The White House Channels Ezra Klein

Yes, I am picking on Ezra. Here's the famous anonymous White House official:

"I don't understand why the left of the left has decided that this is their Waterloo," said a senior White House adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "We've gotten to this point where health care on the left is determined by the breadth of the public option. I don't understand how that has become the measure of whether what we achieve is health-care reform." "It's a mystifying thing," he added. "We're forgetting why we are in this."

(Emphasis supplied.) If you wonder if the Obama team is committed to the public option, the answer is an obvious no --"Another top aide expressed chagrin that a single element in the president's sprawling health-care initiative has become a litmus test for whether the administration is serious about the issue. "It took on a life of its own," he said." Funny, I thought the President said he supported the public option (I never had any illusion that he was married to anything.)

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    I am happy (5.00 / 8) (#1)
    by Steve M on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 09:47:17 AM EST
    to argue over the breadth of the public option as long as we can HAVE ONE.

    I have no idea who this senior advisor is, obviously, or whether they are even an advisor on health care.  I'm sure there are people in the White House who don't really care about health care policy and see this battle solely in terms of politics.  But it's annoying to deal with the sort of person who doesn't realize there's such a thing as good policy and bad policy.

    if (5.00 / 7) (#3)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 09:50:17 AM EST
    it's all about getting a "win" then is it really worth it? I mean Bush "won" a lot of things and look where it got him and his party. Getting a win that is "bad policy" really gets us nowhere IMO.

    No (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by sj on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:42:17 AM EST
    But the real bottomline here is affordable premiums and guaranteed coverage for all.

    No.  That is the negotiated bottom line.  The real bottomline here is access to health care.


    A different word (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by sj on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:00:54 AM EST
    with a different meaning.  "Coverage" is not a synonym to "Care."

    But glad to see we want the same thing.


    YES and the reality is that this (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:11:07 AM EST
    problem with our healthcare system has gone well beyong the question of people who don't have insurance coverage.

    The political debated would never have come to this stage of the debate if people who actually do have coverage had an acceptable level of and reliable access to care.  It would never have come to this if people who had paid dilligently into the system for decades were not suddenly finding themselves dropped from their insurers and bankrupted because they had the bad luck to get sick.  There is no problem finding some junk insurance policy to pay for monthly.  The problem is finding coverage that actually allows people access to care.


    I read it very well (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by sj on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:37:11 AM EST
    I just don't think you (along with many others) realize what you are saying.  The debate has gotten so messy that lots of people are now assuming that "coverage" equals "care".  In this case, semantics are important.  The messages are getting mixed.

    Ask the 7 out of ten bankruptcy victims who got there because of a health crises.  They had insurance coverage.  They would tell you that "coverage" doesn't equal "care".  You can bold "care" all you want, but even your own self-quote you're still mixing it up with "coverage".

    But I'm done talking about mixed messages, so getting your shriller will get no response from me.  I think we really want the same thing.  Even if you don't know it.


    As one (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:58:31 AM EST
    who has to pay the entire premium herself I am quite aware of the need for some sort of cost control that's why I was for the public option. However, if someone can show me another way to do it i'm all ears. So far no one's really address this issue that i'm aware of.

    All (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:48:35 AM EST
    of the costs are skyrocketing and an HSA does nothing really to control this. It's more or less a reimbursement account. Frankly, I'd rather have a savings account where I can earn a little interest than an HSA and that is what I do. I put money in savings as much as I can and that's what I use for glasses etc. Why bother with an HSA and all that paperwork when there's really no advantage to it?

    Well (none / 0) (#84)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 01:13:46 PM EST
    that's fine that it works for you. I dont see the advantage of them when a savings account does the same thing and has less red tape.

    HSA's don't control any costs. (none / 0) (#88)
    by ChiTownDenny on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 07:03:55 PM EST
    They're application is for you to use your dollars toward the expense of healthcare.

    They're, there, their. Whatever! (none / 0) (#89)
    by ChiTownDenny on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 07:05:33 PM EST

    I have one (none / 0) (#91)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:20:21 PM EST
    A high deductible ($1,500) plan with an HSA I can put $3k a year into and pay expenses other than health insurance premiums from with pretax dollars. The premiums are lower than an HMO or PPO but still really high.

    The reason I like it is after the $1,500, it pays 100% for everything -- no co-pays, no deductions. Applies to preventive care, doctors, prescriptions (brand and generic) and should I need a hospital stay or surgery, it pays 100% of everything from dollar one.

    Also, it comes with a debit card so you can use it at regular grocery/drug stores for anything that's health related, like over the counter cold medicine, a humidfier, etc.

    The tax savings on the HSA is pretty inconsequential. It's really a glorified IRA you can take money out now from for certain things. But another benefit is that it rolls over. Whatever I don't spend this year stays in the account and I can use it next year. (I think it does earn a few pennies in interest.

    My concern is that the insurance company will use the health care reform bill as an excuse to drop the plan or reduce the benefits or make the already high premiums out-of-reach.

    But I still support the public option because I don't think one has anything to do with the other. The insurance companies are going to do what they want, and if they don't collect it from the person with the pre-existing condition, they'll raise the premiums or drop the benefit level for the healthy person. I'm resigned to it already.


    Look at where it got our (none / 0) (#21)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:25:26 AM EST

    I don't think there are many peope in Washington left anymore who are here to do good things for the country.  When I was a kid, the majority of the people in this town had come here inspired by JFK's call to action.  That crowd is either retiring or dying and the replacements that have come up in the past 30 years are sadly rarely here for anything but access to power and money - even in the agencies thanks to GWB.


    The quote (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 09:48:56 AM EST
    just shows me that this person doesnt know anything about health insurance. I'm not the left actually I fall kind of in the middle according to those tests but I want a public options because I am sick to death of paying these ungodly premiums every month. I want something that will DRIVE down the costs and propping up the insurance companies is NOT going to do this.

    Reality (none / 0) (#28)
    by Slado on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:33:33 AM EST
    Nothing, absolutely nothing is going to drive down costs.

    Healtcare is a commodity that continualy grows in services every year.   The ability to keep someone alive who only a few years before would otherwise die (and no one woudl feel bad about it) grows every year.

    So, the costs must go up to continue to push the envelope.

    The question is what is fair?   Do you as the consumer have a right to the latest technology or last years, or the years before?   If we agree that everyone can't have everything how do we determine who gets it.

    The core of this debate is do you trust the market or the government to make that decision.

    Cost can be restrained or improved but we are fooling ourselves if we think that costs are going to come down.

    More people, more options, more services and more technology means that it's going to cost more for someone.    


    More options (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by CST on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:42:06 AM EST
    that's all we're talking about here.  The point is - neither the market nor the government work best in a vacuum.  Why not open up the opportunity to make a choice between which one works better for you as an individual.  There is no ban on private healthcare anywhere on the table.  Why ban public healthcare?

    If that was the proposal (none / 0) (#35)
    by Slado on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:49:21 AM EST
    I'd be all for it.

    Why not a small public option and tax rebates?

    Why not aboloshing state regulatory laws so we can get more companies to consumers?

    Why not, why not?   But what has been put out there is awful and according to the CBO won't do anything to reign in costs.

    Now where I agree with liberals is Obama shouldn't just take the public option off the table.  He should admit that the version the House has agreed on sucks and he'll come up with his own.

    This all gets back to Obama seems to want to do the talking but not do the work.   He lets congress muck up his good ideas and then wastes time defending the work of others and pretending that he should get the credit.

    Obama should write a plan, put it out there and defend it.  Instead he's defending the indefensible from both sides and killing any chance of good reform.


    Ah yes (5.00 / 11) (#40)
    by Steve M on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:51:36 AM EST
    let's get rid of state regulation of insurance, for the benefit of consumers!  I just LOVE this argument.

    What are you afraid of (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by CST on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:53:02 AM EST
    in the current bill?  Where does it prevent private insurance from functioning?

    The public option as it is presented is tiny as it is.

    Aboloshing regulatory rules sounds like a great idea.  How'd that work for the banks?

    What about the house version do you think "sucks"?  In my opinion, the public option provision is too small, and should be expanded to at least be available to more people.  That will help drive down costs.  I have a feeling that's not what you think though.


    Wait really (5.00 / 5) (#45)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:58:01 AM EST
    Abolish state regulations it will help consumers? You really want to argue that when basically all evidence points to the opposite conclusion, that state deregulation of industries as disparate as Power and Credit leads not only to increased costs but also to decreased quality?

    State regulation (none / 0) (#80)
    by KeysDan on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    is about consumer protection.  And, strict regulation of insurers is about all that remains for consumer assurances of fair prices in the proposals being considered,  especially without a real public option.

    Costs are being driven in part by the very fact (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by ruffian on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:49:34 AM EST
    of for-profit insurance. The true cost of health care itself can't be judged right now, because the rate structures would be vastly different if so many people did not have insurance.

    Imagine no one had insurance - would providers be charging what they are now?

    You can argue that the profit motive drives the innovation, but the innovation does not seem to be creating better results in the way of increased health overall.

    And I personally find the government just as trustworthy as an insurance company in making decisions about what services they will let me have. I would buy into Medicare in a heartbeat if allowed.


    I remember (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:53:12 AM EST
    When I was in college, I went to the dentist.  Didn't have insurance, and when I went to pay for a routine exam, the receptionist charged me $55.  As we were talking while I was checking out, she told me if I had insurance, they would have billed it out at $75 - for the exact same exam.

    That was my first real experience with what a sham the whole health care industry can be.

    So, to answer your question - no, if no one had insurance, they would not be billing what they do.


    Now it's the other way around (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by sj on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:03:12 AM EST
    The uninsured pay MORE than the insured.

    I suspect she meant (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:11:55 AM EST
    she bills $75 and the insurance companies pay $55...and her office is nice enough to offer the non-insured the same price that the insurance companies pay out.

    She was trying to make you feel good about your $55.

    If you look at your insurance statements from care, they never pay out what they are billed.


    But my point is that if no one (none / 0) (#79)
    by ruffian on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 01:01:24 PM EST
    had insurance, they would probably not have gotten away with charging even $55 - not enough people would be able to afford it, and the dentist would go broke. Thus all medical providers would be making less money than they do now...and thus medical school would be less expensive - they would not be able to charge that much either.

    The whole price structure would be different if it weren't propped up by all of our insurance premiums. So making an argument that we can't bring prices down, without taking that into account, is missing the point.


    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:02:23 AM EST
    there are many ways that costs can be made to come down. One of them is elimating cost shifting. Another one is to get rid of the AMA stranglehold on Medical schools.

    Eliminate the AMA stronghold (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:11:19 AM EST
    sounds like people who want to cut the AFL-CIO stranglehold, or destroy the NEA.

    You (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:14:22 AM EST
    obviously dont understand that the AMA has strict control of the ebb and flow of what comes out of the medical schools do you? Did you know that the AMA has literall required medical schools to greatly reduce their graduate numbers in certain specialities as to keep the salaries artifically inflated. I dont see the NEA having this kind of power over the curriculum in schools. Do you?

    Now I've said my ABC's (none / 0) (#61)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:13:56 AM EST
    tell me what you think of me.

    (couldn't resist, sorry) ;-).


    Another way (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by hookfan on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:42:38 AM EST
    is to realize we don't really need the middle man who gives additive charges for access to care. We really could have socialized options for care, as well as promote government bargaining for medications that would severely reduce prices initially. By cutting out private insurance as the means to access to care, doctors would save huge percentages (I've seen over 40%) on overhead expenses, and I believe hospitals could do the same by not having to deal with the insurance industry. That would accrue without even beginning to reign in costs for advances in medical care. Reduction in abuses for end of life care would also eliminate increased costs, i.e., if more money was flowing into actual care in rest/retirement homes, rather than to overhead servicing private owners, negotiating with insurance companies, etc.
       But, alas, in our not so infinite wisdom in the US we worship at the altar of private insurance industry because we are afraid of being called names. Quite a price we pay, I might say. . .

    Another savings is efficiency (none / 0) (#78)
    by Lacey on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 12:40:46 PM EST
    In an odd twist free market philosphy, health care actually works backwards from the so-called norm. Companies don't need to find efficiencies to deliver health care because they just jack up prices. People need it and they can't really shop around for it. Under a single payer system, the government is always looking at ways to provide better health care at a cheaper price. After all, It's an oddity but true.

    If it is impossible to lower the (5.00 / 4) (#64)
    by my opinion on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:22:18 AM EST
    cost of health care then why do so many other countries have everyone covered for much lower costs? Why aren't we learning from them?

    I live in Canada (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Lacey on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 12:37:18 PM EST
    Costs are lower because we place more emphasis on preventive medicine and, under single payer, there is also far less paperwork. The other thing that single payer does to cut down costs is that healthcare is not about making money. As such, under the US system, a profit must be made. Under Canada's system, no profit is necessary.

    Poor metaphor. The left didn't think of this (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by tigercourse on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 09:52:28 AM EST
    as their Waterloo, they thought this was was going to be VE day. But the Democrats, sure enough, are trying to turn this into our Gettysburg.

    Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by ruffian on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:12:03 AM EST
    This debacle more likely to be the WH's Waterloo.

    I never thought he was MARRIED to anything (5.00 / 6) (#5)
    by Faust on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 09:52:32 AM EST
    But I did hope that he would put up some kind of FIGHT for the public option. This "I support one but lots of my people are going to talk it down" just looks weak.

    In any case Obama can not be married to it all he wants. He's clearly demonstrated his extreme middle of the road pragmatism so it comes as no great suprise he's willing to "compromise."

    Progressives are under no such "obligation" to compromise however. We can and should draw this line in the sand. Just because we are frequently more open to debate, like a diversity of ideas, and have a big tent, should not mean we capitulate on everything that is important to us for the sake of a "win" for "democrats."

    I don't think he cares about much in (none / 0) (#25)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:29:16 AM EST
    terms of policy unless he believes that it is politically helpful to him - which is how he can rationalize dropping the public option idea in favor of "just getting something passed".  He is in for a rude awakening if he does get any of the lesser plans passed because the problem with enacting policy as opposed to giving pretty speaches is that people feel the effects of policy and when the effect isn't as good or is viewed as harmful - politicians usually pay a pretty high price for their shortfall.

    I guess I am the "left of the left" (5.00 / 8) (#6)
    by kenosharick on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 09:52:47 AM EST
    because it makes perfect sense to me that without the public option (already a comprmise from single-payer) there is no reform.  This anonymous official's ignorance is stunning. Of course it is looking the the entire administration just does not get it- the left will not sit still for some pseudo-reform that only benefits the insurance companies.

    Perhaps there is a problem with agenda (5.00 / 7) (#7)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 09:53:32 AM EST
    "It's a mystifying thing," he added. "We're forgetting why we are in this."

    I'd say the "left of the left" knows why they're in it (and has been pretty consistent), so perhaps it just doesn't jive with why the WH is in it?

    I know I'm mystified (5.00 / 6) (#10)
    by ruffian on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:07:47 AM EST
    I've been under the impression for a number of years now that Universal Health Care was a prime goal of "the left of the left" or even just "the left" or even the "center left". That is why we're in it.

    Yes, why is the WH in it? Good question.


    Intentionally or not, I think the White House (5.00 / 6) (#8)
    by andgarden on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 09:55:01 AM EST
    has woken up the left--perhaps just in time.

    Woke up labor big time too (5.00 / 8) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:11:03 AM EST
    AFL-CIO says the federation is drawing a line in the sand when it comes to a public option in the health care bill. They announced that they will monitor the votes and threaten there will be political consequence for politicians voting no. HuffPo

    At the AFL-CIO Convention in September, the biggest floor fight there may be over health care. There is lack of support for the public option because get this

    552 labor bodies

    -- from international unions down to local councils -- want to go in a different direction: A government-run single-payer Medicare-like system. link

    But (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:22:23 AM EST
    If those who vote "no" make it through a primary, where's Big Labor going to go?  They won't sit out...

    Maybe, maybe not (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by MO Blue on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:44:31 AM EST
    Trumka's warning shots come at a time that the AFL-CIO is charting out a more aggressive campaign to target lawmakers who, as one official put it, "take labor's help but don't vote for labor's interests." Part of that process is to hold out the prospect of electoral consequences.HuffPo

    If (I know a big if) labor, Dean's group, MoveOn, Democratic Blogasphere, coordinated their efforts, it would make for a very, very interesting primary season.

    Also, labor has to get their rank and file to actually vote. Many may not be too willing to continue to support people who do not support them. We gave them everything they needed to pursue our agendas and now they refuse to do so. Don't know how much longer the Dems can continue to publicly sh1t on their base without facing political blow back. Remember in off season elections you must energize your base to win.


    I mean in places like Conneticut and the rest of the Northeast and California primary challenges could be wise, but in Blue Dog districts aren't we doing the same "purity over everything" crap that we laughed at the GOP for doing- I mean what's the difference between them going after Charlie Crist, Susan Collins, Specter, et al, and us doing it to say Ben Nelson or Heath Shuler?

    Even Ben Nelson (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Steve M on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:05:26 AM EST
    needs union support and a lot of it if he wants to win.

    Do you think the unions are under an affirmative obligation to spend their time and money supporting him, even if he votes to filibuster health care?


    Correct, the unions only need to put pressure (none / 0) (#71)
    by MO Blue on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 12:04:13 PM EST
    on him to vote yes for cloture. He can vote no on the actual bill all he wants. It won't matter. The Republicans do this all the time. It is past time for the Dems to require at least a positive cloture vote for their agenda items in return for continuing support.

    Crist, Collins and Specter (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by ruffian on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:09:08 AM EST
    go along with their own party nearly 100% of the time. They are not a constant force against the stated goals of their own party. Ben Nelson? A lot more troublesome.

    I don't recall Shuler voting (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by MO Blue on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:26:24 AM EST
    with the Democrats on anything. As long as the Democrats maintain their majority, Shular losing his seat is no real loss as far as I'm concerned. A well funded primary that sends a message that if you run as a Democrat, we expect you to vote like a Democrat at least some of the time has more value IMO. It also has value since it plants a few seeds by allowing an alternative message into a area.

    Yes, but (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by KeysDan on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 01:11:27 PM EST
    what to do about the right of the right?  Oh my goodness, they have good ideas too, you know.:)

    They need to channel Barney Frank (5.00 / 6) (#9)
    by Dadler on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:03:33 AM EST
    LOL (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by ruffian on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:09:33 AM EST
    I'd pay money to go to one of his town halls.

    Wow that is great. (none / 0) (#16)
    by Faust on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:11:39 AM EST
    5 stars!

    Consider this (5.00 / 11) (#11)
    by Steve M on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:09:06 AM EST
    At the same time this advisor is claiming that only the "left of the left" thinks the public option is a huge deal, Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO is saying this:

    In an interview with the Huffington Post on Saturday, Richard Trumka, the secretary-treasurer and likely next president of the AFL-CIO, said his federation is drawing a line in the sand when it comes to a public option in the health care bill. Lawmakers who don't support the provision, he said, shouldn't take anything for granted.

    "We'll look at every one of their votes," Trumka said after his speech at the Netroots Nation convention. "If they're against the Employee Free Choice Act, if they're against health care for that reason, I think it'll be tough for them to get support from working people."

    Trumka's remarks were echoed privately by several other labor officials at the convention in Pittsburgh. In particular, the emerging Senate Finance Committee plan - which seems unlikely to contain a public option and could end up taxing pricey health care packages - seems almost guaranteed to incite the unions.

    Very few people went to the mat for Obama during the campaign as strongly as Trumka.  How do you think he likes seeing organized labor breezily dismissed as "the left of the left"?

    By the way, try to find me an example where someone from the Bush White House anonymously derided something as a "far right" proposal.  Republicans seem to understand better than Democrats that even if you don't agree with your base on everything, it's downright stupid to piss on them gratuitously.

    Evidently the WH has determined (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by MO Blue on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:17:21 AM EST
    that the majority of the Democratic Party consists of the "left of the left."

    And some Republicans and (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:32:42 AM EST
    Independents - if you believe the polling that generally shows that more than 70% of Americans support the idea of a public option.  Obama seems to be defining "the middle" as somewhere over there in the far right of the country.  Like none of the rest of us exist - even if we are a clear majority.

    Poll please (none / 0) (#34)
    by Slado on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:45:05 AM EST
    NBC says 47% against 43% for

    No where close to a majority.

    Any poll you site also is for the "idea" of a public option.  

    Once someone learns that it will cost a bunch, can't be paid for and won't reduce overall costs (which is impossible see previous post) the number is reduced down to what you see above.

    The public option is dead as a politically popular idea.   Obama can only jam it through and suffer the inevitable political consequences.


    47-43 (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by CST on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:49:23 AM EST
    with a margin of error greater than 4 is hardly dead.

    Once people realize it's not gonna kill grandma and force them out of their current insurance, the number will go up.

    The political consequences will not affect Obama himself, maybe some congress people.  The only thing that can affect Obama is the economy in 2012.


    That's true (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Steve M on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:50:30 AM EST
    if you repeat Republican claims as fact in your poll, the numbers definitely become less favorable!

    Of course, if the public option passes and things work out well, the Democrats will reap quite an electoral harvest.  The Republicans made lots of claims about the supposedly disastrous results of passing Medicare and those claims didn't exactly pan out.


    That poll only shows how effective (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:06:06 AM EST
    the private insurers' and the GOP's recent lies about killing grandma have been.  There was a slew of earlier polls that showed that between 70 and 76% of people supported the idea of a public option.  Obama ignored that support then and has allowed the public option to be beaten to hell.  Personally, if he is as smart as some like to claim he is, then the only reasonable conclusion I can draw is that he's allowed this to happen deliberately.  I always got the impression that Obama was more of a non-interventionist where it came to government than not - that he believes in private and religious entities providing services that people like me believe are best managed and distributed by government.  It is, therefore, not surprising to me at all that he would have no attachment to a public plan and that he would even go so far as to undermine its passage by whatever means.

    Exactly (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by ruffian on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:35:37 AM EST
    By the way, try to find me an example where someone from the Bush White House anonymously derided something as a "far right" proposal.

    So true. They did the opposite and proclaimed that the views of their far right base were the views of the everyday 'real Americans'. Do that for a while and ideas that used to sound extreme start to seem moderate, and guys like John McCain sound almost reasonable.

    Sigh...once more, under the bus.


    In a way I'm not surprised (none / 0) (#73)
    by ZtoA on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 12:13:55 PM EST
    He ran against the dem party, established party leaders and the party platform in some cases. After the primary he did not strongly move to consolidate the party. Just let it happen, which it did. Sort of.

    Actually I can do that (none / 0) (#86)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 01:36:29 PM EST
    its only on one issue, but it was an issue where the far right went against the Bush machine, won and in doing so may have doomed the GOP in the long term- Immigration Reform.

    The entire sales pitch (5.00 / 5) (#14)
    by lilburro on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:10:57 AM EST
    hinged on the "public option."  It is truly mind blowing to me that they now see fit to abandon it, because other than the public option, no other concept in healthcare reform was sold in a cohesive fashion.  It makes no sense to me politically that they're doing this.

    Also seem to have conveniently forgotten (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by ruffian on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 01:08:22 PM EST
    the the "public option" as put forward is already a compromise position to single payer or Medicare-for-all.

    This comes from a campaign (5.00 / 7) (#18)
    by Cream City on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:15:57 AM EST
    of talking a lot and not listening, despite all the pretense of websites to message Obama and such blather.  When he said "what she said" to Clinton's answers on health care, it would have been wise of future White House officials to look up what it was that she said -- not only in 2008 but 15 years ago . . . when this White House official probably still was in preschool.  Send him back to high school history class, anyway, to study up on what she said -- and what Truman said.  

    The public option is not new or news.  But it looks like it will be history again, because we are being led by fools.

    Are we being Sister Souljah'd? (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by ruffian on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:26:28 AM EST
    I really hope this is not going to be the WH's attempt to look tough and 'centrist' by standing up to their base.

    Don't forget (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:26:50 AM EST
    Obama is neither left, nor right.  He is 11th dimensional....

    Why do I get the feeling that when this (5.00 / 7) (#56)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:08:58 AM EST
    anonymous WH official used the term "the left of the left," his nose was wrinkled like he'd just caught a whiff of something really foul-smelling?

    Really not very pleasant to be talked about this way by a Democrat, and even more unpleasant to have these so-called Democrats now starting to gaslight the DFH's on reform.  

    And Ezra...he's joined the ranks of the rest of the WaPo Villagers, as near as I can tell; he needs de-programming in a really big way.

    As soon as the discussion shifted to health insurance reform, I knew this was not going to end well; yes, the insurance system need a lot of reform and a lot of regulation, but that's not happening, either.  The insurance industry will reap profits at levels that have never been seen before, while millions will still not be able to afford the care they need.

    Can Obama call that a win?  I guess he can call it whatever he wants, but he's no longer in idea-land, where speeches make people feel good - he's in reality land, where what he and the Congress decide have actual effects on people's lives.  Count on there being a lot of angry variations on, "Obama said this would help me, and it isn't helping me at all - I have less money, the coverage is bad, and I still can't afford to see my damn doctor or the medications I need!"

    I am more convinced than ever that if Obama had not had to be a Democrat to survive the Chicago political machine, he'd be a Republican.  And if he had a big ol' (R) after his name, we'd all be saying, "Well, of course that's makes sense - he's a Republican, after all!"

    I think he is killing the Democratic Party a little more with every issue he takes on.

    Well, that, and ... (none / 0) (#72)
    by sj on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 12:04:40 PM EST
    I am more convinced than ever that if Obama had not had to be a Democrat to survive the Chicago political machine, he'd be a Republican.  

    ... the current Republican party is crazy.  sher will probably troll rate me again for saying this, but Obama has always reminded me of the Republicans of my youth in a semi-rural farming community.  At that time we (Ds and Rs) agreed on the problems but disagreed on the solutions.  And the disagreement could be discussed without the introduction of spittle.


    Strange choice of word... (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by Oje on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 12:25:31 PM EST
    Waterloo... Just yesterday, I read:  

    Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., demonstrated that obstructing reform is all about politics when he told conservative activists on a conference call last month, "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."

    First, this senior official seems to be channeling Jim DeMint for reasons unknown, not very creative. Plays into the Republicans characterization of the health debate as a matter of fact. Second, the official's use of the analogy is wrong (unlike DeMint's). The "left of the left" cannot decide that the public option is "their [own] Waterloo" (site of decisive defeat). Perhaps the official means that the "left of the left" could decide that the public option is the "Waterloo" of Republicans and conservatives. If so, that is not terribly insightful, since Jim DeMint and company are the ones who made the public option the target after Obama took single-payer off the table.

    It seems to me this official is suggesting that among some circles in the administration, defeating liberals (the left of the left?) on the public option is key to shutting liberals down for the rest of the Obama administration. In which case, this is not a fight over health care reform any longer... It is a post-election fight over the course of party politics for the next 4-8 years.

    Very good point (none / 0) (#81)
    by ruffian on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    It seems to me this official is suggesting that among some circles in the administration, defeating liberals (the left of the left?) on the public option is key to shutting liberals down for the rest of the Obama administration.

    I was assuming he was just using the Waterloo analogy wrong, but this makes more sense.


    You Know How You Hate the Blue Dogs? (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by tropicgirl on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 01:16:02 PM EST
    I think we are seeing that THE PRESIDENT IS THE BIGGEST BLUE DOG OF ALL!

    The truth is, the president has been on a collision course with the Democrats since DAY ONE, so don't count on increasing support, it is decreasing all around.

     He has been LESS THAN HONEST with us about porkulus, war, spying and torture. .....and on HEALTH REFORM, Democratic and progressive voters STILL have SERIOUS QUESTIONS ABOUT:

    another trillion for what? where is that money going? will it go to insurance companies? To start new ones?

    why de-fund Medicare? Just stop stealing from the fund and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.

    why mandates?

    why keep employer-issued healthcare? This was supposed to stop to save American jobs. What happened?

    who makes managed care decisions? apparently still the insurance companies AND THEY WILL CONTINUE TO DO IT TO SAVE MONEY. THAT IS NOT GOOD NO MATTER HOW YOU LOOK AT IT. (see crazy Dr. Emmanuel's writings and Michelle and Axelrod's dubious patient dumping schemes)

    what about holistic medicine, dental and mental?

    AND WHY THE HECK HASN'T SOMEONE DONE AN HONEST COST ASSESSMENT OF SINGLE PAYER? WHY? This is the EASIEST program to implement because it is already there.

    The Democrats need to look at this bill carefully. I think it is a huge bailout of the health insurance industry and a gutting of Medicare, but until we see what it is, we will not know. DON'T FALL INTO THE OBAMA TRAP OF SUPPORTING SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVEN'T SEEN FOR YOURSELF.

    Obama cares too much about paying for health care by limiting care. Some things are worth going into debt for. Its the insurance companies that have to balance their budgets, for their profiteers on the sick, not the taxpayer. If that were the case then we would NEVER START ANOTHER WAR. The terrible job they did defending the "death panel" idea is an example of another less than honest conversation. The truth is, DOCTORS CAN ALREADY GET PAID FOR COUNSELING PATIENTS ON ANYTHING, ESPECIALLY THEIR CARE. This was a stupid argument. THE BILL IS FULL OF WAYS TO "MANAGE" CARE AND REDUCE COSTS. This panel was just another one of those SO STOP LYING ABOUT IT.

    Obama has health insurance companies values in his blood. I think we will find MANY MORE objectionable things in this bill. Single payer is the ONLY thing that will work.

    But do they have time? (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:10:16 AM EST
    Or is the clock running out on pushing a goodhealth care bill though?  Apparently, come the fall, other issues will be coming front and center, including security issues.  Do we think Obama can succesfully multi-task with all these large issues?

    Another question I have for Ezra (none / 0) (#27)
    by lilburro on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:32:42 AM EST
    How is minimizing the importance of your 'largest bargaining chip' at all helpful to maintaining it as your 'largest bargaining chip'?  (post).

    I think the WH is in a weird position right now.  By  equivocating on the importance of a public option, they are saying that their health reform in general may or may not be important.  All the attention is being brought to something they are constantly undermining.  

    Again, don't get this strategy at all.

    Need to call it a win (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:37:38 AM EST
    is what Obama is thinking about. Pols are pols after all.

    What Ezra is thinking about is for you to determine.


    Obama (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:49:35 AM EST
    Can call it "Queen Mary", for all it matters.  He can call it a win, and if its a disaster, not only will he and the Dems suffer politically, we will all suffer.

    And we'll suffer (none / 0) (#55)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:08:55 AM EST
    in a post-Jimmy Carter sort of way.

    Yup - managing expectations (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by ruffian on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:57:46 AM EST
    Reminds me of the primary threads when we debated what pct win in a particular primary was a 'meaningful win'. The WH is treating this like a winner-take-all primary - any bill is a win. But the public is not going to see it that way if the reforms don't work.

    There is such a thing as winning (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by MO Blue on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:58:50 AM EST
    a battle and losing the war.

    Even I can write the script for the Republican's mantra in 2010 and 2012.

    My friends, I ask you, are you paying even $1.00 less for your insurance today then you were before the tax and spend liberals gave away a trillion dollars of your hard earned money.

    Yep. (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:07:24 AM EST

    The whitehouse has (none / 0) (#66)
    by my opinion on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:29:56 AM EST
    managed to now call it's own compromised nebulous "public option", "left of the left." The window just keeps moving.

    Anonymous sources should be ignored (none / 0) (#87)
    by shoephone on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 01:50:59 PM EST
    And the so-called journalists who print their nonsense should be ignored as well. If the denizens of the WH are too cowardly at this point in the health care debate to attach a name to a quote dismissing a huge chunk of their own party, well, they are creating their own Waterloo.

    What's Obama doing dinking around in Martha's Vineyard? I hear Alba is nice this time of year.