ABC News is now reporting that the Senate has 60 votes for a public healthcare option. In my column Thursday, I noted that it had suddenly burst back to life against great odds, with the House poised to pass a version of it and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) considering including it in the merged bill he drafts from the marks produced by the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate HELP Committee.
You've heard this before. It doesn't matter whether those of us who fancy ourselves politically informed are right or wrong when we pontificate. No one really pays close enough attention to remember, and certainly we don't. It's a great gig.
Well, I hope you're sitting down, because this pundit-wannabe is about to utter something that would otherwise knock you off your feet: "I might have been wrong."
There. I said it. I feel much better now. Except I may end up being wrong about being wrong.
There is a Gilded Age wing of the Democratic Party composed of certain Democratic strategists and consultants who take big money from banks, insurers, Wall Street and drug companies to oppose real change in America.
There is a Gilded Age caucus of Democrats in the House and Senate who are small in number but powerful in influence who take very large campaign donations from banks, insurers, Wall Street and drug companies and join the Party of No to oppose real change in America.
In the end there is no way Congress does not pass a public option with this much support.
The debate is over. The public has decided. The public option supporters have won the debate, in a knockout.
There is gathering momentum in both the House and Senate to repeal the antitrust exemption for insurers, which I proposed three weeks ago in my column, “Optional health deal.” The reaction I have received is powerful and electric. That column has been at the top, or near the top, of the most widely read pieces on thehill.com for three solid weeks, which is unheard of for a modest columnist such as myself.
My phone has been ringing. The e-mails have been coming. Many from insider Democrats who believe it is time to end price-fixing by insurers, once and for all.
Have you heard about the "doctors fix"? The fix is in for the doctors to be spared their pay cuts, but will the American Medical Association commit its support to healthcare reform, as Democrats are requesting in return?
Check on the details in a report by Alexander Bolton in our paper, and see why Democrats are set to embrace another $250 billion of deficit spending on behalf of doctors. Despite a projected $1.4 trillion deficit that is making Democrats unpopular and Republicans rally, Senate Democrats reportedly told several doctors groups last week they would halt $248 billion in cuts mandated by a 1997 law. The bill to spare physicians the scheduled cuts isn't paid for with tax increases or spending cuts.
The Washington Post/ABC poll today is the latest proof. In the Post/ABC poll, 57 percent of voters support the strong public option; in the recent Quinnipiac poll the number is 65 percent. Countless polls reveal similar results.
The debate is over. The liberals have won. Democrats and independents support the public option by large numbers and the nation as a whole supports the public option by a substantial margin.
Peggy Noonan in last Saturday's Wall Street Journal wrote there is no new frontier because the public does not support government programs. I would pay for Ms. Noonan to take a mathematics or political science course. She seems to be unaware of the large support for the public option, not surprising since there is huge support for Medicare, another government program.
There is among some on the right a delusional unwillingness to accept facts. They go from denying global warming to denying results of poll after poll on the public option. Facts are nasty things for the flat-earth society, but facts are facts.
It is a free country, and people can believe what they want, but the fact is that liberals have won the public option debate and neither delusion nor dishonesty can deny this fact.
By Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
Whether or not you now have health insurance, Obama’s healthcare bill will cost you dearly. If you don’t have insurance, you will be required to buy it. The legislation specifies how much you will have to pay for the coverage before any subsidy kicks in. All during the campaign, Obama kept speaking about affordable coverage. Now it appears that his definition of “affordable” might be a bit elastic.
Yes, the Senate Finance Committee passed its healthcare reform bill out of committee. And though it was considered something akin to the Seven Wonders, key questions remain about cutting costs.
Any bill that Democrats pass that is perceived by the public as a tax increase will likely bring political heat. Any bill that also spends a lot in subsidies while mandating coverage but failing to cover enough people will also test the party's popularity. Any bill that spends, taxes, fails to insure enough people and then doesn't cuts healthcare costs could spell disaster.
Mixed up in the healthcare debate — as if that subject didn’t have enough problems — is the controversial question of what to do about medical malpractice, trial lawyers and caps on damages. There is a way to deal with the escalating costs of medical malpractice insurance without interfering with patients’ damage awards at trials in medical cases. Two promising procedures have reformative potential and do not invade proper medical and legal practices.
1. Many hospitals have regular Mortality and Morbidity Conferences. There, mistakes are uncovered rather than covered up. An expanded use of this procedure, protected from the adversary process, which would inhibit its freewheeling nature, could prevent repeated misconduct and lead to settlements without trials.