Sunday, November 01, 2009

Back to the real world, Part 4(a)

Sort of a Footnote to the preceding.

White House senior advisor David Axelrod, appearing on "Face the Nation" on Sunday, repeated the long-running White House gibberish on health care reform, telling Bob Schieffer that Obama believes a public option is "valuable," but said "I'm not going to deal with" the question of it he would sign a bill that lacked it.

It's one thing to be open to negotiation. It's quite another to be unable to stake out an actual position to negotiate from.

Meanwhile, another Obama surrogate was very clear on another point related to health care reform, how to pay for it.
"The president has been clear - he does not want to impose a tax on the middle class," senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett told ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
So the Obama crowd is capable of expressing clear desires on what should (or should not) be in a final bill. So long as it's a really, really, politically safe desire.

Just a couple of days ago, I sent this message to the White House:
Mr. President, it is time - indeed, it is well past time - for you to stop just referring to what you would "prefer" or "think is best" in a health care reform bill and step directly into the field of battle.

It is time - indeed, it is well past time - for you to lead instead of playing "duck and cover," more interested in not losing than in actual winning.

It is time - indeed, it is well past time - for you to expel the dybbuk of a dead bipartisanship.

It is time - indeed, it is well past time - for you to declare, firmly and clearly, that a strong public option must be part of a final bill and a bogus "trigger" must not be.

That is, it is time - indeed, it is well past time - for principle and for people, and for you to prove you are more president than politician.
Two months ago, I said that what health care reform needed from Barack Obama was "a little less Dalai Lama and a lot more LBJ." We haven't gotten it.

The hard fact is, we will get a health care bill - the absence of the word "reform" is deliberate - this session of Congress. It increasingly looks like it will be a bill that will require people to buy insurance, will put no restrictions on the insurance industry (which is more than happy to do away with pre-existing condition exclusions for the sake of getting tens of millions of new customers) but will instead provide the industry billions in indirect taxpayer subsidies through subsidized premiums, provide no meaningful competition, create a "public option" not worth having, undermine state-level drives for single-payer, set back real reform by at least a decade, and 10 years from now will still leave 18 million uninsured and an unknown additional number underinsured, all of them without access to adequate health care.

And to a significant extent, that will be Barack Obama's fault.

Footnote: Just a quick note to say this is worth a look - and, as usual, some of the comments are really just depressing.

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