Patterico's Pontifications


Constituent to Barney Frank: “Why Are You Putting Us Down?” (Updated)

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 11:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barney Frank talks (down) to his constituents:

“What’s the matter with you all?

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin notes Sheila Leavitt, another questionable physician who turned up at a town hall meeting. This time it was at Barney Frank’s town hall, and Malkin says Leavitt may be “channeling her [physician] husband’s persona.”


White House is Mystified About Health Care

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 10:50 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to an unnamed White House source, the Administration doesn’t know how it got in such a health care bind:

“Administration officials insisted that they have not shied away from their support for a public option to compete with private insurance companies, an idea they said Obama still prefers to see in a final bill.

But at a time when the president had hoped to be selling middle-class voters on how insurance reforms would benefit them, the White House instead finds itself mired in a Democratic Party feud over an issue it never intended to spotlight.

“I don’t understand why the left of the left has decided that this is their Waterloo,” said a senior White House adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We’ve gotten to this point where health care on the left is determined by the breadth of the public option. I don’t understand how that has become the measure of whether what we achieve is health-care reform.”

“It’s a mystifying thing,” he added. “We’re forgetting why we are in this.”

Another top aide expressed chagrin that a single element in the president’s sprawling health-care initiative has become a litmus test for whether the administration is serious about the issue.

“It took on a life of its own,” he said. “

Can it get any better than this for the Republicans? No, which is why the GOP should not let up now. And here’s some free advice to the Democrats: Don’t use the word Waterloo.


Obama’s Health Care Promises

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 7:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

At the third and final 2008 Presidential debate, here’s what candidate Obama promised he would do about health care if he were elected President:

  • “If you have health insurance, then you don’t have to do anything. If you’ve got health insurance through your employer, you can keep your health insurance, keep your choice of doctor, keep your plan.”
  • “[W]hat we’re going to try to do is lower costs so that those cost savings are passed onto you. And we estimate we can cut the average family’s premium by about $2,500 per year.
  • “If you don’t have health insurance, then what we’re going to do is to provide you the option of buying into the same kind of federal pool that both Senator McCain and I enjoy as federal employees, which will give you high-quality care, choice of doctors, at lower costs, because so many people are part of this insured group.”
  • “We’re going to make sure that insurance companies can’t discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions.”
  • We’ll negotiate with the drug companies for the cheapest available price on drugs.”
  • “We are going to invest in information technology to eliminate bureaucracy and make the system more efficient.”
  • “And we are going to make sure that we manage chronic illnesses, like diabetes and heart disease, that cost a huge amount, but could be prevented. We’ve got to put more money into preventive care. This will cost some money on the front end, but over the long term this is the only way that not only are we going to make families healthy, but it’s also how we’re going to save the federal budget, because we can’t afford these escalating costs.
  • [Regarding small business owners:] … if you want to do the right thing with your employees and you want to provide them health insurance, we’ll give you a 50 percent credit so that you will actually be able to afford it.”
  • Several of Obama’s promises are things that can’t yet be measured or known — promises like “you won’t lose your health care” and “you will save $2,500 a year.” I believe Obama kept his promise to focus on preventive health care and, in a sense, he also kept his promise to negotiate with the drug companies. However, his secret Pharma agreement is inconsistent when it comes to lowering drug prices: Pharmaceuticals reportedly did agree to $80B in cuts over 10 years, but the White House also “agreed to oppose any congressional efforts to use the government’s leverage to bargain for lower drug prices or import drugs from Canada.”

    However, Obama’s promise to give small business owners a 50% credit if they provide health care to their employees seems to be gone. As for his promise to let Americans participate in the same health care that covers Congress? That’s really gone.

    — DRJ

    ObamaCare: Counting on the “Public Option”

    Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:39 am

    [Posted by Karl]

    Given all the talk about the fate of Democrats’ government-run health insurance proposal, it is worth taking a moment to look at where vote counts stand in Congress.

    In the House, Democrats need the support of at least 15 of 52 Blue Dogs. An IBD survey, combined with news reports, turns up four Blue Dog supporters of the current House bill, and at least 13 Blue Dogs opposed to it. IBD’s list includes Rep. Allen Boyd (D-FL), who says he cannot support the current House bill, even though he was re-elected last year with 62% of the vote in his district. But it also includes nine Representatives who have supported the “public option,” if not the full bill. Given that the “public plan” is one of the most contentious points of the debate, that sounds like 13 of the necessary 15 votes (unless it gets tripped up on tax and budgeting issues, which seems unlikely in the House).

    As for the Senate, Open Left’s Chris Bowers and FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver both try to get to 50 votes for the “public option,” but neither can quite get there… yet. Strangely, Silver at one point suggests that it is “far from clear” that 50 is the magic number, but ultimately concludes that the “public option” needs at least 50 votes worth of support overall. Indeed, for procedural reasons, Silver thinks a government-run plan needs the support of a majority of the Senate Finance Committee, but so far seems to have only seven of the 12 votes it will need.

    That is not a shock. Kent Conrad (D-ND), the Budget Committee chairman and a key Finance Committee member, reiterated the point over the weekend, much to the chagrin of the HuffPo’s Ryan Grim and at least one peeved (but anonymous) Democratic leadership aide. They may wonder where he is getting his whip count, but they forget that Conrad’s co-op trial balloon was launched in June on behalf of the G-11 — the key Senate powerbrokers on health care. Accordingly, Silver may be right to infer that Conrad’s comments mean that Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus is lukewarm at best on the “public option,” and that swing Senators have said privately that they would prefer a bill without it.

    Given the current state of play, the Right may feel encouraged, but those numbers are still too close for comfort. It is no time to take the heat off Congress opposing a government-run insurance plan.


    Morning Links

    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:52 am

    Did the White House spam citizens with unwanted e-mail messages? Why, no, no, no, no, no . . . yes. (Originally noted in DRJ’s post here but it bears repeating.)

    James Sabatino, who allegedly is the person who hoaxed L.A. Times reporter Chuck Philips, speaks out to HipHopDX. Everything he says to them he has already said in letters to me; if I can muster the time and energy I may write it all up.

    The L.A. Weekly has a different take on Lily Burk’s death.

    What the “police are always wrong” crowd didn’t tell you about Bob Dylan’s arrest: he was stopped after neighbors saw him walking around in pouring rain looking into house windows.

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