What If?

This Politico article is consistent with a message we have heard for about a month - that Obama will jettison a public option and lean on the Progressive Block to give way. Politico quotes an anonymous administration official:

On health care, Obama’s willingness to forgo the public option is sure to anger his party’s liberal base. The confrontation would allow Obama to show he is willing to stare down his own party to get things done. We have been saying all along that the most important part of this debate is not the public option, but rather ensuring choice and competition,” an aide said. “There are lots of different ways to get there.”

(Emphasis supplied.) If true, President Obama will be insuring a dispirited Democratic base in 2010. The Village will love him. Dems? Not so much. If it happens, the Democrats could very well lose the House in 2010. The Progressive Block will have to save Obama from himself.

Speaking for me only

< Tuesday Afternoon/Evening Open Thread | Obama's Next Moves on Health Care >
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    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:04:36 AM EST
    I really doubt the House Dems, but I'd like to be surprised.

    Ditto that n/t (none / 0) (#2)
    by Coral on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:07:12 AM EST
    In the Village (5.00 / 15) (#3)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:11:07 AM EST
    it is only the Dems that get points for staring down their base in order to get things done.  The Republicans get points for clinging to their base and staring down the Dems.

    New Village, please.

    List of things that got stared down... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:13:00 AM EST
    it seems the list is getting longer each day.  

    maybe obama will (none / 0) (#80)
    by sancho on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:26:30 AM EST
    surprise us and get a meaningful public option, but i doubt it. instead, his actions raise the question, was he elected (by the village and the forces the village enable) to make sure that no meaningful public option gets passed and that "the base" would be depressed in 2010 and thereafter?  elections may have consequences but they seem now mostly to be about preserving the status quo of a corporate state whose interests are largely antithetical to "the people" it claims to represent. obama's actions suggest that he's ok with that point of view.

    "You go to war with the village (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by oldpro on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:22:22 AM EST
    you've got..." or something like that.

    What if they hold an election (5.00 / 11) (#6)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:23:09 AM EST
    and nobody attends?

    A prominent union official repeated labor's threat against Democrats, warning that come election time, the party could lose labor support if there is no government-run healthcare plan option in reform legislation.

    Richard Trumka, the secretary-treasurer for the AFL-CIO, defined the public option as an "absolute must" if lawmakers want to effect serious changes to the nation's healthcare system. The likely next president of the 11 million member-strong union group elaborated further, saying there were three essential elements needed to achieve healthcare reform.
    The union official added that if the final bill does not include the public option, his group would not support it. Union members lobbied hard for the proposal, showing up to more than 400 town hall meetings in August. Democrats faced a tough month as protesters against healthcare reform disrupted meetings and pressured lawmakers. link

    AFL-CIO still sticking to their position.

    Now as far as I'm concerned, no real health care reform and my political activity will be confined to working to remove members of Congress who have obstructed the effort.

    We aren't gettin health care reform (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:42:37 AM EST
    we're getting . . .

    Aides to President Barack Obama are putting the final touches on a new strategy to help Democrats recover from a brutal August recess by specifying what Obama wants to see in a compromise health care deal and directly confronting other trouble spots, West Wing officials tell POLITICO.

    A speech? (5.00 / 7) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:45:26 AM EST
    Oh, no, not again. Well, yes, I guess again. For some idiotic reason the Obama administration thinks they can continually screw up and then give a speech and everything is all of a sudden all better.

    Well the next time I go (5.00 / 12) (#13)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:48:38 AM EST
    to the doctor I will bring a copy of one of Obama's speeches and see if he will accept that in lieu of payment.

    Just visited the doc's office (5.00 / 3) (#79)
    by Fabian on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:24:08 AM EST
    Got the usual package of paperwork to fill out plus...

    This office has a continuous problem with insurance companies refusing to pay well visits, pre admission testing among other charges.  Please be prepared to pay whatever your insurance company won't.

    Just what someone who (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:50:54 PM EST
    is ill really needs. It is not enough to worry about your health. You now have to worry about whether or not you can afford treatment.

    If I had my way, we would abolish the entire private health insurance industry tomorrow.


    One of the things (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Fabian on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 05:50:41 PM EST
    they specifically mentioned having problems with payment/billing was a full physical.  Apparently, doing all the baseline testing to check all the things you can't determine with a physical examination was A Problem with the insurers.

    Basic preventative medicine - and they didn't want to pay for it.  Check your blood sugar?  No!  Let's wait until you develop Type II diabetes!  That's so much better for your health and the insurer's bottom line.  


    I almost snarked a reply (5.00 / 7) (#14)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:48:38 AM EST
    yesterday, regarding his approval ratings, that I felt a speech coming on, lol!~

    Now would be a good time though. Won't interfere with season premieres  ;)


    the speech strategy you identify (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by sancho on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:28:17 AM EST
    did help him win the primary.

    But you see (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by lilburro on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:27:49 AM EST
    the problem is we don't have enough doctors and I ain't sharing...<snark>

    It is stunning how tone deaf this (5.00 / 7) (#8)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:40:31 AM EST
    Administration has turned out to be.

    Elections ain't the same as governing - they really don't seem to get that at all.

    He's been tone deaf all along (5.00 / 9) (#12)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:45:45 AM EST
    think back to the primaries. . .

    I wonder (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:17:15 AM EST
    how those Liberal Super Delegates who were elected representatives and threw their votes to Obama are feeling right about now? Did they get the bag of goods they thought they were getting? If not it's time to show Obama that they didn't take his promises lightly.

    And for that matter how is Ted Kennedy now viewing all this? Does he still see No PO Obama as the second coming of his brother Robert? It would be hard to imagine so.


    As interesting may be (5.00 / 8) (#37)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:43:41 AM EST
    the super-delegates such as some with whom I have talked about the convention who came home p*ssed as h*ll at the Dem Party -- and the Obama machine.  The tales they tell of the machinations at the convention -- the orders awaiting them in their hotel rooms to sign on for Obama or ??? (implied threats re funding, etc.) ought to have been reported, but the media were still in groupie mode.

    Chicago-style politics works in the short run.  But in the long run, Chicago-style politics may work only in Chicago.  We will see whether there is a pushback from delegates in 2012.  I know that some of them are talking to each others, as pols do . . . and not only the pols in the Village.  There are other villages.  


    That's interesting (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:00:28 AM EST
    It's amazing how today people say that today those Old School tactics are no longer used at conventions like they used to be. Obviously they are. They are just held out of public view instead of taking place on the convention floor.

    So yes 2012, what will they do? You have those who willingly dove off the cliff and those who got their arms broke while being twisted. Will they stand their ground against even more threats from President Smiley or will they cave?

    But forget 2012 for now as the votes coming up in the fall will be a tell all.


    Chicago style (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:39:40 AM EST
    The difference is in Chicago politics, Daley rules. There's only one boss and if you want to survive, you play the game by his rules. Obama is no Daley, drats!!

    Well, the difference is Chicago (none / 0) (#74)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:59:46 AM EST
    as well, allowing itself to be so ruled.  It is a source of wonderment for many of us in the Midwest.

    I was wondering the same thing the other day (none / 0) (#28)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:28:58 AM EST
    Hope they're happy.

    Probably more like (none / 0) (#31)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:33:42 AM EST
    not so Super!

    Well (5.00 / 6) (#10)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:43:53 AM EST
    he keeps this up he is going to become Carter's second term.

    Well Steny Hoyer (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by lilburro on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:52:15 AM EST
    is on the public option bandwagon:


    "If the question is do I plan to vote for a public option with or without Republican support, the answer is yes," Hoyer said.

    Does Obama think there is only one Congressional body or something?  I'm bewildered.

    If he does jettison the PO I will stand (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by iceblinkjm on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:55:50 AM EST
    with the Unions and jettison Mr.Obama out of the White House.

    If (5.00 / 5) (#17)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 08:56:21 AM EST
    Obama "leans" on the progressive block (or half-a-block) to give way, they will.

    I know that I am a broken record about this - but Obama campaigned for Lieberman - against Lamont, yet.

    And it meant nothing to the progressives.

    Another agenda was at work.
    There was also fear of Hillary.
    There was double-fear of McCain.

    The block stood mute.
    It will again. Out of fear.

    obama did what most dems did (none / 0) (#20)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:05:32 AM EST
    stayed out of it until the primary was over and then they endorsed the winner of the primary, lamont.

    Not true. (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:17:40 AM EST
    Obama did not stay out of it.
    He actively campaigned for Lieberman against Lamont in the primary. He backed the pro-war Lieberman against the candidate trying to end the war, Lamont.

    I know it's hard to believe, but it's true.

    Read this. It will astonish you.

    The guote is even worse than reported since he went on to say that Lieberman was working "in our behalf".

    And - as I said, the progressives looked the other way.


    and what happened after lamont (none / 0) (#25)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:20:53 AM EST
    won the primary?

    Obama fell in with the rest (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:38:33 AM EST
    and endorsed Lamont.

    You don't appear to have any reaction at all to this quote by Obama:

    "But what I know is, Joe Lieberman's a man with a good heart, with a keen intellect, who cares about the working families of America."
     "I am absolutely certain that Connecticut's going to have the good sense to send Joe Lieberman back to the United States Senate."

    Obama put party above principle. It is also true that the rest of them did too.

    But my point is that Obama betrayed the progressive movement at a crucial moment. It was the one time when people were up in arms and expressing their demand that the war be stopped.
    And Obama went the other way. He teamed up with an architect of the war.

    Progressives noticed, but sighed and turned the other way.

    They will again.


    my argument is that obama (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:48:46 AM EST
    did no different than most any other democrat who, when it looked like lamont's primary run was a fool's errand, supported lieberman because it wouldn't make sense to create unnecessary enmity between the rest of the party and lieberman.

    but then when lamont won, the party had to respect the primary process and most of the folks who previously supported lieberman then supported lamont, making donations/endorsements, etc.

    my argument isn't that i like what obama said.

    my argument is that.... in order to refute my argument you have to show how obama deviated from normal party behavior in that situation...

    party over principle yes.  when it looked like lieberman he stood with his party.  when lamont won, obama sided with his party.

    this was never news unless one was trying to give off the impression that the rest of the party behaved in some way fundamentally different.


    I never said (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:59:33 AM EST
    that Obama deviated from "normal party behavior". He didn't.
    And nobody cared.

    I hate to feed the fire (5.00 / 9) (#35)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:41:54 AM EST
    but Tim Tagaris, a well-known netroots figure who ran Lamont's online operation, wrote this shortly after the election:

    Barack Obama
    Quite possibly the biggest disappointment ... period.

    While on his book tour, he was in NYC one day, had a scheduled day off, and appeared in Massachusetts the following day.  Yet he couldn't make time to stop in the state between the two on his day off.  We made it explicitly clear he was the single senator we wanted in the state above all others.

    He declined.

    Eventually, we asked Senator Obama to send out an email for the campaign to his Connecticut list.  We created a culture in which emails became news (much like we did with the blogs in the primary).  They made it entirely clear that he would basically not even mention Joe Lieberman's name in the email, let alone take him to task for his unfortunate position on the war in Iraq.  This was disappointing, but I wasn't going to be spiteful.  They sent the email, and as I hoped, the press came calling.  Our Press Secretary, Eddie Vale, was asked how many people the email went to.  He looked on the back-end of the website and saw the number of click-throughs to the landing page I created.  He answered "about 5,000."  Within minutes of the Associated Press piece going on the wire, I received several phone calls from Obama staff.  They were none to pleased about the 5,000 number.  Essentially, Obama could be seen as helping, but not helping THAT much.  His staff apparently made it clear that the email only went out to 225 people in Connecticut.  That's it.  The next day we were subject to a correction in the papers and ridicule from Lieberman's campaign and corners of the right-wing blogosphere.

    It's also important to note that Obama's email came only after a tremendous amount of pressure built up from portions of various online communities who "threatened" in behind-the-scenes conversations and open discussions online that support for Lamont would be viewed as a part of a "presidential checklist."

    I'm not the sort of person who views every last Democrat through the prism of the Lamont-Lieberman election, although you can find plenty of people like that on the blogs.  But the point is, throwing fullthroated support to Obama after being treated like this is a recipe that ends up with the netroots being taken for granted.


    That's where your head spins (5.00 / 4) (#42)
    by SGITR on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:52:02 AM EST
    From what I recall Obama offered tepid support for Lamont and never did make an appearance for him. In other words Obama gave the appearance of supporting party politics just as he did during the primary. He is no different that the village he campaigned against.

    But that is the boring part. It gets better. Because Lamont who Obama didn't support in the primaries stumped for Obama in the elections, and Lieberman who Obama did support endorsed McCain!


    i have not doubt (none / 0) (#49)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:03:10 AM EST
    he misrepresented himself during his presidential campaign.

    if the only point here is that obama and his supporters wanted to maintain an image of himself that was incosistent with his behavior during the lamont/lieberman primary, fine.

    just wouldn't want to give out the impression that obama was a lieberman supporter to the bitter end and stood alone with lieberman against the democratic party.

    party before principle, of course.


    and then lamont endorsed (none / 0) (#82)
    by sancho on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:31:33 AM EST
    obama in the primary. more head spinning.

    Yes, the administration (none / 0) (#36)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:43:39 AM EST
    is probably feeling better about its future after reading the WSJ editorial suggesting that Cheney run for president.  Talk about fear: Cheney/Palin in 2012.   Cheney's emergence from his bunker was discounted, if not ridiculed,  by many as a political  fantasy. Or, more widely believed, that Cheney was attempting to  justify his  criminal policies and stay out of jail.  However,  it has long been my thinking that Cheney and fellow reactionaries are  deadly serious about his  presidential prospects and we should be as well.

    Daughter (none / 0) (#63)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:42:41 AM EST
    I think Cheney would be more apt to use his clout to advance his daughter's political future. She could replace Palin as the darling female of the party.

    I disagree (none / 0) (#93)
    by shoephone on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:21:02 PM EST
    I attended McDermott's town hall meeting at UW last night, which was a big success, the few nutcase hecklers who were planted throughout the room being aggressively shouted down to shut up by the rest of the heavily liberal SRO audience members. Jim was asked many times about his unwavering support for a bill that includes a "robust" public option and he made clear he will NOT vote for any final bill that doesn't have one. He also reiterated that the 50+ members of the Progressive Caucus who signed the "no bill without a public option" letter will vote exactly as he does. I can't emphasize how resolute he was on the matter.

    He did a great job of keeping his cool and really having a conversation with the audience. I also expect he is one of the only (if not THE only) congressional representatives to receive numerous, rousing standing ovations from start to finish throughout the evening.

    I don't see the Progressive Caucus backing down on the public option. The big problem for them is finding a way to rein in costs, per the CBO report on deficit increases. HR 3200 doesn't achieve that. It will come down to budgeting.


    Good (none / 0) (#100)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:45:16 PM EST
    I recieved an e-mail from both my senators and my rep, all stating they will hold out for public option.

    It's good you have all three (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by shoephone on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 03:02:22 PM EST
    making the pledge. I've only got McDermott doing it. Both of my senators are missing in action this month! As TeresainSnow2 wrote, one of our senators has the pharma industry doing TV comercials on her behalf. Her office claims she has no connection with the commercials, but if that's true, why hasn't she come out with her own commercials, refuting them?

    The Senate is THE problem.


    I'm still a "yellow dog" Democrat (5.00 / 10) (#21)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:05:54 AM EST
    By this I mean I refuse to vote for Republican agendas whether they are passed by Republicans or Democrats.

    If all the Democratic Party is going to give me in return for my vote is the same crap I would get from the Republicans, I will not vote for them.

    They have run out of excuses. Once they replace Kennedy, the Dems will have everything they need to  pass real health care reform. If they choose to support the insurance industry over people who need health CARE, then I have no reason to vote for them.

    I agree 100% (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by kenosharick on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:11:59 AM EST
    if there is no real reform (a public option at a minimum) I will sit out 2010. I do not think that I'll be alone.

    Okay, help me out here (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by DFLer on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:17:55 AM EST
    What is the "Village" in this context? And what's the difference from the Village and the Dems?

    (I thank you and the five stitches in my pate thank you.)

    "The Village"... (5.00 / 5) (#30)
    by lambert on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:32:03 AM EST
    ... is the term for the Beltway Insiders who determine the acceptable bounds of public discourse. Digby invented the term. I believe -- though I'm too lazy to find the link right now -- that the term goes back to Sally Quinn's famous interview with Broder, et al, when he said that Clinton "came in and trashed the place. And it wasn't his place." Well, whose place is it? The Village is owned by the Villagers.

    Myself, I prefer Versailles to the Village as shorthand for Our Rulerz, both because it's broader (emcompasses the rulers as well as the courtiers) and because I think the historical reference is important.


    thanks. Couldn't quite figure out the history (none / 0) (#32)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:34:20 AM EST
    in the term, but now I do.

    I thought the village (none / 0) (#26)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:22:31 AM EST
    was a reference to M Night SHamalan's movie, so I checked it out of the library yesterday... didn't get to finish it though.

    Maybe it's a reference to the old sci-fi book/movie village of the damned?

    I'm marginalized, here in Alabama. I missed the message telling what it means, also.


    I think of the Village as the place they kept (none / 0) (#39)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:46:00 AM EST
    The Prisoner (Patrick McGoohan).

    For God's sake don't finish it!! You'll destroy (none / 0) (#57)
    by tigercourse on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:22:06 AM EST
    your television in frustration.

    ha (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:44:51 AM EST
    and never EVER start Lady in the Water.

    I'll accept the judgement of you two... (none / 0) (#76)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:01:44 AM EST
    it seems, well, boring. And that's at the point Jude Law gets stabbed. My thought was, okay, I can go read a book now.

    You're an intellectual (none / 0) (#96)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:50:08 PM EST
    I think you should watch them.  I liked both movies and they are also movies that kids can watch that bring up profound life and moral questions.  I can't believe how bad these flix are being dogged here :)

    When your enemy's drowning... (5.00 / 5) (#27)
    by lambert on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:27:18 AM EST
    ... throw 'em an anvil.

    Why should the progressives save Obama? Maybe they could figure out how to rely on themselves, for a change.

    That would take courage (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:52:49 AM EST
    Not saying they have it or don't have it, only that that is what it would take.

    Agreed (none / 0) (#34)
    by eric on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:39:30 AM EST
    I think that, by and large, Progressive Democrats are in safe districts.  I giant flop would hurt the Democratic Party generally, but it would more than likely leave the Progressives untouched.  What is the difference anyway?  They are in the minority no matter what.

    Maybe (none / 0) (#50)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:06:43 AM EST
    they'll use the same threat they used in the primaries....you don't want to be the one to deny the first AA president his reasonable healthcare policy do you....

    He could probably still destroy them.


    Done deal (none / 0) (#83)
    by waldenpond on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:33:07 AM EST
    Does anyone but me think Obama will not give a speech kicking the PO to the curb if his meeting with Reid and Pelosi yesterday did not confirm the Progressives would get on board?

    This is not a 'new' strategy.  If he gives a speech of any substance, it's because it's a done deal.


    Arrogance (5.00 / 7) (#38)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:45:12 AM EST
    I don't know why anyone is surprised that Obama would ignore his base. He's done that consistantly since he got the nomination. Whether it was touting the wonders of Reagan, pandering to Evangelicans, or voting for FISA, he consistantly distanced himself from his base.

    His strategy has always been to focus on getting support from those (that in the end), won't support him anyway. He takes his base for granted because he feels they'll come into the fold because the alternative is worse.

    I hope he wakes up soon and realizes that this strategy will, not only cost him a second term, but will drag the whole party down with him.

    The last Bush took his base for granted too, (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:55:40 AM EST
    whittled that base down too a crazy core of whacked out groupies.  Is that what the Dems will have left too if they can't get beyond rubber stamping their same party President when he's way off the reservation?

    I just can't see it happening (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:02:18 AM EST
    that the Dems aren't really dooming themselves.  The Democratic base was never crazy about more war, and Afghanistan isn't going to be an easy fight.  I'm looking for the next twelve months to get ugly and deadly.  There will be a toll paid in blood.  That's going to dispirit a lot of blue voters right there.  With all of Obama's corporate welfare out there trumping anything the people can get for themselves......it doesn't look good from here.

    Any thoughts on his 2012 primary opponent? (none / 0) (#45)
    by mikeel on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:57:07 AM EST
    Seriously, I think Obama thinks he needs to show independents that he can can stand up to the left.  But who's out there that can successfully challenge him in a priamry?

    Well (none / 0) (#54)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:17:14 AM EST
    I would rather have him not just run again and have an open primary. If the base sits home in 2012 he's going to lose anyway.

    Let's keep the discussion on topic please (none / 0) (#69)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:52:56 AM EST
    Sorry (none / 0) (#75)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:01:39 AM EST

    No one pretty much (none / 0) (#55)
    by cawaltz on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:17:45 AM EST
    and he doesn't have money back guarantee either. If my choice is Cheney and Obama, then I guess I will be looking at third parties(not that I believe Cheney is that dumb).

    Let's talk about today (none / 0) (#68)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:52:33 AM EST
    and specifically the topic of my post, the health care issue.

    Wow (5.00 / 6) (#41)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:50:34 AM EST
    Is this really a political strategy?  Does Obama expect to sweep to re-election on a wave of energized Independents who are just so thrilled that he was willing to go against his base on health care?

    Even if this was a viable strategy, it obviously won't do anything for the Democrats in the 2010 election.

    But I think we know it would be hopeless either way.  The Beltway media are the only ones who think the most important litmus test for any Democrat is their willingness to snub the teachers' unions or some other Democratic interest group.  Very few real voters think like that.

    This all relates back to the importance of bargaining strategy, by the way.  If progressives had insisted on single-payer, then Obama would at least have had the option of saying, "Okay, I'm going to show my independence by rejecting the 'left of the left,' and we'll go with a public option as the compromise."  Not the most awesome scenario, but an acceptable outcome.  Instead, since progressives decided to be "reasonable" and accept that single-payer was not in the cards, the public option became the "left of the left" position by default and now there's nowhere else to go.

    Nevertheless, I suspect this article is just another trial balloon.  There are plenty of "anonymous administration officials" who don't really care about health care, don't really understand the importance of the public option, and would personally prefer Obama to take this route.  I hope against hope that Obama and his strategy people are sharp enough to understnad how hopeless this route would be.  They didn't get this far by being clueless, I keep telling myself.

    What I don't understand is how (5.00 / 4) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:15:09 AM EST
    anyone assumes that the Indy voters are upset because Obama would support a public option.  It seems to me that my husband is mostly upset because for over a month now it is nothing but daily fighting and nobody knows what the President would support.  He's really pissed at Obama, does not see him as a leader at all and he voted for a new leader to help his country that is in a whole variety of trouble right now.  I suppose it disheartens him too that soon he is headed back into combat and what is worse?  Having a cowboy running a bloodbath or a convictionless candypants running an escalating bloodbath?  

    Debateable (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:30:54 AM EST
    They didn't get this far by being clueless, I keep telling myself.

    I thought that too, but I'm not so sure anymore. I'm beginning to think that they really believe that it was the moderate Rep's and Ind's that got him the WH. That's why we're all expected to genuflect when a Blue Dog comes into the room. They gave him the election, not us! (snark)


    they didn't get as far as they got (none / 0) (#66)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:48:07 AM EST
    by being as smart as people think, either.

    it's hard not to be a genius when everyone is amplifying your talking points and accusing your opponent of pandering to racists.

    such is life.  water under the bridge.  but we're still left with a sort of matt holliday who, unfortunately, can't be traded back to the national league.


    Let's keep the discussion to what;s going on (none / 0) (#67)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:51:49 AM EST
    today, not what happened last year.

    i did my best to tie it in to the here and now (none / 0) (#71)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:58:21 AM EST
    with the following statement:


    but we're still left with a sort of matt holliday who, unfortunately, can't be traded back to the national league.

    i think that's relevant to the here and now.


    The problem is that (none / 0) (#84)
    by cawaltz on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:34:44 AM EST
    time doesn't exist in a vacumn. What happened yesterday is often relevant because it shapes what happens today.

    Both sides of the aisle seem resistant to that little reality.

    I would find it hard to argue that losing a good portion of your party out the gate isn't going to impact your ability to enact an agenda.

    I will respect that the site would rather wallpaper that point over though and agree with them the primary is over. The results, not so much.


    i'm sure Big Tent Democrat (none / 0) (#86)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:40:45 AM EST
    understands that and if i had just left the "r" word out of it....

    BTD is a bright guy (none / 0) (#89)
    by cawaltz on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:58:34 AM EST
    I suspect you're right. I just felt it needed to be said out loud and placed into daylight. The rift is there and I'm not sure tiptoeing around it is the best course.

    i agree (none / 0) (#94)
    by The Last Whimzy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:29:36 PM EST
    the fact that axlrod and company were hitting pitches flattened by thin air and hitting those balls farther because of thin air is, imho, very relevant to what's happening today.

    now that there's a marine layer descending on the park every night at 7pm and there's 40 acres of foul territory....


    I love the imagery (none / 0) (#106)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:28:24 PM EST
    And it's very effective for me.

    The racist pandering... (none / 0) (#97)
    by BigElephant on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    didn't occur until after the first victory was sealed and the momentum had begun to shift.  

    As much as I may not like some of the decisions thus far, I'll take Obama, Geithner, Bernake, etc... for raw political and policy intellect over just about everyone in this forum.  

    Whimzy, as you apparently know, the last people you should trust for advice on baseball are the guys sitting at home with the six pack complaining how Ozzie Smith needs to keep his chin down more on short hops.  It's easy to complain, criticize, and write... it's a lot harder to actually do it under the pressure of the night lights with a filled arena.


    Umm... this is new strategy? (5.00 / 4) (#56)
    by sj on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:21:22 AM EST
    The confrontation would allow Obama to show he is willing to stare down his own party to get things done.

    This is what I expect.  A new, improved strategy would have him be willing to stare down the other party to get things done.  

    A heartfelt prayer that the progressive bloc doesn't blink.

    Me (5.00 / 8) (#58)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:22:06 AM EST
    I will not vote for any candidate who votes for a plan that doesn't provide a public option that effectively competes with insurance companies to control premium costs.


    Healthcare is my issue.  If they can't implement my issue correctly, they're no different to me than Republicans.

    Every time I see those horrible Phrma ads telling me to ask my congressperson to vote for a "bipartisan" bill, my blood boils. I watch long enough to see which candidates they're advertising for, and say to myself, I will not vote for you...and you...and you.  Phrma's ads are doing great things for Republicans by turning the base off, even while pretending they're helping the campaigns of Democrats -- It's almost a Machiavelian trick. Did Obama know this when he made the backroom deal that included Phrma advertising for candidates?

    Ugh, the Politico article states (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:37:53 AM EST
    that even though Obama's popularity has taken a hit there is good news about Afghanistan that may help his popularity.  After the two deadliest months there ever?  That's like the good economic news they keep telling us about.

    I wish Obama were more like.... (5.00 / 5) (#70)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:52:56 AM EST
    ...my father back when he was slogging through a frustrating stint as a high school teacher.  constantly battling administrators, as well as slacking students, i once had to go in to school with him one day when i was about eight or nine.  while looking through the classroom between periods, i noticed some graffiti carved into one desk.  the graffiti read:

    S*ck my balls, Adler.

    I looked at my dad, confused, and asked him what it meant.  He looked down and chuckled: "It means I must be doing something right."  I still didn't understand, to which he added: "At least I got him to put a comma in the right place."

    When do you think Obama will find (5.00 / 5) (#72)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:59:27 AM EST
    an issue that he is willing to go to the mat over IN SUPPORT OF his party and his base?  You'd think those of us who saw this coming well before Obama ever took the oath of office might be able to apply our ability to predict the future to something more rewarding - like picking the winning numbers in the Mega Millions - I swear I would share with everyone!

    Seriously, this is no longer about doing what's best to reform the health CARE system, it's about Obama wanting these annoying people to get the heck out of his way so he can declare victory.  I hate to say it, but it reminds me all too well of the attitude that developed late in the primary season, when he began to get annoyed and irritated that Hillary just would not quit.

    This country deserves better than to function as the president's wing man; it is he who is supposed to have our backs, to fight for our best interests, and that is not what I am seeing.  

    Truth be told, I never saw it, and without the confidence that the Democratic Congressional "leadership" would be able to take matters into their own hands, end-run Obama while he was busy selling us out and present him with the right kinds of legislation, I am not at all surprised that we are where we are.  If there is anything I am surprised about, it is how awful it feels to be right, and how even worse it feels to understand the reality that is Obama.

    Reality (none / 0) (#77)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:08:31 AM EST
    In recent times there have been two candidates who alienated me the moment they entered a room. Obama and Edwards. Both sailed along as if they were stars floating along the red carpet. A slight wave from the Queen's car window.

    His nothing speech to the 2004 convention was hailed as "electrifying". It wouldn't have lit up a refrigerator.  

    But I think I have underestimated what you call "the reality that is Obama". What is going on in Afghanistan. Hiring contractors. Renewing an agreement with Blackwater in Iraq.

    I don't want to think about it.


    From Politico: (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by hairspray on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:53:13 PM EST
    We been saying all along that the most important part of this debate is not the public option, but rather ensuring choice and competition," an aide said. "There are lots of different ways to get there."  Really?  What about cost?

    Time for another signed letter (none / 0) (#18)
    by magster on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:00:29 AM EST
    from the progressive block -- this time addressed to the President.

    What if indeed? (none / 0) (#19)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:01:27 AM EST
    Why are we so dead set against considering other ways to lower cost?  The goal should be getting more citizens covered and finding ways to lower the cost of care that has the least cumulative negative effect on us all.  IMO, Obama's doing the right thing here.  When the economy tanks further because yet another sector is under attack/forecasted for gloom and doom, a dispirited Dem base in 2010 will be the least of our worries.

    If that's his concern... (none / 0) (#29)
    by NealB on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:31:42 AM EST
    If the calculation in the White House is that his insistence on a strong public option will be perceived as an attack on the medical industrial sector that will cause the economy to "tank further," it would be a complete reversal of what they've been saying for the past year.

    What I've heard from Obama, and continue to believe, is that reducing the huge cost of medical care as now provided by that "sector" of the economy is essential to ensuring long term economic growth and stability; that without drastically reforming that sector, it will ruin the economy over the next 20 years.


    Ways to lower cost of care (none / 0) (#46)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 09:59:31 AM EST
    that don't involve the Public Option

    IMO, we are cutting off our noses to spite our face if we push for something that's not needed simply to prove we have some clout w/the White House.


    None of these (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:14:14 AM EST
    do anything to address out of control premium increases that are happening now and will happen even moreso with mandates and no competition.  A public option that effectively competes with insurance companies would control the premiums insurance companies can charge..

    You're working under the assumption that cost of care is increasing premiums.  That is disproven by the fact that insurance companies are raking in RECORD profits, and are gleefully anticipating mandates to make even better profits from uncontrolled premiums.

    And BTW, reducing medicare reimbursements without regulating insurance company reimbursements is an awful strategy.  In my state (Washington), 57% of doctors don't take Medicare because of the low reimbursement.  If you lower reimbursemetns further without regulating insurance company reimbursements, that number will only get worse.


    Premium increases (none / 0) (#62)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:40:59 AM EST
    are largely due to increased costs for services.  While I'm not naive enough to believe a certain portion is due to profits, the evidence suggests Health Insurance profits ain't what most folks think they are.

    Overall, the profit margin for health insurance companies was a modest 3.4 percent over the past year, according to data provided by Morningstar. That ranks 87th out of 215 industries and slightly above the median of 2.2 percent. By this measure, the most profitable industry over the past year has been beverages, with a 25.9 percent profit margin. Right behind that were healthcare real-estate trusts (firms that are basically the landlords for hospitals and healthcare facilities) and application-software (think Windows).

    Regarding assumptions about reasons for premium increases, an article from 2005 belies your premise.  Costs are in fact the main reason premiums go up.  Serious reform will involve changes in the way services are provided today in addition to the amount reimbursed.  Both of these have serious enough ramifications on our economy.


    Could that artificially deflated number be (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:33:28 PM EST
    because many health insurance companies are "non-profit," thus the profits go into the CEO coffers. It is meaningless to lump and average insurance company profits. In addition, many of the so-called losses this year are due to bad investments.  For instance:


    But here's is Anthem (later merged with Wellpoint) in 2004

    Aetna also lost profits due to bad investments

    But when you consider that Aetna's profits more than doubled in 2004, they had a ways to fall.

    So these two large health insurance companies had steep profits on premiums in 2004, and lost due to investment losses in 2009.  And that's what I found on a quick Google.  I could find more.

    Oooh, forgot United Health Group where the 2009 Q2 profits jumped to 155%, while its enrollment continued  to decline.

    Don't let Morningstar shape and package your information for you.  They are about as right wing as they can get, one of the Maria Bartiromo's of the publishing world.  

    And BTW, according to the article you linked to, Exxon's profits were a modest 9%.  Can you blow holes in that relatively deflated number too?  I certainly can.


    And BTW (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:40:29 PM EST
    United Health saw it's 2008 profits shrink to a mere 7.8% in 2008 ($2.98 Billion), down from a 10.6% profit ($4.65 Billion) in 2007.  How can they survive, the poor babies?  And BTW, the reduction in profit was due to loss of class action settlements.


    And BTW, that 2007 profit is HIGHER than Exxon's 9% profit.....I assume you feel sorry for the oil companies too...?


    Well, you can pick and choose the facts you like (none / 0) (#103)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:36:02 PM EST
    support your point, and omit those that don't.  Many of the prior year's profits in your articles refer to items like one-time gains, and earnings of like $0.02 a share.  I would suggest reading thru the articles in their entirety.  As you point out, just cuz the title says it don't make it so.  Percentages are great, but by themselves they are meaningless.  Exxon's 1% of 20 Billion is more than 5% of 1 Million as I'm sure you know.  The fact of the matter is in none of these articles do you walk away with the impression that the industry is seeing "record profits" right now.  One company does not an industry make.

    What we should be talking about are facts w/o all the hyperbole bought on by the nature of the discussion - health.  

    Oh and FYI, I don't let Morningstar shape and package, when these same facts are readily available and easily confirmed.  I don't post links wily-nily w/o reading thru whatever article I link to first.  It does a disservice to the debate.


    Most of those so called savings (none / 0) (#65)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 10:46:24 AM EST
    have to do with cutting the Medicare budget. Large cuts to the Medicare budget are already in all the bills currently under consideration by Congress. Now let's look at some of those suggestions.

    One idea under consideration: Reduce the annual rate increases for Medicare's fee-for-service reimbursements.

    The CW is that there are already doctors who refuse to take Medicare patients due to the reimbursement rates. How prevalent this situation is is anyone's guess. Evidently the Congress thinks that this problem exists in some areas since they have bipartisan support for increasing the Medicare reimbursement rate in rural areas.  So if doctors are already refusing patients this will only make the problem worse.

    Then we have this little gem about Obama's deal with Pharma.

    The CBO estimates that changes to drug costs under Medicare could result in increased premiums for drug coverage but also offer seniors "greater protection" against higher drug costs.

    "Comparative effectiveness research" would expose the inconsistencies, and a proposed center for quality improvement would come up with "best practices" recommendations for doctors and hospitals across the country.
    CBO noted the same thing. "Medicare could tie its payments to providers to the
    cost of the most effective treatment, or patients could be required to pay for at least a portion of the additional cost of less effective treatments,"
    the agency said in a letter to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D.

    Now if this isn't getting between the doctor and the patient, I don't know  what is. There is no "one size fits all" for a lot of illnesses. I can personally attest that the so called accepted "standard of care" treatment does not work for everyone. If your particular subset of cancer (for example) doesn't respond to what some bureaucrat  deems most effective, then I guess you can either try and win the lottery to pay for the care or just die. This is what the insurance industry currently does and I for one do not want the practice continued.


    I agree there should be a better, quicker way (none / 0) (#78)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:09:28 AM EST
    to get new treatments approved.  This is the type of stuff the legislation should focus on.  A public option has nothing to do w/this issue however.  A cheapo-public plan for sure won't cover anything new/experimental.

    Sticking with private insurance (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:37:08 AM EST
    that denies health care and dictates what treatment (the least expensive) that they will cover is not a solution. Revamping Medicare to mirror the current insurance industry practice of deciding what care you should receive is not in anyone's best interest. And that is exactly what is being purposed when some panel decides what the "best practices" are and refuses to pay for care that does not fit within their box.

    If this is what President Obama is purposing, then he is flat out lying to the American public when he says the government will not get between you and your doctor.


    Medicare today is fundamentally no different (none / 0) (#90)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:59:46 AM EST
    from private insurance in determining which services are covered and which are not.  Doctors can visit any one of a number Medicare contractor websites to view fee schedules and medical policy to determine what/what not to bill.  What I believe is being proposed is as you imply, more scrutiny over whether "approved" services are necessary as opposed to simply paying for approved services w/o question.

    Again, not sure how a public option helps with this issue.  There are ways to deal with this though.  Why not have the doc and pharma company eat the costs of the new treatment while its efficacy is determined?  Let them make money after the treatment is shown to work.  Why not setup taxpayer funded gov't trials to quickly determine whether new treatments for life-threatening ailments work?


    Well should I believe you (none / 0) (#92)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:16:51 PM EST
    or should I believe my doctor? My doctor's office has told me that once I went on Medicare I would not encounter the problem of having some bureaucrat decide what my treatment should be.

    Howard Dean also said in a recent interview that doctors do not have a problem with Medicare denying treatment but that they experience insurance companies denying care all the time.


    I assure you, that is spin (none / 0) (#95)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:38:16 PM EST
    doctors know what to bill and what not to bill Medicare, thus denials are rare.

    Unfortunately, your doc is wrong.  The "bureaucrats" have already determined what should/shouldn't be covered and continue to do so today.


    Oh and BTW (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:43:13 AM EST
    As currently structured, Medicare currently allows much more flexibility for clinical trials and alternative treatment than most private insurance plans. If a public option was structured along the lines of Medicare, this would also be true. As for your so called "cheapo-public plan," the idea is to eliminate the profit margin and thereby providing more coverage for less money.

    Really? (none / 0) (#91)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 12:07:12 PM EST
    Medicare currently allows much more flexibility for clinical trials and alternative treatment than most private insurance plans.

    As someone who's worked for both a Medicare Contractor and a Private Insurer, I'd love to see statistical proof of that.

    I assure you, a low-cost public plan will not provide more coverage for less money.  What services are you referring to?  Compared to what you generally get today, checkups, vision, dental, medically necessary ER visits, what would a public plan cover that you don't get w/most pvt plans today?


    I wouldn't be too quick to conclude something (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 11:50:59 AM EST
    like that.  My son's surgery had been awaiting FDA approval for two years after the study was completed.  I'm not sure why....politics I was told.  But one of the first insurers to pay before anything was official was Colorado Medicaid.  They calculated the cost savings possible if the surgery was beneficial for a child, took a look at the existing track record, took a look at the fact that most of the kids who would need it are dying a whole lot faster than the rest of us anyhow so the risk that it was still considered experimental seemed more acceptable....and they paid.  They even paid for some children in earlier stages of the actual study who had weeks to live without the possibility of the surgery benefitting them.  The poorest children needing Titanium Rib implants in Colorado were many of the first to get it.  Of course we had a lot of doctors, parents, people in the healthcare system who cared advocating and fighting for it to be done.