What’s in the White House’s ObamaCare bill?

posted at 1:36 pm on September 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

A month ago, as Congress prepared to return to Washington DC in total disarray on overhauling the American health-care system, the White House proclaimed that Barack Obama himself would draft a proposal to restart the process.  His joint speech in Congress mentioned no such plan, however, and the media quickly shifted its focus to the Senate Finance Committee, where moderates would have more influence than in Nancy Pelosi’s House.  Today, though, Roll Call reveals that the White House did craft its own plan — but wants to keep it under wraps now that Congress has returned to its own deliberations:

The White House has been secretly drafting its own health care legislation that it may unveil at some point during the debate if officials believe it would help secure passage of a bill, according to sources familiar with the effort.

Sources differed on how far the process has gotten, with some saying a bill is basically finished and others saying they are aware only of a partially completed effort. White House officials, though they know their preferences, also appear to be constructing different options that could be thrown together depending on how the legislation is shaping up in Congress. …

“They are getting ready for a backup,” said one veteran observer of health care debates who was knowledgeable about the effort. “It will be parachuted in if necessary.”

The White House measure appears designed to entice moderate Democrats and perhaps even Republicans into supporting a health care overhaul if legislative efforts in Congress fail or if they move too far to the left. Sources said one possibility would be to invoke the measure if the Senate cannot rally 60 votes to break a filibuster. Another option may be to present details of what the White House wants during a conference between the House and the Senate.

This creates another problem for Democrats.  Both moderates and progressives in their caucus need traction over some contentious points of the plan, especially the public option.  With the White House super-secret plan known, members of both chambers may demand to see it to gauge where they stand with the administration.  Both groups would also be concerned, as Roll Call notes, that Obama was preparing to “sell them out.”

No matter how one looks at it, though, it’s a strange notion of leadership.  Barack Obama insisted that he had the “judgment to lead,” but on his highest priority domestic-agenda item, Obama leads by … hiding.  A real leader would have produced this plan months ago and shaped the legislation through assertive engagement.  Instead, Obama has waited until the end of the process, and even then keeps his thoughts a secret.

What’s in the White House plan?  Why is Obama afraid to show it to Congress, and more importantly, to the rest of the nation?  Is this Obama’s idea of “the most transparent administration in history”?

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So transparent you can’t even see it! Well, that might be camouflage?

Griz on September 30, 2009 at 5:13 PM

Obama wanted Congress to lead and write the bill — but does it really matter if it was Obama’s when Congresses was likely written by the Apollo Alliance like most of the stimulus was?

LifeTrek on September 30, 2009 at 5:51 PM

Wile E. Obama, suuuuuuuuper Leader!!!

For you military guys out there, wouldn’t someone exhibiting this kind of leadership be referred to as a REMF?

Wanderlust on September 30, 2009 at 6:05 PM

First question that pops into my mind is whether Obama will allow Congress to read his bill before voting on it.

DaMav on September 30, 2009 at 6:51 PM

Obama has the problem of convincing his corhorts that they must vote this in, while he may be around for (hopefully)3 more years, most of these clowns envision a lifetime appointment, and voting for this…(if you can’t say anything nice) would severely jepordize those very dreams. Good luck convincing them to be martyrs for your cause

TheVer on September 30, 2009 at 7:41 PM

397 days, 11 hours, 7 minutes and 0 seconds
Till the polls open on the east coast

CANNOT get here fast enough

TheVer on September 30, 2009 at 7:53 PM

What is in the WH bill?



ajacksonian on September 30, 2009 at 8:28 PM

I received an email from his office stating that he wasn’t going to give up until he “fixed” our “broken health care system”. His email was marked “Do Not Reply”. THAT’S how much these clowns listen.

oldleprechaun on September 30, 2009 at 4:54 PM

ol – Wow, Do Not Reply!! I hope Senator Warner is up for re-election in 2010 so you can boot him out of office. 2012 and 2014 terms will give him more time for people to forget about all of this spending. Good luck getting rid of the clown.

yoda on September 30, 2009 at 10:24 PM

The strategy is to let the process go on chewing up the House/Senate bills, until they are beaten down and Dems are sad.

Then Obama will pop in–SHAZZAAAM!–with a brand new bill, which he will explain is ten kinds of awesome, as it increases the scope of coverage while decreasing costs, and waxes your car, and fights global warming.

Obama and the Dem leadership will try to ram his bill through as fast as possible, before anyone can see just how f—ed up it is. Before we get CBO estimates. Before we find the loopholes to allow funding for illegals and abortions. Before we see the hidden provisions that make it impossible for private health insurance companies to compete.

That’s the strategy. Obama IS running the most transparent administration ever, but not in a good way. It’s transparently hostile to American values.

daryl_herbert on September 30, 2009 at 10:31 PM

Tough to vote present when your the Precedent.

chickasaw42 on September 30, 2009 at 10:31 PM

What’s in the White House’s ObamaCare bill?

None of your business!

seanrobins on September 30, 2009 at 10:53 PM

The White House has been secretly drafting its own health care legislation

The teleprompter hard at work…

realitycheck on September 30, 2009 at 11:30 PM

What’s in the White House plan?

More cowbell.

munchnstuf on October 1, 2009 at 3:49 AM

“it doesn’t matter if we call or not, they don’t listen to us.

it’s hopeless!

Lisa on September 30, 2009 at 1:43 PM”

I know how you feel but we can’t give up. Yesterday Rush had a caller who he let have her say on the same issue. He let her speak for almost 10 minutes without him interupting with any questions. When I heard her I started to cry because that is how I feel, but in the end I felt relieved. Rush said NOW is not the time be panicked and he explained why. Please listen to him, this call is posted on his website. Remember we can NOT give up. Keep calling, keep writing, keep faxing, keep the pressure on. Because whether we believe it or not we have had an effect, this legislation would have been passed in August if we didn’t.

margretto on October 1, 2009 at 8:56 AM

Listening to the way they may try to pass this is incredible. If this is sooo necessary and great for all, they should be fighting to get their name on it so they can be hailed as heroes of the weak and downtrodden. But it appears they are going backdoor as a freaking amendment, and if I hear one Ahole say that he wasnt voting for the healthcare but for the carp taxes on AIG bonuses, I call BS Infinitum, that wont work for cover. They know it sucks, that we dont want anything to do with it.

Just curious what people think about this…what do you think will be the reaction of the public if they pass this?

TheVer on October 1, 2009 at 1:05 PM