Monday, February 22, 2010

President Obama's Health Care Proposal

The promised proposal from President Obama for overcoming the health care reform debacle was posted on the White House web site at 10 am EST, Monday. See also here.

The New York Times has the beginnings of an analysis that looks like it will be expanded as the day goes on. Huffington Post has a bit more. So, too, does TPM.

The early, very bad news: There is no public option, only a national nation-wide insurance exchange. (Hilariously, an Obama spokesperson continues to claim the president "supports" a public option. Apparently, his support is a lot like Tiger Woods' support of his marital vows. Fine to talk about, not much for actual practice.)

The mildly good news: Although Obama apparently is prepared to adopt the Republicans' proposal that insurance corporations be allowed to market their products across state boundaries (thus freeing corporate health insurers from the very small number of states that have consumer-friendly insurance regulation standards) he is proposing a new mechanism to empower federal authorities to reject "unjustified" rate increases in cross-state boundary sales.

We're not happy with Obama's grostesque mishandling of the health care reform thing. Much less do we have any respect for the Senate's incoherent mish-mash. But the longer this ugly process draws out, the more we feel ourselves slowly giving into to hunger for something -- anything, even a 'quarter of a loaf' -- to protect those too young for Medicare from the coming avalanche of corporate health insurance rate hikes.

If the Repubican nay-sayers have anything more effective to offer the average American, now would be the time. If they don't, of course, then they won't. That leaves Obama's less-than-satisfactory the only realistic game in town.

Dept. of Further Amplification
02-22 pm
The reliable Wonk Room has more details in an easy-read chart format. Very helpful. The New Republic also has a narrative run-down on the compromises and the Republican points incorporated in the new slightly revised plan.

Ezra Klein, as close as you're going to get to a liberal who's a true fan of the Senate plan, thinks now that Obama has stepped forward, at last, and put his presidential seal on a plan -- any plan -- "bipartisanship is unlikely to take root at Thursday's summit." The reason? Klein says:
According to data gathered by the political scientist Frances Lee, when the president—not this president in particular but any president—decides to take a position on an issue, the chances of a party-line vote skyrocket.
Ergo --
The more that health-care reform is associated with the president, the less likely it is that any Republican will support it.
edited with strike-out 2-22 pm

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