Patterico's Pontifications


What if Obamacare fails?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:32 am

[Posted by Karl]

The cloud of gloom over Pres. Obama’s efforts to take over the US healthcare system is expanding beyond the Center-Left. Even Ezra Klein is occasionally allowing himself to realize that people do not want to pay higher taxes to get less healthcare (both in terms of treatment and innovation). The House bill will bite almost every small business in America. Moreover, people making under $50,000 and families making under $90,000 could pay higher taxes and still remain uninsured. As people learn “what’s in it for them,” the effort will become even more unpopular. Leading with the House bill — and the Kennedy-Dodd markup in the Senate — was probably a mistake by the Democrats.

As for the supposed benefits, Pres. Obama has been selling healthcare “reform” as a cost-cutting measure. But when the L.A. Times is reporting that even Obama supporters are dubious, you know there is trouble in River City.

Some on the Left are increasingly agitating for Obama to get more involved in pushing a bill, especially through the Senate. But the president’s political capital is ebbing every day. A steady stream of bad economic news these days is eroding Obama’s standing. It also appears to be draining support on the heathcare issue. Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg posited that rising unemployment would boost the chances of passing Obamacare, which had a certain logic to it. However, overall, healthcare reform is losing support. This dynamic adds urgency to the effort to ram bills into a House-Senate conference. Yet “the fierce urgency of now” approach will only fuel suspicion of the effort among the electorate.

Indeed, the Democrats’ increasing willingness to publicly pursue a partisan bill — now tacitly supported or accepted by Obama — may have tipped the Left’s hand a bit early. Moderate Democrats have already voted for a stimulus package that is leaving a sour taste in the mouths of voters and is being portrayed as a failure by the media. A number of moderate House Democrats were bribed or threatened into supporting a cap-and-trade bill that will likely die in the Senate. These legislators may be less likely to back a bill voters see as higher taxes with few benefits, just to please a president with waning popularity.

The question then becomes what happens if Obama and the Democratic leadership cannot secure enough support from their moderate colleagues. The most believable talking point from the Obama administration on this issue has been that failure is not an option. After all, the White House strategy on this issue all along has been to try to avoid failing like the Clinton administration did, in no small part due to the political consequences of that failure. For Obama to fail now would be even worse, as Bill Clinton could make Hillary the scapegoat, whereas there is no obvious fall guy or gal today. In 1993-94, the Left could also blame people like Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh for leading the opposition. But neither Gingrich nor Limbaugh has been as active this year. Moreover, a lapdog press that has been touting Obama as the Great Man of History would be loathe to have him felled by the likes of Limbaugh, especially after Dick Cheney stalemated Obama on national security issues earlier this year.

Accordingly, it seems increasingly likely that Obama will take whatever he can get on healthcare, declare victory, and try to move on without answering too many questions about the result. While the Left hopes to hand the the moderates a fait accompli, the moderates may already be figuring out that they hold the upper hand.


44 Responses to “What if Obamacare fails?”

  1. Pres Zero was right about the pork stimulus bill and the number of jobs saved, so how could he be wrong when it comes to the big health care rip off?

    Our whole problem is we just need a few dozen more Czars and a couple trillion dollars in more debt.

    ML (f060a0)

  2. He will succeed by buying off congress. He has goodies other presidents could only dream of.

    Bigger government means the political class wins and everyone else loses.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  3. As the cost, even by the lowball estimates, become more well known, as well as the tax increases the members of the middle class will have to suffer because of it, and notwithstanding the neccesary diminishing of care quality, this bill will lose support…

    The far left Dems will be unhappy with any watered down version of Obamacare. And, after smarting from the spendulus, if the leadership demands a party line vote on this they will be sorely disappointed by the wholoesale defection of the recently elected Democrats from more conservative districts in flyover country…

    You spoke of political capital. If such a costly and controversial bill is to pushed through on a strict partisan vote, then there will be a large unavoidable consequence of the Obama spending his remaining political capital on it’s passage. That will be the complete obliteration of his “post-partisan” masquerade, regardless of how hard the media tries to spin it in his favor…

    All I can say is Rahm better get a whole boatload of dead fish to mail out, ‘cuz that may be the only way that he gets those flyover country Democrats to vote for Obamacare…

    Bob (99fc1b)

  4. Obama’s health care proposal is, in effect, the repeal of the Medicare program as we know it. The elderly will go from being the group with the most access to free medical care to the one with the least access. Indeed, the principal impact of the Obama health care program will be to reduce sharply the medical services the elderly can use. No longer will their every medical need be met, their every medication prescribed, their every need to improve their quality of life answered.

    It is so ironic that the elderly – who were so vigilant when Bush proposed to change Social Security – are so relaxed about the Obama health care proposals. Bush’s Social Security plan, which did not cut their benefits at all, aroused the strongest opposition among the elderly. But Obama’s plan, which will totally gut Medicare and replace it with government-managed care and rationing, has elicited little more than a yawn from most senior citizens.

    Neo (46a1a2)

  5. “it seems increasingly likely that Obama will take whatever he can get on healthcare”

    The problem is that anything will be a victory for Obama and the libs. This has been the pattern of government involvement since FDR, at least. Remember SCHIP? It was created under Clinton. While it was vetoed by Bush, it was vetoed because the increases were more than Bush wanted. Bush supported expansion, just not the full package the Dems wanted. Since then, of course, the Dems and Obama expanded it. It now includes legal aliens, and I’ll bet you illegals get the same treatment.

    That’s the pattern for all government intrusion. Obama will overreach, get a little, and he will be back for more when he thinks he can get it.

    Death by a thousand cuts is still death.

    Scott (71b722)

  6. Democrats pushing a partisan bill will be a disaster for them and the greatest gift to the GOP … it will cement in the voters minds this view of the Democrats:

    The ultimate problem is this: There is the agenda of what needs to be done, and then there is the agenda of the Left. Two separate things. What needs to be done? Fix the Economy, stupid. Obama needs to be 100% focussed on that. And implicit in that is a recognition that the energy taxes and cap-and-trade and Obamacare are NOT AFFORDABLE right now.

    Now, the SMART thing politically would be to look at Clinton’s playbook and start to triangulate center, drop all these tax hikes, figure out how to placate the stock and bond markets, get REAL and not phony about fiscal discipline and say ‘no’ to anything that adds to spending.

    Or the LEFT thing: Shove crap-tacular 1200 bills on party line votes through congress, buy off votes to get it done, and pay no attention to the unemployment lines growing longers. Fiddle with the liberal special interests while the economy burns.

    Obama has already had his ‘mission accoplished’ moment on the stimulus. Soon ObamaCare and cap-and-trade could cement that ‘miserable failure’ label should he push it through.

    Travis Monitor (483b36)

  7. What if? :facepalm: What if there is an even prime number?

    What will be the consequences of the certain failure? (cf Indian Health Care)

    htom (412a17)

  8. “Remember SCHIP? It was created under Clinton. While it was vetoed by Bush, it was vetoed because the increases were more than Bush wanted.”

    Yes we do. I also remember that when the increase was passed in January, Waxman called it “a downpayment on nationalized healthcare” in effect making your argument.

    However, the fact that SCHIP is a private insurance subsidy and has no mandates on employers or consumers, in effect shows that there is a different line being drawn here. The Govt control folks have run out of mere subsidies, and have to go to full control as the ‘next step’.

    Travis Monitor (483b36)

  9. I won’t even address the stupidity of voting on bills that no one has read or the lies of how many people are uninsured.
    I’ll simply ask this question: do we really want to hand over 17% of our economy to the people who have run medicare into the ground? to the people who have done such a bang-up job running veteran health care? Or maybe we should ask a Native American how good the health care is on the reservation?
    How can ANYONE claim that government involvement in health care will bring about anything but rationed care, higher costs, higher taxes, and more government control over our lives. Once they are “in charge” of our health they can dictate to us our eating/drinking/smoking/exorcise habits or anything else they decide is detrimental to our health because they have a vested financial interest.
    Think I’m being an alarmist? Ask the Banks and GM and Chrysler and AIG about the fine print on the check they received.

    The Statists and Nannyists have to be stopped.

    MaaddMaaxx (a9973b)

  10. The ultimate problem is this: There is the agenda of what needs to be done, and then there is the agenda of the Left.

    And should anyone be surprised by the route favored and chosen by Obama? His leftist credentials (ie, his close ties with extremists like Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers) have never been in doubt since the beginning, and only a fool would have claimed otherwise.

    The guy in the Oval Office has the instincts of an ultra-liberal, and so all the geniuses who put them there last November apparently want an ultra-liberal America.

    Mark (411533)

  11. The frustrating thing is that I favor health care reform. If they blunder around like this and lose, there will be no interest in revisiting this for another decade. The problem is that Medicare is unsustainable. They need to make changes and I have ideas on how to do it but, instead, we have “The Chicago Way” screwing things up as though this was a battle between Mafia families for the drug trade in Brooklyn.

    As Metternich once said, “This is worse than a crime; it is a blunder.”

    Mike K (2cf494)

  12. At its start, in 1966, Medicare cost $3 billion. The House Ways and Means Committee estimated that Medicare would cost only about $ 12 billion by 1990 (a figure that included an allowance for inflation). This was a supposedly “conservative” estimate. But in 1990 Medicare actually cost $107 billion. Now it cost close to $500 billion.

    Neo (46a1a2)

  13. This man’s reach far exceeds his grasp – he’ll only be getting straws from now on, methinks. The Dems up for the mid – term elections know which way the ball rolls right now, and the further they can get away from this disaster the better their re – election chances. This horse has been ridden hard and put away wet.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  14. The stimulous was rammed through without much discussion or knowledge of what was inside of it. Mostly Demo’s pet projects and pork.
    Now the health care proposal looks like more of the same thing.

    Is it true that Congress has written itself out of the health care bill, preserving its gold-plated insurance plan?

    Alta Bob (3dd3fe)

  15. I assume that last question was rhetorical.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  16. Put a dual citizen (US and Indonesia), who’s sperm donor father was a communist official with the government of Kenya…….and what do you expect? Demonize and punish business and watch the economy worsen and worsent. Duh.

    Our big eared mooslim boy in chief is a joke. A marketing strategy, nothing more.

    Impeach the messiah.

    rssg (f6cafd)

  17. Alta Bob, this was from the WSJ,

    Last September Sen. Barack Obama promised that under his health-care proposal “you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves.” On Monday, President Obama repeated that promise in a speech to the American Medical Association. It’s not true.

    The president is barnstorming the nation, urging swift approval of legislation that is taking shape in Congress. This legislation will push Americans into stingy insurance plans with tight, HMO-style controls. It specifically exempts members of Congress (along with federal employees; the exemptions are in section 3116).

    Members of Congress “enjoy the widest selection of health plans in the country,” according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. They “can choose from among consumer-driven and high deductible plans that offer catastrophic risk protection with higher deductibles, health saving/reimbursable accounts and lower premiums, or fee-for-service (FFS) plans, and their preferred provider organizations (PPO), or health maintenance organizations (HMO).” These choices would be nice for all of us, but they’re not in the offing. Instead, if you don’t enroll in a “qualified” health plan and submit proof of enrollment to the federal government, you’ll be tracked down and fined (sections 3101 and 6055).

    Dana (57e332)

  18. “Last September Sen. Barack Obama promised that under his health-care proposal “you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves.” On Monday, President Obama repeated that promise in a speech to the American Medical Association. It’s not true”

    Dana, absolutely the case. The only folk that believed Ear Leader were fools, charlatans and various Democrat Montebanks. Thinking folk were not fooled. Too bad that there are so few that voted last election.

    GM Roper (85dcd7)

  19. Re: ObamaCare

    Lord Zero now seems to be at the point where he’s trying to push a broken-down Yugo to the finish line at the Indy 500 in the expectation that he’ll get the checkered flag.

    Dare I add that Obama must also now be praying to the Socialist Gods that unemployment doesn’t hit 10% in the next few weeks. If (or, more likely when) it does, ObamaCare and Cap ‘n’ Tax) are dead, dead, D.E.A.D.

    MarkJ (42fe5b)

  20. On the issue of innovation & tax — It is astonishing that California’s Embryonic Stem Cell project is still alive with Obama essentially doing the same thing. The Republicans stupidly oppose this due to the abortion/sactity factor, proudly going down with the ship. If California’s project were smartly opposed strictly on the fiscal insanity of its redundant $3 billion in borrowing, the fiscal conservative majority would vote it down.

    Wesson (03286d)

  21. GM, I don’t see this as complicated. It begs the very simple question: if the health plan is not good enough for Congress, then why is it supposedly good enough for me?

    Dana (57e332)

  22. I truly hope the dirty little socialists fail to implement their dirty little socialisms.

    JD (9e41b2)

  23. Dare I add that Obama must also now be praying to the Socialist Gods that unemployment doesn’t hit 10% in the next few weeks

    Too late – I’ve felt for most of the past year that it’s at least double the official rate, since that figure does not include those who are working far fewer hours, those whose unemployment benefits ran out long ago, and the workers who’ve basically given up on finding employment at all at this point:

    Talk to anyone running a business these days, and they’ll likely agree with the above article’s assessment. Small business owners feel the effects of a recession first, and usually are also the first to understand when the outlook begins to turn around. It ain’t happening yet.

    [note: fished from spam filter]

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  24. .
    Good one, currently being tweeted and possibly re-tweeted.

    Just SAY NO to Single-Provider, Government HC! End ALL mandates! Allow purchasing HC Insurance across State Lines!


    absurd thought –
    don’t fix your health care system
    just make it worse

    USpace (d10a3e)

  25. The California stem cell initiative was opposed for a lot of reasons but the greed of medical schools (USC had a big pep rally with Arnold there) and the biological sciences kept telling people it was “for the children” and actors were appearing before Congress off their meds (Most of them are on one kind or another). That initiative was a personal ego trip for the sponsor who had a kid with diabetes. He got the taxpayers of the state to fund his ego trip, just as Obama has done so in 2008.

    H.L. Mencken once said “No one ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”

    The “Sage of Baltimore” also was pretty wise. ““The psychic effect of the depression, it seems to me, is generally a good one.”

    Something we might consider again.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  26. Obama doesn’t need political capital. He has all the capital he will ever need – banks, car companies, carbon credits, health care…

    Amphipolis (42043b)

  27. Obamacare must not fail !!! We must save it !!

    He needs to provide the autism spectrum people health care coverage for vital autism therapies (!), otherwise known as:

    “Why We With Autism Personify Our Autism Horses”

    EquiisSavant (c7aaab)

  28. Well, they ought to know:

    “For Ghana, Obama’s visit will be a celebration of another milestone in African history as it hosts the first-ever African-American President on this presidential visit to the continent of his birth. . .”

    [from Modern]

    Official Internet Data Office (80e2fc)

  29. What if Obamacare fails?

    Then people could focus on stopping Obama from further meddling with the economy and preventing its recovery or undoing some of the damage he’s already created with his social engineering.

    It’s the economy STOOPID, not healthcare or cap and tax.

    Just say no to the ObamaNation!

    daleyrocks (718861)

  30. Where is the AARP on this?
    If seniors are going to have their care trimmed via Medicare, you would think that AARP would be screaming to high-heaven over this?
    Unless, of course, their primary concern was to stay attached to the Government Teat (they get $Millions – or is it $Billions? – in Govt funding) instead of looking out for the best interests of their members?
    Their silence determines where their true loyalties lie!

    AD - RtR/OS! (002e28)

  31. MKDP is back! Where have you been honey! Now you have your own blog. How nice.

    How is the litigation against the roast beef slicing impostor ship captain coming? What about the frogmen and snipers?

    Where is that whacky husband of yours, David Petrano, Esq.?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  32. MKDP !!!!!!! You rock !!!! Tell Mr. Ed I said hello, and stay away from the frogmen and snipers.

    JD (ec4c12)

  33. The problem with the health-care debate is that it has been used, for decades, by the left to get their folk elected.

    But, now that they have an undisputed majority, they are forced to actually reform health care.

    Some true believers actually think this would be a good idea. However, the pragmatics know it will be a disaster. For example, how have Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security worked out in the long run?

    For that matter, when you go to the DMV to renew your license, does anyone detect any semblance of cost-savings or efficiency?

    Speaking of Medicare, what do you think will happen when our senior citizens realize what will happen to them under Obamacare?

    AD raised the question of AARP. It’s putting its collective finger to the wind and hoping this disaster will pass so that they can claim victory for the aged while reaping billions for its management.

    The result will be the Democrats trying on one hand to pass the bill, while, on the other, desperately trying to blame it’s ultimate failure on the GOP.

    And what they really want is nothing to happen until after 2010 so that they can use health care in another election cycle.

    I’ve used this example before, but it reminds me of the anecdote in Gore Vidal’s fictionalized account of Abraham Lincoln. When Lincoln, as a young man, tries to capture an angry boar, he grabs it by its hind legs. As the boar tries to kill him, Lincoln cries, “Someone help me let this pig go!”

    Ag80 (a5a12b)

  34. […] Obamacare is not going well. It seems that the people don’t want to be taxed to death to pay for less health care (Pundit […]

    Chew on this: Vs. « Chockblock’s blog (fb05f5)

  35. Are people really this stupid? Do these people who are “for” government run health care ever deal with the Post Office, the DMV, or the IRS?

    Do they really want this kind of government “care”?

    steve miller (11b06b)

  36. My dealings with the DMV have been rather simple since they moved lots of stuff online.

    imdw (e97992)

  37. My dealings with the DMV have been rather simple since they moved lots of stuff online.

    Breathtakingly idiotic of you. Try getting medical treatment online.

    Steverino (1b3695)

  38. No, but clever deflection. “I will avoid the obvious problem of a uncivil civil service and instead point out that BUSH WAR OIL HALLIBURTON.” Or some such nonsense.

    It still remains — the government that runs the Post Office, the IRS, and the DMV is the government that is going to ration your healthcare, and what are the chances that you’ll end up with the same level of health care Teh One™ expects & will receive?

    steve miller (11b06b)

  39. Try getting medical treatment online.

    Do they perform frontal lobotomies online? I’d pay to see that, and I nominate imdw for the first attempt.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  40. What if Obamacare fails?
    Blame Rush Limbaugh.

    The Emperor (0c8c2c)

  41. Investors Business Daily is reporting that this hideous health insurance destruction bill on page 16 of a 1000 page bill outlaws americans’ right to purchase or change their own private health insurance as of the effective date of the law. Whatever plan you have on that date you are stuck with, because private insurers are barred, on and after the effective date, from seeking new customers and consumers are barred from changing their plans. So, if you change jobs, lose jobs, decide you want different plans for their coverage, etc., you are out of luck. This insurance provision is a til death til you part provision. Now if only the democraps treated marriage contracts the way they treat health insurance contracts the divorce rate would plummet.

    eaglewingz08 (e40a12)

  42. #42, that can’t be true. Teh One™ wouldn’t lie to me, now would he?

    steve miller (11b06b)

  43. […] — or even give Americans a chance to read — the final product before a vote is taken. The moderates really have the power to dictate the final product. The issues are whether they have the guts to do so… or whether […]

    The Greenroom » Forum Archive » Obamacare: The mask is off (e2f069)

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