Healthcare

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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Healthcare Slipping Away ...

The reviews are in — President Obama clearly didn't prod members of his own party to reach consensus on a healthcare bill that could pass the House with his primetime news conference Wednesday night.

Obama felt the need to hold the press conference, but didn't feel the need to take the reins of the debate and back one or two ways to pay for overhauling the nation's healthcare system. Democrats who had spent the better part of two weeks trying to overcome disagreement in their own party were hoping Obama would pick one offset and then challenge them to back it. But Obama wouldn't bite.

Seeing the writing on the wall, the Senate has delayed floor action until September or beyond, and the House will likely follow suit. With a deadline missed and the president still leaving solutions to the fighting factions of his party, where will the pressure to pass reform come from?
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Obama's Waterloo and Senate Democrats' Moment of Truth

Groups representing Democrats, progressives, women, blacks, Hispanics, workers and consumers throughout the nation should rally with a fury to this single cause: We should demand that every Senate Democrat take a public pledge not to filibuster the healthcare bill and they should take it clearly, publicly and now.

The entire issue of healthcare reform boils down to this: If democracy is destroyed again in the Senate with a filibuster that requires 60 votes to win, true healthcare reform will be destroyed now, and for our lifetime, and Republicans will succeed in breaking the Obama presidency. The result will either be no bill, or a sham bill. If democracy is upheld in the Senate with a majority vote to win, the result will be the crown jewel of the Obama presidency and a new day for Americans on healthcare.
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Cost

The dictionary definition of cost is “an outlay or expenditure of money, time, labor, trouble.”

I am fascinated by the varied definitions of cost as it applies to the ongoing healthcare debate.

The president continues to say that we need to do healthcare reform to control costs. Republicans say that the president’s bill costs too much. Consumers think their personal costs for healthcare are too high. Insurance companies agree that healthcare costs are too high. Small-business owners are worried about costs, as are big-business CFOs. Labor groups think that costs are too high, doctors think that costs are too high, nurses think that costs are too high. Everybody thinks that costs are too high.
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