I really enjoy reading Froma Harrop. I don’t agree with everything she writes, but she strikes me as consistently reasonable and fair. If accurate, this excerpt from her latest is a kick in the head to Republican grandstanding on health care reform:

[Democrats] must have been rolling in the aisles this week when Sen. Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, announced, “There is no way Republicans are going to support a trillion-dollar-plus bill.”

Republicans already have. In 2006, their Medicare drug benefit legislation was projected to cost $1.08 trillion over 10 years. Last year, the estimate was reduced to a tad under $1 trillion …

Read Harrop’s entire column. It re-iterates points made by several TMV contributors, including this one, re: the growing (and largely self-induced) irrelevance of the GOP caucus to the health care reform debate.

—————–

Post Script: Though she does not believe regional co-ops can “do as good a job moderating costs as the public option,” Harrop concedes that said co-ops are “not an awful idea.” Yet more evidence that there are Democrats, including Democratic pundits, who were willing to give this “not awful idea” it’s day in the sun, if only Republican leadership had seized the opportunity.

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  • DLS

    This example reminds me of the few, poor-quality columns by Harrop that gets into Detroit newspapers.

    She takes the “trillion-plus” figure _out_of_context_. (What matters currently is not just this figure and its size, but “in addition to what, already?”)

    Obama and the Conge-Dems’ [mis]spending and debt has _dwarfed_ whatever the Republicans have done.

    Now they want to vastly increase this even more with their clumsily-crafted (Keystone-Kops-experimental?) health care effort.

    The spending _already_ was causing more and more of the mainstream (an early loss of us moderates) to have concerns about these people (in addition to destructive silliness with the climate bill as well as misspending of stimulus funds).

    And never mind that Obama and the Dems are going to be the last to actually do entitlement reform, which logically should have preceded any expansion of federal health care.

  • DLS

    The GOP’s irrelevence is because they’re on the sidelines, all right. But it would be dishonest for any commentator to say that the GOP is obliged to spend a single penny or have Washington do a single thing in the area of health care (or anything else, actually). There is no such obligation or “need” [sic].

    Moreover, the GOP has widely, repeated stated that reform is needed and that the GOP actually seeks reform, but has been sidelined (correct transitive verb use here) by the Democrats, who threaten now to stoop to even-worse lows by forcing through (using a dishonest misuse of a legislative process) its own, very-poor legislation.

    And the Dems have been increasingly misbehaving and seeking increasingly poor legislation and behavior by Washington (as we saw earlier with the climate bill), which is why the real news for months has been the rising public concern and opposition to the Democrats.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    As a famous American conservative once said, “Facts are stubborn things”.

  • vey9

    Let’s say you were a Republican Congressman in 2006. And let’s say you were presented with two options: 1. insure everyone or 2. subsidize drugs fro Medicare recipients.
    Which would you choose?.

  • DLS

    Well, George, some militant fringists and others on the Left are refusing to face facts with this as well as other Dem measures this year, and are refusing to face the facts that the more the public learns about the health care effort and the more we witness misbehavior by the Dems and their useful idiot helpers, the more this health care effort becomes the fiasco of the year.

    They _are_ stubborn things that can’t go away, despite the best efforts of the Dems and their evasion of them (_deliberate_ evasion of the facts related to costs and paying them at the start of the health care effort being the most glaring thing that alerted the public this time).

    Appeals to emotion of childish people (misreading the public, again?) like Obama’s calling this now a “moral obligation” (what a disgusting as well as dishonest emotional appeal!), aren’t going to help much.

  • DLS

    “Which would you choose?”

    If I were given those two options (that is an assumption that is no way “necessary” or something anyone _should_ be doing in Washington, in 2006 or now, or ever) I would insure everyone, just as I have said on numerous occasions how, as well as that this has been deliberately neglected because the Dems want something much grander and more controversial.

    [sigh] Once more: require all health insurance to be on a state-wide, region-wide, or nation-wide “community rating” basis, meaning nobody is excluded for pre-existing conditions or history of illness that otherwise would impair their insurability under the customary “experience rating.”

    Also, require region-wide or nation-wide uniform minimum benefit packages for such insurance (which aids portability, something highly desired by the public for ages).

    Note that a reasonable minimum benefit package would be aimed at true _insurance_, rather than at pre-paid comprehensive medical (health) care, which is something else entirely (and much larger in scope and in expense). A first step at least at uniform insurance would be true insurance, meaning against very costly, unforeseen, undesireable catastrophic or terrible events, typically those requiring hospitalization.

    As to drugs, there _is_ an obvious case for supporting a drug benefit. (a) Drugs often forestall disease or otherwise reduce costs overall; b) if it’s theraputic, like surgery or rehab, part of health care, then logically it should be included and be a benefit.) But before adding a drug benefit I’d first have sought what the Dems should have been seeking (though we never believed their lies that they would do this) reform of entitlements, including Medicare (the commonly interpreted future federal health care model for everyone), should be done first.

    Remember, 2006 was not long after the GOP tried some Social Security reform, and while the Dems were not obliged to accept what was sought, they debased themselves (predictably and disgustingly) by offering _nothing_ for long-overdue reform of Social Security at that time, then reforming Medicare (which is what many dishonest Dems said was in worse shape and should be approached before touching the sacred covenant [gag] of Social Security, saying whatever they could to avoid doing anything at all to Social Security). That they did _nothing_ then and are doing nothing for reform now is not surprising except to the “surpriseable” and still-manipulable. [scowl]

  • Also there is the question of exactly how much the largely unnecessary war in Iraq has cost us in dollars & lives. Last I heard the cost, which has mostly been “off the books” for some reason, has cost considerably more than that trillion that “no member of the GOP” will ever vote for.

    The only assumption I can draw is that the GOP believes that money for wars = good, money for health = bad.

    Why should I, or anybody, vote for people who believe that killing their own citizens is a good thing worth spending trillions on?

  • “Well, George, some militant fringists and others on the Left are refusing to face facts with this as well as other Dem measures this year, and are refusing to face the facts that the more the public learns about the health care effort and the more we witness misbehavior by the Dems and their useful idiot helpers, the more this health care effort becomes the fiasco of the year.”
    Thanks to outright rightwing lies and media complicity, the public hasn’t learned anything about health care reform.

  • $199537

    Ms. Harrop apparently thinks she has a scoop, that Republicans practiced big government/wasteful spending during the GWB years. Well actually Froma us small government fiscal conservatives noticed that a long time ago and a lot of us left the party.

    If the point is the the GOP is hypocritical and left behind their principles, then we knew that a long time ago. What this doesn’t do however is to justify equally irresponsible spending by Democrats, which I sense is how some people are framing this.

  • JSpencer

    The whole idea of a citizen government is a truly wonderful one. The only hitch is that it requires a halfway savvy electorate in order to function successfully. When large segments of the population are no longer capable of recognizing when they are being used, then we run into the sorts of problems we’ve been seeing so much of lately. The importance of learning how to think critically cannot be overstressed, since there will always be those ready and willing to take advantage of it’s absence. The most obvious, recent example of this would be the GOP attempts to sabotage the healthcare debate, but it’s hardly the only one.

  • DLS

    “When large segments of the population are no longer capable of recognizing when they are being used, then we run into the sorts of problems we’ve been seeing so much of lately. ”

    Actually, less and less are able or willing to be manipulated — that’s the key lesson not only of Obama’s continued campaign tactics but of the other politicians’ “town hall” meetings, one lost on many on the Left.

  • casualobserver

    @@Why should I, or anybody, vote for people who believe that killing their own citizens is a good thing worth spending trillions [email protected]@

    So, when are you lefties going to hold Obama to his campaign promise on the war……..or do you now think that sending more troops is a good thing since Obama wants to do it?

    For some strange reason, the same war that warranted 6 threads a day last year, now is eerily not worht a mention exxcept if it is the context of three years ago. Strange people, the lefties.

    • I take it that CasualObserver is assuming that I am all for a war run by Democrats, but not by Republicans. If I’m wrong in that understanding then I will apologize for what I’m about to say. Also, as a caveat, I am not a “lefty”, except, probably, to someone who is very extremely far out on the right fringe. s/he may wish to consider that in any further responses.

      I am not for ANY unnecessary war, & loathe necessary wars, irrespective of who leads us into it. I believe, as Jesus taught, that as we treat others so we ultimately treat ourselves. Spending unaccounted billions / month, which would easily pay for every social program currently in the works, to kill foreigners as well as our own children is unacceptable & unconscionable.

      I can as easily ask you “When are you righties going to demand that Bush & Cheney pay for the damage they have caused this country, in lives, jobs, reputation & torture?” but I realize that, as an individual, you don’t have that power, or even, probably, perceive the need.

      As far as the “six threads a day” statement: Obama has taken that war off the headlines, is winding down & exiting Iraq, & trying to get us out of Afghanistan with some semblance of having actually accomplished our goal there. I’m not happy that we ARE still there, but I see us out soon. So does most everybody else.

      Strange people, those who would call me a lefty.

  • DLS

    “Thanks to outright rightwing lies and media complicity, the public hasn’t learned anything about health care reform.”

    The media have been mainly in partisan-to-left-Dem lockstep with Obama and the liberal Dems in Congress at the forefront of this misbegotten, mismanaged health care effort. (It’s the biggest and worst example of overreach and stumbling — hurried experimentation on-the-fly — that we’ve seen to date, which easily outdoes the Lysenkoist climate bill-related nonsense in how it has raised concerns among the public, even including so many on the Left who have specifically named this health care effort as rushing too quickly, overreaching, ineptitude, raising more questions even as others are being answered.)

    The left-wing media have been tribalist this time — I spent some time observing info-tainment chumps on CNN and it included blowhard Rick Sanchez, who routinely interrupted and loudly (and stupidly) scoffed at an opponent of the Obama health care effort from the farthest left, Steffi Woolhandler. Even more “pure” ideologues are mistreated by the liberal media when they get in the way of the lib Dems’ efforts now in Washington. The public is mischaracterized and slandered and new depths are reached by lefties in the media and elsewhere in their current state of desperation and resentment. They’re often scummy and I despise them and I’m too offended, as a decent and normal person, merely to laugh at them, but otherwise I’d laugh at them and their stupid flailing (kind of a lower-key approach to that used by resident frantic-to-floridly-psychotic waste-splatterer Mikey Stickings to our north).

    I do chuckle at the predicament of many hard-core Obama supporters right now. Many seem bewildered and paralyzed with confusion at the developing failure so far of the health care effort and of Obama’s pathetic stooping to try to manipulate the still-manipulable. (The more normal Obamaniacs have been like those from Huffington Post who either say they know there are problems now with this effort and that compromise may be needed, or they say that Obama and the Dems increasingly concern them, as they have the mainstream, throughout this year; the health care is just the latest and worst example.) Others among the remaining Obama people who actually want this junk legislation to pass (they have no morals and approve ramming it past the GOP by deliberately unethical means) are outraged that Obama might compromise at all, and especially on the “public option” that so much of the mainstream finds among the worst of the features.

    I was back on the road yesterday afternoon, listening to commentary, and naturally the little smarm queens on NPR were bleating and chirping and fashioning conceited, bogus “explanations” about the Big, Bad Public, while militants called in to hate the public and call Obama a coward for threatening to accept reality. Why should our tax dollars be directed to such alien as well as often-repellent things in the USA?

    * * *

    “Well actually Froma us small government fiscal conservatives noticed that a long time ago and a lot of us left the party. ”

    In fact, 2006 and 2008 were largely thumbs-down vote on the GOP (in large part for aping the Dems) and the typical lies and slander we encounter about how anything other than mindless conformance to lib Dem agenda items is “GOP” behavior (any and all opposition is “GOP manufactuered,” etc.) are irksome.

  • DLS

    “So, when are you lefties going to hold Obama to his campaign promise on the war”

    [on Iraq, on Guantanamo]

    That’s if they actually still believe what they were told, and what they profess, to believe.

  • imavettoo

    DLS, do you really think having a discussion with yourself all day is useful or is that what you always do, keyboard or not?

  • DLS,
    You didn’t at all address the results of the poll I linked to. You know you can’t hide who is doing the real manipulating and why.

    The wars are entirely different question. I don’t at all agree with Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan and I oppose it 100%. On Iraq, Obama has promised to leave within the next few years. I think we should leave try to leave sooner, but I’m willing to give him the short term benefit of the doubt. But if it looks like he’s going to betray his promise to leave Iraq, then I will oppose him on that too.

  • RevDave

    I love hearing from the silent “majority” in the GOP who were opposed to the reckless spending (ie no fricking idea of how to pay for it) under George Bush – certainly they were silent when it was going on – but speak loudly now how outraged they were – “we left the party” and yet said not a word on the way out – D

  • DLS

    Actually, Rev. Dave, I am not partisan GOP but favor them as obviously the normal lesser of two evils (in Washington, especially), and can say that I was no fan of their misbehavior, which is perhaps (if you care to think about it or even review it) why I was among those who said they were aping the Dems and paying a price for that (in addition to the public tiring of the Iraq war, obviously) in 2006, not only in 2008. The Democrats’ default buildup of seats controlled in Washington and their corresponding power buildup (of which they seemed for ages not to comprehend and certainly not to exploit*) is no surprise to me.

    * Of course, the intelligent concern also was that the Democrats, worse of two evils, would react in the wrong way to a buildup of power and misuse it, which they have progressively demonstrated this year, and the results of which are why the public at large and notably the mainstream is increasingly opposed to them and all they’re doing, not simply the controversial health care initiative.

    * * *

    “You know you can’t hide who is doing the real manipulating and why.”

    I haven’t hidden them, ever, but have correctly identified them: Obama and the liberal media, among others. That some among the public are uneducated about the actual details of the legislation (which almost always means the House legislation; there are other parties involved in this effort, too, with their own legislative goals) is no surprise to me. It’s misleading to “lemon-pick” the worst behaving attendees at public meetings or overreact to some polls which mischaracterize the public. It’s also hypocritical given how ignorant so many on the Left and so many Dem voters _routinely_ are, as well as to neglect one notable (though common) fact related to this health care effort, that the legislators have not read their own legislation but still intend to pass it (while a militant minority who probably hasn’t read it, either, wants it passed simply because it says “Obama” or “Democratic” or “health care” on it).

    “The wars are entirely different question.”

    Different than the Dems’ legislative efforts this year, of course. Totally different. But that’s not the point; you missed the obvious point there, which was if or how Obama will keep his campaign promises, which changed the immediate subject.

    (Guantanamo is complicated because of the NIMBY and partisan political stances held by the Congress.)

  • DLS,
    It’s not just that public isn’t familiar with the actual details of the legislation, they have adopted false beliefs perpetrated by Republicans and their allies.

    But 2+2=5 eh?

  • Leonidas
  • Davebo

    Do any of you have an idea why the costs of health care reform are always pushed out to a ten year total?

    It’s not like the program would end in ten years. But it does get you to the magic trillion dollar number. And it avoids pointing out that we could ensure all Americans had access to health care for less money per year than we’ve spent since 2003 on the “war” in Iraq.

    Which makes the ever present DLS’s complaints frickin hilarious!

  • Leonidas

    Trying to raise revenues to match expenses for healthcare is a failing endevour, What needs to be done is to bring costs down. The democratic plans are not serious about this, they just want to spend more.

  • Leonidas is actually partly right. Democrats are trying to expand coverage and make the health care industry work for more people than the extremely rich. But they aren’t serious about cutting costs, not because they want to increase government spending (that’s ridiculous) but because they are in bed with the health care lobbyists.

    Unfortunately, the Republicans aren’t any better on that score.