Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Even a Blind Squirrel

Why is it that even when the Senate Democrats do something right, you get the feeling that they only stumbled into it after trying everything else, and that no lessons were learned at all?
Behind-the-scenes attempts to get a deal with Republicans on nonprofit co-ops as an alternative to a public plan have led only to frustration, complains a key Democrat. He and his colleagues may have to go it alone, said Sen. Chuck Schumer.

The co-ops were seen as perhaps the last hope for compromise on a contentious issue that threatens any remaining prospects of bipartisan support for President Obama's sweeping plan to remake the health care system.

"I don't think I could say with a straight face that this (co-op proposal) is at all close to a nationwide public option," Schumer, D-N.Y., told The Associated Press on Sunday. "Right now, this co-op idea doesn't come close to satisfying anyone who wants a public plan."
. . .
Schumer's role is important because he had been acting as an intermediary between liberal Democrats and moderates who are trying to strike a deal on the issue with Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee. Of the five House and Senate committees working on health care, Finance is the only one that appears to have a chance at reaching a bipartisan agreement.

Schumer said Finance Republicans had rejected several proposals designed to beef up the suggested nonprofit insurance co-ops. These included setting up a national structure for the co-ops, $10 billion in government seed money, power to negotiate payment rates to medical providers nationwide and creation of a presidentially appointed board of directors.

Without "dramatic" changes, Schumer said he would oppose the co-ops deal and urge other Democrats to do so as well.
. . .
Both sides are nervous. Some Democrats say they doubt the plan has enough Democratic support to clear the Senate.

"I think there's a lot of concern in the Democratic caucus," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union.
So the Republicans aren't bargaining in good faith over the public option? Wow! What gave that away? Was it the events of the last two weeks or the fact that THEY HAVEN'T EVER DONE THAT ON ANYTHING!

Seriously, what's wrong with these people? Do they get amnesia each time they move on to a new issue? Do they assume that since they repeatedly rolled over when they were in the minority that the Republicans would follow suit?

Regardless, it seems like they may be heading in the right direction this time, despite their best efforts. Ends justify the means and all that, but would it kill them to learn from their past experiences just once?

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