Monday, February 22, 2010

ObamaCare 2.0 Kicks Off Kabuki Week for Health Care

The wonders of wonders of Obamacare 2.0 were revealed today in advance of the Kabuki health care summit on the 25th. I am still poring over the changes that enable the White House list these selling points to promote the latest version of government health care:
* It makes insurance more affordable by providing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, reducing premium costs for tens of millions of families and small business owners who are priced out of coverage today. This helps over 31 million Americans afford health care who do not get it today – and makes coverage more affordable for many more.
* It sets up a new competitive health insurance market giving tens of millions of Americans the exact same insurance choices that members of Congress will have.
* It brings greater accountability to health care by laying out commonsense rules of the road to keep premiums down and prevent insurance industry abuses and denial of care.
* It will end discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions.
* It puts our budget and economy on a more stable path by reducing the deficit by $100 billion over the next ten years – and about $1 trillion over the second decade – by cutting government overspending and reining in waste, fraud and abuse.
Michael Cannon describes this roll out as "Meet the New Plan, Same as the Old Plan." His caveat, the regulation board to control health insurance costs makes it even more bureaucratic. Philip Klein tweets almost everything about the bill will make ObamaCare more costly than the Senate bill.

Marc Ambinder notes the "new" bill could end up benefiting either party depending on whether or not the public perceives the bill as something new:
The way forward: either rank-and-file Democrats accept this bill -- Obama's bill -- or they don't.  Republicans could suddenly discover an upside in supporting it, which is doubtful, but if they could also reduce the number of procedural delays to help the Democrats speed its passage. If not, we might be faced with the spectacle of Republicans trying to drag the votes out through the midterms. This could benefit either party; it depends on whether Americans view this bill, which is basically a product of the bills they don't like, as something new. The reason why they might do this is because they never really opposed the provisions in the bills or the goals of the bills; it was the process that alienated them so profoundly, making health care in 2009 unlovable.  
 Daily KOS among others were treated to an early morning conference call to enlist support of the left leaning media to sell the "new" bill. Expect a full court press to sell this bill, they're desperate.  The White House strategy appears to rest, in part, on the continued vilification of health insurers. They have been pouncing on the rate hikes of one insurer to make this case.  Ambinder notes Democrats hope to put Republicans in a politically untenable position of having to justify opposing regulation of rate hikes by the insurers.

 Ambinder's commentary smacks at the White House for "governing through the New York Times," suggesting the "centerpiece" of the legislation was revealed to the Times specifically to convince the public to grab their pitchforks and stick it to insurers by supporting Obama's bill.  Don't expect the White House to be honest enough to admit that many states already have the power to regulate premiums.

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