Time after time Obama likes to remind his critics that he won’t shy away from a fight, but the evidence isn’t so clear. In the early stages of the health care reform effort President Obama told the nation that in order to pass meaningful health care reform they would have to take on the entrenched special interests of big pharmaceutical and insurance companies. At the beginning, it looked like he meant it. He included a public option in the plan he presented to congress, and has publicly claimed support for the idea, one that nearly 70 % of Americans also support, from day one.
But behind the scenes Rahm Emanuel and other White House staff have been negotiating away every aspect of real reform in the health care bill vote by vote, whether it is the public option or the repeal of the anti-trust exemption for insurance providers. But we now know that even from the beginning the White House never intended to "take on" the insurance companies and big pharma. Instead they brought them in early in the process and tried to buy their silence on the bill with major concessions.
There is a misguided assumption in the White House that words are enough to placate the left, but to placate the right they need to give away the baby and the bath water. Progressives get words from the President, conservatives get real policy concessions.
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