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  •  Darcy Burner is my kind of Democrat too. (0+ / 0-)

    But I still feel that she is throwing red meat to the disaffected left that I find unappealing.  In particular she says:

    Too many of our Representatives, too many of our Senators, and too many of the people in the White House act based on what’s best for multinational corporations and their CEOs, not the American people.

    Want proof? Well, an obvious case is the public option. It’s supported by a large majority of the American public. It reduces the deficit. It provides an additional choice for the American people, who are struggling with healthcare markets dominated by one or two insurers who are generally colluding to keep prices and profits high.

    She's ignoring the fact that a robust public option, one that tied rates to medicare rates, couldn't even pass the House. It wasn't only because of the insurers either.  A lot of healthcare providers, doctors and hospitals, were strongly opposed because they hate the reimbursement rates.  And the Democrats weren't just afraid of losing campaign contributions, they were afraid of active antagonism.  And rightly so.  When the doctors and insurers are on the same page,they can do a lot of harm.

    I think the President was right not to insist on the passage of the watered down Public Option because it was worthless, or, worse, counterproductive.  

    Here's what Paul Starr had to say about the P.O. at the end of November '09.  I found it very persuasive:

    Discussion of the public option — a government insurance plan that would be offered to individuals and small businesses buying coverage through new insurance exchanges — has been dominated by ideological politics. Conservatives claim it would amount to a government takeover, while liberals imagine that it would radically alter the insurance market by providing better protection at lower cost.

    As it now stands in Congress, however, the public option would do neither. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it would enroll less than 2 percent of the population and probably have higher premiums than private plans. For progressives to say they will block reform without a public option is not just foolish, but potentially tragic if it results in legislative deadlock.

    An earlier version of the public option, available to the entire public, might have realized progressive hopes and conservative fears. By paying doctors and hospitals at Medicare rates (which are 20 percent to 30 percent below those paid by private insurers), the public option would have had a distinct price advantage. But by severely cutting revenue to health-care providers, it would also have set off such a political crisis that Congress would never have passed it.

    Instead, the bills in Congress now call for the government plan to negotiate rates with providers, as private insurers do. That limitation exposes a defect in the idea. The government plan may well have to charge higher premiums because it is likely to attract more than its share of the chronically ill and other high-cost subscribers. It could go into a death spiral of mounting costs.

    That's why I say I appreciate Obama not pushing passage of the P.O. passed by the House.  It was really only a sop to the left and not serious policy.  

    Now, with respect to the new litmus test regarding the anti-trust bill, to me it sounds like she's calling for passage of a pared back bill, sort of the piece-meal approach to reform that most experts agree won't work.  So, I see what she's encouraging as  a cop-out which she's selling as the moral high-ground.

    The kind of leadership I'd like to see from her and other Dem candidates right now is calling for passage of the bill, whether that be with a fix by the Senate first, or the House passing the Senate bill with a fix to come later, coupled with a harsh denunciation of Republican obstructionism.  To me that's real leadership right now.

    Speaking of the Public Option, Darcy says: "It’s an incredibly populist and popular policy."  She says that like that should be case closed. Personally, I find leaders who equate "populist" and "popular" with "good" very uninspiring.  I think Obama stopped pushing the Public Option because he realized that the P.O. that could get past the House or Senate wasn't worth having.  I totally respect him for abandoning it.  I want burner to be rigorous in promoting good policy and not to just chase what she think's sells well.  

    Having said all that, I wish Darcy Burner well and  I want her to do whatever is necessary to win her seat.

    But I feel like Dem candidates are sort of facing a prisoners' dilemma type situation.  If a critical mass hangs together, the Democrats will have better success than if they're all constantly accusing each other of being sell-outs and presenting themselves as the Dem messiah.  However, if that critical mass doesn't hang together, the Dems are going to have a disastrous year, and the best strategy for any given individual is probably to accuse other Dems of being sell-outs and promoting yourself as the Dem messiah.  But I think the best thing for the party and the country is for as many Democrats who have the patriotism and stomach for it to hang in there and be team players.

    "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself." Psalms 50:21 h/t R. Browning

    by seanwright on Sun Feb 07, 2010 at 08:36:36 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

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