Back to Budget Reconcilation

The bi-partisan healthcare summit was a bust. Surprise, surprise, surprise. After all — the point of the summit wasn’t to exchange ideas, or to craft a real bill. The point was another photo op that got healthcare back on the front page — precisely whatthe President wants. In case you missed it, Senator Frist had a great op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning talking about the implications of using budget reconcilation in the Senate to pass this bill. Worth reading. I again urge Republicans to split insurance reform from so called healthcare reform. Insurance reform is a slam dunk. American’s want insurance reform. The Republicans have a great opportunity to fill the leadership gap and to produce a bill that the Dems will be hard pressed not to support. The Dems will argue that it doesn’t go far enough and therefore they can’t support the bill, yet with a proper public relations campaign the American public will quickly see that the provisions that the public wants are now being endorsed by the Republicans and blocked by the Democrats. The bottom line problem with the summit is that the Dems want social reform. The Reps want healthcare reform. …

A Great Campaign Speech

It’s easy to forget how good a communicator we have in the White House. 90% of what he asked for this evening he can easily have. Yet he insists on the public option – “I won’t back down – consumers must have a choice”. He uses Alabama as the example where one insurance company has a 90% market share. So apparently because of the state of Alabama, the US government needs to be in the insurance business? That’s the logic employed. And he assures everyone that the plan must stand financially on its own, without government subsidy. And who will blindly believe that? A couple of times in his talk someone on the Republican side became quite vocal. You could see the distain on Pelosi’s face – how dare you? The bottom line is that outside of a bone thrown to Republicans about some demonstration project that Obama will let go forward to try to rein in medical malpractice costs, nothing else was new. This was a well oiled campaign speech. Nothing has changed since the first speech and I see little that either side can rally around, except for the mountain high experience of being in the chamber with …

President Speaks Tonight

Tonight the President speaks to Congress and to the nation in his latest attempt to sell healthcare reform. While thinking about the upcoming speech and writing my morning email to my research clients, I decided that this web site needs to have a more meaningful discussion of healthcare policy in the U.S.  I provide regular commentary to my clients but I haven’t used this site to more broadly broadcast my thoughts.  I will be more active in this regard going forward. Tonight’s speech will be pivotal.  Either the President will repeat the same campaign speech, or he has the opportunity to come to grips with what I believe is the political reality and use his muscle to get the more liberal side of the Congress to accept a lesser reform. I believe that if he reiterates his desire for a public option and then tries to rally everyone around that concept, the speech is DOA and all the current bills will fail to pass. If he says he would prefer a public option but will accept co-ops with a trigger, then the speech might move him from a 0% chance to a 20% chance of success — but in the …