Archive for the ‘Healthcare Debate’ Category

Morning After

Friday, June 29th, 2012

The real fallout from the SOTUS ruling yesterday will be political…at least for now.  Many readers are politically active or more than causal observers of the game.  To provide a feel for the current political fallout I have clipped some pieces from POLITICOS morning newsletter.

SNEAK PEEK – RNC DAY 2 MESSAGING PLAN: The Republican National Committee is holding a 9 a.m. call with Governors Bobby Jindal and Bob McDonnell and then a Spanish speaking call at 10 a.m. with Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Quico Canseco. They are also releasing a web video highlighting Obama’s promises that Obamacare wasn’t a tax while SCOTUS upheld it as a tax: And they are moving this research piece to highlight the continuing unpopularity of Obamarecare: The RNC will also continue the #FullRepeal hashtag.

DOWN-BALLOT DEMOCRATS IN RED AND PURPLE STATES COULD GET SCREWED: “With Thursday’s defeat, Republicans were handed a powerful tool for motivating their base and a fresh ammo clip for use in House and Senate races across the map,” Charlie Mahtesian reports. “It removed one arrow from the Democratic quiver – the prospect of an outraged and highly motivated base – and provided a new one to the GOP by defining the mandate as a tax…The cautious and measured statements from Democratic House and Senate candidates Thursday reflected the unease about renewing a debate that ended badly for the party in November 2010. The general rule, which seemed to apply to candidates in both parties, was the more competitive the race, the more tempered the response. That meant no touchdown dance for many Democratic Senate candidates – even for former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine in Virginia.”

OBAMA LOOKS LIKE A WINNER: “The decision also will give the president a fresh opportunity to try to win the political argument over the law, or at least do a better job of trying to sway a skeptical electorate than he and his team have done since the measure was enacted,” Dan Balz writes in the Washington Post. “For Obama, the elation that he and his advisers may have felt Thursday could quickly dissipate if more bad economic news occurs. It is a long time until November, and the economy, domestically and internationally, remains extremely fragile.”

WHAT IT MEANS FOR NOVEMBER WON’T BE CLEAR FOR WEEKS: “Over the next six weeks or so, health care will be an unpredictable race within a race,” Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman write. “For Mitt Romney, who had every reason to expect the conservative high court to strike down at least a big part of the law, the decision requires a bit of recalibration. He had hoped to portray a full or partial repeal as evidence Obama squandered the trust of the American electorate by wasting two years…[That] will take a back seat to a more generic GOP assault on the law highlighting the court’s insistence that the individual mandate be legally defined as a tax – an approach more likely to appeal to the conservative base than independent voters…Views about the Affordable Care Act are baked into the political cake already, and most independents undecided about their choice this November are bored, confused, exhausted or all of the above about a law that keeps cropping up like athlete’s foot.” More: . My story with Robin Bravender on the tax messaging:


Coming To The USA?

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Healthcare reform continues to drive the mid-term elections and the down fall of President Obama.  While traveling I had an opportunity to read the comments of the new president of the Canadian Medical Association.   He appears to be sounding the alarm of what to expect from the Obama administration’s health care initiative passed by the Democrats in Congress.  The Globe and Mail Canada’s National Newspaper carried this story.  Read and decide

In Case You Missed It

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Only a small news clip was in the local paper about the new cost of healthcare reform.  The Congressional Budget Office tells us that if Congress decides to fund all the provisions in the new law it could add at least $115 billion more to health care spending over the next 10 years.  This would be far more than advertised.  The Obama administration early set $1 trillion as a limit.  But we all know how that goes.  More background may be obtained in this piece from Daily Events.

Senator Byrd We Need You

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Senator Byrd is needed in the United States Senate more than ever.  He needs to be there to protect the Senate from itself. 

It is well known the Obama administration is pressuring Congress to use a process known as reconciliation to pass health care reform. 

After the congressional budget act passed in 1974 (I worked there at the time) Congress started to abuse the spending and revenue targets established in the budget resolution passed each year. 

Senator Byrd stepped in to stop using the budget reconciliation process to enact legislation that had nothing to do in meeting the requirements of the budget resolution.  

He introduced legislation which was passed in 1985 and became permanent in 1990. It is known as the “Byrd Rule”. 

Senators are permitted under the “Byrd Rule” to ask for a point of order objecting to provisions in the reconciliation legislation they believe does not meet the requirements of the budget resolution.  After that it is up to the President of the Senate or presiding officer.  In practice, the Senate Parliamentarian makes the final decision. 

Despite the fact Senator Byrd voted for health care reform on Christmas Eve let’s hope he is well enough to be present to stop the abuse of reconciliation as he did in l985.

Glad I am Not An Incumbent Democrat

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

President Obama made it clear he does not care about the re-election of Democrats as he wrapped up the health care summit.

After warning if there is not enough serious effort in a month’s time “….then I think we’ve got to go ahead and make some decisions,” the president said, “and then that’s what elections are for.”

That is good news for Republicans.

The outlook for Democrats in 2010 is already grim.  Now Obama is going to “hang them out to dry” by forcing a vote in Congress of his unpopular health care reform legislation.  

Does he not hear the people?  They spoke clearly in a USA TODAY/Gallup poll just two days before his Blair House summit.  By a 49% to 42% margin they oppose Congress passing a healthcare bill similar to the one proposed by President Obama and Democrats in the House and Senate. 

The same poll found an even larger 52% to 39% margin of Americans opposed the Democrats in the Senate using reconciliation.  If you watched the summit there is no doubt Obama favors the reconciliation procedure to pass the 2,400 page health care bill.

Am I glad not to be an incumbent member of his party serving in Congress!

Mr. President it’s not just about you.  It’s about the American people.

Obama Is No Bill Clinton

Friday, February 26th, 2010

When consideration of health care reform started we were told President Obama did not want to make the same mistake as former President Clinton.  You will recall the Clinton administration presented its own bill to Congress. 

President Obama turned the writing of health care legislation over to House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid.  Well the nation saw what happens when the door is closed and the congressional barons write a piece of legislation.

After the health care reform fiasco of 2009 Obama decided to take charge, draft a bill and develop a strategy for passage.  His bill – an 11 page outline.  The strategy a – “guest house” summit.  The health care summit was best described by Dana Milbank as “Professor Obama’s Classroom”.

Where is Bill Clinton when we need him was my thought as I watched President Obama at the Blair House. 

Just after the election in December, 1992 former President Clinton held an economic summit.  President Obama should have spent his seven hours yesterday looking for economic development ideas instead of “beating a dead horse.”  Or reading Miss Manners.

President Clinton was known as a policy wonk, knowledgeable on most every subject.  He studied rather than sleep.  I went back to look at video from the l992 Little Rock summit.  I wanted to see how the President-elect conducted himself.

I can assure you he did not come across as “Mr. Know It All” and he did not show distain for his guests as was exhibited by President Obama at the Blair House summit.

After Members of Congress from both parties put forth a sincere effort it would seem the polite thing for President Obama to do was to say “thank you for your ideas, concerns and willingness to participate.”

Rather he ended on the lowest note of the day.  He told Republicans come around or we are going to proceed anyway.  That means using a reconciliation procedure to avoid a possible filibuster and pass a bill by a simple majority vote.   

President Obama may find he gets the same results as he received for his efforts in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.  That being a Republican Congress in 2011.

Service Employees International Union, ACORN & Healthcare

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Last May when various national healthcare organizations met with President Obama at the White House I wondered why the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) was present.  Of course, I recalled the major role SEIU played in the election of President Obama.

However, it was still unusual to see that organization being associated with the likes of the American Medical Association, Advance Medical Technology Association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, American Hospital Association and the America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Today I got my answer when columnist Kathleen Parker had a piece pointing out what a national healthcare option might mean to a union in search of new dues-paying recruits.

That sure explains why the Service Employees International Union  is working so hard to help President Obama pass his healthcare reform legislation.

A Must Read

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Charles Krauthammer had a great column in today’s Sunday Gazette-Mail.  It should be read by everyone.  Their web site did not carry it so I hunted it down.

My Reaction

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

First, let me say I believe we need to find a way to provide healthcare to those who need it but without destroying our current system.  I believe Americans are willing to fix the healthcare system but will not buy into schemes that break the bank.

Now let’s talk about the political drama in the House Chamber.  I am not sure the speech will re-energize Obama’s healthcare plan.  He may get a few days of increased support but that will soon change.

Nor do I believe his call for the “bickering to end” will be heeded.

The speech was full of confusing details.  More importantly I am concerned about Obama’s statement “significant details need to be worked out”.  However, it was clever that he offered a plan building on others’ ideas who were seated in the House Chamber.

I thought the objective last night was to clarify his plan.

The speech did not move in a direction that would create a bipartisan environment to accomplish healthcare reform.  It was conciliatory in part but overall it sounded like a partisan campaign speech.

That said I thought he was trying to show Congress and the Nation he is a strong political leader – not just a strong candidate.

He still sounded like a candidate to me.

Any Healthcare Bill Will Do

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Obama has been struggling with healthcare reform since entering the presidency.  The problem is two fold.

First, he turned the drafting of legislation over to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  Secondly, he never could explain what they had done or settle on what he wanted.

Now that he has reached a make-or-break point after nearly eight months as president Obama says he will be more “prescriptive”.  He needs a healthcare bill to keep his legislative agenda alive – any bill.

Without some form of healthcare success, cap and trade, revamping the country’s financial structure and his many other initiatives are frozen in place.

This week’s presidential address to re-energize Obama’s healthcare fiasco is just a front.

The real effort to be more “prescriptive” started on the Sunday talk shows. 

 The message I heard was that the Administration would be happy with anything – as a foundation to start another run at turning healthcare over to the government.