Patterico's Pontifications

3/29/2010

What’s in the Bill, Senator?

Filed under: Health Care,Politics — DRJ @ 7:57 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s time to play “What’s in the Bill, Senator?” with Jason Mattera. In this episode, Mattera asks Senator Al Franken two simple questions about the health care bill:

MATTERA: “Which of the provisions of the health care bill are designed to lower costs? Is it the provision giving $7B to fund jungle gyms or the provision mandating that employers provide time off for breastfeeding?”

Franken’s initial confusion suggests he (1) doesn’t know what’s in the bill and (2) thinks these provisions could be. (The breastfeeding provision is in the bill but apparently there isn’t a literal “jungle gym” provision, although the bill does authorize the “creation of infrastructure” for “healthier school environments.”) The video reveals Franken needs a bigger enforcer and shows, once again, that Franken is not a pleasant person — as illustrated previously here, here here, and here.

It would be fun if Mattera could make this a series but I’m sure the Democrats will be watching for him now.

— DRJ

51 Responses to “What’s in the Bill, Senator?”

  1. Is the bill’s lack of an enforcement mechanism for the individual mandate a clue that the bill is intended to fail?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  2. I don’t think Franken liked it when Mattera called called him Senator Smalley. Heh!

    daleyrocks (718861)

  3. SPQR-

    I saw that at PowerLine also and was going to point it out. One of the regular posters has first hand knowledge of the insurance agency (was it daleyrocks?) and I was interested in his take.

    I think the consensus of the ObamaDoesn’tCare folk is the plan is to head us toward a single payer system anyhow, but this would be an interesting angle, suggesting they are competent at what they want to be.

    MD in Philly (59a3ad)

  4. The Democrats will soon be posting his picture in their offices so they don’t get fooled again when Mattera plays the part of a sympathetic journalist.

    But then he’ll put on the Groucho Marx glasses and mustache and fool them again for another month. Considering the intelligence level of Franken and his pals, a good Halloween store can probably supply enough disguises to last a decade.

    MU789 (bfc2e9)

  5. Al Franken is a joke without a punchline. The less attention paid to him the better. And this comes from a citizen of a state that elects jokes as a leisure activity.

    Ag80 (f67beb)

  6. “Is the bill’s lack of an enforcement mechanism for the individual mandate a clue that the bill is intended to fail?”

    Maybe it is intended to get opponents to say the mandate is too weak.

    imdw (017d51)

  7. imdw:

    That’s an interesting take.

    By your logic, I am — as an opponent — supposed to believe that a bill passed by Congress and signed by the President, contains a provision intentionally written to provoke opposition so that the law will be reworked to increase it’s mandated strength?

    Despite any earlier postings I may have made, and the ministrations of others, I can no longer take you seriously.

    Ag80 (f67beb)

  8. i was unaware that anyone did….. why wasn’t i on the distro list?

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  9. I don’t like Franken, but I think he took the high road here. Franken is correct that Jason Mattera keeps interrupting him, and the Smalley comment made Mattera look unprofessional and juvenille.

    This clip will be fodder for the left. I think it’s embarrassing for the right.

    School Marm (a68c64)

  10. imdw, that’s as incoherent a comment as we’ve come to expect from you.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  11. “I think the consensus of the ObamaDoesn’tCare folk is the plan is to head us toward a single payer system”

    MD and SPQR – I agree with the linked Reason article at Powerline that the lack of an enforcement mechanism was deliberately drafted that way. The question is why. Obama clearly begrudges any profit to insurers in health care, otherwise why publicly demonize them for pitiful 3% margins. Obama and the Dems clearly want them out of the business, which means less choice for consumers as does the bill anyway with the government setting prices and terms of coverage, moving closer to the single payer goal. If people don’t buy coverage until they’re sick, the insurers will have less of a pool to spread risk, presumably putting pressure on them to raise rates. The Democrats will demagogue the crap out of them or prevent them from raising rates, leading them to exit the health care line of business all to the government.

    What we’ll be left with then is a another deliberately engineered money losing sinkhole of a Democrat entitlement program. If that isn’t a win-win for the progressive agenda and Amerikka, I don’t know what is.

    BTW, MD, my experience was on the carrier, not agency side.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  12. What’s interesting is that the failure to comply… the fines that will not be collected or enforced, will be blamed on tea partiers.

    They’ve set it up so that the insurance companies failing, and the need for single payer, will be blamed on the right. And they will keep track of who owes what, and eventually come to collect. The law provides no method of collection, but it’s not ex post facto to eventually come up with one. The penalty is already there.

    I guess I have to hope that the mandate is struck down by the Court.

    dustin (b54cdc)

  13. daleyrocks, I’m puzzled myself. I suspect that this bill is intended to fail, although I’m not sure whether it is supposed to fail from non-compliance with the individual mandate ( something that would be on the margins ) or if it is supposed to fail by driving health insurance companies out of business.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  14. SPQR, when hundreds or thousands of people keep signing up for health care when they get sick, after staying off of it and accruing an unpaid penalty, we’ll have the next ‘outrage’ group. Like the people who use the emergency rooms for the common cold, and run off without paying. The ‘freeloader’ problem will become a hot button political issue.

    As you say, if the insurance companies aren’t out of business by then.

    The bill, as reported, makes me want to cancel insurance and wait until I have a serious illness to buy coverage again. I don’t think things will play out so well for people who do that, but it’s a tempting proposition.

    dustin (b54cdc)

  15. SPQR – The insurance companies will exit if it becomes unprofitable, which virtually by definition means the program would run at a deficit if taken over by the government. That’s why I called it a deliberately engineered sinkhole. There has been no focus on the underlying costs or delivery systems. Insurance is just a financing and risk shifting vehicle layered on top of the basic costs.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  16. Another example is the Democrats discovering they blew the language in the bill on preexisting conditions for kids. They meant to provide for guaranteed issue immediately instead of 2014 according to them, but that’s not how they wrote the bill. Sebelius said she would bypass Congress and fix it by issuing a regulation – nice shredding of the Constitution there – but the insurers decided to go along with the Democrat desires. It does not affect a large number of children with pre-existing conditions and the insurers will have to raise prices. It helps to point out that the Dems did not know what they were passing and as Nancy Pelosi pointed out, we are only finding out now that it’s done.

    What a bunch of maroons!

    daleyrocks (718861)

  17. Technically, I think Mattera is the victim of a “battery” by Franken’s aide.

    The idea that some aid can lay his hands on a citizen engaged in conversation with an elected representative, for the purpose of holding that citizen back while the representative makes an hasty getaway is repulsive. If Franken is going to walk in public areas, he’s got to be prepared to be confronted or keep walking through the noise. It’s not the role of any junior staffer flunky to put his hands on the citizen and try to impede is attempts to move along with the representative.

    shipwreckedcrew (c0d6cd)

  18. “By your logic, I am — as an opponent — supposed to believe that a bill passed by Congress and signed by the President, contains a provision intentionally written to provoke opposition so that the law will be reworked to increase it’s mandated strength?”

    You’re probably correct. Maybe the mandate was weakened to appease opponents. However it seems to have had the effect of where opponents are critiquing it for being too weak.

    imdw (5f60be)

  19. The “Senator Smalley” quip was unfortunate, but the rest of the video speaks for itself. This so-called “health bill” has provisions in it that the government can run with in all directions (to our eventual economic detriment). Jason is doing a great job exposing it for what it is – a takeover of all aspects of our lives.

    Beth in Texas (d69635)

  20. My god! I can’t believe there is $7Billion in the bill to build jungle gyms; that’s outrageous! Oh, wait, there isn’t?

    Theocracy (6ecda6)

  21. Thanks, daleyrocks, for your thoughts.

    MD in Philly (59a3ad)

  22. Yeah, Franken is a jerk, but IMHO Mattera badgered him, interrupted him, and should not have called him Smalley–unless this was adgitprop and not journalism.

    Patricia (fa8e06)

  23. > It would be fun if Mattera could make this a series but I’m sure the Democrats will be watching for him now.

    Just means he needs to be more crafty when he approaches the bastards. Have a regularly changing staff of assistants to ask the question, so the bozos don’t know who it is that’s about to give them face time which they otherwise believe they need…

    IgotBupkis (79d71d)

  24. “I don’t like Franken, but I think he took the high road here …
    “This clip will be fodder for the left. I think it’s embarrassing for the right.”

    Correct. The beauty, from the perspective of the left, is that most of the right will never understand this. You don’t win the middle by being absolute unsympathetic asses. But dammit, they’re going to try.

    Franken was willing to answer this guy’s questions, over the objections of his own staffer, but the guy didn’t want an answer. He wanted to press an agenda and verbally attack.

    There is a legitimate question and debate buried beneath the dross of this video, namely, whether the government should have a huge, financial role in encouraging kids to exercise. But Americans are smart enough to know that this video represents no real attempt at debate, only to denigrate (“Smalley” etc.) This fits a growing narrative of the right (“baby killer”).

    The right-wing blogosphere, talk radio and FoxNews helped create the atmosphere that made Obama’s election possible, and the Democratic sweeps of 06 and 08. Of course, the Dems had a huge assist from the GOP, which demonstrated an obvious inability to govern when it had total power. All this led inexorably to the big “L” you took a couple of Sundays ago.

    Thank you. Keep it up.

    Myron (3d5c6b)

  25. Technical question for the site administrators: On my last comment, I separated my paragraphs with returns but it came out as one big block. Do we have to use HTML coding now?

    Myron (3d5c6b)

  26. “You don’t win the middle by being absolute unsympathetic asses.”

    Myron – Lefties have no sense of humor, but I agree with your basic point, which is why outfits like Code Pink, Moveon.org, and Media Matters make no sense for Democrat politicians to cater to. Even the outfits where you are so fond of getting your talking points are just cesspools of pure fringe leftwing hate.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  27. Correct. The beauty, from the perspective of the left, is that most of the right will never understand this. You don’t win the middle by being absolute unsympathetic asses. But dammit, they’re going to try.

    Comment by Myron — 3/30/2010 @ 8:48 am

    Uh, yeah … a reminder: This is AL FRANKEN we’re talking about, Myron. This is the guy who joked about sign language interpreters for President Bush giving signals to Al Qaeda at the 2004 Republican Convention so they could assassinate him. This is the guy who dashed into an audience and pummeled a guy who interrupted Howard Dean at a fundraiser. His frog-like mug is next to “unsympathetic ass” in the dictionary.

    Mattera was trying to get him to pop his famously loose cork, and came pretty close. While I agree that Mattera was being a jerk, there is nobody who deserves that kind of treatment as much as Franken does.

    There are two versions of Al Franken: The real mean, nasty, sarcastic quasi-funnyman lurking underneath the bespectacled shell who has been instructed to bite his lip in the short term if he wants something important to do for the next five years, and his long-lost son Alan Grayson, the angry, raving lunatic Congressman from Florida whose constituents are getting weary of his Frankenesque spewing and subsequent half-fast apologies.

    You seem to be under the mistaken impression that the brute force of political bribery against popular opinion to get sweeping legislation passed is “governing.” It’s not, and most people realize this. They thought that the “change” they were buying into was bipartisan cooperation, to accomplish goals, not despite bipartisan opposition. Maybe you did not realize that Republicans AND Dems opposed ObamaCare, but the only way Dems could send it over the top was billions in the type of secret deals that Candidate Obama said were a thing of the past.

    Franken, Grayson, and Obama are supposedly public servants, but they are turning a deaf ear to the public. People are not going to listen to Rush rant on the radio, watch Beck scribble on his blackboard on TV, or log on to Mattera acting like a brat on the web and decide they’re so disgusted with people whose actions really DON’T matter, they will re-install as their leaders arrogant elites who treat them like modern-day serfs.

    L.N. Smithee (d1de1b)

  28. You’ve got to refresh the page for the formatting to take effect, but it wipes out your website link.

    I don’t dig it.

    L.N. Smithee (d1de1b)

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