With 72 percent of the American people are in favor of a public option like Medicare, Tough Man Emmanuel is intent on trading the welfare of the citizenry for the corporate welfare once again. If the President allows this health care plan to become another corporate feeding trough that leaves the poor without quality health care, he will have assured his legacy as the Booker T. of his generation and as the first African-American president to be a one termer. The line is drawn, and this is one that Obama cannot straddle.
Meanwhile, the utter irrelevancy of the U. S. Department of Education remains breathtaking in light of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to push for policy that will affect academic achievement more than any stupid or smart test that could be choked down the throats of sick children without health care.
From the Times:
WASHINGTON — The deals, trumpeted loudly by the White House, would each help pay for a sweeping overhaul of the health care system.
First, it was a broad consortium of health industry groups — doctors, hospitals, drug makers and insurers, all promising to slow the growth of medical spending by 1.5 percent. Then, it was the big drug makers, promising savings of $80 billion over 10 years, by lowering the cost of medicine for the elderly.
On Wednesday, it will be major hospital associations, pledging to save more than $150 billion over a decade. And a deal with doctors is said to be on tap next.
In each case, the Obama administration hailed the agreements as historic. But what has been little discussed is what the industry groups will be getting in return for their cooperation, whether or not the promised savings ever materialize.
The short-term political benefits are clear. Senior White House officials say the deals are building momentum that will help propel the health care legislation past potential opponents in the private sector and on Capitol Hill.
Rather than running advertisements against the White House, the most influential players in the industry are inside the room negotiating with administration officials and leading lawmakers, like Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee.
“The very groups we have been talking to have been the most vocal opponents of health care reform; they are now becoming the vocal proponents for health care reform,” said Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff.
But some lawmakers said the deals, while seemingly helpful, could raise false expectations by obscuring how much the industry is demanding for its concessions.
“I’m delighted to hear that people are stepping up to help reduce costs,” said Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, who is leading the Senate health committee, “but I want to know what the ask is, and the ask sometimes can exceed the value of your cost savings.”
Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Republican of Maine, who could provide a critical swing vote, said she had not signed on to any of the White House deals. “It’s one thing for the president to reach that agreement, but it’s another thing for Congress to reach that agreement,” Ms. Snowe said. “We have yet to evaluate what are the specifics and particulars. So it’s uncertain. It could be helpful. I just don’t know.”As part of their deal with the White House, pharmaceutical companies say they won an agreement from Mr. Baucus to oppose efforts by House Democrats to sharply reduce what the government pays for drugs for some Medicare recipients previously covered by Medicaid. . . .