As someone who pays for their own health care, I have every right to be dubious of any and all health care plans on the table. Unlike the California customers of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, my BCBS provider is holding their fire on their annual 30% hike on my plan at least for now. But “thank you” Anthem. You gave health care reform that shot in the arm to show the rest of the country what those of us who pay from our own shrinking pockets have to deal with out here. Who can grow a business when the boss can’t afford her or his own health care plan?
Thursday, February 25 the President hosts the “bipartisan” health care summit “in good faith” with Democrats and Republicans. It will be broadcast live on C SPAN. For good measure, the Republicans (who asked for this kind of meeting before they were against) are on board by launching their own “Weekly” yesterday with Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI). After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Camp and his colleagues are asking for a do-over, siting a 1,000+ page bill (a very powerful visual image for the average American to digest) is just overwhelming policy making. For me this is like the 10th grade English class, where students and some slacker teacher complain that books over 200 pages were too long to read and teach. Plus, both parties had 16 years to do something about health care policy as overhaul or in significant increments. For the most part, they did nothing.
When this health care discussion started, the President submitted “guiding principles” to the Congress. I suppose the White House now knows “principles” just isn’t the Congress’ style. So this time the President will have a plan on the table that I assume can be read in one sitting. (Note for 2/22: this link has been updated with the new site launched today on whitehouse.gov) The Democrats haven’t been as aggressive in pushing policy through out in the open as today’s Republicans do without apology about the how or the why. If there’s any backroom dealing, it’s probably because Democrats don’t have the spunk to claim majority rule, or the time for skirmishes that Republicans have a talent for transforming into major battles over a few choice words. I would like to put out there that Democrats in power sometimes do possess a knack for being an “in-crowd” until it’s time for an election or to raise money. It’s hard to decide which is worst: the mean girl or the bully.
But I was always taught to work with what you have until you can do or get something better.
I’d like to know what magic can turn citizens against their own best interests to defend the interests of corporations and insurance companies that suck their blood or spit them out at their choosing.
It is interesting to note 19 Senators so far have signed on to a letter being circulated by Senator Michael Bennett (D-CO) on a reconciliation around public option. One of the 19 includes PA Senator Arlen Specter. I suspect he’s reading the tea leaves. Reconciliation needs 51 votes to pass; not the magic 60.
The President doesn’t want any political theater at the summit. The politicos aren’t expecting break through moments for policy, the Democrats may nod in agreement a few times with Republicans, and Republicans will do their best not to come off as obstinate bastards. Let’s face it. This may not be political theater, but it will probably be the closest we get to a political reality show. The one who wins is the one who controls the message. Let’s see who leaves the island first.