna be no public option.The health care industry doesn't want one. Obama doesn't want one. The only ones who want a public option are the American people and we don't have lobbyists. Served its purpose as a negotiating tool.

I went to that website anyway. Sort of like crossing myself whenever I drive by a church.

Lisa G. said...

Well there's a first - I disagree with Oso. The Repubs will make total assholes out of themselves at this conference (Obama's doing it for me, on my bday) which will be nothing new. They will say no to everything, as usual for all to see.

The public option has a lot of supporters in even the red states, showing that not everyone in the US is a complete idiot. So that's something.

Oso said...

Lisa G.
Hope you're right! Happy Anticipatory Birthday as well. Maybe it'll be a good day all around and Otis will take you out to a celebratory meal in a place that doesn't take "two for one" coupons!

TomCat said...

Glenda, about that broken record, don't fix it.

Bee, we wait and see.

Me too, Sky.

Oso, in that case it's time to go back to fighting for single payer.

Happy belated Birthday, Lisa. How come FB didn't tip me off? :-(