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Majority of Americans 'confused' about health care law

1. Majorities of Americans described themselves as "confused" about the new health care bill and acknowledge they don't have enough information about it to grasp how it will affect their lives, according to a new poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The numbers -- fifty-five percent of those tested expressed confusion about the law while 56 percent didn't know what impact it would have on them -- suggest that President Obama and his administration have their work cut out for them in the runup to the midterm elections.

Obama and his team have long argued that once people found out what is in the bill (and what's not) public opinion would shift in their favor. And, the Kaiser poll does show -- as have a slew of other national surveys -- that many of the early-implementing provisions are quite popular.

More than eight in ten people support tax credits for small companies who offer coverage to their employees (86 percent), back the idea of making it harder for insurance companies to drop you when a major medical problem occurs (81 percent) and like the idea of barring health plans from charging a co-pay for basic services (82 percent).

The potential problem for the administration is that it has proven harder than it may have at first appeared to educate the public about the politically popular elements of the legislation.

Why? Two reasons -- both outlined in the Kaiser data.

First, the issue has become incredibly polarized and is now widely seen through a partisan lens. Overall 46 percent of the sample have a favorable opinion of the health care law while 40 percent have an unfavorable view. But, Democrats are strongly supportive (77 percent favorable) while Republicans are strongly opposed (79 percent unfavorable). Independents are more closely divided but those who regard the bill unfavorably (46 percent) do outnumber hose who see it in a positive light (37 percent).

Second, more than half of all Americans called either cable news (36 percent) or network news (16 percent) their most important source of information about the health care law. Television -- particularly cable television -- deals in short segment usually featuring partisans trying to score political points, factors that tend to create a sort of "muddying the waters" effect on what voters perceive about any issue.

The White House seems to grasp the challenge before them in selling the health care law -- bringing on veteran Democratic operative Stephanie Cutter to run the messaging around the legislation -- but the Kaiser poll very clearly lays out the challenges facing the party as November creeps closer.

2. Speculation ran rampant in Chicago and Washington Democratic political circles late Thursday that the bank owned by the family of Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias was near failure and could be seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as soon as today.

Broadway Bank, which was started by Giannoulias's father, has been struggling for months and earlier this year was given until April 24 -- Saturday -- to raise $85 million in new money or be liquidated.

The bank's struggles have overshadowed any momentum Giannoulias had hoped to build in the wake of his February primary victory. Republican Rep. Mark Kirk, Giannoulias's general election opponent, has relentlessly hammered the Democrat on his ties to the bank where he once served as a senior loan officer. "Just about every sentence that Congressman Kirk utters these days is a noun, a verb and Broadway Bank," Giannoulias said earlier this month.

Assuming that Broadway Bank fails -- whether today or some time in the near future -- Giannoulias's campaign will be severely tested. So, too, will the White House's political operation given that the seat in question was once held by President Obama.

To date, the White House has played a largely hands-off role as it relates to Giannoulias. (Senior Administration officials did try unsuccessfully to recruit state Attorney General Lisa Madigan into the contest last year.)

A word of support from Obama would almost certainly quiet criticism of Giannoulias in the wake of the bank's failure; silence on the matter would be equally damning.

3. Tim Pawlenty will spend two days in South Carolina raising money for the state party and state Sen. Mick Mulvaney's challenge to Rep. John Spratt (D), a trip that provides -- yet more -- evidence of the Minnesota governor's planned 2012 presidential run.

The reception for Mulvaney will be held in Rock Hill, S.C. on Saturday May 8 with tickets running $100 a pop. The night before Pawlenty will attend a reception to benefit the South Carolina Republican party in Spartanburg.

Mulvaney is hoping to unseat Spratt in the Upstate 5th district, no easy chore given that the Democratic incumbent has held the seat since 1982. Mulvaney could use the cash boost that Tpaw should provide; he ended March with $207,000 on hand as compared to more than $800,000 for Spratt.

Pawlenty's trip to South Carolina is the latest in a series of trips to early primary and caucus states as he seeks to introduce himself to the voters who will determine the identity of the party's nominee in 2012. Pawlenty spent last Saturday night in Iowa, speaking to a gathering of Iowans for Tax Relief.

Pawlenty has been, without question, the most aggressive of the 2012 field in traveling to early states and courting potential supporters and staff -- a strategy born of necessity as he is the least well known of the serious candidates expected to be in the race.

ALSO READ: CNN's Peter Hamby on Tpaw's wooing of South Carolina's top consultants.

4. A poll conducted for New Mexico Rep. Harry Teague (D) and obtained by the Fix showed him in a dead heat with former Rep. Steve Pearce (R), a significant improvement from where he stood last summer.

Teague takes 47 percent to 46 percent for Pearce in the poll done by Dave Beattie of Hamilton Campaigns. In another Beattie poll taken at the end of August 2009, Pearce led Teague 52 percent to 42 percent.

"Today Harry Teague has a higher favorable image and job rating than he did in August 2009, and Steve Pearce is viewed less favorably by voters than he was last August," wrote Beattie in a memo on the poll.

While Teague -- and national Democratic strategists -- focused on the trend line in the race, the fact that the race is a pure tossup even in their own polling reveals the difficulty the party faces in holding the southern New Mexico seat.

Teague won the 2nd district in a 2008 open seat contest when Pearce vacated it to run for Senate. But, Republicans insist that Teague's vote for President Obama's cap and trade proposal is a political death sentence in the district and believe that Pearce is among their best candidates in the country.

Both men have proven to be very solid fundraisers. At the end of March Teague had $927,000 in the bank to Pearce's $709,000; both men also have considerable personal wealth although only Teague has spent it in past campaigns.

5. If it's Friday, it's time for the "Live Fix" chat, an hour's worth of questions about politics, cupcakes, field hockey, the NFL draft and whatever else is on your mind.

The festivities get started at 11 a.m. You can either submit questions in advance or follow along in real time.

Sign on. It will be fun. Trust us.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 23, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Republican National Committee's image problem (again)
Next: Governors races (and committees) take center stage in 2010

Comments

well, is confusion part of the motive? We lose track of the real issue, the COST of health care! Its still going to cost the same amount for services, the only difference is now the wealthy are paying for it all.

I do not happen to be one of the unfortunates who pay for the other half but i would like to earn that amount later in life so now what is my incentive? Huge taxes and mandatory health insurance?

I still think the country will suffer if the problem is unresolved. Insurance for doctors and healthcare providers is costing patients and america too much money. Lawsuits are forcing prices upward. If we can't control the lawsuits, costs will continue to rise.If their insurance continues to rise, our cost will continue to be high. I don't see congress or anyone else adressing that issue so unfortunately our costs will most likely remain high.

Posted by: logicman | April 26, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

In posting below, I said "want any part" - I used that as a idiom.


Some provisions of the bill were popular in polls.


But many things are popular when the polling DOES NOT STATE WHAT THE COSTS ARE GOING TO BE.

The polls can ask "would you like the benefits of a program?" People would tend to say yes.


But if you ask the same people "do you want these benefits if you have to pay $5000 more in taxes a year" they may say no.


If you asked the same people "do you want these benefits if you have to pay $10 more per year in taxes?"

The COST is key - but the polling of the individual provisions of the bills DID NOT INCLUDE COST CONSIDERATIONS - THERE WAS NO COST-BENEFIT ANALSYSIS.

IN SHARP contrast, the polling about the OVERALL BILL included - even if by default - a thought on the part of the respondent of the COSTS - and there the AMERICAN PEOPLE SAID CLEARLY TIME AFTER TIME THEY DID NOT WANT THE HEALTH CARE BILL.

There you have it - the democratrs refusing to listen -


After this episode, I don't know how anyone can trust the democrats to govern again -

Obama is going to be a one-termer - a Herbert Hoover figure in history - and the democrats have completely destroyed their credbility and agenda.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 24, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse


The reason people are "confused" about the health care bill is Obama sought to hide his support for provisions of the bill.


After every committee version of the bill came out - all we heard was "don't worry this is not the final version of the bill"


The individual provisions were never really debated in the public - no one what knew what was going on.

OBAMA DID THIS ONE PURPOSE - he wanted to blunt criticism of the bill - and be able to deny that he supported any INDIVIDUAL part of it.


So it went on and on like that - and everyone was waiting for the "final" bill.

THEN a curious thing started to happen - the "final" bills were not ready for debate - they waited until the LAST MINUTE - TO DUMP THE BILLS ON THE INTERNET IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT - FOR A VOTE IN 72 HOURS.


A bill should be filed - and sent to committee - the public should see it there for a while - the bills should be MARKED-UP in committee - all the while the public should be involved and be able to know what is going on.


This process was blunted - with 5 massive bills no one knew where it was going - everyone was waiting fo the "final" bills to come in each chamber.

Then the "final" bills were jammed through in 72 hours each - this was wrong.

The the Scott Brown election happened - the American People said they DID NOT WANT ANY PART OF THIS BILL.

We had a national argument about reconciliation - which is NOT a debate about any part of health policy.

We had a bipartisan Conference - in which Obama dominated the discusion, REFUSED TO LISTEN, REFUSED TO COMPROMISE - AND INSTEAD OF BEING BIPARTISAN - ACTUALLY USED THE CONFERENCE AS A CHANCE TO BE RUDE TO THE REPUBLICANS AND SOMEHOW JUSTIFY JAMMING THE BILL THROUGH.


The conference was a NATIONAL DISGRACE AND AN ACT OF FRAUD AGAINST OBAMA'S OWN CAMPAIGN OF 2008.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 24, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse


There was a decision made to CANCEL THE NORMAL CONFERENCE PROCESS - WHICH WOULD HAVE BROUGHT OUT NATIONAL DEBATE ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS.


Then the country had a debate as to whether the House was going to DEEM the bill passed.


So where was the HEALTH CARE DEBATE ?? WHERE WAS THE COMPROMISE WHICH OBAMA PROMISED DURING THE TWO YEARS OF HIS CAMPAIGN.


In the end, the bill was written in secret and then the "fixes" were written in secret, and no one really understood what was going on.

The "final" bill turned out to be a MISH-MASH of the Senate bill and the "fixes" both of which were DUMPED onto the internet in the middle of the night - and voted on 72 hours later - in partisan debates.

The individual provisions of the bill WERE NEVER DEBATED OUT - OBAMA WAS NEVER COMPROMISING ON THE INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS - AND YOU ASK WHY PEOPLE ARE CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT IS IN THERE ???

Oh, then after the vote, the democrats sent out a bunch of press releases saying that there would be "immediate benefits" - and few of those turned out to be true.

AND all we have had in the past few weeks is FALSE CHARGES OF RACISM AGAINST ANYONE WHO DOESN'T AGREE WITH THE HEALTH CARE BILL.

And you ask why people are confused?

This is HOW OBAMA IS GOVERNING - HE IS DELIBERATING BLUNTING THE PROCESS.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 24, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Obama's Private Army

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcgewO2l73g

Judge Napolitano is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of the State of New Jersey. While on the bench from 1987 to 1995, Judge Napolitano tried more than 150 jury trials and sat in all parts of the Superior Court -- criminal, civil, equity and family. He has handled thousands of sentencings, motions, hearings and divorces. For 11 years, he served as an adjunct professor of constitutional law at Seton Hall Law School, where he provided instruction in constitutional law and jurisprudence. Judge Napolitano returned to private law practice in 1995 and began television broadcasting in the same year.

Judge Napolitano received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1972, and received his Juris Doctor from University of Notre Dame in 1975.

Get More Buy Andrew P. Napolitano's Books:

■A Nation of Sheep

Posted by: glenpeiffer | April 24, 2010 4:01 AM | Report abuse

Too nice a day here in DC for the usual spitefest. Enjoy the weather wherever you are!

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | April 23, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Boy, not much going on around here. Must be a slow day. Rattling around in an empty house after everyone's gone home.

Posted by: Brigade | April 23, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

"Obama's Brown Shirts"

What's creepy about the nuts who post this kind of nonsnse conspiracy theory is tht they are probably stupid enough to beleive it.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

"But this is still dumber than anything Palin has said, no?"

Well, that's a question for the ages, ain't it, dawd? There's so much material to work with. What the Nevada Dems should do is just put together some more clips of Lowden talking.. she is her worst enemy.

In the meantime, Tina Fey will sort it out for us.

==

When Palin reaches the end of a sentence she's forgotten what she said at the beginning of it. She just has a cup full of words and phrases and she shakes them out in any old random order. A parrot makes more sense. Palin is just babbling.

Private sector, freedom, government takeover, real Americans, BRAWWWWK.

Posted by: Noacoler | April 23, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Obama's Brown Shirts

Government control and mandates on private industry is not free enterprise. Various definitions of what constitutes a socialist economy exist, ranging from socialists who state a socialist economy is one in which private property in the means of production have been taken over by the government, or that of private ownership of the means of production that is under government management.

What politicians want to do is look good by imposing mandates, and then let the insurance companies look bad by raising the premiums to cover the additional costs.

It is a great political game, but it does nothing to lower medical costs.Politicians who want a government monopoly on health insurance can easily get it, just by making it impossible for private insurance companies to charge enough to cover the costs mandated by politicians. The "public option" will then be the only option – which is to say, we will no longer have any real option.

" Remember Obama saying that we need a "civilian army that is just as well trained and funded as the military"? Well, here it is. Tucked away in the middle of the over 2,000 page health care bill that nobody in congress bothered to even read.

This is not just an expansion of the National Guard, no. This is a private health corp. that is to be trained by the military and will be under the direct command of the president. What do we need a private health care enforcement core for? What does the military have to do with health care? This is not about health care. This is about power and control. " Will these recruits be loyal to the consitution and the U.S. or Obama?

Posted by: glenpeiffer | April 23, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

RobbyS writes
"The confusion grows as government intervention grows. Now we are confronted with a bill that is three thousand pages long and which will grow into ten times that number of pages of regulations."


So you're not so much against what's in the bill as what's in the imaginary 30,000 page bill?

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 23, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

The confusion grows as government intervention grows. Now we are confronted with a bill that is three thousand pages long and which will grow into ten times that number of pages of regulations. In the end we will have one HMO, with all the flaws of the existing ones, and a rule book that will compare in compexity with the tax code.

Posted by: RobbyS | April 23, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

"But this is still dumber than anything Palin has said, no?"

Well, that's a question for the ages, ain't it, dawd? There's so much material to work with. What the Nevada Dems should do is just put together some more clips of Lowden talking.. she is her worst enemy.

In the meantime, Tina Fey will sort it out for us.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Are we going with $5 per chicken? I was generous to Lowden and made it $25. Although my math was wrong for the MRI cost. It's 100 chickens at that price, not 1000. Although it's 500 chickens if it's $5 per bird.

But this is still dumber than anything Palin has said, no?

Posted by: DDAWD | April 23, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

RobbyS writes
"the Obama administration must "sell " health care the way a salesman sells ice-boxes to Eskimos: point out the good parts-- a good place to store things-- while neglecting to tell the customer that it has to be hooked up to electricity."


There you go again.

An icebox doesn't need electricity, it only needs ice.

This kind of misdirection is precisely the cause of confusion among the electorate about health care reform. One side screams 'death panels,' but there are no death panels. One side screams 'government takeover' but there is no government takeover. One side screams 'mandated government funded abortions' but there is no change to the Hyde amendment. One side screams 'go to jail for not having healthcare' but there is explicit language that bans such an enforcement mechanism.

So, RobbyS, just exactly who is selling what to whom?

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 23, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse


"Obviously, the Obama administration must "sell " health care the way a salesman sells ice-boxes to Eskimos (to use the non-PC term): point out the good parts-- a good place to store things-- while neglecting to tell the customer that it has to be hooked up to electricity. He assures the customer that the government is bringing in a power supply in three years. He neglects to tell him about the monthly cost once it is hooked up."

Oh, no one told me my health care had a plug.

Btw, I already pay a monthly cost. It's called an insurance premium. And right now, it costs a fortune because I have a pre-exisitng condition and I can only get insurance from ONE company. Soon, I will have choices.

Please stop torturing metaphors -- it's unkind.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, the Obama administration must "sell " health care the way a salesman sells ice-boxes to Eskimos (to use the non-PC term): point out the good parts-- a good place to store things-- while neglecting to tell the customer that it has to be hooked up to electricity. He assures the customer that the government is bringing in a power supply in three years. He neglects to tell him about the monthly cost once it is hooked up.

Posted by: RobbyS | April 23, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Folks are confused, because the freedom of the USA was supposed to end with the signing of the bill.

Then it didn't.

BLAME OBAMA FOR OUR FREEDOM.

Jake in 3D signing out

Posted by: JakeD3 | April 23, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

But 37th...

If we can't raise more chickens, how will we pay for health care if the Republicans regain power?

Oh, wait, that's right... The first thing they'll do is gut the EPA. Problem solved. :)

Posted by: Gallenod | April 23, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

The Confusion of Health Care


It's all Obama's fault.


Obama didn't want to openly support any bill - the Public was constantly told - this bill which just passed through this committee - "it doesn't matter what is in that bill, because it isn't the final bill."


This went on for month after month.

Obama's desire not to be linked to ANY potential provisions of the health care bill has landed us into this situation -


Because at the end - the final bills were dumped on the internet in the middle of the night - and passed late Saturday or on a Sunday or on a holiday.

Sure- the final bills were handed to the American People quickly and voted on even more quickly.

So Obama is NOW wondering why people are confused ???

Add to that the Obama talking points - which came from focus groups - not the actual bills.


Obama constantly fed the American people canned phrases -

Obama's own actions give one the impression that he has something to hide - the provisions of a complex bill were not out there for months for people to get to know.

Obama hurt himself on this one.

The American People want to REPEAL the bill - and LOWER THE TAXES -


That's what the people want - they do not want the GAMES which Obama played the whole way through.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 23, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

drindl, that 11:18 post was so good, I'm going to put it up again, in the style of 37thandOOOOOOOOO.

"If you remember, the Tea Parties were originally formed to protest the bailouts. They were so mad at the Wall Street bankers who destroyed the economy and then took our hard earned money for their efforts.

So, they will take this opportunity of course to launch their own protest of Wall Street. They will protest the TARP money, the easy credit, the lack of regulation, the wild risk taking and the excessive bonuses paid with taxpayer money. They're really going to take the fight to them.

Just kidding. They're not going to do anything. They're going to sit out this fight on financial reform and put absolutely no pressure on Wall Street at all. Because they are tools easily manipulated by right-wing organizations funded by corporate America."

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 23, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I see dribbl has exhausted her supply of change from the couch cushions and will have to wait for a responsible adult to come home before she gets any more

until then, she's all ours.

Posted by: Moonbat | April 23, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

ENVIRONMENTAL COSTS OF RAISING CHICKENS


You all have to realize the EPA would never let an increase in chicken farming to happen - the waste would pollute the water supply.


The EPA would SHUT DOWN the operation right away.


They would also DRIVE UP YOUR COSTS and fine you - so don't even try it.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 23, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Health Care


We STILL have Obama and the democrats trying to work on the focus of their central efforts : talk about the good parts of the health care bill.

AND hope that everyone FORGETS about the bad parts.


It appears like Obama and the democrats have the attitude that there is "something wrong" that overall, the American People do not want the taxes of the health care bill.

Obama's people still keep on the "DISTRACTION STRATEGY" - THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULD WANT THE WHOLE BILL BECAUSE SOME SMALL PARTS ARE GOOD.

It is a logical flaw.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 23, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Here's another one...

'It turns out that Senate candidate Sue Lowden (R-NV) is not the only politician out there who has promoted the idea of the barter system as part of health care. Yet another pro-barter Republican, state Rep. Mike Bell (R-TN), has been talking up the practices of Mennonites who pay doctors with vegetables.

Bell's made his comments last week, during discussion of a proposed state law that would attempt to nullify the federal health care insurance mandate in the state of Tennessee. Here is a transcript of a dialogue in committee between Bell and Democratic state Rep. Joe Towns, courtesy of the Nashville Scene, as Bell explained that many people get along without insurance:

Bell: They're some of the healthiest people you have ever seen. They pay cash when they go to the doctor. They work out arrangements with the hospitals if their children have to be hospitalized. This is an individual choice that we're talking about.

Towns: You're saying they pay cash? For organ transplants and cancer and heart cases, they pay cash?

Bell: I said they pay cash or work out other arrangements. I know for a fact. I know someone in the medical field who has been paid with vegetables from the Mennonite community.

Towns: That's an anomaly. That's not how the system works. I can't take a sack of vegetables down to the utility company and pay my utility bill on my house. Nobody's going to take vegetables for payment. We can't run the country on vegetables and horse trading.'

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, we're closing down on finance reform... where are the TP protests against Wall Street?

"If you remember, the Tea Parties were originally formed to protest the bailouts. They were so mad at the Wall Street bankers who destroyed the economy and then took our hard earned money for their efforts.

So, they will take this opportunity of course to launch their own protest of Wall Street. They will protest the TARP money, the easy credit, the lack of regulation, the wild risk taking and the excessive bonuses paid with taxpayer money. They're really going to take the fight to them.

Just kidding. They're not going to do anything. They're going to sit out this fight on financial reform and put absolutely no pressure on Wall Street at all. Because they are tools easily manipulated by right-wing organizations funded by corporate America."

Oh, right.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Mark, you had been quiet lately so I'm glad to see all the great posts today, especially the one about NM.

As we saw with NY CD 23 (and as I think we will see in PA 12), these rural areas rely on government to keep them modestly afloat. If their congressman has been taking care of them they will vote for their incumbent (or her substitute, as in NY) no matter their party.

Obama is smart -- he's waiting to see how the Alexi Giannoulias/Family Bank thing shakes out. AG is not his candidate (and if AG was a man of his party he would have known this was not his year to run; better to let the family bank problems settle). There's no reason for Obama to waste his good political currency on a marginal candidate who may have his world implode. If the bank;'s troubles are not tainting AG by autumn, there is plenty of time for the pResident to step in and campaign.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 23, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

LOLOLOL... it does make sense when you consider that 99% of Republicans are 'confused' to begin with, heh heh heh. A simple 2+2= ? would push them over the 'edge'. What a scream!

Posted by: dakotahgeo | April 23, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"Its feather plucking insane!"

Well, that's Sue Lowden. You really should watch her perform at length. Tina Fey has a new character.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

pilsener: How dare you interrupt our enjoyable yet off-topic romp through barter-land with actual news! Shame on you!

Oh well, can't be helped. Back to actual relevant health care discussion.

There's a reason most of HCR doesn't take effect until 2014 and 2019. It's to give Congress time to assess and act on various funding and regulatory mechanisms. Yes, the Congressional Budget office predicts savings over the next 20 years. But the report reference in USA Today may be just as valid. HCR will require a lot of care and feeding over the next 10 years to make it work, and the bill they passed this year did not, admittedly, address the cost of care issue.

Progress will, however, continue.

Posted by: Gallenod | April 23, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"Total number of chickens needed to cover United States health care costs: 459 billion chickens
Estimated worldwide chicken population: 16 billion chickens
Current worldwide chicken shortage to cover U.S. health care: 443 billion cluckers"


That reminds me of a line from a song by the Presidents of the United States of America.

"Its feather plucking insane!"

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 23, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Beer -- absolutely.

Bondo, you ought to at least be able to get a splinter removed.

TPaw. Watching CC trying to flog this lifeless lox into a semblance of a breathing candidate is amusing, but ultimately boring. Kind of like watching someone desperately administrating resuscitation to a mannequin.

Now, excuse me, I have to make a contribution to Sue Lowden's campaign. It's a long drive to Nevada, and the chickens are making a mess.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Confused?

I watched for an entire year as confusion was propped up as "evidence," and utilized to unite an electorate.

It is a lot easier to oppose something on the grounds of ignorance than it is on the weight of logical merit.

And here we are.

Posted by: trident420 | April 23, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Gallenod asks
"Ooh, you mean like beer?"

Exactly like beer. Read 'Fermenting Revolution'.

Take that sackful of barley, add some water, yeast & hops and you've surely created something for which people would exchange goods & services.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 23, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

The AP is as nearly owned by the Rs as Fox News. I'd like a link to the source for the figures, please, otherwise there's no reason to beleive any of it.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

re: Tpaw.

Yesterday it was reported that he's spent about 40% of this year's session out-of-state. No wonder we're going to hell in a handbasket.

More to the point though, while Pawlenty is getting his name out among the party operatives, he's gaining limited name recognition or support from primary voters. The polls I saw (again, yesterday) had him in the 3% range in New Hampshire, while Romney, Palin, Huckabee and Gingrich were all into double digits (I think Romney had 30-some %). Obviously its early enough that a good candidate could still come out of the back bench to take the 2012 primary season by surprise, but I think that candidate would have to be charismatic, persuasive and have a compelling vision for America's future. While he has his "Sam's Club Republicans" line, Pawlenty lacks the rest of the package necessary to pull it off, in my opinion.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 23, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

We are a people very receptive to the sound bite and not very receptive to any explanation that takes more than 20 seconds and uses words containing five or more syllables. The White House still faces an uphill battle to convince people the health care reform legislation will be good for them, because none of the benefits as they've been explained to me -- save maybe the whole "You can't be dropped from your insurance if you get sick" thing -- really condenses into a good sound bite. On the other hand, phrases like "socialistic America-killer" fit into a sound bite pretty handily.

Plus, I think most people are inclined to trust their insurance providers unless they have been been really obviously screwed by them in the past. The possibility that your insurance provider might screw you if not properly regulated doesn't really cross your mind unless it happens to you or someone close to you. It's cynical to say it, but I think right now, the Democrats are better off with as few people talking about the health care legislation as possible. People are going to have to be able to physically see the positives to understand them, and none of the benefits the Democrats have trumpeted is going to be noticeable for quite some time. Health care reform doesn't work as well for the 2010 elections as it does for the 2012-2014-2016 elections, when the Democrats could conceivably say, "Hey look, health care reform didn't cause our country to be destroyed in an all-consuming ball of fire like the Republicans said it would!"

parkerfl1 raises a good point about the simplicity of selling the financial reform message as opposed to the health care reform message; everybody hates Wall Street right now. They're much easier villains than insurance providers, like making morally indefensible Nazis the bad guys of your movie rather than potentially ambiguous Russians. Unless you're "24," then it's always the Russians' fault.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | April 23, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

You guys are being unfair to Sue Lowden.

If I recall correctly, the offer of painting a doctor's house was also in the mix.

I have a copy of Captain America #3. I wonder what kind of procedure I could get for that?

Posted by: Bondosan | April 23, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"What would really help here is if there were some kind of single, universally accepted commodity, which could be used as a medium of exchange for all the others..."

Ooh, you mean like beer?

Posted by: Gallenod | April 23, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Maybe this is why voter's are confused about "health reform" - from USA Today:

Report: Health overhaul will increase USA's tab
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama's health care overhaul law will increase the nation's health care tab instead of bringing costs down, government economic forecasters concluded Thursday in a
sobering assessment of the sweeping legislation.

A report by economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department said the health care remake will achieve Obama's aim of expanding health insurance — adding 34 million Americans to the coverage rolls.

But the analysis also found that the law falls short of the president's twin goal of controlling runaway costs. It also warned that Medicare cuts may be
unrealistic and unsustainable, driving about 15% of hospitals into the red and "possibly jeopardizing access" to care for seniors.

Posted by: pilsener | April 23, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Of course, Gallenodd, as the author of the post noted:

Of course, it should be noted that chickens are only one of many commodities, and are thus only one component of a barter economy -- for example, Tennessee state Rep. Mike Bell (R) has referred to Mennonites paying for health care with vegetables.

There are also the options of beef, pork, turkeys, sugar, metal ore, or even finished products like iPods or gasoline. What would really help here is if there were some kind of single, universally accepted commodity, which could be used as a medium of exchange for all the others...

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

drindl, that's hardly a fair analysis.

In addition, it should include eggs (a renewable resource), pigs, cattle, horses and any other domestic, farm or decorative (purse-sized designer chihuahuas, anyone?) animal we could barter to a doctor for services.

There are also various crops (what doctor wouldn't want a sack of barley in return for a sigmoidoscopy) or services (golf clup membership or financial services advice) people could offer.

Given that, there may well be enough stuff around for people to barter for health care. So, before you send that link to Harry Reid's campaign staff, someone should do a little more homework.

(Sorry, it's a Friday and the weather's good. I can only stay serious for so long on days like today.)

Posted by: Gallenod | April 23, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"So with all the discussion surrounding Nevada Senate candidate Sue Lowden's idea to use bartering as a way to pay for health care, we thought we'd take a look at whether the idea would actually work. Since Lowden, a Republican, touted the fact that her grandparents' generation would bring a chicken to the doctor for payment, we decided to look at whether the math would work for a chicken-based health care economy.

The answer? Absolutely Not. There aren't enough chickens in the world -- let alone the United States -- to cover the costs of health care in this country alone.
-----
Total U.S. health care costs in 2008: $2.3 trillion
US population: About 300 million
Average cost of health care per person: $7,681
Average weight of a chicken: 5.9 lbs
Market price per pound: 85 cents
Average spot price per chicken: $5.02
Average number of chickens per resident needed to cover health care costs: 1,530 chickens"

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/04/fowl-math-for-a-chicken-based-economy.php?ref=mp
Total number of chickens needed to cover United States health care costs: 459 billion chickens
Estimated worldwide chicken population: 16 billion chickens
Current worldwide chicken shortage to cover U.S. health care: 443 billion cluckers"

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Surprise. Surprise. Today the government admits that the obimbo health bill raises costs and is unsustainable.

Duh.

SEC high paid employees too busy surfing porn to do their job. Expected punishment from Obama- none. Create more of the same.

It's an Obama world. For now.

Posted by: Moonbat | April 23, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I think Mark is right, here. Rubio isn't running for any kind of middle -- I can't imagine he thinks he will be picking up D votes. So an endorsement from the Godfather won't be the kiss of death for him it might be for other candidates.

This is the interesting thing about whom the neocons will bless among the Tpers. Rubio is an ambitious young pup, malleable, sees where the money is. He will reliably go along with neocon FP thought; he may even find it amenable, although that is optional to the truly ambitious.

Rand Paul, on the other hand, gets blasted by neocon Guiliani for his more libertarian FP impulses. The neocons and libertarians may have small crossover in the Tpers, but for the most part they are anathema to each other.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Mark: No problem. All the things you describe are good reasons for Cheney to endorse Rubio.

(And it was no snarkier than my description of Brown's endorsement of Romney.) ;)

And, particularly in light of Hutchinson losing in Texas despite Cheney's endorsement, I'm wondering where Cheney will distribute his favors as November nears. Rubio is a movement conservative, not an establishment one. Cheney's always been an establishment guy, but I can't see him getting too excited about Romney or anyone perceived as even remotely moderate on any issue near and dear to his legacy. So, I'm wondering if he's going to start backing some of the same candidates at Jim DeMint.

Thus my interest in seeing CC's take on things. :)

Posted by: Gallenod | April 23, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Well, add another fugitive to the R presidential aspirant lineup -- one of the bigger nutbags in Congress-- currently in the process of ripping apart the R establhment. Now, here is someone who would run as a TP candidate, what it does to his party be damn*d.

"Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) left the door open to a possible presidential bid in 2012. Saying it’s not “something I desire,” DeMint added, “There are a lot of changes I’d like to make in this country and I think Americans are going to be ready for someone to tell them the truth next election.”

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Gallenod: Are you asking why Rubio appeals to Cheney, or why Rubio wanted his endorsement? Or are you asking if Cheney's endorsement is of any value? Perhaps you are asking all three. Do you want CC to point out that Rubio is "tough on Cuba", "pro-Gitmo", and threatening to Iran? Do you want him to say that older Cubanos and the one third of Jews who vote R like Cheney's positions on Cuba and the Middle East, so if Rubio can have Cheney's endorsement if he wants it, why not get it?

Does Cheney's endorsement mean much? Ask KBH. It probably got her a vote or two.

As I read over this, it seems snarky. I actually just meant to address your question[s]. Please accept that, in good faith, rather than insist I rewrite this.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 23, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Changing the public perception on health care is going to be a hard slog. The Obama administration was still trying to negotiate with potential R supporters while the more aggressively conservative Rs were out spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt. (A mistake the administration clearly does not want to repeat with financial reform.)

More endorsement news: Scott Brown just declined to run for president in 2012 and had thrown his support behind Mitt Romney. (Apparently the people floating his name for 2012 have either conveniently forgotten their opposition to newly elected senators running for president or just don't think it applies to hunky Republicans.) Is there an endorsement category for a freshly minted rising star trying to curry favor with a party establishment guy? (i.e. the "Brown-Nose Endorsement"?)

And I'm still waiting for the analysis and dicussion here of Cheney's endorsement of Rubio.

Posted by: Gallenod | April 23, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Of course people are confused...they tend to get their information from sound bites and propagandists. As margaret says, they are confused by their health insurance as well. As the law is implmented, people will understand and appreciate it. Social Security confused people once too, but you never hear anyone who actually receives it complaining about it now.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

============"FIRST, DO NO HARM." ==========

ATTENTION -- Deputy U.S. Atty. Gen. for Civil Rights Tom Perez (staff, pls. fwd.); "Project Geneva" team members:

What good is health care reform in a nation where a secret Homeland-directed multi-agency "program" uses a nationwide high-tech weapon system -- hiding in plain sight on cell towers nationwide -- to silently torture, impair and subjugate extrajudicially "targeted" citizens?

HOMELAND-RUN CELL TOWER MICROWAVE WEAPON SYSTEM ATTACKS, TORTURES, IMPAIRS, 'SLOW-KILLS' TARGETED AMERICANS: VETERAN JOURNALIST

• Why so many cell towers saturate the American landscape -- urban and rural.

• Raytheon weapon system patents details silent, powerful attack system in YOUR backyard.

• Human rights atrocities, ideological purge, financial sabotage, police-protected community "stalking" harassment, under the cover of national security.

http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves

NOW IT'S OBAMA'S GESTAPO USA. WHEN WILL TEAM OBAMA ACT?

• Reporter exposing gov't cell tower microwave torture held hostage to community stalking, police-protected, GPS-equipped vigilantes who burglarize, vandalize, sabotage finances, and terrorize -- officially-enabled lawlessness that afflicts many thousands of other unconstitutionally targeted and persecuted Americans.

BUCKS COUNTY, PA- BASED MAGLOCLEN FUSION CENTER: "CENTCOM OF A MID-ATLANTIC STATES AMERICAN GESTAPO."

Where is the DOJ / Civil Rights Division investigation?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
OR NowPublic.com/scrivener (see "stories" list)

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 23, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

If anyone is confused about the bill - then you're getting your news from liberal media...who only spout off the misinformation they are given from the White House. The idiot-in-chief lied during his "hc stumping."

Lies, lies, lies...who do we think is going to pay for the massive bureaucracy, IRS agents, and 30 million illegal aliens' health care? But I am sure that the willing ignorance of Obama-ites will be blamed on Republicans. Most Obama-ites called and asked "where do I sign up for my free insurance?" The ignorant, corrupt Democrats didn't write the bill and still don't know what is in it - Wasserman-Schultz telling constituents that there is no mandate to purchase health insurance - whatever, ignorant fool.

"There will be no tax increase on the middle class..." whatever, lying thieving anti-American thug-in-chief.

Whatever, lying liberal WaPo.

Posted by: joesmithdefend | April 23, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

On #4, I am closer to the NM CD in question than to IL and I tend to agree with the notion that any poll showing Teague ahead is a surprise.

A little geography and history, here. CD2 is all of southern NM: Hobbs, Las Cruces, Deming, Lordsburg, Alamogordo, Roswell, and the Big Empty. It was Pearce's CD and he was popular enough that when he left to run for US Senate he beat the popular Heather Wilson, who was a Rep from another NM CD, for the R nomination. So Pearce can claim to be the most popular R in NM without being accused of hyperbole.
He should be favored; this is R territory and he used to represent it. That Teague could be leading in a credible poll would be good news for Ds.

I would question the bona fides of the poll before I celebrated, were I a NM D. If there is a CD where national trends make no difference, this is one. Think "border" and "water" and isolated local mini-economies dependent variously on a state university, tourism, ranching, gambling on the reservations, O&G, and federal military research. If Teague has been good at servicing his voters, he has a shot at holding his seat, even if the rest of the nation goes R, and if he has not serviced well, he loses, even if the rest of the nation goes D.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 23, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

So Sue Lowden has been going on and on about this bartering thing. For those who don't know, she is one of the challengers for Harry Reid's Nevada seat and she has been talking about an alternative to the current insurance system by harkening back to the infancy of the medical profession in the US where patients would bring a chicken or paint a doctor's house in exchange for medical services. (these are HER examples! At first I thought she just meant to use haggle instead of barter, but she actually brought up these examples)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_1U4r8mWXY&feature=related

I think this clip is where she first brought it up.

But she says it again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9o8lVWWDac&feature=player_embedded

Does she have any idea how many damn chickens it takes to pay for an MRI?? (about a thousand)

If someone has already mentioned this before, I apologize, but I'm sure you guys know this comments section is unreadable once 37th gets wound up.

Any thoughts on how this might affect her campaign? I really can't remember if I ever heard a politician say something THIS stupid more than once. It actually strikes me as her "the economy is fundamentally sound" moment. A glaring example that she has no clue what's going on.

I don't think there's any debate that she's an idiot. I'm just curious if you think this sort of thing would shrink her campaign. As bad as Sarah Palin was, I don't know if I ever heard her say anything this dumb (count me in the camp who doesn't believe that Palin actually thought Africa is a country)

Posted by: DDAWD | April 23, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

CC wrote:

"A word of support from Obama would almost certainly quiet criticism of Giannoulias in the wake of the bank's failure; silence on the matter would be equally damning."

This seems counterintuitive, to me. If there is a reason to tie the family bank's failure or "bad acts" around G's neck, that reason will not go away or be diminished by a word from BHO. If there is no reason to tie, then BHO's endorsement is a hybrid of your categories, but not unexpected and thus not news.

No endorsement, or the weak-as-water endorsement of Gibbs answering a question favorably in a press briefing, might cost G some votes, but even that is hard to fathom.

Finally, I would think an all-out campaign blitz by BHO would have a positive effect for G., but you did not pose that alternative, CC.

Any IL posters should feel free to enlighten the rest of us - or at least, to enlighten this humble correspondent.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 23, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

This is part of the reason why Obama and the Democrats see such opportunity in pushing Wall Street reform. It's a relatively easy issue for most voters to grasp; keep Wall Street fraud from destroying the economy.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | April 23, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Love the headline, but I think you will find that a majority of Americans are confused by their health insurance, period. That they should be confused by how the reform package will affect them only reflects their existing confusion.

Health insurers like it that way. Confusion increases their profits.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 23, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

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