Patti Wenzel

We won’t get fooled again

By - Feb 25th, 2010 04:00 am
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Graphic done by C_Oceander, on a riff from an ’08 Bush protest button. Original author unknown.

This morning Barack Obama will finally keep his promise to hold health care reform debate in public. Before the all-seeing eyes of C-SPAN 3, Obama and members on both sides of Congress will meet for the Health Care Reform Summit.

Even so, the president will continue to push the big lie that he is bringing bipartisanship to Washington D.C., asking for and using ideas from the minority party to pass his biggest policy points.

Everyone remembers the bipartisanship promise: in Aug. 2008, Obama said he and Joe Biden would “bring Democrats and Republicans together to pass an agenda that works for the American people.” He wrote in USA Today on Sept. 18, 2008 that the way “to make a difference in the lives of ordinary Americans is by bringing Republicans and Democrats together to get things done.” He told National Public Radio in Jan. 2008 that the nation can’t achieve change without a working majority that can attract independents and Republicans. Plus, bipartisanship was a topic in his major campaign document “Blueprint for Change.”

After all of that rhetoric Obama handed health care reform to the most partisan people in Washington, Sen. Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. When their plan hit a major roadblock named Sen. Scott Brown, Obama seemed to thaw, telling Katie Couric in a pre-Super Bowl interview that he would welcome ideas from the right and would host a bipartisan discussion.

“I want to have a large meeting of Republicans and Democrats, to go through systematically all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward,” Obama explained.

Could this be the hope and change we were all promised? A public broadcast that would show Americans the Republicans have health reform plans, that they aren’t simply the party of no and that they do want to have a constructive dialogue with the Democrats?

The C-SPAN event could provide a platform for Jeffrey Anderson’s seven-point “Small Bill.” It includes provisions on malpractice tort reform, lower premiums for healthy lifestyles and amending tax penalties for those who are self- or uninsured. Plus, it has been evaluated by the Congressional Budget Office, demonstrating it will not increase the deficit, costing only $180 billion over 10 years compared to the Senate’s Christmas Eve plan, which is estimated to cost $2.5 trillion, and will not increase taxes.

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan could also get time with Obama for his “Roadmap for America’s Future 2,”which would provide refunded tax credits ranging from $2,300 to $5,700 for individuals and families to purchase coverage in any state and would allow portability. Ryan’s Roadmap would also provide tax credits to Medicaid recipients to purchase high-quality care and establish and fund Medical Savings Accounts for low-income users of Medicare to cover out-of-pocket costs, give Americans the same standard of health benefits as members of Congress and stop insurance companies from denying coverage based on age or previous health conditions.

The CBO’s analysis of Ryan’s plan shows spending on Medicare and Medicaid would drop and that the federal deficit would also be reduced if enacted, compared to the CBO’s alternative fiscal plan and the approved Senate and House plans.

Unfortunately, the bipartisan opportunity is gone. Why? Because of Obama’s insistence this past Monday to work off the Senate’s Christmas Eve plan and unveil his own, even more Democratic reform plan.

While the White House says Obama’s plan will only cost $850 billion, the CBO said the details are so vague that it can’t give an estimate of the actual cost. The plan contains the punitive “buy insurance or be fined” edict of the House and Senate, increases Medicare taxes on income and imposes a 2.9% tax on singles making $200,000 and couples making $250,000 or more. It also creates another layer of bureaucracy by establishing a federal oversight board to monitor insurance company rate increases.

And while looking at the lack of bipartisanship, remember that Obama has tossed aside those in his party, keeping out the ultra-liberal public option provision and tossing the “Cornhusker kickback,” which satisfied the more conservative pro-life Democrats.

Overall, Obama has yet to keep his word to Republicans and Americans, failing to practice the bipartisanship he complained others didn’t practice. And now it looks like he’s even willing to sacrifice his own party members to move his cult of personality forward.

Categories: Commentary, Politics

0 thoughts on “We won’t get fooled again”

  1. Anonymous says:

    You appear to have swallowed the Republican Kool-aid, Patti. The facts don’t support your harsh assertions.

    Barack Obama and the Congressional leadership spent 2009 courting Republicans. In the Senate alone, the Finance Committee established the so-called Group of Six, 3 Dems and 3 GOPers, to come up with a bipartisan bill. It failed because the 3 Republicans obstructed the process.

    Tort reform and tax credits could be part of a compromise but prohibiting exclusion of preexisting conditions and expanding real subsidies so everybody can afford comprehensive coverage are essential to true reform.

    By the way, small businesses like Third Coast Digest get more help from the Democratic plan than the Republican one. George Bush pushed through his Medicare Prescription Drug Plan because he knew how concerned seniors were about gaps in health care coverage and Republicans are cynically fighting to avoid giving the Dems a similar victory.

    Shame on them.

  2. Anonymous says:

    By the way, suggesting that Medical Savings Accounts would expand coverage for low-income Americans is ridiculous. Ask TCD’s new health columnist Julie Sneider to explain that to you sometime.

    And Massachusetts passed its own version of health care reform under Republican Gov. Mitt Romney and Scott Brown voted for it! What kind of logic allows them to get away with saying that what’s good for Massachusetts isn’t good for the rest of the nation?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ted, people at TCD who want medical coverage are already getting it or at least have it available to them: it’s called BadgerCare. It provides for those who need medical coverage and it leaves me and my family to keep the coverage we have. Instead of trying to jam a one-size fits all program onto 300 million citizens, why don’t we follow the 10th ammendment for once and allow the states to take care of something that is not spoken about in the first nine ammendments.

    I suggest you subscribe to Politifact to keep track of your boy’s progress on his campaign promises. He not faring to well on many of them, including bipartisanship. Or is the St. Petersburg times to conservative a source?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile, the Republicans roll out their plan for the working poor and lower middle class:

  5. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately BadgerCare doesn’t cover everyone. I don’t qualify for BadgerCare…nor can I be covered under my fella’s insurance plan at work. Nor can I afford the hefty individual medical plans. There needs to be affordable options for everyone. Having a strong, comprehensive federal option to serve as a safety net would be a good option for those and reduce the stress on individual states.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry Annemarie, the state of Wisconsin Senate just approved an expand BadgerCare bill that will provide a $130 a month premium for health insurance. The details are to lengthy to go into here, but eventually you’ll be eligible and you can thank me for subsidizing the real costs of this program.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The problem is that those kinds of comments above and in the article are what drag the argument down.

    To me, those comments say, ‘I hate you, I hate poor people, I hate people that need things, I hate unhealthy people…’. That’s all I hear…’hate’.

  8. Anonymous says:

    In most states, Medicaid only covers families with children and with incomes below or very close to poverty level. Under the leadership of Gov. Doyle, Wisconin’s Medicaid program, called Badgercare, has been expanded to cover some adults without children. What do you say to the people without children or who earn too much to be eligible for Badgercare? TS, I got mine? Gee, I hope your hubby doesn’t lose his job like millions of other people have. What then?

  9. Anonymous says:

    And we can thank allowing the free market to drive health care for poor Patti’s predicament. Thank you, laissez-faire capitalism! You’re the greatest!

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