Democrats Dig their Healthcare Reform Grave

The Hill's A.B. Stoddard answers questions about the troubled healthcare debate for Democrats, and looks at how the GOP is winning the healthcare war by simply opposing Obama's plan.


Generational Fiction in Times Op-Ed

Richard Dooling, a successful novelist, tries his hand at health policy in a provocative, though ultimately misguided, op-ed today’s New York Times.

It’s the job of any novelist to make his narrative stimulating and interesting, but the picture Dooling paints of greedy seniors selfishly milking away the earnings of grandchildren while they receive unnecessary medical treatment is farcical. Dooling creates a false choice between funding unnecessary and expensive surgeries for terminal patients and funding preventive care for children:

[…] shouldn’t we instantly cut some of the money spent on exorbitant intensive-care medicine for dying, elderly people and redirect it to pediatricians and obstetricians offering preventive care for children and mothers?

The Death of the Public Option

So the public option is dead, eh?

Good! It was always a stupid idea anyway.

The left didn’t like it. They want the government-run healthcare, and to them, a public option just isn’t good enough.

The right didn’t like it. They saw it as the first step to a single-payer plan.

And the middle didn’t like it. They saw it as a sure sign that our country was going to go bankrupt.

There's Life After 'Death Panel' Fabrication

One of the ironies of the fabricated “death panel” controversy is that the proposed provision will actually lead to less government involvement in end-of-life issues. The provision, supported by wild-eyed liberals like Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson (R), authorizes Medicare to pay for a voluntary counseling session between a patient and a doctor to discuss the patient’s wishes for treatment if they were to become incapacitated.

The President Should Fight for the Public Healthcare Option

The president supports the public option for healthcare. The House of Representatives will pass a bill that includes the public option. A majority of senators supports the public option. The president should fight for this, stand firm for this, and if he does, in the end, I believe he wins. Let me add, I talked to the Senate majority leader at some length shortly before the recess, and without divulging secrets of state, this battle has only begun.

McCaskill Wrong on Healthcare, but Right to Reject Left's Tactics

“I think it’s been a mistake for anyone to say this has been a manufactured effort on the part of many of these folks shouting out. … This is real. It’s grass roots. Now they’re organizing, but that’s what we do in America. People do it on the left. People do it on the right. Most of the people, frankly, in the middle don’t, and that’s where I’m trying to stay focused."

A surprising admission from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) to Bill O'Reilly on Fox News last evening.

With the left desperately attempting to label the town hall attendees who oppose ObamaCare as "fringe" players — or even dangerous radicals — as a way to marginalize the impact, significance and influence these voters have with their elected officials, McCaskill is rejecting the left's orders to engage in the name-calling. The faux outrage on the left over the "rude" behavior of town hall attendees who dare to question what the elite left in Washington have in store for them against their will is backfiring. Especially since it was this same crowd on the left who were the architects of the anti-war demonstrations during the Bush administration. Remember those?

Sympathy for the Protester

“F$#@k you, you well-dressed fascist,” the first protester screamed at me with venom in his voice. He was right about one thing. At that particular event I was well-dressed. “You are responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans. Their blood is on your hands,” another screamed at me as I entered the facility where we had scheduled a political event for later that day at the GOP convention in New York City a few years ago.

In a perfect world, people wouldn’t yell at a town hall meeting and everyone’s opinion could be heard equally. In a perfect world, people wouldn’t use over-the-top rhetoric when simply expressing their view in an even-handed manner would get the job done.

Cardin Won't Vote for Healthcare Bill if it Increases the Deficit

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) promised right out loud yesterday at a town hall meeting in Hagerstown that he will NOT vote for a healthcare bill that increases the deficit. Pretty amazing.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that ObamaCare will increase the deficit by no less than $239 billion.

Did Cardin just gift himself a get-out-of-jail-free card? After all, President Barack Obama claims his plan will NOT increase the deficit. CBO says it will, and they're not the only ones. When the proverbial rubber hits the road in the fall and there are votes in Congress, this may be the biggest point of contention.

Drop the Public Option, Dems

Watching the crowds at rowdy town hall meetings across the country, it is clear that anger, fear and loathing at bureaucracy, government control and federal spending have heated to a boil.

President Barack Obama knows this. He knows that participants at these forums are mostly decided — against him. They aren't coming to learn more about healthcare reform; they aren't interested in the truth vs. rumor on any reform proposals now under consideration in Congress; they are furious about a pile of other issues that preceded this debate and they want to let him and the Democratic Party have it.

Missed Opportunity

The current heated debate that has embroiled the country (whether the conservatives who organize to protest Obamacare are somehow illegitimate while the liberals who organize to support Obamacare are somehow perfectly above board) misses the real story in the missteps by the White House to get healthcare reform quickly.

I had a beer with my best friend from high school this evening (and his wife and kids — the kids didn’t have any beer), and we got to talking about healthcare and Obama. They aren’t big fans of Obama. They doubt his sincerity, they worry about his spending plans, they expect big tax increases from him and they don’t really like him that much.

And they oppose his healthcare plan.