Progress On the Health Bill

E.J. Dionne:

[L]eaders of both Houses are considering: The House would pass a version of the reconciliation bill containing the various amendments and send it to the Senate. The Senate would change it slightly (in ways that the House agreed to), which would require the House to vote on it again. Only after it got the revised reconciliation bill would the House take up the Senate bill. The House could then pass both bills and send both to the president. Problem solved, health-care passes, and we move on.

Finally, someone is addressing the situation constructively.

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    There are lots of problems with this (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Slado on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:31:17 PM EST
    Mainly that there is no political will now and Nancy barely got the 218 votes she got back when all democrats thought this was a good idea.

    Remember it took all the deals and back door dealings to get these two terrible bills in the first place.

    If it was this easy to start with why didn't they do it?

    Because it wouldn't have worked then and it won't work now.

    It's dead people.  Time to move on or start over.

    The (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:53:21 PM EST
    health bill is poision. There aren't the votes. It's dead. Time to go back and do what the rep. from Arizona said and pass reform piecemeal.

    I agree with you. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by IndiDemGirl on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 05:35:25 PM EST
    Some of the reforms have broad public support.  Pass those.  Take credit. Say you can't do more because of obstructionist Republicans.   Move on - for now -to other issues. If the reforms are successful, which I believe they will be, it makes it more difficult to demonize further reforms down the road.  

    If it fails, we might have President (none / 0) (#11)
    by observed on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 05:53:36 PM EST
    Obama is such toast if Congress can't fix the bill.

    Gingrich: poor rep. of the middle class. (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 06:04:28 PM EST
    You (none / 0) (#22)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 08:25:15 PM EST
    could conceivably say that Obama is already toast.

    If it's poison and it's dead ... (none / 0) (#14)
    by FreakyBeaky on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 06:11:52 PM EST
    ... then it's poison and it's dead.  That includes passing reform piecemeal.

    No the demonization (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by IndiDemGirl on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 06:42:46 PM EST
    by the right and criticism and unhappiness from the left have left the perception that the status quo is better than the reform.  It is too complex and too long and too watered-down etc.  Too easy to spread lies about.

    Many of the individual reforms are popular with the public.  Pass what can be passed and move on for the time being.  


    If it's dead, it's dead - forget it. <n/t> (none / 0) (#32)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 11:53:30 PM EST
    Enough said (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Slado on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:34:30 PM EST
    Sixty-one percent (61%) of U.S. voters say Congress should drop health care reform and focus on more immediate ways to improve the economy and create jobs

    Improving health care IS (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by IndiDemGirl on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 09:44:01 PM EST
    improving the economy. And people's opinions change. And another poll next week might show that most people want some kind of reform. Many of those 61% are just tired of the entire thing.  Many of them want health care reform -- they just see it as a no-win proposition right now.

    Only if reform makes health care more (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by esmense on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:00:54 AM EST
    affordable, especially for small business, those employed by small business and the self-employed. Which the administration's preferred plan does not. In fact, it does the opposite. Yes, there will be subsidies, but those subsidies are limited and will be paid for by politically unpalatable increases in health care cost for everyone else. Under the plan, premium cost are predicted to continue to rise by about 10% a year (and, inflating premium cost will move more people into the "cadillac" range and subject their coverage to the excise tax).

    The Democrats have been politically stupid. People want reform, but what reform means to most people at all levels of income (below the most affluent) is making health care and coverage more affordable. Rather than focus on affordability -- which would serve the interest of everyone including the uninsured, the Democrat's have adopted a welfare model that asks most middle class people to pay for insuring others without receiving any relief from their own already too high health care burden. In fact, both their tax and health care burdens are projected to be higher.

    Under the Senate plan, for instance, someone purchasing their own insurance, a small business or self-employed person, earning $88,000 a year and paying $20,000 in yearly premium cost (that's just premium cost, not medical costs which, with deductibles and co-pays, etc., could end up being much higher) for a family of four -- more than 1/5th of their family income -- will not qualify for subsidy but will see their health care cost rise. (If you think $20,000 a year is unrealistic, think again. My husband and I purchase our own insurance and we pay barely under $20,000 for just the two of us -- with a high deductible, no frills plan. We do not have dental or vision coverage.)

    I think most people want to see universal coverage and, like me, have no objection to paying taxes to achieve that. But, they want those taxes to support a system that offers EVERYONE affordable, dependable access to health care when they need it. Without premiums that eat up too high a percentage of a business or family's resources and yet, because of co-pays, deductibles and inadequate coverage, still leaves them vulnerable to bankruptcy if serious illness does strike.

    This plan does not do that.  


    Maybe (none / 0) (#24)
    by Slado on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:59:22 AM EST
    but thats a big leap of faith.

    In theory it's true.  The theory was the stimulus and the bailouts would keep employment below 9%.  We all saw how that worked out.

    Just because it might work isn't a reason to take such a gamble and give so much control to the government.  I've long argued they are all ready too involved in healthcare and are part of the problem.  Giving them more control will not help the economy.

    There is a long list of government programs and bills that where supposed to make things better and almost all of them fail miserably.

    Thats the real problem hear.  People want reform.  They just don't trust this congress and this president to deliver it so they don't want them to try.


    Addressing the situation constructively (5.00 / 5) (#21)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 08:16:52 PM EST
    would have meant putting ALL the options on the table from Day One, not making backroom deals, allowing full and open hearings from proponents of all ideas for reform.

    A real leader would not have been afraid of a full, fair and open process, and this particular leader, who ran on openness and transparency and accountability, has made a mockery of those promises.

    Problem solved?  What problem - that of not wanting a year's worth of "work" end up in the trash?  Health "care" passes?  Uh, not exactly - not even close.  

    What I find just so maddening is how easily those in Congress and the media have corrupted the reality of what this legislation will and won't do.

    And where is it we will be moving on to?  I just keep thinking about all those people who have been fooled into thinking that this bill is going to help them immediately.  They need only look to the thousands who thought they were going to get foreclosure relief to understand what will happen to them.  Congress will indeed move on, past the faces of the people who were depending on them for help.

    I can hardly wait to see what they will do for jobs.

    Common sense, at last (none / 0) (#1)
    by esmense on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:14:03 PM EST
    but will it last?

    Has Stupak agreed? According to Digby (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:17:20 PM EST
    today, he sd. he will never vote for Senate bill unless "Stupak/Pitts" type language is substituted for weaker restriction on abortion funding.

    but will he bring his 10 "votes" (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by CST on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:26:14 PM EST
    with him is really the question.  If it's just Stupak, he can vote no to his heart's content.

    The bigger question is (none / 0) (#5)
    by Slado on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:32:33 PM EST
    are there 200 plus votes for democrats to do anything?

    I doubt it.


    Is it worse politically (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by CST on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:35:06 PM EST
    to go forward or to quit now that they've already wasted months on it.

    I think it's worse to quit now.


    I don't (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Slado on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:45:17 PM EST
    For the moderate dems that live in republican districts it would be worse to do cram something through then to admit defeat and start campaigning on other issues.

    It's not as if this will get done in a few weeks.  This will take months to get done at this rate and how much longer do they want this hanging over their heads and what if they fail again?

    How many more times must progressives and dem leaders hear from the public that it's time to stop?

    Who are you worried about?  You lost Massachusetts because you're pushing this healthcare plan.  Now every state is in play if they keep it up.

    It's dead.


    I think the moderate Dems (5.00 / 0) (#9)
    by CST on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 05:01:22 PM EST
    are already up $hits creek.

    In order for the rest of the party to move on they gotta pass this thing.

    They lost MA because they lost unions with the excise tax.

    If they pass this thing with the corrections, people will have time to debate whats actually IN the bill.  People are afraid of what they don't understand.  It's easier to understand and defend something concrete than something that's constantly in flux.

    Once it's passed and the sky hasn't fallen in, the dust will settle and they can campaign on other issues.

    Besides, they already voted yes on healthcare.  That will come up in the campaign no matter what they do next.  If they fail to pass it, they will just seem incompetent.


    Agree w/ CST (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by WS on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 05:59:21 PM EST
    most moderate Dems already voted for the bill and the Republicans will run ads about it anyways.  Far better to pass it and defend the individual parts (which polls well) then try to explain to the voters that you voted for it and then against it.  

    Let's see: (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by steviez314 on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 06:44:02 PM EST
    "I voted for it, before I voted against it".  Hmm..catchy.

    "I spent 8 months, voted for it, and all I got you was this lousy t-shirt.".....Inspirational!

    "I voted for HCR Version 1 when it had ABC but voted against it Version 2 had ABD."  ...Wicked clever.

    They think it's double down or fold..they don't realize they're already all-in.


    The problem with your line of thought (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Slado on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:12:52 PM EST
    IMHO is that when it's all over they'll somehow get something for pushing it through.

    What if they get it all done and then it just makes people even madder?

    You are forgetting that most people think this whole healthcare thing was a waste of time and at the expense of what is important which is the economy.

    Think about it in terms of Iraq.  You are basically taking the stance hard core conservatives did which is its too late now.  We need to finish the job when what the general public is saying is "Enough!!!".

    You tell yourself you're better off getting something done but that thing is something that the general public doesn't want.  You'll get it done and you'll be penalized for it.


    Theoretical question (none / 0) (#18)
    by Manuel on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:27:28 PM EST
    Does congress go into session after the election?  Could they pass it then?  By then they'll know who will and won't be around.

    Yup, lame duck session (none / 0) (#19)
    by andgarden on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:34:06 PM EST
    Surprise, Surprise - The President is MIA (none / 0) (#26)
    by MO Blue on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 10:24:54 AM EST
    Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is engaged with House progressives, trying to tease out a solution to the health care reform impasse--but he says that at the highest levels of the Senate and the White House, there's still no plan, and he doubts whether President Obama will insert himself forcefully into the process. link

    Do you think Obama has any policy agenda (none / 0) (#27)
    by esmense on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 10:47:27 AM EST
    or personally heartfelt policy commitments?

    He didn't really espouse anything new in terms of policy in the primary -- mostly, his approach was "me too,but." He both adopted, and exploited any political weaknesses in, his opponents'(mostly Clinton's) most popular positions. The rest of his campaign was based in criticizing process and partisanship, and personal attacks. He was the anti-Clinton candidate more than he was the pro anything else (except hope).

    I am now beginning to wonder if leaving policy decisions and policy making to the Senate -- and those Senators who, behind the scenes, recruited him and supported his candidacy -- wasn't the point of his candidacy all along.

    If so, it puts his great desire to get Clinton out of the Senate in a whole new light too.


    Perceptive insight (none / 0) (#29)
    by Cream City on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 11:55:40 AM EST
    at the end there.  The rest, too, and your comments above -- but the political ploy at the end, plus the loss of Ted Kennedy (who also did not want Hillary Clinton near health care reform, a reason she saw her way out of the Senate), would explain a lot about the mess now.  The best minds on the issue, those with the most experience on the issue, were not involved.  Not even allowed to be involved.

    That's when the insurance companies and big pharma won.  The rest was just twisting in the wind.


    Well, to put it in the most charitable light, (none / 0) (#30)
    by observed on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:46:45 PM EST
    Obama probably thought that Hillary would be seen as a rival if she stayed in the Senate, and that undue attention on their rivalry would harm his agenda.
    Alternatively, he didn't want her to outshine him.
    It's sad that she left the Senate, because she would have been a team player, anyway.
    And, unlike Obama, she might have had some sway with Nelson and Lieberman.

    Surprise, Surprise (none / 0) (#28)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 11:11:52 AM EST
    A President wants to treat Congress members as adults when they want to be treated as children. Surprise, surprise, that the President treats them as a Professor would treat his graduate students, when they think that they need guidance like schoolchildren from their teacher/Principal.

    Thank you, Adam B. (none / 0) (#31)
    by observed on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:50:13 PM EST