Useless Democrats to come to Republicans rescue
The Republican effort of repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a horrible alternative is on the verge of collapse.
"Better than 1%. Not yet above 2% in my opinion," a senior Republican source told CNN on the chances the health care bill will pass Senate at this point.
This is a golden opportunity to not just confound the Republicans, but to stand up for the working class and present Medicare for all as a real alternative.
Democrats badly need this win. So what do you think they will do?
Ten House Democrats will unveil a new plan to fix Obamacare, highlighting the parts of the law that have struggled to work and offering modest steps to improve them....
“We need an alternative to the ‘just say no’ policy that has pervaded Democrats up until now,” says Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), who is involved with the new proposal. “Let’s have that conversation. Let’s fix the damn thing and get real.”
Oh, goody. Defenders of the status quo. That was sooo popular in the last election.
“Some Democrats are fearful to talk about what is wrong with [Obamacare] for fear we’ll be seen as abandoning it,” says Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), a relatively progressive Democrat who supports Medicare-for-all. But he says now is a moment to talk about fixing Obamacare, and not single-payer. “There is the practical reality that we’ve got a Republican president and a Republican Congress,” he says. “That’s not the opportune moment for Medicare-for-all. We’ve got to defend what we have.”
Yes, defend the status quo, and you can't have a pony.
That's what always motivates a political base.
So what are these wonderful Obamacare fixes?
Create an annual $15 billion reinsurance fund. ObamaCare had a reinsurance program for three years from 2014 to 2016 to provide payments to insurers that enroll higher-cost, sicker individuals.
Continue ObamaCare's insurer payments, which reimburse them for giving discounts to low-income patients. Insurers have blamed the uncertainty over whether these payments will continue as a reason for their proposed double digit rate increases in 2018.
Have "robust marketing strategies" to ensure that more people enroll during open enrollment periods.
Allow a buy-in option for Medicare for people nearing retirement age.
Expand tax credits by age, geography and income to help people buy insurance. Currently, about 84 percent of ObamaCare participants get a subsidy.
Expand the availability of catastrophic health plans that include essential health benefits and coverage for primary care for younger enrollees. These plans, meant to protect people from worst-scenarios, tend to have low monthly premiums and high deductibles.
More taxpayer subsidies for people to buy private health insurance, and a backstop for the health insurance industry.
WhooHoo. That sure excites me.
Why do these ideas sound familiar?
Some of these ideas, like the reinsurance fund and the permanent cost-sharing reduction subsidies, are broadly quite similar to reforms recently proposed by the liberal Center for American Progress think tank.
The Center for American Progress was founded by John Podesta, who has served as White House Chief of Staff to U.S. President Bill Clinton and as the chairman of the 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.
This is pathetic. Losing one election after another can't seem to shake the Democrats away from their commitment to neoliberalism, which is the problem. It's not that the Republican message is better. It's that the Democrats have no message at all, and refuse to take a hint from it's own base.
And yet these demonstrators, who had organized themselves on Facebook, had a clear, singular message that dominated the event.
The Democratic Party speakers, who rhetorically wandered through a variety of issues, including women’s rights and the 1st Amendment, did not.
Many party speakers noted, in response to the demonstrators, that they’d been vocal supporters of single-payer healthcare, and in some cases had co-sponsored bills to enact it. But they were ad-libbing on the defensive, instead of setting the agenda for their own meeting, or sharing a vision for how to make a unified push for single-payer healthcare. Demonstrators didn’t come to see legislators talk about their collective helplessness — they wanted a plan of action.
The event came on the heels of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s decision to release a series of slogans that sunk like a lead balloon with many in the base. While none were particularly inspired, one rankled the most: "Democrats 2018: I mean, have you seen the other guys?" The slogan made it abundantly clear that, after a bruising loss in November, Democrats wouldn’t be presenting new ideas or deeply examining their policy stances. Instead, they were doubling down on a visionless strategy of vanilla centrism, selling themselves as better than the worst dude.
And to think, it was only a year ago that people were actually talking about the GOP as being the broken political party.