Is Obama's Dithering Hurting Chances For HCR?

Sam Stein:

There is a growing sense on Capitol Hill that the White House's refusal to weigh in more forcefully in the health care debate could come at the cost of a public option for insurance coverage. Democratic aides said that a "handful" of senators who are skeptical of a public plan likely could be persuaded if not to support it then at least to oppose a Republican filibuster, if the administration were to apply a bit more pressure -- or even guidance.

"There is a clear sense that it would be helpful," said one senior Democratic aide. "Throughout this entire debate the White House line has been 'We will weigh in when it is necessary'.... Well now we need 60 votes. So if it's not necessary now, then when will it be?

The President as Bystander approach the Obama Administration has employed has fallen apart. Democratic Senators will not be left holding the bag on this one. They will point fingers . . . at Obama.

Speaking for me only

< Rockefeller Disappointed In Obama's Handling Of Health Care Reform | Fox News And Obama >
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    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 12:22:32 PM EST
    Simple answers to simple questions, and all.

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Dadler on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 12:24:10 PM EST
    And obviously so.

    Of course, it's hurting; how (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 12:42:27 PM EST
    could it not?  What's just so galling is that he either doesn't give a cr@p about health care, or he doesn't have the b@lls to just come out and tell where he really stands, fight for his position and take responsibility for how it turns out.  Either way, it's a dangerous vacuum of leadership that threatens to saddle us with all manner of things we never wanted, and aren't going to easily undo.

    Honestly, I suspected Obama was going to disappoint me, but I had no idea just how bad it would be.

    This is not leadership, it's failureship.

    Isn't the alternative hypothesis... (5.00 / 6) (#9)
    by lambert on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 12:50:29 PM EST
    ... that Obama's not dithering at all, but rather dancing with those that brung him?

    * * *

    In general, I reject narratives of Democratic weakness. To me, it's simpler to believe that the Democrats are merely servicing their clients.

    He's making super top secret moves behind (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 02:20:40 PM EST
    the scenes (a nap here and there zzzzzzzzzzzz too, it is hard work) that will lead to single payer when everything has blown up and gone to hell in the financial chaos soon to come to us all attempting to receive healthcare.  He is 15 moves ahead of anything you could fathom and will eventually save us all when no other options remain and we have to go to emergency measures.  Duh lambert.

    Only (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Emma on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 01:20:09 PM EST
    if you care about what's in the bill that's eventually going to be passed.

    Dems got everything they said they needed to rule (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Ellie on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 01:27:34 PM EST
    If not now, when? [/ Famous schmatty]

    "If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?" (Hillel)

    I doubt it. (none / 0) (#3)
    by oldpro on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 12:26:10 PM EST
    They will mutter and roll their eyes but they won't challenge the White House, much less challenge 'the one.'

    That should put Nancy in the driver's seat.  Or on the spot, depending on how you look at it...and I'd say she was the PO's only real hope for substance.

    We'll see.

    They can point all the fingers they want, (none / 0) (#4)
    by tigercourse on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 12:26:26 PM EST
    they're still the only ones who have anything substantive to lose.

    Who's they? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 12:30:06 PM EST
    Or is Obama now President for Life? Oh wait, you think Jay Rockefeller is vulnerable. Think again.

    "They" is the general "Democratic (none / 0) (#6)
    by tigercourse on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 12:36:35 PM EST
    Senators" you mention. Rockefeller isn't vulnerable, but others are.

    And Obama isn't President for life, but he's fairly likely to cruise to re election.


    Then you mean Reid (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 12:39:22 PM EST
    Because the Dem Senator complaining about Obama was named Rockefeller.

    Of course, if Obama wants to lead a Party decimated in 2010, then he is doing a good job according to you.


    What's sort of fun now (none / 0) (#10)
    by lilburro on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 12:52:06 PM EST
    is to go back and read analyses of how a public option is going to get passed through Congress.  And punditry re: WORM about the public option.

    There's Norm Ornstein:

    Once both houses pass versions, no matter how disparate, a conference committee can find a way to meld the bills -- no doubt with heavy White House input -- into one plan that goes back to each house for up or down votes. There, the pressure on lawmakers to support health reform will be much greater, as will the ability to break filibusters by urging all Democrats, even if they can't support a bill, to vote for cloture as a procedural issue.

    Seems extremely risky to me.  Is it really a good idea to let the Senate pass something that has no PO?  And then all of a sudden jump aboard the PO at the 11th hour?

    And also this fun post by Ezra, "The question has never been whether the White House supports the public option [although the whole point of his post is illustrating Obama never said it was absolutely necessary]. It's whether Congress -- and, in particular, the Senate -- has the votes to pass it."  As if those are two completely unrelated questions.

    Let me review: (none / 0) (#11)
    by steviez314 on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 12:54:55 PM EST
    1.  Public opinion polls are showing increasing support for the public option.

    2.  Baucus is warming up to some public option being included.

    3.  Blanche Lincoln is taking incoming.

    4.  Lieberman is walking back his commnets about possibly filibustering a p.o. bill.

    5.  Blue dog Ross is even talking about Medicare for all.

    6.  A Senator who we normally wouldn't expect to hear from about this (Rockefeller) is way out front.

    Seems to me, the public option odds are the best they have been since the process started.

    6? (none / 0) (#12)
    by lilburro on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 01:00:37 PM EST
    Rockefeller has been all over this.  He's been throwing up the strongest PO in the Senate.

    I'm thinking 6 months ago, none of us would (none / 0) (#13)
    by steviez314 on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 01:02:25 PM EST
    have guessed that Rockefeller would be so up front on this.

    Not true (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 01:05:52 PM EST
    Rocky has been good on this from the word go.

    And who is the head (none / 0) (#14)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 01:04:49 PM EST
    wet blanket in all of this?  One Mr. Barack Obama.

    In the long term it may actually help in a (none / 0) (#16)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 01:12:35 PM EST
    completely unintended way.

    As I see it, we will almost certainly get a bill that includes a mandate that folks be insured.  That by itself sucks.

    We may also get, at best, a  public option that individuals only or small groups can access.  If PO eligibility is based on affordability then we will see individuals who develop, or have, some condition that requires treatment fleeing their increased private insurance premiums and exercising the public option.

    If Obama's dithering leads us to a bill with just mandates the public outrage will make the late 80s Medicare fiasco look like a picnic, leading finally to substantial reform. IMagine being sick and on top of all that being required by law to pay the premiums your wonderful private insurance company just raised through the roof due to your sickness!

    If on the other hand Obama gets involved and we have the type of limited access PO based on affordability, we will get a pretty lousy plan with little cost savings for individuals or society but not so bad as to get rejected.

    I think we will get the second scenario mandates and lousy PO because it does two things for private insurers 1) brings them a 30 million plus new customers, and 2) provides an outlet for them to dump customers who prove "high risk."

    With an affordability eligibility requirement, the public option in combination with Medicare takes all high risk (elderly and sick) customers off the private insurers hands.  Any heretofor healthy customer who submits extraordinary claims will see their private insurance premiums go sky high, thus making private insurance no longer affordable.  

    But I have to question why we as a society would knowingly accept a program we know is vastly more costly just to maintain the appearance (and of course the highly concentrated profits) of a private insurance market. What kind of free market is that?

    111 Dimensional Chess (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 01:14:23 PM EST
    As I said it would be completely unintended (none / 0) (#18)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 01:16:23 PM EST
    Really bad legislation could have other (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by MO Blue on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 01:36:34 PM EST
    consequences. Regardless of the outcome the Republicans are going to run against HRC.

    GINGRICH: Let me make a straightforward promise. These bills can't be implemented before 2013. If they pass a bill which is a disaster the number one campaign issue in 2010 and 2012 is going to be repeal the bill.

    We repealed the catastrophic health legislation that was a disaster. We can repeal this monstrosity. If they're determined to put something bad in the country, the country can rise up, defeat the people who do it and repeal it. Think Progress

    HRC loses support when the public option is eliminated. In fact, the more it is described like Medicare, the stronger the support. Republicans in Congress are not going to vote for it regardless of what it contains. Extremely bad legislation (i.e. BaucusCare) will come back and bite the Dems big time. The only question is when that will happen. If the Republican get control of Congress, they will keep their promise and repeal HRC with the approval. The public will support their effort if the legislation is a disaster.  


    That's the other problem (none / 0) (#22)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 01:56:39 PM EST
    because it won't go into effect until 2013 the GOP will call whatever passes a disaster and run against it. Who'll know?

    The Dems would have been way better off to have listened to Howrd Dean on all this.


    I definitely agree with this (none / 0) (#27)
    by MO Blue on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 02:06:14 PM EST
    The Dems would have been way better off to have listened to Howrd Dean on all this.

    Like I said, I don't know when bad HCR legislation if passed will hurt the Democratic Party. I just know that people in general will know if they were taken to the cleaners if HRC does not reduce their health care costs and their coverage continues to decline.


    They cannot repeal anything until at least 2013. (none / 0) (#23)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 01:57:46 PM EST
    Obama will have the veto until at least that time.

    That's when they/we will do it. (none / 0) (#25)
    by NealB on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 02:00:02 PM EST

    With a veto-proof (none / 0) (#26)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 02:00:39 PM EST
    majority, they could do whatever they wanted.  

    And don't think they won't be working to make that happen, too.


    HCR (none / 0) (#24)
    by NealB on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 01:58:06 PM EST

    Oops didn't catch that transposition (none / 0) (#28)
    by MO Blue on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 02:07:58 PM EST
    Thanks for the correction.

    It was NEVER Obama's intent (none / 0) (#30)
    by pluege on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 06:11:04 PM EST
    to have a public option.

    He has resisted and undermined the initiative from day one. Obviously, the public option is a slam dunk...except for those beholden to, and looking out for the interests of the insurance companies, which obama most assuredly is, and intends to do.

    In the absence of a public option (none / 0) (#31)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 08:51:19 AM EST
    is there any mechanism in any of the proposals that prevent a private insurer from raising the premiums of a customer who develops an expensive medical condition?

    I keep thinking of my home insurance which, anytime you file a claim, operates principally as a loan.  Yeah I got coverage but my premiums rise fo rth enext three years by an amount the recoups the insurer's payout plus some.

    My typing sucks, sorry (none / 0) (#32)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 08:52:00 AM EST