Saturday, September 5, 2009

He Writes It, He Writes it Not

President Obama is running out of petals on his health care daisy. After a grueling month of August, Obama hopes to change his fortunes with a high risk speech before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. Needless to say, there is a fair amount of speculation about the content of speech number 111 on health care.

CNN reported earlier the President is working on a draft of legislation in advance of this meeting. Chuck Todd at MSNBC claims there is no such effort. He reports the White House is attempting to put in legislative language, areas of agreement in the 5 bills that are currently written. We can say with certainty, the "public option" is one area that doesn't qualify as "in agreement."

Obama held a conference call with a group of Progressives who made it clear they can't support a bill without a "robust" public option. Plumline reports one reaction after the call:
Grijalva says Obama signaled that discussions about the public option would continue even after his big speech before a joint session of Congress next week. That may be an indication that Obama won’t be mentioning the public option in his speech, but doesn’t want liberals to despair at that prospect.

Said Grijalva: “I didn’t come away from this discussion feeling that we were dead.”
CNN reports the White House continues to lean away from the public option:
A source close to the White House says the administration is leaning toward dropping the public option, and continues to zero in on trying to convince Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe – who has long pushed for a trigger option — to come on board.
Keith Hennessey nails it, I believe, in his prediction Obama will keep the left at bay right up until the moment the public option drops out of the bill.

While the public option continues to be the most contentious issue, it is far from the only danger from a conservative perspective. As Hennessey notes:
Democratic staff drafted these bills with a belt-and-suspenders. If (when) the public option is removed from the bill, other provisions would still turn health insurance into a public utility. Even without a public option, government employees or people appointed by the government would define standard benefit packages and cost-sharing for all health insurance. The government would regulate relative premiums and redistribute premium revenues among insurers, and have authority to place limits on insurers’ profits. A government-appointed board would define guidelines for quality care and for health care delivery models. Government guidelines labeled “advisory”have a tendency to become de facto standards over time, whether or not they are legally mandated.
Legal Insurrection points to the expansion of the role of the IRS as another means government will wield an increasing presence in health care.

Driving a stake through the public option may infuriate the left but the administration may plan to use that to their advantage:
The bottom line, said the source, is that the president would have to "move to the center" on the issue eventually, "and it's not a bad thing to have liberals screaming at him" — that development will help sell the deal to Americans, "convince them it's a good, moderate deal, if liberals are mad."
No one should be fooled or otherwise mollified by the screaming on the left that a bill without a public option is harmless. It is merely stage one in ending Obama's "Fatal Attraction" to government take over of our health care.

1 comment:

  1. I really don't like the fact that they are dropping the public option. I really don't want the government involved in my healcare decisions or effecting the quality of my healthcare. The government can't guarantee that my benefits will stay the same.


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