Free Markets, Free People

Obama To Finally Lay Out His Health Care Insurance Reform Goals

Under the department of “it’s about time” we learn this from Marc Ambinder:

Next week, President Obama is going to give Democrats a health care plan they can begin to sell.

He plans to list specific goals that any health insurance reform plan that arrives at his desk must achieve, according to Democratic strategists familiar with the plan. Some of these “goals” have already been agreed to, including new anti-discrimination restrictions on insurance companies. Others will be new, including the level of subsidies he expects to give the uninsured so they can buy into the system.

Obama will also specify a “pay for” mechanism he prefers, and will specify an income level below which he does not want to see taxed.

I guess Democrats feel it’s better late than never, but if health care insurance reform is Obama’s highest priority and signature issue, shouldn’t this have been something handed to Congress on January 21st instead of something finally cobbled together in September?

And doesn’t this again demonstrate both a lack of executive experience and leadership we’ve been talking about for the past two days? In a word: yes.

As to the cite above, one of the more interesting aspects of his plan will be how he plans on paying for it or, as Marc Ambinder says “what income level below which he does not want to see taxed”.

This will be interesting as well:

He will insist upon a mechanism to cut costs and increase competition among insurance companies — and perhaps will even specify a percentage rate — and he will say that his preferred mechanism remains a government-subsidized public health insurance option, but he will remain agnostic about whether the plan must include a robust public option.

This is the holy grail to much of the liberal left. If he bails on this, he’s going to be seen as a milquetoast by that part of the base. One of the things that is irritating the left is the fact that they have majorities in both houses of Congress and they aren’t just ramming through what the liberals want. The reality-based community refuses to face the reality of actual governing but that’s not a particular surprise.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see, depending on what he lays out, whether the bulk of his criticism and resistance comes from the left or right – or both.

Though officials would not provide the numbers Obama plans to use, they say that the goal is to give his side — Democrats — a true presidential plan that they can sell. That includes the rebranding of several consensus initiatives, like the insurance reforms, as his own. The effect of this sales job, if it works, will be to associate the president with parts of the reform bills that are almost certainly likely to pass — assuming the Senate doesn’t bog down.

There’s one problem with all of that though – by finally issuing the guidance and goals for this plan that he should have issued the day after he took office, he is tacitly acknowledging that what has been produced by Congress to this point is a non-starter. How well that will go over in there remains to be seen. And how well his “rebranding” will do remains to be seen – to resurrect a saying which became a cliche during the campaign, you can put lipstick on a pig …

Per Ambinder, this setting out of Presidential “specifics” is meant to “sooth the concerns of the Democratic caucus”. I’m wondering if this may not be a little to far down the track for that to happen.

Then there’s this:

The budget reconciliation process remains a cudgel — it’s still the weapon of last resort, and President Obama has told his advisers that he does not want to ask Congress to use the mechanism until it becomes necessary, politically — that is, until the public understands that the popular elements of reform will not pass without using it.

If you think selling the legislative monstrosity Obama – Kennedy – Chappaquiddick Memorial Health Care Insurance Reform Bill is going to be tough, try selling a resistant public with the song and dance that it was necessary to use parliamentary tricks to ram through what couldn’t be passed under normal Congressional rules. I’m sure that’ll impress the heck out of everyone and make them more than willing to support the party in power at the next election.

I’m of the opinion that because this is so late in coming, Obama’s “plan” may end up further muddying the water instead of clarifying it. And if so, September may end up being about as kind to Obama and the Democrats as was August.



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22 Responses to Obama To Finally Lay Out His Health Care Insurance Reform Goals

  • So, prior to this, we can conclude, without question, he was peddling vapor health care planning with his various promises. He was, dare I say, therefore, LYING to us.

    Just so that doesn’t get lost in all the excitement over his idea of actually detailing his ‘plan’.

    He was willing to sell something that never existed (I know, I know, and that would be different from his entire political history in what way exactly?)

  • Baracky is back to campaigning I see…..

  • I hate to be the one to tell The Clown™ and his Minions, but the cat is out of the bag: health care is dead as a doornail. The Clown™ can give more press conferences, hold more town halls, get on his knees and beg for mercy – this just ain’t gonna happen. The only way it could happen is if the Democrats in the Senate try to jam it through via reconciliation, and when they set off that nuclear trigger, the business of the entire Senate will stall and that will be the end of the Obama presidency.

    Game, set match. I don’t know if The Clown™ knows that it is over, but he should, or else he is more delusional and out of touch than even I thought he was.

    • We owe him James, it is his due. All part of the entitlement. And it’s pissing him off that we don’t collectively see it that way. I look for him to lose it completely at some point if he’s challenged right, my prediction, around November.

  • Too little, too late. So many problems with this idea – you’re right, if he had done this on Jan. 21st, it may have worked. Now, with Obama’s popularity below 50%, slapping his brand name on a set of ideas doesn’t help, it hurts.

    Not to mention the absolute hubris in thinking that he can come up with a successful plan that all of the inferior beings have not been able to come up with so far. HOW IS HE GOING TO PAY FOR IT???? That is the core problem behind everything! It ain’t gonna be cheap, and there ain’t no free money laying around!

    And what’s more, if he accepts most of the House bill, he’s bought into the far left ideology that the country is rejecting. But if he rejects it, then he’s thrown an entire summer of hard congressional work under the bus. Not that I don’t think that should happen, but Pelosi and Waxman sure won’t be going quietly into the night.

    This is an EPIC FAIL in the making.


      Do you mean, How are WE going to pay for it?

      Of course, it’s be anybody but “you”, it’ll be “the rich”.

      So goes the politics of envy.

  • No, see, this is leadership…he’s just leading from behind. It’s the stealth leadership we’ve been waiting for.

  • Hmmm… My guess is that TAO will use this opportunity NOT to go back to the ol’ drawing board, but rather to merely repackage the bills that his co-conspirators in Congress have already written. You don’t really think that a president who has shown himself to be a big picture person (read: too lazy to concern himself with the nuts ‘n’ bolts of anything aside from how his Wagyu is to be cooked) is actually going to sit down with his staff and draft a bill, do you?

    I expect the following:

    1. MiniTru will whole-heartedly engage in propaganda that features:

    (A) Lots of “analyses” of the new bill that harp on how much BETTER it is now that TAO has PERSONALLY gotten involved in writing it. The analyses will be VERY short on details, but full of glowing predictions of how wonderful American health care will be after it passes.

    (B) Lots of sob stories about people who can’t get medical treatment because those nasty ol’ insurance companies are discriminting against them. Oh, and get ready for frequent charges of discrimination. Not on the traditional bases of race, gender, age, etc, but rather on “pre-existing conditions”.

    (C) Stern-faced reports about how much money insurance companies make and how much they pay their greedy senior executives.

    2. TAO will push for a quick vote. The last thing he needs is for people to have a chance to read and analyze the bill, or for members of Congress to go on another recess: no more town halls for him!

    3. The bill will likely be published as late as he can possibly arrange it, probably in a non-searchable format.

    4. If possible, CBO will not be allowed to score it, or else TAO will provide some other scoring (such as from that liar Orzag at OMB) that MiniTru can report to prove that it will save money as well as cure cancer.

    5. SanFran Nan, Dingy Harry, and the rest of the dem leadership will draft very specific instructions for their members about how to talk about this new bill. If possible, only a handful of carefully selected, carefully briefed members of Congress will even be allowed to talk about it in public; MiniTru will cooperate with this. O’ course, they’ll do their best to get some RINO (like one of the pinheads from Maine) to give it a bipartisan veneer.

    6. The astroturf will be in full bloom as ACORN, SEIU, and other dem front organizations stage phony town halls, rallies, and other events in order to give the appearance of public support. Again, MiniTru will willingly cooperate with this.

    7. When opposition can’t be ignored, it will be villified as the dems have been doing for the past couple of weeks. I expect them to find some single opponent who can be demonized (like Joe the Plumber) so that the debate is about him, NOT the bill.

    The key in all this is the blue dogs. TAO’s goal will be to write something that will give them enough cover to vote for it without being slaughtered by their constituents next November. This shouldn’t be too hard: they (and many Republicans) are eager to vote for some sort of health care “reform”. It just can’t be an obvious budget buster or an obvious route to rationing. These were really the only serious problems with the original bills. If those issues can be soft-peddaled or disguised, it’ll go through without too much trouble.

    Heaven help us when it does.

  • No matter how it’s packaged it just will not wash with people. That is the reason the bamster wanted it to roar through congress like the other boondoggles.We all know this for what it is. Government take over of another sector of the economy and more people under it’s thumb.

  • Chances are many Democrats can be convinced not to filibuster, even if they will oppose the bill.

    But the public does not get upset about ‘parliamentary tricks.’ If it passes, the bill will be judged by its effectiveness and impact. Only political junkies worry about parliamentary maneuvers.

    • But the public does not get upset about ‘parliamentary tricks.’

      Sure they do. People complain all the time when corporations use legal or tax loopholes. They complain when wealthy people do the same. They complain when politicians do the same. And on this occasion it will be used to push through legislation that has been in the forefront of the news for months now, which means that people will not just be upset, they’ll be angry. The party that purports to serve the little guy will have done an end-around on that same little guy (and everyone else) to pass awful legislation.

      They’ll get upset about it, alright.

      • People complain all the time about loopholes? Not really — it’s just an abstract argument that comes up during elections. But the parliamentary procedures of Congress, only a tiny, tiny, subsection of the political spectrum notice them. Political junkies are notorious for thinking others pay attention to politics and get upset about the same things they do, both left and right. Just as people over-estimated Obama’s support early on, some are over-estimating the GOP’s support now. It will depend on substance — what passes Congress and if it seen as effective, what happens with the economy, and what happens in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ultimately, most of the stuff of the daily political blogs is fleeting and marginally relevant.

        • People like to have a bogeyman to blame their problems on. Corporations, politicians, lawyers, and so on. They see those entities as having gamed the system by creating layers of bureaucracy or complexity that serve them at the expense of the little guy. If Democrats use reconciliation to force legislation through, it’ll be seen as another case of gaming the system in the face of what the public really wants.

          I don’t see this as a case of the GOP having a lot of support, as much as HR3200 and many of the ideas in it losing support. This is about President Obama and a Democrat-led congress trying its hardest to pass legislation in the face of growing unrest. The GOP has been either smart or lucky in staying out of the picture and letting the Democratic Party take its lumps.

  • I’m thinking that this will either bump up his poll numbers, or significantly shoot them down. I expect, and hope for, the latter.

  • Don’t take this the wrong way, but I kind of don’t care.

    The Path to Socialized Medicine must not happen.

    The negative fallout from the political debacle surrounding its attempted passage, although interesting, is a secondary concern. There’ll be plenty of time to recount how Obama damaged himself politically later.

  • So you think that the Left is not delusional?

    My friend got this e-mail today from, also known as “Leftist Losers In Need of a Life.”

    The e-mail was titled…ready for this one (and a good laugh?):

    “Hey, we’re winning”

    Check out this pile of pure, unadulterated horsecrappola:

    “After a few weeks of health care craziness, there’s good news: we’re winning on the ground. Lots of town halls are now dominated by supporters of health care reform. The vast majority of Americans want the choice of a public plan. And a powerful bloc of progressives in the House is standing strong on real reform.”

    This is almost as laughable as the captain of the Titanic radioing in two hours after the ship sank, “Don’t worry, guys – we can still make it to port. Glub, glub, glub.”

    Winning! Winning what? The hatred of the American people? The huge number of seats their (rotten) party will be giving up in Congress come next year?

    What are these fools think that they are winning? Because if it is the argument over whether or not to pass The Clown’s™ massive pile of manure, then they are delusional, because that battle is L-O-S-T.

    They are “winning.” Hilarious.

  • This is almost as laughable as the captain of the Titanic radioing in two hours after the ship sank, “Don’t worry, guys – we can still make it to port. Glub, glub, glub.”