Seven Hours of Health Care. It was a long battle, the GOP brought facts, the Democrats brought emotional stories. The most telling part of the day was when the President was walking back to the White House at the end with his progressive colleagues , he shouted to the press, “We’ll see, we will see if we changed some attitudes.” That was the purpose of this exercise changing attitudes, not of the GOP legislators in the room but of the American public.
The second half of this summit was more contentious and less “bi-partisan” than the first half. The Republicans still brought out facts, but the Democrats went on the attack accusing the Republicans of creating a new segregation, those with health care and those without.
“We don’t allow segregation on the basis of race,” Said Tom Harkin, the chairman of the Senate “And yet we still allow segregation today in America on the basis of your health. Why should we allow that to happen?”
Senator Jay Rockefeller, went with the typical progressive argument, corporations are evil.“The health insurance industry is the shark that sits right below the water and you don’t see that shark until you feel the teeth of that shark”
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But the Republicans fought back with facts, Congressman Ryan explained how the Senate Bill is designed to hide its real effect on the federal budget.
Later John Boehner said what many of us had been begging for someone to say.
“It’s not just the taxes or the Medicare cuts. You’ve got the individual mandate here, which I think is unwise and I do believe is unconstitutional,”
Knowing that he couldn’t answer that charge the POUTUS relied on his standard response for the day, he accused Boehner of resorting “talking points” instead of engaging in a productive bipartisan dialogue. That one exchange reflects the big difference between the progressive approach and that of the GOP. To the progressives like President Obama the constitution is a non-Issue, and the GOP position is that we should be following the document that made America great.
But in the end, it was President Obama who orchestrated the end of the meeting and he orchestrated it very well.
First up at the end was Speaker Pelosi who accused the GOP of presenting lies during the meeting. She bashed Minority Leader John Boehner for saying that the Obamcare proposals fund abortion coverage and followed up with going after Congressman Dave Camp’s (R-Mich.) assertion that the bills contain Medicare cuts for seniors.
“Mr. Boehner, the law of the land is that there is no public funding of abortions and there is no public funding of abortions in these bills” Pelosi said. “I don’t want our listeners or viewers to get the wrong impression” when it comes to abortion funding.
Ms Pelosi was not telling the truth. President Obama’s “new” health care proposal would still levy a new “abortion premium” fee and use government funds to subsidize elective abortion. Just like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) 2,074-page health care “manager’s amendment,” that passed the Senate in December. The House bill does contain stringent provisions to limit abortion funding that was inserted by Bart Stupak but neithe the President’s bill nor the Senate bill has that language.
With regards to Camp’s claim about Medicare cuts, Pelosi said the bills “do not, they do not” cut Medicare. Well last time I looked the Senate Bill cuts Medicare by $500 Billion, you cant say that the bill is simply cutting waste until you find the waste and cut it first.
The last ten minutes, the President spoke throwing all hopes of bi-partisanship out the window. He said he would give “some thought” to the Republican Ideas, and hopes that the GOP would do some soul searching.
“I’d like the Republicans to do a little soul-searching and find out are there some things that you’d be willing to embrace that get to this core problem of 30 million people without health insurance and dealing seriously with the pre-existing condition issue.”
Then the President went on the attack. He basically said the GOP was holding back because of Politics.
Politically speaking, there may not be any reason for Republicans to want to do anything,” But, I thought it was worthwhile for us to make this effort.”
He place the entire burden on the GOP to compromise, and if he doesn’t see compromise soon:
“The question that I’m going to ask myself and I ask of all of you is, Is there enough serious effort that in a months time or a few weeks time or six weeks time, we could actually decide something?’ And if we can’t, I think we’ve got to go ahead and make some decisions and then that’s what elections are for.”
That was his nice way of saying move to my position or we are going to ram this down your throats via reconciliation.
This whole day was a 7 1/2 hour waste of time. We really learned its purpose at the end of the day. It was all about giving the appearance of “reaching out.” From now on its “We tried, they wont bend so we have to do reconciliation.” It was all a cynical exercise to make the GOP look bad by not moving the President’s way, while not asking his progressive friends to move.