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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Are The Gang Of Six Wasting Their Time On Obamacare

Story after story in the mainstream media are hailing moderates and centrists and their long meetings trying to hash out details of Obamacare, with two major Democratic provisions, the "public option" aka government run healthcare and employer mandated coverage being weeded out.

"Key Democratic provisions fading fast"

Bipartisan negotiations on the Senate Finance Committee are moving closer to eliminating two health care provisions favored by many Democrats – a mandate on employers to provide insurance or pay a penalty, and a government insurance option, a senator and health care insiders said Monday.

That could bring even greater pressure on Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who has been challenged by more liberal senators who say he is sacrificing key Democratic priorities on health care reform to win the votes of a few Republicans.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) confirmed that the three Republicans and three Democrats negotiating the Senate Finance bill are moving away from a broad-based mandate that would force employers to offer insurance. The senators instead are leaning toward a “free rider” provision that requires employers to pay for employees who receive coverage through Medicaid or who receive new government subsidies to purchase insurance through an exchange.

"House inches forward; Senate may scrap public option"

Meanwhile, the AP reported Monday night that the Senate Finance Committee is close to striking a bipartisan compromise that does not include a so-called public option, a top priority of President Obama and House Democratic leaders. AP also reported that the Senate committee will not call for an employer healthcare mandate, which is included in the House measure.

"Health Policy Now Carved Out at a More Centrist Table"

Still, if the three Democrats and three Republicans can pull off a grand bargain, it will have to be more conservative than the measures proposed by the House or the left-leaning Senate health committee. And that could force Mr. Obama to choose between backing the bipartisan deal or rank-and-file Democrats who want a bill that more closely reflects their liberal ideals.

Already, the group of six has tossed aside the idea of a government-run insurance plan that would compete with private insurers, which the president supports but Republicans said was a deal-breaker.

Instead, they are proposing a network of private, nonprofit cooperatives.

They have also dismissed the House Democratic plan to pay for the bill’s roughly $1 trillion, 10-year cost partly with an income surtax on high earners.

The liberal blogs are seething, how dare them compromise, even some of the conservative blogs are saying "there may be hope," but does it really matter what the gang of six, the three Democrats and three Republicans in the Senate Finance Committee, do or come up with?

Does it matter if Obamacare, once sliced and diced of the more atrocious aspects, comes out of committee in such a way that it can garner bipartisan support?

Nope and that is because one person, one of the most unpopular, mistrusted and disliked politicians, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, is insisting Obamacare will not get passed the House without the public option.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed snags in Senate health care reform negotiations and insisted Thursday the House will pass a bill that includes a government run health care option to compete with private insurers.

"I have every confidence that we will have a public option coming out of the House of Representatives," Pelosi said at her weekly press conference.

What people keep forgetting is that whatever compromise comes out of the "gang of six" on the Senate Finance Committee, whatever eventually garners a bipartisan vote in the Senate to pass, must go back to the House (Pelosi) and they will simply shove everything back into the bill which will leave the Senate right back where it started before the public "show" of sitting down and hashing everything out.

This whole show is nothing more than a way to provide cover to moderates when they go home for their August vacation, so their constituents don't tear them limb from limb (figuratively) for supporting a plan with a trillion dollar price tag which would put the government in charge of their medical health and medical decisions.

Do not let them snowball you, continue to contact your Representatives and Senators, make it clear to them how you feel and what their chances of reelection will be if they allow Pelosi to negate any work the Senate Finance Committee is doing right now.