Reid's Risky Public Plan Strategy


What are the risks involved in

Harry Reid is very concerned.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's decision to push forward with a government-run health-care plan? Politico explains:

The move amounted to a major gamble by the Nevada Democrat, who is betting that he can sway the last few moderates onto his plan for a public option that would allow states to opt out by 2014.

But at the same time, Democratic Senate aides expressed worries that Reid was going too far, too fast with a strategy that allows no room for error.

And Reid's move Monday seemed at odds with President Barack Obama, who has expressed a preference for pursuing a compromise that could win a filibuster-proof majority and some bipartisan support. But by all accounts, Reid has neither at this point.

Why would the normally-cautious Reid make such a risky play? Time's Karen Tumulty offers one possibility:

Reid himself also faces what could be a difficult re-election in 2010, which could be one of the factors driving him in favor of giving the public option a shot on the Senate floor. "This is all about his home-state politics," said one senior Democratic Senate aide. "This gets the left off his back." If he can't manage to get the public option past a filibuster, Reid could at least tell the liberals in his party that he gave it his best effort.

Reid, of course, was also under substantial pressure from the liberal wing of his party to go in this direction. And now that pressure has shifted focus to the White House:

"I hope the president speaks out strongly for the public option — this health care bill really becomes his at this point," said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), one of about 30 Democrats who have pressured Reid to back the controversial option.

"[Reid] took the temperature of his caucus and found that he had to go with the public option," added Brown. "And now it's the president's turn. … He needs to speak out strongly on a number of issues … affordability … the subsidy question — really on the whole package."

NEXT: Reason Morning Links: Senate Takes Up Public Option, Bush Speaks, Apology for "Driving While Speaking Spanish" Tickets

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  1. “And now it’s the president’s turn. … He needs to speak out strongly on a number of issues … affordability … the subsidy question ? really on the whole package.”

    Whaaat? The Obama doesn’t take stands with details and stuff. All that is below his pay grade. He gets on prime time television and bad mouths the evil insurance jugernauts who stand the way of his unicorn-riding hordes.

    1. lol – nicely done.

  2. Nonsense about the political reasons…

    This is what happens when Democrats put themselves in a locked room and don’t let in opposing views. I would expect nothing less. Sorta like when Republicans get in a locked room and decide there’s some country they want to invade.

    1. Didn’t most of the Democrats vote for those invasions in the end? Do you think most Republicans will vote for this health takeover bill?

      1. Didn’t most of the Democrats vote for those invasions in the end?

        Not in Imagination Land.

  3. Yo, fuck the temperature of Reid’s caucus.

  4. this health care bill really becomes his at this point

    Oh no it doesn’t!

  5. That’s nice. What a shame that Reid doesn’t have the votes.

  6. Regardless, it was fun watching Olbermann congratulate Chuck Schumer last night on his “victory.” Increasingly desperate lefty straw-clutching is sooo entertaining…it’s like watching a fat person slip on a banana peel. Repeatedly.

    1. You can stomach Olbermann? I take my hat of to you.

      1. Very short doses, followed by a scalding shower.

        1. Be careful — poison, even if very short doses, can be fatal.

          1. Or at least unpredictable. It turned Rachel Maddow into a man.

  7. I find it pretty amazing that Dems have the White House and Congress and have yet to pass any significant legislation.

    “Democrats, we are more useless than a limp dildo.”

    1. $700B stimulus act?

      1. That would have been passed under the Bush administration too (as TARP did). In fact, it would probably have been easier to pass with Bush in the WH, ironically.

    2. Raising the minimum wage high enough to cause nearly 10% unemployment?

      Passing legislation to pay people to destroy working cars?

      And so on.

      Ohh, they’ve done plenty.

  8. So if this blows up in Reid’s face, we could potentially end up with no health care bill and Reid losing the election? Sweeet! Talk about a win-win situation.

  9. I find it pretty amazing that Dems have the White House and Congress and have yet to pass any significant legislation.

    They passed the stimulus, which I’d call significant. I wouldn’t argue with your assessment, though.

    1. Stimulus, what stimulus? I don’t feel no stimulus. I get more stimulated by Warty after one his two day benders!

      1. Man, the only time I was less stimulated was when I bought a quadriplegic prostitute.

  10. The pressure should now be applied to Nelson, Lincoln, and Landrieu. If we can get even one of them to stand up against this nonsense, we can save our health care system.

    If not, you’d better marry into a family with a physician. It might be the only chance you’ll have of getting a doctor in the future.

    1. Might be a long waiting list for that option though.

  11. Burn, Harry, BURN.

  12. It seems now all they have to work out is how to avoid blame when it fails. The progressives want the control, terribly, but they know it’s going to suck in practice, so the only problem left is how to obscure blame.

    1. I’m starting to think that the leaders (not the rank and file) pushing this know absolutely what a runaway budget busting clusterfuck this is going to be and are deliberately trying to scuttle it while maintaining the fiction that the reason it’s losing is because of the obstructionist Republicans.

      They push it because appearing to be doing something to get some people some free stuff is a good way to buy votes but they want it to lose because onece its reality if either budget deficits and overruns or rationing and waiting lists sinks in the political crucifictions will begin.

      No, better to keep making promises and blame the opposition when they fail.

      1. I wish you were right, but I bet the Democrats pushing this think it will really work, in the way the New Deal worked. Sure, writers and readers of Reason and National Review all think the New Deal was a failure, but everybody else, like 95% of the populace, is trained in school to love FDR and think the New Deal saved the world. In 50 years every school kid will be likely be typing up essays entitled “Obama and the Triumph over Health Inequality.”

      2. The other thing is, after a few years many people will come to rely psychologically on government health care. Look at how people love Social Security, even though most people are clever and/or responsible enough to invest their money more profitably. National health care will put us all on the dole, and once you are on the dole, it is scary to leave.

        1. Especially if your riding reverse cowboy. Thanks Viagra!

          1. You owe me a new colander to replace the one I just vomited in.

            1. No vomiting and sex, Tulpa. That’s obscene.

      3. Well, I hope you’re right, but I don’t share your confidence. I really think these guys think they can make it work. They live in the land of “how the world should work if everybody just did what we want them to” not the world of how it is.

        I they thought they could pass a law to change the weather, they’d do that too. Oh wait… I guess they’re trying that one also.

        1. “If” they thought…

        2. No kidding.
          You know what is going on here at the U of A? They encourage the students (at least in archetecture and engineering), to focus their term projects on shit like green energy, and “sustainability”. So our architecture students waste their time fucking around with solar panels instead of learning how to devise something that’s actually going to sell in the world market.

          It’s like they think that if they only teach the engineers to make solar panels that will make ONLY SOLAR PANELS available as an energy supply. Change the world by denying people knowledge of other options.

          What will happen is that people like the Chinese, who are not merely as enamoured of this bullshit, will go right ahead learning how to build things that people are actually willing to pay for voluntarily. So teh next generation of technology will be devised by Chinese engineers, while the American kids sit by their windmills wondering why they have a shit dead-end job with a measly paycheck.

      4. This is their wet dream. They WANT it, and are frustrated that they can’t get to 60 votes, no matter how they structure it.

        I suspect they’re gonna pass something labeled “health care reform”, even if it doesn’t do anything substantial, and declare victory.

  13. LOL, that dude just LOOKS like he is corrupt as the day is long. Scary!


  14. I truly don’t get why the Left is pushing for socialized health care so hard.

    If they want it that badly, they can move to a number of other places that have it.

    Get out and go pursue your dream, you morons.

    1. Because they are fascistic totalitarians who can’t stand freedom want to control every aspect of everyone else’s life.

    2. I often think this myself, but I suppose many of the lefties don’t want to leave their friends and families, and perhaps honestly think they are doing everyone a favor by creating a new Scandinavia/France/Soviet Union/wherever here in the USA.

    3. Because the more people that are dependent on the government, the more control they have, and the more they have a bought and paid for base to keep them in power.

  15. I expect the option to opt out of the public plan will end upworking the same way as opting out of public schools. Be ready to pay for the services you want in addition to the services someone else wants.

    1. Exactly, bigbig. There is no question the public option will be taxpayer subsidized. There is equally no question that taxpayers in opt-out states will not get a tax credit to go with their opt-out.

  16. 60 Minutes did a great report on Medicare fraud this past Sunday. Among other things, the report noted that Medicare fraud was now more common in South Florida than the drug trade.

    Medicare fraud amounts to $60 billion dollars a year. That is one heck of a lot of money. In fact, Medicare loses seven times as much money in fraud every year than the combined profits of the 14 health insurance companies on the Fortune 500. Medicare currently covers 46 million people. How much more money will be lost to fraud when an additional 88 million people are dumped off of employer health insurance rolls in favor of a public option?

    And remember, one of the primary reasons that the public option is supposedly better than private insurance is low administrative costs. Well, a major reason why private insurance has higher administrative costs is that, unlike the federal government, they make a genuine effort to combat fraud.


  17. The public plan is pitched as if it would simply encourage competition and provide another choice for consumers. But a government-run plan is not just another plan, offering just another choice. It is designed to undercut private insurance.
    A government-run plan is dangerous for three reasons: One, it would be cheaper for employers to stop offering private insurance and [instead] funnel their employees into the government-run plan….Two, the government-run plan would use the coercive force of government to dictate the prices that could be charged by others ? by doctors, nurses, and hospitals ? in a way that private entities cannot. Three, the government-run plan would be subsidized by American taxpayers, while private plans are not.

    Let no one be deceived into thinking that Congress would not subsidize the government-run plan. Once in place, Congress would favor it with all kinds of innovative provisions….HR 3200, for example, would offer low-income subsidies ? but only for those who choose the government-run plan.

    Financial subsidies for a public plan…would be financed…by taxpayers in all fifty states. States would not be allowed to opt out of having their residents pay these federal taxes. They would only be allowed to opt out of receiving their share of the federal subsidies….What state legislator would vote to do that?

    The state “opt-in” is a transparently false choice.

  18. Reid looks like Droopy in that picture, and that is hilarious.

  19. Turns out, doctor’s don’t even like Medicare, and some are opting out of accepting walk-in medicare patients because of low reimbursements that are to get lower in 2010. So low, the doctors would operate at a loss.

    So much for MNG et al.’s theories.


  20. The public option is dead; Lieberman has announced he’ll support a fillibuster to defeat it.

  21. Yep, it’s dead, Jim. There’s a chance it might not even get a simple majority; Reid wasted a whole lot of time for nothing.

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