Obama Administration Publicly Capitulates On Public Option

From the comments, Obama HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius capitulates on public option:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the White House would be open to co-ops instead of a government-run public option, a sign Democrats want a compromise so they can declare a victory on the must-win showdown. "I think there will be a competitor to private insurers," she said. "That's really the essential part, is you don't turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing. We need some choices, we need some competition."

Surrendering without a shot fired. Maybe this is part of some super secret plan for the 11 dimensional chess game that only Obama seems capable of playing.

Speaking for me only

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    no healthcare reform this year... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by az on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:22:04 AM EST
    The public has put the fear of god on congress , especially those from moderate to conservative districts.

    You heard it here first...  

    Colossal failure by the administration (5.00 / 11) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:23:18 AM EST

    Obama and his spokesmen (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by Cards In 4 on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:07:11 PM EST
    have never explained to people's satisfaction how a public option would be a non-subsidized option to the private insurance companies. People hear the public option and see Amtrak or the Post Office that keep coming back to the government to cover their operating shortfalls.

    My son's old baseball coach sells property insurance, not health insurance.  But he made the point last week that people like Pelosi and other proponents of a public option that have a lot of money should go start their own insurance company. They should be able to corner the market since they say it is so easy to provide better coverage at a lower cost.  That's a talking point no one in the administration ever countered.

    Obama thought that saying he would reduce costs, expand coverage and improve quality would be enough. Somehow the idea that people would read the bills and ask questions about how these 1000 pages that our reps didn't read would affect their coverage.


    Economies of scale (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by The Last Whimzy on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:49:40 PM EST
    Not even George soros can privately fund a health insurance start up.

    I never expected Obama to be perfect (5.00 / 4) (#125)
    by magster on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:50:26 PM EST
    but I did expect better and I did expect for him to fight for what he promised in his campaign.

    The writing was on the wall by who he chose to be in his cabinet and chief of staff.  The team of rivals had no true progressives, Rahm is Rasputin, HHS Sec'y is a former republican from one of the reddest states, Geithner and Summers are from the Wall St elite, he has a Republican DOD, and he tried to appoint Judd Gregg.



    to fail, you must first try (5.00 / 4) (#134)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 02:35:15 PM EST
    they never even tried.  They should have started with single payer.

    Single payer as a starting point... (5.00 / 4) (#140)
    by Romberry on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 02:50:51 PM EST
    ...would have moved the Overton Window (or at least started the process of moving the Overton Window) which would have made the public option the compromise position. Instead, just as with the stimulus bill and the almost third of it which was tax cuts*, they started from the compromise position...which meant that the only thing possible was even more compromise. Unless these people are truly idiots (and I don't think they are), then you pretty much are left with the conclusion that this was their intent in starting with a weak position to begin with.

    *Someone remind me how many Republican votes that picked up in the House and in the Senate. And remind me about how many nominally Republican voters in the populace stopped calling Obama a commie socialist Kenyan who wasn't legally eligble to be president because of those tax cuts.


    Yup (5.00 / 1) (#199)
    by cal1942 on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 05:04:06 PM EST
    and apparent during the primaries and in the "book" and right out of Obama's own mouth.

    Expressed very well by this little snipet from Avedon Carol:

    ... the other part of the problem is that Obama is essentially sympathetic to conservative arguments. Again, he is part of that curious segment of his generational cohort that, though they may think they are really savvy, actually absorbed the right-wing propaganda smearing liberalism and elevating "the market" over everything else and assuming that Bill Clinton had so many problems with the Republicans because of something intrinsic to Bill Clinton rather than that the Republicans will do that to any Democrat and already have.

    Without premium control (5.00 / 10) (#3)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:23:23 AM EST
    Without premium control and with manditory coverage requirements, we citizens are simply going to be extorted by the insurance companies.  And I don't care about subsidies, those are just further giveaways to insurance.

    For the sake of our citizens this bill without a public option has to die.

    I am 100% against it as it stands.

    Oh, and before (none / 0) (#7)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:30:40 AM EST
    I was only 85% against it.  I held out hope that a good public option would arise that could grow.

    The MTP panel also talked about this (5.00 / 8) (#4)
    by ruffian on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:27:40 AM EST
    and treated it like a done deal - no public option.

    I don't take their pronouncements as the last word, but it does mean that it is the opinion of the media herd, and that has a momentum of its own politically.

    Rachel Maddow made the best point in saying that if the public option is gone, Obama has wasted a huge amount of political capital on very little health care reform.

    I understand Bill Clinton's point about a half a loaf being better than nothing, but to me BTDs post yesterday boiled it down better. The best reason to support this plan is to give Obama a win.   Is that a good enough reason to support a weak plan?  Throw me a bone Obama - fight strongly for something I care about, and maybe I'll feel like you are worth propping up with my support  for weak health care reform.

    The question is whether (5.00 / 8) (#6)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:29:54 AM EST
    this can become an effective popular program without a public option. If not, then it's politically stupid to push it any further.

    This is what happens when you precompromise a program.


    Exactly (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:31:11 AM EST
    Yes. Yes. Yes. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:32:52 AM EST
    Programs that help a very small subset are vulnerable to Lee Atwater-type attcks.

    There should never have been any public debate (5.00 / 5) (#15)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:35:17 AM EST
    about this. The House should have reported out of the rules committee and passed the strongest possible legislation on day one. The Senate should have passed its version with the stimulus.

    The Senate doesn't have a version (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by ruffian on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:54:19 AM EST
    Isn't that the problem? Obama should have given them their version.

    ITA (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by Spamlet on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:05:49 PM EST
    But that would have meant no post-partisan unity! Aren't you enjoying all the post-partisan unity we've been having on health care reform?

    "You care far too much what is written and said about you. You don't relish combat when it becomes personal and nasty. . . .  It goes to your willingness and ability to put up with something you have never experienced on a sustained basis: criticism."



    Obama campaigned on (none / 0) (#169)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:53:22 PM EST
    post-partisan unity. He received a mandate for this tactic by winning the primary and then a even larger mandate during the general. Why wouldn't Obama pursue this when so many people voted for him knowing his position?

    sigh. (none / 0) (#34)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:47:59 AM EST
    Mind if I save your (none / 0) (#37)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:50:16 AM EST
    post and dredge it up later?

    Sure, I mean it (5.00 / 4) (#46)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:55:24 AM EST
    That's how you pass controversial legislation.

    You would want legislation that would (none / 0) (#73)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:23:56 PM EST
    affect every person in the US in the most intimate ways from amount of taxes we pay to the shots we get to which doctor we would see to how and when we would die, to be passed without the citizens being allowed to have an input?  

    I'm sorry (5.00 / 7) (#75)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:26:00 PM EST
    Were there NOT elections in 2008?

    Talk about elections NOT having consequences.


    So why even allow people to (none / 0) (#91)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:47:48 PM EST
    email/write/call their elected representatives?  

    Citizens get input at elections (none / 0) (#74)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:25:38 PM EST
    He is urging the old Athenian model (5.00 / 3) (#77)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:26:45 PM EST
    Direct democracy.

    See how well the whole referendum thing has worked for California.


    The stupid mob seems to be winning anyway (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:27:44 PM EST
    Not at all. I am against the (none / 0) (#95)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:51:11 PM EST
     way California does it.  That wastes of a state is proof a direct democracy is does not work.  Why do politicians have town hall meetings?  

    Cuz the face elections (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:52:20 PM EST
    So should citizens be allowed to (none / 0) (#99)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:00:51 PM EST
    voice opinions at these townhall meetings?  No where did I say that we should work off the california system.  We elect the reps and they vote for us.  However, it is obvious many here did not even want our reps to hear what the citizens thought of the healthcare proposals.  The politicians can vote how they feel is best for the country/states/citizen/their re-election.  

    Here comes the straw (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:02:46 PM EST
    Not ever did I criticize anyone for speaking out. I opined that what they were saying was lies.

    Do I get to say that in your world?


    You wrote this about my comment: (none / 0) (#164)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:47:22 PM EST
    He is urging the old Athenian model (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:26:45 PM EST
    Direct democracy.

    See how well the whole referendum thing has worked for California.

    Where in my previous comment did I urge direct democracy?  And then I posted in order to correct your impression.  Where did I criticize your for speaking out?  Maybe you thought I was referring to you here:

    However, it is obvious many here did not even want our reps to hear what the citizens thought of the healthcare proposals.

    No, not as far as I can tell.  Jumped on that pretty quick though.  Just like you jumped on the Athenian model pretty quick.


    No longer a win (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:30:46 AM EST
    If at the elevent hour, at the brink, you give on public option in exchange for a health reform bill that is incredibly good in every other respect, THEN, PERHAPS, we could discuss whether Obama gets a win.

    Now it is already a loss.


    Yup (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by jbindc on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:32:17 AM EST
    And the spin will be amazing to watch.  I wonder how many will be surprised to find this out, and to realize that this "reform" won't take place until 2013?

    Obama's medicare part D??? (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:48:24 AM EST
    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:50:29 AM EST
    That was always supposed to be (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:26:12 PM EST
    the playbook for this. They blew it 100%.

    Obama will call it a win (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by ruffian on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:52:06 AM EST
    if it passes, regardless of how well it works down the road. Future Dems running for office will pay the price for an ineffective program.  Even without a public option it will be known as 'big government health care reform' that didn't work.

    No one else will (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:01:05 PM EST
    It will be interesting to see (none / 0) (#172)
    by ruffian on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:57:10 PM EST
    who plays along and who doesn't.

    "Incredibly good" (5.00 / 4) (#71)
    by Anne on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:21:56 PM EST
    in every other respect?  Really?

    What is that assessment based on, if you wouldn't mind sharing?

    Here's something that was published this morning in my local paper, that might be of interest (bold is mine):

    Health reform lessons: Howard County's experience shows meager subsidies won't help the uninsured

    By Ken Ulman and Dr. Peter Beilenson

    August 16, 2009

     The current debate on health care reform has primarily focused on two overarching goals: how to increase access to care by assuring that health coverage is available to all; and how to best control rapidly rising health care costs. Much of the discussion in Washington has been theoretical. Our experience is real-world. Every single day, we implement a universal health and wellness program that can inform both aspects of the debate.


    In the debate in Washington, one of the key mechanisms to obtain the goal of universal coverage is an individual mandate; in fact, it is included in all of the major Democratic proposals. Even though all of these plans include subsidies to help those with lower incomes to afford mandated coverage, they all require that the uninsured contribute up to 10 percent of their income to obtain coverage.

    For a family of four making $60,000 a year (which is close to 300 percent of the federal poverty level) this means they would have to pay about $6,000 out of pocket for "affordable coverage" under most of the proposals.

    Given the costs of housing, food and transportation alone, how can such a family be self-sufficient?

    Our real-world experience seems to point out the folly of this approach. The yearly cost to our members (the eligibility criteria is 117 percent to 300 percent of the poverty level, or between $25,000 and $66,000 for a family of four) is between $600 and $900 per year, dependent on income. All of our participants have made their health and wellness a priority and have joined voluntarily. All have made the effort to apply, attend an orientation, provide required documents and met plan requirements.

    And yet, despite all of these individual efforts, a sizeable number of our members (about 10 percent in each of the last couple of months) were in danger of being automatically disenrolled for failure to pay, either because of overdrawn bank accounts or declined credit cards - and all because they had trouble affording as little as $50 a month.

    Yes, real people - not academic or political models - who simply can't make the $50 per month payment. Understanding that harsh reality, there is no way that even a modest number of working-class uninsured families making $50,000, $60,000 or $75,000 a year can possibly be expected to afford the monthly costs for health coverage now being proposed in Washington, particularly when many of them will feel that they are being coerced into participating. The result will be either large numbers of noncompliant families or more Americans placed in even greater financial jeopardy than they already are in.

    I know you have to understand this:  the subsidies will go to the insurance companies, along with the premiums paid directly by the individual.  That is a whole lot of money to be paid to companies who, as you so rightly pointed out, will be trying to get around any of the safeguards the Congress legislates - and they will have three years to work on that.

    Incredibly good otherwise?  I'm not so sure about that.


    I'd have to see it (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:23:46 PM EST
    How can I offer an assessment of something that does not exist?

    I misread you comment, sorry. (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by Anne on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:29:44 PM EST
    But I think all the collapse of the public option means is that the existing plans will just move along without it, perhaps with exchanges or co-ops, which will not be an improvement.

    Without real public plan, it's not half a loaf- (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:52:50 AM EST
    It's the MOLD--which can kill some....

    Not mold ... (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:00:46 PM EST
    because penicillin comes from mold.  And that's a wonder drug.

    Seems more a variation of "let them eat cake."


    Not the yucky, runny, really ugly mold that comes (none / 0) (#141)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:04:39 PM EST
    on rotting foodstuffs and bread (keep it long enough, etc.).

    Those molds can do damage to people.

    That's my metaphor and I'm sticking with it! Throw in some mouse and rat droppings, too....

    I'm going for the image.


    The problem with the half-a-loaf argument... (5.00 / 5) (#121)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:34:27 PM EST
    ... is that this plan contains a massive carrot for the insurance industry - a mandate for 50 million new people to buy their product. Giving that away without getting anything back would likely eliminate any chance of a subsequent improvement of the system when the insurance companies no longer have anything to gain by playing ball.

    The insurance industry is doing a (5.00 / 4) (#129)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:57:10 PM EST
    horrible job. People are suffering. So let's make them richer and stronger by giving them 50 million more people to fleece.

    Oh, and btw, if this fails to generate real improvement in people's lives, it will be used as living proof that the government needs to stay out of health care.


    Or (none / 0) (#48)
    by squeaky on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:55:43 AM EST
    Cure VD

    It was only a matter of time, really; (5.00 / 8) (#5)
    by Anne on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:28:33 AM EST
    I think most of us saw this coming as soon as the GOP - and Blue Dog Democrats - started pushing back against it.  They were never willing to make it as strong as it needed to be, and with each passing week, seemed willing to weaken it more and more.

    If Obama isn't willing to fight for this, what can we expect him to fight for?

    What can we expect him to fight for? (5.00 / 7) (#18)
    by jmacWA on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:35:42 AM EST

    But he won't win it. He'll have discredited (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by sallywally on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:38:37 PM EST
    himself, the Democratic Party, and all the needed progressive changes discussed in the primaries and election.

    This makes me sick.


    Nothing (none / 0) (#133)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 02:30:01 PM EST
    That much is clear.

    But the GOP is totally (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by Cards In 4 on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:16:52 PM EST
    irrelevant to this because Obama doesn't need one republican vote.  

    When people ask questions and all they get back are meaningless talking points that don't answer their real concerns the blame is with those proposing these 1,000 page bills.

    Congress basically says trust us, we want to make things better but we don't have time to actually read the bills.


    IF (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:31:30 AM EST
    they get rid of recission, denial of coverage, premium increases with no explanation, and fix the private health market....or any combination of those things, it will have been worth it.

    Otherwise things will continue to go downhill.

    Let me tell you something (5.00 / 11) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:32:55 AM EST
    The idea that insurance companies won't find a way around those "restrictions" is a pipe dream. Take
     it from a shill corporate lawyer, the ways will be found.

    Competition is the only answer.


    It's a stopgap anyway. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:36:15 AM EST
    The recission thing is just criminal.

    I think it should be law that if an insurance company accepts someone as a client, it is explicitly agreeing that it has already done the investigation and decided that there was no fraud on your application.

    Going back to your records, looking for an excuse to retroactively kick you off after you start making lots of claims is disgusting.


    And? (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:39:01 AM EST
    What makes you think that will be stopped by the proposed reform?

    Saying it will don't make it so.


    I don't really know one way or they other (none / 0) (#33)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:47:12 AM EST
    I am not familiar with the coop idea and how it works. All I am saying is....exactly what I said and no more: That any of those reforms would be worth it.

    Sen. Jay Rockefeller is worried about co-ops as (5.00 / 4) (#60)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:06:32 PM EST
    an approach. There are less than 100 extant in the US, about 2 or 3 large ones. Only two are licensed, he found in doing research.

    He has asked the GAO to do a study. He says he cannot vote for an almost totally untested program which would be a provider for so many people, use so much money.

    I commented below on this today.


    So true (none / 0) (#53)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:01:01 PM EST
    Increase in premium (5.00 / 6) (#17)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:35:42 AM EST
    with no explanation?  Oh my insurance company (BCBS) has given plenty of explanation, while premiums on the individual market shot up 34% in 2 years and coverage shot down.

    We need premium CONTROL, not premium explanation.  Period.


    Premera or Regence? (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:55:23 AM EST
    My self-employed brother has a similar policy to what you describe through Premera Blue Cross (the Shield here belongs to Regence). He had a heart attack a few years ago and cannot afford the follow-up tests and care because those run several thousand dollars each, and aren't covered. Well, they are supposed to be, but fighting with Premera to pay for them became too great a burden. The amount of money Premera wastes is astonishing.

    His wife has her coverage with Group Health Co-op. The cost of that has reached an even higher level of ridiculous.

    I resent tremendously how much this draft bill is catering to those insurance companies.


    Regence (none / 0) (#67)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:16:20 PM EST
    Regence is still less expensive than Premera.

    In California, they aren't required (none / 0) (#22)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:37:58 AM EST
    to give an explanation.

    Trust me (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:40:03 AM EST
    explanations make no difference.  The bottom line is the exhorbitant increase.

    i trust you. (none / 0) (#30)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:42:06 AM EST
    BTW (5.00 / 6) (#24)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:38:31 AM EST
    Denial of coverage and the elimination of recission WILL be the "explanation" for premium increases that will become even  more exhorbitant than they already are.

    good point. (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:41:31 AM EST
    And actually, what the insurance companies really want (according to interviews on the recent FRONTLINE) , is to mandate coverage for all, so that they can lower prices for all.

    Of course they never want to give up the huge profits.

    In my view, health care should never be a for-profit enterprise.


    Lower prices for all? (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:42:02 AM EST
    Typo on your part?

    That was definitely good for a laugh (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:06:15 PM EST
    Needed one today after watching even a glimmer of hope for real health care disappear.

    gee thanks. (none / 0) (#193)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:50:28 PM EST
    LOL (none / 0) (#32)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:43:45 AM EST
    no. I am repeating what the spokespersons claimed on the FRONTLINE program (aired in March 2009, and watched by me 2 nights ago). They did not say how MUCH lower.....

    Lower rates for all by having a larger pool is a (5.00 / 3) (#142)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:12:12 PM EST
    Medicare for All argument. It's why Canada and other industrialized nations with universal care have lower rates. However, if they have private insurance companies, they regulate them strictly. They are more like public utilities.

    The BIP* are playing off the good idea there, and, in a way, there will be some savings initially. Until they start not making their numbers to Wall St's satisfaction.

    *BIP--Big Insurance Parasites


    I seem to recall that on certain high-input (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:29:04 PM EST
    investment funds, one I examined wistfully (it took 25k to get in), paid an average of 20-25 percent annually.

    These were health-care related funds.

    ROI (I hope that's the right abbreviation-- return on investment) of 25 percent per year? I'd take it if I could afford it. I would say that it was morally wrong, but capitalism itself is amoral.

    It's all about the money.


    immoral (none / 0) (#192)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:48:14 PM EST
    not amoral....And it is.

    The individual mandate is supposed to (none / 0) (#27)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:40:17 AM EST
    cover that. Supposed to.

    The mandate (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:49:06 AM EST
    will only lead to premium increases...as we're all forced to buy insurance, so we'll have to pay anything they want to charge.  It is extortion.

    Without competition created by a robust public option, a mandate is poison.


    a robust public option (5.00 / 1) (#203)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 05:56:35 PM EST
    that is another meaningless phrase from the Obama crew of writers.  Careful what words you use when you don't know any better than they do what that means exactly.  You'll start to sound as lame as they do.

    You are trusting the (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:03:29 PM EST
    insurance industry to pass on savings to the consumer?

    No (none / 0) (#61)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:07:23 PM EST
    Maybe there's still a chance of a trigger, BTW. That doesn't look so unpalatable as doing nothing.

    Please explain. (none / 0) (#108)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:10:08 PM EST
    Remember the debate about the "triger" (5.00 / 2) (#136)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 02:39:22 PM EST
    for a public option if there were insufficient competition or too high prices? Even Olympia Snowe supports that.

    I think I could probably go for a trigger at the end of the day, with the caveat that the "triggered" public option is the ability to buy into Medicare itself, and that the ins. companies only have, say, 6 months to meet the standards.


    Thanks. I admire your optimism. (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:25:11 PM EST
    If Medicare costs must be shaved, how would adding more people to Medicare coverage work?  

    At this stage, you wouldn't give (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:30:58 PM EST
    people free Medicare; they would still have to pay premiums. But if it's an attractive option (i.e., less expensive than Aetna), then healthy people will choose it. Healthy people are cheap, easy, and profitable to insure.

    Medicare isn't free to current enrollees. (5.00 / 2) (#165)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:47:34 PM EST
    But is purportedly going bust.

    Believe it or not, old people are expensive (5.00 / 1) (#167)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:49:53 PM EST
    to insure.

    Absolutely. Although "65 and over" (5.00 / 1) (#170)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:53:45 PM EST
    is a more gentle phrase than the word "old."

    Fair enough (none / 0) (#179)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:03:21 PM EST
    Just curious (none / 0) (#162)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:43:57 PM EST
    If the trigger is removed from the legislation, what is the next thing, in your opinion, that will save this from being better than doing nothing?

    I have to have a reasonable belief (none / 0) (#163)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:46:27 PM EST
    that it is more likely than not that the legislation has a chance of achieving its goals. Without the threat of a public plan, it does not.

    I'm sorry I find your answer confusing (5.00 / 1) (#182)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:08:28 PM EST
    You think that the legislation achieving its goals is dependent upon having the threat of a public plan. From all indications an actual public plan is already off the table and under my scenario even the trigger mechanism is removed so there would be no threat. Are you telling me that you have to have faith that something will make this work? I'm not being sarcastic here. I truly don't understand.  

    The trigger is the end of the line for me (none / 0) (#186)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:17:08 PM EST
    Costs will soar w/out the BIP* being able to make (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:54:53 AM EST
    their big profits. They will find a way. And the agreements to "cut the rate of increases" has been all by handshake. Maybe with a wink-and-a-nod.

    Back room deals.

    We've been sold out, people.

    BIP--Big Iinsurance Parasites


    Get rid of recission? (5.00 / 3) (#112)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:14:27 PM EST
    Insurance industry's lack of commitment to end recission as of June 09.

    And don't be fooled: rescission is important to the business model. Last week, at a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, Rep. Bart Stupak, the committee chairman, asked three insurance industry executives if they would commit to ending rescission except in cases of intentional fraud. "No," they each said.

    Obviously. (none / 0) (#194)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:51:36 PM EST
    That's why the govt has to get involved...duh.

    I'm sorry but I don't think that they (none / 0) (#198)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 05:02:47 PM EST
    can write legislation that will restrict the insurance industry from continuing the practice. Legislation that restricts them from pursuing fraud. Doubtful at best. BTD was correct that they will be able to find ways to overcome any meager obstacles put in by Congress.  

    Agreed (none / 0) (#14)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:33:39 AM EST
    But what are the chances that any of that can work without a public option? Not very good IMO.

    I am afraid I don't understand (none / 0) (#21)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:37:08 AM EST
    the different options very well, and how they address these issues.

    Sebelius is proving herself to be (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by Anne on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:35:33 AM EST
    wholly ineffective on this issue, which might be okay if she were Secretary of Transportation, but as Secretary of HHS she has let the American people down in a very significant way.

    But, Obama put her out there to reassure the insurance companies that any legislation written would foreclose the possibility of transition to single payer, so this also goes back to him.

    What a waste of an opportunity to do the right thing.

    Ineffective for us, the non Uberwealthy-- (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:55:30 AM EST
    maybe just what Obama wanted, eh?

    I'd say ... (none / 0) (#166)
    by sj on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:48:38 PM EST
    ... that she's proving herself to be extremely effective.  The possibility is foreclosed.

    We"re being thrown a bone (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by mmc9431 on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:36:05 AM EST
    In fairness to Obama, his concept of health care reform and the progressive's concept were never in sync. Obama hasn't shown any real passion for this issue. Hilary was health care. Edward's was poverty and Obama was change. The American people chose change.

    He's more than willing to accept anything just so that he can claim victory.

    We'll have to wait until his second term before it can see real reform!

    Why will he be more likely to (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by ruffian on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:42:18 AM EST
    work hard on something he is not interested in then?

    A CHICKEN bone, which will splinter in our (5.00 / 4) (#50)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:56:05 AM EST
    throats and do us damage.

    Seems that Democratic voters (5.00 / 7) (#63)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:09:08 PM EST
    have been waiting for real reform until after the next election for a long, long time.

    Almost a century, if you count TR's insurgent (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:11:44 PM EST
    campaign, where he had universal care as a plank.

    Definitely since FDR.


    What second term (5.00 / 3) (#89)
    by sallywally on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:45:51 PM EST
    if health care is a disaster?

    Dems can't pass legislation to provide (5.00 / 3) (#118)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:28:37 PM EST
    good health care but they are smart enough to delay implementation until after the 2012 election. How much of a disaster this is (or is not - always have to leave room for miracles) will not be known before Obama has to win a second term.

    What second term, Sally? (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by prittfumes on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:16:55 PM EST
    The one Obama will win in 2012. That's the one. Were you watching and listening during the primaries and the GE?

    Maybe he can recycle the (5.00 / 3) (#152)
    by nycstray on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:25:19 PM EST
    "Hope" and "Change" signs from the last round and run against himself  :)

    Who exactly could run against him with a chance (none / 0) (#176)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:59:54 PM EST
    , I'm being serious here I can't see a single major GOP contender who would stand a chance against Obama barring some sort of major outside event.

    I don't know (5.00 / 2) (#187)
    by nycstray on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:18:37 PM EST
    and I try not to think about any of them winning, but . . .  if Obama hands them enough ammo for a campaign and he has lost his appeal through his lack of "progressive" actions/change with his "base" . . .

    It may be hard for him to run on his "accomplishments", and he really can't offer up anything as vague as H&C next time around. He's basically going to be campaigning on the Wall St bailout, questionable HCR that won't have even kicked in yet, a war that he now owns, etc as it stands now . . .


    I'm sorry (5.00 / 1) (#190)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:42:43 PM EST
    but you're kidding right? You don't think Romney could win against Obama? I think it's a possiblity. Huckabee maybe? If Obama can't do better than tout that while were still losing jobs we're not losing as many he's not going back to the WH.

    Romney (none / 0) (#195)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:53:57 PM EST
    would pose major problems to the Evangelical Turnout machine which is the backbone of the Modern GOP- its the reason that despite being the choice of the Money Men in the GOP he was destroyed by Huckabee in the Bible belt, Huckabee who is easily the GOP's most skilled Politician has the opposite problem he scares the money men because he governed is a less than fiscally conservative fashion.

    Don't (5.00 / 1) (#200)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 05:04:35 PM EST
    bet on it. They've already got the Obama hate machine cranked up and they'll come out and vote against him you can bet on that. They won't care if they have to vote for Romney.

    Bush had all of these problems at the beginning but they swallowed hard and voted for him. The only thing that's going to keep them home is not your fantasy but if they are demoralized and that's not happening right now.


    President Dole (none / 0) (#148)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:23:15 PM EST
    supports this remark and thanks Sally for her knowledge of history.

    If he keeps this up...and I think he will... (5.00 / 4) (#138)
    by Romberry on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 02:40:27 PM EST
    ...there isn't going to be a second term. "Health care reform" is looking more and more as if it will be nothing more than a gift to the insurance companies.

    The promise to revisit the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit in order to allow the biggest purchaser of prescription drugs in the world (us via our government) to negotiate for best price was given away in a back room deal (though they are publicly trying to walk that back regardless of what is happening privately.)

    The promises of open government and transparency? They've become closed and opaque.

    The pitch to anti-war voters? That's being thrown away on the "good war" against people living just this side of the stone age in AfPak.

    The promise to revisit FISA after voting for a BAD bill that Obama had repeatedly promised to work against and even filibuster if necessary? Yeah. Right.

    Help for homeowners? Well, we gotta take care of these d*mn investment banksters first. Without their bonuses, they might not do as good a job as they did in the years leading up to the crisis.

    (Shall I go on?)


    Um could you please (none / 0) (#154)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:26:09 PM EST
    tell me where Obama said he would do something different than what he is currently doing in Af-Pak? Because he seems to be fufilling his campaign promise to drawdown in Iraq, and double down in Afghanistan.  I could go on with the multitude of kept promises, but you seem to think that a challenger from the left is going to unseat Obama, something that seems very, very unlikely.

    Let me try to clear that up... (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by Romberry on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:06:21 PM EST
    My response referred to anti-war voters who for some reason had the mistaken impression that Obama was against needless wars. Now where they got that impression can be debated. The point I was trying to make (apparently very poorly) is that the energy which led that block to turn out and vote for Obama is not likely to be there come 2012 because by then, they will realize that the obscure campaign speech he made when running for state office in Illinois bears no relation to his voting record in the Senate and what he does as president.

    As far as the "drawdown in Iraq", well, not so much. There will be some drawdown, but most of it appears to be on paper, as in "we'll call them something other than combat troops."

    We'll still have forces in Iraq at the end of Obama's first term...and his second term if he gets one. We're there for the long haul. All else is smoke and mirrors.

    Now...what about the rest of my post? And as for that "multitude of kept promises"...no, you can't.


    Actually I can (none / 0) (#196)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:57:00 PM EST
    On a host of Issues from Abortion (global gag rule lifted) to Science (NIH funding and the removal of the ban/restrictions on Stem Cell research) Obama has come through, while he is by no mean 100% I can't see where he's been any worse at following through than any other President in recent memory.

    Obama's been very effective (5.00 / 3) (#185)
    by hookfan on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:15:53 PM EST
    in keeping his promises to big finance, big insurance, hospital organizations, etc. But main street? Nah, sorry we get to wait. . . and wait. . .and wait. . . And oh yeah, there's a little thing about signing statements he's forgotten about also. By the way, whatever happened to restoration of habeus? And oh yeah, medical marijuana. And open, transparent government. Little things like that. I'm sure they're just so small he's overlooked them. Just like he forgot he was for single payer before he was against it. So many stories to keep straight, so little time. . .

    Regan was not the Teflon president. (none / 0) (#155)
    by prittfumes on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:26:57 PM EST
    Obama is. None of the things you have cited will prevent his serving out this term and a second one. This guy is unstoppable. IMO.

    Sorry (5.00 / 1) (#177)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:00:01 PM EST
    but having people sit home will cause him to lose the election. A few million people sitting at home can put teh GOP in the presidency. It's not that hard. It's happened before.

    *Reagan (none / 0) (#189)
    by prittfumes on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:37:09 PM EST
    Why (none / 0) (#171)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:55:18 PM EST
    would anyone want to give him a second term after this type of thing? Honestly, why not just have a GOP president in that regard if the GOP is still running things.

    Do you really not remember the past 8 years (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:58:18 PM EST
    its this sort of "whats the difference" stuff that lead to the Nader movement in 2000, I would have thought that the events of 2001-2008 would have put an end to this kind of sophistry but I guess I was mistaken.

    No (5.00 / 1) (#178)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:03:05 PM EST
    you would have a point if Obama wasnt such a wimp and would stand up for something. i'm not a naderite and cant' stand the guy but can't you see how demoralizing it is to have a wimp leading your party and the GOP laughing in your face AND Obama helping the GOP with his behavior.

    Yes (none / 0) (#197)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:59:34 PM EST
    I can see that, its why the left turned on Clinton after DADT, DOMA, Welfare Reform, etc. and the far right turned on Bush after Immigration Reform, etc it happens Obama has been no worse than his predecessors were and they were both re-elected I don't see why it would be different this time especially given the fall of the GOP.

    LOL! (5.00 / 1) (#201)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 05:09:03 PM EST
    You can't depend on the fall of the GOP. There's a large swatch of independents too. And if the Dem base doesnt turn out and the independents dont like Obama he doesnt win a second term. He's not guaranteed one like you seem to think. he's going to have to campaign for reeleccton on what? The things taht you are mentioning that Clinton did were at least popuar with the populace at large while the things that Obama has done aren't like the bailouts.

    And right now (5.00 / 2) (#202)
    by jbindc on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 05:13:04 PM EST
    He's bleeding independents.

    Change you can ... (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:37:59 AM EST
    believe in.


    Right now (none / 0) (#110)
    by Fabian on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:13:01 PM EST
    The Change that I've seen documented is using Bush's two terms as the contrast.  "Better than Bush" is exactly that - better than the worst president ever.

    It's not much of a selling point.  


    That meme worked in 08 (none / 0) (#113)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:16:01 PM EST
    What makes you think it won't work in '12?

    I think it probably will ... (none / 0) (#127)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:56:08 PM EST
    the Republican party is in a shambles.

    Voters (5.00 / 3) (#130)
    by jbindc on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 02:09:14 PM EST
    have short attention spans, and even less patience, especially when the are hurting economically.

    The easy counterpoint (none / 0) (#146)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:18:45 PM EST
    would be to note that both Bush and Clinton had lower approval ratings aat this point in their respective terms and thus it seems shortsighted to think Obama wouldn't be re-elected.

    It won't matter who is elected (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by hookfan on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:24:03 PM EST
    unless the composition of congress is markedly changed.

    third party in recent American history- people might be disenchanted with the Democrats but good god, the GOP is at its lowest recorded levels of identification in history (though I would wager if this form of polling went back to the 1930s this wouldn't be the case).

    I've been trying to think of good names for a good (5.00 / 1) (#175)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:59:17 PM EST
    liberal third party!

    And, if Dems mess this up as badly as it looks now, we need a Week of Deregistration from the Dem Party...bcz they'll just say, "Where're they gonna go"? when we complain.


    Personally... (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by sj on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:05:57 PM EST
    ... I'm perfectly fine with the name "Socialist".

    We need to organize to primary many in Congress (5.00 / 2) (#188)
    by hookfan on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:28:32 PM EST
    and not vote for people that do this. Period. End of story. It would be helpful if we could organize as a huge voting bloc and stick to our promises to ourselves, rather than constantly being divided and played against each other. . .

    Hubert Humphry's Words Still Ring (5.00 / 8) (#41)
    by Missblu on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:52:26 AM EST
    For those who haven't read this post it bears posting again.  If ever we needed a politician with soul to rise up and exhort it is now. I still believe the American people just need to hear some old fashioned conscience raising speaking as only Humphrey and maybe Paul Wellstone could do.

    He could make you cry. I heard this.

    Humphrey was dying of cancer when he said this in Minnesota in 1977 at an AFL-CIO meeting
    "You go bankrupt in wars.  No nation ever lost its life trying to save life.  You lose your life when you take life, and I ask the labor movement to really once again, become the idealistic conscience of American politics.

    Too many people in politics today are afraid.  They are afraid, they say, 'Oh, they won't go for this.'  Well, I knew they wouldn't go for civil rights in 1948. I knew they wouldn't go for Medicare in 1949. I knew they wouldn't go for the Peace Corps in 1958. and I knew they wouldn't go, if you please, for the arms control and disarmament agency in 1959, but ultimately, they did."

    If you are going to be in politics, you have to be a soldier in the battlefield.  You know there are risks, there is no guarantee of your life, but as somebody once said, I would rather live fifty years like a tiger than a hundred years like a chicken." Minnpost.com

    he's either a coward or a liar (5.00 / 10) (#55)
    by Dadler on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:02:49 PM EST
    or both.  boy, we got change alright, from a dumbsh*t who actually believed in the b.s. he pushed through congress, to a really "intelligent" guy who believes in nothing apparently except, well, i don't know what.

    can he not figure out that, besides the obvious lack of help to people who really need it, this will only further destroy the economy, that it is going to further concentrate wealth into fewer hands?

    that's what I would point out (4.00 / 1) (#62)
    by The Last Whimzy on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:09:03 PM EST
    in '94 you could f-up health care and still build a great economy that helped a lot of people.   or at least we know that because that's what ultimately happened.

    the health care crisis as it exists today, to the best of my knowledge, will greatly impede economic recovery in all segments of society.  probably even the very very rich too.


    Is this the final word? (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Steve M on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:18:22 PM EST
    I certainly hope not.

    Looks like it (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:28:09 PM EST
    No walkbacks yet.

    GIbbs and Seleius saying the same thing? (5.00 / 2) (#144)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:17:51 PM EST
    Looks like a keeper...unless they get polling telling them they're forming their circular firing squad.

    Well (none / 0) (#81)
    by Steve M on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:31:12 PM EST
    Atrios seems to think the article dramatically overstates the case for capitulation.

    Looking at it myself, I don't know that it's significantly different from a number of previous occasions where the administration has expressed openness to compromise.

    I will wait and see because no one is asking my opinion anyhow.


    I think Atrios is way understating (5.00 / 4) (#82)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:32:40 PM EST
    the significance of this.

    All previous such statements (5.00 / 4) (#85)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:34:45 PM EST
    were unnamed sources and were met with strong denials.

    Not so here.

    Unless your view is that Sebelius was off script, it is rather silly imo to think this is not significant.


    Best case scenario ... (5.00 / 3) (#93)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:48:32 PM EST
    it's a trial balloon to see the strength of opposition to such capitulation.

    In which case they could let it hang out there for a day or so.

    I doubt it ... but that's the best we can hope for at present.


    and this surprises you? (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by Bornagaindem on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:35:06 PM EST
    The house version of the "public plan " was already worthless because it would have allowed at most 10 million to join it providing no competition. Look healthcare reform is simple

    1. create a mandate for individuals and businesses to provide coverage
    2. anyone (small businesses, large businesses or individuals)  can buy into the already existing medicare plan. It has low overhead, is not for profit and lets you choose your doctor
    3. private insurers that want to be players will have to follow the simple rule that once you insure someone you cannot remove them except for non payment and you cannot refuse to accept them because of pre-existing conditions.
    4.  Change the rule so medicare can bargain with drug companies for price discounts (what sane capitialistic society would agree to that restriction in the first place?)
    5. rescind the rule that allows drug comapnies to advertise on TV
    6. cut costs by having medicare give better payouts to hospitals doctors, and other healthcare providers based on the Mayo and Cleveland clinic providers.

    Healthcare is not complicated. We have models that work (and even more examples should we allow ourselves to look to Europe), it should be a right for every citizen ,it will level the playing field for american businesses especially small businesses, eliminate most personal bankruptcies and there is no excuse that our congress and particularly our president should be conning us into accepting less.Anything they have now is worse than nothing and just a payout to private insurers. No surprise from this administration though since the bank bailout was just a payout to the bad actors that brought the economic crisis in the first place.    

    Silver lining (5.00 / 5) (#92)
    by jbindc on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:47:57 PM EST
    Come one now, just because they caved on a public option doesn't mean it's all gray skies for us!  At least,as a consolation prize (according to Greg Palast), Obama's deal with the drug companies will save some money - 2%.

    And there's more to look froward to:

    Now it's Let's Make a Deal with hospital lobbyists.

    First, the President was caught with his principles down, cutting a scuzzy back-room deal with pharmaceutical lobbyist Billy Tauzin to limit drug price savings to just 2% over 10 years (see attached, "Obama on Drugs: 98% Cheney?"), the New York Times today reports that another deal was sealed by lobbyist Chip Kahn of the American Hospital Association.

    Here are the numbers they don't want you to see: Hospitals will be allowed to hike their prices and revenues by six trillion dollars ($5,853 billion) over the next ten years, only $155 billion less than they had projected before the Obama "reform."

    In all, the Obama back-room deal will "reduce" our $26 trillion total hospital bill over the next decade by one-half of one percent.

    Once again, the lobbyists got the gold mine, the public got the shaft.

    Say it ain't so, Mr. President.

    This is why I find the ... (5.00 / 4) (#137)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 02:39:37 PM EST
    Obama is a bungler argument unpersuasive.

    He didn't bungle these deals.


    Capitulation on a capitulation? (5.00 / 6) (#105)
    by ricosuave on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:08:24 PM EST
    Don't forget that the "public option" was itself already a capitulation.  Obama backed off of earlier claims to support single payer.  The public option is a compromise offer to placate single payer advocates (it is government run, not private, but instead of replacing insurance companies it will compete with them).  A limited public option (meaining only available to a certain number or class of people instead of simply being available to anyone who wanted it) was a capitulation from extending medicare or providing some other policy that EVERYONE could sign up for if they preferred it.

    So really Obama has capitulated from his capitulation of his capitulation.  By the time this actually gets to some kind of a vote, we will be debating whether or public schools will be required to relinquish their playgrounds to provide extra holes on private insurance executive golf courses.

    Make Him Do It (5.00 / 2) (#117)
    by s5 on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:18:46 PM EST
    Who knows if this is some deliberate strategy or what, but it doesn't matter. The right reaction is for progressives to get angry and flood their legislators with phone calls. I feel like our side is so used to losing that our reaction is "oh well I knew it was coming anyway". A public option will pass if enough pressure is put on the White House and Congress. Currently the only public pressure is coming from the right.

    Pathetic. (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by desertswine on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:30:35 PM EST

    pols may be pols (5.00 / 5) (#128)
    by Dadler on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:57:06 PM EST
    but it seems one party's pols are much "better" at arm-twisting and playing metal-spikes hardball to get the crap they want.

    i understand the concept of something being not doable politically, but i don't understand giving up without really fighting hard and passionately.

    Like Howard Dean says... (5.00 / 6) (#131)
    by Romberry on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 02:17:17 PM EST
    "The public option is the only real reform left in this bill. Without a public option, it's not worth passing this bill." - Howard Dean on Countdown (YouTube video link)

    Obama - Tower of Jelly (5.00 / 3) (#139)
    by lentinel on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 02:49:20 PM EST
    Can't wait for the Dems to declare victory.
    Talk about sound and fury signifying nothing.
    Obama never was into health care reform. He just had to say something to counter Clinton in the primaries.

    Iraq still festers.
    Gitmo still festers.
    Rendition still festers.
    Afghanistan is boiling over.
    Drones are still killing people.
    The White House is withholding evidence from us.

    Really exhausting because everything seems so dumb.

    But it's good theatre, no? (5.00 / 2) (#147)
    by hookfan on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:18:46 PM EST
    The Dems have been doing excellent kabuki since king George stole into the Whitehouse. Don't ya remember all the capitulations to George, even when he was unpopular, even after they took control of congress. And so it continues. . .
       I wonder if the Repubs aren't doing the insanity dance intentionally-- more theatre! Their agenda reigns supreme. They are fully satisfying their base. And best of all, they don't own any responsibility for the coming clusterf*ck. The Dems will own it all. What's not to like then about being in the minority and have your war, corporatist, and even religious agenda rule? Heck, ya don't have to be popular if your overall agenda is being handed to you carte blanc.
       Ya, Obama must really love him some Reaganism. Heck, so there is but one party. And it ain't the Democratic Party. Behold the future of the Democratic party (thanks Donna)-- to be republican. Yeahhhhh!!!!!!

    No (none / 0) (#158)
    by lentinel on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:29:18 PM EST
    It's not even good theatre.
    What would you choose as theatre if given a choice between watching these people pick our pockets, or watching say... "The Price is Right"?

    There's a difference? (none / 0) (#161)
    by hookfan on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:33:26 PM EST
     All that popcorn wasted. . .

    The compromised HR3200 w/ Blue Dog amendments (5.00 / 4) (#173)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:57:19 PM EST
    is perhaps a leading indicator of where the WH was pushing Congressional legislation. It passed on July 31st--ironically, one day after the anniversary of LBJ's signing of the Medicare law in 1965. Oh, how the Dems have fallen!

    I called Waxman's office and his committee office to try to learn where I could read the amended HR3200. I was told "they're still working on it," which seemed strange since the House was in recess and there couldn't be any votes. But apparently it takes quite a while to write the legislativese....

    However, Lynn Woolsey was on the Diane Rehm Show on August 3, and she said that the Blue Dogs won $5 Billion for health co-ops, which did not have to be paid back; the public plan, whatever it was to be, received only $2 Billion funding--which did have to be paid back. See any favoritism here? Any moves to create a failed public plan?

    I wrote up comments about the show, and since there are no transcripts I did listen again to make sure I'd heard correctly. I had. Comment and one following cover the show, plus I wrote another to confirm what I wrote earlier. (Audio available at link in comments)

    The Senate HELP bill, passed considerably earlier has not been written up and published yet. Kip Sullivan got a marked up copy, which he wrote about.

    Good catch on the Diane Rehm Show. (none / 0) (#184)
    by shoephone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:12:29 PM EST
    Thanks for highlighting it.

    yup. they won. (5.00 / 1) (#183)
    by JamesTX on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:12:19 PM EST
    so much for the KOS hypothesis that street protest is no longer effective.

    One must accept the ... (4.20 / 5) (#39)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:51:37 AM EST
    most cynical position:  This is what they wanted all along.

    Another possibility: this isn't what they wanted (5.00 / 8) (#49)
    by Spamlet on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:56:00 AM EST
    but Obama and his administration have turned out to be incompetent at fighting for what they did want.

    That's the right one (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:00:17 PM EST
    BTD, Obama et all never made clear what they (5.00 / 6) (#64)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:09:55 PM EST
    really wanted, and, with the backroom Oval Office deals, they're not demonstrating any real care for providing CARE to people. Insurance, yes; but that serves to allow the parasites to feed on more hosts.

    He never made clear (5.00 / 4) (#70)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:19:15 PM EST
    what he would FIGHT for. something different alotgether.

    What do you believe Obama (none / 0) (#97)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:53:06 PM EST
    really wanted re health care reform?  And how do you know this?

    this is annoying to me (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:58:22 PM EST
    What evidence would you accept?

    How about his public statements?

    How about common sense?

    the hatred for Obama from some of you is as bad as the blind love from his worshippers.


    I do not hate Obama. My recollection (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:03:13 PM EST
    was he was against mandated insurance.  He apparently did not submit a health coverage reform package to Congresss.  There still isn't a complete bill.  

    My gawd (5.00 / 3) (#106)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:08:53 PM EST
    Obama had no set ACTUAL views on health care.

    Hell, nobody did UNTIL Edwards went out with a big plan.

    Then Obama bet on Hillary not following suit (he was never worried about Edwards and rightly so) and tacked Center, knowing he had her flanked on Iraq.

    Then Hillary went the Edwards mile on health care. But Obama was stuck at that point.

    But once in office, he quickly accepted mandates (indeed, mandates was the easiest part it turned out, because the insurance companies liked the idea, without a public option) and the public option.

    He said so and continues to say so.

    But he thinks he can not get it passed in the Senate. And maybe he is right. I do not know.

    But what he is for is what is best for him politically. That's the best policy. and thus the best politics. Results DO matter.

    But now he is faced, in his mind, with no bill vs. a bill without a public option. So he is not going to fight for it.

    I think my post is clear that I think he is making a huge mistake, on every level.


    However, Obama never made clear what a public (5.00 / 2) (#160)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:32:27 PM EST
    option would look like. He never defined it. It was amorphous. It could be anything!

    He had some principles, also somewhat vague.

    That's my problems with him. Lack of definition, clarity.

    Not LBJ by a long shot. (And he's got himself his own war, expanding, expanding....)


    Thank you. (none / 0) (#109)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:11:42 PM EST
    It's more comfortable ... (5.00 / 3) (#66)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:14:20 PM EST
    to believe that.  But I doubt it.

    However, it really doesn't matter: If you serve the interests of the insurance companies through incompetence or by design, the end result is the same.

    But I'll take the cynical route here.  And it's not much of a stretch we already saw him bow and scrape before Wall Street.

    Fool me once ... and so on ...


    It's more comfortable for a lot of you (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:18:44 PM EST
    to believe otherwise.

    It is rather distasteful and really weakens otherwise sound arguments.


    Both positions are (5.00 / 4) (#88)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:43:38 PM EST
    cold comfort.  So what if I accept your position:  Okay, we have an incompetent president.  Hurray!

    The more important question is:  Where do we go from here?

    Do we sit idly by while a bunch of people attempt to convince us of the wonder of co-ops?

    Do we take scraps from the Duke's table and call it a banquet?

    Or do we fight the bill and give the President and give the President a potentially crippling defeat?



    I suspect our choices are one (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:47:23 PM EST
    Let them give us a Medicare Part D analogy and hope we get the same analogous few scraps (and not less) that Medicare recipients got with Part D.

    They'll pass this horrifying thing if their constituents in industry want them to.


    Disingenuous (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:48:44 PM EST
    You accuse others of taking a "comfortable position" but do not like it when the same is said of you.

    Here's my thinking, if you are interested. Obama and his team are not stupid. Since you and I and most everybody with a brain thinks the public option would render the best results, then Occam's Razor, it seems likely the Administration would want the best policy, as that would be the best politics.

    Having bungled the fight, they think they are facing no plan vs what they think is better than no plan (and certainly, in the short term, passage of something is better politically than passing nothing.)

    The logic is unassialable.

    Your thinking is not cynical, it is illogical. And I call you on it. And it shows anti-Cultist tendencies. An emotional analysis based on your dislike of Obama instead of a rational analysis.


    Popularly constructed ... (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:16:20 PM EST
    Occam's Razor is:

    when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better.

    But the real razor is:

    entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily

    It seems like you're the one that's multiplying entities.

    I think we'd both accept insurance companies are to blame for the weak tea bill, blaming them for the no tea bill seems the simplest answer and requires only one entity.

    But either way, I'd rather discuss the next step, than get all internety about why we got here.

    What do you think we should do now?


    I have not seen any evidence (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by otherlisa on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:08:18 PM EST
    that Obama has a firm commitment to any particular policy positions. I don't think that's "blind hatred" on my part, I think it's an honest evaluation of the evidence. He wanted to pass "health reform" without clearly stating or even knowing what that means. Therefore the actual policies are completely mutable.

    Add to that the pressure of the health insurance industry, and this is what you get.

    (SEE "WALL STREET REFORM" for further evidence)


    As opposed to what pol (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:10:08 PM EST
    I think that believing any other pol does have "set views" is absurd. And to think Obama is different than any  other is absurd.

    I think your views are clearly tinged with Obama hatred.


    I don't think (5.00 / 5) (#145)
    by otherlisa on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:18:08 PM EST
    you know enough about my views to make that judgment.

    I voted for Obama - not happily, I will admit. I went into the primaries expecting to be impressed by him, as so many of my progressive friends were. I was not. I felt from the beginning that there was no "there" there, even for a politician.

    I don't hate Obama but I am sad and disgusted, because this was the best moment in decades for some real progressive change. I had no expectations that we could fix everything all at once; I just hoped we could start steering the ship back in on a good course.

    In any case, what difference does it make if your view is correct or my view is correct? The end results are the same. He started negotiations with a compromise, and you are never going to get anything close to what you want that way.

    Well, now that I think about it, your view is the more optimistic one, because if this is the result of ineptitude, there's the hope that he'll learn from this. So, I guess that's the "hope" we have left.


    This was my ... (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:25:40 PM EST
    point as well:

    Well, now that I think about it, your view is the more optimistic one, because if this is the result of ineptitude, there's the hope that he'll learn from this. So, I guess that's the "hope" we have left.

    As opposed to pol Pres. Obama (none / 0) (#111)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:13:45 PM EST
    publicly stating he would not sign a bill including funding for F-22s.  

    What? (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:16:28 PM EST
    He knew he would win that.

    My gawd, irrationality is the order of the day from the lot of you.



    Isn't part of your purpose in (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:42:34 PM EST
    blogging to educate those of us who aren't as quick as you?  

    lol (3.66 / 3) (#123)
    by squeaky on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:49:24 PM EST
    Quick is certainly not the issue. Stuck, maybe more so.

    F@#%!!!! (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by coigue on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:02:56 PM EST
    ALL the dems need some behavioral mod so they can learn how to be the MAJORITY party.

    I am so tired of being dissappointed.


    I think you give them too much credit (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 02:37:28 PM EST
    I think we're just seeing government by conciliation versus scorched-earth opposition.  It's no surprise that in the final analysis the Obamas, McCaskils, Conrads, etc., who campaigned in large part on magically avoiding confrontation, will not fight for anything.  

    No waiting for Baucus to fail, eh? (none / 0) (#83)
    by hookfan on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:33:12 PM EST

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:33:34 PM EST
    I can tell you (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:27:29 PM EST
    that I'm glad I put off applying to intern with Baucus this summer to work and watch my little brother what a freaking nightmare that would have been.

    Well, (none / 0) (#103)
    by KeysDan on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:07:20 PM EST
    I am sticking to my earlier opinion that there will be a "public option" in the final and imminent Assurance of Insurance legislation. Why, just yesterday at the Colorado town hall meeting, the president explained that a public option is needed to "keep the insurance companies honest".  So, without it--guess what.   However, I am also sticking to that part of my earlier opinion that the a public option, after being in and out more than a fiddler's elbow,  will be included to become a "political win in the face of  fierce opposition".  However, my bet is that the "public option" or sort of public/private co-op  that does emerge will be so hobbled as to be a travesty of best hopes.  I am with Drs. Quentin Young and Sidney Wolfe that even a kinder, gentler public plan will fail in the healthcare marketplace. Never in the camp of "public option" or bust, I am for making lemonade.

    Not entirely correct summary of Obama's remarks (5.00 / 2) (#119)
    by kempis on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:29:38 PM EST
    He also indicated yesterday that the public option is not necessary:



    Left it out of his NYT op-ed, too. (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by Cream City on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:55:56 PM EST
    As I did say, it is (none / 0) (#132)
    by KeysDan on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 02:19:28 PM EST
    in and out. But, the keeping them honest line  is quite a statement, if not indictment.  Moreover, a co-op or exchange is likely to be bruited so as to equate with a public option.  And, as I did say, too, it may not matter in the scheme of things.

    Lots of us have been worried for a long time that (5.00 / 3) (#150)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 03:24:36 PM EST
    Obama doesn't say much about the public option. When he explains why he won't support single payer, he sometimes offers the public option as the substitute that keeps private BIP* in place

    Of course, it worried me that he seldom identified himself as a Democrat during the primaries and the general election! There was a sigh of relief when he talked about the Democractic Party...at the Democratic National Convention.


    Dimensions (none / 0) (#204)
    by CSTAR on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 08:19:02 PM EST
    I thing we might disagree on the dimensionality of the chess game.

    Obama is focused on the rose garden... (none / 0) (#205)
    by masslib on Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 08:32:59 PM EST
    not the policy.  

    And, his few years removal from his part-time gig on the Il. state leg is really starting to show.  By the way you have it wrong.  Edwards didn't invent the plan.  Jacob Hacker did, and Kennedy sponsored it in 2007(?), though rather than creating a new option, he was just offering into Medicare.  Indeed, Bill Clinton proposed a buy-in to Medicare for 55-65 through out his second term.  The big tell that the PO was DOA last spring should have been no discussion of any sort expansion of Medicare, and in fact his focus instead on bending the cost curve of entitlements.