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Posts Tagged ‘Comprehensive Health Care’

USAT/Gallup: Obama’s Disapproval hits 50% as 53% Say Dems Abused Power in Passing Obamacare

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

President Barack Obama may end up regretting his pursuit of comprehensive health care reform as his disapproval contiues to rise along with the public's disapproval of the now-passed Obamacare

As noted by Centristnet back over the weekend, President Barack Obama continues to sink in the eyes of the American people in the wake of the historic passage of Obamacare, with a brand new USA Today/Gallup released today showing Obama’s overall job approval underwater as only 47% approve while an all-time high of 50% of Americans disapprove of the job Obama is doing as President:

Obama’s approval rating was 47%-50% — the first time his disapproval rating has hit 50%.

Such elevated levels of disapproval for President Obama remind some of the net-negative approval ratings of his predecessor, George W. Bush, that consumed the Bush Presidency as public concern over the Iraqi war mounted. Indeed, Obamacare may end up being Barack Obama’s Iraq should the public’s views on Obamacare not reverse themselves in the near future. Before long, many national congressional Democrats and state-level Democrats may begin to resent the OBama Administration for saddling them with such a massive, unpopular policy in the lead-up to the November 2010 elections.

For Obama, it is the public’s concern with his massive comprehensive health care plan known as Obamacare that is driving up his disapproval and causing the number of his supporters to shrink. While USA Today and Gallup, along with the remainder of the establishment media, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs and most other Democrats did push a very shaky and perhaps misleading one-day poll last week showing Obamacare improbably at 49% approval/41% disapproval, one week later this fresh, multi-day poll shows Obamacare as unpopular as ever at 50% disapproval. Several of the criticisms of the prior one-day Gallup poll are, ironically, reprinted today by USA Today in its release of the new Gallup numbers:

The poll of 1,033 adults, taken by land line and cellphone Friday through Sunday, has a margin of error of +/–4 percentage points.

Half call passage of the bill “a bad thing” and 47% “a good thing.” That differs from a one-day USA TODAY poll taken March 22 — a day after the House approved the legislation — in which a 49%-40% plurality called the bill “a good thing.”

“Any one-day poll in the immediate aftermath of a major event is likely to be subject not only to sampling error but also to very short-term effects,” says political scientist Charles Franklin of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the time, “the news cycle was dominated by the positive side of the story, and only a little bit by the Republicans’ rebuttal to that.”

The undeniable problem for Obama and the Democrat is that a two-thirds majority of the American public simply does not believe their talking points on health care reform, making any increase in popularity unlikely and further declines probable:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government’s role in health care too far, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, underscoring an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats.

Those surveyed are inclined to fear that the massive legislation will increase their costs and hurt the quality of health care their families receive, although they are more positive about its impact on the nation’s health care system overall.

Finally, the coordinated campaign of Democrats and the establishment media to smear opponents of Obamacare as racist, terrorist extremists by highlighting post-Obamacare incidents of alleged violence, threats and slurs has apparently fizzled as well as 53% call Democratic tactics in ramming through Obamacare an “abuse of power” while most (49%) blame such abusive Democratic tactics as the cause of any alleged violence or threats:

There was a strong reaction against the tactics Democratic leaders used to pass the bill. A 53% majority call Democratic methods “an abuse of power;” 40% say they are appropriate.

And when asked about incidents of vandalism and threats that followed the bill’s passage, Americans are more inclined to blame Democratic political tactics than critics’ harsh rhetoric. Forty-nine percent say Democratic tactics are “a major reason” for the incidents, while 46% blame criticism by conservative commentators and 43% the criticism of Republican leaders.

As the details of the still largely-unknown Obamacare package continue to dribble out, such as the fact that the ban on insurer denials of coverage to children with preexisting conditions will not take immediately as claimed by Obama but instead 2014 and the rolling announcements of first quarter losses taken by America’s blue chip companies because of Obamacare (as epitomized by AT&T’s one billion dollar loss), it is very possible that the popularity of Obamacare will decline even further, as “continued opposition will fuel calls for repeal and dog Democrats in November’s congressional elections. The bill was enacted without a single Republican vote.”

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54% of Americans Say Repeal Obamacare as Key Dems Admit “Redistribution of Wealth” as Motive

Monday, March 29th, 2010

President Obama certainly scored a victory by obtaining the passage of Obamacare, but will the American public support the new massive law as key Democrats admit Obamacare is intended to redistribute wealth?

As the dust settles after the passage of the historic comprehensive health care reform package known as Obamacare, the American public appears to favor its immediate repeal as 54% support such a repeal while 42% oppose repeal:

One week after the House of Representatives passed the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats, 54% of the nation’s likely voters still favor repealing the new law. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 42% oppose repeal.

Those figures are virtually unchanged from last week. They include 44% who Strongly Favor repeal and 34% who Strongly Oppose it.

Repeal is favored by 84% of Republicans and 59% of unaffiliated voters. Among white Democrats, 25% favor repeal, but only one percent (1%) of black Democrats share that view.

Americans also simply do not believe the Obama health care talking points, strongly repudiating the main claims made by Obama about the benefits of Obamacare by a wide margin:

Only 17% of all voters believe the plan will achieve one of its primary goals and reduce the cost of health care. Most (55%) believe it will have the opposite affect and increase the cost of care.

Forty-nine percent (49%) believe the new law will reduce the quality of care. Sixty percent (60%) believe it will increase the federal budget deficit. Those numbers are consistent with expectations before the bill was passed.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, notes that “the overriding tone of the data is that passage of the legislation has not changed anything. Those who opposed the bill before it passed now want to repeal it. Those who supported the legislation oppose repealing it.”

As noted by Scott Rasmussen above, little has changed regarding public opinion Obamacare since its passage, repudiating the media’s “conventional wisdom” that the Democrats would see a surge in public support after its passage. The ABC/Washington Post poll confirms Rasmussen’s findings that few Americans believe Obama’s health care talking points and that majority opposition continues that is “virtually identical to the pre-vote split” regarding Obamacare:

More people see the changes as making things worse, rather than better, for the country’s health-care system, for the quality of their care and, among the insured, for their coverage. Majorities in the new poll also see the changes as resulting in higher costs for themselves and for the country.

Most respondents said reform will require everyone to make changes, whether they want to or not; only about a third said they believe the Democrats’ contention that people who have coverage will be able to keep it without alterations. And nearly two-thirds see the changes as increasing the federal budget deficit, with few thinking the deficit will shrink as a result. The Congressional Budget Office said the measure will reduce the deficit.

About half of all poll respondents said the plan creates “too much government involvement” in the health-care system, a concern that is especially pronounced among Republicans.

Senior citizens, who typically make up about one in five midterm voters, represent a particularly valuable but tough audience on this issue. More than six in 10 of those 65 or older see a weaker Medicare system as a result of the changes to the health-care system. Overall, seniors tilt heavily against the changes, with 58 percent opposed and strong opponents outnumbering strong supporters by a 2-to-1 ratio.

Considering these numbers, President Obama has a steep uphill climb to convince Americans that this broad claims that Obamacare will be a “historic” deficit reduction plan, that Americans can keep their doctor and plan if they like it, and that Obamacare will reduce costs and increase the quality of American health care. Key Democrats are not making the President’s job easier by explicitly stating that the true intent of Obamacare is to redistribute wealth in America, something that went unmentioned by Democrats prior to the passage of Obamacare.

Americans strongly oppose, by a 84%-14% margin, government policies that attempt to bring about wealth redistribution in the American economy

Indeed, such wealth redistribution policies are strongly rejected by Americans, with 84% rejecting that approach according to Gallup:

When given a choice about how government should address the numerous economic difficulties facing today’s consumer, Americans overwhelmingly — by 84% to 13% — prefer that the government focus on improving overall economic conditions and the jobs situation in the United States as opposed to taking steps to distribute wealth more evenly among Americans.

First, Democratic Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) announced that Obamacare is intended to redistribute wealth:

It seems Senator Max Baucus let slip the real purpose of health care reform efforts – the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Baucus said of the health care bill, “This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.” According to the influential Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, “The last couple three years, the mal-distribution of income in American is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy and the middle income class is left behind.”

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean then chipped in on Thursday March 25, 2010 by admitting that “this is a form of redistribution” and Obamacare is intended to cause wealth redistribution in the American economy because the economy is “like a machine. You always got to tune it right.” Of course, as the establishment media is well aware such explicit Democratic admissions that Obamacare is intended to tinker with the economy to bring about wealth redistribution would be damaging to Obamacare’s popularity, so the claims of Dean and Baucus have gone virtually unreported in the media. However, Americans continue to oppose the Obamacare package, as evidenced by today’s poll showing 54% favor its repeal.

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Congratulations President Barack Obama for Pushing Obamacare Thru Congress

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

CentristNet salutes President Barack Obama for Succeeding Where Many Prior Democratic Presidents Have Failed - Passing National Comprehensive Health Care Through Congress

With the confirmation of Stupak’s bloc of voters moving into the YES column for Obamacare, passage of the President’s signature initiative is assured later today and the Senate bill will become the law of the land tomorrow upon the President’s signature.

CentristNet salutes President Obama for the tenacity he has shown in continuing on in his fight to push through the Obamacare package despite setbacks such as the Scott Brown election victory and we hope for the country’s sake that the many questionable claims made by Obama, such as the claimed trillions in deficit savings, claimed coming reductions in insurance premiums and claimed maintenance of the unmatched quality, innovation and job creation of the present American health care system, will come true and the country will be better off from the passage of the bill.

While CentristNet would have preferred an incremental, bipartisan package of health care reforms and have serious doubts about the viability of the many claims made by Obama and the Democrats about their Obamacare package, CentristNet nonetheless salutes President Obama for his achievement and sent our congratulations to President Barack Obama for achieving his goal of comprehensive health care reform.

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At Least 25,000 Protesters Descend on Congress to Protest Obamacare; UPDATE: More Pics Added From Rally

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Protesters stretch throughout the lawn in front of Congress today protesting Obamacare

10's of Thousands of Obamacare Protesters Rally in Washington, DC today

Part of the 10's of Thousands Protesting Obamacare In Front of Capitol Hill

So far today, at least 25,000 protesters have arrived in Washington DC to show disapproval of the pending Obamacare legislation

In a rally against Obamacare called for only twenty four hours ago, at least 25,000 Americans have now arrived in Washington, DC to protest the potential House passage of the comprehensive health care reform package known as Obamacare.   Right now, various speakers are talking to the growing crowd in front of Capitol Hill as every major highway into Washington DC remain jammed with cars, trucks and buses carrying yet more protesters to join the rally against Obamacare. Of course, the establishment media is ignoring this growing flash protest on Capitol Hill and instead only reporting on the claimed momentum of undecided votes turning in favor of Obama’s gigantic comprehensive health care plan. The President’s media allies, of course, are under-reporting the turnout for the Obamacare protest, with NBC claiming that only 2,000 are on the lawn in front of Capitol Hill, which is obviously false based on the few pictures we’ve posted here. We’ll be updating this post and creating new ones throughout the day as more Obamacare protesters arrive in DC.

Protesters Waive Flags today in front of Capitol Hill opposing Obamacare

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It’s OVER: Obamacare to Pass on Sunday as Dems Lie About Deficit Savings; UPDATE: Dem Memo Instructs to Lie About $371 Billion Dollar “Doctor Fix”

Friday, March 19th, 2010

President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brag today about the coming successful vote to pass Obamacare on Sunday

The largest federal government intervention into the US economy since FDR, and the most substantial legislation on health care policy in American history is set to pass the House of Representatives on Sunday, as a test vote on the floor of the House passed with 222 votes (6 to spare) on Wednesday, meaning Obamacare is all but certain to also garner the 216 House votes it needs on Sunday to reach President Obama’s desk.

As noted by many last week, the vote yesterday essentially green-lighted the use of the “Slaughter Solution” to pass the Senate Obamacare bill through the House of Representatives. The Slaughter Solution is a procedural trick which allows the House of Representatives to avoid an actual up or down vote on the special interest and pork laden Senate Obamacare bill.

Right now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in front of the media crowing about her success in finding the votes and being able to pass the comprehensive health care measure which will avoid “job-lock” based on the fear of losing health care coverage. Pelosi also repeated her wholly false claim that Obamacare will create 700,000 jobs “almost immediately” and her companion fantasy claim that Obamacare will reduce deficit spending by “1.3 trillion” over two decadesl and over a hundred billion in the next decade.

Both of these wholly false and misleading claims rely on future Congresses not waiving certain onerous “revenue raising” measures such as the “cadillac tax” on health insurance policies, which will kick in by 2018 (delayed, by pressure from unions and others, to nearly a decade from now) and further not waiving a large portion of the “planned” $500 billion in cuts to Medicare over the next decade. Neither of these policies are likely to actually be implemented, meaning that there will be only deficit gains from this bill, which makes logical sense as Obamacare will funnel hundreds of billions per year in new entitlement spending to purchase health insurance for those who qualify for the new American entitlement program.

Indeed, the same political pressure that will almost certainly lead future Congresses to waive a substantial majority of the cuts to Medicare benefits while also substantially lessening the bite of the “cadillac tax” on health insurance premiums set to begin in 2018 under Obama’s present plan has led Congresses, in every year since the passage of the Medicare savings bill in 1997, to waive such reductions in payments to doctors and hospitals as called for in the 1997 legislation.   This procedure is known as the “doctor fix”, and Obama promised he would include a 10 year “doctor fix” in Obamacare to buy the support of the American Medical Association back in the summer of 2009. Because the inclusion of the 10 year “doctor fix” payoff to the AMA in the initial version of Obamacare created a CBO scoring which showed over $150 billion in deficit spending over 10 years, Obama and the Democrats  removed the language from the bill and now pretend that the $250 billion dollar cost of the “doctor fix” over the first decade of Obamacare simply doesn’t exist.

Here’s what Nancy Pelosi had to say today in response to just such a question about the “doctor fix” from a brave reporter:

“We’ve been including it in legislation for a long time…it is not about a doctor fix, it is about our seniors or anyone who relies upon Medicare to have access…you call it the doctor fix, its really about access to health are for Americans…its not in this [Obamacare] bill, but we’ll have it soon. We have made a commitment to do this.”

Pelosi than refused to answer the followup question from that same reporter regarding the fact that the “doctor fix” will completely eliminate the claimed $100 billion or so in “deficit savings” over the first decade of Obamacare. President Barack Obama also started speaking just as Pelosi was under questioning about the “doctor fix”, issuing a very partisan speech at George Mason University. As it becomes clear to the American people that Obamacare will become law via the “Slaughter Solution” and President Obama’s signature just days from now, it will be interesting to see the public’s reaction to passing such a giant federal intervention into a segment of the economy that is actually producing jobs right now as the economy struggles to stop continuing job losses overall.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair and Politico note that the Democratic leadership is circulating a memo instructing congresspeople to lie to the media and public about the coming $371 billion dollar increase in federal health care spending to be done as an add-on to Obamacare in the spring and further to avoid any substantive discussion of the CBO score and to instead just repeat the extraordinarily misleading top-line numbers:

Democrats are planning to introduce legislation later this spring that would permanently repeal annual Medicare cuts to doctors, but are warning lawmakers not to talk about it for fear that it will complicate their push to pass comprehensive health reform. The plans undercut the party’s message that reform lowers the deficit, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO.

Democrats removed the so-called doc fix from the reform legislation last year because its $371-billion price tag would have made it impossible for Democrats to claim that their bill reduces the deficit. Republicans have argued for months that by stripping the doc fix from the bill, Democrats were playing a shell game.

“Most health staff are already aware that our health proposal does not contain a ‘doc fix.’ … The inclusion of a full SGR repeal would undermine reform’s budget neutrality. So again, do not allow yourself (or your boss) to get into a discussion of the details of CBO scores and textual narrative. Instead, focus only on the deficit reduction and number of Americans covered,” the memo, sent Thursday to Democratic staff, said.

“As most health staff knows, leadership and the White House are working with the AMA to rally physicians for a full SGR repeal later this spring. However, both health and communications staff should understand we do not want that policy discussion discussed at this time, lest (it) complicate the last critical push to pass health reform,” according to the memo.

The memo helps explains why the American Medical Association has supported reform even though their top legislative priority, the doc fix, was left out. The group is working behind the scenes with Democratic leadership and the White House to fix the cuts later this year.

Indeed, in a statement this afternoon, the AMA announced its support for the reconciliation bill — and hinted that the debate is not over with reform’s passage.

“This is not the last step, but the next step toward real health system reform. We will remain actively engaged with Congress and the administration to ensure that before Congress adjourns there are additional important changes to our health system,” AMA president James Rohack said. “Congress must act to preserve access to care for seniors and military families by permanently repealing the Medicare physician payment formula that will cut Medicare payments by 21 percent next month.”

The memo also repeatedly advises Democrats not to discuss the details of the CBO score.

Such explicit misrepresentations about the true cost of Obamacare and the reality that Obamacare will actually hike the deficit, not reduce it, from the Democrats on the eve of the historic vote on comprehensive health care reform paints a very troubling picture of the leaders of America’s federal government. The full, odious memo is here.

UPDATE #2: Democrats are now denying writing the memo, and Politico has backed down and pulled it from its site. Apparently bad news for Democrats is not news at Politico. It is hard to imagine that Politico would have pulled a story about President Bush’s social security reform efforts if the GOP complained, bringing into clear focus the unbridled allegiance of the establishment media to the Democratic Party.

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Obama Flip Flops, OK’s “Unpopular Deal-Sweetening Measures” To Buy Obamacare Votes

Monday, March 15th, 2010

President Barack Obama Flip Flopped on the backroom, special interest deals in Obamacare, now allowing them to remain in the legislation in the hopes of buying Congressional votes and toasting the passage of Obamacare within a week

President Barack Obama has flip flopped today, embracing the kind of backroom deals he campaigned against in 2008 and even recently condemned in the Senate health care package, as he heads to Ohio to begin the final push to gain passage of his massive comprehensive health care reform plan known as Obamacare.  The fact that Obama has decided to accept these unpopular, backroom special interest deals at this critical moment regarding the signature initiative of his Presidency could come to define the Obama brand for years to come.  Indeed, Specific pork in the Obamacare package intended to purchase votes, such as those of Dem. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), Dem. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CN) and Dem. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), will now remain in the final Obamacare package to be voted upon by the House of Representatives this week:

WASHINGTON – Still seeking votes for his proposed health care overhaul, President Barack Obama appears ready to reverse his position and allow unpopular deal-sweetening measures in the hopes of finding Democratic support for legislation whose future will be decided in coming days.

Taking a new position, Axelrod said the White House only objects to state-specific arrangements, such as an increase in Medicaid funding for Nebraska, ridiculed as the “Cornhusker Kickback.” That’s being cut, but provisions that could affect more than one state are OK, Axelrod said.

That means deals sought by senators from Montana and Connecticut would be fine — even though Gibbs last week singled them out as items Obama wanted removed. There was resistance, however, from two committee chairman, Democratic Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and Chris Dodd of Connecticut, and the White House has apparently backed down.

It appears that the claims of White House spokesman Robert Gibbs regarding the need to remove the special pork-laden deals for individual Democratic senators were designed solely to win a news cycle from the compliant establishment media, not actually improve the Obamacare legislation by removing such backroom deals. At the end of the day, the only change to the 100′s of pages of special interest pork in Obamacare to be made is the extension of the special Medicare deal for Nebraska, known as the “Cornhusker Kickback”, to all states, which, of course, will increase the amount of federal deficit spending that will result if Obamacare passes.

In Ohio, instead of focusing on the substance of the Obamacare legislation, or the special backroom deals he allegedly wants to remove from same, President Obama will focus on the individual story of Natoma Canfield and try to use that person’s misfortune to sell his policies to America:

Meanwhile, the White House tried to increase public pressure on Congress to pass the legislation. Obama planned to visit Strongsville, Ohio, home of cancer patient Natoma Canfield, who wrote the president she gave up her health insurance after it rose to $8,500 a year. Obama repeatedly has cited that letter from a self-employed cleaning worker who lives in the Cleveland suburb to illustrate the urgency of the massive overhaul.

Canfield’s sister, Connie Anderson, was scheduled to introduce Obama at that event.

This use of individual anecdote was the same strategy employed by Obama and the Democrats at the health care summit a few weeks ago, and the benefit of this strategy is to allow Obama to make an emotional appeal without focusing too much on the quite ugly realities of the legislative language itself (such as the payoffs to Baucus and Dodd) and the even ugilier realities of the procedural trickery to be used by Democrats this week in the House (“Slaughter Solution”) and the Senate (reconciliation).

Politico confirmed just now that the “Slaughter Solution” is now being pushed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for use on the Obamacare package to allow the House to “deem” the bill passed without actually voting on it:

The so-called solution, named for House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), would “deem” the Senate bill passed if House Democrats approve a package of fixes.

In other words, House members wouldn’t have to formally cast a vote on a bill that most of them don’t want to defend on the campaign trail — but it would pass anyway.

The speaker told her rank and file Friday that the decision was still up in the air but she thought this was the way most of her members wanted to handle the Senate bill.

The Newsweek article by David Stone from Friday, March 12, 2010 which strongly condemned any move to use the “Slaughter Solution”, excerpted by CentristNet here, has now been pulled from Newsweek’s site, clearly indicating that the establishment media is circling the wagons and set to push the “Slaughter Solution” over the finish line. Indeed, the talking points released by Democrats on Friday refer to such issues as the arguably unconstitutional “Slaughter Solution” and the use of reconciliation in the Senate as “inside baseball” and not worthy of discussion with the public. Considering Obama is starting the week by flip flopping on the sweetheart, backroom deals in Obamacare, whether the public catches on to the unprecedented procedural trickery planned in the House and Senate could determine the fate of the bill.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair points out that the Democrats have now unveiled their 2300 page “Shell bill”, a copy of which can be found here, to start the process of the “Slaughter Solution”:

According to Heritage and Philip Klein, this is a shell bill, not the actual proposed reconciliation bill. It’s a copy of the version from last autumn. Later this week, the House will gut this version and replace it with their new ObamaCare fixes. However, the student loan nationalization will remain in the bill, so it’s not entirely old hat.

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Breaking: White House: Pass Obamacare Now or Its Dead; Dems Scramble Behind Closed Doors to Write Final Bill

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

President Obama and Congressional Democrats are scrambling to draft yet another version of Obamacare to assist House passage of Obamacare by the White House deadline of March 18, 2010

Fox News is reporting, building on prior AP reporting, that the White House has today increased pressure on Democrats in Congress, especially the House Democrats, putting out word that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats must either pass Obamacare through the House of Representatives now, before the Easter recess begins on March 18, 2010, or the entire effort at comprehensive health care reform will die.

Over the past few days, the White House has indicated it wants a vote in the House by March 18, and Congressional Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have resisted agreeing to any deadline. However, with the new, increased pressure today, Congressional Democratic sources say that they are “on the same page” as the White House:

A House Democratic leadership source tells Fox there is something approaching convergence on the White House’s March 18 deadline for a vote on the Senate health care bill.

“Everyone is now on same page,” the leadership source said about the March 18 deadline. “We understand the White House believes that would be optimal timing. But they understand we are not wedding ourselves to any deadlines.”

With today’s developments, it now appears that the year-long health care debate finally has a date certain where either Obamacare will pass or it will not, and that deadline appears to March 18, 2010. The next eight days may decide the historical trajectory of the United States, as strict federal control over the entire health care delivery system, 16% of the US Economy, will surely substantially alter the direction of the American economy and political system for decades to come.

Ironically, after over a year of debate over health care reform, and lots of talk regarding cooperation between President Obama/Democratic Congressional Leadership and the GOP on writing the final version of the bill at the health care summit 10 days ago, Democrats continue to scramble behind closed doors to write a final version to the liking of Democrats in Congress. Of course, no Republicans are involved in any way with these last minute drafting efforts by Obama and the Congressional Democratic leadership, despite the clear preference of the American people for such joint drafting to occur. Fox News’s Major Garrett describes the frantic backroom drafting occurring now:

In reality, the White House isn’t budging and the House Democratic leadership is trying. But it can’t vote on the Senate bill until it has a fully drafted and CBO (Congressional Budget Office)-scored bill to “fix” the Senate bill’s imperfections.

But the so-called “fix” bill isn’t ready and there is no expectation CBO will deliver preliminary cost estimates Wednesday. That pushes the schedule back because House Democratic leaders cannot begin the final whip process (counting “yes” and “no” votes) until it has a full “fix” bill with a concrete CBO score on costs, revenues and deficit implications.

In other words, there’s a lot of work left to be done and not much time to finish it. What may well be happening is House Democrats and the White House are agreeing to disagree — on the timing, not the objective.

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Obama 2007: Vote for Me over Hillary Because I Won’t Use Reconciliation on Health Care

Monday, March 8th, 2010

In 2007, Barack Obama argued that primary voters should support him because he would not use reconciliation on health care reform, but Hillary Clinton is.

A little-known interview in 2007 by Barack Obama supplies some fresh evidence of President Barack Obama’s shifting views on the use of reconciliation to pass comprehensive health care reform. Now, in 2010, the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats have settled upon a plan to pass Obamacare via the use of reconciliation in the Senate after a majority vote in the House. Back in 2007, candidate Obama actually used the issue of the use of reconciliation on health care reform as an example of what Hillary Clinton would do but Obama would not, concluding that folks should vote for Obama for this reason:

Obama was talking about the differences between himself and his then-opponent in the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton.

I think it is legitimate at this point for me to explain very clearly to the American people why I think I will be a better president than Hillary Clinton, and to draw contrasts,” Obama said.

“But that’s very different from this sort of slash-and-burn politics that I think we’ve become accustomed to. Look, part of the reason I’m running is not just to be president, it’s to get things done. And what I believe that means is we’ve got to break out of what I call, sort of, the 50-plus-one pattern of presidential politics. Which is, you have nasty primaries where everybody’s disheartened. Then you divide the country 45 percent on one side, 45 percent on the other, 10 percent in the middle — all of them apparently live in Florida and Ohio — and battle it out. And maybe you eke out a victory of 50-plus-one, but you can’t govern. I mean, you get Air Force One, there are a lot of nice perks to being president, but you can’t deliver on health care. We’re not going to pass universal health care with a 50-plus-one strategy. We’re not going to have a serious bold energy policy of the sort I proposed yesterday unless you build a working majority. And part of the task of building that working majority is to get people to believe in our government, that it can work, that it’s based on common sense, that it’s not just sort of scoring political points.

The interviewer then asked, “So is your answer to ‘Why I will be a better president than Hillary Clinton,’ is your answer that she’ll be a 50-plus-one president and you won’t?”

“Yes,” Obama said.

Even left-leaning Polifact, who collected the above Obama quotes in the wake of Glenn Beck’s partial airing of them last week, states that Obama has committed a complete flip flop on the use of reconciliation:

Obama may argue that he has tried to include Republicans, but that they have simply been unwilling to play ball. He also has noted that the first iteration of the health care bill passed the Senate with a supermajority. But the fact is, the health care bill is not getting any Republican support, and Obama is pressing forward with a plan to push through a health care plan without them, and without a 60-vote majority.

And we think the last quote, from 2005, is even more on point. Yes, Obama was speaking about the “nuclear option” as it related to judicial nominees, and not a reconciliation bill. But the principles are largely the same, especially as Obama noted that having simple “majoritarian” power in the Senate is “just not what the Founders intended.” And we think that’s enough to warrant a Full Flop.

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Breaking: Attack on the Pentagon? Gunman Injures Two Police Officers; UPDATE: Shooter Identified and in Custody: John Patrick Bedell.

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

An unidentified gunman injured two police officers today at the Pentagon.

With little detail yet available, it appears that a unidentified gunman has shot two police officers in front of the Pentagon today, and the gunman appears to be in custody. ABC News reports:

ABC’s Steven Portnoy reported that Pentagon police had a suspect in custody. ABC’s Martha Raddatz reported that three ambulances were on the scene, and all parking lots at the massive Defense Department headquarters were closed off.

The shooting occurred at the Pentagon Metro Station, which is just outside the Pentagon’s main entrance.

The shots were fired at about 6:30 p.m. ET.

Pentagon Police spokesman Chris Layman told ABC News the initial report was that two police officers were shot. But local television station WUSA reported three people were injured. Two were taken to George Washington Hospital in Washington, the station said.

“All I know right now is that there was a shooting. We believe two officers, police officers, were hit. And I believe we have one person in custody,” Layman told ABC News.

With the President focused on pushing through his comprehensive health care reform plan, this Pentagon shooting could prove to be an unwelcome distraction for a Presidency already struggling mightily with its signature initiative. Our thoughts are with the officers involved and the families of all those who may have been hurt today at the Pentagon.

UPDATE: The gunman who shot two officers earlier today in front of the Pentagon has been identified as John Patrick Bedell, as noted by Hotair. Fox News has the details:

A gunman opened fire at the subway entrance to the Pentagon complex Thursday evening, wounding two Pentagon police officers before he was shot and taken into custody, officials said.

The motive for the shooting in suburban Washington, D.C., wasn’t immediately clear, but Fox News confirmed the gunman was identified as 36-year-old John Patrick Bedell.

A second person was being questioned by authorities, but sources say that person may just be a witness and not considered a suspect .

The man was calm as he approached the officers at the main entrance around 6:40 p.m., Pentagon Police Chief Richard Keevil said at a news conference. The officers asked to see his pass to enter the building; he started shooting without saying a word.

“He reached into his pocket and they assumed he was going to get out his pass and he just started shooting,” Keevil said. The officers were only “grazed” and immediately fired back.

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GOP Health Care Robocall Avalanche To Hit Vulnerable House Dems Tomorrow

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

House Democratic Leadership (shown above) are Bracing for an Onslaught of GOP attacks via Robocalls to Voters in Swing Districts

WaPo’s Greg Sargent is reporting exclusively on Wednesday evening that the Republican Party is planning to unleash millions of robocalls to American voters in the districts of 40 vulnerable House Democratic Representatives tomorrow. The new GOP robocalls will focus on the “dangerous” comprehensive health care plan that Obama and the Democrats want to “ram” through Congress, and such robocalls come on the heels of today’s announcement by Obama that he will attempt to do an end-run around the Senate filibuster via use of reconciliation. A full script of one version of the GOP robocalls is here.

Sargent details the GOP strategy and the content of the robocalls:

National Repubicans are planning to unleash a huge wave of robocalls tomorrow targeting dozens of House Dems and warning their constituents that Obama and Nancy Pelosi are plotting to “ram” their “dangerous” health reform plans through Congress.

The robocalls — the first paid media by the NRCC’s new “code red” program, which targets Dems on health care — comes after Obama told Congress to pass reform via reconciliation.

The calls are meant to spook House Dems right at the moment when the White House and Dem leaders are about to undertake a grueling effort to round up support for what’s expected to be a hair-raisingly close vote. It warns constituents that the targeted House Dem risks supporting this “dangerous” move.

“Even though a majority of the country wants them to scrap it, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Obama are planning to ram their dangerous, out-of-control health care spending bill through Congress anyway,” the call says, according to a script provided by a GOP official.

The version targeting Dem Rep Frank Kratovil of Maryland continues:

What’s worse, Congressman Frank Kratovil might vote for it. Frank Kratovil votes with Nancy Pelosi 84% of the time and may follow her orders on this bill too. Frank Kratovil might vote for a bill that will kill jobs, raise the costs of health care, and increase taxes. Frank Kratovil should be focusing on creating jobs, yet he might be the deciding vote that causes this massive new spending bill to pass.

The call concludes by calling the reform proposals “dangerous” a second time and admonishing voters to call their Representative and urge a No vote “before it is too late.”

The call — which will be pumped into GOP, independent and Dem households — will target 25 House Dems who voted for the proposal the first time, 11 who voted No, and four open-seat Dems who have yet to say how they plan to vote this time.

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