Free Markets, Free People

Health Care Summit review

I’ve been watching and/or listening to the health care summit today and it became fairly obvious from the opening bell that there wasn’t going to be much of anything worthwhile or substantive accomplished – not that I’m surprised.   5 hours into it, it has been mostly the exchange of talking points.  Right now I’m forced to listen to Henry Waxman give his. He’s claiming his version of the bill is the best and the Republican’s version sucks. Pretty much the way it has gone all day (Republicans have mostly said they want to start over with a clean sheet).  Every one of the Democrats are appealing to emotion via tragic anecdotes.

Tom Coburn made the most important point – any reform has to reconnect purchase and price.  Until that’s done, we’re not going to get the value that reconnection would bring.

Then there have been the CBO wars (each side claiming their side is supported by the agency), with Rep. Paul Ryan pointing out that the problem with the CBO numbers is that it doesn’t account for the double counting and that throws the curve in an upward trajectory. Ryan also pointed out that Democrats removed the “doc fix” from the bill and plan on passing it separately, but that removed around $300 billion from the HCR bill which should be included in the cost.

Republicans have argued for tort reform for medical malpractice. Democrats (Dick Durbin in particular) have argued against it. McCain used the Texas model to make the point for tort reform. Texas, which has instituted tort reform has seen malpractice premiums reduced by 27% and has had a net gain of 18,000 doctors – extrapolated nationally using direct savings (malpractice insurance premium cost) and indirect savings (reduction of the “defensive medicine” practiced by doctors) the amount saved could be in the $150 billion range.

Essentially each side is trying to support their point of view. If there’s any agreement it is that Medicare is full of fraud, out of control cost wise and needs to be fixed and that both sides want to fix the pre-existing systems.

As expected, President Obama sits quietly while the Democrats give their talking points and challenges Republicans as they deliver theirs.

Most amusingly, Joe Biden said this:

“I’m always reluctant after being here 37 years to tell people what the American people think. I think it requires a little bit of humility to be able to know what the American people think, and I don’t, I can’t swear I do. I know what I think. I think I know what they think. But I’m not sure what they think.

Then everyone, including Biden, spoke for “the American people”.

The one thing Obama said concerning reconciliation, in answer to a point made by John McCain, was that the “American people” really aren’t that interested in the process. Obviously he hasn’t seen the CNN/Gallup poll today which says they are interested and overwhelming reject it’s use.

Chris Dodd tells a story about a guy who privately put together a small business health care association in CT. Of course the point lost on him as he argues for the government to act is it was done privately.  Perhaps the government’s role ought to be enabling that. Rep. Joe Barton then made that point.

“Blinky” Pelosi is now wrapping it up with her usual attack on insurance companies and Republicans (except Tom Coburn for some reason) while still pitching the public option.  Yeah, negotiating at its finest.

The cable news networks covered most of the first part of the session but began bailing around 1pm, cutting in from time to time, but mostly going to discussion among their “experts”.

Bottom line – no bi-partisan attempt on either side to reach a compromise. And again, that’s fine.

After that, I think I’ll go watch some exciting curling.



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31 Responses to Health Care Summit review

  • “I’ve been watching and/or listening to the health care summit today … 5 hours into it, it has been… ”

    I recall the scene in the original Lethal Weapon when Ed O’Ross’s character was forced to hold a lighter under Gary Busey’s (Mr. Joshua’s) forearm as the flesh burned and Mr. Joshua didn’t so much as flinch. O’Ross said, approximately, “You guys are insane.”

    Are you taking anything for the pain, Bruce?

  • I’ve been watching and/or listening to the health care summit today and it became fairly obvious from the opening bell that there wasn’t going to be much of anything worthwhile or substantive accomplished

    >>> No kidding 🙂  But we want to know who won/lost!!!

    I tell you right now, Erb will be here proclaiming Obama and the Dems won, he looked like a statesman etc. But I tell you what……this one is an Obama loss.

    First of all, he came off like a petty loser. “My time doesn’t count because I’m President” “The campaign is over John” “That bill is just a prop”  showcasing how bored he was, etc.  Not very presidential or statesmanlike at all. 

    Then the fact is the GOP came well prepared and basically gave it to him.  And the case they made would never have been carried by so many media outlets if not for this idiotic summit.

    And looks like Cantor wants to make a challenge for Baracky’s seat. Expect the oppo campaign to swing into ommediate high gear – they’re gonna make him pay for what he did today.

    For Baracky, SUMMIT FAIL.

  • I didn’t watch, but from recaps I’ve read, it seems Obama main debating tactic was ruling things the Republicans said out of bounds. Over at Ace of Spades, they put it this way:

    Obama’s Rules of Order: As noted in an update to an earlier thread, Gabe has been keeping track of “rules” Obama keeps setting down in order to secure a rhetorical advantage for himself:

    1. Democrats get more time because “I’m the President.”

    2. Republicans may not criticise my bill. They can only talk about things on which we agree.

    3. Republicans may not use the word “Washington” because it tips the scales.
    4. Republicans may not use or reference an actual copy of the Senate bill. That’s a “prop” and it’s unfair.
    And add to that 5:
    5. We’re not in “campaign mode anymore,” by which he means McCain cannot mention his dirty dealings.

    Or in language that will be familiar to QandO denizens: “I decree it.”

  • Based on early reviews, it seems that the GOP actually did pretty well.  Who would have thought it???  It may well be that those of us who thought they were making a mistake by showing up and would do nothing but make bigger fools of themselves owe Sen. McConnell, Rep. Boehner, and the rest an apology.

    It also may be that MiniTru’s job of spinning this thing as “Obama good / GOP baaaaad” will be a little more difficult than predicted. 

  • OK, I’ve put the recording of the healthcare summit on, and I’m going to watch as much of it as I can. I’ll give a running commentary.
    Obama starts off. Says we agree on a lot and this is not supposed to be about playing to the cameras. Healthcare too expensive, something has to be done. Cost curve blomflagted, must overcorbascate American poople giveclm ad;kl;aklhdfskld.
    Whoooo. Nice nap. Hope I didn’t damage my keyboard.

    I’ll have to remember this tape next time I’m having trouble sleeping.

    Nice writeup and thanks for the effort. It seems as if HCR with either fizzle out loudly or quietly; and every time Obama opens his mouth about it, people believe him less.

  • Americans may say in a poll they don’t want reconciliation, but polls are meaningless here, people give a gut answer, but it doesn’t say much about how they will react.    In Poli-Sci it’s pretty standard that people forget about process quickly, most don’t even know what the process was.   Most aren’t even following this.   So if it passes, what will matter is how people experience it, not how it was  passed.  Process is irrelevant, what matters is the result.

    • I hope you never coach a sports team.

    • LOL process sure will be irrelevant when the public experiences the pile of craap they already told the Dems they don’t wan’t.

      This is how we can tell the GOP did well here, Erb chooses a different play out of the book.

      Sadly typical.

      Hey Erb, is the science still settled?

      • The science is very clear; only those who put politics above truth buy into the idea there is some kind bizarre “conspiracy of the scientists” out there.  I mock that frequently.

    • Polls also show Americans do not want any of these three health care bills.  Is that irrelevant, too?  Believe me, though, if this plan is ram through via reconciliation, a lot more than 10% will know what reconciliation is.  They will also understand the Byrd rule.  If this thing is rammed through via reconciliation, it will be undone via reconciliation.  Sauce, goose, gander.

  • What remains to be seen is if they will try to stick us with this ill measured crap despite the dreadful public opinion.
    My own feeling is that they are going to chicken out.  They know that it is unlikely to get through the house, and the Senate democrats are not going to want to gain the permenant animosity of their Republican colleagues for something that might not work anyway.
    And make no mistake, if they try it the Republicans have vowed to tie the whole Senate up for the remainder of the year.

    • “the Senate democrats are not going to want to gain the permenant animosity of their Republican colleagues”

      You are kidding, right?

  • Scott Erb,
    When you say “Process is irrelevant, what matters is the result,” do you actually think about what this means? This rationalization trashes the rule of law. I’m not sure that a “Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine at Farmington” has read any Thucydides, but please see the Melian Dialogue for the classical (and classic) expression of your argument’s conclusions. I’m not sure that UM Farmington has a classics department, but if so, they might help you to find a translation.

  • I bet 10% of the population doesn’t know what “reconciliation” really is.   Politically the process will be quickly forgotten.
    That said, the GOP didn’t do bad during the summit.  They drifted too far into talking points (as did some Democrats), but they also had some good ideas.   Nobody “won,” but at least we had a debate that rose above the silly “it’s socialism!” and other scare tactics of recent months.  But that makes it  less exciting, so the public will probably tune out.

  • The ends justify the means, right Erb? And you still wonder why people on this site say you have no principles.
    And the people who first politicized global warming/climate change were on your side of the aisle. By using scare tactics and chicken little proclamations instead of actually looking at the science, they ensured that the entire debate became politicized.

    • To post-modernist like Erb, there is no difference between science and politics. You know, that “bourgeoisie science”.
      Birds-of-a-feather, and all that.

      • I’m accusing you guys of post-modernism — choosing data to fit your preconceived notion, and ignoring what doesn’t fit your narrative.  Looking at all the data, it’s pretty clear that there is a very very good chance that humans are causing global climate change, and the results could be consequential.  That’s what’s settled.   None of minor stories turned into “scandals” (a mistake about one particular place or event, some e-mails) bring into question the body of evidence.   This is the view of a vast majority of  climate experts.   The post-modernist cherry picks data, fantasizes conspiracy theories to justify extrapolating minor scandals into suggesting an all out effort of scientists to somehow fool the world (scientists in a vast global conspiracy — that’s beyond James Bond fantasy).   The thing is, your ideology tells you what you want to be true, and you grab from reality the bits that fit your view, and ignore the rest.    The left does that too — anyone with strong ideological convictions tends to make that kind of bias error, it’s extremely common.

        • “I’m accusing you guys of post-modernism — choosing data to fit your preconceived notion, and ignoring what doesn’t fit your narrative. ”
          This is the definition of projection, and you’re doing it. I’m shocked that a lefty academic is accusing others of his own intellectual failings. That’s an “is” statement, not an “ought” statement (keep on repeating that, Scott — it’ll make you feel smarter).
          Until ’10, when your favorite group of thugs is going to experience world-class beating (that’s another “is” statement for you, Professor Genius).
          By the way is it any surprise — judging from this guy — that a college education isn’t worth a crap anymore?

        • “None of minor stories turned into “scandals” (a mistake about one particular place or event, some e-mails) bring into question the body of evidence.  ”
          Bwaaahahahahahah – are you getting all your news from postings on the faculty lounge bulletin board these days or what?  Even Greenpeace has called for the resignation of the head of the IPCC.  CRU’s Phil Jones IS stepping down or by now has already done so, NOAA is being accused by reputable parties of cutting weather stations that recorded ‘cooler’ data, and cut their collection points from 6000 to 1500, thereby skewing their dataset to force warmer measurements.  Senator (yes, US Senator..) Inhofe has called for an investigation of Michael Mann,  and yet you sit here and spout about ‘majorities’ and ‘experts’, without a single shred of evidence other than your ‘decree’ that it is so.  You’re too funny for words.

        • “I’m accusing you guys of post-modernism — choosing data to fit your preconceived notion, and ignoring what doesn’t fit your narrative.”

          “…when it becomes possible to describe all these things as ‘postmodern’ (or more simply using a current abbreviation as ‘post’ or ‘very post’) then it’s clear we are in the presence of a buzzword”*
          Which definition of ‘post-modernism’ are you using, or did you make up your own?

          “Looking at all the data,”

          Wow! So you have copies of the original data?  There are a lot of people looking for that. How about sharing?

          *’Postmodernism and “the other side”’, in Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: A reader, edited by John Storey, London, : Pearson Education .2006

    • Again, you are mistaking an “is” statement for an “ought” statement.  It is not an ought statement — I expect over time reconciliation will become as abused as the filibuster is.
      Another “is” statement — the Democrats need to mobilize their base, so they will push health care as far as they can.   Midterm elections are won by a motivated base, appealing to the center won’t help Obama.