Tuesday, October 20, 2009

White House Angered by Support For Obama's Health Care Plan

Just a reminder that the Administration understands how to apply pressure, it's just that they never seem to do it to the right people:

McEntee led workers in chanting a barnyard epithet to describe Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus’s health care bill, which would levy a new tax on expensive health care plans. He published an op-ed in U.S.A. Today warning, in terms that could be used against Democrats in the midterms, that the plan could tax the middle class and cost workers their health care. And he blew off a plea from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and published an open letter promising to “oppose” legislation that contained the tax – published over the objections, several labor officials said, of other union presidents whose names appeared on the letter.

"We have had just about enough of his gratuitous slaps,” said a senior White House official Friday, calling the politically charged language “outrageous and unacceptable” from an ally — even from one that had, the official noted, devoted substantial resources to health care efforts.

“He’s doing his members a real disservice,” said the official, who said that while all other labor leaders had been careful to keep their opposition to elements of health care proposals modulated and largely inside the tent, McEntee was “beyond the pale.”

And just what exactly is "outrageous and unacceptable", "doing his members a disservice" and "beyond the pale"?

Expecting President Obama to fight for Candidate Obama's health care plan.

Jon Walker:

Looking back at Obama’s campaign health care plan, it is shocking how many promises he broke without a fight. Obama promised:

  • A new national health exchange open to all Americans
  • A new public plan available to all Americans to compete with private insurance
  • An employer mandate to provide health insurance
  • A minimum medical loss ratio for insurance companies
  • To allow people to import cheaper drugs from Canada or Europe
  • To repeal the ban that prevents the government from directly negotiating with drug companies

Note none of these promise are part of the Senate Finance Committee bill. Obama has made no effort to fight for the inclusion of some of these (public option, employer mandate, minimum medical loss ratio) and months ago even made secret deals vowing to actively work to kill drug re-importation and direct drug price negotiation.

During the election Obama actively campaigned against two policies. One was the individual mandate favored by Hillary Clinton (and the health insurance industry) and the other was a tax on employer-provided health insurance which was also supported by John McCain. These two issues are now part of the Baucus bill. Since taking office, Obama has spent dramatically more time and political capital fighting hard to include these two provisions that he opposed than he has spent trying to include top progressive/labor union priorities that he supported, like the public option.

And in a double whammy, during a series of secret back room deals (breaking his promise for complete and open transparency) he has promised different industries he will actively oppose the very ideas he once claimed to champion, drug re-importation, and direct drug price negotiation.

The question is who is gratuitously slapping whom? Is it the Obama administration, which with repeated broken promises stabbed labor unions in the back? Or is it McEntee for simply calling bullshit when he sees it?

Gerry McEntee and the rest of the progressive community are fighting for Barack Obama's Health Care Plan.

What plan is Barack Obama fighting for?


  1. so what does the plan include that IS actually worth fighting for?

  2. Not sure I fully understand.

    I was arguing that the plan Obama campaigned on with a public option and open exchanges was worth fighting for.

  3. I am saying why do we care if this reform bill passes if it is missing so many components that were promised during his campaign? What remains in this bill that makes it at all worth fighting for to the average American?

  4. Ok my bad, now I see what you're saying.

    In my opinion, if the final bill resembed the baucus bill, then not much.

    However if it resembles closer to the house bill, it would be very much worth fighting for and would mark a major change in our health care system.