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7/23/2009
HEALTH CARE REFORM HEADING FOR DERAILMENT — EVEN IF IT PASSES

Obama’s press conference was not aimed at the recalcitrant members of his own party who are balking at passing health care reform. For some reason, he can’t quite bring himself to do much in the way of traditional arm twisting and private lecturing that has been the hallmark of successful presidents in the past.

Instead, his message was aimed at the American people who are beginning to doubt the president can deliver what he promised and are becoming leery of the plan as it is emerging from Congress.

Jane Sassen of Business Week:

While insisting that his own proposal to cut the amount of tax deductions wealthy taxpayers could write off for their charitable contributions would be better, the President said such a measure would “meet my principle” that the costs should not be borne “by families already having a tough time.”

Of course, providing answers to tough funding questions wasn’t the aim of the press conference, as least from the White House point of view. The goal was to make a convincing case to keep public support for the plans from eroding. And at that, he may well have succeeded. The prime time hour may not have done much to move the needle in Congress, where the nitty-gritty proposals are being hashed out. But the President probably helped tamp down some of the increasing doubts that the American public has expressed recently about health care reforms as details have emerged. And that, after all, was his real job for the night.

Meanwhile, the senate’s #2 Democrat Dick Durbin says that the reform bill will not be taken up before the August recess as Taylor Rushing of The Hill reports:

“We’re going to take a little longer to get it right,” Durbin told The Hill when asked about the oft-stated goal of a vote on or before Aug. 7, when a monthlong Senate recess begins. “Initially we had hoped for a full vote by then, but I don’t think it’s going to be possible.”

Delaying the vote until after Labor Day would all but erase hopes of getting a bill to President Obama by mid-October, since the House and Senate versions would have to be reconciled in conference negotiations - assuming they pass their chambers.Durbin said the bill was still largely on track, however, denying that momentum has stalled.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “This is a complex challenge, and we’re taking a reasonable approach with it. It would be better if some Republicans joined us instead of just criticizing.”

Just wait until Democratic congressmen and senators start talking to their constituents about this bill while they are home during the recess. They will no doubt get an earful. Also, several independent groups are planning massive ad campaigns during the recess targeting Blue Dog Democrats as well as those in districts that were carried by George Bush or John McCain.

The question has been raised by the bill’s supporters that even bad reform is better than no reform at all. Such would be the case if there weren’t other options, other ideas out there - none of which got any hearing whatsoever by the progressives in both the House and the Senate who were handed the ball by the president and have created this monstrosity on their own.

It is simple minded to dismiss these options as “more of the same” tax cuts and the like from the GOP. The  GOP alternative that some liberals were surprised in that it was fairly comprehensive, would not have raised taxes on anybody, rich or poor, and in the end, probably have induced more people who are currently uninsured to get coverage. There were many problems with the bill - the tax credit for families to buy insurance was ridiculously low, for example - but it addressed almost all of the same problems the Democrat’s bill does including coverage for pre-existing conditions, Medicare reform, portable insurance, and a host of other elements the Democrats want us to pay a trillion dollars for.

The Wall Street Journal had the bare bones outline:

The nexus of their plan is redirecting the $300 billion annual tax subsidy for employment-based health insurance to individuals in the form of refundable, advanceable tax credits. Families would get $5,700 a year and individuals $2,300 to buy insurance and invest in Health Savings Accounts.

Low-income Americans would get a supplemental debit card of up to $5,000 to help them purchase insurance and pay out-of-pocket costs. They would have an incentive to spend wisely since up to one-fourth of any unspent money in the accounts could be rolled over to the next year. The combination of the refundable tax credit and debit card gives lower-income Americans a way out of the Medicaid ghetto so they can have the dignity of private insurance.

The great majority of Americans with job-based health insurance would see little more than a bookkeeping change with the Patients’ Choice plan. But implicit in the policy is the acknowledgment that our system of tying health insurance to the workplace is not working for upwards of 45 million uninsured Americans.

As I said, the bill is far from perfect and some of it makes assumptions as unreasonable as are in the Democratic bill. And the GOP bill isn’t the only alternative game in town. There are dozens of proposals - equally untried as anything in the Democratic bill I might add - floating around that have never been examined, studied, or debated by Congress because Obama wants his reform RIGHT NOW - despite the fact that a careful vetting of ideas in the Democratic bill or any alternative has not been done.

Why can’t my liberal friends see that this is no way to reform 1/6 of the economy? This massive, untested, unproven, Gorgon of a bill is being rushed through with nobody reading it, no one measuring the consequences, and no one weighing the effect on ordinary people’s lives. And it being rushed through not because if we delay 6 months or a year, anything bad will happen. It is being rushed for the sole and exclusive purpose of giving the president of the United States a legislative victory. Politics trumps sanity in this case. And if you want the bill now, you are part of a Kabuki play that almost certainly is going to cost more, cause more problems, and perhaps even make things worse than if we slowed down and looked at the health care problem rationally.

But there are many good ideas that haven’t even been examined because the liberals have a monumental distaste for the free market. Government cannot order costs to be lowered any more than King Canute could order the tide to recede. Market based incentives, both logically and intuitively, would work better, more efficiently, and more cheaply than the simple lowering of Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals the liberals have in mind, not to mention the “intelligent” rationing of services we are told that will result from passage of this bill.

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi was bragging to reporters that she has the votes right now to pass a health reform bill in the House. That’s a lie, as two Democratic congressmen confirmed tp Deidre Walsh of CNN :

Nancy Pelosi’s statement Wednesday that Democrats have the votes to pass health care in the House. “I think the Speaker was well intended because she was hearing optimistic things, but I don’t believe there are the votes on the floor as of right now,” he said Wednesday.

Hill said he and other Blue Dogs were meeting again Wednesday night with Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman. Hill said they’re “making progress,” but still have significant issues to resolve. Nancy Ann DeParle from the White House was involved in an earlier meeting with Blue Dogs, he said.

Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, who is trying to change the bill to make it clear it would not use taxpayer money for abortions, also disagreed with the Speaker.

“It would be easier to fit a camel through the eye of a needle than to pass this bill,” said Stupak.

Stupak said Democratic leaders can’t lose 40 votes if they want to pass the bill and predicted “she [Pelosi] would lose more than 40 on the right to life issue alone. There’s just no way.”

Stupak said he doesn’t want to block the bill, but wants leaders to agree to add language on the abortion issue before it comes to the House floor.

Pelosi has a revolt on both her right and left, with the progressive caucus getting angrier with each concession made to the moderates.

In the end, the bill might die a death by a thousand cuts as the final effort may contain so many objectionable elements to so many Democrats that it won’t have a prayer of passing.

The lack of leadership on this bill by the president has been astounding. While he has occasionally met with members at the White House, his efforts have fallen far short of whipping his reluctant party into line. He makes speeches. He holds town halls, He goes before his friends in the press.

But the nitty gritty political work he is leaving to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and at least 5 committee chairmen. While no one has ever doubted the president’s skills as a campaigner, it is apparent he doesn’t know how to lead. He can’t distinguish a difference between campaigning and governing.

And there is a real possibility, no longer remote, that he will fail to bring any health care bill to a vote this year.

By: Rick Moran at 9:21 am
11 Responses to “HEALTH CARE REFORM HEADING FOR DERAILMENT — EVEN IF IT PASSES”
  1. 1
    jambrowski Said:
    11:14 am 

    I can’t say this better than this fellow doctor. Hence I have put his comment and link to below. He is addressing Obama’s tonsil comment last evening.
    http://comments.realclearpolitics.com/read/42325/391544.html
    Scroll down to Honest Doctor

    “This kind of comment illustrates perfectly the disconnect that Obama has from reality. Maybe he has the opinion that the majority of Doctors actually think like this, likely because the majority of lawyers think like this. But the case he discusses, is a hypothetical case of malpractice, and as a physician (who took the Hippocratic Oath), I can say that cases like that are exceedingly rare to non-existent. Doctors do not think like lawyers, we are not in the business to make a buck, but to help people, while enjoying a rewarding career that is intellectually stimulating. These very comments convince me that the lobbyists feeding him his data are so biased that they have absolutely no insight into the real costs of medicine. The two biggest cost factors leading to skyrocketing costs are drug costs and excess tests. The drug costs will not go down because the pharmaceutical companies have the Obama admin. in their pockets. The excess tests are primarily (75% plus) due to defensive medicine (malpractice protection). With a refusal to address tort reform, Obama has shown that either he has absolutely no idea what the problem is, or is completely in the pockets of the trial lawyers. Since he is a smart guy, I can only conclude that he is well aware what the real problems are, and is intentionally misleading the public in his continuing efforts to forward his “spread the wealth” policies, while protecting the lawyers. In short, he is lying, with very significant implications. The AMA should demand an apology, and the ENT surgeons should be outraged.”

  2. 2
    SShiell Said:
    11:41 am 

    “The lack of leadership on this bill by the president has been astounding. While he has occasionally met with members at the White House, his efforts have fallen far short of whipping his reluctant party into line. He makes speeches. He holds town halls, He goes before his friends in the press.”

    Obama has shown the world one thing in his 6+ months of office - he gives pretty good speeches, with the help of a teleprompter. Beyond that, he is an empty suit. I doubt seriously he could manage a lemonade stand without the help of either his wife or two small children. He definitely has never shown the ability to do anything in the past beyond promote his own ambitions. And as time goes by the world sees more and more of this - in essence he is voting “Present” on his current position as President.

    Whatever health care program he is able to cobble together will be a shodow of what is needed and with this so-called victory in hand he and his minions will cry to the heavens how he saved us all from all of those evil doctors trying to steal our tonsils and give us red pills instead of blue ones (WTF???).

    With that health care program in place, it will take the US 20 years to fix the abortion it will turn out to be. As was stated in another thread, this health care program will be a bandaid in place of the bandage that is needed.

  3. 3
    smitty Said:
    1:10 pm 

    As I said, the bill is far from perfect

    Splendid British understatement, sir.
    The bill is conceptually abhorrent from anything like a federalist perspective.
    Lock Congress in the building, and tell them no one gets out until they produce 10 pages in a legible font describing how the established, working pattern of the 401k will be expanded to cover medical treatments, absorbing Social Security en passant, and we’ll be making substantial improvement.

  4. 4
    Wramblin' Wreck Said:
    1:15 pm 

    “…And there is a real possibility, no longer remote, that he will fail to bring any health care bill to a vote this year.”

    So the country survives for one more year.

  5. 5
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    1:49 pm 

    But there are many good ideas that haven’t even been examined because the liberals have a monumental distaste for the free market. Government cannot order costs to be lowered any more than King Canute could order the tide to recede.

    Dead on target comment.

  6. 6
    Anon Said:
    3:05 pm 

    Once cannot lead by obfuscation. On health care, we’ll never know if Obama can “lead” or not because he isn’t trying to lead. He’s trying to pass a bill with onerous, objectionable provisions which the country cannot afford, and he’s trying to hide that reality in campaign-style rhetoric. It really isn’t all that difficult to shepherd a good bill through Congress, particularly with the majorities Obama has. But apparently, it’s quite difficult to ram a bad bill through when its shattering effects become known to voters. This isn’t an energy bill that may quadruple people’s electric bills, though that’s bad enough; this is a bill that will limit the health care all Americans receive, and likely cost them more than the health care they already have. How does he “lead” on that? There is nowhere to be led to, except a total collapse of the American health care system, so we get the presidential tap dance instead. He’s leading us over a cliff, but must pretend otherwise.

  7. 7
    Surabaya Stew Said:
    4:21 pm 

    Perhaps Obama is acting like this because he doesn’t actually care how health care “gets fixed”, just as long as “something” is passed. It is my feeling that he simply doesn’t have a strong interest in the subject. Which is actually ok in my book; it would be unrealistic (and scary) if the president was 100% into every major legislation; (but of course it would be politically unwise for him to admit this!)

    Judging from his presser last night, there’s no passion in him on the topic, aside from the fact that the current system costs us all too much. This could easily explain why he’s delegating the bill out to congress! Not that this is a bad thing; a bipartisan bill is probably the best solution anyway.

  8. 8
    manoman Said:
    4:36 pm 

    The same players are at the table as for the Medicare Part D monstrosity. No wonder the CBO grades the currently active proposals as not only increasing costs but increasing them at a higher rate.

    Booby Jindal, Republican governor of Louisiana, had an op-ed in the WSJ this week outlining a reasonable alternative to our current system. Half the comments posted about the column denounced him personally, the other half denounced Democrats. A relative few addressed the merits of his proposal in a constructive way. No member of Congress that I am aware of has taken notice of the column.

    Not that I would want to live under their system, but I am concerned that in 20 years it will be China, not the U.S., that will be the world leader. Two things about that. One, you can be sure they will not be spending 1/6 of their GDP on health care. The other is that it can only result from an abject failure of leadership in our democracy.

  9. 9
    the Game Said:
    8:57 am 

    Last two nights I have been out at bars with friends, mostly teachers, some conservative, most slightly liberals and one or two hard core liberals.
    Both nights the topic of Obamacare came up and NO ONE…yes NO ONE defended it…even the hard core liberals jumped in.
    One friend has a wife who does accounting for a hospital. She says anytime anyone comes to the hospital with govt health care (medicade or badgercare) the hospital loses money.
    We are in a world of hurt people. This health care plan will end our countries way of operating and living as we know it.
    The only people defending this are hard core liberals and very young people who have not learned anything about life yet.
    The only people who even raised a question or two were a 23 and 25 year old girl. They just had no idea how bad it was because they are not that far removed from their super-liberal college experience.
    Keep fighting conservatives, we need to save the country from Comrade Obama

    come check out my blog and help me fight the liberals there!!!

  10. 10
    vigilocanis Said:
    12:43 pm 

    Top Ten Facts To Know About “Obamacare”

    1. Those with insurance now will pay more than their present insurance plan

    2. Those with no insurance will be paying the same

    3. Illegal aliens who were not covered before, will noe be covered

    4. Your doctor who is easily accessible to you, will be more difficult to see in the future, because of the 46,000,000 new patients with government insurance entering the system

    5. You will share doctors’ waiting rooms with 46,000,000 new patients

    6. There is no money to pay for it

    7. If you love the “turtlebahn” and the Stimulus bill, you will love Obamacare

    8. If you love the bailouts, you will love Obamacare

    9. If you like standing in line at the post office, you will love standing in line at the doctor’s office

    10. If you think that a new 1000 page federal bill that:

    a) was written by Obama and has not been read by a single congressman,

    b) proposes a new trillion dollar government Obamacare program

    c) will insure 46,000,000 new patients, including 10,000,000 illegal aliens that cannot afford insurance now and must be obviously paid for by some one else

    will NOT affect you (who is already having trouble paying for your own insurance, let alone pay for additional coverage for others):………… then you might need to see a Obamachiatrist.

  11. 11
    Commie Stooge Said:
    10:40 am 

    When the GOP controlled the White House; Senate; and House of Representatives; why didn’t they do something about health care?

    No the GOP was all about the “ownership society”; and rolled over as the Financial companies were bankrupting the country.

    Luckily I’ve never been refused coverage; but many have.

    Something has to be done; and the GOP isn’t helping.

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