6 Hours That Shook The Health Debate World?

I had a very busy day yesterday so I saw precisely none of the health care summit yesterday. DemfromCt has a roundup of reactions and I found some of them interesting. Ezra Klein wrote:

The big story out of the summit is not that Republicans and Democrats extended their hands in friendship, but that the White House has dug its heels into the dirt. The Democrats are not taking reconciliation off the table, they are not paring back the bill, and they are not extricating themselves from the issue. They think they're right on this one, and they're going to try and pass this legislation. Today was a boost for that effort.

I'm sure for the Democrats in that room, Ezra's descriptions may be correct. But does this really signal that the Dems can get it done? After all, the views of no one in the room were really at issue. But will Bart Stupak be swayed by what happened? More . . .

Paul Krugman wrote:

If we’re lucky, Thursday’s summit will turn out to have been the last act in the great health reform debate, the prologue to passage of an imperfect but nonetheless history-making bill.

It is not even remotely possible that this was the last act imo. As I said before, nothing that happened yesterday will change any GOP votes. And the Dem votes in the room were already secure. The actual debate left to be had involves Democrats only. And indeed, it always only involved Democrats.

Perhaps the summit yesterday so shook the public debate that now all Dems will cower before the mighty rhetorical skills of the President and passage of the President's proposal is now just a formality. I did not see it so I can't say. For some reason, I doubt it.

Speaking for me only

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    If you want to get a taste of what (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:58:59 AM EST
    transpired yesterday, here's a few paragraphs of a cleverly-written summation that might do it:

    A Long Day's Journey Into Night

    The historic Conclave at Blair Castle has finally ended, the illustrious personages in attendance have shared their wisdom with us, and I have humbly transcribed their words, so serfs everywhere will be able to sleep well tonight knowing that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well . . .

    Obama, the Lord of Change, began the proceedings by talking about letters he's received from serfs imploring him to provide them with more labor, and lamented the fact that many of them have lost their huts. Many other serfs are worried that they'll lose their huts too, he said, and are just as worried that they'll get sick, won't be able to work in the fields anymore, and will get thrown out of their huts by sheriffs with Writs of Eviction.

    Duke Alexander, a loyal vassal of King WellPoint, responded by arguing that most of the serfs still have their huts and don't get sick every day. Consequently, it would be irresponsible to overreact by issuing that Proclamation of Healing the Lord of Change and his minions are so proud of. Furthermore, the serfs overwhelmingly oppose it, so it's going to be necessary to start all over again and write an entirely new Proclamation of Healing.

    Duchess Pelosi disagreed, and argued that the serfs are dropping like flies. We have to be bold and resolute, she said, or they're going to keep dropping like flies and we're going to run out of serfs.

    By the time I got to:

    As this long day's journey into night dragged on, Kent, the Village Idiot of Conrad, told a long incoherent story about his father, who had 80 years of Village Idiot experience and taught him everything he knows about idiocy. Let this be a lesson to all of us, he concluded.

    I was pretty much laughing out loud.

    Classic n/t (none / 0) (#17)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:13:56 AM EST
    Just another dance (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 11:27:46 AM EST
    My take on the summit was that it was a PR move by Obama to show the country that he truly is a bipartisan leader. The lines have already been drawn and nothing Obama or anyone else says at this point is going to redraw them.

    This move may bolster Obama in the public eye but I don't see it doing anything to change the direction of the debate.

    The problem with the HCR bill has always been within the party, not the Republicans. I'm not sure the summit did anything to change that.

    klein is dreaming if he thinks there is... (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by pluege on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:39:33 PM EST
    as such thing as democrats digging their heels in - they're ain't. The dem mo is: start from a weak position, give up anything left that is useful, get nothing in return.

    you really dont think (none / 0) (#1)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:24:49 AM EST
    they will pass a bill?

    The REAL debate on that (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:33:03 AM EST
    begins now.

    Yesterday had little to do with the actual debate.


    oh (none / 0) (#3)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:41:57 AM EST
    no argument there.  but I think yesterday could still be pivotal.  the day the worm turned.

    I say what I have always said.  they will pass a bill.  and they will do it through reconciliation.


    I think a large, (none / 0) (#14)
    by Makarov on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:08:38 AM EST
    comprehensive bill including subsidies and mandates is dead. It's been dead since the Senate passed HR 3590 with the Excise Tax and without the neutered public option in the House bill (HR 3962).

    What's ironic is for all the platitudes about "cost containment" from the White House, they ultimately rejected the one element that could have achieved that - a public option based on Medicare's provider network reimbursing at Medicare rates.

    The Excise Tax does not contain costs - it simply shifts them from insurers to patients as benefits are cut to stay below the cap. If benefit cuts don't happen, then the Tax will serve to increase costs faster. At best, if benefits are cut and wages are increased in compensation (something Gruber said would happen without any historical evidence), then the plan eventually results in increased taxes on everyone with private health insurance.


    secone invitation (none / 0) (#16)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:13:53 AM EST
    would you like to bet on that?

    Bah, as I said before, when the (none / 0) (#19)
    by Dan the Man on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:17:06 AM EST
    White House talks about "cost containment", they're talking about the costs of insurance companies.  They aren't talking about containing our "costs" ie premiums.  This became spectacularly obvious when, in introducing the idea to regulate premium rates, they never once mentioned the word "cost containment" at all even though regulating premium rates would be containing the costs of paying for health insurance.

    Do you think the debate yesterday (none / 0) (#9)
    by observed on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:59:13 AM EST
    will speed the conclusion of the process?

    No (5.00 / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:02:47 AM EST
    it was never intended (none / 0) (#10)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:00:14 AM EST
    to do that.

    Then I don't understand at all. (none / 0) (#12)
    by observed on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:04:42 AM EST
    Either the summit was intended to get Republican votes, or to energize the Democrats towards passage of the bill. What's the point, if not one of those two?

    that was obvious (none / 0) (#13)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:07:42 AM EST
    yesterday.  the purpose was to eliminate a republican talking point and to show the world what republicans really want.

    and it did both.


    I did not watch it (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:09:43 AM EST
    But I doubt it did much except burnish Obama and the GOP as reasonable people with good faith differences.

    I think it was good for Obama. But not so good for Dems generally.

    I did not see it though so my opinion is totally based on nothing.


    arguably (none / 0) (#18)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:16:20 AM EST
    what is good for Obama is good for the dems.  I did watch it.  it was the most substantive and intelligent exchange I remember seeing between officials of our government.

    I think it was good for everyone.


    To: Captain Howdy (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:05:28 PM EST
    I saw a good part of the sessions yesterday (missed the opening statements.) I agree with you in many respects. While the patina of it all resembled kabuki theatre, the tenor of discussions and the give & take is a huge advance from the 7-second soudbyte that everyone decries. (The funny part, of course, is that the same people who moan about 7-seconds then turn around and moan about the more realistic full-day session that really resembles the kinds of agency negotiations happening every day.) My take: President Obama has evidenced a thorough understanding of all the components, the fundamental differences between the parties remain and were displayed for all to see, and--now--the President can satisfy the public and himself that he has opened the doors to all manner of "bipartisanship" in terms of time and effort...and, it is time to act. It is hard to fault that. It is also hard to fault a dramatic seven hours that reminds us all how issues can be defined, discussed, and disagreed with in front of cameras AND with the participants/disputants acting civilly and speaking (without yelling or cursing) respectfully about an emotional, controversial subject. I liked that...a lot.

    yes (none / 0) (#31)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:09:16 PM EST
    to everything you said

    Community organizing (none / 0) (#20)
    by observed on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:20:40 AM EST
    Republicans is not as easy as herding cats.

    For not seeing it (none / 0) (#22)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:29:53 AM EST
    You are absolutely on the mark with this "blind" take.

    But I doubt it did much except burnish Obama and the GOP as reasonable people with good faith differences.

    I think it was good for Obama. But not so good for Dems generally.

    I did not see it though so my opinion is totally based on nothing.

    At best a tie.

    If it was intended to be a rank and file motivational exercise, its effects won't last long enough to impact enough votes.


    it wasnt (none / 0) (#25)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 11:00:39 AM EST
    From Obama's closing remarks: (none / 0) (#21)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:22:44 AM EST
    So the question that I'm going to ask myself and I ask of all of you is, is there enough serious effort that in a month's time or a few weeks' time or six weeks' time, we could actually resolve something. And if we can't, then I think we've got to go ahead and make some decisions and then that's what elections are for. We have honest
    disagreements about the vision for the country and we'll go ahead and test those out over the next several months till November.

    My bold; here's the link

    I am no political genius by any stretch of anyone's imagination, but if there's even a scintilla of political capital engendered by this summit, taking another 4-6 weeks to hash out the details isn't going to keep it going.


    Good catch. (none / 0) (#23)
    by observed on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:30:19 AM EST
    If Obama was actually operating in good faith, it would make no sense to convene a summit and then immediately get a bill passed.
    Logically, the summit should draw the process out MUCH longer, perhaps even until next fall.

    But, you see (none / 0) (#34)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:57:41 PM EST
    negotiations, in a number of cases, proceed in this way.  In my experience: The Agency leader emceed such a meeting of the longstanding, even "warring," parties to move the matter along if at all possible; and, if it became clear that the cleavage was too deep at the end of a day or two of such session, the leader may well say that it was his/her intent to move forward WHILE also indicating that there was yet an opportunity for the other side to cooperate with meaningful compromise. Just as it is possible to "walk & chew gum at the same time," the meaning among the negotiators was that the protagonist (eg. Agency and Agency leader) would move with due speed to complete their internal documents/positions/promulgation and if-- prior to an imminent completion--the opposing parties came forth with a serious, last minute change of heart, there remained the possibility of altering the now-formed intent.  The point: The two-track movement is rather comment in the negotiation process as one side moves forward and the other side contemplates its response. It stops nothing (on the way to court, promulgation OR legislation.) It is a recognizably strong maneuver, and it happens all the time.

    sure, but in conjunction with Obama's (none / 0) (#35)
    by observed on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:10:07 PM EST
    adviser talking about a several week timeline, your interpretation doesn't seem correct.
    Also, Obama is the boss of the Democrats, not the Republicans, so the model isn't appropriate, IMO.

    Two things (none / 0) (#36)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:33:23 PM EST
    1. The President's statement to Republicans was the invite to "think long & hard" and try serious compromise. With the general timeframe, the invite clearly has a general timeframe to preclude dallying.
    2. The President's statements to the Democrats clearly indicate his desire to continue moving ahead. Since the Democrats control Congress, his message to them is the approval/nod from their party's recognized leader to continue with the finalizing of the documents being drafted and with the process of whipping the votes.

    No inconsistency. And, I believe the analogy of the Agency above is on point.

    We'll see (none / 0) (#38)
    by observed on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 05:04:03 PM EST
    I think your analogy is inappropriate.

    Will they win the hearts and minds (none / 0) (#4)
    by BrassTacks on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:42:14 AM EST
    Of the majority of the people to put pressure on the Hill democrats to get this passed?  Did Obama win over any of the public yesterday?  That's who he needed to win over.  He needs the public to tell their representatives to pass this bill.  Is that happening?  

    they are going to pass this (none / 0) (#5)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:47:15 AM EST
    with or without support.  they know that once it is passed and the public finds out what it does for them you will see those numbers change.

    What it does for them in 2013? (none / 0) (#40)
    by BrassTacks on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:41:40 PM EST
    Why would the Congress support something with no benefits until 2013?  How will that help them in their campaigns this year and in 2012?  

    Other than increasing insurance benefits, how does the public benefit?  Why should they support this bill?  The mandates?  What's in it for most voters to support?  


    If your primary aim (none / 0) (#24)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:38:52 AM EST
    is to win over the public, you don't hold a 7-hour policy argument during the daytime.

    That really was not the point of this.


    why is (none / 0) (#26)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 11:01:05 AM EST
    this so hard to understand?

    What was the point? (none / 0) (#39)
    by BrassTacks on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:38:12 PM EST
    If not to win over the public and the democrats?  Surely he didn't think that he would win over republicans.

    I dunno (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:54:33 AM EST
    I work in DC - so far, no one I've talked to this morning watched the summit - many were not even aware it was going on.  This is only a really big deal to junkies.  

    Even the so-called experts on WTOP this morning were saying it didn't change one vote.

    Republicans will start being (none / 0) (#7)
    by observed on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:55:52 AM EST
    reasonable the day there are less than 40 in the Senate.

    Probably need less than 30 (none / 0) (#27)
    by MO Blue on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 11:09:46 AM EST
    There are at least 10 Senators that caucus with the Dems that just love to vote with the Republicans.  

    Republicans will never (none / 0) (#29)
    by Lora on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 11:38:25 AM EST
    start being reasonable.

    No one in the minority is ever (none / 0) (#32)
    by republicratitarian on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:14:45 PM EST

    Especially if the majority has 60 votes. I think what the Dems have done with 60 votes is show that neither party should ever have 60 votes again. The Republicans were terrible when they had the House, Senate and WH and the Dems are just as bad with all three, if not worse. There are no checks and balances on government. No ruling party is ever going to hold itself accountable (maybe the other party), they make the rules to police themselves.
    In then end, we all lose.

    Whoops, did I just rant? Sorry, I might have had an actual point when I began, I blame the codeine in my cough syrup (I have health insurance, lol)

    Damned if we do, damned if we don't.


    What the Dems have done with 60 votes (none / 0) (#37)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 04:28:26 PM EST
    Um what, look I like a lot of what congress has done, but lets not kid ourselves and pretend they were passing far-left legislation, most things were centrist or at best slightly center-left. For god's sakes the Republican's were way, way more extreme from 2004-2006.