Prediction On Healthcare Reform

27 Aug


It’s often been said that President Obama plays the “long game” and cedes the fight for the daily news cycle to his adversaries. During the campaign, this rope-a-dope strategy worked well with both Hillary Clinton and John McCain. IOW, give your opponent enough rope and they will eventually strangle themselves as they increasingly get more rabid trying to solicit a response. This strategy is the source of the Obama “Keeps It Cool” meme.


I happen to think that Obama is doing it yet again and not just with his political adversaries, but with his base. Most people who reside on the left are advocates of a single payer policy for health care, but can ultimately be convinced that a “public option” is an acceptable compromise. Many in the center of the party feel that a public option is actually the preferred choice over single payer.

So, two weeks ago, when Obama sensed the left was growing frustrated with his waffling on the public option, he had surrogates hit the talk show circuit and say a public option wasn’t a necessity to getting a bill passed. The goal was competition and “insurance reform”.

Righteous indignation flamed on the left and people rallied around “at least” making sure the public option was included. Out of that has come rallies, phone banks, and grassroots campaigns to ensure that HR 3200 or whatever bill passes includes a strong public option. People are feeling empowered again and “hope and Change” is back on the left.

All of this is being done in the face of extreme pressure from the right to leave health care alone. The more passionate and nutty the right wing base appears, the more applause Obama will receive for getting “anything” done. With such vitriol coming from the right, a fervently oppositional Republican minority in the House and Senate, and blue dogs fighting him…the media narrative will become how incredible it was that Obama was able to finally shepherd a bill to passage. After all, he was being attacked from all sides!

The left will feel like they motivated bottom-up change, the insurance industry and PhRMA will feel like they didn’t give up too much, Obama will get credit for trying to be bi-partisan and the soft and chewy nougat center of America will go back to mouthbreathing and watching Family Guy re-runs.

So, we’ll get a bill. It will include a public option and it will include lots of compromises to get the blue dogs to vote for it and it will be passed on a near party line vote. Obama and surrogates will hit the talk show circuit and the beltway enablers will all clap for their courage in getting it done. Republicans will kvetch and moan and plan for midterms and Obama will be able to claim in 2012 that his administration passed the single largest health care reform bill in history. Everyone wins. By October 1st, this will all be over and we can go back to arguing over who will win American Idol and watching football.

It’s a shame it had to come to this. I mean, wouldn’t it have been easier for Obama to show up for a national address with a flowchart that looked like this and explained to Americans how health care reform would benefit them and the rest of the country?


Nope, Americans are too dumb to be treated like adults. We want, nay, need the drama…like Sarah Palin needs moose blood.

3 Responses to “Prediction On Healthcare Reform”

  1. Alan Bedenko August 27, 2009 at 2:34 pm #

    You’re so wrong!

    American Idol goes on the air in January. Not October.

  2. Rob August 27, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

    Alan made the same comment I was going to make before I could.

  3. Mike In WNY August 27, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    Competition and real choice would fix health care. Nothing on the table even remotely resembles choice or competition. The public option offers exactly what is available now, except from the government. Obama himself said we need more competition, yet everything he has proposed stifles competition.

    Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek described competition as a “discovery process” which allows competition to attain the most desirable results. People often do not know what they need or want until this “discovery” process is allowed to play out. The only time this does not work is if there are impediments to choice and competition.

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