Barack Obama has larger problems than blogs in selling cave

Bloggers may make for an effective bogeyman for the administration:  people misunderstood enough to be marginalized. But bloggers aren't the biggest problem for Rahm Emanuel's strategy of passing something...anything, in fact they aren't even the biggest problem online.

If anything, progressive blogs have been overly accommodating by creating a discussion-heavy atmosphere over the disagreements between Democrats. The administration should be relived that bloggers opposing the bill have largely taken such an approach. Because the bloggers opposing the bill have by and large shown far more of a willingness to get their hands dirty and fight with every tool available. From fundraising to message to organizing, I can't imagine anyone would rather go into a political fight with the bloggers supporting anything than the bloggers fighting to make the bill better. I mean, Fred Hiatt didn't bring on Ezra Klein because of all he'd done to elect Democrats.

But bloggers aren't the main problem, not even online.

If there is anything keeping up at night administration online folks like Macon Phillips and Jesse Lee, it is email...

Moveon has a list about the size of the population of Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson's states -- combined. And they're using their giant list with a call to block the bill.

Democracy for America founder Howard Dean may be all over the teevee (including Meet the Press tomorrow morning), but DFA is using their huge list for a Dr. Dean Speaks for Me campaign to solidify support behind the former DNC Chair.

Credo Action has a new campaign saying Bernie Sanders can be a progressive hero by stopping the sellout.

Fire Dog Lake is a new triple threat, with constant blog messaging plus a large email list plus Jane Hamsher rocking on teevee.

Progressive Change Campaign Committee also has a growing list (and impressive fundraising track record) and used some of their money with DFA for the first research on the cave, showing devastating poll numbers for the new senate bill.

All five of these organizations are successful, broad-based, movement organizations. And all five are sending emails with very convincing messaging to very large lists.

In addition, soon we will have silo organizations using their lists against the senate cave. It appears the National Organization for Women (NOW), NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Planned Parenthood will all be going into over-drive to stop Democrats from dismantling choice in a way Republicans have only dreamed.

Next up, could be the organizations who had hoped to pass legislation under Obama. The ownership of the senate by Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson bodes very poorly for unions hoping to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. Even worse if it can't even get a calendar date until after Democrats lose a bunch of seats due to passing the senate bill.

Environmental organizations hopefully weren't exclusively focused on Copenhagen last week otherwise they would have seen the failure to stand up to conservatives likewise bodes poorly for any climate legislation and they'll be under the gun to pass something before the midterm retribution for this bill.

Sure, the blogs may be a good leading indicator of the shift in public opinion among the base, but they are far from the problem when it comes to Obama's health care mistakes.

Tags: Barack Obama, bloggers, blogs, Credo Action, Democracy for America, email, Fire Dog Lake, meta, MoveOn, progressive change campaign committee, rahm emanuel (all tags)



Re: Barack Obama has larger problems

It appears the National Organization for Women (NOW), NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Planned Parenthood will all be going into over-drive to stop Democrats from dismantling choice in a way Republicans have only dreamed.

Just wondering... are there any anti-choice organizations that support this bill?

by Steve M 2009-12-19 11:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama has larger problems

those are the big three. EMILY's List is more electoral than advocacy but I can't imagine they are happy (although they are in a really awkward situation).

by Bob Brigham 2009-12-19 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama has larger problems


by Steve M 2009-12-19 12:04PM | 0 recs

The bill is getting support from some Catholic groups, but I'd be very surprised to see any single-issue, anti-choice group come out in support.

by Bob Brigham 2009-12-19 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: whoops

Not "some Catholic groups" - the Council of Archbishops.  This is probably the most conservative group of Catholics you're likely to find anywhere.  Even Archbishop Chaput of the Archdiocese of Denver now supports this bill.

Interestingly, in their statment of support the Council of Archbishops says that Health Care is a right not a privilege and that all people, regardless of immigration status are entitled to Health Care.  This is considerably to the left of the country in general and to a good number of Democrats as well.  It is only on abortion that they are more conservative on this issue.

Still, the number of Catholic Republican Senators who will be voting for this bill:  0.

by the mollusk 2009-12-19 05:50PM | 0 recs
no, but that's political

The anti-choice groups aren't going to support this bill because they depend on Republican donors for the most part. That doesn't mean they're not getting a huge gift with this bill.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-19 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: no, but that's political

Unless it doesn't pass, of course.  Very odd to see every single anti-choice group fail to support what Bob characterizes as the greatest anti-choice victory in history.

by Steve M 2009-12-19 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: no, but that's political

Anti-Choice groups are more about electing Republicans than making abortion illegal. Did they make a push when Bush had both houses to pass anything or did they focus on raising money and GOTV?

I really believe that the pro-choice groups' opposition is far better sources as to what this means for women's rights.

by Bob Brigham 2009-12-19 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: no, but that's political

I think you are grossly exaggerating the extent to which this bill is a huge victory for the anti-choice movement... although I guess you think there isn't actually an institutionalized anti-choice movement.

by Steve M 2009-12-19 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: no, but that's political

You don't think the Christian right groups are institutionalized with the GOP?

by bruh3 2009-12-19 12:28PM | 0 recs
the anti-choice movement

is completely intertwined with the GOP power structure. For instance, one of Iowa's RNC members is the head of Iowa Right to Life, and another is the head of the Iowa Christian Alliance.

Obviously people like that are never going to come out in favor of the Democratic health care reform bill, no matter what it says about abortion.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-19 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: the anti-choice movement

Seriously, there are NO anti-choice groups that are concerned that the biggest anti-choice victory in recorded history might slip through their hands because they pretended to be against it?  Not a single one?

by Steve M 2009-12-19 12:49PM | 0 recs
Re: the anti-choice movement

well, they would have to weight it against the damage they could do to its prospects if they start cheering for it.

by jeopardy 2009-12-19 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: the anti-choice movement

Politics my friend politics. Anyway why would they cheer now when they think they can get more?

by vecky 2009-12-19 03:34PM | 0 recs
Re: the anti-choice movement

Because the bill might fail if they continue opposing it.  Are you saying everyone on the right thinks the bill is guaranteed to pass?

Look, there are two possible scenarios here.  One, every single anti-choice organization, every single anti-choice activist, every one of my anti-choice friends on Facebook, etc., are all remaining completely silent about the greatest legislative victory for the anti-choice movement EVER because they don't want to give away the game.

Second scenario, the diarist is overstating the case, and the reason the anti-choice forces don't seem all that excited about it is that they're actually not all that excited.

by Steve M 2009-12-19 03:42PM | 0 recs
Re: the anti-choice movement

If the bill fails, it's still a victory for them. Democrats signature legislation - Health Care Reform fails because of the political power of the anti-abortion lobby! Look at their power!

Onwards Soldiers! Onwards to over-turn Roe v Wade!

OTOH if the bill passes - look we atleast restricted private plans from covering abortion services. It's not the end of the road but atleast we did it, and with a heavy democratic majority in the House & Senate & a democratic President. Woohoo!

If the bill fails because of Stupak, or passes with Stupak - they win. And if the bill passes without Stupak - they don't loose because this bill doesn't make abortions more legal or lift abortion restrictions (Hyde is still in it).

by vecky 2009-12-19 11:32PM | 0 recs
Re: the anti-choice movement

"Health Care Reform fails "

That's already baked into the bill. There are a couple of good things, but no real reform, ie same old escalating costs.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-20 03:44AM | 0 recs
Re: no, but that's political

I was focused on the politics, and here's what NOW is saying:

The so-called health care reform bill now before the Senate, with the addition of Majority Leader Harry Reid's Manager's Amendment, amounts to a health insurance bill for half the population and a sweeping anti-abortion law for the rest of us. And by the way, it's the rest of us who voted the current leadership into both houses of Congress.

The National Organization for Women is outraged that Senate leadership would cave in to Sen. Ben Nelson, offering a compromise that amounts to a Stupak-like ban on insurance coverage for abortion care. Right-wing ideologues like Nelson and the Catholic Bishops may not understand this, but abortion is health care. And health care reform is not true reform if it denies women coverage for the full range of reproductive health services.

We call on all senators who consider themselves friends of women's rights to reject the Manager's Amendment, and if it remains, to defeat this cruelly over-compromised legislation.

And Planned Parenthood:

Statement by Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, on Proposed Abortion Language in the Senate Manager's Amendment:

"Planned Parenthood strongly opposes the new abortion language offered by Senator Ben Nelson in the manager's amendment. Last week, the Senate rejected harsh restrictions on abortion coverage, and it is a sad day when women's health is traded away for one vote.

"The Nelson language is essentially an abortion rider. It creates an unworkable system whereby individuals are required to write two separate checks each month, one for abortion care and one for everything else. There is no sound policy reason to require women to pay separately for their abortion coverage other than to try to shame them and draw attention to the abortion coverage. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that insurance companies will be willing to follow such an administratively cumbersome system, leaving tens of millions of women without abortion coverage.

"After the passage of the Stupak amendment in the House, we heard loud and clear from women across the country that they will not stand for the undermining of their rights and their access to benefits. This Nelson abortion check provision will no doubt create the same outrage, as women learn that they are being made second-class citizens when it comes to health care coverage.

"As many members of Congress and the president believe, Planned Parenthood does not think that health care reform is the forum to litigate abortion policy. Unfortunately, opponents continue to use abortion as a political wedge at every step of the reform process.

"There is no policy reason for this action, it is simply a political maneuver.  We understand that leaders in the Senate and the White House want to move the process forward, but given this provision, we have no choice but to oppose the Senate bill.  


Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued the following statement regarding new provisions affecting abortion coverage in the Senate health-reform bill.

"Since the health-reform process began, we have fought against anti-choice lawmakers' attempts to use this historic legislation to launch attacks on a woman's right to choose. Like many of our allies in the broader progressive community, we often feel that, as soon as we achieve some progress, another challenge emerges.

"It is outrageous that, two weeks after pro-choice Americans came to Capitol Hill united against the egregious Stupak-Pitts amendment, the Senate has succumbed to including further anti-choice language in its bill. While the Senate bill does not include the Stupak-Pitts provision, this new language is unacceptable. It is inexplicable that a bill seeking to expand health coverage for Americans would impose such great administrative burdens on women who purchase abortion coverage and plans that offer it.

"At every turn, our standard has been consistent and clear: Women should not lose ground in the new health-care system. The bill does include other provisions that will improve women's access to reproductive-health services significantly. However, the language regarding abortion coverage comes at too high a price for reproductive health. Thus, we must oppose this new Nelson language. And NARAL Pro-Choice America withholds support from the overall health-reform legislation until we assess the totality of provisions in the final bill that comes out of a conference committee between the House and Senate.

"This situation is a reminder that, despite our significant pro-choice gains in the last two election cycles, anti-choice lawmakers still outnumber our allies. Until those numbers change, women's reproductive health will continue to be a bargaining chip. We call on members of America's pro-choice majority to channel their anger into action. Join us in working to re-elect those members of Congress who stood with women and defeat anti-choice politicians."

by Bob Brigham 2009-12-19 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama has larger problems

Not understanding the outrage here... This is nothing more than the status quo.  12 states currently do not allow abortions in any health plans.  That will not change.  For states that do allow abortions in health plans, that will not change, either.

It does not change the status quo at all, which is what the president wanted.  Maybe some folk don't realize what the status quo is, but many states do not allow abortions in health plans.

by LordMike 2009-12-19 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama has larger problems than blogs in

The president right now, and I have said I think this is intended by Rahm, seems to be in a bubble. Does he not register the discontent that is growing right now? Right now, it is not against him (its against the larger prospects of Democrats losing a lot of seats next year), but he should not assume that this will always be the case.  I just don't understand their political thinking. I am begining to agree with Tabibi that the core problem is that we asking a broken system (DC) to fix a broken system (health care).

by bruh3 2009-12-19 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama has larger problems than blogs in

Electorally, this bill is a disaster, maybe even through 2014/2016 due to the timing of the mandates. I too don't get the math, but when your Deputy CoS and Political Director is Jim Messina, I'm not surprised they have higher values than electing Democrats and passing good legislation.

by Bob Brigham 2009-12-19 12:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama has larger problems than blogs in

I do not get the math either. The bill is starting at 33 percent support right now, and I don't see it getting better when the GOP arguing against it in individual races due to the nature of the bill.

I think this conversation that I link below between Tabibi and Kuttner sums up the capitulating progressive's mind set: They think that to win they must pass any bill even if it is a bad one, but to me, passing a crappy bill seals their fate where as trying to push ahead for an okay one at least gives them a fighting shot: /taibi-kuttner-debate-heal_n_397757.html

As I mentioned to Steve M, the problem is also that this is not the only straw on the camels back. I am glad you mentioned 2012, 2014 and 2016. The rest of the economy is expected to hobble along for the next 5 years. We are re-inflating bad banking practices, etc. Where exactly is the good news that is going to change things around electorally going to come? Certainly not from this bill, at least for the middle class mandate. So, I don't get it.

by bruh3 2009-12-19 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama has larger problems than blogs in

They do register the discontent and are loving it!  Nothing better to make the bill seem more "moderate" to "independents" then by liberals screaming about it.

They are very happy to have us complain about the bill...  Punching a hippie is Rahm's favorite past time, and it makes him happy as hell that we hate the bill.

by LordMike 2009-12-19 07:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama has larger problems than blogs in

I have no idea what you post means. You seem so caught up in the DC mindset that ou don't get that there is a world outside of that world. It is in that world outside that the Democrats will pay for this shit of a bill. I just posted a diary on what jeopardy mentions below about the lack of enforcement mechanisms for the consumer protection end. This bill is mostly about the mandate and subsidies at this point. THat will not go overwell with the public.

by bruh3 2009-12-20 10:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama has larger problems than blogs in

What I'm saying is that Rahm is very happy that we hate the bill.  It gives it "moderate" credentials in his mind.  And, yes, you are right, that's inside the village crap...

by LordMike 2009-12-20 08:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama has larger problems than blogs

because polls show that the majority of people don't like or want this so called reform. This includes, Dems, Indies and Repub.

by MOBlue 2009-12-19 12:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama has larger problems than blogs

I'm going to venture a guess that once the bill passes, people will feel differently about it.  This is a victory.  It can't be the last word on the subject, but it's a step in the right direction.

by the mollusk 2009-12-19 05:52PM | 0 recs
if this is the best we can do

with 60 senators, the Democratic Party is pathetic.

I don't believe the new insurance regulations will be enforced by the states any better than the old ones have been.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-19 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: if this is the best we can do
with 60 senators, the Democratic Party is pathetic.

Well, it kind of is.  Where do you go from there?
by TexasDarling 2009-12-19 06:52PM | 0 recs
Re: if this is the best we can do

Funny how there is a dichotomy on this subject.  Just the other day, people were screaming about national plans that would be free of state regulation, while others are complaining that states don't regulate well enough.

The main reason why the states are still being allowed to regulate the insurers is that states like California have tougher regulations than what would be proposed nationally, and we don't want to dilute those.  

You can't have it both ways!

by LordMike 2009-12-19 07:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama has larger problems than blogs

I doubt that many will feel differently about it. You, of course, have a right to consider this a victory but I do not. The Dems have basically created a very expense insurance and pharma give away program. They either negotiated away or voted down every real element to contain costs and save money.

by MOBlue 2009-12-19 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: problems

Good Luck, everyone!

by QTG 2009-12-19 01:58PM | 0 recs
screw you Obama 2/19/816794/-One-process-note-on-the-day s-events

So the deal's out, and word is that they've got the necessary 60 votes for cloture on the health insurance reform bill.

But if you caught this morning's story on the President's Saturday radio address, you'd have seen this forceful call for action:

   The question is whether the minority that opposes these reforms will continue to use parliamentary maneuvers to try and stop the Senate from voting on them.

   Whatever their position on health insurance reform, Senators ought to allow an up or down vote. Let's bring this long and vigorous debate to an end. Let's deliver on the promise of health insurance reforms that will make our people healthier, our economy stronger, and our future more secure.

And as this difficult year comes to a close, let's show the American people that we are equal to the task of meeting our great challenges.

An up-or-down vote. Senators ought to allow an up-or-down vote.

It's something we all hoped the President would call for, of course. But it lets some of the air out of the tires when the call comes on the day the Senate announces that they've finally found the right combination of concessions to get Democrats to agree to break a filibuster.

When people call for the Senate to allow an up-or-down vote, they're calling for opponents to get out of the way and stop filibustering, so that it doesn't require 60 votes (for cloture) just to get to a final vote on passage.

We'll be getting that up-or-down vote, all right. But not because the President's demands have broken through the logjam of Republican obstructionism.

Rather, it'll happen despite its continuance, and even then only at the cost of a laundry list of concessions made to Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson.

That by itself is not to say that the bill is or isn't worth the effort. We've had and will continue to have debate on that.

But are we answering the President's call for an up-or-down vote here? No, we are not. Not in the sense in which everyone else in the world uses the term "up-or-down vote."

A straight up-or-down vote would have gotten us to a vote on a bill that didn't need to make these concessions to Lieberman. Didn't need to make these concessions to Nelson. Didn't need to be courting Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins.

So we'll get a vote. And the bill will pass. But today's call for an up-or-down vote just doesn't mean much now that there's a deal in place that obviates the need for the up-or-down vote that most people think of when they hear that phrase.

Though maybe that's just it. Do most people think of breaking the filibuster when they hear the words "up-or-down vote?" Not likely. They hear "vote."

And a vote we will have. And by the middle of next week, it'll look for all intents and purposes like it was exactly the vote the President wanted.

Make what you will of that, but it's an interesting lesson in the way the public perceptions game of politics is played. And therefore worth pointing out.

by jeopardy 2009-12-19 04:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama has larger problems

Great post, Bob.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-19 05:19PM | 0 recs
Another major problem with this bill

This bill leaves the enforcement of stopping recessions up to the states.

There are big problems with that. It hasn't worked well in states that already have laws about it:

California regulators admitted Thursday that for more than a year they didn't even try to enforce a million-dollar fine against health insurer Anthem Blue Cross because it feared they would be outgunned in court.

In early 2007, the Department of Managed Health Care pledged to fine the state's largest insurer for "routinely rescinding health insurance policies in violation of state law." But they never did.

The department's director, Cindy Ehnes, told The Associated Press on Thursday that, when it comes to rescissions, the agency has had success in forcing smaller insurers to reinstate illegally canceled policies and pay fines, but Blue Cross is too powerful to take on.

"In each and every one of those rescissions, (Blue Cross has) the right to contest each, and that could tie us up in court forever," Ehnes said of the approximately 1,770 Blue Cross rescissions between Jan. 1, 2004, and now.

"They have the largest number of rescissions, so as a practical matter for the department it does present some practical challenges that are different from a Health Net (of California) or a PacifiCare," referring to providers who, along with Kaiser Permanente, have made settlements with the state to reinstate health care coverage.

That means that although Anthem Blue Cross has the highest number of alleged illegal rescissions, it may face the least regulatory consequence simply because of its sheer size, and aggressive legal defense. ss.2.763636.html

by jeopardy 2009-12-19 06:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill


the post should have said "rescissions", not "recessions".

although they should both be banned, haha

by jeopardy 2009-12-19 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill

This bill leaves the enforcement of stopping recessions up to the states.

Can you show your work on this a little?

by Steve M 2009-12-19 06:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill

California recently dropped an attempt to enforce its anti-rescission law against a major insurer, saying that it was financially outgunned by the insurer's legal team.

The rescission law, according to the legislation, "shall not apply to a covered individual who has performed an act or practice that constitutes fraud or makes an intentional misrepresentation of material fact as prohibited by the terms of the plan or coverage."

Insurers today routinely claim that patients engaged in "fraud" or "intentional misrepresentation" when dropping them from coverage. Much depends on who defines the terms in the bill.

It won't be the federal government. There will be no federal agency tasked with overseeing the enforcement of the bill's rules. Rather, a Senate leadership aide told reporters in a briefing Saturday, individual states will police the new system.

That's a task the California Department of Managed Health Care was unable to perform when battling Anthem Blue Cross, which has rescinded 1,770 policies since 2004.

"In each and every one of those rescissions, [Blue Cross has] the right to contest each, and that could tie us up in court forever," the department's director, Cindy Ehnes, told The Associated Press. A million-dollar fine was announced in March 2007, but has not been enforced. /franken-dems-unified-behi_n_398183.html

by jeopardy 2009-12-19 06:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill

Isn't that the exact same thing you already quoted?  I'm asking where the Senate bill leaves it up to the states to stop rescissions.

by Steve M 2009-12-19 06:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill

no, it's not the same thing.

i probably shouldn't have quoted the first few lines, but there was an interesting link in it that didn't survive the cut/paste

but please read it again, after the first few lines it talks about the Senate Bill.

by jeopardy 2009-12-19 07:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill

Oh, for some reason I can't visit HuffPo on this computer.  I just want to know where in the Senate bill it says that.

by Steve M 2009-12-19 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill

ok, then i'll put it more plainly.

the Senate Bill doesn't assign enforcement to any part of the Federal Government.

When reporters asked the Senate Leadership Aides during a briefing this morning, the Leadership Aides told reporters that there's nothing in the bill for it, and it would be up to the states to enforce these kinds of rules.

I have no other information for you besides that. However, if the Senate Leadership says there's nothing in the bill assigning enforcement to any government agency, then I'm pretty sure that I would be wasting my time carefully trying to read the 2,000 pages to look for it.

by jeopardy 2009-12-19 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill

Okay, I'm mystified now.  Did the House bill create a new federal enforcement agency?  Were we expecting one to be created?  I thought the point all along was that rescission now becomes a violation of federal law, which it never was before.

by Steve M 2009-12-19 07:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill

My guess is that they want the states to enforce it (or don't want it enforced) so they didn't assign the power to enforce this to any Federal Agency.

Now, the reason why it wouldn't state in the Senate Bill that the states are to enforce it, IMO, is simply because it would be unconstitutional to do so under the 10th Amendment:

The Supreme Court has held that the 10th Amendment prohibits Congress from adopting a statute that "commandeers" state officials by requiring state to regulate their own citizens. Printz v. US, 521 U.S. 898 (1997)
(striking portions of a federal gun law that required state law enforcement officers to collect from gun dealers reports regarding prospective handgun purchasers and to conduct background checks.

However, the Court has allowed Congress to regulate states by prohibiting them from performing certain acts. (Reno v. COndon, 528 U.S. 141 (2000)
(upholding federal act that bars states (as well as private resellers) from disclosing personal information required on drivers' license applications)

Just FYI - Congress MAY "entice" states to do their bidding on these things by tying federal money to it, and that's how the Federal Gov. gets the states to do these sorts of things.

In this case, it looks like they are not even doing that.

by jeopardy 2009-12-19 07:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill

I think you missed my point.  If the House bill didn't create a new federal agency to enforce the ban on rescission - and in fact, I'm not aware that any version of this bill has ever created such an agency, although I could be wrong - why are we suddenly supposed to be up in arms?  Isn't it a positive development, at least, that rescission is now a violation of federal law?  That you now have a federal cause of action if your state doesn't prohibit rescission?

At this point I think maybe we should just start listing the sections of the bill that AREN'T outrageous.  It might be a very short list.  Personally I am now extremely tired of detailing all the ways in which this bill fails to achieve Utopia.

by Steve M 2009-12-19 07:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill

Ok, you've made lots of different points.

First, I'm not sure what is in the House bill on this. I would also like to know.

Second, I've shown you how battling recessions in court is not working well.

a) As a practical matter, the law on fraud, etc for people signing up for health plans is written in most states in a way that greatly favors the insurance companies (they have good lobbyists if you haven't noticed). I've read suggestions that it's similar in the Senate Bill, but I would need to verify that.

b) moreover, what's been happening is that the insurance companies will basically draw it out and harass people for years, and then settle right before if they are about to lose.

c) Each case would have to be heard on a case-by-case basis, so A LOT of people, usually poor and sick, would be going through that hell.

d) Recessions simply being illegal has not helped in the states that have them, because of the lack of enforcement. A law is nothing without being enforceable.

Third, there would be some fairly easy ways to have the Executive Branch or the states be responsible for enforcing this instead of just the courts:

a) assign enforcement power to some executive branch agency, LIKE THEY HAVE DONE WITH ASSIGNING ENFORCEMENT FOR THE MANDATE TO THE IRS

b) bribe the states to enforce it by paying them for it - give them the money to do it and condition the money on using it for enforcement. That would not violate the 10th Amendment.

by jeopardy 2009-12-19 08:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill

Second, I've shown you how battling recessions in court is not working well.

Dude, I've been litigating insurance cases for 15 years.  You quoted me one anecdote!!

I'm glad someone finally noticed that this bill does not obviate the concern over rescission now and forevermore.  But here you come pointing it out like it's a new concern, as if something just got slipped into the Senate bill, as if something just got weakened and we need to sound the alarm.  This bill is not going to allocate infinite resources to fix an infinite array of problems.  As far as I know every version of the bill has looked like this.

Your proposed solutions are not "fairly easy," EVEN IF YOU TYPE THEM IN ALL CAPS.  The mandate has not been "assigned for enforcement" to the IRS; rather, what we like to call the mandate is actually a tax that you have to pay if you don't have insurance.  Well, yes, it's pretty simple to have the IRS collect a tax.  Not as simple to take an agency that doesn't regulate insurance and suddenly put them in charge of regulating insurance, and as a bonus it costs money too.  Another thing that costs money is "bribing the states" to investigate every case of rescission.  You may have noticed a lot of angst over how this bill would be paid for.

So what do you think we should do?  Should we call our Senators, and urge them to call off the cloture vote and send the bill back to the drawing board because it's not worth doing unless we take further steps to combat rescission?  You may have to make the call for me, because I'm just way too overloaded with objection after objection after objection at this point.

Look, maybe start checking this stuff out a little more, doing a little research, trying to understand the context of the issue, as opposed to making a new comment every 5 minutes that is basically ZOMG LOOK WHAT I JUST READ ON SOME BLOG.

by Steve M 2009-12-19 09:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill

Assigning the role of enforcer to an agency is not hard. It's done all the time. They don't even have to get everything worked out. For instance, in enforcing the rule that subsidies would not go to illegal immigrants in HR3200, it said that the Health Commissioner or whatever shall enforce the rule. It didn't say how, just that he "shall" do it. This bill doesn't.

You tell me to do research, but this was a statement put out by the Senate Leadership to reporters in a briefing. That's what we have to work with. I can't point out where something is in a bill if it is not there. Do you have any reason to doubt the statement? I agree that we don't know for sure, and I'm sorry if I gave you that impression. But the available evidence points in that direction.

And I've found and posted links and discussions of the issue from blogs, news agencies, etc, dealing with this bill and state problems. That is more "context" than one usually gets with posts on here. And if you are tired about discussing this stuff, then you don't have to.

Steve, you've been very reasonable and even-tempered throughout the time I've seen you post on here. I've often been very impressed with your posts.

But the tone of your last few posts has seemed out of character. I don't think I'm out of line to point out that it seems there is a rescission problem with the bill, nor have I made personal attacks against you. In fact, I dare say that there have been lots of posts from people that have been borderline disrespectful towards you and others, but you have kept an even keel in those cases.

I'm going to put on my pop-psychology hat and make a wild guess that the realization that this bill looks bad for yet another thing it is supposed to fix has moved you along from the stage of denial to the stage of anger in the five stages of grief.

Or maybe it is just late and we shouldn't discuss this anymore tonight.

by jeopardy 2009-12-19 10:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill

as for your "utopia" comment, I would say that this has been one of the major selling points, and it's unclear whether it will actually do anything.

It seems to be written in a way that leaves the door for abuse by the insurance companies WAY open, and in fact, the insurance companies are doing this very thing right now despite similar laws in many states.

But it is a mischaracterization to say that my problem with it is that it is not "utopia" when I point it out when parts of the bill that are getting praised are not, in fact, what people are saying they are.

Yes, there are some good parts of the bill, and I've even pointed out a few myself. But I don't think that I am out of line to complain about the bill not really stopping rescissions even though many people say it will.  

by jeopardy 2009-12-19 08:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Another major problem with this bill

here, I'll better highlight that part:

"It won't be the federal government. There will be no federal agency tasked with overseeing the enforcement of the bill's rules.

Rather, a Senate leadership aide told reporters in a briefing Saturday, individual states will police the new system."

by jeopardy 2009-12-19 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama has larger problems than blogs

Good post at showing the division.  Too bad Labor hasn't joined all the way yet in going against this, its a great coalition of progressives against the status quo. CTG movement.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-20 03:45AM | 0 recs


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