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The strange politics of the public option revival

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Trying to figure out the politics of this public option revival has been a bit of a strange experience. On the one hand, momentum seems to be building: The letter asking Reid to run the public option through the reconciliation process has 18 senators attached. Last night, Kathleen Sebelius told Rachel Maddow that if the public option is "part of the decision of the Senate leadership to move forward," then the administration would fight for it. Today, Harry Reid's office said, "If a decision is made to use reconciliation to advance health care, Senator Reid will work with the White House, the House, and members of his caucus in an effort to craft a public option that can overcome procedural obstacles and secure enough votes." His caveat: The White House has to help round up the votes.

On the surface, then, you have almost 20 senators supporting the idea, the Senate majority leader giving it his backing and the White House saying they'll follow the Senate's lead. Green pastures ahead, right?

Well, not as far as I can tell. I've spoken to a lot of offices about this now, and all of them are ambivalent privately, even if they're supportive publicly. No one feels able to say no to this letter, but none of them seem interested in reopening the wars over the public option. That's why the White House kicked this at Reid and Reid tossed it back at the White House. If the public option is a done deal, everyone will sign on the dotted line. But between here and there is a lot of work that no one seems committed to doing, and that many fear will undermine the work being done on the rest of the bill.

What you're seeing here are the weird politics of the public option at play. It's popular in the country. It's wildly popular among the base. It's the subject of obsessive interest in the media. There is little downside to supporting it publicly, huge downside to opposing it, and no one is allowed to ignore the issue, or even take a few days to see where the votes are.

But it's divisive on the Hill. Bringing it back energizes all the narratives that Democrats fear most: That they're cutting secret deals without Republicans in the room, that they're building an extremist bill, that health-care reform is a government takeover. And this is all happening without 60 votes in the Senate or even certainty of simple majorities in the Congress. Democrats have spent the last month in a state of agonized confusion, and just as matters were clarifying, now this battle threatens to start up again.

No one I've spoken to -- even when they support the public option -- thinks that its reemergence is good news for health-care reform. It won't be present in the package that the White House will unveil Monday. Everyone seems to be hoping this bubble will be short-lived.

But it might not be. The media is talking about it, liberals are organizing around it, none of the major actors feels politically capable of playing executioner, and Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson don't have the power to do the job on their own. As of now, the strategy only has 20 or so supporters, and it'll need at least another 20 or 25 to really be viable. But if it gets there, White House and Senate leadership are going to have some hard calls to make.

Photo credit: By Charles Dharapak/Associated Press

By Ezra Klein  |  February 19, 2010; 5:32 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Comments

yup

Posted by: DDAWD | February 19, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Reid's statement seems like a complete non-event to me. He is simply saying he won't be an obstacle if the votes are clearly there. The plan has to be posted on the web on Monday, and only 20 Senators are on the record in favor of the PO today, so it seems highly unlikely that this effort can gain the needed momentum in time.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 19, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

Could you please be specific when you reference "the public option". What/which proposal is being revived?

Posted by: Athena_news | February 19, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

This is precisely the types of issues where lack of leadership from Obama plays a role. He needs to make a call: either push for it or not. Hanging in the wind, and seeing what happens, and he has done for most of the last year is precisely what creates these momentum bubbles and deflations. It what's made health care take much longer than it needed to take.

Complete, appalling lack of leadership. And to have a summit on health care and not address this issue is even worse. He's increasingly the blind leading the blind, with the results being obvious. Health care reform is less likely today than it was yesterday, precisely because he doesn't have any handle on the events-- even controversial ones that everyone knows are political hot potatoes. Managing a couple of liberal interest groups shouldn't be that tough of a challenge. This isn't about the Constitutional limitations of the Presidency in the United States. This is poor and ineffective leadership.

Posted by: wisewon | February 19, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

There's also the twist that, if accomplished through reconciliation, the "public option" would have to be considered by the CBO as if it sunset in five years BUT also had the effect of lowering the deficit BOTH in the present six year cycle AND in two subsequent 10-year periods within 40 years.

Good luck with that.

Posted by: rmgregory | February 19, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Wisewon, this time we agree.

Posted by: Ezra Klein | February 19, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

In short, Democrats are lazy and literally don't care about what they promised voters.

Posted by: Hopeful9 | February 19, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Sherrod Brown is only one to admire in this mess.

Posted by: Hopeful9 | February 19, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I just want there to be a reconciliation vote. That is where we separate the real Democrats from the face-stabbing corporate prostitutes.
On a related note, I bet the prostitutes and crooks are scrambling to write up a public option in such a messy way that it gets tossed by the parliamentarian so they don't have to take the vote.

Posted by: flounder2 | February 19, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

"Could you please be specific when you reference "the public option". What/which proposal is being revived?"

The Bennet letter to Leader Reid that Senators have been signing simply calls for the inclusion of "a" public option in a reconciliation package. So it is still to be determined what form it would take, which is one of several reasons this effort is unlikely to be anything other than symbolic at this late date.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 19, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Wisewon wrote at 5:57 PM: "This is precisely the types of issues where lack of leadership from Obama plays a role. He needs to make a call".

I agree. In fairness to the president, he's like a general who's learned the lessons of the last war - in this case, the failure of "Hilarycare" seen as a package concocted at the White House rather than emerging from the give-and-take of the legislative process.

As it turns out in the present war, that legislative process is about as appetizing to voters as raw chicken gizzards.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | February 19, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Ezra is either being naive or disingenuous in his knowledge of the 'Overton Window'. I think probably the latter, as the talk at Daily Kos has been extensive about this for the past week.

In short, the 'Overton Window' suggests a method to Overton described a method for gaining the acceptance of previously excluded ideas. It works by relying on individuals, like me, who believe in single payer, promoting this idea even though it is less acceptable to many than the previous "outer fringe" idea: public option. That makes the public option look less extreme, and thereby acceptable. The idea is that priming the public with fringe ideas (which I embrace, like Single Payer) tend to remain unacceptable, but might will make the real target idea (public option) seem more acceptable by comparison.

That's what's going on. The Obama core to the left of Obama is dragging him, kicking and screaming to the 'public option'. To see why in detail, read Krugman's column in the NYTimes today and then look at the reader comments.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I actually think your analysis is right on, Ezra. I support the public option, as you do, but I'm a little wary about the recent revival in fervor myself. The chances are still low that the public option will actually pass, or that the White House will be able to push too hard for it, which means liberal progressives are going to get depressed all over again and the Dems' base will be weakened, just as it was starting to recover.

However, I've been bombarded with e-mails from about ten gazillion different liberal websites the past few days urging me to call Chris Dodd and Chuck Schumer (I recently moved from CT to NY, so all my listservs are confused about where I actually live). Putting that kind of liberal pressure on someone like Chuck Schumer was going to make it very difficult for him to resist the re-introduction of the public option without looking like he was reneging on his initial HCR promises.

Honestly, the best possible way for this to be resolved - and I say this as someone who would really prefer to see the public option in there - is for senators to realize there aren't 51 votes to win the public option in an up-or-down vote. Then, the House passes the Senate bill, all other compromises are passed by the Senate in a reconciliation bill, and the public option is given an up-or-down vote and loses.

Why does the public option have to lose the up-or-down vote? Well, obviously: if the public option could win, then all your vehemently non-public-option-supporting Democrat Senators are going to vote against the other HCR compromises, too, which means the House won't pass the Senate bill, and HCR will just fail, period. If the public option DOES get its up-or-down vote but then fails, then at least progressives know that the Senate Dem leadership and White House tried (and publicly, they need to make sure they look like they're trying). Then, the Republicans and a few annoying conservative Democrats look like the obstructionists they are. The public option doesn't pass, which is a shame, but the final compromised form it could pass in is unlikely to actually do much good, anyway - and in exchange, we get the rest of the HCR bill.

Posted by: madjoy | February 19, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Here is my conspiracy theory - since GOP will not be able to very easily handle half day Health Summit for TV, they are doing this dirty work.

How fantastic for GOP that without doing anything, ignite the fire among Left Base.

Folks at MoveOnOrg are so dumb and stupid (well, that is to say so committed to their cause) that they are very easily getting played in hands of HCR enemies.

I have never seen such a colossal stupidity from a political party.

Posted by: umesh409 | February 19, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

The downside of using reconcilliation is that it sets a bad precedent for legislating, but the system has not worked well for years, so what the hell.

The upside is that the Dems actually get meaningful healthcare reform through. That is a huge win for them and the country. There will not be rioting in the streets, except for agitated tea-partiers. The majority will accept it, and the Dem base will love it.

Dems sometimes tend to think too much, and be too concilliatory (regardless of what Evan Bayh says). They need to show they will meet Republican rhetoric (which is all the Rs got) with action, that they will legislate, and push their agenda forward (just like the Republicans have done in the past).

Also, this gambit gives the Dems a shot in November. Pass the legislation now, with the public option, and take on the Republicans. Hammer home the cost savings and the millions more covered. The idea that these are bad things ... based on some bizarre slippery-slope and loss-of-choice arguments of Republicans ... is patently absurd. And if the Democrats can not sell the benefits of this thing back home, they are not very good politicians.

Posted by: MShake | February 19, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

bert8: Forgive me if I'm less interested in moving the "Overton Window" than in passing a bill. Which outcome would you prefer, passing a bill without a public option or voting on a bill with a public option and failing to garner the requisite votes? From the tenor of your post, it seems to me you'd prefer the latter. I don't think having a lot of news stories about how a public option proved to be the bridge too far for HCR would make a lot of people think the problem with HCR was that it didn't go far enough. But even if it did, that still means there'd be no bill now, and likely no bill in the next decade or more. And I don't think it's worth leaving behind all the people who would be helped by the bill (even w/o a public option) in service of a gamble for an "ideal" bill later.

Posted by: JanglerNPL | February 19, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

flounder2 has an excellent point and is exactly the reason for the letter on the public option: it sends a message to the constituents of those senators that their elected officials are actually trying to do something to meet their needs. Electoral CYA, or more kindly, a political push from the left to get more to the center.

Unfortunately, none of this addresses the issue that most of the Democratic gains were made in more socially conservative areas of the country, which is why there won't be more than another 10 signatories to that letter to be had. While I think single payer would be the best of all worlds, the Democrats will suffer electorally the real pain all Americans will continue sliding into without any healthcare reform.

Posted by: Jaycal | February 19, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

No, you are quite wrong about me. My sentiments are exactly in sync. with those of Bernie Sanders. Pass an HCR bill, no matter whether it meets my 'best' standards or not. Yes, reconciliation. Yes, House please pass Senate bill. If you are really a progressive, liberal or even radical (short of a revolutionary) you care about people more than you care about principle. So, yes, pass the bill. Best if it is one-payer. Next best if it is public option. Least best if it is insurance for all; but, by all means, pass Healthcare Reform!

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

"Bringing it back energizes all the narratives that Democrats fear most: That they're cutting secret deals without Republicans in the room, that they're building an extremist bill, that health-care reform is a government takeover."
Dude, how many times do we have to go over this? No matter what the Democrats and the White House do, those "narratives" are always "energized." Haven't you noticed that in the months since the public option was dumped, Republican talking points continue to include the old "government takeover" nonsense? Worrying about "narratives" is insane.

Posted by: randrewm | February 19, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for my rush to judgment, bert8.

Posted by: JanglerNPL | February 19, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

"Bringing it back energizes all the narratives that Democrats fear most"

Only if they're incompetent at, you know, politics. Which is a distinct possibility.

People want Congress to DO SOMETHING. Something recognizable, something that makes an impact, something that doesn't just invisibly make the status-quo a little better around the edges, but something people can point to and say "yeah, we solved that problem." Admittedly, this is largely a desire for symbolism and easy answers-- but people want Congress to ACT.

If you can't sell something that already enjoys strong public support despite months of withering opposition fire, has overwhelming base support-- if you can't do that when your biggest problem is being seen as ineffectual clods that do nothing to help the little guy-- well, how the hell did you end up in the Senate to begin with?

Posted by: adamiani | February 19, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I would go further and say that worrying about what the Conservatives and Republicans want is insane. They just want Obama to fail. Period. This is their strategy to get him to fail.

Obama, being a kindhearted guy until recently, thought that by moving to center he would get Republicans and Conservatives to compromise.

But, they want him to fail. Period. No compromise. I know them well.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I am in a unique position to understand. I went to high school with David Axelrod and grew up on the same street as Arthur Finkelstein.

I think I understand this fight as well as anyone.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

HC is just a payback to the Nazi capo, Soros and all of Obomba's commie friends!

Posted by: houston123 | February 19, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

See, they are a mean spirited lot, aren't they, these Conservatives.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

See, they are a mean spirited lot, aren't they, these Conservatives.
Posted by: bert8

bert, can't you take it? go home to mama and cry!

Posted by: houston123 | February 19, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

bert, the truth hurts, don't it?

Posted by: houston123 | February 19, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

There is no clear downside here. The Republicans will oppose any health care reform bill and characterize it as a socialistic government takeover whatever is actually in the bill. The public and especially the base like public option. Nothing is to be gained by dropping it to appease conservative Democrats, because nothing can be passed except by reconciliation anyway. If the Democrats pass health care, the Republicans will scream and yell and they may suffer at the polls. But they are certain to suffer if it looks like, after all this time and effort, they accomplished exactly nothing on health care. The insurance companies are also obliging them by jacking up everybody's premiums. Their only choice is to seize the moment, forget about non-existent "bipartisanship", and pass health insurance reform now.

Posted by: weeksj | February 19, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

libs: "be careful what you wish for, you may just get it" and the INtended consequences!

Posted by: houston123 | February 19, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Answer one question: How will the public option or HC be funded? Other than the disastrous plan of collecting 10-20% of your paycheck for four years while NOT providing any kind of care...how will it be funded?

No initiative that has been presented has been proven as to be a fiscally-responsible plan. The cost of all that has been presented will be added to the DEBT and to the DEFICIT...with long-term effects that no one in Washington can foresee or explain.

Posted by: easttxisfreaky | February 19, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

The essential point is what you just wrote:
"If the Democrats pass health care, the Republicans will scream and yell and they may suffer at the polls."

Except that I would alter that sentence to state with greater certainty that Republicans WILL suffer at the polls if a bill is passed.

That's why their strategy is to stonewall.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Mainly the fiscal scare tactics do not take into account how healthcare costs will escalate if NOTHING is passed. That's the point. Passing something will better control costs than NOT passing something. This has been proven over and over and over. See Krugman's column in today's NYTimes for more details. Of course, the Republicans writing here think they all have Nobel Prizes like Krugman. Conservatives are sure arrogant about economics. They think only they understand it. Simply not true!

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

This whole admin is a scam!!! Bipartisan only in words!! Here is proof that they have no intention of trying bipartisan....http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2010/02/obama-healthcare-summit-fraud-dems.html

Posted by: releggneh1 | February 19, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

It's a long way to Tipparary!!


Posted by: jjcrocket2 | February 19, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse


PUBLIC OPTION NOW! PUBLIC OPTION TOMORROW!!
PUBLIC OPTION FORVER!!!

Posted by: demtse | February 19, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

By all measures we are ranked 37th in health care behind most of the industrialized world. Our inefficient US health care system consumes over 17% of the GDP, leaves 47 million uninsured and 1.5 million Americans unlucky enough to get sick go bankrupt.. The MOST expensive health care systems in Europe consume 11% of their GDP. They cover everyone and no one goes bankrupt because of illness.

The difference between 11% and 17% of the US GDP ($14.4 trillion, 2008) is over $850 billion. So theoretically, if the US switched to Single Payer (despite lobbyists fighting tooth and nail against this), our health improves, everyone is covered, and – it pays for itself; or am I missing something?

Posted by: shadowmagician | February 19, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

.

Hey Democrats,

The long-awaited conclusion marks a turnaround

BYE BYE

DEMOCRATS

Posted by: kstobbe1 | February 19, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

You are not missing anything. There is TREMENDOUS WASTE in the current system. Ezekiel Emanuel and Rahm Emanuel have had enormous arguments about this very thing. See the Wikipedia sections on Ezekiel Emanuel and Healthcare Reform. The Insurance Companies would lose money and therefore employees IF we had a public option -- but little of the rest of the economy would suffer. That would happen because the WASTE is mainly in the 3rd party payer mechanisms, which you can see if you have ever made a claim that's been disputed. Insurance Cos. make an enormous effort to deny claims if at all possible. See the interview with former insurance executive Wendell Potter by Bill Moyers last year on the web. You aren't missing anything. The conservatives just don't want you to understand it. They want the Insurance industry ripoff to continue forever and ever.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

There are two core groups of people who oppose healthcare reform, with the same basic agenda – KILL HEALTHCARE REFORM IN THE CRADLE. The first group is composed of primarily white birthers/deathers/teabaggers types (45 years of age and greater). These people are poorly and marginally educated, live a middleclass and poor socio-economic existence and receive Medicare and Medicaid healthcare from the US government. Their median household income is far less than $250,000.00 per year, and would stand to gain far more from healthcare reform, than they would under the current system. Many consider themselves to be hard workers who believe they are entitled to receive “socialized” forms of “government run” healthcare, as result of the sweat of their brow. They believe Medicare and Medicaid are for those who have paid into the system and believe they are being asked to support those who did no pay into the system. They are also opposed to healthcare reform for the simple and basic reason, that it will allow a larger number of non-white people, who they deem unworthy, to receive the same level of healthcare as whites.

The second group in composed of the wealthy elites who believe healthcare reform will put an undue burden on them in the form of higher taxes. They believe Medicare and Medicaid are for those who have paid into the system with the sweat of their brow, and believe they are being asked to support those who did no pay into the system. Although they can afford healthcare outside of Medicaid and Medicare, they still want to participate in these programs because they save money by doing so. They believe that those who are not eligible for Medicare and Medicaid should pay for the healthcare out of their own pockets or if employed, use employer-provide healthcare plans. This group also consists of the major insurance, pharmaceutical, and medical community along with their lobbyists who see healthcare reform as the death knell to their ever-increasing profits and their very existence. Both groups believe in “socialized” healthcare, but only for those they believe have earned the right to receive it. Both groups are locked in a deadly embrace to kill healthcare reform at any and all cost, to themselves and America. Above all, hangs the dark cloud of white supremacy, like an ominous thunderhead. In the words of that Billie Holliday song “God Bless the Child That’s Got His Own”, Them that's got shall get, Them that's not shall lose.


Posted by: demtse | February 19, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

"Trying to figure out the politics of this public option revival has been a bit of a strange experience."

Just repeat after me, "Form Over Substance".

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 19, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

The answer to this dilemma is whether it could even be passed via reconciliation. If it can't be passed then that will be the end of that.

It will be up to the parlimentarian to determine if it can be done.

Posted by: maritza1 | February 19, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

demtse,

Strip your rant of it's race card overtones and you have an excellent point. Them that feels they've paid into the system are sooo not interested in subsidizing those that they feel have not. And therein lies one of the Democrats' biggest problems. That, and the fact that the young adults who comprise a substantial portion of the uninsured citizens who could afford to pay for catastrophic coverage would really rather not and will be royally p*&^ssed if the Democrats force them.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 19, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Please don't call anybody that supports public option a liberal. This fiscal conservative Independent supports not only public option, but also universal health care 100%. But I have never considered myself a liberal.

In short, without Public Option, this country cannot remain competitive globally, because we won't be able to control health care costs. Some day, we will have to spend at least 1/3 of our GDP on health care without universal health care.

Posted by: dummy4peace | February 19, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

AHHHHH THE PRESIDENT, NEXT TIME THE PRESIDENT TALKS(OR SHOULD I SAY TRIES TO ACT TUFF) WATCH HOW STIFF HE MAKES HIS UPPER LIP! WHEN HE LIES HE DOES IT TOO! THE PUBLIC OPTION WILL KILL SS FOR US NOW RETIRED PEOPLE THAT WORKED ALL OUR LIVES, WE WILL HAVE NOTHING! THEY ARE LETTING THE ILLIGALS GET BENIFITS TOO(ASK REID ABOUT THAT ONE, HE PROPOSED IT!) THEY ARE ALSO LETTING THEM BE COUNTED IN THE CEN. THAT WILL GIVE THEM THE RIGHT TO VOTE MARK MY WORD, GET ON THE WEB, MORE GOING ON BEHIND CLOSED DOORS THEN YOU WOULD EVER BELEIVE!@!@!

Posted by: JBRACALE | February 19, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

For the public option to be truly revived, you would need to see some prominent moderate Democrats support it. I am not talking moderate-liberals like Byron Dorgan, or even Max Baucus, but true centrists like Evan Bayh, Kent Conrad, Bill Nelson of Florida. A senior centrist like Conrad endorsing it would be huge especially since he basically killed it in the Finance Committee.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | February 19, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

These are the same young people who resent buying Automobile Insurance when they get their first car. But, the principle is similar. Young people pay more for Auto Insurance because they get into more accidents. Insurance is required to drive because, when it wasn't, many liabilities were not being met with appropriate compensation. Finally, young people's bad driving and higher premiums ARE subsidizing older drivers who don't get into as many accidents.

The idea that paying into Medicare and Medicaid (and Social Security), all forms of social insurance really, has entitled you to a Federal Insurance plan now is flawed. Our system is mixed. Most of us who have insurance get it through our employers. That will not change with any reform so far proposed. What will change is the fundamental fairness of the pricing structure for the insurance. No longer will those insured be paying for the uninsured to visit Emergency rooms. The inflated ER prices for the insured (and many other inflated costs) will end. That's what is not understood by those who think they are 'entitled'. They are already paying the costs that they are trying to avoid paying.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say it, but I think this is just a smoke screen to keep the left quiet long enough to get a bill passed. Plus, this gives Obama and the Dems in the Senate something they can give up (once again) in the name of mythical bipartisanship. I hope they are right that this might get us a bill that can pass.

Posted by: AuthorEditor | February 19, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

There is only three ways that the PUBLIC OPTION lowers costs:

1. Use the power of collectivization to bully doctors and pharmaceuticals to accept less money for their services.

2. Use the power of the federal IRS to make young & healthy pay far more for healthcare than they would otherwise pay.

3. And finally...well...hear it straight from the healthcare visionary itself:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=aGrKbfWkzTqc

Of course if Dick Cheney or Newt Gingrich started telling you that your dying grandmother's hip surgery is just not sustainable, you guys would be screening to high heaven....


Without reducing cost of healthcare, a grand entitlement for healthcare is as good as the USA Credit Ratings...and they will start dropping fast.

Obama and Pelosi may as well promise you a new home underwritten by all their new rich banking buddies!

There is an easy way to understand the politics of the public option. Democrats lie and lie and lie and lie.

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 19, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I always thought the public option was the only valuable thing about health care changes. It might provide enough competition to the status quo to drop prices some. The repubs may scream and yell, but if the bill is passed, they'll take credit for it, like the stimulus bill.

Posted by: boleson02 | February 19, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Fast Eddie is sure fast but as wrong as wrong can be.

Insuring people and bullying doctors and policy holders into not making claims is costly.

My doc. wrote me a script for anti-fungal for my toenails and they turned it down two weeks ago. Why? Well, unless I have diabetes, it's not covered.

The insurers have figured every imaginable angle to screw the consumer. Doctors scripts be damned. And, it costs a fortune to turn down all those costs.

In the end, the insurers overcharge, profiteer and bureaucratize themselves to Wall Street.

Watch Wendell Potter talk to Bill Moyers on the net. Search for it. Don't believe me. Believe a former Insurance Exec.

They do not practice any form of honest business. Health insurance is often a malicious scam. Cleaning it up will save huge sums of money.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Here is what Democrats think about compromise:

Dems:
We're going to eat a cat turd for dinner

Republicans:
I don't want a cat turd, i want a hamburger with ketchup and a pickle.

Dems:
Alright you can have ketchup on your cat turd.

Republicans:
Sorry...but if you insist on a cat turd, then I'm leaving

Dems:
Alright ketchup and a pickle on your cat turd.

Republicans:
___


Dems:
We've incorporated their ideas....why won't they vote....its because we're different isn't it?

Do you notice that the only people who say Democrats are compromising are the people who have advocated Single-Payer all along.

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 19, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

My point is simple: I had an auto insurance claim from a fender bender with GEICO last summer. No problem, even though I was at fault.

Health Insurers fight me tooth and nail to cover what they should. It takes huge amounts of time to engage in such fights. Their time and mine. They don't care. Any dollar they deny me is a dollar of profit to them.

What's the difference between Auto insurance and health insurance? Well, my State regulates and requires my auto insurance. Not so for health insurance.

You figure it out.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Ezra - PLEASE! Use your vast research tools at the Washington Post to answer this simple question: How much is the total profit margins of private insurance companies as compared to the overall healthcare costs of the nation?

It is my understanding that the total profit is fairly equivalent to the total profit of trial lawyers who win settlements in medical liability lawsuits.

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 19, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Fast Eddie, the Private Insurers Death Panel just called. Due to your pre-existing condition (I think they said "he always sounds like a Republican campaign hack with selective use of facts and all the phony buzzwords) -- they are canceling your coverage! They said they love ya, but it sounds like a mental illness, and their bottom line comes first. Good luck, baby!

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | February 19, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

bert8 - you need to find better insurance...most of us do not have the problems you are talking about.

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 19, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Fast eddie,

You are either a liar or are misinformed. Most reading this KNOW the problems I am talking about and KNOW I am telling the truth.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

If, as it would seem, Dems are preparing to push a reformed reform package on an unwilling public, then they had better have a reconciliation plan for disenchanted dems like me.

Posted by: mtpeaks | February 19, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

mtpeaks,

The question is whether you are willing to pay the 36% increase in premiums proposed by the Insurance Companies WITHOUT the passage of any bill?

If you aren't willing to pay significantly increased costs, then, you should just stay out of the debate, and let the bill pass through reconciliation.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

"My doc. wrote me a script for anti-fungal for my toenails and they turned it down two weeks ago. Why? Well, unless I have diabetes, it's not covered."
Posted by: bert8

Generic Lamisil costs $1.00-$2.00 per day. And it's not like you have to take it for the rest of your life. More like 12 weeks.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 19, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

OK, thanks for the hint on the lamasil. I haven't bought it out of pocket, and I didn't dispute it, but I did get the claim denial letter from AETNA. Now they want alot of tests for Diabetes. How much will that increase healthcare costs for everyone? My point is still that the insurers benefit from denial of coverage.

That point still stands.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Furthermore, the point that the insurers are challenging my internist's diagnosis and prescription further stands.

Why would insurers do that unless it profits them?

I have little regard for the insurers. Yet, I have much regard for my physician, like most Americans. And, most physicians have little regard for the (unregulated) health insurers.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

The one thing our political systems seems completely unable to do is give people health care reform that bears any resemblance to what we elected these people to do. We want insurance companies controlled (or preferably put out of business since they profit from human misery and fear) and the wealth of this country used for the common good. Pretty simple.

So we elect people who promise these things -- or at least that they will attend to the common good. And then these office holders complicate and complicate and refuse to find the money from its obvious source -- people who have it -- and make up Rube Goldberg machines and tell us we should like them. Even the famous public option is a workaround for the single payer or Medicare for all solution that is the obvious route to the declared goal.

But no -- that would be too simple. No wonder the politics are difficult: Congress and the President simply aren't doing the job we elected them to do. And we know it.

Posted by: janinsanfran | February 19, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

MEMORANDUM

To: BHO
From: PIS (Political Intelligence Unit)
Subj: Monday HC Rollout

Have given considerable thought to haunting image at Monday's rollout of 'yet another backroom deal.'
Recommend introducing new imagery to change public perception of this being the same 'old pork' in new packaging.
Suggest pulling rabbit out of hat. MC Band already working on a two note "da dah!"

Posted by: mtpeaks | February 19, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Dems are throwing gasoline on the fire if they start their pointless political gyrations again.

This PO "surge" better had result in a more progressive health bill in the next month or two or Democratic heads will surely roll even more bloody than before.

Posted by: Lomillialor | February 19, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

"And then these office holders complicate and complicate and refuse to find the money from its obvious source -- people who have it -- and make up Rube Goldberg machines and tell us we should like them."

And in today's news...

"The top 400 U.S. individual taxpayers got 1.59% of the nation’s household income in 2007, according to their tax returns, three times the slice they got in the 1990s, according to the Internal Revenue Service. They paid 2.05% of all individual income taxes in that year.

In its annual update of the taxes paid by the 400 best-off taxpayers, who aren’t identified, the IRS also said that only 220 of the top 400 were in the top marginal tax bracket. The 400 best-off taxpayers paid an average tax rate of 16.6%, lower than in any year since the IRS began making the reports in 1992.

To make the top 400, a taxpayer had to have income of more than $138.8 million. As a group, the top 400 reported $137.9 billion in income, and paid $22.9 billion in federal income taxes."

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 19, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Every one of the corrupt as$ holes who supports using this disonest political ploy needs to be marked for defeat.

Reconciliation is a budget only option, and a blatant power grab by these slugs isn't a budget issue, unless you're the ones paying for it.

Corrupt #$%$^^ democrats need to be run out of Washington on a rail.

Posted by: LarryG62 | February 19, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I think wisewon's comments are particularly sharp. This White House does not seem to understand that it cannot be effective if it continues to behave like an arm's length observer of the legislative process.

I can only speculate that the Administration is afraid of a liberal rebellion if they openly push the public option aside. Of course, if this were a Republican administration they could take whatever position they wanted and it would automatically become party orthodoxy (unless it was a tax increase). Democrats don't always fall in line quite so well, but Obama will never be an effective chief executive if he does not start governing like he has the support of the American public.

The Scott Brown election gave the party and the President an opportunity to change direction--or at least pick a specific position -- and portray it as the clear will of the people based on election returns. This pathetic dance over the public option is squandering that opportunity.

Posted by: dollarwatcher | February 19, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh, so it's OK when the Republicans use reconciliation to pass the Bush tax cuts for the upper crust, but not healthcare for the masses.

Economic Growth and Tax Reform Reconciliation Act of 2001

Blatant, ugly, hypocrisy on the part of the Republicans.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Just going to waste time, get the base all fired up so they can be disillusioned YET again when this does not happen. As it will not. Are the Dems so completely incompetent at politics to keep doing this..... HCR would already be law except for these liberal hopelessly impractical wet dreams about a public option. I REALLY would like to marry Scarlett Johannsen---this public option idea is just about as realistic, maybe less so

Posted by: craig18 | February 19, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Obama is gingerly steering toward a position on healthcare.

He clearly wants the confrontation of February 25 to be a major scene. David Brooks thinks it's 'Kabuki theatre'. But, it's not. The mood of the nation has shifted. The Republicans are about to be seen as they are: Intransigent fools, dead set on pushing America into banana republic status. Nearly every other country in the world has undergone healthcare reform. Our failure in this area is killing our future. The fact that Republicans don't see this is another example of their short-sightedness.

Obama is right to demand Republican suggestions for keeping America competitive and reforming healthcare. Unfortunately, the Republicans, after so many years of doltish Bushiness, have no suggestions to offer. They have only obstreperous obstructionism. The Republicans need to get out of the way of progress.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

The best I can tell about the public option is that there is a faction of the Democrats that wants to actively get out there, pick a fight on something, and win it. That's why a lot of hope got pinned on the public option, and it's also why the White House is so reticent about the issue. One faction sees the public option as a way to declare "ultimate victory"-- regardless of what other compromises are made with Republicans on the bill, it's definitely something the Republicans HATE and the Democrats want, so getting it in the bill would be an unequivocal win for the Dems and loss for the Republicans. This is the exact opposite mindset of what the White House and Barack Obama have wanted, so for them, the public option was the first thing they wanted to bargain away.

Personally, I'm of the "pick a fight and win" school of thought: the Republicans need a clear defeat to remind them who's in charge, but Obama has always been about "changing the tone," meaning that he only regards careful, reasoned convincing with the other side as a valid form of negotiation.

Posted by: tyromania | February 19, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Rallying support for a public option, essential for any semblance of health care reform, especially with recent obscene increases by a couple "health" insurance companies, should an opportunity for Obama to show some leadership, for a change.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | February 19, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Athena_news wrote: "Could you please be specific when you reference "the public option".
______
Easy, the Liberals Holy Grail "Pubic Option" is Government-run health-care or Socialized medicine. Anyone who tells you different is prevaricating.

Posted by: 2009frank | February 19, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

All America needs is another IRS Code called Government Crap Care of rationing, beaucracy and NO option..
Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Democrats are not to be trusted in anything much less another bureacratic nightmare.

Government in business is BAD business and BAD government...
FNMA, core of the crisis,

Medicare,
*living off of IOUs

*NO reimbursement rate increase in over 10 years, some doctors no longer take Medicare patients or limit the number of Medicare patients, is SUBSIDIZED BY PRIVATE CARE PREMIUMS

*20% waste and fraud rate

* Obama will cut a half trillion dollars from Medicare when more baby boomers will just start to enroll...can you say RATIONING.

*given the above, Democrats wanted to reduce the age of enrollment to 55....can you say RATIONING ON STEROIDS...


Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Democrats all are Crap on Steroids...

2010, 2012 can't wait...

Posted by: sophic | February 19, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Govenment Crap Care is a one way ticket to hell...

Posted by: sophic | February 19, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

sophic,

You are mistaken. "Crap Care" is what we have now.

The Commonwealth Fund did a major study a few years ago comparing the satisfaction of adults with the health care systems in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Americans were the least satisfied, and yet paid far more of their own money, than the respondents in every other country surveyed.

A few highlights -

The study shows that people in the U.S. face longer wait times to see doctors and have more trouble getting care on evenings or weekends than do people in other industrialized countries.

One-third of Americans told pollsters that the U.S. health care system should be completely rebuilt, far more than residents of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the U.K. Just 16% of Americans said that the U.S. health care system needs only minor changes, the lowest number expressing approval among the countries surveyed.

Four in 10 U.S. adults told researchers that they had gone without needed care because of the cost, including skipping prescriptions, avoiding going to the doctor, or skipping a recommended test or treatment.

Meanwhile, 26% of Americans surveyed said that they had faced more than $1,000 in out-of-pocket health care costs in the last year, compared with 14% of Australians, and 4% of Britons.

Full study here:

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Surveys/2004/2004-Commonwealth-Fund-International-Health-Policy-Survey-of-Adults-Experiences-with-Primary-Care.aspx

2009frank,


"Easy, the Liberals Holy Grail "Pubic Option" is Government-run health-care or Socialized medicine."

No, there has been no form of public option in any of the legislation that remotely resembles "Government-run health-care or Socialized medicine." Not even close. It is unfortunate that you lack the ability to understand current events.

But studies indicate that if we ever did have "Government-run health-care or Socialized medicine" we'd almost certainly be a lot happier with our health care than we are today.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 20, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

"Bringing it back energizes all the narratives that Democrats fear most"

It is way past due time that Democrats govern without shame or sense of guilt. Whatever the Republicans have to say is pointless: that is the consequence of opposing everything for the sake of it.

In a word, Democrats have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Posted by: grosmec | February 20, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Ezra,
How many Anthem Blue Cross of California will it take for our stupid pols in DC to grow a set and locate their spine?

Posted by: grosmec | February 20, 2010 2:20 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if any of the congressional Democrats realize what incredible damage they are doing to themselves and their party by jerking their base voters around like this.

Posted by: MagicDog1 | February 20, 2010 2:32 AM | Report abuse

The revival of interest in the public option is interesting but not terribly puzzling. Congressional Democrats realize after the Massachusetts election that they have two choices:

1) Rush into the arms of the unwelcoming Republicans in still more futile efforts at bipartisanship

OR

2) Show some superficial signs that they are trying to govern and are independent of the Republican crackpots.

So the interest in the public option is Choice "2". They are trying to differential their "product" in the face of upcoming campaigns.

Unfortunately many commenters are treating the public option as a functional policy alternative. It's true function is as a political chess piece. I am afraid that if it passes it will permanently discredit the government administration of health insurance in the US.

I believe the public option is now fulfilling its chess piece function and will probably not pass.

It is entirely too bad that Democrats closed their "Overton window" way too soon. Single payer...even socialized medicine should have been discussed seriously. I hope that lessons are being learned...but I am not that optimistic.

Posted by: michaelterra | February 20, 2010 3:38 AM | Report abuse

At the very least, it's a reminder that the many Dems compromised and the bill is far more conservative than it could have been. That's got to be worth something in political theater...

Posted by: steigen | February 20, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

This is a mistake to force the public option on the people. Government run health insurance ala Medicare and medicaid a a LOT of fraud and abuse and NO ONE is even talking about that. If they beefed up the investigatory staff and got at the is problem, we wouldn't be in such a financial mess. Absent this awareness and acting on the awareness, this new public option will be a disaster. !!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Nancianne | February 20, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

""This is a mistake to _force_ the public _option_ on the people.""

"Force" and "Option" are two contradictory terms. If it's a public "option," then it's not being "forced" on anyone.

Posted by: tyromania | February 20, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

It will be forced when employers determine it is cheaper to get the public option for their employees than any other plan. So force is ultimate very appropriate. When Medicare ran an insurance payment system for some hospitals, It was so inefficient that the hospitals dropped out and the whole direct payment operation in the Medicare agency had to be scrapped. I know what I am talking about.......

Posted by: Nancianne | February 20, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Nanciane, CBO says the House's public option will have slightly higher premiums than private plans, because it's a higher risk pool. So lot of people will stick to their old plans, which also offer more coverage.

But since a public option would be non-profit, a premium will be less than if these higher-risk people were covered by a private plan.

That's important, because the "mandate" means everybody has to be covered. But some people don't have enough money. So the taxpayers are going to cover them.

So, a non-profit plan means the taxpayers are going to spend less money covering the high-risk poor people than we would spend on them under a private-profit plan.

Note that the taxpayers are ALREADY spending money on these people, and spending more than necessary -- because they are showing up without money at the emergency rooms, when they are in the worst shape possible and where it is very expensive to treat them.

This cost shows up in higher taxes (and higher premiums) now.

CBO scores the total reform as revenue-neutral, and a non-profit public option makes this even cheaper, by using as little tax money as possible, since taxpayers won't be contributing to the profits of private corporations. It saved close to 15 or 20% in the score, I think.

Everybody's premiums are going UP in the future, no matter what system we have. But this is a way to start to REDUCE the increases as much as possible, while trying to cover everyone.

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | February 20, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Nancianne,

Th various forms of public option that have been proposed in the legislative history of these bills have been so watered-down that they exist only as an option for people that do NOT have employer-provided insurance.

Furthermore, the last surviving iteration of a public option in the Senate was the Medicare buy-in, which was only available to those without employer-provided insurance, and who were also past the age of 55.

So in any possible scenario, a revived public option would only be available to a limited slice of the population, and it will only be an O-P-T-I-O-N for those persons.

Also, regarding your concern that "NO ONE is even talking about" waste and fraud in the current Medicare system -- enhanced oversight to reduce fraud is part of the HCR plan to achieve savings in Medicare.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 20, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I can't wait for November!

Posted by: BillCarson2 | February 20, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

It is unbelievable to read some of the inanities spouted by these liberal Dem posters when they heard that Rahm was going to shove the Public Option and Care down the public's throats. Now over 60% of Americans, you remember them don't you? They are the ones living outside of the Beltway insanity. Those are the ones who do not want federal control of Care, or our energy resources when they forbid domestic drilling of safe oil, gas, coal and the building of nuclear plants. They are the ones who don't want amnesty, want safe borders, safe national security not the madness of Joe Biden's statements today that the Admin. wants a complete nuclear missile ban in the face of Iran, China, Russia, N.Korea and other Islamo jihadist wannabes. This is the most inept and dangerous Admin. in my lifetime and I am 71. To think that they would push socialist tripe down our throats without our permission and these lefty loon clown posters and the Dem minions in Congress would approve of that, is another reason to vote all of these bums out in Nov.

Posted by: phillyfanatic | February 20, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The floating of the public option is just a trick. It will NEVER be in the bill. But the rumor is there to make it look like concessions were made to the more conservative democrats and the idea was removed. Thus it will die a second time -- and possibly a third, if it needs to be revived again, just to enact this little charade. I am sure Klein knows this game and is feigning uneasiness with the "resurrection" of the public option

Posted by: truck1 | February 20, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Phillyfanatic, if you are 71, are you on Medicare?

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | February 20, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

My doc. wrote me a script for anti-fungal for my toenails and they turned it down two weeks ago. Why? Well, unless I have diabetes, it's not covered.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 9:12 PM |

******************
Bert8, toenail fungus is only unsightly -- if you don't treat it, your toes will not fall off. That's why anti-fungals for toenail fungus aren't generally covered, because they're essentially a cosmetic treatment to make your toenails look pretty. (It's different for diabetics, where poor circulation resulting in foot problems can lead to necrosis and amputation.)

By your logic, health insurance should pay for Botox and those silicone fillers to plump up wrinkles in your face, or breast enhancement, tummy tucks, or facelifts.

Why don't you pay for the anti-fungal out of pocket if it's so important to you that your toenails look nice?
**************

What's the difference between Auto insurance and health insurance? Well, my State regulates and requires my auto insurance. Not so for health insurance.

Posted by: bert8 | February 19, 2010 9:16 PM
**********************

States do regulate health insurance, rather stringently. I doubt whether you've ever taken a look at all the laws, regulations, and insurer bulletins in your state.

Of course no state except MA requires that a person carry health insurance. But if either the feds or states required people to get health insurance, I doubt very much that it would cover anti-fungals for toenail fungus. Massachusetts doesn't require health insurers to cover that, and I didn't see it in the list of Senate or House bill "essential benefits," either.

Of course, once the toenail fungus sufferers rallied, probably that coverage would be added, along with coverage for hangnail treatment.

Posted by: Policywonky | February 20, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet the Con-eheads will be against this. I think they will say NO.

Posted by: hoser3 | February 20, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Who cares if the far left supports this? Liberals are only 20% of the electorate. Independents and moderates HATE it. The more you push this, the more determined we are to BURY you in November. You are not paying attention. We spoke in Virginia, we spoke in New Jersey, we spoke in Massachusetts and you idiots just won't learn. You're going to pay for this.

Posted by: pfish | February 20, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

As a former Senate staffer and someone who would prefer national health care, or at least single-payer, let me caution PO supporters who believe reconciliation may be the path to the promised land.

Careful what you wish for, and remember the phrase "the Byrd Rule."

Under the Byrd rule, the Senate cannot consider an extraneous matter as part of a reconciliation bill or resolution or conference report of that bill. "Extraneous matter" is open to interpretation by the presiding officer of the Senate, who will look to the Parliamentarian for guidance.

The Byrd rule is enforced when a Senator raises a point of order during consideration of a reconciliation bill or conference report. If the point of order is sustained, the offending title, provision or amendment is deemed stricken unless the Senator offering it can convince 59 of his or her colleagues to vote to waive the rule.

Provisions of a bill that have no fiscal impact are subject to the Byrd Rule, a 60-vote point of order. For example, a provision requiring that physicians accepting Medicare patient must also accept patients in the public option would likely be subject to a Byrd Rule point of order.

Provisions that increase the deficit (which, in their breath-taking hypocrisy, R's have successfully made a public issue) in the years beyond the reconciliation period would also be subject to a point of order. For example, a provision striking the excise tax on so-called Cadillac plans - one of the priorities, if I understand correctly, that people want to see in the reconciliation bill - would be subject to a Byrd Rule point of order.

Posted by: scaypgrayce | February 20, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

let's not forget where the Democrats started:

Item 1:
 “A mere seven months ago (that would be around June 2009), The New York Times/CBS poll found that 72% of Americans ‘supported a government-administered insurance plan—something like Medicare for those under 65—that would compete for customers with private insurers.’”

Item 2: By February 2010, the Democrat Congress and Obama had rejected single payer (what they ran on in their platform); stiff-armed a government option; mandated that all Americans pay premiums to private sector insurers; required government subsidies be paid to private sector insurers; and made it legal for insurers to spend only 80 cents of every 100 cents on actual health care while spending 20 cents of every 100 cents on lobbying, 'sympathetic' candidates, CEO bonuses, 'administration' and fighting your claim for treatment, no single payer health care reform, no 'government option',

Item 3: Other than Pharma and the insurance industry - those who created the sop for themselves - no one (say 72%) supports this charade.

Question: What is likely to be accomplished when the Democrats pass single payer?

Answer: The return of voter and public support, and the return of credibility in our elected officials.

Posted by: theworm1 | February 21, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Nuclear warheads vs health care...

Obama focused on his takeover of America via health care control makes no sense at a moment when the IAEA makes an announcement that Iran is likely in the process of manufacturing a nuclear warhead for a missile.

And the White House has not said a word about Iran. Neither has the MSM. Partners in crime they are.

Posted by: 5280sail | February 21, 2010 6:01 AM | Report abuse

5280sail says:

"And the White House has not said a word about Iran. Neither has the MSM. Partners in crime they are."

Partners in crime they are, Yoda?

I did a simple news search and pulled up almost 3,000 "MSM" news stories about the IAEA report. An example of this extremely well-publicized story that you can't find a word about is right here in this very newspaper:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/18/AR2010021803378.html

If you missed the 3,000 "MSM" articles, I wonder just how did you hear the news?

If you had read the WaPo story (or any other), you would know that you are also 100% wrong when you say that the Obama administration has "not said a word" ... quoting from the WaPo article:

"The Obama administration reacted to the new report with concern, with one senior official saying that Iran is clearly moving "more and more in the direction of a weapons capability," despite repeated technical setbacks in its efforts to make enriched uranium. The new IAEA assessment found that Iran continues to have trouble with its uranium plants, although it possesses enough fuel, in theory, to make at least one bomb. "It may take them longer to get there, but the pattern of behavior is very disturbing," the official said."

Now I don't know how any of this foreign policy matter relates to health care, but I am curious whether you really are this clueless about how to find news, or if you are just makin' stuff up, and think that others who read this blog are too clueless to notice?

Logic dictates that it has to be one or the other, so please advise.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 23, 2010 6:11 AM | Report abuse

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