Thursday, October 29, 2009
Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats on a real, "robust" public option as part of Healthcare Reform.
Once again the Democrats cave. What happened to all of that solidarity when they issued their ultimatums and sent letters to the Senate demanding a (real) public option? It looks like most of the Progressives stuck together...but it isn't enough and was probably never enough. Pelosi probably never had the votes she needed (Although I could have sworn she had more support 6 weeks ago... so who were the defectors....who sold themselves out?).
Then you have moderate Dems caving to special interests.
I knew they had bitten off more than they could chew, because up until that point (when they drew their line in the sand) they had never proven that they could muster any real solidarity on anything and see it through. And of course, I was correct in my skepticism.
Now prepare for more watering down. One thing is for sure.... this legislation won't die due to a lack of water, lol.
But the Dems can't single out Republicans for blame this time. Nope. In this case, it is the Unions, moderate House Democrats from mixed districts, and pressure from the Senate (and probably lobbyists purchasing a few House Members) that is forcing them to cave.
Perhaps the moderates have the better idea.... paying doctors and hospitals more than the Medicare rates which might be too low for this program to work. But this may not be as effective when it comes to covering those who need the public option. It may cover fewer people, and may not offer enough competition to effectively control costs.
Pelosi screwed up by setting the Progressives up for failure. She should have realized earlier that she didn't have the votes to get the "robust" plan she said she wanted. But at least there will be some sort of public option.... so under these curcumstances, I guess that's progress.
But i'm still concerned about a bad bill being worse than none at all. I still believe it was a mistake for Obama to even try this right now during an economic crisis (when folks are scared to death about spending....a time when people normally pull back and are conscious of every penny). We are witnessing why this was a bad idea, at least in terms of timing. And throw in the sloppy way that Obama planned this and campaigned for it...and you almost have a trainwreck.
He'll sign something to save face....but I don't know if we'll be able to call it healthcare reform.
I have a feeling that this will be a gift to insurance companies....more hostages (American consumers) will be required to sign up to the very private system that is causing the problem.... meanwhile, all of the sickest patients will be dumped onto the public plan....setting that plan up to fail. Co-opts/exchanges will be weak. And we'll essentially end up with the same conditions we had before.... in some cases...just magnified.
Time will tell.
This is one of those cases where I hope i'm completely wrong.
Posted by Brian at 7:27 AM