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Monday, July 27, 2009

Current Health Care Reform is a Political Cancer

There are all sorts of things that one can learn by having a statcounter on their web site. For instance, after I published this piece in which I listed the page numbers along with some of the most insidious portions of the House health care bill, I received an interesting set of hits from google searches. Almost immediately, I got an enormous amount of hits with the search term (page 425 health care bill). Page 425 creates "advanced care planning consultation" and thereby sets regulations for treating those near death. In other words, it rations the care of those near death. Then, there's page 268 where the government regulates the purchase and rental of electric wheel chairs. Page 272 is where care for cancer patients is rationed. These are just a handful of over 1000 pages in this bill.

I bring this up because most people still don't know what is specifically in the bill but they are starting to find out. Imagine the uproar when the media starts to actually do a few reports on pages 425-430 of this bill. The bill is being rejected by the public and they still haven't heard details about it. The details are worse, much worse, than even the summaries and analysis so far.

Already, the only thing that has really happened in the debate over health care is to put on display the massive schism that exists in the Democratic party. Does anyone really believe that having Blue Dogs come on television to trash their leadership's legislation while proclaiming they haven't been treated honestly helps the party? Does anyone really believe that Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman threatening to by pass committees helps anyone in the Democratic party?

The latest dust up involves Pete Orszag proclaiming that the CBO wasn't measuring the bill in a holistic way when they determined that IMAC (the Independent Medical Advisory Council). Now, is it really a wise political strategy for the White House' top accountant to take on the top accountant in the nation?

Worse yet for the White House, as things have fallen apart, the president has only doubled down on the health care bill. He has been talking about it non stop for almost two weeks. (with a small break to handle his gaffe about Professor Gates) He's doubled down on a bill no one likes and has no hope of passing.

Again, keep in mind that the analysis of what's actually in the bill has only just started. Soon, we'll stop talking about rationing as a theoretical concept and point to page 425 where health care for the elderly is actually rationed.

If you were to draw up a political disaster, you really couldn't draw it up any better, or worse depending on your perspective. The party is fighting itself. They are fighting independent auditors that have reputations far better than them. The public doesn't like the bill. The bill is awful, and sunshine is only just beginning to be lit. Yet, the once popular president has decided to expend the maximum amount of political capital on this dying and very unpopular bill.

In the next couple weeks, we're going to stop analyzing just how bad this bill is because it will soon be overkill. Then, we'll analyze just how bad the damage is to the Democratic party. It's nothing short of a political cancer. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, President Obama, Henry Waxman, and Max Baucus have all had their political reputations tarnished significantly and permanently by this whole fiasco. The party is fighting itself. They are trying to steamroll a bad bill no one likes on their caucus and the country. Worse yet, even though they are determined to use every underhanded and dirty trick they can think of, they will FAIL. They are all staking their political reputations behind a bad bill, a bill everyone hates, and a bill that won't pass.

I surmised about a week ago that the president should scrap this effort and start anew. Instead, he is determined to move forward full steam ahead. That's simply the equivalent of staying on the beach even after you experience sun burn. There is no good that can come of this. He can only continue to damage his reputation, lose credibility, lose favorability, and lose precious political capital he'll need for the next fight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its basically like Obama wants to create one giant HMO.

He really should have pushed for single-payer. At least then he'd only have people denouncing him as a communist, rather than people denouncing him as a communist AND for writing a terrible bill.