Healthcare: learning to backpedal

August 18, 2009

The training wheels are off for the Obama administration, which has passed the six-month mark in office. But officials are just now learning the Washington sport of backpedaling.

It started over the weekend when President Barack Obama and Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appeared to soften the stance that a public insurance option would be required in any healthcare reform plan.

That led to an outcry from liberal Democrats, most notably House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said the public option was the best option.

USA/Now the White House says it never changed its tune. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says reports of the administration backing away from the public option were an “overreaction” to Sebelius comments and that the administration’s message has been “boringly consistent.”

How fast can one backpedal on the backpedal?

That is the danger of floating a trial balloon to gauge response — if it bursts then you have to adopt a slightly surprised demeanor and act like everyone got the wrong idea. MEXICO-BALLOONS/

The healthcare debate is far from over, and there won’t be a signal of where it is headed until some time after Congress returns from summer break, if then.

But the Obama administration is going to have to decide who it is willing to anger: liberals friendly to their cause or Republicans who will require moving mountains to vote for healthcare overhaul.

Politico’s Roger Simon poses the question that Hillary Clinton raised on the campaign trail when she was running for president: Does Obama have the guts?

What do you think?

Photo credit: Reuters/Mike Blake (Bicyclist in San Diego); Reuters/stringer (Hot air balloons at festival in Mexico)

10 comments

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NO CO-OP’S! A Little History Lesson

Young People. America needs your help.

Our last great economic catastrophe was called the Great Depression. Then as now it was caused by a reckless, and corrupt Republican administration and republican congress. FDR a Democrat, was then elected to save the nation and the American people from the unbridled GREED and profiteering, of the unregulated predatory self-interest of the banking industry and Wallstreet. Just like now.

FDR proposed a Government-run health insurance plan to go with Social Security. To assure all Americans high quality, easily accessible, affordable, National Healthcare security. Regardless of where you lived, worked, or your ability to pay. But the AMA riled against it. Using all manor of scare tactics, like Calling it SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!! :-0

So FDR established thousands of co-op’s around the country in rural America. And all of them failed. The biggest of these co-op organizations would become the grandfather of the predatory monster that all of you know today as the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry. And the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry.

This former co-op would grow so powerful that it would corrupt every aspect of healthcare delivery in America. Even corrupting the Government of the United States.

This former co-op’s name is BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD.

Do you see now why even the suggestion of co-op’s is ridiculous. It makes me so ANGRY! Co-op’s are not a substitute for a government-run public option.

They are trying to pull the wool over our eye’s again. Senator Conrad, if you don’t have the votes now, GET THEM! Or turn them over to us. WE WILL! DEAL WITH THEM. Why do you think we gave your party Control of the House, Control of the Senate, Control of the Whitehouse. The only option on the table that has any chance of fixing our healthcare crisis is a STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION.

An insurance mandate and subsidies without a strong government-run public option choice available on day one would be worse than the healthcare catastrophe we have now. The insurance, and healthcare industry have been very successful at exploiting the good hearts of the American people. But Congress and the president must not let that happen this time. House Progressives and members of the Tri-caucus must continue to hold firm on their demand for a strong Government-run public option.

A healthcare reform bill with mandates and subsidies but without a STRONG government-run public option choice on day one, would be much worse than NO healthcare reform at all. So you must be strong and KILL IT! if you have too. And let the chips fall where they may. You can do insurance reform without mandates, subsidies, or taxpayer expense. Healthcare reform should be 100% for the American people. Not another taxpayer bailout of the private for profit insurance industry, disguised as healthcare reform for the people.

God Bless You

Jacksmith — Working Class

Twitter search #welovetheNHS #NHS Check it out

(http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/0 7/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/)

Posted by jacksmith | Report as abusive

Beware creeping STATISM!
Do not look to the government to right all wrongs and equalize all inequities.
I would rather have the government on my side, looking over the shoulder of private health insurance companies, and making sure I am not reamed… Than the government insuring me and giving me no outlet, except themselves, for appeal of wrongs.
Beware a state that runs everything, because it will not give up that power without a fight.

Posted by Juan | Report as abusive

Jack. Stop with the scare tactics.

It is plainly obvious the American people are smarter than Jack, the White House and Congress. Just remember this, most congressional elections where democrats were elected were very close elections. Obama only won with a 52 to 48 percent majority, hardly a mandate to force the kind of change he wants to on us. Nearly half the voters do not agree with this fiasco mucking around in congress.

Also, young people, Jack and the president look at you as “useful idiots”. They don’t care about you, they just need you and realize your youth and inexperience can be manipulated to serve their needs.

There are a lot of “middle of the road” voters who are regretting electing this bunch of progressive liberals, who are out to control your life beyond anything you could ever imagine and a public health care plan will put us on the road to control and servitude. Not only that, you will not get good health care, it will be rationed and we as a nation will pay dearly through high taxes for most of your lifetime.

Don’t fall for their scare tactics, because you will lose everything you are working hard to achieve in this life. You don’t need the government to control your life with health care. It is an evil system that will only destroy people.

Statism…That’s really the “end game” and statism always leads to control of the lives of people. It’s evil.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

It looks to me like America is starting to realize what is being proposed in this health reform legislation. The presidents poll numbers are slipping the popularity of this reform is reversing. These are all signs that America is not happy with what is being proposed. There may be some irrational fears out there but it seems to me if the president wanted to show some good will out there and improve his standing with middle America, he should put his money where his mouth is and stop the abuses in Medicare (another bloated and abused government program). If we take stock of where we have been, we have proposed and passed more 11th hour legislation in the past months than I have ever seen in my lifetime. What is the rush to overwhelm and confuse the average American voter, slow down and make smart rational changes that people have had a chance to read and understand, or maybe that the point, they don’t want John Q. Public to know what is going on!

The democratic party are always complimenting them selves on their diversity,but this why although they have an absolute majority in both houses they still cannot get anything done. The west coast liberals have an agenda that is totally far removed from the acorn type socialist stormtroopers. They only have a semblance of unity when they can identify a common enemy like they had when Bush was around,but when this no longer prevails they will devour each other. That is what we are going to see in convulsions that is starting to take place in the government proposed health care debate.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

UnitedHealth Group is directing and facilitating its employees to attend protests of Democratic Congressmen.

This is direct proof that some of these protests are being co-organized by the insurance companies directly in cooperation with Tea Party groups.

Last week, UnitedHealth Group–the second largest health insurance company in the country–sent out a letter to its employees urging them to call UHG’s United for Health Reform Advocacy Hotline to speak with an advocacy specialist about health care reform. The advocacy specialist, according to the letter, is there to help UHG employees write personalized messages to elected officials, and to arm them with talking points to use at local events in order to better oppose the public health insurance option.

This disproves the idea that all these groups are simply concerned citizens with no connection to big money. The insurance companies are showing that they have the intention of stopping any health insurance reform, even if it means they need to astroturf.

Posted by jsamuel | Report as abusive

Why can’t just those why pay taxes get health benefits…how b’out that Obama and the rest of the health care reform starters??? NO seriously, this I could be in favor of, but not just letting any old person that comes to America, even the illegal’s to get healthcare and our taxes go up the roof???? No, sure, I will cont. to fight this…

jasamuel

If I worked for a Health Care company I’d be concerned about my job as well… quit being a such a conspiracy theorist. These people have the right to protest as this bill will destroy x amount of their companies and their jobs… how’s that for a stimulus package.

Be more worried about the Government taking your money and wasting it on an expensive plan that will provide “just enough.” Something that they will get to justify themselves with no one to answer to.

While our system may not be perfect… most Government Option Healthcare Systems are stacking up the debt with an option to tax their people more; while dropping the quality of service.

Kinda sounds like the current system now doesn’t it? But now the government has its hand in the money pot.

There is a reason healthcare costs more… because their are more people to care for now than there was back then,
As well as more “diseases” like “anxiety disorder” and “stress disorder” and “obesity” and “erectile dis-function” and their seems to be an expensive, barely effective pill for all of this, with tons of side effects that will result in lawsuits later.

It’s not health insurers that’s the problem… it’s Pharmaceutical Companies R&D’ing worthless junk and getting it into our currently corrupt U.S. Gov. Run Healthcare system… which then says Insurers have to cover this cost.

Posted by Carrot | Report as abusive

Oh, you are so right! These people have the right to protest as this bill will destroy x amount of their companies and their $10 million salaries… how’s that for a stimulus package.

No need to worry about paying monthly premiums plus your $5000 deductible only to get a letter saying your treatment is not medically neccessary, try the pain management therapy instead. But only six sessions.

Kinda sounds like the current system now doesn’t it? The insurance companies want to keep that money pot filled so they can buy more mansions, yachts, and vacations.

There is a reason healthcare costs more in the US. It is done for profit by a monopoly that makes money off its victims by treating their illnesses. The rest of the world saves money by keeping their populations healthy through prevention.

Posted by jsamuel | Report as abusive

Now they are angering people like me with this backpedaling. As to why they want to appease those who never voted for them and will never do so, I don’t know.

I mean how can one say the care for a majority when they only represent the interests of the insurance companies who keep increasing premiums and denying coverage. It’s time we have a government for the people. Take back America. Have the guts.

Posted by Emmanuel | Report as abusive