Time to panic. President Obama and health-care reform are sinking in the polls. Only neither is true. TIME Health-Care Poll: Americans Back Reform, Worry Over Details. It worth reading the analysis, but the bottom line in in the headlines, many people are worried about the costs and the details, but “survey respondents remain dissatisfied with the current state of health-care delivery and supportive of reform in principle”. Most Americans till approve of Obama’s job performance. Some of Obama’s small dip in the polls like Gallop ( Rasmussen is a joke) is not because they think he is too far left, but because many liberals are disappointed that Obama is not moving us toward a Canadian style health-care system. It would ultimately be cheaper to have the government administer the insurance/payment side with private doctors and hospitals administering the medical care. This single payer approach is what President Obama’s former physician would prefer. Why the Right keeps linking to stories about him is a mystery since its actually a thoughtful spokesman for single-payer,
Scheiner, who prefers a more progressive approach to reform, was hesitant about trying to divine the president’s motives, although he said he believed that “in his heart of hearts” Obama “may well like a single-payer program.”
“His pragmatism is what is overwhelming him.” Scheiner added: “I think he’s afraid that he can’t get anything through if he doesn’t go through this incredibly compromised program.”
As Scheiner sees it, all alternatives simply fall short. Keeping private insurers in the market, he warns, would simply maintain burdensome administrative costs. He argued further that the pharmaceutical industry is not being asked to make “any kind of significant sacrifices” in the current round of reform negotiations.
“It’s a good question,” Scheiner said, when asked if having watered-down reform become law was better than getting a single-payer system stalled in Congress. “Is something better than nothing? That is a hard one for me. That is a difficult one, because, in the end, I think [Obama's] program is going to fail.” ( snips from article)
Many of us are in the something is better then nothing camp. I hate the pragmatic political considerations argument, but as much as I hate them, the reality is that Obama could spend the next two years trying to get Congressional support for single payer and get absolutely no where. Politics aside, the president can imagine two years passing with out any progress and accelerating health-care costs. He can be at that point in his presidency saying he tried single payer and failed or claim that at least he made, some obviously hard fought, progress for working Americans.
The Blue Dog Democrats are not the poor vulnerable pols they portray themselves as. They seem driven more by ego and perceptions then any actual pressure to vote far Right, How nervous should those Blue Dogs be?
Yes, some Democrats have to be very careful and not be seen as casting a liberal vote. But they’re a comparatively small number. A very clear majority of these people have won by large enough margins that it sure seems to me they could survive one controversial vote if they [put] some backbone into it.
But many of these folks manage to sell this story line to Washington reporters who’ve never been to these exurban and rural districts and can be made to believe the worst caricatures. I say many of these Democrats are safer than they contend. People need to start challenging them on this.
Call the glass half empty or half full, at the end of the day Obama and Progressive Democrats are not proposing anything more radical then Social Security or Medicare. Two programs that one can find plenty of personal anecdotes about in regards to lost checks or bureaucratic problems, but they’re better run then private enterprises like Blue Cross or CIGNA. Still Blue Dogs continue their little charade and have managed to water down the current version of the public option, but only a little -
The substantive changes the Blue Dogs made to the bill are minimal. The original legislation let the public plan use Medicare payment rates for three years, after which point the secretary of health and human services would negotiate rates. Now the secretary negotiates rates from year one. States can set up co-op insurance plans, but in addition to, rather than in lieu of, the public plan. The small business exemption is raised from $250,000 to $500,000. There are some cuts elsewhere in the bill to bring down the cost, but I’m not hearing that they represent anything crucial.
Not exactly deal killer compromises and we’ll have to wait until after the August recess for the Senate vote. The Right-wing noise machine is still running very well on pure bullsh*t so there is that possible downside. The up side is that it gives Obama and Democrats to regroup and start reselling the plan. They need to start highlighting the savings for small business, that health-care costs are running rampant with no end in sight ( Americans like to see companies make a fair profit, not windfalls at their expence) and preventative medicine combined with technology will save every tax payer in the long haul.
Because of twits like Kent Conrad (D-ND) do not be surprised is the public-option gets public relations makeover and they start calling it a co-op. American farmers have been involved in co-ops since George chopped down that cherry tree, thus the Orwellian cosmetics. Conrad is mistaken if he thinks the numbers for an actual cop-op will pass muster when used for health-care because there is real possibility that insurance companies will cut loose all their high risk insured and force them into co-ops. Insurance companies get to continue reaping huge profits and health-care costs are not driven down. Co-ops are great for apples, office supplies and furniture, but I tend to think actuarial tables will chew up health-care savings.