New Dem idea: Hey, let’s use reconciliation to pass the public option

posted at 4:47 pm on February 16, 2010 by Allahpundit

Why stop there? If you’re going to nuke Scotty B’s veto with a baroque parliamentary procedure in order to pass an even more statist health-care plan than what’s currently on the table, why not go for the brass ring and pass full-blown single-payer?

Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) signed a letter to Reid saying they support this plan for four reasons: the cost savings the public option is estimated to achieve, continued public support for the public option, the need for increased competition in the insurance market and the Senate’s history of using the reconciliation process for health care reform…

The letter points to the last CBS News/ New York Times poll that surveyed Americans on the public option, from Dec. 2009, which showed that 59 percent of Americans supported the public option…

The advocacy groups the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America, as well as Credo Action, the grassroots political arm of the for-profit company CREDO Mobile, are promoting the letter and calling on citizens to become signatories online.

“Every day, it becomes increasingly clear that the best way to ‘fix’ the original Senate bill is to pass the highly popular public option through reconciliation,” the groups said in a statement. “It’s the populist reform that the House will need in order to pass both bills together and the key change Democratic and Independent voters will need in order to believe in health care reform again and show up in 2010.”

Here’s the thing: As nutty as this sounds to fiscal conservatives, is it really that bad of an idea politically? The public option has polled consistently well, especially vis-a-vis the toxic numbers for the overall bill. That’s due to several factors — dumb poll questions, poor GOP messaging about the slippery slope of government-run health care, and the minor detail that most of the public doesn’t understand what the public option is — but that’s beside the point. Anything Democrats can say or do to get some political traction for passing a bill, they’ll say or do, and the public plan would certainly help bring House progressives around. It’ll also drive tea partiers berserk, of course, but tea partiers are already itching to toss the Dems out so that risk is priced in. Also, with Bayh gone and pundits now speculating about the GOP taking back the Senate, increasingly November looks like a doomsday scenario for Democrats — and if the asteroid’s about to hit, why not throw caution to the wind and pass the plan you really want? (Bennet’s already committed himself to political suicide in the name of the public option.) The nutroots would be thrilled too, needless to say, so that’ll help with turnout among the base. And you could even sell it, kinda sorta, as “starting over on the bill,” which will make the GOP go ballistic but oh well. Teeny tiny insignificant exit question: Er, can reconciliation be used to pass something like the public option? Hmmmmmm.


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Jimbo3 on February 16, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Never the less, did he use it to takeover 18% of the economy?

Juno77 on February 16, 2010 at 6:02 PM

I think they probably could pass the public option through reconciliation. And they might get a majority of the public to support them, given how well the public option tests out in polling.

Jimbo3 on February 16, 2010 at 6:03 PM

Jimbo3 on February 16, 2010 at 5:59 PM
Never the less, did he use it to takeover 18% of the economy?

Juno77 on February 16, 2010 at 6:02 PM

–Wouldn’t be a takeover. Would be the adoption of a public plan.

Jimbo3 on February 16, 2010 at 6:04 PM

Judd Gregg said on Greta couple of weeks ago that reconciliation could only be used for money/budget bills. Would the public option be a budget question? I’ve been getting the impression that many/most of those folks in the Senate have no idea about the rules or much of anything else. They just keep their seats warm and wait to be told what to do.

jeanie on February 16, 2010 at 6:08 PM

The public option polls well? Since the public option equals the government takeover of health care, I think somebody’s polls have a little problem. The public is opposed to the government takeover of health care at margins approaching 70%. Give me a break. If the dems do this, I predict violent civil unrest. I really do. If they haven’t figured out yet that the public isn’t just going to sit on its collective ass and take their crap, then I suppose they’ll have to get the stronger message they seem intent upon inflicting on the country.

Rational Thought on February 16, 2010 at 6:09 PM

–Wouldn’t be a takeover. Would be the adoption of a public plan.

Jimbo3 on February 16, 2010 at 6:04 PM

An un-Constitutional and un-American first step to a takeover.

neurosculptor on February 16, 2010 at 6:12 PM

I think they probably could pass the public option through reconciliation. And they might get a majority of the public to support them, given how well the public option tests out in polling.

Jimbo3 on February 16, 2010 at 6:03 PM

Wow you agree with AP. Completely original. /

CWforFreedom on February 16, 2010 at 6:14 PM

Never the less, did he use it to takeover 18% of the economy?
Juno77 on February 16, 2010 at 6:02 PM

–Wouldn’t be a takeover. Would be the adoption of a public plan.
Jimbo3 on February 16, 2010 at 6:04 PM

Semantics, whether you call it taking over, nationalizing or even ‘adopting’, it would still be the government controlling 18 % of the economy.

Juno77 on February 16, 2010 at 6:25 PM

More thievery – by any means!

OldEnglish on February 16, 2010 at 6:29 PM

Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) signed a letter to Reid saying they support this plan for four reasons: the cost savings the public option is estimated to achieve,

The estimated cost savings. That’s almost funny. Those estimates were calculated using 10 years’ worth of taxes and fees to finance just 6 years’ worth of pay-outs, plus imaginary future cuts to doctors’ Medicare fees (that are never going to happen because the already undercompensated doctors won’t accept the cuts and will decline to treat Medicare patients instead). IOW, the estimated cost savings are completely illusory, because as any 5-year old could tell these genius Senators, giving tens of millions more people access to medical care at taxpayer expense is going to cost all taxpayers more, not less, money.

AZCoyote on February 16, 2010 at 6:30 PM

The public option polls well? Since the public option equals the government takeover of health care, I think somebody’s polls have a little problem.

Rational Thought on February 16, 2010 at 6:09 PM

Yeah, they have bad questions – especially on this topic. Most of the polls that show strong support for the public option contain Administration talking points like “compete with private health plans” or “a plan that includes some form of government-sponsored health insurance for people who can’t get affordable private insurance

forest on February 16, 2010 at 6:33 PM

As I’ve been saying since Christmas… Harry, Barry and Nancy have declare teh Legislative Jihad… The martyr belts are fitted and the detonators are armed… We The People be damned

phreshone on February 16, 2010 at 6:37 PM

I guess I’m going down the wrong road but I think the Kook Left was going to use Reconciliation anyway to get their health care bill passed. Byah was tipped off to this and decided to run for the tall grass before the bomb goes off. Look for Blanche Lincoln to make the same move very shortly.

Dire Straits on February 16, 2010 at 6:39 PM

YES PLEASE HARRY, GO AHEAD!!!

IF THEY DO THIS, COME NOVEMBER WE ONLY NEED A 50 VOTE MAJORITY DO PASS ANYTHING WE WANT AS ‘RECONCILIATION’

E.G.
UNDO THIS SINGLE PAYER
REMOVE OBAMA’S SPENDITURES/ REMOVE OBAMA
TAXCUTS
TARGETED LEGISLATION FOR SPECIFIC STATES

HECK, WHATEVER THEY DO, WE CAN DO TOO COME NOVEMBER.

mooseburger on February 16, 2010 at 6:43 PM

Doctors in DC are already refusing to take Medicare patients.

They see the handwriting on the socialist, or liberal fascist, wall.

Dhuka on February 16, 2010 at 6:56 PM

If the Democratic congress really wants to ignore the will of the majority of the people, then come November the people ought to retaliate. Some ideas come to mind:

a. Repeal or not fund the single payer program.

b. Eliminate the Department of Energy and cut the EPA in half.

c. Put a wage/promotion freeze on all GS employees, maybe for four years or so.

The Democratic congress just doesn’t seem to understand the will of the people. If they want to commit seppuku for their ideology, so be it, as long as they and their supporters understand that there will be a price to pay.

Special Forces Grunt on February 16, 2010 at 6:59 PM

YES PLEASE HARRY, GO AHEAD!!!
IF THEY DO THIS, COME NOVEMBER WE ONLY NEED A 50 VOTE MAJORITY DO PASS ANYTHING WE WANT AS ‘RECONCILIATION’

mooseburger on February 16, 2010 at 6:43 PM

Maybe the Hard left National Socialist Democrats should remember that payback can really be a Bitch!

Colbyjack on February 16, 2010 at 7:05 PM

<blockquote>YES PLEASE HARRY, GO AHEAD!!!
IF THEY DO THIS, COME NOVEMBER WE ONLY NEED A 50 VOTE MAJORITY DO PASS ANYTHING WE WANT AS ‘RECONCILIATION’

mooseburger on February 16, 2010 at 6:43 PM

Maybe the Hard left National Socialist Democrats should remember that payback can really be a B… Itch!

Colbyjack on February 16, 2010 at 7:08 PM

That should have been:

YES PLEASE HARRY, GO AHEAD!!!
IF THEY DO THIS, COME NOVEMBER WE ONLY NEED A 50 VOTE MAJORITY DO PASS ANYTHING WE WANT AS ‘RECONCILIATION’

mooseburger on February 16, 2010 at 6:43 PM

Maybe the Hard left National Socialist Democrats should remember that payback can really be a B… Itch!

Colbyjack on February 16, 2010 at 7:09 PM

How’s this a new idea?

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 16, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Bob Dole once (supposedly) said that you can never go wrong voting against a bill that passes or for one that fails.

I think that’s what’s going on here. These guys see the handwriting on the wall for comprehensive healthcare reform’s demise. This is just preening for the nutroots to show they are really true believers. They don’t expect it to pass, but it sounds good.

Michael Barone recently reported that somebody told him that the democrats may be up to 100 votes short in the house to pass the senate bill. It’s over there. In the senate I would be surprised if Reid can muster 51 votes to pass anything with ‘health’ in the title. These guys are just trying to put on a good show.

Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Buckland on February 16, 2010 at 7:15 PM

A majority also says they should start over too, but they ain’t cherry pickin’ that poll now are they?

ted c on February 16, 2010 at 7:24 PM

YES PLEASE HARRY, GO AHEAD!!!
IF THEY DO THIS, COME NOVEMBER WE ONLY NEED A 50 VOTE MAJORITY DO PASS ANYTHING WE WANT AS ‘RECONCILIATION’
mooseburger on February 16, 2010 at 6:43 PM
Maybe the Hard left National Socialist Democrats should remember that payback can really be a Bitch!

Colbyjack on February 16, 2010 at 7:05 PM

YES PLEASE HARRY, GO AHEAD!!!
IF THEY DO THIS, COME NOVEMBER WE ONLY NEED A 50 VOTE MAJORITY DO PASS ANYTHING WE WANT AS ‘RECONCILIATION’
mooseburger on February 16, 2010 at 6:43 PM

Maybe the Hard left National Socialist Democrats should remember that payback can really be a B… Itch!

Colbyjack on February 16, 2010 at 7:08 PM

That should have been:

YES PLEASE HARRY, GO AHEAD!!!
IF THEY DO THIS, COME NOVEMBER WE ONLY NEED A 50 VOTE MAJORITY DO PASS ANYTHING WE WANT AS ‘RECONCILIATION’
mooseburger on February 16, 2010 at 6:43 PM
Maybe the Hard left National Socialist Democrats should remember that payback can really be a B… Itch!

Colbyjack on February 16, 2010 at 7:09 PM

My eyes…Is this a time warpsorry… couldn’t resist…’)

jerrytbg on February 16, 2010 at 7:32 PM

test

jerrytbg on February 16, 2010 at 7:34 PM

Go ahead and try it, F’ers. We dare you.

tickleddragon on February 16, 2010 at 7:40 PM

DO IT! THEN THE GOP CAN VOTE FOR ANYTHING WE WANT, LIKE
1) NASA Constellation
2) Airborne Laser
3) Anything else that builds national pride

datadriver on February 16, 2010 at 7:42 PM

The Dems are in full “Baghdad Bob” mode.

datadriver on February 16, 2010 at 7:44 PM

If the Dems really want to do the public option thing the right way, they’d create a core catastrophic public option (with something like $10,000 deductible) that allows the insurance industry to build on (with market defined supplement al plans) to create a full marketplace of coverage options, including first dollar coverage, HSAs, PPOs, HMOs, etc, etc.

Those who choose to buy a speed boat and vacation in Cancun and going without coverage would be liable for the 1st $10,000 of care if they get sick.

One might offer a variety of tax rebate options for Bubbas to buy coverage with their tax refunds instead of buying a new 62″ Plasma screeen.

Those of limited means could be eligible for a variety of fiscal welfare/charity tools to cover all or part of the deductible.

Smart folks would choose some HSA option and save up enough in their HSA in a couple years to start saving for retirement health care needs.

Most existing coverages could convert to a public option catastrophic core without significant change to their most popular benefits.

A significant portion of the problem of guaranteed issuance would go away since there would be a $10,000 buy in cost.

Coverage would be completely portable between jobs and locale since the core catastrophic coverage would be portable.

Fine print — a public option catastrophic core would be still be subject to typical unfeeling government rules and restrictions on care, including but not limited to death panels, etc, etc. In other words, most of the really ugly stuff that people like to blame insurance companies for doing would now be blamed on government bureaucracies and politicians — how wonderful would that be…?

=================
Rest assured, this makes way too much common sense for the Dems to ever figure out.

FYI, something vaguely similar to this is going on in at least one province of Canada where folks are allowed to buy supplemental coverages to strengthen their weak ass ‘public option’ single payer plans so they can get better care and coverage.

drfredc on February 16, 2010 at 7:52 PM

Google Igor Panarin.

Mason on February 16, 2010 at 8:26 PM

How many seats do the Republicans need to pick up in the House in November, to get the majority back?

Harry Reid is bent on Self Destruction. What about the Speaker of the House?

Dr Evil on February 16, 2010 at 8:33 PM

If it only takes 51 to pass it, then it only takes 51 to repeal it.

exdeadhead on February 16, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Okay well time for some public education on exactly is the public option… and how it will bring us all down to the lowest common denominator medicine… it will mean the end to innovation!

I went to the doctor today. I made the appointment 2 hours before I got in. That doctors office only lets you make an appoint 2 days ahead at most. That suits me really well… I’m bad at planning ahead. I just needed a little blood pressure check… pretty routine. I got in the same day!

This really stinks to think that they can just change the rules of how we get our laws. They don’t want to use a tried and true system. It doesn’t pay off their friends reliably enough!

This is a usurping of the people’s power.

With this big of a change I think we should have a national referendum! How can we let people like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi change our lives so much with no direct say in it? This is not right.

petunia on February 16, 2010 at 9:44 PM

Public option, smublic option, that’s thinking inside the box. Let’s use reconciliation to appoint Obama President for Life and the rest of the Dems to Congress for evah.

bitsy on February 16, 2010 at 9:51 PM

FYI, something vaguely similar to this is going on in at least one province of Canada where folks are allowed to buy supplemental coverages to strengthen their weak ass ‘public option’ single payer plans so they can get better care and coverage.

drfredc on February 16, 2010 at 7:52 PM

I like your plan well enough… but what does that do to hospitals and such. A big problem with medicare is that doctors are paid so little they have to see so many patients to break even. A lot of doctors won’t take medicare. So it seems like hospitals and the places where high costs happen will have to lower quality of care.

I was reading in a Brit paper how in one hospital patients were kept in supply closets the night before surgery because there wasn’t room for them… And they were too vulnerable to complain at the time. That is where we are headed and for the life of me I can’t understand why the left thinks this is better than what we have!

How about we start your program for the uninsured now. And leave the rest of us alone?

And what about the lotteries they have in Canada just to get a doctor assigned to you? So much for choosing someone you have a report with! And if you were unhappy how would you ever be able to change doctors if they have to have a lottery to even get the first one.

I hate the public option I just don’t see anything good about it at all!

petunia on February 16, 2010 at 9:54 PM

jerrytbg on February 16, 2010 at 7:32 PM

Whoa, didn’t realize that it had posted – thought B word was verboten.

My apologies for repeating myself. My apologies for repeating myself.

Colbyjack on February 16, 2010 at 9:59 PM

I am surprised Gillibrand wants to strap on the suicide vest for her first vote in front of the people of NY in months. Same for Sherrod Brown being from Ohio but this guy is a devoted communist so there is that explanation.

Conan on February 16, 2010 at 10:40 PM

Er, can reconciliation be used to pass something like the public option?

You say that like the Democrats actually care about laws and procedure. I wonder why you would think such a thing, because all evidence is to the contrary.

Physics Geek on February 17, 2010 at 8:01 AM

–Wouldn’t be a takeover. Would be the adoption of a public plan.

Jimbo3 on February 16, 2010 at 6:04 PM

Which will inevitably lead to the public plan being the only plan. A takeover by stealth, is still a takeover.

MarkTheGreat on February 17, 2010 at 8:33 AM

Good Heavens, Bob Taft! Why did you have to be so corrupt that you got Shrred the constitution Brown elected?I pray for my state.

ConDem on February 17, 2010 at 9:06 AM

mooseburger on February 16, 2010 at 6:43 PM

There is a difference between the democrats passing a public option using reconciliation right now and republicans repealing it in January of 2011, assuming they take control of both houses of congress. That difference is obama himself. He will sign the democrat legislation, but not the republican repeal, and there is no way the republicans get the 2/3 they would need to override such a veto on obama’s part.

The republicans won’t even have that power in 2012, the demographics simply don’t support it, no matter how blatantly the democrats shred the Constitution. The only hope is for obama to be tossed from office, but by then the public option will have been law for a couple years and will be considered another third rail subject, which the media will constantly harp on. Remember school lunches? Do you really think the media and the democrats can’t milk republican opposition to the public option for all it’s worth? I assure you they can and will. And it will work for them, just like it always does.

runawayyyy on February 17, 2010 at 11:17 AM

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