Is the Health Care Deal Real?


Yesterday, I wrote that "the more I read about the [recently announced health care reform] deal, the less I think that's the right way to describe it. With so many factors left uncertain, and the support of so many key players still up in the air, it's more like a hope for a deal, and a show of confidence that reform advocates think might create an air of inevitability." National Review's Robert Costa lends some supporting evidence to this notion:

A senior Senate aide tells us that [reports of a deal were] fueled by a lot of "disinformation" from Reid.

"There is no deal yet and we're nowhere near one," says the aide. "Reid is leading a psych-ops campaign out of his leadership office to make people believe there is a deal. Here's the real story: When Reid came out of conference, only options emerged, not a consensus. Instead of acknowledging this, he's trying to create a sense of inevitability."

"There are still two major problems for Reid," says the aide. "One is the potential trigger in the Office of Personnel Management expansion. That would be a non-starter with at least one member. Two, Reid has problems with his Medicare buy-in idea, since it has not been fully defined to all members. We don't know whether it will be a temporary program or a permanent Medicare buy-in program. And if premiums can't sustain the program, will taxpayers be liable? No one knows."

Obviously, this isn't proof positive: We don't know who the aide is, or even what party the aide works for. And presumably the aide is pushing an agenda of his or her own. But it tracks with the fishy way this supposed deal has been presented so far: Seems like if Democrats actually had a solid deal, they would announce details, and it would be clear that the deal had produced the desired support for the bill — which is, after all, the whole point of making a deal. But so far, specifics remain somewhat vague, and it's not known whether the deal will actually bring 60 Senators on board. So while it's certainly possible that the Senate's most recent bargain (or something close) will end up being what it goes with, I think there's good reason to be skeptical that any of this is even close to final.

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  1. You’re unpredictable, Harry. You run when you ought to fight. You fight when you ought to deal. Makes a lobbyist a bit twitchy.

  2. Seems like if Democrats actually had a solid deal, they would announce details…

    You’re following the events too closely to see the story.

    They’ve buried all the votes on weekends. They slogan-blitzed months ahead of any bill’s being considered, then gradually STFU (as far as the average news consumer knows) as the legislation took shape. Coverage of what they’re doing sinks polls. Disapproval just hit 60%, on news of…nothing. The vaguely approaching whatever.

    Cover of darkness, until it’s done. One-day victory dance, then silence through 2010. Keep it off the TV, save a few seats.

    1. I hope you’re right.

      I hope the Unknown Congressional Aid is also right. Otherwise we really will have become these Great Stagnant United States of Europe.

  3. Earth to Peter Suderman

    We true believers down here are hanging on every word you utter about this issue, Peter, so thanks for keeping us posted. Roger and out.

    1. This can’t be Edward. There’s not enough rageahol.

  4. A lot of words to say we still don’t know what the fuck is going on.

  5. Agreed. They were basically saying “we have a deal, but we don’t know what’s in it yet.”

    Which is not a deal.

    The other thing I’ve noticed is that the deal keeps getting more complicated every day. Clearly a plan designed by a committee without a leader.

  6. Dingy Harry will announce the precise terms of the deal once the Senate passes it in the dead of night with no advance warning. Right now he (and Obama) has to meet the prices of 60 Senators. Every Senator has his price. We just might not know what was paid (or promised) until much later.

    My own prediction – they will pass it, and the “price” met by Obama will be Federal Judgeships for Senators and Congresscritters that lose their seats over it.

    1. If they’re willing to lose their seats For Our Good, they clearly are the the people we most want in lifetime positions of power. Know you place, peon. 🙂

  7. I hate to say it, but there will be legislation for Obama to sign before Santa can come down your chimney and lob a lump of coal at all of you for wanting 40 million Americans to die each day from lack of healthcare coverage (or 40 million to go uninsured, I forget the statistic).

    Never underestimate the how easily and expensively (for you) a senator’s vote can be bought.

    1. I doubt it. Even if the Senate passes something by Christmas, its still got to go through conference committee and get final approval.

      1. Then it has to go back to the house for another vote, No?

  8. Why are we still calling this sham “health care?” It’s just another business grab by government.

    1. We really need to come up with a better name for this. It’s more like Zen Health Care — It’s Free Without being Free.

  9. And if premiums can’t sustain the program, will taxpayers be liable? No one knows.

    I know.

  10. Ok, one more time. When every MSM outlet is saying the same thing, and saying it loudly, like this fake deal, it is bullshit. How some people can still be fooled by this tactic baffles me.

  11. or even what party the aide works for.


  12. “There are still two major problems for Reid,”

    Oh noes, Harry! Gynecomastia!

    His tailor hides it well.

  13. “And if premiums can’t sustain the program”?

    If I could do the strike through thingy, I would change the “if” to “when”…

  14. What? No deal yet? I mean, can’t they just find a few hundred million for Maine lobstermen? Surely Landrieu isn’t the only bribeable Senator. Actually, I’m surprised Sen. Casey hasn’t held out on the abortion funding issue before succumbing to a couple hundred million more to study how to clean up abandoned anthracite coal mines.

  15. Medicare buy-in hasn’t been costed out yet. CBO could still put a hole in it below the waterline. My guess is, right now they’re trying to figure out how to trick it up so it gets a good CBO score. They will, of course, go back later and take out the restrictions they put in for CBO.

  16. ‘. . . I’m surprised Sen. Casey hasn’t held out on the abortion funding issue before succumbing to a couple hundred million more to study how to clean up abandoned anthracite coal mines

    You may want to focus on Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) rather than Casey. He co-sponsored the prolife amendment the Senate just tabled, and he’s threatened a filibuster if the Senate bill funds elective abortion.

    What are the chances that the Senate leadership will try to buy him off by taking abortion out of the bill? Slim to none, I’d say. I mean, it’s one thing to buy a Senator’s support with a standard bribe to his constituents out of the public treasury, but it’s another thing to compromise on such an essential issue as subsidized abortions.

    As Senator Boxer put it, if men get federal assistance in obtaining Viagra, women should get federal assistance in getting abortions.* Because Viagra is something only men want, and abortion is a woman’s issue.**

    Imagine a middle-aged guy approaching his wife and saying, ‘look, honey – I took some Viagra and see what it’s done!’ His wife would simply sigh and say, ‘heavens, honey, you know that as a woman I couldn’t care less about your potency. I can’t even imagine why a woman should care about such things – it’s strictly a men’s issue.’

    *Disclaimer: I don’t believe the federal government should be funding Viagra *or* abortions.

    **Though lots of men in the 18-30 age bracket seem to support abortion – they must be a bunch of feminists. And lots of women are involved in the prolife movement – often in leadership positions. They must suffer from false consciousness.

  17. Overheard at a curry restaurant in Richmond, VA, from two women with English accents. Some paraphrasing for brevity and clarity, and limitations of my memory.

    Older Woman: I’d like to shoot the person who invented this thing [presumably her cervical collar aka neck brace].

    Younger Woman: Well Mother, if you were back in England you’d have left in a wheelchair, or been paralyzed. I can’t believe all the people here who want socialized medicine. If they actually went to England and saw how primitive the care was compared to here…

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