Obama says he’ll include GOP ideas in ObamaCare v3.0

posted at 2:20 pm on March 2, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

After making the miscalculation of giving Republican ideas on health-care reform national media coverage, Barack Obama has informed Congressional leaders that his new ObamaCare proposal will contain some of the GOP policy demands made during last week’s summit.  Which ideas will Obama include?  Surprisingly, tort reform is among them … in a way:

In a letter to the Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress delivered to Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon, President Obama signaled that his mind is open to several provisions raised by GOP lawmakers during last week’s bipartisan health care reform summit, including medical malpractice reform, combating fraud, and killing off the special deal for Florida seniors secured by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida.

“No matter how we move forward,” the president wrote, “there are at least four policy priorities identified by Republican Members at the meeting that I am exploring.”

Among them, the president said the health care reform bill he posted at WhiteHouse.gov last week already included ways to combat “fraud, waste, and abuse” but he was intrigued by an idea raised by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a practicing ob-gyn, that “we engaged medical professionals to conduct random undercover investigations of health care providers that receive reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid, and other Federal programs” to ferret out other abuses of the system.

The president suggested that while he had already directed Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to award $23 million in grants for state-level demonstration projects to resolve medical malpractice disputes, he would be “open to including an appropriation of $50 million in my proposal for additional grants.” The current directive is an “authorization,” not an “appropriation,” so there is no guarantee the grants will be funded. This would change that and more than double the amount in grants.

In other words, Obama has only agreed to spend money on research rather than taking concrete action on tort reform.  This includes no commitment to do anything after the demonstration projects conclude.  It ignores the CBO analysis of existing tort-reform proposals that would save $54 billion from the federal deficit over the next ten years, and $11o billion for the industry as a whole in the same period.  It also ignores the fact that California has had precisely this kind of tort reform in place for years, and has seen the same kind of savings (which the CBO used as part of its analysis).

What other ideas will Obama include?  Obama will strip out the Cornhusker Kickback and the Florida waiver on Medicare Advantage cuts, dubbed Gator-Ade — which were already going to be gone anyway.  The idea by Coburn to deputize medical professionals to sniff out fraud certainly may have value, but it hardly requires a system-wide overhaul to implement it.  These ideas hardly touch the heart of the reform question, which is why Obama feels comfortable including them.

That isn’t true, though, of the fourth idea:

The fourth priority would be to ensure language allowing high-deductible health plans in the proposed health insurance exchanges, which combined with Health Savings Accounts, many Republicans believe “are a good vehicle to encourage more cost-consciousness in consumers’ use of health care services,” the president said.

That’s a good idea, but it’s going to undermine the financial incentives of the insurance industry to back ObamaCare.  They want to force younger clients into expensive comprehensive plans in order to fund the more expensive care for older members of the pool.  High-deductible plans won’t generate the revenues required to help insurance companies meet new mandates in must-issue laws and in community pricing, the latter of which progressives continue to demand.

The new bill means that Congress has to start over from Square One.  The Democrats may figure out a way to cast this as a bipartisan bill while doing so, but they won’t get it done quickly or cleanly.  It will pre-empt the reconciliation effort, as both chambers of Congress will have to pass it on brand-new processes, which means the Senate filibuster comes back into play.  This looks like yet another miscalculation, a gambit that will keep Congress tied up on ObamaCare well into the spring and perhaps the summer.


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No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States [deleted comma] at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President;

Jimbo3 on March 2, 2010 at 3:59 PM

I promise if they try and fix it, and update it, they will make a mess of it :)

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Pure misdirection. Double reverse is coming.

Angry Dumbo on March 2, 2010 at 4:07 PM

–Diplomats usually take a 4 or so year posting. Not a 21 year one. And for someone to both be a 35 year old citizen and 14 years resident in the US, (s)he would have had to have been overseas with her family (and not a diplomat him/herself) for much of that time. Clearly people did take long, time consuming journeys back then, but that doesn’t explain the reason for the 14 year test.

Jimbo3 on March 2, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Please stop, jimbo. Pretty please. This is like watching someone publicly beat himself to a pulp. You might enjoy it, but it is not a spectacle that most find appetizing in any way.

neurosculptor on March 2, 2010 at 4:09 PM

Jimbo3 on March 2, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Look at John McCain, born on a military base in Panama. They made him prove his status as a natural born citizen in order to participate as a candidate. Like Embassies our Military Bases are considered our soil. So somewhere in there it mattered that John McCain was born on American Soil. The way the statue was being interpreted it had to be applied to Barack H Obama the exact same way right?

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Please stop, jimbo. Pretty please. This is like watching someone publicly beat himself to a pulp. You might enjoy it, but it is not a spectacle that most find appetizing in any way.

neurosculptor on March 2, 2010 at 4:09 PM

–Say “uncle” or I’ll wipe a booger on you.

Jimbo3 on March 2, 2010 at 4:12 PM

–Say “uncle” or I’ll wipe a booger on you.

Jimbo3 on March 2, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Heh. I give. “Uncle Chuckles.” … who is the appropriate uncle for a booger threat :)

neurosculptor on March 2, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Look at John McCain, born on a military base in Panama.

They made him prove his status as a natural born citizen in order to participate as a candidate. Like Embassies our Military Bases are considered our soil. So somewhere in there it mattered that John McCain was born on American Soil. The way the statue was being interpreted it had to be applied to Barack H Obama the exact same way right?

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 4:11 PM

–Our embassies are considered our soil, but I don’t believe our military bases are. I think McCain was considered a natural born citizen because he was a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents both of whom are citizens of the United States and one of whom has had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions, prior to the birth of such person. We also passed a statute retroactively giving citizenship to people born in the Canal Zone.

Jimbo3 on March 2, 2010 at 4:21 PM

And for someone to both be a 35 year old citizen and 14 years resident in the US, (s)he would have had to have been overseas with her family (and not a diplomat him/herself) for much of that time. Clearly people did take long, time consuming journeys back then, but that doesn’t explain the reason for the 14 year test.

Jimbo3 on March 2, 2010 at 4:06 PM

My Great Grandfather was born in 1757 he came to America from London in 1775 (18 years old) he fought for the American side he was a resident of the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution happened 1787 so my Grandfather would have been a resident of the United States for 11 years he wouldn’t have met the residency requirement at the time of the Adoption of the Constitution 1787, and he was only 30 years old so he didn’t meet the age requirement:) He was an American Citizen but he wasn’t natural born…but before the Constitution passed everyone was an English subject natural born or recent immigrant unless they held onto their own countries citizenship.

So I take that to mean he wasn’t eligible, this was at the founding 1787, they had a cut off date, for whatever reason they picked that criteria 35 years of age so Mature, and at least 14 years residency at the time of the adoption of the Constitution….I read that as, you would no longer be cleaving to your previous sovereign (Say The King Of England) with that much time having passed.

I believe that was for the generation at the time, and it has an expiration date…those folks are gone now.

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Jimbo3 on March 2, 2010 at 4:21 PM

No our bases are our soil. I had my daughter in an Army Military Base in Frankfurt. Germany. She is An American Citizen born abroad.

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 4:29 PM

The 97th General Hospital it’s was closed in the 90s.

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 4:32 PM

My husband was born on in a Air Force Military Hospital in Madrid, Spain. We used to have U.S. Bases in Spain. They have all since closed, he too is an American Born Abroad.

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 4:34 PM

No our bases are our soil. I had my daughter in an Army Military Base in Frankfurt. Germany. She is An American Citizen born abroad.

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 4:29 PM

Well, if that base were American soil then she would be an American citizen born in America, no?

Are you guys still doing this birther shtick? How is it working out for you?

factoid on March 2, 2010 at 4:38 PM

If they clear up the language for the requirement of Office of President of the United States, I don’t trust them not to mess it up.

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 4:39 PM

factoid on March 2, 2010 at 4:38 PM

If you were reading my responses. I stated that Barack H Obama met the requirements.

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 4:40 PM

factoid on March 2, 2010 at 4:38 PM

Yes the same as John McCain met the standard as a Natural Born Citizen, thus eligible to hold the office of President of the United States.

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Healthcare thread or birther thread?

WTF?

BuckeyeSam on March 2, 2010 at 4:44 PM

Healthcare thread or birther thread?

WTF?

BuckeyeSam on March 2, 2010 at 4:44 PM

Constitutionality thread, which is what the health scare debate should be focused on.

neurosculptor on March 2, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Jimbo3 brought up something about Obama’s status way back in this thread.

I was wrong about the Military Soil we fell under

US military bases are foreign territory where all the local laws apply. The status of Americans stationed on those bases is governed by a diplomatic agreement called a Status of Forces Agreement.

You should not have a Report of Child Born Abroad of American Parent(s). Only American citizens can file that document with the US embassy. Perhaps it was automatically filled out by the hospital’s administration for all births, however, I guarantee you it was not filed with embassy and approved.

I know if we wanted a certificate for our daughter’s birth outside her original birth certificate we had to apply through the State Department.

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Military bases, embassies, and such are considered American soil regardless … stationed overseas on American military bases are considered “natural … I still believe you have to file the proper paperwork to … I don’t believe it was automatic in the Canal Zone, unless on a military base proper. …

There was an argument about John McCain’s eligibility. Obviously he must have proven he was eligible the same as Barack H Obama.

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Jimbo3 brought up something about Obama’s status way back in this thread.

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Don’t blame jimbo. I brought up the eligibility issue – in a context relevant to the health scare and why this legislation is being pushed on us like no other in our history. Jimbo just pushed the debate of the particulars.

neurosculptor on March 2, 2010 at 4:57 PM

Ogabe: “If by include you mean exclude, yes.”

Caper29 on March 2, 2010 at 5:09 PM

There are three ways to become a US citizen.

1) You are born in the United States.
2) You are born anywhere else, and at least one of your parents is a US citizen, and that parent has lived in the US for some years before you were born.
3) You are naturalized.

(3 has sub-variants for foreign children adopted by Americans and for minor children of people whose parents are naturalized. They just magically “acquire” citizenship without having to go through the normal procedures.)

You are a natural-born citizen if you became a citizen by being born (categories 1 or 2). You are not a natural-born citizen if you are in category 3. So Obama (category 1) is OK. McCain and Goldwater (category 2) would have been OK, too.

factoid on March 2, 2010 at 5:17 PM

Don’t blame jimbo. I brought up the eligibility issue – in a context relevant to the health scare and why this legislation is being pushed on us like no other in our history. Jimbo just pushed the debate of the particulars.

neurosculptor on March 2, 2010 at 4:57 PM

Where do you see me blaming anyone in my statement? I stated “brought up” that’s a neutral comment. I’m not arguing or accusing, I am discussing.

I have to go vote it’s primary time down here in Texas.

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 5:18 PM

A birther is hijacking this thread? Why, isn’t the topic interesting enough in itself?

I hope the GOP forcefully and clearly explains why BHO’s “inclusion of Republican ideas” is a sham.

YehuditTX on March 2, 2010 at 5:36 PM

So, um, if anyone’s interested in, you know, the actual topic of the post…

I note that Obama doesn’t seem interested in letting us shop for health insurance across state lines.

Discuss. Er, unless the birthers keep hijacking the thread.

Paul_in_NJ on March 2, 2010 at 6:31 PM

So the prez devotes somewhere between $50 – 70 Million to “study” tort reform.

First, that just means more money for bureaucrats. More to the point, though:

$50 million is smaller than many single jury awards. It’s insulting to our intelligence to even pretend trial lawyers would fear this provision. Heck, the big ones rake in MORE THAN $50 million in fees on some of their class action cases.

jeanneb on March 3, 2010 at 10:14 AM

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