Thursday, July 30, 2009

Obamacare Staggers Forward...Kind Of

Here's the latest on Obamacare:

Democratic leaders in Congress are angry about healthcare. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is lashing out at insurance companies:

"It's almost immoral what they are doing," Pelosi said to reporters, referring to insurance companies. "Of course they've been immoral all along in how they have treated the people that they insure," she said, adding, "They are the villains. They have been part of the problem in a major way. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening."

Meanwhile, over in the Senate, Harry Reid blames the Capitol Hill media:

"Reid said reporters created a fictitious deadline of a successful vote by the August recess, and downplayed the fact that the chamber won't meet that mark.

"That is a deadline that you created," Reid told a group of about 75 reporters. "It's not like we don't have a product. Significant progress has been made … The mere fact that this wasn't done by last Friday or by five o'clock doesn't mean we're not going to get a quality product."

I bet there aren't many people in Congress who are looking forward to the August recess trip home, but I agree with Karl that the Democrats are just beginning to fight.

I'd say this is significant progress - at least the Dems aren't (wrongly) blaming Republicans anymore.  Regardless, without a united Congress, Obama's efforts to nationalize health care are pretty much stalled.  In the Senate it's a no go until at least September, period.  There's still an outside chance at a vote in the House prior to the end of the week, but even that looks unlikely.  The rub appears to be the far-Left Dems versus the really-far-Left Dems.  The Blue Dogs are supposedly concerned about the enormous spending that will be involved, so the first major compromise was a bit of pork trimming to make them happy, along with talk of removing the 'public option' (which was actually just re-naming the 'public option' to something else, not really removing it), but now the other side is getting angry about even that:

Via Glenn Thrush, "about 50 House liberals"--enough to defeat the bill in the House if Republicans joined them--have signed the following letter:

We regard the agreement reached by Chairman Waxman and several Blue Dog members of the Committee as fundamentally unacceptable. This agreement is not a step forward toward a good health care bill, but a large step backwards. Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, for a public option with reimbursement rates based on Medicare rates—not negotiated rates—is unacceptable. It would ensure higher costs for the public plan, and would do anything to achieve the goal of "keeping insurance companies honest," and their rates down.

To offset the increased costs incurred by adopting the provisions advocated by the Blue Dog members of the Committee, the agreement would reduce subsidies to lower-and middle income families, requiring them to pay a larger portion of their income for insurance premiums, and would impose an unfunded mandate on the states to pay for what were to have been Federal Costs.
In short, this agreement will result in the public, both as insurance purchasers and as taxpayers paying ever higher rates to insurance companies.

We simply cannot vote for such a proposal.

What they say is completely wrong, of course, but this should give you some idea of the vehemence with which they feel it is their rightful place to dictate all health care decisions to the American people.  A wee bit scary, huh?

The greater point is that there is a huge amount of internal turmoil inside the Democrat party right now.  Since the Republicans are actually holding firm on this one, there's no hope of pushing it through with GOP support.  It will be interesting to see which Democrat group backs down (translation: gets forced into submission) first; regardless, they'll probably all have to 'suffer' through a long recess at home, with their constituents battering down the doors in anger at the very attempt to take over health care.

Another interesting update is that the AARP has endorsed Obamacare, though they haven't pointed to a specific piece of legislation as the one they prefer.  This is rather interesting since it is old folks who will likely bear the brunt of the inevitable rationing that will start killing people who aren't worth the cost of their health care.  Philip Klein reveals just how that endorsement came about:

I've been reporting on AARP's cozy relationship with the Obama administration, particularly on health care. While the group insists that it hasn't endorsed a specific bill yet, it has been echoing White House talking points on just about every aspect of the health care debate. And just this Tuesday, the group, which purports to represent older Americans, hosted a staged "townhall" meeting with pre-screened questions allowing President Obama to promote his health care proposals. But a new Pew poll, which is bad for Obama in general, highlights just how out of touch AARP is with its own membership on the health care issue. Taking a look at the full report shows strong opposition to health care plans currently being discussed in Congress among the 50-plus crowd, which is AARP's membership base. While Pew found that within the 50 to 64 age group, a slim plurality of 45 percent supported the current proposals compared to 41 percent who opposed them, among the over-65 set, just 29 percent were supporters, compared to 48 percent opposed. In fact, those above retirement age were more opposed to current health care proposals and less supportive than any other age group. The bottom line is that AARP's full-throated support for the Democratic health care agenda stands in stark contrast to the actual sentiments of older Americans, which range from tepid support to fierce opposition.

Basically, this is similar to how the AMA as an organization endorses Obamacare while actual doctors oppose it.  It's what happens when unions or union-type political organizations get too deeply entrenched in bureaucracy and lose touch with those they supposedly represent.  Funny how we're seeing that happen a lot nowadays, isn't it?

Another bit of irony today is that
Obama's own physician is opposed to the plan.  For what it's worth.

So, what happens in September?  We'll probably see continued plummeting of support for the plan, but that won't stop Obama and the Dems from trying it anyway.  Why?  Because they don't care - they feel they are entitled to dictate your life to you.  That's why this is such a critical issue, and that's why there can be absolutely no reprieve in the opposition to this bill, even though Washington is on vacation.  Above all, we must keep the pressure on.

There's my two cents.

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