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December 10, 2009

Hey, You Know Reid's Medicare Plan Might Lead To A Single Payer System, Says....The Washington Post

I thought the fears of a single payer system were only to be found within the tiny brains of those awful Tea Party people. Who knew it also included the editorial board of The Washington Post?

Presumably, the expanded Medicare program would pay Medicare rates to providers, raising the question of the spillover effects on a health-care system already stressed by a dramatic expansion of Medicaid. Will providers cut costs -- or will they shift them to private insurers, driving up premiums? Will they stop taking Medicare patients or go to Congress demanding higher rates? Once 55-year-olds are in, they are not likely to be kicked out, and the pressure will be on to expand the program to make more people eligible. The irony of this late-breaking Medicare proposal is that it could be a bigger step toward a single-payer system than the milquetoast public option plans rejected by Senate moderates as too disruptive of the private market.

Irony, Terrifying. Tomato, Toemahto.

Somewhat ominously Nancy Pelosi is now walking back from her earlier rhetoric about a public option being a necessary condition for getting a bill out of the House.

In yet another sign that the writing is on the wall for the public option, Nancy Pelosi repeatedly refused to say today that a bill without one could not pass the House, backing away from a marker she’d laid down in the past.

Asked directly at a presser about the current Senate bill lacking the public option, and her previous claims that the bill couldn’t pass the House without one, Pelosi sidestepped the question. She claimed she’d always said that it was her belief that the public option is the best way to achieve affordability and availability, and that leaders were prepared to listen to anyone with better ideas.

Suddenly killing the public option maybe a Pyrrhic victory. If the left thinks they can get the camel's nose under the single payer tent, they'll drop everything to do it.

And why wouldn't they? If history teaches us anything it's that entitlement programs only get bigger over the years, not smaller.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Huma) is an outspoken proponent of a single payer plan and he's thrilled with Reid's idea. He seems to think it's much more than a nose we are looking at.

"Expanding Medicare is an unvarnished, complete victory for people like me," said Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y. "It's the mother of all public options. We've taken something people know and expanded it. ... Never mind the camel's nose, we've got his head and neck under the tent."

It looks like the hope is that Joe Lieberman isn't going to pedantic about this "public option" thing. His opposition was based on the budget busting nature of a public option. As the Washington Post lays out, this is way more expensive than any co-op or government administered plan.

Help us JoeMentum...you are our only hope!

Added: This is actually a pretty neat piece of political judo. The "public option" in its various forms was always a step back from the Medicare For All idea the left really wanted. It was clear that would never pass so they went to the "public option" formulation. Now that that has been made toxic, the Democrats say, "yeah, we're ditching the "public option" and introducing something new and exciting no one knows anything about..."Medicare for More". See? It's nothing like that damn "public option" you all hate!".

And lots of people nod and think, "Thank God we beat back "the public option!"

Yet we may get stuck with a plan that is to the left of the 'centrist' compromise and about 50% or more of the way back to the left's maximalist position.

Is there enough time to refocus people on what this plan really is and generate enough heat to kill it? It'll be hard if they shove it through before the holidays. No one is really paying attention now.

I doubt this was Reid's doing, it's too clever. Most likely it's Chuck Shumer's work (though it's nothing more than an uneducated guess). He's a bit of a clown but a smart and shrewd one...the most dangerous kind.


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posted by DrewM. at 01:39 PM

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