Friday, February 26, 2010

The Tell

Yesterday at the lunch break of the health care summit I left this comment over at The Plum Line:

Here is the other thing I’m noticing. Because there is a lot of overlap in what the Repubicans say they want and whats already in the bill just not exactly how they would like it, the whole lets set aside the bill and start over talking point is starting to sound patently foolish. The only area where I think the GOP has any opening now, largely because President Obama just gave it to the by calling it “legitimate”, is on cost. If we have a good argument on that then there is one last curveball and depending on how hard they hit it will tell you how Republicans think this is going today. Abortion. Now I doubt President Obama will bring it up, though he may. But if you see Bart Stupak get called on after the break just know that the GOP thinks this is going bad and they are going after the wedge issue and expect them to hit it hard, repeatedly and loudly.

Check out John Boehner after the break:

BOEHNER: Mr. President, I want to say thank you for having us here. I think it's been a useful conversation. And as I listened to you open up this meeting, I thought to myself, I don't disagree with anything that you said at the beginning of the meeting, in terms of the premise for why we're here.

The American families are struggling with health care. We all know it. The American people want us to address this in a responsible way. And so, I really do say thanks for having us all here.

I think our job on behalf of our constituents and on behalf of the American people is to listen. And I spend time in my district, I spend time a lot of places. I've heard an awful lot.

And I can tell you the thing that I've heard more than anything over the last six or seven months is that the American people want us to scrap this bill. They've said it loud, they've said it clear.

Let me help -- help understand why. The first thing is, we've just talked -- we've heard from the two budget directors about our fiscal condition. We have Medicare that's going broke. We have Social Security that's going broke. We have Medicaid that is bankrupting not only the federal government, but all the states.

And yet, here we are having a conversation about creating a new entitlement program that will bankrupt our country. And it will bankrupt our country.

It's not that we can't do health insurance reform to help bring down costs to help save the system. This bill, this 2,700-page bill will bankrupt our country.

And, secondly, Mr. President, I'd point out that I think this is -- this right here is a dangerous experiment. We may have problems in our health care system, but we do have the best health care system in the world by far.

And -- and having a government takeover of health care -- and I believe that's what this is, is a dangerous experiment with the best health care system in the world that I don't think that we should do.

So why did I bring this bill today? I'll tell you why I brought it. We have $500 billion in new taxes here over the next 10 years. At a time when our economy is struggling, the last thing we need to do is to be raising taxes on the American people.

Secondly, we've got $500 billion worth of Medicare cuts here. I agree with Kent Conrad, we need to deal with the problem of Medicare.

But if we're going to deal with the problem with Medicare and find savings in Medicare, why don't we use it to extend the life of the Medicare program as opposed to spending that $500 billion creating a new entitlement program.

But it's not just, Mr. President, the taxes or the Medicare cuts, you've got -- you've got the individual mandate in here, which I think is unwise, and I, too, believe is unconstitutional.

You've got an employer mandate in here that says that employers, you've got to provide health insurance to the American people, or you're going to pay this tax. It's going to drive up cost of employment at a time when we have over 10 percent, or near 10 percent unemployment in America.

And beyond that, a lot of employers are going to look at this and say, "Well, I'll pay the tax," and they're going to dump their employees into the so-called exchange, because in five years, every American is going to have to go to the exchange to get their health care. And who's going to design every health care bill offered in the exchange? Under this bill, the federal government's going to design every single health care bill in America within five years, once this bill were to pass.

I could go on and on and on.

Let me just -- let me just make one other point. I'll save you -- I'll save you. For 30 years, we've had a federal law that says that we're not going to have taxpayer funding of abortions. We've had this debate in the House. It was a very serious debate.

But in the House, the House spoke. And the House upheld the language we have had in law for 30 years, that there will be no taxpayer funding of abortions.

This bill that we have before us, and there was no reference to that issue in your outline, Mr. President, begins -- for the first time in 30 years allows for the taxpayer-funding of abortions.

Now I know for the most part Republicans were on their best behavior yesterday and they did their best to try to hide their radical ideas for health care reform like slashing Medicare benefits, but Boehner's contribution after the break showed decisively that they knew they were getting their asses handed to them. Boehner is far from a policy wonk and he has never met a talking point he didn't like, but even he is usually better than this at hiding his crazy.

While Democrats are disecting the meeting and going over what was said its important that they are cognizant of the fact that no matter what the cable news pundits say they won yesterday. They should look no further to Boehner's over the top overreaction full of Frank Luntz inspired talking points in order to figure that out.

Its time to pass the damn bill.

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