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.
“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|
The President’s plan has one huge fault. It lacks a public option, despite wide-spread public support for it:
…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.
Bold Progressives are undertaking a campaign to press for the public option. Please join me in signing it. To do so, click here.