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.


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.”


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.

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?

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.


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.

President's Healthcare Lunacy

Last night President Obama may have stretched his credibility beyond the limit.

It strains credibility to argue that expensive, unfunded healthcare reform will help strengthen the recessionary U.S. economy already overburdened by record government deficits. It is like a used-car salesman asking a financially overextended family to borrow more money on its remaining credit card lines to finance an efficient BMW that will save it gas mileage.


As the healthcare debate roils, the partisan sniping goes on unabated. Democrats are arguing that Republians, by opposing President Obama's bill (and the speed with which he wants to pass it), are seeking to destroy the presidency.

While Republicans have certainly been aggressive in criticizing what would amount to government control over healthcare and a massive tax increase in the middle of a recession, Democrats must, to borrow from the title of an Elvis Presley song, clean up their own backyard.

Prospects Dimming for Healthcare Reform

As President Obama goes before the nation to urge quick passage of an overhaul for our healthcare system, the economic picture complicating party unity on health reform has darkened considerably in less than a week.

First there was the assessment of Doug Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), that the current plans would not only fail to cut healthcare costs but would actually grow them. That the bills aren't revenue-neutral was bad news enough, but that they would expand healthcare costs was too much — centrist and conservative Democrats went running for the hills.

There They Go Again

The Republican Party of “no” is in full swing. They’re BACK! And it isn’t just President Obama they want to see fail. They want to kill healthcare reform big time.

Listen to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele as he parrots word for word Alex Castellanos’s memo — plagiarizes, actually (see the “Healthcare for Dummies” article by Dana Milbank in Tuesday’s Washington Post). Alex writes in his memo that “If we slow this sausage-making process down, we can defeat it.” Defeat it. Kill it. Scare them, scare them, scare them.