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Democrats Finally Give Up Bipartisanship on Health Care

mass's picture

Is the era of new politics over? 

Via the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Given hardening Republican opposition to Congressional health care proposals, Democrats now say they see little chance of the minority’s cooperation in approving any overhaul, and are increasingly focused on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks.


The White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said of Republican lawmakers, “Only a handful seem interested in the type of comprehensive reform that so many people believe is necessary to ensure the principles and the goals that the president has laid out.”

The Democratic shift may not make producing a final bill much easier. The party must still reconcile the views of moderate and conservative Democrats worried about the cost and scope of the legislation with those of more liberal lawmakers determined to win a government-run insurance option to compete with private insurers.

On the other hand, such a change could alter the dynamic of talks surrounding health care legislation, and even change the substance of a final bill. With no need to negotiate with Republicans, Democrats might be better able to move more quickly, relying on their large majorities in both houses. Democratic senators might feel more empowered, for example, to define the authority of the nonprofit insurance cooperatives that are emerging as an alternative to a public insurance plan.

This is certainly welcome news because now the entire debate shifts left, as it should be when your Party has super majorities in Congress and a President in the White House.  

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mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

We are now debating on our terrain, so let's go ahead and do improved and enhanced Medicare for All. Let's give Americans the best health system in the world. let's save oodles of money and thousands of lives. Why not?

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

I don't believe it. It's just to get "the left" to shut up for August. That's IMO, of course.

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

The continued outreach to Republicans, meanwhile, is testing Democrats' unity. This week, more than 50 House Democrats issued a letter saying: "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."

Some of them told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a conference call Tuesday that discussions with Republicans are pointless.

White House spokeswoman Linda Douglass played down the intraparty fuss, noting that it's far from clear how the final legislation will turn out. She said negotiations involving Obama have led drug manufacturers to agree to reduce costs for the nation's health care system by $80 billion over 10 years, while hospitals have agreed to an additional $155 billion.

Those concessions will carry weight with lawmakers as they "look at enacting reform that will lower costs and increase stability and security," Douglass said in an interview.

But such concessions cut several ways. Pharmaceutical industry leaders say the $80 billion agreement should end efforts to allow the government to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs used in Medicare and other programs.

Liberals say such price reductions are precisely the type of change Obama called for in his presidential campaign. And now, they say, is the time to turn those promises into reality.

Submitted by lambert on

The politics of public option:

means test + subsidy = welfare

The political economy of public option:

mandate + regulatory capture = bailout for the insurance companies

Kip Sullivan points out that bailing out the insurance companies lets them kick back a percentage to Congress to beat back further reform efforts. So much for incrementalism.

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

has to wake and ask for what they actually want. You only get what you ask for, or less. You never, ever get more. I don't support the bill. Not at all. But if the Democrats are going to say, ok, we are doing this on our own, then I'm saying ok, then let's have improved and enhanced Medicare for All.

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

end efforts to allow the government to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs used in Medicare and other programs.

this is why I'm 100% against going after Medicare as for "cost savings," -- if you cripple it from the get-go, it makes it just the more difficult for Medicare to keep up w/ the PAYGO-style system they want to implement. And conveniently, there's nobody running the ship right now to point out the obvious.

There is no hard data to back up that "effective practices" will lead to better outcomes that will keep Medicare viable in the long run. OTOH, negotiating lower prices for prescriptions brings immediate relief. Seems kind of odd to exchange the known for the unknown. Reforming Medicare would have a much greater chance of success w/ the right start.

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

Horrible, just awful. If anything we need better Medicare, and that's going to cost money, particularly if they are going to try to prop up private insurance, which I also think is a crap idea.

cal1942's picture
Submitted by cal1942 on

It took how long for Democrats (and the White House) to get it that Republicans' sole objective is to destroy any reform at all. Hard to contemplate why a significant majority would entertain bringing in these people for even one second.

Something that all us peons understood from the start.

The stupid does indeed burn.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

re: "It took how long for Democrats (and the White House) to get it that Republicans' sole objective is to destroy any reform at all."

You are being way too optimistic, methinks. Like they "get it"?

Naw, my guess is that they've found a new way to "massage the message".

MOBlue's picture
Submitted by MOBlue on

them that they were going to obstruct Democratic legislation. Evidently the Dems are all hard of hearing as well as stoopid.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

I'm wondering if this is genuine or a fake-out. Either way, since they are letting us get our foot in the door, or even appearing to let us get our foot in the door, we should take advantage of the offer either way and push through the door, altogether.

The administration should have shut out the bat-shit insane wing of the nation from the get-go instead of encouraging them. I'm pessimitic, because you can't ever stick that genie back in the bottle. They've already totally poisoned the well with getting the talk of death panels and socialism into the mainstream media. When you begin something by entertaining fools, it's really hard to get them not to overstay their welcome; that's why you're not supposed to invite them in the first place.

Submitted by hipparchia on

this was my cynical first reaction, but i'm with you, if you get a foot in the door, shove that door wide open.

Submitted by hipparchia on

There's only one potential problem with this plan, and it could be a huge one. His name is Alan Frumin. He is the Senate parliamentarian. He job is officially non-partisan and his reputation for probity and independence is impeccable. It will be up to him to decide whether much of what Senate leaders want to do in a simple-majority "reconciliation" vote is valid under Senate rules. Simply put, everything in the bill is supposed to relate to balancing the budget.

hr 676 would be great for this. we need to fix that nagging medicare trust fund issue [mostly to shut up the opposition], we need to raise taxes, we need to deliver health care.

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

we're going to get a mandate for junk insurance, just like the BHIP want.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

note how this story is framed, though. The "opportunity" being presented is not an opportunity to come up with comprehensive health care reform; instead its presented as the power to "define the authority of the nonprofit insurance cooperatives that are emerging as an alternative to a public insurance plan."
now, if there is one thing that a reporter should have figured out, its that these co-ops are not considered an alternative to the public option by a huge swath of the democratic party....

Submitted by lambert on

Because we're comparing one policy where there's no evidence that it works with another policy where there's evidence it won't work.

Yeah, this is all about making the hard choices.