Why Can’t Obama Behave Like a Winner?

Why can’t the President take yes for an answer? A month after voters affirmed him, why is he signaling so many concessions to a GOP in disarray?

There are sightings of the Barack Obama who botched the first debate with Mitt Romney—-disengaged, distant, bogged down in details of issues rather than passionate about what’s at stake.

All this goes beyond ideology and partisan score-keeping into the realm of temperament and character. Will Obama II revert to more of the law professor than the community organizer?

In his Weekly Address, the President describes himself as ready to work with GOP opponents on “a plan that gives both sides some of what they want. I’m willing to find ways to bring down the cost of health care without hurting seniors and other Americans who depend on it. And I’m willing to make more entitlement spending cuts on top of the $1 trillion dollars in cuts I signed into law last year.”

With Republican backs to wall at the fiscal cliff, the weekend brings alarming Administration leaks about compromises—-raising Medicare eligibility age to 67, flexibility about the key campaign promise to raise income tax rates of the superrich back to 39.6 percent.

As Boehner and McConnell play their tired old games with no acknowledgement that this year’s flood of partisan money failed to tilt Washington in their favor, why is Obama slipping back into his outdated dance with them?

MORE.

Author: ROBERT STEIN

10 Comments

  1. When I see news programs like a segment I saw on 60 Minutes last week, I get very angry. I don’t remember the details, but it was a hospital organization that was threatening ER doctors with job loss unless they admitted more patients (especially those over 65) whether they really needed hospitalization or not. There are still, obviously, HMO’s and doctors and probably other branches of healthcare who are bleeding Medicare for fraudulent charges. It seems to me that if there was a way to penalize so severely these situations when they are discovered that it would bring this kind of thing under control it would be a remarkable savings to Medicare all by itself. Instead, whistle blowers seem to be the ones that get punished. What I was told one time when I questioned an item on one of my statements was that “they don’t have codes for everything that’s done to a patient, so we substitute codes.” It wasn’t that the procedure wasn’t done, it was the code they used for it. I wonder if the charge might have been greater for the “substitute code”. One of the cuts is to reduce reimbursement to doctors, some of whom may well deserve the cuts, it seems. But doctors also opt out of programs, like WellCare (a Medicare Advantage Plan) because the reimbursement rates are so low. Some of the onus for our healthcare issues goes to greed; greed of HMO’s and greed of doctors looking to bleed the system for unnecessary testing. Doctors don’t share medical information and test results and there is a lot of duplication some of which harms the patient. Cutting Medicare will be complicated at best, but I think the cuts need more scruitiny than there is political time for. Fraud control is the answer, but it doesn’t come cheap! What if everyone just did the right thing? The President can’t do that for everybody all by himself, but I think that’s what he may be trying to do.

  2. No matter how much worse the other guy might have been, an acquiescent Obama is wasted potential. This is no time to kow tow to an undeserving right.

  3. “All this goes beyond ideology and partisan score-keeping into the realm of temperament and character.”

    Interesting the author would write this; Mr. Stein sounds like an ideological score-keeper rather than a problem solver. That is disappointing at this critical juncture but not surprising. We would hear the same squawking if Romney had won and concessions were made to the Dems. In an independent experiment my guess is the two men and two parties would probably come to similar solutions to the ‘fiscal cliff’.

    Expect more noise from the far left and far right as compromises are made. Those of us who consider ourselves moderates have been saying for years that compromise will happen, knowingly nod.

    What a waste of time. There is a part of me that invites the fiscal cliff just so our elected officials in the congress pay a steep price while scrambling to undo what they themselves constructed. But that’s probably not best for the country. Wait a minute, maybe it is …

  4. @Momzworld I am used to hearing comments like yours about doctors, but I think they are misplaced unless they are about specific fraud. Most docs work their butts off and earn everything they take home; and they take home about half of what they did thirty years ago. They are an easy target and we are discouraging some great minds from going into a system/profession that is in bad need of 50,000 more physicians.

    Close scrutiny

    “Quite possibly no other occupation in the country receives such attention regarding the income its members receive. And that’s not a new trend – more than 70% of respondents of a survey published in the 1985 American Journal of Public Health believed doctors were overpaid.

    The Medscape survey found the average physician compensation now ranges from a high of $315,000 for orthopedic surgeons to a low of $156,000 for pediatricians. Sounds pretty good right?

    Consider that physicians must complete at least four years of college, four years of medical school, and between three to eight years of residency training prior to becoming a real, practicing doctor. Many physicians don’t start earning “doctor-level” salaries until they are well into their 30s.

    A 2009 survey by U.S. News found the typical medical student graduated with $141,132 in debt. The graduates of some schools averaged more than $200,000 in loans.
    So how do doctors’ salaries compare with other well-paying professions?

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average computer and information system manager earns $125,660 per year. The average lawyer makes $130,490 per year. Orthodontists take home $204,670. The New York Times recently reported the average base pay for managing directors at Morgan Stanley is $400,000. At Goldman Sachs, it’s $600,000. The average salary of an NFL player is $1.9 million. NBA players average $5.15 million per year.

    Just for putting a ball in a hoop.

    When you consider these numbers, the thought of pediatricians making $156,000 a year doesn’t seem unreasonable. They often see 50 patients per day, answer our calls at all hours, and keep our kids healthy.

    What about critical care physicians? They average $240,000 a year, but are responsible for keeping the sickest of us alive. One-quarter of critical care physicians spend more than 65 hours per week with their patients, not including time doing paperwork.

    Unlike most other professions, there is a ceiling to what most doctors can earn. Physician compensation is tightly controlled by the government and insurance companies. Medicine is also the only profession where its members are required to sometimes work for free.”

    Then there is the paperwork (add another 20hrs a week), the wrangling to get paid by insurance companies and patients who steal from you. Doctors are the last bills paid by households, if they are paid at all. Why? Because people say to themselves, “they’re rich, they can afford being stiffed or put off.”

  5. Dr pay isn’t why health costs keep increasing. Dr’s deserve what they make, and they make less. Its the bloated for-profit HMO companies that have inserted themselves in the process that are driving prices up and service down. It’s those guys that need a trip to the woodshed. I have a friend who’s father makes high end cancer treatment devices that are TOO efficient. Basically he has been told by the purchasing agents of the HMO’s who buy hospital equipment that his company’s device, by reducing treatment time and post treatment recovery, reduces the profit for the hospital as well.

    Basically, for profit HMO’s are the cause of this mess.

  6. @slamfu I agree with your view of the problem with some for profit HMOs. Some of these HMOs remove enough of the freedom of the docs to make decisions that quality of care is compromised. We will see more of that as we move to a single payor system controlled by the federal government. Not because it will be profit driven but because there will be law or pressure to squeeze more for less out of the physicians and to reduce the cost of end of life care. Similar to the highly efficient device that lowers profit, altering end of life care alters cost. On average it is more costly than the the rest of your life’s medical bills combined. Many of us are thinking ahead with advanced directives and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) forms on file to help our families avoid these tough decisions …. or having decisions made for them that leave them bitter if not litigious.

  7. If these sources are correct, than it is not at all clear what Obama’s thinking is here. If he doesn’t strike a fair deal here, he may regret it more than he knows come 2014. If he once again, gives more than the asking price it will be disasterous for his administration.
    Seniors are counting on him not to sell them down the river. Low income minorities are counting on him not to give away the farm.
    He may not have to run for president again, but how would he like to deal with MORE Republicans in congress. Disgusted Democrats may just decide to leave the ticket if he short changes them.

  8. “Low income minorities are counting on him not to give away the farm.”

    Are low income whites counting on him for anything?

  9. KP, yes, of course. Poor choice of words there.( Got my “downtrodden” combined). Low income everyone.

  10. Perhaps Obama is putting the county’s interests above the Dem or Rep party’s interest. Gloating in public or private does not help solve any problems.

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