COMMENT ON: Ezra Klein: White House Handling Of Public Option Still A ‘Complete Failure’

When history is written I think we’ll find that the White House was playing a vastly more intelligent game than any of the progressive pundits understood — at least those who agonized when the President was “failing in leadership”, their take, not mine.

To get the entire Obama agenda done, it was and is necessary to leave no stone unturned and to educate the public to the realities of Washington. The public has had a crash course in special interests and GOP obstructionism. It is not lost on the public.

This is why the President leads on every issue and why those who think there will be a conservative tide in ’10 are all wet/

The reason the party of NO has been adamant is that they are smart enough to see that their goose is cooked as soon as Obama’s successes begin to mount. At first they could not allow for the thought for reasons that are all to plain and sad to see. Now they know. They have held out as long as they could.

The White House has played rope-a-dope just as the President has mostly played it from the start. It wreaks havoc with the news cycle and muddles the pundit mind.

Read the Article I am commenting on at Huffington Post


COMMENT ON: Health Insurance Costs: ‘Shocking’ Premium Increases Coming, Says Health And Human Services Dept.


This merely underlines the necessity of passing a robust public option.

We cannot expect help from the media in making this happen. It is a matter of the people. Us.

Those of us who are online by choice have a simple task. To advocate through all channels we possess that Democrats summon up sufficient spine to face down the hypocritical GOP and pass by a simple majority some version of the House bill containing the public option.

I assume that David Plouffe does not sleep with his head in the sand and that the President is willing to get back in step with the one man who, next to the President himself, is most responsible for having understood how to win this nation.

They both said they could not do it alone. It is up to us. Let’s pass the damned public option and get on with it.

Read the article I am commenting on at Huffington Post


Affordable Health Care for America Act Summary with Links to More Details

The key components of the Affordable Health Care for America Act include:

Increasing choice and competition. The bill will protect and improve consumers’ choices.

  • If people like their current plans, they will be able to keep them.
  • For individuals who aren’t currently covered by their employer, and some small businesses, the proposal will establish a new Health Insurance Exchange where consumers can comparison shop from a menu of affordable, quality health care options that will include private plans, health co-ops, and a new public health insurance option. The public health insurance option will play on a level playing field with private insurers, spurring additional competition.
  • This Exchange will create competition based on quality and price that leads to better coverage and care. Patients and doctors will have control over decisions about their health care, instead of insurance companies.

Giving Americans peace of mind. The legislation will ensure that Americans have portable, secure health care coverage – so that they won’t lose care if their employer drops their plan or they lose their job.

  • Every American who receives coverage through the Exchange will have a plan that includes standardized, comprehensive and quality health care benefits.
  • It will end increases in premiums or denials of care based on pre-existing conditions, race, or gender, and strictly limit age rating.
  • The proposal will also eliminate co-pays for preventive care, and cap out-of-pocket expensesto protects every American from bankruptcy.

Improving quality of care for every American. The legislation will ensure that Americans of all ages, from young children to retirees have access to greater quality of care by focusing on prevention, wellness, and strengthening programs that work.

  • Guarantees that every child in America will have health care coverage that includes dental, hearing and vision benefits.
  • Provides better preventive and wellness care. Every health care plan offered through the exchange and by employers after a grace period will cover preventive care at no cost to the patient.
  • Increases the health care workforce to ensure that more doctors and nurses are available to provide quality care as more Americans get coverage.
  • Strengthens Medicare and Medicaid and closes the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ so that seniors and low-income Americans receive better quality of care and see lower prescription drug costs and out-of-pocket expenses.

Ensuring shared responsibility. The bill will ensure that individuals, employers, and the federal government share responsibility for a quality and affordable health care system.

  • Employers can continue offering coverage to workers, and those who choose not offer coverage contribute a fee of eight percent of payroll.
  • All individuals will generally be required to get coverage, either through their employer or the exchange, or pay a penalty of 2.5 percent of income, subject to a hardship exemption.
  • The federal government will provide affordability credits, available on a sliding scale for low- and middle-income individuals and families to make premiums affordable and reduce cost-sharing.

Protecting consumers and reducing waste, fraud, and abuse. The legislation will put the interests of consumers first, protect them from problems in getting and keeping health care coverage, and reduce waste, fraud, and abuse.

  • Provides transparency in plans in the Health Exchange so that consumers have the clear, complete information, in plain English, needed to select the plan that best meets their needs.
  • Establishes consumer advocacy offices as part of the Exchange in order to protect consumers, answer questions, and assist with any problems related to their plans.
  • Simplifies paperwork and other administrative burdens. Patients, doctors, nurses, insurance companies, providers, and employers will all encounter a streamlined, less confusing, more consumer friendly system.
  • Increases funding of efforts to reduce waste, fraud and abuse; creates enhanced oversight of Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Reducing the deficit and ensuring the solvency of Medicare and Medicaid. The legislation will be entirely paid for – it will not add a dime to the deficit. It will also put Medicare and Medicaid on the path to a more fiscally sound future, so seniors and low-income Americans can continue to receive the quality health care benefits for years to come.

  • Pays for the entire cost of the legislation though a combination of savings achieved by making Medicare and Medicaid more efficient – without cutting seniors’ benefits in any way – and  revenue generated from placing a surcharge the top 0.3 percent of all households in the U.S.(married couples with adjusted gross income of over $1,000,000) and other tax measures.
  • The Congressional Budget estimates the bill will reduce the deficit by at least $100 billion over ten years.
  • Estimates also show the bill will slow the rate of growth of the Medicare program from 6.6 percent annually to 5.3 percent annually.

Comment On: How Reid Found His Silver Bullet: Opt-Out Pitched Just Three Weeks Ago

The Public Option of Harry Reid Is Highly Suspect. I watched the celebration yesterday and it looked pretty triumphant. But now I am seeing the narrative here and elsewhere and my suspicion alerts are off the board.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

The problem is that the nice little trick that folk like Ed and others perceive as a way to euchre the Republicans opens the door to chicanery, resentment, gaming, confusion and demagoguery, not to mention cries of betrayal from voters who believe that a federal plan should be, er, federal. A risky gamble, eh?

Maybe this is a nice ploy to move to the robust option. If it isn’t, I think all the celebrating is either premature or the sort of charade one enters when trying to make the best of a very shaky bargain.


Comment On “Leaderless: Senate Pushes For Public Option Without Obama’s Support”

Comment On: Leaderless: Senate Pushes For Public Option Without Obama’s Support

HuffPo has had a bee in its bonnet for some time on leaderlessness.

Obama is cast as weak and vacillating.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

As I read the above, the President is not rejecting the public option. And I think your reporters should know that. The President is rejecting the weak and ineffective “public options” that the Senate has put forth in an effort to appease the bought and paid for bi-partisan nay-saying middle of this compromised institution. The President is rejecting opt outs and most probably triggers as well. And he should.

Over in the House, there is somewhat more reason and the public option they are considering and will pass is not one of these weaker versions. It is the one that the President wants, has spoken for and will get. It is the one the American people want. It may not be robust but it will not be the phony one that HuffPo equates with being progressive.

Go over to the White House site and read and listen to what is really being said.

Dollars to doughnuts we do NOT get 60 votes for the plan that is ultimately passed. This has been clear for seeming ages. We will get a final bill that is closer to the House than the Senate. The MSM and HuffPo are describing a charade.

Permalink to this comment on Huffington Post


Robust, OK, But Get Smart, It Ain’t Just Rahm

Read This

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf???

Why am I singing this in my head? Because the notion that it is Rahm alone who is the villain in a projected submarining of robust is a mite fatuous.

If there is a Big Bad Wolf, his name will be Barack Obama. Rahm works for him.

But there isn’t a Big Bad Wolf.

We are still playing rope-a-dope. This Strategy has survived a summer when everyone said reform was dead.

It continues. Why? Because support takes time to build and support is what this is all about. Obama is really trying to make us a democracy again.

So. We will get a robust public option if the middle becomes more familiar with the truth  that a robust public option is really not a progressive thing. It’s a reasonable, common sense thing. Hell. A robust public option is conservative. It’s fiscally sound. It can be a lock.

So what should progressives be doing? As usual, winning the middle. Do you do that by slapping Rahm’s hand? I don’t think it makes a difference, other than to distract from the task and give the MSM another non-story.

Just as the MSM should stop treating lies and facts as two sides of an issue, progressives  should parse the Presidential words and realize that he has made the case for a robust public option repeatedly. Underlining and spreading that has been the bread and butter progressive strategy.

It is the only one that will prevail.


COMMENT ON: Why the Gang of Six Is Deciding Health Care for Three Hundred Million of Us

There are few persons I have more respect for than Robert Reich. I would say his word is gold. I trust his insight and his sincerity in the current effort.

Read the Article By Robert Reich that I Am Commenting on at HuffingtonPost

But I believe there is a different narrative that trumps his conclusion. Grassley and company are not going to cave into a progressive version of reform. But neither is President Obama caving in to the constrictions of a Grassley and Company.

Come fall Barack Obama will declare himself in a simple and final way and he will by then have figured out how he can get the most from a Congress made up of individuals who have been free for several months to control the “debate”.

Barack Obama has deferred to this process, willing to absorb the slings and the arrows of media and commentariat obtuseness. At the end it will be he and not them who ascends the rostrum in the great hall where State of the Union messages are delivered. He will lay down the irreducible elements of what he wants.

We have no idea how this will play out. But the fixed conclusions of the commentariat are dross and fish-wrapping if they do not perceive what the President has actually been doing. They become part of what he will cite as game playing to the vast majority that will ultimately follow his lead on health care reform. And indeed on his agenda.