Obamacare

Is the Health-Care Reform Debate Over?

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If this report from Taegan Goddard is right, it might be:

Red State: "I am told quite reliably that in a meeting today on Capitol Hill, Republican Senators began to rapidly move toward concessions on health care because they are afraid they cannot hold their members. Some Republicans are now thinking of supporting a government program."

It's hard to believe but, according to the Kansas City Star, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) is urging Republicans to pass the bill over the objections of current Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Well, it's not that difficult to believe. Dole's been urging Republicans to come to a bipartisan consensus (ie: give up their opposition and vote for the Democrats' overhaul plan) since at least the end of August. Nor is it that surprising that a few Republicans are ready to roll over: Republicans like Chuck Grassley have been itching to vote for health-care reform for years. For a number of Republicans, the policies up for debate have never really been the issue. The sole goal for the GOP those legislators was to deal Obama political defeat. By no means do I think Republican support is sure thing. But now that the CBO has weakened the GOP's case for opposition, it wouldn't at all surprise me if a number of them defected.

Update: Seems I read this far too quickly. As a number of commenters note, Red State already updated to say that the rumors of Republicans caving are "overblown."

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  1. Dole just wants the gov’t to pay for his ED meds.

  2. “The sole goal for the GOP was to deal Obama political defeat.”

    I always thought the sole goal was to prevent Obama from destroying the healthcare system and turing the country into a socialized medical nightmare like Canada and the UK.

    If this is true, your side won Suderman. I hope you don’t get sick anytime soon.

    1. Are you so sure our current system is better than Canada or the UK? It’s ok to be skeptical of reforms but let’s not lionize the current system.

      1. Look at the lifespan of those who reach adulthood and the survival rates for terminal diseases and by any measure the current system is better. The current system produces the vast majority of the medical patents in the world, an ever increasing lifespan despite our lousy lifestyle habits, and the best survival rates for things like cancer and diabetes in the world. I will take that over the NHS any day.

        Look at it this way, no one goes to Britian for medical treatment yet 1000s of Brits and Canadians come here every year.

        1. What’s your source for your life expectancy claim? Plain life expectancy is higher in Britain than in the US, as it is in most of the developed world.

          Also, if the survival rates you’re talking about are per-diagnosed-case rather than per-head – as most such statistics quoted by the American right are – then that’s inappropriate, for reasons I’ve described at http://www.opendemocracy.net/o…..ealth_care . Britain has effectively identical survival rates per head for prostate cancer, the form most often discussed by its critics.

      2. Are you so sure our current system is better than Canada or the UK?

        “We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize…We know that there must be change…We’re all running flat out, we’re all just trying to stay ahead of the immediate day-to-day demands.”

        -Dr. Anne Doig, Canadian Medical Association president

    2. That’s part of the problem: no one knew what exactly those opposing BHO’s plan wanted. That’s because they weren’t making an intellectual argument, they were just whining, waving loopy signs, and throwing tantrums.

      It’s worth recalling that over six weeks ago I posted a question for healthcare townhalls, later updating it with another one. No one promoted asking either. LGF came up with their own questions, but they made a big mistake. Other than that, I can’t recall anyone else suggesting that people do something beyond whining and acting out. And, as we see, what those leaders suggested was not effective. Solution: get better leaders.

      P.S. In case anyone replies to this, their responses will almost assuredly be ad homs, thereby conceding my points and showing the childish, anti-intellectual nature of libertarians. Dozens of comments here have shown that the phrase “fascist libertarian” isn’t an oxymoron.

      1. “no one knew what exactly those opposing BHO’s plan wanted”

        Not true. It has been iterated here endlessly: a market solution. I recall an interview with Rand Paul asking him that question to which he responded eloquently. Too bad you missed it!

  3. Can we get a new guy for the “Shilly D” spot?

    This one’s too stupid to mock.

  4. For what it’s worth, the RedState post has the following update:

    “UPDATED:] I’m hearing this evening from both some Senators in the room and staff that the fears of GOP caving are overblown and we should not be concerned.”

  5. If the GOP wants to take over in 2010, it’d better stick to its guns on opposing this sort of thing. Otherwise, why bother voting against the current leadership of fools?

  6. Why do Republicans hate America?

    1. America is to Congress as puppies are to crush videos….

      1. Crush videos are utterly depraved and so are the viewers of them.

  7. If the moderates have been itching to vote for it for months or years, but haven’t supported it yet, couldn’t one take that as some sign that it could be about policy?

    And the article you link to mostly discusses his support (and that of others) of Wyden-Bennett, which predates Obama’s election. Does lining up in support of an alternative bill that’s been around for several years and not supporting a very different bill mean that it’s just about politics?

  8. The sole goal for the GOP was to deal Obama political defeat.

    Bullshit over-generalization. “Sole goal?” Shame on you Peter, giving in to hyperbole. Megan is so much a more careful writer; you don’t deserve her.

    1. I still consider it a B.S. ad hom even with the correction, unless he can provide a concrete example of a Republican legislator who is opposing the bill on a purely partisan basis rather than on principle.

      And preferably with some evidence to back it up. I’m not impressed with mind-readers.

    2. If Reason has to have a resident suck up Dem, McArdle would be a far better choice than Suderman. Shirly they could get her away from The Atlantic. Seriously, if she stays there it is just a matter of time before Andrew Sullivan takes an interest in her OBGYN records. She would probably gladly leave if given the chance.

  9. MotherFUCKER! A pox on both their houses.

  10. The Republican base will go insane if they sell out on this. It will split the party. Voting for Obamacare is suicide for them.

    1. God, splitting the GOP would be awesome. I don’t even care if it marginalizes opposition to Progressives/Liberals/Democrats, the GOP has no ideological foundation and needs to whither and die.

  11. Thacker – you’re right. I wrote that too quickly. Now updated.

    1. I apologize for getting upset about it. But while of course politicians are motivated by politics, I just feel that too much speculation on motives isn’t really helpful.

      And libertarians should know that better than anyone else, being called heartless unfeeling bastards by people on both sides of the aisle when they want to talk policy.

  12. That Red State post was from two days ago and he updated it to say that his original “quite reliable” sources weren’t so reliable.

    As long as the GOP bots can read polls, they shouldn’t be ready to cave. Obamacare is still pollling badly.

  13. Oh no, not affordable health care for everybody! God help us! We’ll all be wearing Mao suits and doing the evil government’s bidding like..like…Norwegians! Nooooooooooooo!

    1. Shut your gorilla mask, edward.

    2. 1. define “affordable health care for everybody”

      2. if that is your only goal why do you not just suggest a cash subsidy to those who can’t afford basic insurance?

      1. define “affordable health care for everybody”

        Free, probably.

    3. That assumes that it will be either affordable or for everybody. The likely result is more expensive in toto and will introduce government mandated rationing.

    4. Oh no, not affordable health care for everybody!

      Sucker.

      -jcr

  14. Hooray for the Stupid Party!

  15. Bob Dole? Isn’t he dead? Who removed the stake from his heart?

    1. To be perfectly honest, I also thought he was dead.

      1. I didn’t think he was dead, but I would have bet money he wasn’t still in office.

  16. Well, it actually only takes 1 rep to vote for it (snow) if the Dems stick together, and it’s done.

    1. Well, no, because the house and senate bills have to be reconciled, and then they have to vote on them again. Right now those bills are miles apart.

    2. No, the Dems have 60 senators now. Didn’t you notice Massachusetts changing the law so that they could appoint a new Senator?

      Reconciliation has to happen, but that can happen with 60 votes, or under the special budget reconciliation process. They’ll try to avoid the latter, because of the problem of Points of Order invoking the Byrd Rule to strike out things that increase the deficit.

  17. What’s going on is that, due to a) the public plan appearing to be dead, and b) the (bullshit) deficit neural CBO projections, public opinion has shifted. And the GOP is following the polls.

    Of course, what they should be doing is coming up with their own deficit projections. Anyone with a brain knows that the CBO projections are pure fiction anyway.

  18. “Republicans Agrarian Socialists like Chuck Grassley” Is more like it.

    Fuck that guy.

  19. If the Republicans would promise to scrap seniority and assign Committee positions by lottery, I might deign to despise them less.

  20. They should go ask John McCain how supporting the TARP worked out for him.

    This might be an erronious report, but it wouldn’t suprise me that some of the Republicans are just itching in frustration that – on one hand, blanket opposition will win them votes and maybe even a majority in the House next year. But on the other hand, they have to give up [this year] the chance to mess with lives of millions of americans.

    1. And accept billions of dollars in pork for their buddies as payment for bi-partisian cover for the Dems. I am sure the Dems are offering them a lot. It has got to be killing them not to steal.

  21. Anyone with a brain knows that the CBO projections are pure fiction anyway.

    The CBO numbers were based on ASSUMPTIONS which were pure fiction.

    1. Pedant of the day award.

      1. Sweet. When do I get my check?

  22. I’m hearing this evening from both some Senators in the room and staff that the fears of GOP caving are overblown and we should not be concerned.

    Which is exactly what they would say if they were getting ready to cave.

    Given their long history of spinelessness, I take it as a given that they will cave. The only interest is in one pathetic “concessions” they will get to justify their reversals.

    To be perfectly honest, I also thought he was dead.

    If he ever runs out of little blue pills. . . .

    1. They truely are spinless. It amazes me what suckups they are. The ones who cave will do so in no small part for the acclaim they will get from the beltway media for being “serious” and “bipartisian”. They truly are pathetic.

  23. The intellectual dishonesty from all branches/both parties poisons the public trust in any health care reform.

    SS/Medicare Trust contain no real value, only special Bonds. Determining the Trust balances, the Gov considers both public trx-actions and intra-Gov trx-fers. Whether an Entitlement contributes to the deficit, consider the public trx-actions. Ex.FY94 the SS Trust took in $335B in SStax and spent $317.6B in benefits. Results: a real surplus of $17.4B. However, when intra-Gov interest and contributions trx-fers are included, the SS Trust had a surplus of $56.8B. The Gov then issued to itself $56.8B in bonds for that Trust. The real surplus, $17.4B, was used in other expenditures in the annual budget. The problem: spending the actual cash surplus on general expenditures while writing you an IOU does not constitute a meaningful investment.
    In the future more will be spent on Medicare/SS than is taken in. Reason should say we should be able to tap into our surplus Trust with the shortfall. If our Trusts had real value this would be true, but they just contain IOUs and are thus worthless, they spent the money. Our leaders do a disservice with this deception.

    Revenue from premiums is the driver for natl. health insurance.

  24. There was a debate?

  25. No, just a media frenzy, trying to sell more newspapers. You know they have to make a living too.

  26. So as RCD says, you can pretty much assume we’re screwed.

  27. And, you can write it all off as the natural demise of democracy. If the politicians tell the masses long enough “Hey, I really can give you something for nothing”, sooner or later the masses will take the bait.

    “We the people” are far dumber than the average individual that makes up our ranks. Our constitution was well done, but there is no way effective way to legislate against this little problem.

    But the Republicans were doomed to loose this one anyway, because this is one place where Rand was right on. The Right cannot, at heart, reject the philosophical foundations of the Left.

    “Everybody has a right to health care.” So says the Left.

    How many Republicans have stood up and called this assumption out on the mat?

    1. Not a Republican, but look at the hate saying that has earned Mackey. Do you think there’s many a SEnator who will stand up to that vitriol?

  28. “Republican Senators began to rapidly move toward concessions on health care because they are afraid they cannot hold their members.”

    Am I the only one who chortled at this? It’s at least a low-level Anguished English entry.

  29. Red State: “… Republican Senators began to rapidly move toward concessions on health care because they are afraid they cannot hold their members.”

    Bob Dole doesn’t need to hold his member anymore.

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  31. Taegan Goddard was wrong about something. How about that.

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