9.02.2009

Obama's "Deal-Breakers" Don't Sound Like Deal-Breakers At All

I just read President Obama's trial balloon in Marc Ambinder’s piece, “Something New On Health Care: Deal-Breakers From The President.”

I found the title interesting because nothing Ambinder reports that comes close to the president saying something is or isn’t a “deal breaker.”

"He plans to list specific goals that any health insurance reform plan that arrives at his desk must achieve, according to Democratic strategists familiar with the plan."
There are “specific goals" and things that the bill “must achieve?”

Specific goals? You're still taking about specific goals, Mr. President?
“He will insist upon a mechanism to cut costs and increase competition among insurance companies – and perhaps will even specify a percentage rate – and he will say that his preferred mechanism remains a government-subsidized public health insurance option, but he will remain agnostic about whether the plan must include a robust public option…”
Let me see if I understood this reporting correctly.

The President will list “specific goals” and what a bill he signs “must achieve” through some sort of “mechanism,” the preferred mechanism of which being a public option?

I hate to break it to you, Mr. President, but you’ve already said all this. For months now.

There’s nothing new or anything resembling a deal breaker. There are no lines in the sand nor any real details. Just goals and preferred mechanisms.

We already know what your goals are, Mr. President, and what the bill would need to ultimately do, what is lacking is what you expect to be in the bill to achieve those goals, and it sounds like you’re planning on leaving out those specifics once again.
"The White House hopes the specifics will be specific enough to gradually soothe the concerns of the Democratic caucus."
Specific enough? Wow. Talk about fear of commitment. Way to hedge you bets, Mr. President. Is that what your definition of leadership is? Specific enough?

The worst part of all in this trial balloon of yours?

You still can’t come out and emphatically say that you expect a strong public option in any bill you sign.
"...he will say that his preferred mechanism remains a government-subsidized public health insurance option, but he will remain agnostic about whether the plan must include a robust public option…
That's about the only specific detail about you plans that is now clear. The Public Option -- the only mechanism that would actually force big insurance to change their practices and lower the cost of health care insurance for everyone -- isn't a priority of yours even after all the hoopla of.

Some deal-breaker.

This health care reform process would be laughable at this point if it was so pathetic.

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