Good update on Health Care Reform in today’s Washington Post

A good read across the board for anyone wanting an update on the issue. These two paragraphs struck me as particularly interesting:

The Democratic leader pitched the opt-out idea to Obama at a White House meeting Thursday night and received a noncommittal response. Several senior Democratic sources said Obama is wary about alienating Snowe — the only Republican so far to support a Democratic health-care measure — and had already concluded that her plan for a “trigger” that would create a public option if private insurers don’t offer affordable rates represented a satisfactory compromise.

Why is it a satisfactory compromise? The White House is again doing what it has often been accused of – caving in advance on an issue in order to avoid fighting for something better, something achievable. Why is it satisfactory to settle for less than you can get? The entire point of the “incrementalism” argument is that you can’t always get a whole loaf, so sometimes it’s better to get a quarter of a loaf today, another quarter next week, and so on and so on. I.e., it’s better to get something than nothing. But that’s not the dynamic here. It may have been months ago, but not now. Now we have the chance to actually get the whole loaf, and President Obama would prefer we take only half. That isn’t incrementalism, it’s defeatism, and even reeks a bit of fear. Fear of fighting for anything, ever.

Because a government-run plan would be dedicated to holding down costs and would lack a profit motive, congressional budget analysts predict that it could reduce the cost of expanding coverage to people who don’t have it by as much as $100 billion over the next decade.

It’s a bit mind-boggling that President Obama wants us to spend $100bn more than we have to over the next ten years on health care reform. Is Olympia Snowe’s one vote, when we don’t need it, really worth $100bn? Is $100bn so insignificant to this administration that they’re willing to just throw it away in order to achieve some PR stunt, which is exactly what trying to get Olympia Snowe’s one vote is.

Remember, this is the White House that wasted 40% of the stimulus bill – hundreds of billions of dollars – on near-useless tax cuts in order to get 3 Republican votes, yet today everyone thinks of the stimulus as a Democratic bill, not a bipartisan one. It does Democrats no benefit to blithely reinforce negative stereotypes about how we spend the people’s money like drunken sailors. And more importantly, $100bn is a lot of money. The fact that this doesn’t even seem to be entering into the administration’s calculus on this issue is troubling. They seem rather determined to spend more on something less effective, President Snowe’s magic “trigger.” Wasting the public’s money is not smart leadership, nor smart politics.


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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