As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, September 04, 2009

No Need To Kid Ourselves

I don't think it takes a genius to see where things are leading:

CNN has learned that the White House is quietly working to draft health care legislation after allowing Congress to work on its own for months.

Multiple sources close to the process tell CNN that while the plan is uncertain, they are preparing for the possibility they could deliver their own legislation to Capitol Hill sometime after the President Barack Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday, with one source calling the possibility of new legislation a "contingency" approach if efforts by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus to craft a deal fall through.

Multiple sources say the current thinking among administration officials is that the president will lay out a path to reform in his speech next week that the White House hopes can bridge the various differences in the competing proposals. Sources expect the president to emphasize the message: If Congress passes something now, it will serve as a foundation to pass further reform in the future. (emphasis mine)

The Baucus caucus met today, and Baucus said he'll simply put out his own bill, and basically they'll either have a bipartisan solution by September 15 or break up the Gang of Six and go to a markup.

It's pretty obvious what's going on. The President will settle for the trigger and try to get President Olympia Snowe to write the bill. The trigger has basically already been triggered, that's why the crisis has moved to a point where we need reform. And we know from experience that the trigger will be set up so it never gets triggered to bring a public option into being.

A trigger for the public health insurance option would create underpowered public plans that would be swallowed whole by the insurance industry. A trigger would also tell the insurance industry the exact minimum level of care and service they need to provide (a level worse than they provide now) before they face competition, giving them incentive to stay at that level and no better. That trigger will never be triggered - instead, it will kill the public health insurance option. But most importantly, a trigger wants us to wait for our crisis to worsen before we fix it.

That's not a compromise. That's not even a rational proposal. Waiting for the crisis to get worse does nothing but help the insurance industry at the expense of our wallets, our health, and our lives.

The trigger kills the public health insurance option. It is not health reform. It should be rejected.

Liberals are angry but have been marginalized in the last few days. ConservaDems, emboldened by hopes of protecting their corporate contributors, are taking a victory lap. Fight on, radical moderates, fight on.

And in between, the mainstream Dems want to take half a loaf.

Clyburn said Democrats should be satisfied if they can only achieve "half a loaf" of reforms, noting that President Lyndon Johnson didn't get all of his landmark civil rights legislation through Congress on his first try.

"We can pass a health-care bill that will do a lot of good," Clyburn said. "It may not be perfect, but we ought not to sacrifice the good on the altar of the perfect."

The writing's on the wall here. And we'll see if the Progressive Block in the House means anything.

...In his conference call with Progressive Caucus members, Obama straight up asked House liberals "how far they're willing to compromise on the public option". Greg Sargent has more. He apparently told them that they had the luxury of being in safe seats, although while they may be safe D, they won't be safe from primary challenges if they have to give on what has become this fundamental pillar of health care reform.

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