Green Room

ObamaCare is America’s last chance for (Democratic) “reform”

posted at 12:49 pm on December 15, 2009 by

The Politico reports:

In a provocative argument designed to rescue his foundering health-care plan, President Barack Obama will warn Senate Democrats in a White House meeting Tuesday that this is the “last chance” to pass comprehensive reform.

And the quotes from Vice Pres. Joe Biden and White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer seem to back that up.

NRO’s Jim Geraghty jokes on Twitter that “Today, Obama will tell Senate Democrats this is their last chance to pass legislation opposed by 61 percent of the American people.” At Commentary, Jennifer Rubin mocks the argument as evidence of Pres. Obama’s arrogance:

On one level, it’s jaw-dropping desperation when a White House stoops to making such a nonsensical argument. It suggests that Harry Reid has managed to drive the administration’s top priority into a ditch, and the White House is panicked. The Left is furious, the Senate looks like it’s made up of a bunch of Keystone Kops, and there’s still no bill to vote on. But it’s the arrogance that’s most striking. Of course other presidents will address health care, entitlements, jobs, and the rest. History does not begin or end with Him. But he seems to think it does.

However arrogant Obama may be, he may well have a point this time.

After all, the bipartisan, conventional wisdom is that there will be fewer Democrats in Congress in 2010 — and if they fail now, it is unlikely that Pres. Obama would return to the issue in a major way.

Moreover, the politics of the issue will not get any easier moving forward. In a recent conversation with my Dad, I noted in passing that seniors are the least supportive of ObamaCare of any age group — and that they tend to vote regularly. He wisely observed that there are more seniors every day. Seniors have a host of reasons for opposing ObamaCare (risk aversion, rationing, Medicare, etc.), and that population is set to explode as Boomers reach retirement age. Accordingly, while presidents have made runs at socializing medicine over the years, American demographics make it harder to achieve every day. With entitlement costs already set to explode, this may be the Democrats’ last chance at passing another one, as the downsides are only going to become more glaringly obvious in the years ahead.

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Yah, well, until the next last chance, or the one after that. As long as there is one leftist left standing, they will continue to try to “reform” America into something it is not, and always something less free.

MikeA on December 15, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Does anyone think seniors will abandon the Democratic party next election? Or will it be akin to the Jewish population sticking with a party as it abandons Israel? Or akin to the black population voting Democratic year after year while their communities and family structure continue to rot?

Oh, they may complain loudly now, but when in the voting booth and about to cast that vote (without any drapes, I might add), won’t they be more likely to stick with what they know and are used to doing…

Floriduh Jim on December 15, 2009 at 1:50 PM

That’s really presidential … threatening US Senators.

darwin on December 15, 2009 at 1:53 PM

Floriduh Jim,

First, seniors supported McCain over Obama in 2008. Second, you may not be old enough to remember the mob of seniors chasing Dan Rostenkowski down the street and attacking his care after Congress passed the Catastrophic Care entitlement in the 80s, but he and the rest of Congress got the message — the law was repealed before it went into effect.

Karl on December 15, 2009 at 1:59 PM

It’s easy for young,”invincible” Obama to throw seniors under the bus now. But, as the Beatles sang, “will you still need me, will you still please me, when he’s 64”?

Steve Z on December 15, 2009 at 2:03 PM

I agree with MikeA. If they fail to get the whole package, they will continue along piecemeal as they always have, eventually engineering a health system failure that will require immediate and unprecedented action by the federal government. This is precisely how they engineered the failure of so-called free market capitalism; by regulating the crap out of it till it broke.

Steve H in AZ on December 15, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Obama can save par here if he is willing to step back and accept defeat.

What he should do is give up on this bill, and announce that his approach was fatally flawed. He should then call for a “reset” of his relationship with Congress, and call in centrists from both parties to craft smaller, targeted legislation designed to deal with the worst problems of our health care system.

People would appreciate that a more measured approach is being taken to this problems, and lots of Republicans would be only too happy to participate in the process. He could forge a genuine majority for his proposals, and use his position as the leader of his party to force them through Congress, with support of moderate RINOs.

If he were to do this, he could reverse his slide in the polls and get people trusting him again. Who knows, he may even be able to preserve his majorities in both houses of Congress.

But to do so, he would have to admit that he is not the be-all and end-all, and that he needs to ask for help and input from others. This seems like a difficult thing for him to do, for one reason or another.

gridlock2 on December 15, 2009 at 2:09 PM

This is why, if the GOP wins back control of the House in 2010, they should repeal this monstrosity and pass their own plan that covers the uninsured that want to be covered and leaves the rest of us alone. That way, there will be no pressing need to do anything like this ever again. If you want to build a permanent majority, you start by taking away all your opponent’s causes.

Kafir on December 15, 2009 at 2:16 PM

gridlock2 on December 15, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Good points. Even the most conservitive of us likely agree that there are somethings in the healthcare arena that really do need some reform. There are factros that inflate prices, and those can be addressed. Sales of policies acrossstate lines is only one such area where we can see regulation is part of the problem instead of the cure. Here in Indiana, the insurance lobby is particuarily robust, and that needs to change so that the consumer is in control.

MikeA on December 15, 2009 at 2:17 PM

The entire premise that it is health insurance that is the problem is false. The problem is heathcare costs. Insurance companies are left holding the bag and having to raise premiums to cover ever increasing healthcare costs. Don’t worry, the closing of hospitals and rationing of care is only moments away once big gubnut gets involved.

trs on December 15, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Hmmm…so all we have to do is chase the Nancy-mobile down Pennsylvania Avenue and we’ll get rid of this bill? Count me in, especially if beer is going to be served.

MTF on December 15, 2009 at 2:54 PM

With entitlement costs already set to explode, this may be the Democrats’ last chance at passing another one, as the downsides are only going to become more glaringly obvious in the years ahead.

Seems to me that’s why Ø is completely wrong: There will have to be truly comprehensive reform, whether this bill – which is set to make things much worse – passes or not. Indeed, the potential destruction of our economic and political system ensures that something “comprehensive” will occur, with or without legislative action.

CK MacLeod on December 15, 2009 at 3:13 PM

It’s the same old, same old with the democrats. Except they’ve now accumulated more power than they’ve had in a long time. But people have been brain-washed into thinking that democrats are the only ones that can solve anything. For the past 80+ years they’ve created the problems and disasters we’re experiencing now and they are the only ones that can fix it – that’s the logic their propaganda has convinced people of. And they keep getting re-elected and yet things never, never change. Then again, why would they fix anything when it always seems to work in their favor politically. Hmmm…

mozalf on December 15, 2009 at 3:24 PM

The idea that seniors wouldn’t oppose The Won, or anyone else who is against their interests, is laughable. While most of us have jobs we go to every day, and families we spend time with, seniors are at home. With lots of time on their hands. Much of what has been dug up in these craptacular bills, and spread around, has been by those exact seniors. They’re smart, many are tech savvy, scared as hell of their futures, and they vote. And make phone calls. And tell all their friends of what’s coming. And mostly, they remember when times were different, where we younguns either have no clue, or have simply read about it.

bikermailman on December 15, 2009 at 3:37 PM

It’s “DEMOCRAT” reform; not “DEMOCRATIC” reform.

Cybergeezer on December 15, 2009 at 4:20 PM

It’s “DEMOCRAT” reform; not “DEMOCRATIC” reform.

Cybergeezer on December 15, 2009 at 4:20 PM

Actually, we are a representative republic. A democracy is nothing more than mob rule and was one of the things the founders desperately wanted to avoid.

conservativecaveman on December 15, 2009 at 4:43 PM

The answer to the long term survial of our country lies with getting the govrnment out of the education business. We no longer teach civics to our children. More and more of them have no clue how our government is supposed to work nor of the limits it is supposed to adhere to. IMHO this is by design of the government and teachers unions. They prefer an ignorant voter to an educated one.

conservativecaveman on December 15, 2009 at 4:48 PM

Hillary Clinton’s run at health care reform did not cause half the damage to the democrats as I think this run is going to cause. I was not very much paying attention, but did her 1990’s plan have mandatory purchases of insurance?

astonerii on December 15, 2009 at 4:48 PM

If the Dems were serious they would have included provisions to restructure medicare so the age at which benefits were paid was gradually increased. It has to start as soon as possible for it to work. If you’re currently 64, you draw when you’re 65. If you’re currently 63, you draw when you’re 66. etc, etc, etc. Until 75 becomes the age when benefits kick in. With people living well into their 80’s and 90’s it’s just unreasonable to expect 2 current workers to carry each retiree for two decades. Until medicare & SS are re-indexed, means testing is applied and age eligibility is increased, we will continue to face future deficits that will cripple this country. Universal health insurance, which I oppose for good reason, is impossible until the current entitlements and the future obligations are dealt with. It’s either that, or merge with Mexico and Canada in hopes of financing the retirement of US citizens with the payroll taxes of Mexicans. I know that sounds stupid, but some folks here just might get that desperate.

Stickeehands on December 15, 2009 at 8:56 PM