Rep. Waxman says Health Care Reform will go via Reconciliation
by InigoMontoya, Thu Feb 18, 2010 at 02:38:47 AM EST
I had the privilege of attending UCLA's annual Bollens-Ries-Hoffenberg lecture tonight, which featured Rep. Henry Waxman, who represents the area around UCLA and who is Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Waxman spoke on a number of subjects, including the pending Clean Energy bill, Financial Regulation, the pursuit of bi-partisanship and compromise. His most immediately significant remarks, however, was an indication in that Health Care Reform will be passed via the Reconciliation Process.
Waxman noted that not all aspects of Health Care Reform can be passed via Reconciliation but that a good final bill can still be passed. Anticipating challenges to the process, he noted that legislation as substantial as the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy were passed and implemented via Reconciliation.
He said that the ultimate legislation might be very well like Social Security and Medicare: important legislation that was initially flawed but then accepted and improved over the years. He said that there is criticism that President Obama has been too weak in advocating the health care plan he wanted to see; Waxman's contention is that Obama could have been more forceful but would then have decisively lost.
Prior to next week's Health Care Summit at the White House, Waxman will be holding hearings on Anthem's 39 percent increase on health care premiums for individual insurance plans in California. "Insurance companies aren't looking to spread risk, they're looking to reduce risk," said Waxman, who described how insurance companies tried to cherry pick those customers least likely to have insurance claims and characterized rate increases as targeting consumers whose policies were "too good."
Waxman said that no president has ever worked harder to achieve bi-partisan support than President Obama (and to less accomplishment of same, thanks to the GOP...Inigo Montoya). Waxman decried the state of perpetual campaign that goes on with no thought of actually governing.
He suggested that in some cases that Democrats will make Republicans actually have to speak for hours upon hours in a fillibuster, going on camera to give a visible image to the "Party of No." Despite this, Waxman believes in compromise, saying its an essential part of the political process weighing competing interests.