Healthcare

Healthcare in the Dog Days of August

The Hill's A.B. Stoddard answers questions on how healthcare will survive the August recess and the disparities between President Barack Obama’s final vision and current legislation in the House.


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Game On! Voters Want Their Say at Town Hall Meetings

When the left starts complaining about vocal voters attending town hall meetings on healthcare reform held by their Democrat elected officials, it's clear those voters are doing something right. And the Democrats are doing something wrong. (Rachel Maddow actually referred to voters speaking out as "hooliganism.")

When elected officials actually consider holding "invitation-only" town hall meetings, as is the case with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), one wonders how long the left-wing media can get away with claiming there is something "wrong" with the regular people attending an open town hall meeting, rather than questioning Cardin and other elected officials afraid to hear from their own constituents.
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Obama’s Health Plans Confusing

This piece is also published in The Washington Times.


I am guessing that in the early days of the Obama administration, probably shortly after the arrival of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, the "strategic decision" on health care was made, one that we are now watching unfold in recent days in Washington.

I am guessing it was essentially a negative decision — don't make the basic mistake that the Clinton administration is widely seen as having made in 1994. The conventional wisdom says that the basic cause of its failure on health care was the choice to write in secret a complicated 1,000-page bill and then, send it up to the Congress, where no one could understand it and where it was ripped to shreds by all the special interests, especially by the nasty "Harry and Louise" ads.
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Obama His Own Worst Enemy

A lot of political hand-wringing going on in Washington right now over the current health reform debate. When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced last week that the Senate would be unable to move President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare initiative before the August recess, the country let out a collective sigh. Especially moderate-to-conservative Democrats. They’re hearing firsthand what the people are saying. Put simply, this is too big an initiative to ram through the Congress based on bumper sticker slogans such as “Every American Covered!”

I predicted weeks ago this measure would not pass before August. The president’s henchmen miscalculated. They banked too heavily on Obama’s popularity to push through a trillion-dollar initiative. Coming on the heels of a failed stimulus package (not my opinion, check the facts), Americans are admittedly wary of more checkbook policies that yield nothing in return.
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Why Is It So Hard to Reform Healthcare?

Healthcare reform is unique as a policy issue in that the process itself commands almost as much attention as the content of the legislation. It’s probably an unhealthy obsession, but it’s one that has developed over half a century of failures. Passing legislation is never simple, but what in particular about our healthcare system makes it so difficult to change?

Conservatives like to argue the reason we have our current healthcare system is that we are a fundamentally conservative country that does not like excessive government intervention in markets (even though the current proposals would do much more to open up the health insurance market). This is similar to the refrain commentators made after the election that this country is fundamentally “center-right” and that Obama’s election was only a temporary blip.
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Obama His Own Worst Enemy

A lot of political hand-wringing going on in Washington right now over the current health reform debate. When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced last week that the Senate would be unable to move President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare initiative before the August recess, the country let out a collective sigh. Especially moderate-to-conservative Democrats. They’re hearing firsthand what the people are saying. Put simply, this is too big an initiative to ram through the Congress based on bumper sticker slogans such as “Every American Covered!”

I predicted weeks ago this measure would not pass before August. The president’s henchmen miscalculated. They banked too heavily on Obama’s popularity to push through a trillion-dollar initiative. Coming on the heels of a failed stimulus package (not my opinion, check the facts), Americans are admittedly wary of more checkbook policies that yield nothing in return.
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Public Plan Option

Don’t look now, but Democrats are about to abandon their commitment to a public plan option, if they haven’t already done so.

In every public appearance, President Barack Obama continues to push the public plan option as an essential element of any healthcare reform legislation. But, from the White House, different signals are being given.

For the second day in a row yesterday, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters the president was open to all options for providing more choice and more competition, including the insurance cooperatives proposed by the Senate Finance Committee. In fact, Gibbs told NBC’s Chuck Todd that at this point the president had “no preference” between the co-ops and the public plan option.
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Senate vs. House on Healthcare Reform

The Hill's A.B. Stoddard is joined Chirs Kofinis and John Feehery to discuss whether the House or the Senate will have a healthcare reform bill that will actually reach President Obama's desk.

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The Republicans and Small Business and Healthcare

I just love the Republicans’ rhetoric on how they stand up for small businesses.

Democrats propose any kind of tax on millionaires and it suddenly becomes an attack on “America’s small businesses.” We try and put together a healthcare plan that makes it possible to keep costs down for small businesses and allows them to insure employees and it becomes about “big government.”
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TMI

The president made a giant mistake at his press conference on Wednesday night. He gave the media an excuse not to talk about healthcare, a ratings killer, and move to a sexier topic, racism in America.

You have to give the cable shows credit, though. They have tried to make healthcare reform sound like the gunfight at the OK Corral. They hyped the president’s press conference last week as if it were a State of the Union address. Even the foreign press paid attention, sent stringers and spent valuable resources covering the non-story.
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