Well, it’s pretty clear by now that bi-partisan support for health care ain’t gonna happen. Which means President Obama has two choices:

A. Still seek out the best across-the-aisle agreement humanly possible.

B. Go gangsta.

I vote for B. In the spirit of (egad) George W. Bush, it’s time for our president to start using up his political capital—before it’s too late. The Republicans want to leave 46 million Americans without health coverage? Let ’em. The Republicans want to do nothing about spiraling, out-of-control health care costs controlled almost exclusively by private, multi-billion-dollar industries? Let ’em. The Republicans want to continue to live on deception—Obama leading Grandma to the grave; Obama being a Socialist; Obama being a foreigner? Hell, let ’em.

In the modern history of our country, I challenge anyone here—donkey or elephant—to name one truly impactful piece of social legislation spearheaded by Republicans. Rights for African-Americans? All led by the Democrats (and if you’re about to say, “Abe was a Republican,” well, he’s wasn’t a modern-definition Republican in any sense of the definition). Rights for women? All led by Democrats. Worker rights … union rights … minority rights … rights for the wrongly accused … gay rights … rights for the underpaid … etc … etc. All 100% Democratic initiatives. In other words, when we are looked back upon, oh, 100 years ago, the George Wallaces of our time will all be Republican. Cutting taxes for the wealthy—big Republican priority. Taking care of those in need—not so much.

So, if I’m Obama, I say, “F%$# it.” Spend all your time generating a Democratic coalition. Make it your bill, with your goals, your desires, your plan. Ignore the Republicans, and let them whine and complain and make more and more crap up. Be certain every American is afforded health coverage, and make it clear—crystal clear—that th Republicans weren’t interested.

Yeah, it might fail. But it’ll be just in cause.

28 thoughts on “Smack!”

  1. Thats just about it Jeff. Repub. won’t negotiated fairly and will not vote for this Reform. All for them and the 10 to 20 most wealthy in this country and none for the rest of us. They will lie, cheat, and kill for their Agenda. Our Pres. needs to get His Dems. together and push this thru. He also needs to publish a proclaimation addressing their lies about this Reform deal!

  2. jeff, you’re forgetting that democrats control all 3 right now. they can pass this without any repub input. but they dont want to actually own this. they wont even get dem support for this

  3. Stick to writing about sports, which you do very well. There are not 47 million uninsured in the US. That is a made up number. The Feds have the Post office on life support and you want them to run your health care system?? Taxes are out of control and will only get worse if this crap passes. The President has said he wants a single payer plan, its on tape! Stop spending money we do not have! Will you be turning in your health insurance plan? Will you go on the public plan? Do you trust your famlies health will handled by the gov’t? Oh, and all those southern gov’s & Senators’in the 60’s releasing the dogs on american citizens were Republicans? Sorry Jeff, they were Dems.

  4. Putting (Dr.) Uncle Sam in charge will not guarantee efficiency, transparency, or fiscal responsibility.

    On at least two occasions recently, President Obama lauded FedEx and UPS for private-sector efficiency, contrasting them with the troubled U.S. Postal Service. That alone should make average Americans pause.

    (borrowed from Richard Lavinthal)

  5. It’s not 46 million. Look at the polls 80% of the people like their health care. The public has been lied to by Obama, not the Republicans. Where is the stimulas money? Cash for clunkers is a disater for the car dealers. Why? The gov’t has not been paying them back the money thay laid out for the program. The debt is going to be how many trillion? Even today Obama’s buddy Warren Buffet said that gov’t spending is out of control. It’s not Chicago “dear leader” where you lie and cheat to your hearts content. Its American and the people are not buying what your saying anymore. Where does it say that the gov’t has to give you health care? Can’t people take responsiblity for themselves anymore? Why does everyone have their hand out? People, do not become Europe.

  6. I hope all of you recognize that this is a dog and pony show, much like the presidential election.

    There is no effective difference between repubs and demos.

  7. Benji,

    The guy who wrote that article was one of the architects behind Bush’s attempt to privatize social security. This move would have devastated social security when the market collapsed. FYI.

  8. jeff, you’re forgetting that democrats control all 3 right now. they can pass this without any repub input

    Without a 60-member supermajority in Congress, the GOP can theoretically filibuster any bill ad infinitum. That’s not an excuse for the heel-dragging of the Dems so far; it’s just a clarification on why this isn’t totally smooth sailing.

  9. The whole “go it alone” strategy is a red herring meant to galvanize the base. The plan was never a real attempt at bipartisanship, but rather a Democratic wishlist that the administration tried to force down Republicans’ throats. The numerous Republican proposals (allowing people to purchase insurance out of state, allowing companies to give employees a credit for purchasing their own insurance so that they can take it with them, creating further tax benefits for individuals who purchase their own healthcare, etc) have been ignored by the Democratic leadership.

    That said, this legislation will never pass and Obama and team now know it. That’s why they’re repositioning themselves as “going it alone,” because when it fails they can still ultimately blame Republicans.

  10. 46 million is not the total number of people uninsured, Jeff. Of course, I would rather not have a single American citizen uninsured, but I don’t want the government, no matter which party is in control, telling me the type of care that is best for me.

    We are caught up in the debate between a complete transformation of the existing reimbursement system (with the government serving as the single payor) and modest, ill-defined measures designed to reduce the spiraling costs (now in the $2.7 trillion range). The argument/debate should not be about these polarized positions, but first understanding the multi-factorial nature of the problem…then coming up with a systematic approach to bringing about reformation. The types of issues we should be focused on:

    Our system is built around the provision of acute care services versus prevention. We do very little to stem the need for extraordinarily expensive healthcare resources…particularly later in life, despite elaborate discussion of this issue over several decades (see E.Koop & J. Fries Compression of Morbiditity theory);

    We reward specialists and sub-specialists and economically “penalize” primary care physicians – creating a strong disincentive for the “best and brightest” to practice primary care (where we need the best and the brightest to create the most efficient methods for managing people’s health);

    Our system is rife with inefficiency due in part to the lack of consistency in process relative to the diagnosis and treatment of patients. As you know, manufacturing processes rely on minimization in variation of process in order to consistently produce high quality, efficient products. Healthcare should function like a manufacturing process in this sense. If someone screws up, then they become subject to denial of payment for services.

    Creating consistency of processes across the broad enterprise of care will require a healthcare information architecture that is pitifully lacking.

    There is extraordinary variation in the quality of medical care – not merely based upon processes…but also the skill, knowledge, and experience of doctors.

    Vendors who cater to the healthcare industry often charge exorbitant prices for their products…even though their products are identical to consumer products costing vastly less. This process should have been stopped long ago (take, for instance the popular joke about the government paying $250 bucks for a screwdriver…what would a hospital bed run Uncle Sam? what about a MRI setup?)

    I do NOT want these problems to be solved by the hands of lawmakers. They know politics and that’s it.

    I want the industry (that’s care givers and insurance carriers) to fix this with the possibility of the Government playing the role of mediator. You know what, though, that won’t happen since there is zero incentive (tax revenue) to entice our Government to do so.

    Between Federal, State, City, Social Security, Medicare, etc., I’m taxed enough. I don’t want to compromise additional future earnings toward a Government-led program that will most likely fail.

    ### – End of story.

  11. I love these counterarguments against reforming the health insurance nightmare in this country.

    It reminds me of the “civil union” canard. For thirty plus years, gays plead conservative government for more rights. For thirty plus years, conservative government not only tells them no, but that they are sinners and whatever else.

    So finally, gays decide, well, since no one’s meeting us halfway, let’s go all the way and ask for what we really want: the civil right of marriage and the huge tax benefits and incentives that comes with it.

    To that, conservatives finally respond with: “What’s wrong with civil unions?”

    Listening to these defenders, you’d think the Republicans have been sitting on all these great ideas for resolving our health crisis, and they were just waiting for the Democrats to get into power before they decided to pursue them. Or maybe they were just too busy searching for WMD’s.

  12. jweb – libertarians have been suggesting this stuff for years. Only because Republicans have such an opportunity now that Obama is willingly destroying himself are they now adopting them. About time.

  13. My party affiliation shouldn’t matter. I’ll admit that Dubya failed in terms of serving as the President during most of is two terms. And we all learned that WMDs are not needed when our own planes can be used against us, didn’t we?

    And thanks for the story about gays and marriage/civil unions. Comparing nuptials and healthcare is like comparing apples and oranges. For what it is worth, I say let them marry and receive the same benefits as a straight couple would. Are you relying on this “canard” to illustrate your position on America’s healthcare debate?

  14. Apples and oranges are both round fruits that grow on trees.

    Gay marriage and universal health care are both civil rights that the American conservative movement (which includes many Democrats) has actively worked against for decades.

    Comparing isn’t so hard, and it’s fun too!

  15. Jweb, “gay marriage” isn’t a civil right. Marriage, from a legal standpoint, is an agreemtn wherein the married couple enjoys certain protections and benefits. That said, I agree it should be open to any consenting adults who would be party to such an agreement.

    Furthermore, it makes no sense to say “universal health care” is a civil right. Did you mean to say “health care is a civil right?” If so, that would at least be a logical statement, if a debatable one.

  16. Classicist–

    1) The Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia wrote that marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man.”

    2) I agree that the “universal” was implied and therefore redundant. I probably need some commas in that penultimate sentence too if you’ve got a second.

    Also, NYCVirago illustrates the problem that arises when you speak of ideology in terms party identification. The true difference is not between Democrat and Republican but between liberal and conservative.

  17. Andy, you wrote that without the 60 member “super majority” it won’t pass the Senate. well The Dems HAVE the 60 votes they need to pass legislation. They got to that number with Sen. Spector switching sides, Al Franken being the new Jr Senetor from Minn, and the Independents that vote with them.

  18. They got to that number with Sen. Spector switching sides, Al Franken being the new Jr Senetor from Minn, and the Independents that vote with them.

    Dunno about you, but I’m not lumping Joe Lieberman and Arlen Specter into a coalition of the willing for Dems on healthcare…

  19. The cost of insuring Americans, I’m guessing, will fall well short of the bill for bringing “democracy” to Iraq.

    I don’t know if Obama’s plan is the answer, but I do know health care is out of control.

    I do know that drug companies are making too much money off American citizens and lobbyists and politicians are equally to blame.

    Why is it so hard to find an answer? Maybe the answer is one our politicians don’t want to hear.

  20. Steve,

    Look at the deficits that Medicare is facing. Apply those deficits to a similar program that covers not just seniors but everybody and then tell me that over the life of such a program Iraq will end up costing more. No chance.

    As for the answer, it is one that politicians don’t want to hear: less regulation.

  21. lunchboy–

    You’re comparing a month old stimulus project (that got me a new car, and just got 1300 people rehired at GM, by the way) to a program that’s already in place.

    Medicare, Medicaid, government employee benefits, Veteran benefits, SCHIP, etc, etc, etc.

    The government is already in the health care business.

    Also, if you are willing to enlighten yourself, you can Google and find thousands of articles citing the great success of that month old stimulus project too.

  22. After consulting the Google, I found a whole bunch of dealers that are still waiting for their $4,500/car reimbursement from the Gov’t. Now, that’s a just a few thousand car dealerships, when the Gov’t wants to handle HC for all 300mm of us.

    Also aren’t Medicare and Medicaid severly underfunded? Destined to fail? Have you heard more positive or negative stories about VA Hospitals? Hmmm…kind of makes you wonder.

    Hoping it makes you wake up, too.

    Peas and carrots,

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