Obama's Next Moves on Health Care

President Obama may make a major speech on the health care legislation next week. He's going to use the time between now and then to re-tool his strategy.

The Boston Globe reports that the Dems may force the bill through using a "reconciliation" maneuver it likens to a "nuclear option." But, since that option requires the bill be related to the budget, some portions may have to be dropped.Others say that is not the strategy the Dems will use.

And CNBC's Maria Bartiromo should stick to reporting on stocks. She doesn't even know that Medicare applies only to those age 65 and older. Check out the video where she berates 45 year old Rep. Anthony Weiner for not having it himself.

In a mocking tone, she pressed the congressman: "How come you don't use it [Medicare]? You don't have it. How come you don't have it?" Rep. Weiner, who turns 45 this week, tried to walk Bartiromo through it. "Because I'm not 65." But she was insistent. "Yeah... c'mon!" she exclaimed, laughing incredulously.


Over at HuffPo, Lincoln Mitchell, an assistant professor at Columbia writes that passing the Democratic plan with the public option is more likely to help, not hinder, Democrats in future elections because once passed, it will be as popular as Medicare, which Republicans also opposed at the time.

It's the Republicans that are walking away from the table. It's the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats that are preventing the Dems from garnering 60 votes to pass the bill with the public option. I don't see how that's Obama's fault, except to the extent that he hasn't been specific enough about where the cost reductions will come from, leaving the Republicans room to make the argument he will cut Medicare benefits and promoting the Senior Bill of Rights.

Right now I the the Democrats' smartest move is to push for health care reform with the public option and if it fails in the Senate, cast the blame where it belongs: On the Republicans and the Blue Dog Democrats. At least they will have stayed true to their prinicples.

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    Bartiromo (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Radiowalla on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:55:47 AM EST
    revealed herself to be a real dumb cluck in that segment.  After asking Weiner why he wasn't on Medicare she went on to say that the key to health reform was changing our naughty habit of overeating.  

     Put down that damn Quarter Pounder with Cheese and save America!

    I saw that Bartiromo (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:02:36 AM EST
    video last night.  she has become a favorite of Morning Joe.  enough of a reason to dismiss pretty much everything she says IMO

    I wouldn't dismiss her for it (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:03:54 AM EST
    right off.  But now I understand how she fits in so well.

    Bartiromo (none / 0) (#20)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:27:35 AM EST
    is living proof that good looks and intelligence are exclusive of each other.

    I swear, you take these people off a teleprompter and it is just outright scary. Or worse, maybe she was reading the teleprompter!


    I had "hoped" (pardon the expression) (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:04:16 AM EST
    that this whole bi-partisan thing was just a head fake so he could say he tried.  that seems his style.
    but my hope is fading rapidly.

    I think he's using it as a smoke screen (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:26:33 AM EST
    to cover up the fact that he does not support "liberal welfare state solutions".  I don't think he believes in implementing such "solutions" and he refuses to look at the rest of the civilized world and notice that more peaceful happier societies don't cannabalize the people and call it healthy capitalism at work.

    Hey (none / 0) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:28:19 AM EST
    I thought your husband was right on the mark with his "candypants" statement.

    Officially he did not say that (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:34:52 AM EST
    I feel it is implied by his deep sighs and shuffling and staring at his shoes at certain times witnessing certain things, and having lived with him for 13 years.  The most I got out of any serving family member that was a frank criticism of Bush when he was President was a soft spoken, "He isn't a good leader".

    You note as to the conduct of the Blue Dogs (5.00 / 6) (#17)
    by scribe on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:21:43 AM EST
    I don't see how that's Obama's fault, except to the extent that he hasn't been specific enough about where the cost reductions will come from,

    It's Obama's fault because he let it get started in the first place.  He started that by first, on the day after the election, making it clear to Harry Reid that he wanted nothing to happen to Lieberman despite Lieberman both campaigning aginst Obama and going pretty negative about it, too.  So, the Blue Dogs got the message they could do whatever they wanted to stick up Obama and his agenda and further their own interests and no harm would come to them.

    Then, along the way, Obama listened to the people telling him that they needed the campaign cash from the insurance companies, Pharmaceutical companies, and so on, for the coming 2010 elections.  This argument was furthered by the advocates for that approach arguing that they needed that cash more than they needed their activists - the machine which the campaign had built.  So, if you think back to the days after the election and before the inauguration, there was no activity from the holder of the list of millions of email addresses which was promised to be deployed to push through Obama's agenda.  And it got even quieter after the inauguration.

    Nope, all that the email list has been used for has been to push people to have parties about once a month, usually to celebrate while watching Obama talk over their heads.  It's been about as useful as George Bush telling us to go shopping.

    The core error in this approach - beyond whoring out the Democrats to the corporate stakeholders to both keep them in "favor" (really, non-opposition) to the Obama health care agenda was not that it required the bill Obama would have to sign to kowtow to the corporate interests rather than the people who vote and thus require people to buy insurance from the same clowns who can't help themselves but to raise their rates and lower their services every year.  


    The core error was in their failing to recognize that within a couple weeks of it becoming apparent that the corporate health-care folks were being cozened off supporting the Republicans and were shipping their money to the Democrats (in anticipation of 2010), the Roberts Court decided (or, at least, 5 of them did) to rehear the Citizens United case and to recast the questions presented to whether all campaign finance limits are unconstitutional limitations on First Amendment rights.  Everyone has recognized this as a huge piece of judicial activism, but no one seems to have grasped what it means.

    In other words, while the Dems may have captured some of the corporate money for 2010, the Republicans on the Court will simply remove all the limits which had previously constrained their base from dumping their billions into the campaign.  In case you're wondering how I can be so certain how that case is going to come out, consider this:  Mitch McConnell has been granted argument time.

    So, in short, the Republicans can rely on their five votes on the Court (just like in 2000) and now draw on their wingnut billionaires to spend, spend and spend without limit, and the Dems have both given the back of the hand to their base (who, like me, may well sit home) and made sure that whatever they do pass will hurt their base right in the wallet.

    And that is Obama's fault.  Both because he selected Rahm Emmanuel to be his strong arm, and because he allowed this to go forward.

    I know that when people talk about (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:50:00 AM EST
    wanting a public option, they are probably thinking along the lines of a Medicare-style program, but this is not the public option that exists in any of the bills or proposals that are in play.  Not in HR 3200 and not in the HELP Committee bill.

    From PNHP.org:

    If my interpretation of Section 3106 is correct  - if the Senate HELP Committee's "option" program is going to be balkanized and run by the nonprofit wing of the insurance industry - then reasonable people have to conclude that the deck is really stacked against the Committee's "option" program. Even if Section 3106 authorized public employees, not Blue Cross Blue Shield employees, to create the dozens or hundreds of "community health insurance options" called for by Section 3106, the program would fail to pose any challenge to the insurance industry and might even die in the cradle. The health insurance industry has been very difficult to break into since at least the 1980s, and has become more so in the wake of the merger madness that swept through the industry in the early 1990s. But if public employees are not going to be directly responsible for creating the "community options" - if the nonprofit wing of the insurance industry is going to be doing that - then the entire "community option" project of the Senate HELP Committee amounts to a cruel joke on the public. Should the public trust corporations like Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente to make a good faith effort to build competing insurance companies?

    Section 3106 is a mess, but its meaning becomes clear after several readings. Section 3106 does not create the "Medicare-like" program promised by Jacob Hacker, HCAN, Howard Dean, and other "option" advocates. Instead it proposes a program that authorizes DHHS to create numerous health insurance companies tied to geographic areas, and to contract with members of the existing insurance industry to create and possibly run those companies.

    Leaders of the "public option" movement have an obligation to advertise the HELP Committee bill truthfully. It is not accurate to say the HELP Committee bill creates a "robust" or "strong" public option. It is not even accurate to say the HELP Committee bill creates one "option." The truth is the "option" is balkanized and very weak. In fact, HCAN, Andy Stern, Howard Dean and other "option" advocates who have praised the HELP Committee bill should do more than cease to praise it. They should tell Congress they oppose it.

    The term "public option" has no business being used to describe anything that is currently on the table, and continued use of the term is serving no purpose other than to bamboozle the citizenry into thinking they have a chance at having something that will actually help them, will help people who need CARE, will help get costs under control.  There is only one group that will be HELPed by this legislation, and that is the corporate sector.

    Yes, people do support a public option, but what you are being scared into believing you are in danger of losing would be better described as the Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical Industry Guaranteed Bonanza Act, and unless you think there is a snowball's chance in hell that you could get Congress back to the table to write the legislation that should have been written, we would all be better off - no worse off, anyway - opposing any attempt to pass any of the garbage that months and months have been wasted "negotiating."

    Oh sweet Jesus (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:21:49 PM EST
    Such a proposed public option is going to cost so much money to employ as well.  It is very difficult to get anything cost effective with such a complete crazed landscape and delivery system.

    BobTinKY (none / 0) (#1)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:49:12 AM EST
    The Congresssman should have told the idiot that providing the option for people under 65 and employers to buy into Medicare would be a wonderful outcome.

    He did (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:04:19 AM EST
    watch the video.

    It is so hard to just let it fail (none / 0) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:50:22 AM EST
    and then cast blame.  I agree with Mitchell that once a public option was passed it would become as popular as Medicare.  Perhaps more popular.  It would change a lot of struggling to survive lives.  If the public option passes though would it not take affect until 2013?  Is there a way to step up that timeline if it gets passed however they pass it?

    Frankly (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by CST on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:56:29 AM EST
    I'd rather have a public option and a Republican congress in 2012 than a Dem congress without one.

    This is a big enough issue.


    If they passed this though (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:01:34 AM EST
    and it took affect sooner, I swear to God....it would be very difficult to beat a Dem after that.  That is bucket loads of something actually helping people that are in extreme need right now.....buys a whole lot of loyalty and forgiveness.....bought FDR four terms when he put his people first.  My loyalty is not so easily purchased for a long period of time, but I would say from the masses it would.

    well you would be in direct opposition (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:07:32 AM EST
    to the values and principles of this site. To suggest a Republican dominated congress is preferable to a Democratic one makes me think you never really were a Democrat.

    I think (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:10:05 AM EST
    the comment was simply intended to suggest that the public option is important enough to risk control of Congress over.  That's not the same as hoping that Congress actually would be lost!

    Because there is no comparison (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:18:41 AM EST
    when it comes to criminal justice issues, a Republican dominated congress is simply unacceptable, I read that comment differently than you and want to point out that this site will not be used as a place to garner support for Republicans in future elections.

    Criticism of how the Dems are handling the health care issue is one thing. Changing parties over it is quite another. People are free to do that, of course, but they won't use TalkLeft as a place to suggest that others do the same.

    Under our comment rules, people are free to disagree with Talkleft, but such comments are limited to four a day. I haven't seen any need to monitor comments in recent months, but I'm noticing quite a few the past few days that are using the health care debate to argue against Democrats. I suspect many of these are people with an agenda that has nothing to do with health care. I'm going to be watching for them.


    I meant it (none / 0) (#24)
    by CST on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:38:23 AM EST
    the way Steve M thought.

    For the record, I would never ever support a Republican.  I just meant that the gain of having a true public option would be worth the sacrifice to me in terms of public opinion, not that I would ever go to bat for the Republicans.  But I also am of the opinion that passing such a plan would help prevent Republicans from taking over.


    I hear that... (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:16:55 AM EST
    who cares what brand name is on the label if the product works.

    I don't always but Tide or Wisk, I buy whatever is on sale...aka whatever works at the best price. Congress should be no different than detergent in this regard.


    Maria Bartiromo (none / 0) (#12)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:12:33 AM EST
    was always considered a "FOX!" to day traders back in the heyday of the internet bubble.

    I thought she was a doofus even then.

    But I should write and thank her.  She made Weiner's point that 45 year old should be allowed on Medicare.  After all, why isn't Weiner on it?

    About overeating, I'd like to ask her, so did Lance Armstrong acquire testicular cancer from overeating, cuz you know he's so fat and out of shape?  Okay, his cancer is not a good example,  but you get my drift.

    I believe she was referred to (none / 0) (#32)
    by NYShooter on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:57:35 PM EST
    as the "Babe" of the stock exchange.

    I don't know what (none / 0) (#15)
    by lilburro on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:19:00 AM EST
    Obama's next moves are, and I don't care.  He's basically taken himself out of the debate and I don't think he will do anything except kill the public option by speaking out.  At this point, unless he embraces the public option, he's just undermining his own reform.

    I agree he should embrace (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:23:13 AM EST
    the public option. Maybe he will next week.

    Yeah, I dunno (none / 0) (#22)
    by lilburro on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:30:42 AM EST
    practically everything else in the bill is okay with everyone.  So why bother making a speech about something crappy that can pass?

    Hell, maybe he'll try to convince us co-ops are golden.  God.


    Yes, he should embrace a public option, (none / 0) (#28)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:54:55 AM EST
    but not this public option, because it is neither public, nor will it be an option for more than - at most - about 10 million people.  Ten million people who will likely end up with "coverage" that will do little to increase their access to the CARE they need.

    I agree (none / 0) (#16)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:19:35 AM EST
    with Mitchell on the public option and I also think that passing the current bill will hurt more than passing nothing.

    He needs to take it to the iron (none / 0) (#25)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:43:42 AM EST
    Everyone is in your face, guarding you closely, you're the phucking President, after all, just what did you expect?  Stop settling for hand-in-the-face jumpers, stop settling period.  Take the ball, blow by the defense and get to the hole.  

    Drive and score.  The lane is there.  An open lane.  You may get fouled hard on the shot, but that only gives you a chance for the and-one.  

    Do I think you will?


    But I'm tired of using normal political logic with you, thought maybe the hardwood would be better.  A triviality.  And the truth is you still have the ability.  You still have the chance to change yourSELF.  That's the irony, isn't it, Mr. President?  After campaigning on being the candidate OF change, you now find yourself as the one who MUST change.  Or wither into relative insignificane, drowned by fear and war and their many forms and myriad of debts.  

    I don't think it's (none / 0) (#33)
    by NYShooter on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:09:50 PM EST
    any more complicated than simply being frozen in inexperience.

    Having seen combat, I can assure you that playing "President" in the backyard, going "bang, bang," "I got you, you're dead, I win," is a lot different than leading a platoon in real combat, with live ordnance exploding all around you; all you want to do then is keep your head down and not get killed.

    That's what Obama is experiencing now. He was great in ordering just the exact, perfect temple columns for his rally extavaganzas. but the republicans and Blue Dogs aren't his groupies. He's lost.


    well I look at it like (none / 0) (#29)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:09:41 PM EST
    the public is not understanding the bill and that's Obama's fault, and if the message were clearer, particularly to seniors, more people would support it and then their elected officials in Congress, who need to please their constituents, would follow suit. I just don't think this is about Emmanuel, but I could be wrong.