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Posted by on Jul 24, 2009 in Health, Media, Politics, Society | 12 comments

A Breather on Health Care Reform Might Be Good

That is Nate Silver’s assessment right now — for two main reasons:

One, the press’s tendency to focus on short-term, insignificant but flashy issues, combined with its famously short attention span, might mean that when Congress comes back after the August recess, the media will be bored of the “Obama’s-poll-numbers-are-down,” “the public is cooling on health care reform,” and “Obama said that racial profiling still exists!” memes, and will be ready for the “game-changer” meme — which obviously would be an upward move, since things are going so terribly for him now. And yes, that is snark.

And two, there are early signs that the next cycle of economy report cards will show improvement:

Nobody much seems to have noticed, but the Dow is now over 9,000 and at its highest point of the Obama presidency; the S&P is nearing 1,000 and the NASDAQ has gained almost 55 percent since its bottom and has moved upward on 12 consecutive trading days. There are ample reasons to be skeptical about the rally — it isn’t supported by strong volumes, and it’s almost entirely the result of surprisingly solid corporate earnings numbers rather than the sorts of figures that Main Street cares about. But, there are two big dates to watch out for. On July 31, an advance estimate of second quarter GDP growth will be released, and on August 7th, we’ll get the monthly report on the unemployment situation. If either of those reports reflect the optimism elicited by the corporate earnings numbers — in this context, a job loss number under ~250,000 or a 2Q GDP number somewhere close to zero — there will be a lot of quite optimistic chatter about the end of the recession which might not penetrate to Main Street, but which will at least have some reverberations on Capitol Hill.

Over at the Washington Post‘s Political Browser column, Ben Pershing seconds Silver’s optimism, and adds another reason for feeling that way:

To Silver’s thesis, add this: The House and Senate not passing reform before recess means Democratic lawmakers won’t have to go home and defend potentially flawed bills that may not even resemble the final package. No bill means no opportunity for opponents to pore through the text and find that controversial provision (it promotes euthanasia!!) buried deep inside that members who voted yes would have to defend retroactively. And while there will still be a huge messaging and lobbying battle over the August recess, this spares Democrats from a potentially worse assault.

So blast away, Pawlenty. We’ll barely notice the extra hot air in the August heat.

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • shannonlee

    Pawlenty is still in politics? Who knew?!?!?

  • $199537

    Well I agree with Silver but for different reasons. The best reason to delay the plan is to get it right, especially with respect to funding.

  • kathykattenburg

    To get it right, or to get it perfect? What would make it “right” from your pov? Specifically.

    • $199537

      To get it right, or to get it perfect? What would make it “right” from your pov? Specifically.

      There is no way I can give a brief answer to this question, the plan is too complex. To answer the first question I don’t expect it to be perfect, just good.

  • Father_Time

    Bhaaahh!

    This whole thing is falling on it’s butt. As I said before; They are not addressing cost and COST is the issue not who pays. However, it is my opinion that national healthcare is the answer because doctors, hospitals, and, all pertinent parties will never lower cost enough to make a real difference. Therefore government is going to have to take control in the people’s interest in order to “Promote the Common Welfare” of the American people as stated in the Constitution. Why? Because COST is out of control of a NECESSITY vital to the common welfare!

    However, we need an innocuous bill passed in order to adjust and reform adjust and modify until we reach our goal. (Which IMO is obviously national healthcare but I’m not always right)

    So unless the medical industry begins to take it in the rear, (I couldn’t resist the pun, but really, where are they going to run too? Everybody else has National Healthcare!), then anything we do will be like spitting in the ocean to raise the level.

    What might also help, we could implement like many European countries do and replace liability laws pertaining to medicine with criminal laws. Eliminating the high cost of liability insurance, (I’m not a fan of the insurance industry as we know it, I consider them crooks). So at least instead of liability, you get criminal negligence. That ought to wake there butts up and bring us up from 39th among nations in competent medicine.

  • DLS

    An indefinite “breather” on health care is needed, obviously, but that is actually true about all the Dems have been rushing to do.

  • jchem

    Silver: If either of those reports reflect the optimism elicited by the corporate earnings numbers — in this context, a job loss number under ~250,000 or a 2Q GDP number somewhere close to zero — there will be a lot of quite optimistic chatter about the end of the recession which might not penetrate to Main Street, but which will at least have some reverberations on Capitol Hill.

    You have to be a pretty good spinmaster to be optimistic with this. So this is how progress is measured? We still lose jobs but not as many as we feared. Most of the reason why job losses may be decreasing is because most folks on the chopping block have already lost their jobs; you can’t lose a job you didn’t have. But, I guess given the uptick in the market, those 250,000 newly unemployed folks have every reason to be optimistic.

    Just a couple of weeks ago, Kathy, you wrote a post saying something to the effect of “We Need Healthcare NOW” (you can correct me if I’m wrong). You and Jason Arvak went back and forth throughout the comment board. We’ve all consistently been told that its a dire emergency, and Obama was demanding something on his desk before the August recess. Each day that passes, we have been told, the system continues to degrade and the condition of all of us gets worse and worse. And now this. So, were you just kidding before? Its okay now to put this off?

  • DLS

    Da Goat: Here is a refreshing contrast to Obama’s continued traveling “campaign” that appeals to the childish, that addresses the central concern: the cost issue. Note also that Orszag is a lightning rod insofar as criticism goes that can be deflected from Obama and his controversial “campaign” behavior.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124839406488477649.html

  • DLS

    Meanwhile, the childish can cheer (leap for it, Kathy), because the more, ahem, ambitious Dems are threatening to continue the stupidity-momentum, and preserve the rush to lunacy.

    Waxman May Waive Committee Vote to Get Health Bill to Floor

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aQG0vLXOZYTc

    Waxman and Pelosi — vroom, toward the cliff

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/24/democratic-leaders-consider-bypassing-house-committee-advance-health/

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/24/pelosi-hits-throttle-health-care-despite-democrats-concerns/

    We have yet to learn how things will go when both Byrd and Kennedy are in the Senate.

  • DLS

    Note to J. Chem —

    “We’ve all consistently been told that its a dire emergency, and Obama was demanding something on his desk before the August recess. Each day that passes, we have been told, the system continues to degrade and the condition of all of us gets worse and worse. And now this. So, were you just kidding before? Its okay now to put this off?”

    There actually is consistency here, namely that Kathy is certain that whatever Obama and the Dems do _now_, _this_moment_, is what defines Okay. Obama retreated on his deadline, so now that is Okay.

    Meanwhile, did you listen to what he said in the press conference? Provided you conveniently ignore the subsidies and cost-shifting involved, consider this —

    “And I’ve said this before, if you found out that your neighbor had gotten the same car for $6,000 less, you’d want to figure out how to get that deal.”

    That, of course, is just how the “public option” incrementalist measure will “crowd out” private insurers.

  • DLS

    Well, when something does advance, don’t be surprised if it involves capitation, which caught my attention when Obama was campaigning for Dem health care reform in Cleveland metro, and which goes beyond merely providing subsidized government health insurance (pre-paid care) that undercuts private insurance, or extending Medicare in its current form. (Will Medicare be subject to capitation someday?)

    “But there’s no doubt that this time delay creates a window for experimentation in cost containment.”

    “Don’t just do two pilot programs, do 20. Learn from the ones that are really working […]”

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0709/25305.html

    • $199537

      Well, when something does advance, don’t be surprised if it involves capitation

      In the past capitation was portrayed as evil insurance companies bribing doctors not to treat patients. It’ll be interesting to see how the government spins it if they go that direction.

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