PDA

View Full Version : U.S. Issues Public Option - Mixed Signals


orange
08-17-2009, 10:36 AM
White House's Mixed Messages On "Public Option"

Marcus Baram
First Posted: 08-16-09 10:56 PM | Updated: 08-17-09 09:40 AM

If your head is spinning from the mixed messages coming out of the White House about the administration's commitment to the "public option" in the debate over health care reform, you're not alone.

Here is a breakdown of the different positions articulated by the White House over the weekend:

On Saturday, President Obama downplayed the significance of a public option, telling a town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado: "All I'm saying is, though, that the public option, whether we have it or we don't have it, is not the entirety of health care reform. This is just one sliver of it, one aspect of it."

On Sunday morning, Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made waves when she told CNN's "State of the Nation" that the public option, the government alternative to private health insurance, is "not the essential element" of the administration's plan. She added that the White House is open to health insurance cooperatives as an alternative to a government-run plan.

When John King asked her, "So the public option is not a deal-breaker from the president's standpoint?", Sebelius did not deny his assumption and answered:

"Well, I think there will be a competitor to private insurers. That's really the essential part, is you don't turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing. We need some choices, we need some competition."

Also on Sunday morning, press secretary Robert Gibbs appeared on "Face the Nation" and stressed that the White House still supports a "public option," to introduce competition to the insurance industry and to lower prices.

When CBS anchor Harry Smith asked Gibbs the same question that King lobbed at Sebelius - "Does the president have to have a government-sponsored or government-run insurance plan in order for him to sign off on this, or is this a deal breaker?" - Gibbs was more emphatic about Obama's support for the public option:

GIBBS: Well, Harry, what the president has always talked about is that we inject some choice and competition into the private insurance market. There are places in this country, unfortunately, where if you don't get insurance through your job and you are seeking it on the private insurance market, you don't have any choice but one health insurance company. What the president has said, in order to inject choice and competition, which will drive down costs and improve quality, that people ought to be able to have some competitor in that market. There ought to be a choice that they have. The president has thus far sided with the notion that that can best be done through a public option.

SMITH: ... a hedge?

GIBBS: No, no, no. What I am saying is the bottom line for this for the president is, what we have to have is choice and competition in the insurance market. Again, if you are in a place in this country where you only get one choice, how in the world are you going to be able to convince anybody that you are driving down costs when you don't have to compete against anything?

On Sunday afternoon, White House health care reform spokeswoman Linda Douglass also emphasized the president's support of the public option, echoing Gibbs' comments and declaring that "nothing has changed."

In an email to Politico, she wrote:

"Nothing has changed," said Linda Douglass, communications director for the White House Office of Health Reform. "The president has always said that what is essential is that health insurance reform must lower costs, ensure that there are affordable options for all Americans and it must increase choice and competition in the health insurance market. He believes the public option is the best way to achieve those goals."


And on Sunday night, The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder wrote that an administration official told him that Sebelius "misspoke" in underplaying the importance of the "public option":

An administration official said tonight that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "misspoke" when she told CNN this morning that a government run health insurance option "is not an essential part" of reform. This official asked not to be identified in exchange for providing clarity about the intentions of the President. The official said that the White House did not intend to change its messaging and that Sebelius simply meant to echo the president, who has acknowledged that the public option is a tough sell in the Senate and is, at the same time, a must-pass for House Democrats, and is not, in the president's view, the most important element of the reform package.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/16/white-houses-mixed-messag_n_260733.html

Donger
08-17-2009, 10:41 AM
LMAO

KC Dan
08-17-2009, 10:43 AM
An administration official said tonight that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "misspoke" when she told CNN this morning that a government run health insurance option "is not an essential part" of reform. This official asked not to be identified in exchange for providing clarity about the intentions of the President. The official said that the White House did not intend to change its messaging and that Sebelius simply meant to echo the president, who has acknowledged that the public option is a tough sell in the Senate and is, at the same time, a must-pass for House Democrats, and is not, in the president's view, the most important element of the reform package.P*ssy. Both sides of the mouth seems to be the mantra of this admin, no doubt about it.

Donger
08-17-2009, 10:47 AM
Here are some fun quotes about this "co-op" option. It's actually quite clever of Obama.

“I think in theory you can imagine a co-operative meeting that definition [of a ‘public option’].” -- President Obama, July 29, Time Magazine

“We’re going to have some type of public option, call it ‘co-op,’ call it what you want.”
-- Senate Majority Leader Reid, July 10, Washington Post

“You could theoretically design a co-op plan that had the same attributes as a public plan.” -- Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius, June 27, Bloomberg

“Chairman Baucus has asked me to sit down with [Sen.] Kent Conrad to see if we can use the co-op model to achieve the same goals as a public plan.” -- Sen. Chuck Schumer, June 15, Roll Call

“We don’t care what it’s called. We need something that’s going to keep the insurance companies honest.” -- Sen. Chuck Schumer, July 9, Fox News

“It will have, coming out of the House, a public option. The only debate on that is what it will be called.” -- Speaker Pelosi, July 13, Reuters

This next quote is particularly important, given Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He is the one responsible for “brokering” the so-called co-op compromise:

“The [co-op has] to be written in a way that accomplishes the objectives of a public option.” -- Sen. Max Baucus, June 12, Politico

The objectives of the “public option” are exactly what the American people overwhelmingly object to: the government takeover of health care. The objectives have been exposed over the August break and at town hall meeting after town hall meeting through the reading aloud of H.R. 3200. Since their elected Democrat representatives aren’t reading the bill, their constituents are reading it to them.

mlyonsd
08-17-2009, 11:13 AM
It's almost like Obama is scared of un-patriotic un-American's.

Mojo Jojo
08-17-2009, 11:36 AM
This makes at least twice that the WH has "clarified" what Kathleen meant to say after appearing on Sunday morning news shows. Does she ever meet with the Prez, is she ever briefed or is she ever given talking points? This lack of communication is unbelievable.

orange
08-17-2009, 11:41 AM
This makes at least twice that the WH has "clarified" what Kathleen meant to say after appearing on Sunday morning news shows. Does she ever meet with the Prez, is she ever briefed or is she ever given talking points? This lack of communication is unbelievable.

In this case, I don't blame her. Obama has never been clear about the Public Option and his mealy-mouthed pronouncements are impossible to repeat clearly.

KC Dan
08-17-2009, 11:41 AM
This makes at least twice that the WH has "clarified" what Kathleen meant to say after appearing on Sunday morning news shows. Does she ever meet with the Prez, is she ever briefed or is she ever given talking points? This lack of communication is unbelievable.There was no mistake in communication. The WH floated this out like they do with every thing but the MSM grabbed it and the left started screaming and they "clarified" it with unnamed sources. BACKFIRE. This isn't on Kathleen, this is the WH SOP - period.

Donger
08-17-2009, 11:44 AM
In this case, I don't blame her. Obama has never been clear about the Public Option and his mealy-mouthed pronouncements are impossible to repeat clearly.

I'm trying to find an Obama quote that supports this:

"Dean urged the Obama administration to stand by statements made early on in the debate in which it steadfastly insisted that such a public option was indispensable to genuine change."

orange
08-17-2009, 11:50 AM
I'm trying to find an Obama quote that supports this:

"Dean urged the Obama administration to stand by statements made early on in the debate in which it steadfastly insisted that such a public option was indispensable to genuine change."



"I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest." - Obama in letter to Kennedy and Baucus.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Letter-from-President-Obama-to-Chairmen-Edward-M-Kennedy-and-Max-Baucus/

Donger
08-17-2009, 11:56 AM
"I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest." - Obama in letter to Kennedy and Baucus.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Letter-from-President-Obama-to-Chairmen-Edward-M-Kennedy-and-Max-Baucus/

Believe versus insisting.

orange
08-17-2009, 11:58 AM
Believe versus insisting.

Official Presidential letters carry a bit more weight than tweets.

Donger
08-17-2009, 12:00 PM
Official Presidential letters carry a bit more weight than tweets.

So Obama has never stated that the lack of a public option is a deal breaker?

orange
08-17-2009, 12:09 PM
So Obama has never stated that the lack of a public option is a deal breaker?

Any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange: a one-stop shopping marketplace where you can compare the benefits, cost and track records of a variety of plans – including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest – and choose what’s best for your family. - at the 4:20 mark (broadcast July 18)

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/83FvLjsUOJg&rel=0&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/83FvLjsUOJg&rel=0&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

Donger
08-17-2009, 12:13 PM
Any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange: a one-stop shopping marketplace where you can compare the benefits, cost and track records of a variety of plans – including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest – and choose what’s best for your family. - at the 4:20 mark (broadcast July 18)

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/83FvLjsUOJg&rel=0&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/83FvLjsUOJg&rel=0&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

Wow. Thanks. So, he has been clear about it?

orange
08-17-2009, 12:17 PM
Wow. Thanks. So, he has been clear about it?

Occasionally - then not. Read your own post above.

orange
08-17-2009, 12:23 PM
More NEW IMPROVED Messaging:

White House Finally Discovers New Health Care Reform Argument
Jason Linkins
Posted: 08-17-09 12:00 PM

Matt Yglesias says that the "White House speechwriting team delivers in the latest radio address with a helpful brief phrase that sums up the goals of health insurance reform: "No one in America should go broke because they got sick." And, heck! That's a really great line! Know what would have been even greater -- potentially the greatest? If the vaunted White House speechwriting team had come up with that six months ago!

The most compelling aspect of the health care dilemma faced by millions of Americans -- insured and uninsured alike -- is the prospect of having to trade health and survival for crippling household debt. This issue is central to the peril in which the uninsured find themselves. It's also at the root of fears over preexisting conditions. If you're like me, hereditarily inclined to treatable forms of cancer, the life-killing cost of treatment is far more terrifying than the disease itself.

Of course, if the nation was, say...in the midst of a massive economic crisis, with high unemployment, maybe it would have occurred to the White House to pursue this line of persuasion a lot earlier!

All along, the media has gone after health care reform on two fronts: the overall cost of reform with regard to federal deficits, and the potential need for tax increases to pay for any reform measure. On both fronts, the most effective defense is to cast this as a kitchen-table issue. Federal deficits seem meaningless when average Americans are facing the prospect of bankruptcy just because they got sick. And maintaining the current system is going to inevitably lead to tax increases as Medicare and Medicaid costs spiral out of control. Furthermore, while escalating insurance premiums and health care costs aren't taxes per se, there's no reason why the administration cannot treat them as de facto tax increases they want to roll back.

Additionally, it's a useful thing for the White House to continually point out that people under crippling, health care related debt cannot obtain loans, buy cars, purchase homes, obtain lines of credit, or start small businesses, which I am told are the engine of our economy.

The good news is that the new line is getting repeated in the media -- I've already seen it reprinted verbatim on one of MSNBC's Chyrons. It travels well, and is easy for proponents to repeat, endlessly. It's too bad that no one thought of it before the Democratic members of Congress went on vacation to be yelled at by lie-fueled drone-citizens with no solid principles to bolster their arguments. That would have been really useful! Instead, everyone's been in the weeds, where their arguments are concerned, and the White House has been busying themselves trying to win the support of death panel liar extraordinaire Charles Grassley, for reasons passing understanding.

But, hey, the White House speechwriters have finally delivered. Since the delivery is late, is our pizza free, at least?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/17/white-house-finally-disco_n_260989.html

orange
08-17-2009, 12:24 PM
Count me in for the free pizza, :thumb:

Donger
08-17-2009, 12:27 PM
Occasionally - then not. Read your own post above.

Well, you said he had never been clear about it. He has. He may be waffling now, but the post above from you is pretty demonstrative.

orange
08-17-2009, 12:29 PM
Well, you said he had never been clear about it. He has. He may be waffling now, but the post above from you is pretty demonstrative.

I should have said he's not been consistent. Also, he's not put it out front and center. 4:20 into a six-minute speech is not where you find the centerpiece.

Donger
08-17-2009, 12:32 PM
I should have said he's not been consistent. Also, he's not put it out front and center. 4:20 into a six-minute speech is not where you find the centerpiece.

Heck, he's also on record as being a proponent of single-payer.

HonestChieffan
08-17-2009, 01:40 PM
Sebelius is almost as dumb as the dems in Kansas who elected her.

Almost.

patteeu
08-18-2009, 09:39 AM
This makes at least twice that the WH has "clarified" what Kathleen meant to say after appearing on Sunday morning news shows. Does she ever meet with the Prez, is she ever briefed or is she ever given talking points? This lack of communication is unbelievable.

She occasionally has a quick lunch with one of the czars, but other than that she's pretty much on her own, going through the motions, acting like her job matters.