Obama healthcare on political operating table

February 22, 2010

Last year, President Barack Obama tried to get Congress to pass healthcare legislation that came from the minds of  lawmakers.

We all know how well that went.

So today, Obama put his own version on the table.

The response from Republicans was (shock of shocks) — they don’t like it. House Republican leader John Boehner says Obama’s proposal jeopardizes bipartisan healthcare work (You might ask what bipartisan healthcare work? We’re not quite sure).

The response from Democrats was (shock of shocks) — they’ll review it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it contained positive elements from the separate bills that passed the House and Senate last year.

GEORGIA-OSSETIA/REFUGEESAll of this is a prelude to the big healthcare summit on Thursday where Obama wants  Democrats and Republicans to break bread at the same table and come up with areas of agreement.

But being that it’s an election year and all, a major breakthrough between Democrats and Republicans at the summit would seem about as likely as snow removal on my street after a major storm.

“This week’s summit clearly has all the makings of a Democratic infomercial for continuing on a partisan course that relies on more backroom deals and parliamentary tricks to circumvent the will of the American people and jam through a massive government takeover of health care,” Boehner said. (In case there was any question about where Republicans stand.)

Basically in the political theater, the game is who can make who look more partisan. Democrats will say they tried to get Republicans on board, and  Republicans will say Democrats didn’t make any acceptable moves.

Who do you think will win in casting the other as the problem?

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Photo credit: Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili (breaking bread in Georgia, 2008), Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama at meeting with state governors)


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A lengthy list of Republican proposals have already been incorporated into the healthcare reform package.

This isn’t exactly new. The Republicans’ “Solutions for America” web page lists four health care planks — and literally all four are included in the Democratic plan.

But this hasn’t made a difference because Republicans don’t actually want to solve the problem. The only way to satisfy GOP demands on health care policy is to kill the bill and let the problem get worse.

Reality should matter when considering GOP talking points, and when conservatives claim that the reform proposal is “partisan” and that GOP ideas have been “ignored,” they’re lying.

Americans’ sense of fairness leads them to think a good comprehensive package would include ideas from both parties. Well, in this case, that’s exactly what Democrats are offering. Why doesn’t the Republican leadership like it? Because it includes some Democratic ideas as well.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

This health bill will force the average small business to fire 3-4 workers on account of the hefty fines. I work for http://storyburn.com, and I can see why folks are pulling their hair out over the temp job being the new full time job, China stealing our mojo, Wall Street bonuses at record highs, and people taking a 10% paycut and asked to work unpaid overtime. We have the most read home foreclosure story as well as several job hunting stories

Posted by muchstardude | Report as abusive

Without universal single-payer coverage, American health care is clinically dead. The bipartisanship in this case seems to be more about neither side wanting to be its lone pall-bearer, just in case America should eventually waken from its coma and come after the culprits in this fiasco.

Posted by HBC | Report as abusive

Interesting to say Republican proposals are in the package, but never say one word on what those proposals are.

But it doesn’t matter one bit. Here is what is important if one can only tear himself from what makes him a political hack:

58 percent are against the this debacle of a health care proposal.

61 percent say start over from scratch.

Only 39 percent say yes to this mess.

All reported from the accurate Rasmussen poll.

Once again, if the “health care???” bills were what Americans wanted and the democrats had their act together, then we would have this mess already. Making this into a “it’s the Republicans” fault is really not honest….Yes, a liar.

Thank God the Republicans are listening to the clear majority of Americans on health care.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

The republicans are NOT listening to the majoity of Americans. What they did was listen to the health insurance companies and destroyed a good bill. There was a public option. But that was removed BECAUSE THE INSURANCE LOBBY DIDN’T WANT IT. So the republicans, Lieberman included, championed the corporate objection to the public option.

And what did we get instead? We got a bill that would require citizens to purchase insurance! So insurance companies screw the health care system and government’s solution is to force you to buy insurance. And this happened because even though insurance companies are not people, they have been given the rights of citizens and allowed to speak to and lobby congressional leaders.

These leaders turn away from the public interest and push the agenda of the corporate citizenry to the detriment of the people. Corporate constituents make puppets of our legislators and cause them to abandon us. Strike corporate citizenship down and return the government of the people back to the people.

Posted by Benny_Acosta | Report as abusive

and what did the candian premier Danny Williams do for his health care? where is that story on this web page? America has the best health care in the world. the left wants to tear it down. any reform needs to focus on the cost of health care. the congress bill or the new bill put forth by the pres will increase cost and kill delevery of health care. it will be lines of people, denial of services. use your brain. these purposed bills are bad. tax payers paying for other peoples health care is stupid. we should focus on creating an enviroment where people can take care of themselfs. bring costs down and have full emplyment. not creating an enviroment where people have to hold there hand out for more pudding.

Posted by wbf | Report as abusive

Benny, you need to back up your diatribe with facts. Prove it is insurance companies and not the American people. Your point of view is a cop out.

The Rasmussen numbers I stated earlier are a fact the American people are not for the health care bills mucking around.

So, if it is the Republicans and the administration and congress are going to use the reconciliation vote in congress no matter what, what are they wasting their time talking to the republicans? Once again, they can pass this mess right now. Stop with the threats, just do it if that’s what you are going to do.

But we all know it is political suicide to pass this mess. The democrats are going to pay the price, one way or another.

That is good for America and Americans.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

Ironic that TC, who calls me a political hack, backs up all his assertions with data from conservative pollster Rasmussen.

It’s also very ironic that TC does not know what is in the legislation, and is too intellectually lazy to find out. It’s much easier to have his opinion given to him by Fox News.

For those who actually like critical thinking, the four Republican proposals included in the White House compromise are posted below.

Actually, after looking over it again, there are six.

(1) “Let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines.”
(2) “Allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do.”
(3) “Give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs.”
(4) “End junk lawsuits.”
(5) “Tax breaks for employer-sponsored insurance.
(6) “Single-payer off the table, no public option.”

Now, about those Rasmussen poll numbers.

“58 percent are against the this debacle of a health care proposal, 61 percent say start over from scratch, Only 39 percent say yes to this mess.

The numbers are correct, but the question is why. Only in our broken “democracy” could the opinion of a handful of lobbyists representing one of the most unpopular industries in America have more sway than the opinion of roughly 65% of Americans. The American people have spoken loud and clear about what they want from health care reform, and it is a public option. Congressional Republicans AND Democrats have decided they would rather be friends with insurance CEOs, instead of delivering on what they promised, were elected to do, and know their constituents want. So in some respects, TC is correct. But, as usual, for all the wrong reasons.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

My comments come from actually talking to people around me. They come from listening to what other people in my community are saying about the health care issue. It also comes from watching the debates in congress on C-Span. I get to see and hear for myself what they’re saying.

Politics has a way of distorting a person’s view point in the eyes of others. The big push against a public option came when Lieberman said he would block a vote on any bill that came with a public option. This was supposed to be a HEALTH CARE debate. But what has been discussed in terms of health? Nothing. It’s all about who profits and who pays.

There is no way to make the argument that a citizen should not have access to medical care, unless you approach it from a cost perspective. The health care issue is a public health issue. The health insurance industry is a private for profit sector. Therefore it is IMPOSSIBLE for congress to serve both the public interest and the private interests of the corporate sector.

It is in the public interest for citizens to have access to our best medical care when they need it regardless of how much money they have or don’t have. It is NOT in the interest of private insurers for citizens to have that option.
And so what is the proposed solution? To force citizens to buy the very thing that is wrong with the health care system. I think we do need to start over. But I also think it should be with a whole new congress in place. I also believe that as long as there is a corporate lobby, the citizenry will continue to get the shaft every time. Corporate citizenship is a cancer within our government that needs to be removed. And until it is our legislators will remain simply corporate puppets.

Posted by Benny_Acosta | Report as abusive

Benny. Thank you for the rational and honest response, I appreciate it.

We likely will not come to agreement on this issue regarding the American people and insurance companies. But it is in this spirit that I agree 100 percent that this process needs to start over from scratch.

The president and both parties in congress have wound this issue around so many times that none of them can see clearly what is the right thing to do.

As is often the case on here, it has turned in to gotcha. And that isn’t good for anyone.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

Starting over from scratch was exactly what the GOP wanted. Their goal is to make the country ungovernable while a Democrat sits in the White House, nothing more. They did it to Johnson, Carter, and Clinton. Now they are doing it to Obama. Party over country, as always.

Posted by Yellow105 | Report as abusive