Dems retreating on healthcare

posted at 11:36 am on June 17, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

A $4 trillion price tag will certainly cause some politicians to hit reverse, as The Hill reports today on health care.  The ObamaCare proposals working through the House and Senate took big hits as the CBO released its calculations of the cost of the parts of the proposal that were complete.  Now Democrats have delayed releasing any more of the plan, apparently unwilling to immediately add to the cost projections:

Congressional Democrats and the White House are scrambling to regain their footing after a series of setbacks has stalled political momentum to reform the nation’s healthcare system. …

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee postponed the markup of its healthcare reform bill by one day, to Wednesday. On the eve of that markup, the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce publicly ripped the bill.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) initially planned to release his bill Wednesday, but he has pushed back his timetable because of cost estimate concerns.

“Will we have something out tomorrow? Not sure,” Baucus said Tuesday. “Thursday or probably Friday,” he added.

Perhaps more importantly, the unity that Democrats touted earlier this year has cracked. As conservatives lambaste Democrats, liberal healthcare groups are not rushing to their defense because so many questions about the legislation have not been answered.

Republicans have a great opening here, as the Democrats appear completely unprepared for the mammoth costs associated with ObamaCare.  The same lack of realization doomed the Clinton effort in 1993-4 as well.  The Democrats tried to impose a massive reorganization of the health-care industry on a nation that clearly didn’t want it, at a cost we were clearly not prepared to pay.  The end result?  A massive loss in Congress for the Democrats as the country made Clinton pay for his overreach.

Supposedly, all of the Hope and Change would make 2009 different from 1993, but so far, it looks like a replay.  Obama has outsourced the development of the plan to Congress, but it’s generating the same problems for the Democrats as it did before.  It would cost far too much, especially as deficits skyrocket from other Obama spending initiatives.  Baucus tried fighting back against the perception of expanding deficits, but in the process underscored the chaotic nature of Democratic efforts:

Baucus disputed speculation that his bill attracted a score of more than $1.5 trillion. “That reflects the policy of almost two weeks ago. It doesn’t reflect the savings that are also in the bill,” he said.

The “policy of almost two weeks ago”?  The CBO scored what it had in front of them.  If the policies have changed that radically in less than a fortnight, it reflects a flailing desperation that comes with the realization that the Democrats are repeating history, only with Congress playing the role of Hillary Clinton.  They have little clue as to the eventual composition of ObamaCare.  Instead of rationally building a reform bill, they’re reacting to the scandals of the costs and pinballing on policy.

The Republicans will have their reform proposal before the Democrats, thanks to the disarray on the Left.  That will prove embarrassing for an administration that supposedly put this as its highest priority.

Meanwhile, the Administration hasn’t been completely absent from the work on the bill — but their contribution may hurt more than it helps.  HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius tried explaining that a public plan would help competition, but obviously doesn’t understand markets or competition:

In an interview with The Associated Press, Sebelius said that President Barack Obama does not want to drive health insurers out of business, but make them more competitive by offering working families and small businesses the option of a public plan without the high overhead costs of marketing, administration and profits.

“I think there is a lot of understanding that the private market has really failed to provide affordable coverage to Americans,” Sebelius said. The industry has had “a lot of opportunities” to get rid of coverage restrictions and other unpopular policies, Sebelius said, and really “hasn’t served Americans very well.”

Sebelius apparently doesn’t understand that markets provide competition, and government stifles it.  This clueless statement assumes that the “private market” is a single entity rather than a series of competitors working in a government-regulated market, competing for customers.  If competition exists between the government and the “private market” as a monolithic entity, the government will prevail — which is exactly the argument Obama’s critics have made in casting the public option as a Trojan horse for single-payer nationalization.  This statement couldn’t be more idiotic if Joe Biden had said it.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I said this on another thread, but it’s time for the IGOP (idiot GOP) to start the issue ads. Now. Attack. Attack. Attack. Put the Blue Dogs on the defensive.
Those who live in Dem districts should begin bombarding their reps with e-mails indicating that voting support will disappear should they stay with the Obot agenda.

either orr on June 17, 2009 at 12:47 PM

I have a feeling some Democrats are going to get a visit from a group of ACORN brownshirts.

Daggett on June 17, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Hillary is rubbing her forepaws together dreaming about 2016.

Spiritk9 on June 17, 2009 at 12:42 PM

2016, hell. If 2010 goes kerblooey on the Dems, she’s out of state in Jan. 2011 and starting her campaign.

either orr on June 17, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Push ’em back. (The Democrats.) Now is not the time to let up. No “compromises” that allow Obama or Congressional Dems to trumpet a “win” on this. OR get more toes in the door of nationalizing health care.

Literally every single argument the “public option” advocates make on this topic is a bait-and-switch tactic. A “public insurance option” will not do any of the following;

1. Provide private-quality health insurance for everyone in America.

2. Make private insurance more competitive.

3. Ensure that everyone has annual physicals, that medical problems are detected earlier, or that all of us are “incentivized” to give up smoking and eating fatty foods.

4. Cover medical treatment that you and your insurer cannot afford to cover now. This is one of the most disgusting lies: that public health care will enable you to get hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of treatment without losing your home or your life savings. No system does that. Under public health care, you don’t lose your home or savings — you just have no option to get expensive treatment. You get what the public system planned to spend on you. If your problem doesn’t fit that solution: TOO BAD.

5. Make us healthier.

6. Provide medical care for free.

The arguments about whether people “want” to be coerced to eat healthier, exercise, get check-ups, etc, are of theoretical interest only. There is no mandatory national health system out there that performs in this manner. It is not politically possible for government to inflict disincentives — punishments — on smokers or fat people, any more than it is to inflict them on drug users or serial welfare moms.

Except, of course, under fascist collectivism.

J.E. Dyer on June 17, 2009 at 12:55 PM

“Will we have something out tomorrow? Not sure,” Baucus said Tuesday. “Thursday or probably Friday,” he added.”

Yeah how about Saturday…at 2 a.m. then call an emergency session to vote it thru then have D’Obama sign it before us folks out west even wake up. I didn’t want the 1st crap sandwich, now i’m getting another.

bullheadbob on June 17, 2009 at 12:55 PM

I’m still waiting for Ann to respond to all of the questions posed to her.

txag92 on June 17, 2009 at 12:56 PM

I literally just got off the phone with a BCBS state entity – and they flat out said “we are holding the current budgets tight (marketing/ad) until we see how much we will need to spend if Obamacare goes through”.

i.e. they know for a fact competing against the gov will cost them big… and add costs to users.

Maybe Sebalius and the Dems can call 10 or so BCBS’s to hear it for themselves.

Odie1941 on June 17, 2009 at 12:56 PM

How do you negotiate costs in the trillions?

Like Charlie Rangel says:

“We have a problem in not wanting to attract enough negative attention to the bill in terms of the pay-fors,” he said. “Let them get a good feel for the coverage.”

In other words, lie to the people (remember that Nov 2008 election, ACORN, the Omnibus Bill, Pork = U Less, tax cut for everyone make less than $250,000, No pork in these bills….. ) and hit them with the truth later on.

katablog.com on June 17, 2009 at 12:57 PM

Maybe the economic meltdown was a blessing. Obama expended all of his political Hopeandchange® capital on Porkulus™, the budget and bailouts. Now that we are finally getting to his real agenda — an unprincipled fight to socialize medicine — the Unicorn Express® is out of coal to burn.

tommylotto on June 17, 2009 at 12:57 PM

How to fix the health care system:
1) Cap limits on litigation against doctors.
2) Reduce government insurance coverage mandates and allow people to choose their coverage.
3) This is a big one, let the insurance market work the way it was intended.

Many more regulations to repeal of course but if we can keep the doctors from having to cover their asses and ordering multitudes of unnecessary tests would be a step in the right direction as well.

I’m sure if you asked the doctors for reforms they will give those that will make the cost go back to where it should be. Once upon a time there were 200 regulations and now there are over 2000 of them which drive up the costs.

Some say that we need to be proactive in keeping ourselves healthy and that’s true, however, ridding ourselves of the mandates that some lobbyist’s favorite bureaucrat stuffed into legislation will go far.

larvcom on June 17, 2009 at 1:03 PM

I’m still waiting for Ann to respond to all of the questions posed to her.

txag92 on June 17, 2009 at 12:56 PM

Ann is a bot. It does not respond, only posts key word generated sentences. Seriously.

angryed on June 17, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Geez. Do they really think we’re that stupid?

BacaDog on June 17, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Yes!

/and THEY have polls after polls to prove it

Sir Napsalot on June 17, 2009 at 1:09 PM

This statement couldn’t be more idiotic if Joe Biden had said it.

lol Nice!

jaime on June 17, 2009 at 1:10 PM

angryed on June 17, 2009 at 1:05 PM

She has actually replied to me in the past. You would be amazed how much I “know” about her. Maybe she’s at work, like me and is reluctant to spend much time at HA like I shouldn’t be doing. I would describe her as an amiable ditz instead of a bot. But you could be right, I know little of bots.

Cindy Munford on June 17, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Cindy Munford on June 17, 2009 at 1:13 PM

If you notice none of the responses have any level of granularity. All vague replies with key words. Like Ann, why do you want govt run health care? Ann replies, because government run health care is good. It’s really not that hard to program that out.

angryed on June 17, 2009 at 1:17 PM

I’m still waiting for Ann to respond to all of the questions posed to her.

txag92 on June 17, 2009 at 12:56 PM

Don’t hold your breath…she is just a well spoken troll.

ladyingray on June 17, 2009 at 1:18 PM

We will have to wait until August to see how Obama will really re-act to this. Remember he said he wanted something before the summer recess. What will he do if they don’t have anything.

AzHamOp on June 17, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Is there any chance he’ll have a hissy-fit and hold his breath until he drops dead?

Barb Dwyer on June 17, 2009 at 1:20 PM

According to this parody, the Administration will have to resort to some familiar advertising tactics to promote its health care plan: “Joe Bama ‘Smooth Character’ Ad Campaign Used to Promote Administration Health Care Policy”: http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/05/joe-bama-smooth-character-ad-campaign.html

Mervis Winter on June 17, 2009 at 1:25 PM

What will he do if they don’t have anything.

AzHamOp

He’ll blame it on the Republicans and say they aren’t being ‘bipartisan”, place blame on Fox News and Rush and then go to Hawaii and bare his chest to improve his approval rating.

Beaglemom on June 17, 2009 at 1:26 PM

Is there any chance he’ll have a hissy-fit and hold his breath until he drops dead?

Barb Dwyer on June 17, 2009 at 1:20 PM

How i pray.

heshtesh on June 17, 2009 at 1:26 PM

All that’s happened is this trial balloon failed to launch. Therefore, the left knows that they’ll have to take this in smaller bites. But, that they’ll eventually have the whole elephant eaten.

Amendment X on June 17, 2009 at 1:39 PM

in 2006 I lost my job. I also lost my insurance. Since I needed insurance I went out and BOUGHT my own plan. I also got an HSA. (Health Savings Account) Since I bought a high deductible plan, my annual costs for my wife and I were low.

I now have a new job. I was offered company insurance. I turned it down. I like my insurance and if this job should go away my insurance won’t.

I would recommend the following:

1) End corporate deductions on company porived health insurance.

2) Make all private health care costs for the individual tax exempt.

Companies announce they are ending the insurance but will work with their employees to transfer them to a private plan.

The only fly in this ointment is the prior conditions thing. I’ll let others come up with a way to deal with that. (I don’t’ know enough about the problem)

evilned on June 17, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Sebelius apparently doesn’t understand that markets provide competition, and government stifles it. This clueless statement…

Sad, isn’t it. Next time around, we should require min. 5 years private sector business experience (excluding law practice) for every candidate for public office. (I’m a recovering lawyer now with a small business, and I can assure you that law school teaches you next to nothing about running a business.)

petefrt on June 17, 2009 at 1:43 PM

Ed, you are the most optimistic blogger EVAH when it comes to democrats. Do you really think any democrats are going to vote against DUH ONE and hand him his first legislative defeat? Do ya really?

SouthernGent on June 17, 2009 at 11:50 AM

One can hope .

LSUMama on June 17, 2009 at 1:44 PM

It’s very simple, Obama. Even if they trim, this plan is not managable.

It’s like….if I went out, and spent a million dollars I don’t have. Eventually the checks bounce, and the bank becomes ticked off, I lose my credibility, and my account.

There ya go, hotshot. You bounced to many checks. Now reality sets it. ;)

capejasmine on June 17, 2009 at 1:49 PM

A $4 trillion price tag will certainly cause some politicians to hit reverse, as The Hill reports today on health care. The ObamaCare proposals working through the House and Senate took big hits as the CBO released its calculations of the cost of the parts of the proposal that were complete.

Do not be so naive. Obama is a master at the game and he has the MSM in his pocket. He’s floating a trial balloon. Look to the end game here, guys. The critical thing he needs is the public insurer “alternative” to private insurance, because that’s how he’s going to crowd out private insurance. Ultimately, nothing else will matter.

We need to focus on predicting Obama’s next move. He and Kennedy and the boys KNEW this price tag was going to sting some people. So look to see how they’re going to “reconfigure” the plan to “fix” the CBO budget shortfall problem, and then look to see this get rammed through.

Outlander on June 17, 2009 at 1:55 PM

2016, hell. If 2010 goes kerblooey on the Dems, she’s out of state in Jan. 2011 and starting her campaign.

either orr on June 17, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Agree.

Oink on June 17, 2009 at 2:41 PM

Where is the head of the Republican Party? Oh yea…it’s Michael Steele! Sorry! I forgot! He wouldn’t want to offend Colin Powell by being critical of the democrats…

sabbott on June 17, 2009 at 3:07 PM

(I’m a recovering lawyer now with a small business, and I can assure you that law school teaches you next to nothing about running a business.)

petefrt on June 17, 2009 at 1:43 PM

Law school evidently only teaches how to PREY on businesses, not run them.

Obama certainly did his homework in those courses, and must have gotten an “A”.

UltimateBob on June 17, 2009 at 3:23 PM

angryed on June 17, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Well they sure are programed to say weird stuff, she told me her son went through a Muslim “faze”. That’s how the suck people like me in.

Cindy Munford on June 17, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Sebelius was chosen precisely because she IS clueless.

Interesting that Dodd and Kennedy are spearheading health care… Chris will be out with the next election, and Ted has a probably terminal illness. It’s as if they’re out there to walk thru the minefield ahead of the troops…..

n0doz on June 17, 2009 at 3:36 PM

“faze”.

Cindy Munford on June 17, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Or phase depending on whether or not you’re illiterate.

Cindy Munford on June 17, 2009 at 3:43 PM

Where is the head of the Republican Party? Oh yea…it’s Michael Steele! Sorry! I forgot! He wouldn’t want to offend Colin Powell by being critical of the democrats…

sabbott on June 17, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Obama Powell Steele, three of a kind.

Jeff from WI on June 17, 2009 at 4:08 PM

I’m sure if you asked the doctors for reforms they will give those that will make the cost go back to where it should be. Once upon a time there were 200 regulations and now there are over 2000 of them which drive up the costs.

Some say that we need to be proactive in keeping ourselves healthy and that’s true, however, ridding ourselves of the mandates that some lobbyist’s favorite bureaucrat stuffed into legislation will go far.

larvcom on June 17, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Medicare regulations and reimbursement schedules have more pages than the tax code. Very few people know that. There are 68,000 employees already in Social Security and Medicare. How many more bureaucrats will be required if 25 million more are added to the public system? Where will they come from? How much will be the additional liability for THEIR pensions and health care when they retire? And these clowns really think we believe this is going to SAVE us money!

rockmom on June 17, 2009 at 4:41 PM

Hmm…Dems retreating….now WHY does that sound SO normal.

Jeff from WI on June 17, 2009 at 4:56 PM

I’m sure legislators are responding to their constituents. Thus another media narrative, the “crisis” in health care, is debunked. Most people are happy enough with their coverage or lack thereof and certainly don’t want the guvmint to replace it.

PattyJ on June 17, 2009 at 5:45 PM

According to this parody, the Administration will have to resort to some familiar advertising tactics to promote its health care plan: “Joe Bama ‘Smooth Character’ Ad Campaign Used to Promote Administration Health Care Policy”: http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/05/joe-bama-smooth-character-ad-campaign.html

Mervis Winter on June 17, 2009 at 1:25 PM

How dare they defame Joe Camel that way. To think of him morphed into Obama is more than I can take.

Jeff from WI on June 17, 2009 at 8:39 PM