Democrats Prepare Xmas Suicide Pact
by ludwigvan, Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 01:29:17 PM EST
They got the health care bill they wanted.Their strategy was ingenious.
They forced the administration to concede and compromise, got much of what they demanded and they still get to complain when it fails. Brilliant.But wait a minute; Obama and his supporters are celebrating! They say it's a first step. They say these things take time. They're calling it a monumental achievement. That's a stroke of genius on the part of the Democrats. They have the base so conditioned to defeat that any lip service motion will come off as a victory.
In fact, I believe the Dems have a new victory motto. "It's better than nothing."
We've been thrown a bone with no meat, been asked to pay for it, and are expected to say "thank you."
So what do we have in regard to health reform? I'll break it down in 5 simple terms.
#1: The bill is estimated to cost over a trillion dollars. That means higher taxes. Okay, so far so good because taxes for a good cause is money well spent. Right? Well, let's see.
#2: Health cost is yet undetermined but to many people, the estimates are still too much. Of course, the poor will need subsidies. So we're right back to instilling Medicaid in one form or another.
#3: The insurance companies hold the cards and their job is not to provide care; it's to prevent us from cashing in on getting care since it costs them money, and this is a business after all. They will decide what you can get and how much it will cost.
#4: Since payment is not contingent on income it won't matter if you make $150,000 a year or $50,000 a year. The cost will be the same. Again, the lower middle class, (i.e. those who need health care the most) will take the hardest hit.
#5: More small businesses will not provide health care, mainly since they won't be able to afford it. Besides, they're sure to realize that people will be mandated to get it anyway, so why bother?
How many of our fellow citizens now realize that what we really need is an option of a government run system that would provide for those who can't afford to deal with the insurance companies?
Health care never has been, and never should be a "scored point" for one side or the other. It must be a program that cares for the people.
In a word, what the people got with this Congressional win was a defeat.
And the crowd cheers.
The political risk that the Democrats are taking if they pass the Senate version of the health care reform bill contrasts with the popularity of the public option, which could have made all the difference between a good bill and a fundamentally flawed one.
If the Democrats with a new President and large majorities in both Houses couldn't get the public option and solid consumer protections - most of which in practice depend on having a public option - passed in a package that gives huge benefits to the insurance monopolies, they certainly aren't going to later find the courage ahd be willing to do so after they've given the insurance companies the enormous gift of a guaranteed expanded market.
If the Democratic members of Congress were serious about doing any such thing, they would insist on stripping out the individual mandates from the Obama Senate bill. After all, they don't start for four years, so why give away all your leverage with the insurance companies if you have some intention for going back for improvements?
What makes this bill worse than nothing - both policy-wise and in terms of wrecking the Democrats' political position to carry through on those already-empty promises of future improvements:
The lack of regulation, of cost control, an uninhibited insurance and pharmaceutical industry with a direct, legally-enforceable line to every American's bank account [the individual mandates]; these are not theoretical concerns from high minded liberal elite, as the administration's allies are trying to pass them off as. These are practical realities that will hit everyone and will hand control of our government right back to the Republicans in the quite understandable political backlash.
David Axelrod says that Obama's mandate won't got above 8% of anyone's income if they can't afford it, as if thats spare change. Democrats are simply clueless about what the middle class are experiencing financially. The current Senate health care bill proves it beyond any doubts.
The limited individual mandate was always problematic in itself. But there would be a whole different context if people knew they had a solid public option alternative with reasonable deductibles that didn't have a business incentive to cut off the insured as soon as they got sick or find other tricks to deny them coverage. The presence of the public option would then put real pressure on insurers to provide affordable coverage and good service.
But we're about to get an Obama version instead: individuals required to pay up to 8% of their incomes directly to insurance companies with no effective protection against exorbitantly high deductibles, rescission of coverage when people get sick, or even against all forms of denial of coverage for "prior conditions."
Is THIS the kind of CHANGE youve been HOPING for?
Everyone really (especially the delusional fanboys) should go read this next piece at HuffPo. Its by Drew Weston, a man who is considered quite brilliant in understanding the mood of the modern electorate. Weston is very angry at Obama and all but predicts that his Presidency is alread doomed to failure...a failure that all Democrats may be paying for for many, many years to come.
Leadership, Obama Style, and the Looming Losses in 2010: Pretty Speeches, Compromised Values, and the Quest for the Lowest Common Denominatorbtw Obama Disapprove 56.0%, Approve 44.0% Dec. 21 / Rasmussen
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/drew-westen/leadership-obama-style-an_b_398813.html Drew Westen (author of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation)
As the president's job performance numbers and ratings on his handling of virtually every domestic issue have fallen below 50 percent, the Democratic base has become demoralized, and Independents have gone from his source of strength to his Achilles Heel, it's time to reflect on why.
The conventional wisdom from the White House is those "pesky leftists" -- those bloggers and Vermont Governors and Senators who keep wanting real health reform, real financial reform, immigration reform not preceded by a year or two of raids that leave children without parents, and all the other changes we were supposed to believe in.
Somehow the president has managed to turn a base of new and progressive voters he himself energized like no one else could in 2008 into the likely stay-at-home voters of 2010, souring an entire generation of young people to the political process. It isn't hard for them to see that the winners seem to be the same no matter who the voters select (Wall Street, big oil, big Pharma, the insurance industry).
In fact, the president's leadership style, combined with the Democratic Congress's penchant for making its sausage in public and producing new and usually more tasteless recipes every day, has had a very high toll far from the left: smack in the center of the political spectrum.
What's costing the president and courting danger for Democrats in 2010 isn't a question of left or right, because the president has accomplished the remarkable feat of both demoralizing the base and completely turning off voters in the center. If this were an ideological issue, that would not be the case. He would be holding either the middle or the left, not losing both.
What's costing the president are three things: a laissez faire style of leadership that appears weak and removed to everyday Americans, a failure to articulate and defend any coherent ideological position on virtually anything, and a widespread perception that he cares more about special interests like bank, credit card, oil and coal, and health and pharmaceutical companies than he does about the people they are shafting.
The problem is not that his record is being distorted. It's that all three have more than a grain of truth. And I say this not as one of those pesky "leftists." I say this as someone who has spent much of the last three years studying what moves voters in the middle, the Undecideds who will hear whichever side speaks to them with moral clarty.