Third Party & Independents Archives

March 21, 2010

Health Care Reform To Pass Into Law

With Michigan’s Representative Bart Stupak, leader of the anti-abortion coalition amongst Democrats, finally agreeing to vote Yes for the Health Care reform measure in the House, the Democrats appear to have more than the 216 votes needed to move the Health Care reform bill to President Obama’s desk for signing into law, and into the Senate for the Reconciliation vote.

Rep. Stupak and his group bargained for an executive order assurance by the Obama Administration that the new law would not be interpreted by the Administration as a path opening the door for federally funded abortions. The language in the Senate version which the House will shortly vote on, appears to hold the status quo for years against federally funded abortions. But, as everyone knows from the Bush administration, the President can issue a signing order reversing or ignoring entirely provisions in the bill being signed. This executive order promised by Pres. Obama is insurance that will not occur with Pres. Obama's signature.

There are several procedural votes yet to take place, and the reconciliation bill to immediately be taken up by the Senate. But, the House passage marks the last major hurdle to the Democrat's and Independent's passage of historic health care reform, which all Americans will benefit from at some point in their lives, if not throughout. There will be losers upon passage. The private health care insurance industry, heavily represented in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will have lost their contributions to halt health care reform. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $123.3 million on all lobbying activities for 2009, compared to $62.3 million in 2008, according to lobbying disclosure forms. Presumably, a major portion of the increase was spent on lobbying efforts to defeat health care and Wall St. regulatory reforms.

Republicans too, will be big losers, following their losses in 2006 and 2008. A Kaiser Health poll [PDF] this month, reveals more Americans for passage of the reform than against by several percentage points. Further, the number saying it is time for a vote well outnumber those calling for returning to the drawing table on health care reform, 42 to 36%. With the passage of health care reform, the GOP, for all its obstructionist activities, will have simply wasted their and their supporters time and dollars spent to defeat the majority in Congress. This one fact will stand as testament to the power of democracy still intact in the U.S. Congress, if only by a thread.

The gratuitous and unprecedented use of the filibuster by Congressional Republicans has spawned moves and support for reforming the filibuster rules. When all is said and done, however, I don't think Democrats, knowing they will one day be in the minority again, will actually modify the filibuster rules by much. The Democrats were able to stymie a good deal of Pres. Bush's initiatives in the Senate during 2007 and 2008 years. Still, the issue has a high rallying capacity for Democratic voters entering the Nov. elections, if it is made a campaign issue.

But, there is empirical research and evidence that Republicans will continue to lose on this Health Care Reform bill after it passes, in this excellently controlled and objective, Kaiser Foundation poll [PDF]. This poll demonstrates, the more the public knows about the contents of the legislation, the more they favor those contents. Between now and November's elections, the media which has covered the naysayers and proponents arguments, will have black and white provisions to disseminate to the public without all the controversy. As the poll shows, when the public learns what's in the bill for Americans, they, in a majority, approve of those provisions. This has the potential for a huge backlash against Republicans in November, depriving them of what otherwise may have been larger gains at a purely statistical level of having fewer seats to defend.

Americans like to identify with winners. This legislation having passed against all odds, will leave many, who now say they oppose it, saying they supported it 6 months from now. That is a sociological phenomena that is demonstrated time and again. Many who opposed civil rights legislation in the 1960's, now would not admit it, declaring themselves to have never been racist or bigoted. Such changes of mind resulting from cognitive dissonance and invoking rationalization to place oneself in the majority, after the fact, will account for Republicans not getting some of these votes they are now counting on, in November's election.

Tens of Millions of Americans will realize the benefits I, and my family, will receive from this reform. My daughter will be going to college part-time while working full-time to get her nursing degree. She will be well past the age of 24 in Nursing School. Currently, she would have to do without health insurance after the age of 24 or quit college to afford health insurance premiums. With this reform law, our daughter can remain on our family policy at 1/3 the premium cost until her 27th birthday.

I have genetic hypertension. This reform law will prevent an insurance company from canceling our policy for subsequent conditions arising from hypertension, and permit us to competitively shop for insurance in the future without fear of pre-existing conditions denying us choice and competitive rates.

This bill will begin to lower all American's health care costs by allowing 32 million Americans currently uninsured to visit a doctor's office with insurance, rather than the emergency room at 3 to 30 times the cost passed on to all premium payers. This new reform will further reduce our costs with the implementation of new Medical Information Technology which will reduce duplicated testing and diagnostics, and assure less errors and malpractice due to absence of medical information sharing between health care specialists and our general practitioner.

These are all benefits which tens of millions of Americans will enjoy along side our family. Objectively, whether one is opposed to this law or not, it contains many provisions which Americans will benefit from. Does it solve our future debt threat due to Medicare and Medicaid? No. But, it does begin to address that threat by taking substantial steps to lower health care costs going forward, and thus, reducing the debt threat posed by Medicare and Medicaid. And it does so, without substantially increasing the deficit or the national debt.

To be sure, there remains an enormous amount of heavy lifting to be done by America's health care industry and government to eliminate the debt threat growing as a result of entitlement programs. This law makes a down payment on addressing that challenge. As with all great achievements, they begin with a first step.

AP Photo of House victory on health care reformPutting this health care reform issue behind us on the law books, opens the door to taking further steps to address the entitlement threat to our nation's economic future. Let us move on, demanding and securing the changes that are necessary, to secure our nation's future for our children, and theirs.

On a final note, regardless of how one feels about Nancy Pelosi as House leader, she has vindicated herself as Democratic leader in a most profound way, by tenaciously and unrelentingly, marching this bill toward passage against all odds, hurdles, and road blocks. Her leadership on this health care reform is nothing short of remarkable and rivals the performance past House leaders, whose efforts to overcome the seemingly impossible, bore fruit. It has been an amazing piece of leadership, which included even forcing the President to the bargaining table to get this historic legislation passed by the House of Representatives.

Posted by David R. Remer at March 21, 2010 06:39 PM
Comment #297662

That which cannot be avoided must be welcomed.

Let’s push the Democrats to change the filibuster rules soon. Let’s make sure that the minority can no longer stifle the will of the majority.

I figure we might need that kind of power to smack down the the plaintiff lawyers and the teachers unions when the time comes.

Posted by: Christine at March 21, 2010 10:32 PM
Comment #297663

So, what’s next for the Democrats; The One Million Illegal Immigrant March through Washington D.C.?

Posted by: jlw at March 21, 2010 10:49 PM
Comment #297664


Posted by: LawnBoy at March 21, 2010 10:52 PM
Comment #297665

The “baby killer” yell by a Republican on the House floor toward Democrat Bart Stupak aside, I have to applaud the America’s sense of civility in the face of impassioned legislative wins and losses by our people’s representatives. It is not uncommon in other democracies to see fist fights and throwing of chairs occur when one side loses is facing the loss of a democratic vote.

Ours is a government which continues in some respects, to set the standard by which other democracies will continue to aspire.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 21, 2010 11:15 PM
Comment #297666

Perhaps this is a naive question, but I don’t get something:

If the GOP dislikes the “Cornhusker Kickback” and other things that the reconciliation bill will take out of the Senate Bill, then why would they vote against the reconciliation bill?

With the main bill passing, they lost the main battle; doesn’t this skirmish help them move the final result in a direction they would prefer? After all, a failed reconciliation bill would still leave the overall reform in place.

Or is there simply too much animus against voting against anything Pelosi wants?

Posted by: LawnBoy at March 21, 2010 11:17 PM
Comment #297667

Lawnboy, it is the same twixt and between position the GOP has been in all the way through this. They inserted 200 amendments into the bill that just passed, and to a person, they voted against each and everyone of those amendments made on behalf of their constituents.

When you are the party of NO, you have no choice but to say No even to yourself and constituents where the Democrat’s legislation is concerned. Adam Smith and Alexis DeToqueville would likely agree that enlightened self-interest is not to be found in the ranks of the GOP in Congress. Then again, perhaps not, since the Republicans get their 200 amendments passed without having to vote for them.

But, if I were a Democrat running this Fall against a Republican incumbent, I would make my ads all about the Republican amendments my Republican opponent voted AGAINST!

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 21, 2010 11:24 PM
Comment #297669

Another teaching moment for Republicans and right wing corporatists.

Obama is not Jimmy Carter.

George Bush was not Ronald Reagan.

Americans aren’t as dumb as Republicans and Tea Partiers think they are, they are beginning to see through the intellectual dishonesty. The exposed racism of the demonstrations in Washington over the weekend did not go unnoticed.

Democrats do not have it all right here, but Republicans do have it mostly wrong. Again.

Posted by: gergle at March 22, 2010 12:33 AM
Comment #297671

gergle, you are dead on right about those on the Right who estimated Obama to be too young and inexperienced to be president and take on the toughest of Presidential tasks.

The President stood his moral high ground against critics on the Left and Right. He consulted with and endorsed Republican ideas which Republicans themselves voted against. President Obama’s vision, promised to the voters for change that must take place for our future, was delivered tonight in part. Obama, has, in his own way, been delivering on those promises every day of his presidency to date.

He is not like any previous president. He is his own man, with his own integrity, and strength of conviction and faith, in our nation and American government. Democrats I suspect are in for a rude awakening soon, as they now hope to focus on November’s elections almost exclusively. Pres. Obama does not focus on any one thing exclusively, and will be asking even more of Congress between now and November.

Obama will be out campaigning for Democrats beginning in a week or so, and in return he will demanding even more change oriented legislation before November. And despite the groans and moans, he will very likely get it. There was something very special about Obama’s clarity of thought and full embrace of the tough changes that need to be made, that garnered 53% of American voters support on election day.

I continue to see that same person in charge today, clearly and cleanly acknowledging the need of his presence for this legislation while canceling the trip to Indonesia and Australia. And if Obama had not been present to strike that deal with the Stupak gang, this bill very likely would never have passed. His foresight and unwavering commitment to the achieve the change he promised despite all opposition, continues to maintain my confidence in my vote for him in Nov. of 2008.

I don’t agree with some of his positions, but, then, I haven’t agreed with any all of any president’s positions in my lifetime. But, on the really big challenges facing our nation like the Great Recession and health care, education, terrorism, deficits and debt, and holding to our core Constitutional principles of rule of law, I still believe my vote was very well invested.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 22, 2010 01:49 AM
Comment #297672

I just received an email from Barack Obama. Sure, the same or similar email has been sent by President Obama to millions of Americans who communicated their support for this legislation. It does not diminish the pride I feel for having been acknowledged for my efforts by this President of The United States.

David —

For the first time in our nation’s history, Congress has passed comprehensive health care reform. America waited a hundred years and fought for decades to reach this moment. Tonight, thanks to you, we are finally here.

Consider the staggering scope of what you have just accomplished:

Because of you, every American will finally be guaranteed high quality, affordable health care coverage.

Every American will be covered under the toughest patient protections in history. Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will now be gone forever.

And we’ll finally start reducing the cost of care — creating millions of jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy, and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children.

But the victory that matters most tonight goes beyond the laws and far past the numbers.

It is the peace of mind enjoyed by every American, no longer one injury or illness away from catastrophe.

It is the workers and entrepreneurs who are now freed to pursue their slice of the American dream without fear of losing coverage or facing a crippling bill.

And it is the immeasurable joy of families in every part of this great nation, living happier, healthier lives together because they can finally receive the vital care they need.

This is what change looks like.

My gratitude tonight is profound. I am thankful for those in past generations whose heroic efforts brought this great goal within reach for our times. I am thankful for the members of Congress whose months of effort and brave votes made it possible to take this final step. But most of all, I am thankful for you.

This day is not the end of this journey. Much hard work remains, and we have a solemn responsibility to do it right. But we can face that work together with the confidence of those who have moved mountains.

Our journey began three years ago, driven by a shared belief that fundamental change is indeed still possible. We have worked hard together every day since to deliver on that belief.

We have shared moments of tremendous hope, and we’ve faced setbacks and doubt. We have all been forced to ask if our politics had simply become too polarized and too short-sighted to meet the pressing challenges of our time. This struggle became a test of whether the American people could still rally together when the cause was right — and actually create the change we believe in.

Tonight, thanks to your mighty efforts, the answer is indisputable: Yes we can.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

And thank you Mr. President for your magnanimity and tenacious dedication to the ends for which you were elected.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 22, 2010 01:58 AM
Comment #297679

YAY! Seems those damned DEMOCRATS did come through.
Did you catch when some Republican goomba called Stupak a “baby killer”? Stupak,of all people.What idiots. The downside is it will probably get him re-elected. There was hope for a pro-choice Dem in the primary.
Another great moment was when Boenier was crying crocadile tears while lieing through his teeth,an old tactic when trying to look sincere, and in comes Nancy to a standing ovation.

Posted by: bills at March 22, 2010 08:52 AM
Comment #297680

I don’t fault you fellas for celebrating but, to do so by presenting as many distortions and lies as the Republicans did to fight against HC is certainly not indicative of those who claim they are intelligent. Or, may be it is.

What the American people have witnessed for nearly a year now can be directly linked to our campaign finance apparatus.

What they have witnessed is an exercise in the power of the political parties over the rank and file members of both parties and their constituents.

What we have received for witnessing this exercise in Republic is a government/for profit corporate partnership in which the government mandates the customer base, supplements that base with taxpayer dollars and puts virtually no restrictions on profits or pricing.

This bill can and perhaps it will be fixed in the future But, for now it is a large and impressive jewel in what will be a many jeweled crown of our new government, the corpocracy.

Posted by: jlw at March 22, 2010 09:34 AM
Comment #297681

We do need to work seriously on implacing a public option. Think the Republicans will be any help with that?

Posted by: bills at March 22, 2010 09:40 AM
Comment #297682

jlw said: “What we have received for witnessing this exercise in Republic is a government/for profit corporate partnership in which the government mandates the customer base, supplements that base with taxpayer dollars and puts virtually no restrictions on profits or pricing.”

What you say is ALL TRUE! Which is why this is only a down payment on addressing the challenges facing our nation. The lock on the door to health care reform had to be broken before the door could be opened to a more solvent and secure future for Americans. These deals of cooperation made heft the sledge hammer that broke the lock were necessary.

The debt/deficit - entitlement door keeping us from passing through to a more solvent future is a massive one, and will require yet, much more effort to get open so we may ALL pass through it together as a nation. Health care only for the privileged and lucky was not going to get us there. That path led to civil and electorate unrest and government and political instability in our future.

Independents are not satisfied with this bill, nor should they be. Nearly 60% of independents will continue to demand deficit elimination and debt reduction. This is only the beginning to getting to a future where our children can hope to maintain a stable middle class quality of life their parents enjoyed, in a manner affordable for all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 22, 2010 10:42 AM
Comment #297683

bills, Boehner and McConnel are the worst kind of Republicans, putting politics and Party ahead of the interests of the American people. That is as far from the Reagan model as a Republican can get. They represented the monied interests and committed themselves to oppose Democrats even when the Democrats were working for the American people and GOP goals like deficit reduction and not adding to the debt.

It proved unsuccessful to act like the majority while in fact being very much a minority Party. The GOP is still reeling from the boot from power. They are still infighting to find their populist platform and populist leadership. I am very sure now that their hopes for regaining the majority in Nov. are the reason for the tears in Boehner’s eyes last night.

The Kaiser poll I cited is the writing on the wall. If Democrats make evident the many benefits most Americans will enjoy now and in years to come from this Health care reform, and if they continue to fight for deficit and debt reduction while bringing our economy back, Republicans will have many more tears to shed after the elections in November. That is however, a helluva difficult agenda for Democrats to maintain between now and November. Fundamentally, a great many Democrats in Congress still believe debt and deficits don’t matter as much as keeping the majority in government.

Like their GOP adversaries, Party and power still govern their priorities, and that usually leads to the American people being denied and burdens increasing, when all is said and done.

That said, I must hasten to commend the hell out of those Democrats facing reelection in conservative districts who voted for the HC Reform last night. They put power aside for the good of the people and Party, last night, and that was truly courageous and heroic on their part.

But, they are a minority in the Democratic Party, and the Party has yet to prove itself a real friend of our children who will have to suffer the diminished quality of life that is likely to result from the doubling of the national debt in the last 10 years and doubling again in these next 10 years.

Like I said to jlw, this was only a down payment on a better future for all Americans. Democrats still have to prove a great deal to the Independent and anti-incumbent voters before they will win back their support. I commend the Democrats for insuring health care for all who deserve it legally and without adding to the debt and deficit. But, it does not shut down the entitlement steam roller threatening our economic future and right quick.

Democrats have miles to go and trillions of dollars to save before they can sleep with the assurance of majority public support.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 22, 2010 11:06 AM
Comment #297684


Hers a quote from David Frum,former speechwriter for GWB concerning the silly blustering from McCain and other vowing repeal:

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

Posted by: bills at March 22, 2010 11:15 AM
Comment #297685

bills, repeal is nothing more than an exercise to placate constituents in heavily conservative districts. If the GOP picks up seats in Nov. in divided districts, they won’t have the support of those Republicans for a repeal vote. If the GOP forces those Republicans in divided districts, they will only further erode the cohesion of their Party already engaged in a 3 way power struggle. The GOP is deeply divided, and divided they cannot govern effectively as a majority. Hell, they can’t even govern effectively as a minority where the bar is much, much lower. They continue to posture in ways that keep their Party’s approval numbers at the bottom third of the barrel.

Democrat’s approval numbers have only been slightly better, and though they may get a modest uplift over the next few weeks for the HC reform passage, the majority of independents will not climb onto that bandwagon, and for good and sound reasons.

Underlying all other threats to our future is the absence of meaningful and powerful political reforms from the elimination of gerrymandering, voting on Tuesday, and corporate control of electioneering. Until Democrats undertake these political reforms and effectively chart a path out of our national debt, Democrat’s approval rating will remain diminished from its 2008 election high.

America’s elections are now controlled by corporations and independent voters, not the Republocrats. And Democrats may garner the support of one but, only at the expense of the other. Which is why, if they are wise, they will immediately take up political reform with the same energy and fervor as they took up HC reform. But, I see no hint that that is about to take place. Pres. Obama believes our system is working. That position will not support political reforms the likes of which I speak of.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 22, 2010 12:28 PM
Comment #297686

Wa. Post:

The student aid initiative, which House Democrats attached to their final amendments to the health-care bill, would overhaul the student loan industry, eliminating a $60 billion program that supports private student loans with federal subsidies and replacing it with government lending to students. The House amendments will now go to the Senate.

By ending the subsidies and effectively eliminating the middleman, the student loan bill would generate $61 billion in savings over 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Republicans call this ‘government takeover’. I call this shrewd, smart, and beneficial to Middle Class Americans seeking less expensive routes to a college education for their children. Leaving education to ‘Shylock middlemen’ was fine when the numbers of Americans entering college were growing by leaps and bounds. Now, however, when we are importing college education to fill professional jobs in America, it no longer makes sense to leave financing college to the private sector usurers.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 22, 2010 12:38 PM
Comment #297687

Rohmney and even Steele have signed on to the repeal band wagon also.Rohmney,the designer of a near identical plan, goes so far as to suggest that if they can’t repeal they should refuse to fund HCR. We have another Rep race to see who can be stupidest. If you want to keep those benefits and protections you mentioned,you’d better hope the The Dems keep congress, at least long enough for the benefits to kick in. After that HCR will become like SS. Frontal assaults on it will be political suicide.
The Dems appear to know full well that they and their allies had better get moving to tell people,including Indies, what is really in the bill and how average Americans can benefit. There are preidential road trips. Talking point memos for reps to take home,some third party adds and union information campaigns getting into gear. I hope it is enough.There is a whole lot bull s—-t to clean up. Little Help?

Posted by: bills at March 22, 2010 01:40 PM
Comment #297690

You have a great concern about the national debt and entitlement reform. The Dems are not addressing it? The HCR bill is what good entitlement reform looks like.

I wonder at times if the unspoken agenda of the right to deal with entitlements is to make HC so unaffordable that people will drop dead before they reach SS age.

Posted by: bills at March 22, 2010 01:52 PM
Comment #297691

The HCR benefits phase in over 4 years. The House plan moved quicker but Republican obstructionism force the Senate plan to be adopted. Here is list of the benefits and protections that start upon signature.

Posted by: bills at March 22, 2010 02:16 PM
Comment #297693

bills, this HC Reform was a windfall for the Health Insurance corporations and their lobbyists. Many of the concessions to the corporation’s lobbyists came in the form of Republican amendments, while NOT A SINGLE REPUBLICAN voted for the bill.

That is a gratuitous incompetence and sell-out of the taxpayer’s money to the corporate lobbyists.

Like I said, there are many good things in this bill, and much more left undone or badly done. Democrats could have done so very, very much better than this, but, I will take what good comes of it, and press on to advocate Voting Out Incumbents until we have the kind of political reforms that will insulate the People’s representatives from the bankrupting influence of the corporations.

Stock markets rallied today on health insurance industry moves higher. This despite Germany’s hints at not aiding Greece in its bankrupt condition. That is the evidence of the windfall this bill granted to health insurance lobbyists.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 22, 2010 03:34 PM
Comment #297694


Here is another poll taken recently for you to consider:

59% opposed to what happened this weekend.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 22, 2010 04:43 PM
Comment #297695


Did you read question #2 of that poll?

Posted by: LawnBoy at March 22, 2010 05:58 PM
Comment #297696

Actually, I mean #21, which is the second one shown.

Posted by: LawnBoy at March 22, 2010 06:00 PM
Comment #297698


So, in reality, a majority of Americans favor this or a more liberal bill.

Ultimately, there will be a single payer system. It is the only one that makes sense.

Posted by: Rich at March 22, 2010 06:46 PM
Comment #297699


No you can’t say that because you do not know how m any people support this bill would would prefer a more conservative bill. (Like the blue dogs who voted for the bill the second time).

What you can say is that a majority of Americans want health care reform. I believe a majority in both parties want Health Care Reform.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 22, 2010 06:56 PM
Comment #297701

Craig, CNN’s poll is meaningless against Kaiser’s.

Did you read the Kaiser poll?

The CNN poll asks ‘based on what you have heard or read….”

The Kaiser Poll actually includes provisions in the bill, the great majority of which the interviewees approved of. THe media has been awash in the facts of what this bill will bring, and the all the lies and misinformation are already falling to the back burner.

The Kaiser poll is not just a snapshot in time but a predictor of how the public will respond once they learn that what they approved of in the poll is actually in this law to be signed tomorrow. The CNN poll has no predictive value at all, because it is entirely based on the information or lack of information of the pollee at the time the poll was taken.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 22, 2010 07:13 PM
Comment #297702

Craig, one technical note, the Kaiser poll sample size was twice CNN’s, making their snap shot questions a bit more reliable and valid.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 22, 2010 07:15 PM
Comment #297703


There are also people, like me, that support this bill but would prefer a more liberal bill (single payer). I think that you need to at least begin the process of reform. The timetable for implementation is relatively long. There will be ample opportunity for modifications and adjustments. The importance of cost control will now come front and center.

In my opinion. President Obama is to be complimented for his tenacity in demanding a bill. The specifics of this bill may not be the final product. However, the process of change has begun. That, to me, is the most important outcome.

Posted by: Rich at March 22, 2010 07:32 PM
Comment #297707


Here is what I usually follow:

It averages the major polls and takes out a great deal of the bias.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 22, 2010 08:56 PM
Comment #297708

What is really interesting to me also is that Pelosi and Reid’s approval numbers look bad compared to George Bush.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 22, 2010 09:01 PM
Comment #297710


rcp is one way to average the polls. Pollster is another.

However, neither points out what question #21 in the CNN poll highlights - that a significant portion of those who opposed the bill opposed it from the left.

There are a few main points to take from this:

  • Only about 40% of the country agrees with your take on the issue. Any talk of repeal is overly hopeful

  • Between the 13% who think the bill is too liberal and the 39% who like it, 52% (a bare majority) are on the liberal side of this.

  • The median voter likes the bill.

Additionally, further questions in the CNN poll show that the public trusts Obama and the Democrats more than the Republicans with Health Care.

Posted by: LawnBoy at March 22, 2010 09:19 PM
Comment #297711


How do you explain Pelosi’s low approval rating?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 22, 2010 09:47 PM
Comment #297712

In 1964 Medicare had a 61% approval rating:

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 22, 2010 10:00 PM
Comment #297713


Her favorables aren’t really surprising. Compare them to Boehner’s now or Hastert’s from his term, and you see that she’s actually more popular than you might expect (an she and Reid are much more popular than their GOP counterparts).

The big thing is that hers is not a job that requires or is built for nationwide favorability. She has two sets of constituents: her very liberal district and House Democrats. Given that she’s led the House to pass Stimulus, a Jobs bill, Cap and Trade, Financial Reform, and Health Care Reform in the last 14 months, I think she’s really safe in both constituencies. Why should she care if you don’t like her or spend any energy to change it?

That said, Reid’s in more trouble because his record and role are more liberal than Nevada is. He has a tough fight coming this fall.

Posted by: LawnBoy at March 22, 2010 10:06 PM
Comment #297718

DR,CH et al

Interesting Robert Riech take:

The bill really needs a public option. We have 4 years to get it right. Some states are fileing suits under the contention that the federal government does not have the power to force its citizens to purchase HC. I think they have merit. However the federal government clearly has the right to tax citizens. Financing a public option through the collection of a tax with a tax exemption for those with adaquate HC coverage is an option worth exploring and would accompish the same thing. Again we have 4 years to get it right.

Which party do you think is more likely to get it right?

Posted by: bills at March 22, 2010 10:40 PM
Comment #297719

Craige Holms
As of yesterday polls are irrelevant to HCR. We are not going backwards. There is no way enough votes could ever be gainned to force seniors to pay more for drugs,again allow carriers to refuse payment for pre-existing conditions, or boot a 23 year old off their parents policy.That is what repeal would mean.
A better option going forward is to work improving the plan. An objection that many on the left have is that the current plan will force people to write a check to private,for profit corporations. Perhaps that is an objection from at least some on the right? How do we fix that and still make sure that more Americans are protected?I gave one suggestion above. Bear in mind that doing nothing is no longer an option.Something IS going to happen.We may be able to shape WHAT is going happen and we may be able to do so together.

Posted by: bills at March 22, 2010 11:11 PM
Comment #297723

Craig, that’s one of the best snap shot polls around on issues which are polled frequently by differing political and news organizations, for public persuasion. The Kaiser citation is not just a poll, it is prescriptive research.

There are two basic categories of polls. The first, which the public is often exposed to, is snap shot polls, which take the pulse of the public on issues, often with a bias built into the questions to achieve headline ratings results. Then there are the prescriptive polls, which the public is usually not exposed to, often called internal polling, which are designed to determine and predict what the public’s response will be to certain issues if those issues are brought before the public. These are what I call research polls, as opposed to snap-shot polls.

They are distinctly different kinds of polling to achieve distinctively different results. The former are designed for public consumption and persuasion. The latter are designed to inform leaders of the pros and cons to initiatives if they were to become public issues.

The Kaiser poll essentially took the key provisions in the HC reform bill that would become law and asked more than 2000 respondents how they would respond if those provisions were to be included in the bill. The results overwhelming demonstrated that most of the provisions in this law will be supported by the public as they become aware that these provisions are the law. This design has predictive value.

The snap-shot polls do not have predictive value, measuring as they do, loaded question responses at a particular moment in current time, which, by virtue of the question loading cannot predict what public response will be weeks or months later, as reality, distinctively different from the loaded questions, comes into the awareness of the public.

Guess one has to take probability and statistics courses to really grasp the difference. But, it is significant. Their are politically motivated polling, MSM advertising and market share driven polling, both of which load the questions to achieve specific sponsor benefiting results. And then their are research polls, which more objectively measure what the public’s response will be should this, or that, reality become evident.

It is the difference between asking Americans who don’t know what is actually in the law what they think of the law, and presenting Americans objective information about specific provisions in the law and asking how they feel about those specific provisions. The results are strikingly different, as a comparison of your referenced push-pull polling results demonstrate against the results of the Kaiser research.

The public’s response to the legislation will change over time from their push-pull polling answers because over time, they will become more informed about what provisions are actually in the law, and respond to those realities, as they did in the Kaiser research, without necessarily being aware that what they were being asked about was actually in the legislation. The Kaiser research eliminated a lot of the biases based on political affiliation and hype by the political parties and special interest lobbyists who sought to persuade the public on the bill as a whole without ever objectively asking the people about the actual provisions that will become law tomorrow.

The internal design of the Kaiser poll was heads above the MSM political polling in terms of its vastly more expensive design and implementation to eliminate much of the emotional charging and biases surrounding the legislation, creating checks and balances by sub-group results to insure the integrity of the results. This is not done in MSM political polling, and a great many of the publicized polls. It is however, done in a lot of the GOP’s and Democratic Party’s private and fairly secret internal polling research, which they don’t make public, precisely because they are designed to assess how the public WOULD respond to this or that reality, so the Party can compensate for public opinion in their sophistry and rhetoric to push or pull public opinion over to their agenda.

Entirely different objectives result often in entirely different results in both design and usage of the polling research. And of course, entirely different results. Republicans wanted public opinion to oppose the HC reform, therefore their external polling was designed to create negative results by the polled subjects toward the legislation so the GOP could tout their refrain, the public does not want this legislation. Same thing on the Democrats side with their external polling and MSM biased polling.

The internal polls done by both Parties however, very likely generated very close to the same results. The public will favor most of the provisions in the HC reform bill, but will reject the cost and bartered special interest provisions contained within it. Those internal results shaped how both Parties invoked their public rhetoric around the legislation, Democrats touting the main benefit provisions and Republicans touting the cost and backroom deal provisions designed to get the votes to pass it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 23, 2010 01:00 AM
Comment #297725

Its the public option, stupid. Polls have repeatedly demonstrated that the public is supportive of a public option and that is what is missing from this bill. Bills’ suggestion of replacing the mandatory purchase of private insurance with a public option makes good common sense.

Polls consistently show that the majority of non-elderly Americans are satisfied with their group employer health insurance. They already enjoy the protections against pre-existing exclusions, recissions and caps under the 1996 HIPAA act. However, they are concerned about losing it in the future. Hence, the support for a public option. The concept of “option” should give politicians a clue. It is perceived as a comparable and affordable subsidized alternative to employer group policies in the event of unemployment, self employment or companies dropping coverage in the future. People want a lifeboat. They don’t want to be thrown into the individual private market.

Posted by: Rich at March 23, 2010 06:36 AM
Comment #297728

I read a piece saying that the Dems have a big job right now to explain exactly what the bill can do for Americans. True of course, and after it is signed into law that is also a responsibilty of the federal government.Interestingly,thia article said that we already a blue print in just how to do it left over from GWB and the drug benefit. It started out as unpopular,even with the politically potent target group. After some false starts a major media campaign and outreach showed just how seniors could sign up and convinced them it was a good plan. Funding questions aside, it has helped seniors. By the next election the Reps lost ground but NOT because of the drug plan.

Posted by: bills at March 23, 2010 06:53 AM
Comment #297737


I agree with, entirely. I have written here often that the public option was the way to go. Democratic leadership in the Congress did not agree. One of the reasons I am an independent. The Democratic leadership has their own agenda, and it isn’t the American people’s, on this issue. That is why I have also written that political reform is mandatory before the leadership in either Party can be free to represent the people’s interests.

This legislation was a battle between the people and the health insurance for profit industry. The people lost. The Democratic leadership and many of their colleagues compromised in favor of their lobbyists and corporate donors.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 23, 2010 11:03 AM
Comment #297738

bills, the more difficult job before Democrats is convincing the public that this law is only a down payment on comprehensive health care reform. I for one, remain skeptical.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 23, 2010 11:05 AM
Comment #297742


What you are saying is close to where I am. I think this bill stinks because of the cost. It’s going exactly backwards. We have no money and are on the road to bankruptsy.

Just this week, 2 year US Treasuries have higher yield than debt to Warren Buffet. That is the market lowering our credit rating.

This is classic Democratic party. Give me a problem and my answer will be to grow the government somehow. Pretty predictable.

Here is what I want to know about cost. How does this effect my 4.5 year old granddaughter? How does what was recently passed effect her life?

What is her life going to be like when she is our age? I was 50 when she was born. So in the year 2060, what is our country going to be like for her her grandchildren?

Well, for starters we are cutting education funding across the nation. That will impact her ability to get job skills.

For another thing, her dad is laid off. While we had this big fight we have lost millions of jobs.

Third the fiscal picture for her adult life is just as bleak today as it was last week. We still have 10’s of trillions of dollars of promises to our generation that she will have to pay that we are not dealing with.

So deal with education, unemployment and the long term fiscal situation of this country and you will have my positive attention!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 23, 2010 01:03 PM
Comment #297745

Craig, except for the cost of the reform package, paid for without increasing national debt, all your complaints are a result of actions taken under a Republican administration, NOT Democrats.

The Great Recession was created under the Bush administration. Jobs Lost - Republican administration. Education funding failures - Republican administration.

As for her future? That depends a great deal on whether THIS and the Next Congress can, and will pull together to zero the deficit within before 2015, and devise ways to eliminate the unfunded mandate of Medicare and Soc. Sec. deficits coming.

It can be done. This president intends to do it. But, whether this Congress will go along, well, that remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, if Republicans win back either House, the ability to address these issues will be gone. A divided political congress will never agree and pass the kinds of painful measures that are required in the short term, to prevent guaranteed economic disaster down the road, and which, as David Walker stated this month, could come on any given day as a result of our dependence upon the international global economy.

The Pederson Foundation committee to study non-partisan direction to save our economic future is headed by a Republican, Democrat, and Independent. I have high hopes for the outcome of their research and brainstorming.

I have less hope that our political divide in government will be capable of adopting such a plan.

As Walker said, for 220 years America has grown without a central long term economic plan. Now that the time has come which absolutely requires such a plan be in place, the political process cannot come together to agree upon one.

Voters must reject this broken political process in Nov. or reap the consequences of a divided and failed government, incapable of addressing the guaranteed economic collapse on our future’s doorstep.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 23, 2010 01:25 PM
Comment #297768
That which cannot be avoided must be welcomed.


One can always run to Costa Rica. But don’t Rush there.

This reminds me of a platitude by the infamous candidate for Governor of Texas, Clayton Williams, giving advice to rape victims: “If you can’t avoid it, you might as well enjoy it.” But then, Republicans have a habit of being politically astute these days.

Ignoring the creep factor, if you are crying for the loss of a dollar or two from that cob-webbed wallet, perhaps you should read up on economics a bit and understand this is the only hope you have of hanging on to those two bucks.

Posted by: gergle at March 23, 2010 06:26 PM
Comment #297797


The great recession was created by both parties. Who signed Gramm–Leach–Bliley? There are many other examples.

Here is a thoughtful approach at helping shore up Social Security. I would like your thoughts on it.

I like some of the thoughts about keeping the system very strong for the very old.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 24, 2010 10:30 AM
Comment #297799

Craig, GLB Act opened the door. It took an enormous amount of other factors to come into play between 1999 and 2007 to set the stage for the Great Recession. After Nov. 2000, the ball was in the Republican’s court. They controlled the agencies responsible for regulation and oversight, and they controlled one or both House’s of Congress most of those years.

Some of the key contributors lie within the Bush Administration, the SEC, Federal Reserve leadership, Treasury, FDIC, Freddie and Fannie and AIG, all had major roles to play, and all under Republican leadership or oversight.

Yes, Democrats in Congress were remiss in failing to follow up GLB Act with checks and balances right along with the Republicans. No argument there. But they did not control Congress much of those years in which the mortgage and banking bubble was growing.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 24, 2010 12:04 PM
Comment #297800

Craig, that analysis on S.S. sucks.

It sidesteps entirely the fundamental premise of Social Security, which is to insure the elderly against poverty in their retirement years. Their analysis is built on the assumption that everyone who pays in should receive commensurate benefit payments regardless of their wealth status. That is precisely the flawed implementation that makes Soc. Sec. unsustainable going forward.

The only reform that makes sense is that proposed originally by the FDR administration, to make the program an insurance plan: everyone pays in as protection against retirement poverty, which can happen to any of us, but, only those falling into poverty in retirement receive benefits equal to that required to bring their retirement income up above the poverty line.

Those with intact pensions and annuities and other savings permitting a standard of living above poverty do not receive SS benefits.

Following this plan, not only could we avoid SS’s unfunded mandates currently in place, but, premiums by workers paid each month could remain where they are, or, even go down, depending upon the actuarial realities as time passes.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 24, 2010 12:17 PM
Comment #297847


I would vote for that, or some modification of it.

Here is some more polling data:

Two thirds of Amerians want the GOP to keep fighing the health care bill.

Looks like the fight is still on!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 24, 2010 08:56 PM
Comment #297848

Craig, Oh! I agree. By all means I pray and hope that Republicans DO continue to fight this law. You know, a large majority of those Democrats agree with me. The more Republicans fight it, the more the public will reject them in Nov. as the public learns of the benefits bestowed upon them by this new law.

It is a mistake to interpret the motives of those Democrats saying Republicans should fight it, as the same as Republicans. The same can be said of some portion of those Independents. The New American Independent Party for example, is generally behind the new law.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 24, 2010 09:13 PM
Comment #297852


Nonsense. IF that were true, congress would not be at near all time lows and Pelosi/Reid would not have approval ratings lower than George Bush.

In addition, where are the public celebrations?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 25, 2010 12:26 AM
Comment #297853

David R. -

Of course McConnell and Boehner are vehemently against this bill - the Repubs were really NEVER allowed to have a ‘legitimate’ seat at the bargaining table.

To have a bill of this magnitude with no Republican votes is egregious. And before someone cries ‘but the GOP is the party of no,’ remember that the majority chambers of Congress and its leadership Pelosi/Reid ‘forced’ their bill through without compromise.
In fact, Pelosi/Reid are probably shrewder than McConnell/Boehner, IMO.

Finally, did anyone read about the Obamacare ‘loophole?’ Where Congresional committee staffers are Exempt from having to buy health insurance on the ‘exchanges?’ Talk about hypocracy of all hypocracies! And guess who shot down the Chuck Grassley Amendment to rectify this so-called ‘inequality?’ The senior senator from Nevada - Reid. Heck, even three distinguised Democratic senators signed onto the Grassley Amendment. And Barack Obama, himself pledged that he’d partake in the exchange when it becomes mandated.

The sad truth to all of this is that it would’nt of been that difficult for both parties to pick the items that they both could agree upon, and then compromise on the rest. Remember, the landmark Social Security legislation of 1935 had around 80% bipartisan support; and, the more partisan Medicare bill of 1965 had at least 50% bipartisan support. But to have 0% support? It will only divide our country, our politics and our forward progress.

Regardless of where to point the finger, it is America itself that is suffering.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at March 25, 2010 01:55 AM
Comment #297859

Craig said: “Nonsense. IF that were true, congress would not be at near all time lows”

Doesn’t matter, The one has nothing to do with the other. There are only two party’s candidates to choose from on election day for most races. Those who believe in voting will have to make a choice. But that has nothing to do with Democrats seeing gold in Republicans obstructionism and when polled indicate they do hope Republicans keep it up.

Two distinctly separate items, not related at all. Like I said, it is a mistake to misinterpret Democrats and many Independents motives in that poll. How do I know? Because other polling indicates the country is roughly divided on whether this bill goes too far or not far enough.

It is also a mistake to build a world view based on one poll. One has to take in the breadth of the polling to even begin to understand the broader picture.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 25, 2010 08:45 AM
Comment #297860

“Finally, did anyone read about the Obamacare ‘loophole?’ Where Congresional committee staffers are Exempt from having to buy health insurance on the ‘exchanges?”

Much to do about nothing. The language of the bill is clear that the only health insurance that will be offered to members of Congress or their staffs will be that which is offered on the exchanges. There is no explicit exemption for some Congressional staff. However, some have interpreted an implicit exemption for some staff due to the bill’s definition of staff. That’s hardly the stuff of a conspiratorial plot to avoid “Obama care.” If anything, it may require a short amendment to the definitional section to clear up the issue. It should also be noted that the insurance to be offered on the exchanges is modeled after the FEHBP. So, even if true, what would be the great advantage?

Posted by: Rich at March 25, 2010 08:50 AM
Comment #297861

Kevin said: “the Repubs were really NEVER allowed to have a ‘legitimate’ seat at the bargaining table.”

I don’t buy that, at all. With between 100 and 200 Republican amendments in this law, your claim is meritless. Obama invited Republicans to the table many times, as did Pelosi and Reid. They didn’t like the seats they were being offered as the minority Party, so, they rejected their minority seats at the table and chose instead to obstruct and oppose the entire initiative including their own adopted amendments.

Kevin said: “In fact, Pelosi/Reid are probably shrewder than McConnell/Boehner, IMO.”

I think that is obviously correct. The polling numbers for this law are already improving as predicted by the Kaiser Research cited in this article. By Slim Margin, Americans Now Support Healthcare Bill’s Passage.

Obama’s approval rating remains stubbornly at around 50%. Remarkable considering the trashing the HC reform bill received by the insurance industry and GOP, most of which in the media proved false or distorted and deceptive.

And Democrats have consistently maintained higher approval ratings on leadership than Republicans. “Gallup’s weekly read on the race for Congress shows Democrats with a 47% to 44% edge over Republicans among registered voters, unchanged from last week.” That will improve as the public learns more about how they will benefit from the HC reform, and as the Jobs bill and Wall St. corporate reforms take shape and pass into law.

There is no getting around the fact that Obama and Democrats ran on and were elected to create change, and despite their opposition, change is what the public is witnessing from Democrats. That is going to continue to give Democrats an edge going into November’s elections, unless they lose the ball, and the change game ends. Not a likely scenario.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 25, 2010 09:05 AM
Comment #297863

“The sad truth to all of this is that it would’nt of been that difficult for both parties to pick the items that they both could agree upon, and then compromise on the rest.”

It was the Republicans that explicitly negated that approach from the very beginning. They engaged in a scorched earth campaign to destroy the Democrats’ proposals utilizing every form of misinformation, disinformation, outright lies and distortions to block the proposals. The leadership of the GOP was very clear about making health care, Obama’s Waterloo. As David Frum pointed out this past week, it didn’t seem to matter to Republicans that the proposals were essentially conservative approaches developed over the years by the Heritage Foundation and implemented in Mass. by a conservative Republican. The only thing that mattered to the GOP leadership was giving Obama a political defeat.

Posted by: Rich at March 25, 2010 09:21 AM
Comment #297864

Craige Holms/DR
There are no unfunded mandates in SS. There are funded mandates.SS does not need saving either. It is working fine ,although this year,as a result of the downturn,the SS trutees will have to cash in a few of the treasury bonds the system has invested in to make payments. A few bonds out of 2.5 trillion dollars worth. Projections are that in two years income will again cover payments for a period. The SS trustees report will be out soon enough for us to talk facts and not ideaology.Recent CBO calculations show a shortfall in 2037 instead of 2041 with this economy. This is not a crises.
DR ,where did you get the assertion that SS was set up as an isurance policy against poverty?Source please.

Posted by: bills at March 25, 2010 09:34 AM
Comment #297866

Mrch22 Gallup poll has 49% approval for the HCR bill,40% negative and 11% undecided.The constant Rep refrain that they some how represented most Americans was just one more lie.

Posted by: bills at March 25, 2010 10:07 AM
Comment #297868

bills, do your own homework. This is well documented history regarding the Insurance, and the word insurance is even in the act pertaining to disability. Sheesh! At least now you know what you don’t know about this topic, and that is always a great starting point.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 25, 2010 11:23 AM
Comment #297869

bills, that unfunded obligation is two fold! First, there is the, as you point out, the program solvency issue running deficits around 2037. The more immediate problem however is our national debt and deficits which increasingly are going to prohibit or make very costly and difficult borrowing to make good on the IOU’s in the Soc. Sec. balance statement issued by Congress and the Treasury as they spent all the Soc. Sec. surpluses on other things.

If the economy implodes due to deficit and debt, there will BE NOT SOCIAL SECURITY PROGRAM. What part of this mandate to cover benefits going forward do you NOT understand as NOT FUNDED? The Funds were spent. This mandate is UNFUNDED until the Treasury borrows from BRIC nation’s to FUND it at what are going to be ever increasing interest rate costs for that borrowing.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 25, 2010 11:30 AM
Comment #297902

Bill S:

I would like the “*” removed from my social security statement.

Also, quoting one poll is not all that great of and idea.

Well maybe it is a good idea. here is my favorite!!

55% favor repeal:

And I don’t think they want it repealed and left alone. I think they want it repealed and replaced with something better.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 25, 2010 04:51 PM
Comment #297903

SS is $5T unfunded, goes into the red this year. Medicare is presently $38T unfunded.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 25, 2010 04:53 PM
Comment #297908

One of the greatest gifts we could give our children and grandchildren is to completely remove that $48T before we retire.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 25, 2010 05:33 PM
Comment #297919

It would be nice if we could crash the dollar and pay China in devalued dollars. But, China has pegged their currency to the dollar and has not been willing to change their position over the last few years. While pegged to the dollar, China’s yuan is 25-30% undervalued, keeping Chinese goods cheap. There is about $7-8B a month flowing into China while our trade deficit with them ranges in excess of $200B/yr. China has everything to gain by maintaining the status quo, including making sure we pay our debt in equivalent dollars relative to the value of their currency.
In other words, our grandkids and great grandkids are stuck with the bill. If things go according to Obama’s plan each US household will be indebted by $500K by 2019.
Today, the EU agreed they would, as a last resort, help pay off Greece’s debt only if the IMF is involved. I think that means us. I suspect there will be a paper shortage by years end, trying to print all that money we don’t have.

I would advocate for a 3rd Party here but, it seems so useless, why bother?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 25, 2010 09:32 PM
Comment #297951

The SS fund stands at 2.5 trillion in bonds. That is NOT in the red.Those bonds were purchased be working people and their employers for the specific purpose of paying SS benefits. They are treasury bonds. The US has never defaulted on its bonds and never will. DR could probably tell us which part of the Constitutions prohibits defaulting. Whether or not the government has pissed away the borrowed money is not relevent. If lend you 50$ and you lose it at poker you still owe me 50$.

Posted by: bills at March 26, 2010 09:06 AM
Comment #297961

The President stood his moral high ground against critics on the Left and Right. He consulted with and endorsed Republican ideas which Republicans themselves voted against. President Obama’s vision, promised to the voters for change that must take place for our future.
He is not like any previous president. He is his own man, with his own integrity, and strength of conviction and faith, in our nation and American government.
guys, for the recent “Comparative Effectiveness Research” Obamacare bill read details in here:

Posted by: djuice boy at March 26, 2010 12:55 PM
Comment #297979


Defaulting is not a matter for the constitution. It is a matter of our ability to pay. If you cannot pay you are forced to default.

Many countries simply print more money and cause inflation in a quiet form of default.

The 2.5 Trillion in bonds is not the main issue that was discussed, it is the amount over the 2.5 Trillion that SS is projected to need in the future that is in question.

If I lend you $50 and you loose it in poker, what do you do if you don’t have $50.00 to repay me back what we both agree you owe?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 26, 2010 03:37 PM
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