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August 11, 2009

Quote of the Day

Despite an abundance of public remarks, Obama's actual strategy to achieve health-care reform still remains largely cloaked in secrecy. While the media's focus has been on the unseemly public wrangling in Congress, the White House has been doing two things: 1) Trying to influence legislators behind closed doors and 2) Making deals with industry leaders behind closed doors.

And disturbingly, the crucial endgame will apparently be played behind closed doors, as well. In a conference call with bloggers last month, Obama anticipated that the bills that eventually emerge from the House and Senate will, even then, still leave the most controversial issues basically undecided.

"Eighty percent of those two bills will overlap. There's going to be 20 percent that will be different in terms of how it will be funded, its approach to the public plan, its pay-or-play provisions," he said. But those are precisely the issues that all the arguments have basically been about for months now.

"Conference is where these differences will get ironed out," Obama said. But conference is the last great smoke-filled room of our deliberative democracy. After the House and Senate have ostensibly debated everything in public, their representatives in conference committee get to make all the really big decisions in secret.

- Dan Froomkin


Posted by Cassandra at August 11, 2009 10:24 AM

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"Conference is where these differences will get ironed out," Obama said.

"Conference" is the New Transparency, just as "Hypocritical Subterfuge" is the New Integrity.

Didn't you get the memos?

Posted by: BillT at August 11, 2009 04:50 PM

I thought they were supposed to be negotiating on CSPAN. Are you telling me he didn't mean what he said during the campaign? *gasp*

Posted by: Falze at August 11, 2009 04:56 PM

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the playbook for what is going on with health care can be seen in Dashle, et al's "Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis."

To quote then Senator Obama, "Sen. Daschle brings fresh thinking to this problem." Actually, it doesn't. What it does do is show how they screwed up when they tried to push through Hillary Care.

When we have the President pointing out Daschle as an authority on health care, we have a major league problem.

Posted by: RIslander at August 11, 2009 06:39 PM

Thank you for your poignant post.

Posted by: OregonGuy at August 11, 2009 06:41 PM

If this thing passes, I hope we don't get hurt or sick.

Posted by: camojack at August 12, 2009 03:52 AM

Back in the 60s, during the push for civil rights legislation, the subject of fairness in immigration came up. In fact, it was a darling of Ted Kennedy. According to those pushing it, immigration showed favoritism to Europeans. One of dear ol' Teds claims was that changing immigration policy would not change the country. Uh, huh.

Now, we are being told that putting the government in charge of health care, and that is exactly what is being proposed, will not change health care as we know it. Uh, huh.

Policing of Medicaid is, well, a joke. If nothing else, recent legislation has made it an even bigger chuckle when it comes to coverage for illegal aliens. For those members of Congress who keep saying that they will not support health care coverage for illegals, I would say, read the draft of the health care legislation you are trying to cram down our collective throats.

I don't know how many times I have heard a politician say that this or that is or is not in the health care bill, and even if they haven't actually read it, they are so familiar with it that, yes, they know what's in it. Huh? My advise, read the damn thing! That goes for those on the Left and Right. Reading it actually gives one better footing to oppose it.

Posted by: RIslander at August 12, 2009 11:52 AM

My advise, read the damn thing!

All *five* different (and conflicting) versions?

They don't even know which version is eventually going to be considered, but they would have us believe that their omniscience allows them to intuit just what the final product will be...

Posted by: BillT at August 12, 2009 01:27 PM