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Was the nonprofit cooperative health plan Obama’s exit strategy all along?

By
August 17, 2009

Bush allowed us to invade Iraq without an exit strategy. Could Obama have been just as reckless in proposing a public option health plan to compete with private insurance? A really savvy politician would have known this could have been shot down by the right wing all along and would have had the cooperative plan as an "exit strategy".

 
Obama can never please the far right, but now there’s a hue and cry among liberals that Obama is selling them out. On the far left even the public option was unacceptable to many who wanted  to have true socialized medicine like the United Kingdom and Canada. 
 
Less partisan moderates just wanted health care reform and didn’t get particularly stuck on the details. Many of them see the prospect of this dimming and suggest it means Obama is failing as a president and about to renege on a major campaign promise.
 
I’m not jumping to conclusions.
 
If Obama is as astute a politician as he’s been made out to be he would have learned from Clinton’s (really "the Clintons") failed attempt at health care reform.
 
Almost everything in politics is predictable beforehand. There are rare exceptions like an entire election turning on a Supreme Court decision or Sarah Palin running for vice president. This isn’t the case of how the health care debate has turned out and how it is influencing Democrats. It should have been anticipated by Obama’s health care reform team.
 
Obama knew he couldn’t propose a vast overhaul of the health care system which would relegate private companies to the insurers of the well-to-do. The right wing would have had a field day screaming about how he was destroying America and comparing him to everyone from Stalin to Voldemort.
 
I’m not as sure as some people are that he is viewing the current developments as a defeat, and I am quite certain the negative reaction doesn’t surprise him.
 
The language being used by television commentators is that he’s "backing off his insistence on a public option" when in fact he’s always said that he wanted to make sure there’s choice and competition with the private companies.
 
I think Obama knew all along that there would be a battle royal against any significant health care reform. I believe he had his advisors put together an exit strategy (from the public option) which we are now learning about. 
 
If properly designed a cooperative alternative to private insurance could for all extents and purposes look different but work the same as a public option.
 
Howard Dean (on MSNBC’s Morning Joe), was adamant in his insistence on having a public option. He likened the cooperative plan to Blue Cross before it became private.
 
That’s not a fair comparison since a new plan presumably would by law be prohibited from going private. Executive salaries could be capped. I assume coverage of existing conditions would be mandated. I would expect the private companies methods of delaying needed treatment would be eliminated.
 
A properly regulated health cooperative could be as effective in providing quality health care to all at a reduced cost as a government controlled program.
 
I never thought Obama was going to be a miracle worker. He’s "only" the president, not the king. 
 
What we may be about to see is whether he’s just another politician or whether he’s the consummate politician of our times.
 
I’m not about to sell him short. 

20 Responses to Was the nonprofit cooperative health plan Obama’s exit strategy all along?

  1. gazelle1929

    August 20, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    And while the Republicans and all their far-right clones, lookalikes, and wannabees piss and moan about how the Government would only mess up health care reform because that’s all the Government does tens of thousands of people, no, hundreds of thousands, perhaps even a million or so, are suffering and dying because they have no health insurance. Children are suffering. Infants. Pregnant women.

    And all because the Republicans are so damned afraid that Obama might actually have a success.

    I have only contempt for people who would allow others to suffer and die because it would be bad for them politically to give in and help their less fortunate brethren. And the same goes for the white horse they rode in on. I spit on them. They will have a special place in hell.

  2. woody188

    August 20, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    I’d take hell before allowing a communio-socio-fascism the likes of which Obama espouses. Probably fewer lobbyists and lawyers in hell than in Obamaland. It’s considered assault to spit on people.

    You have it entirely wrong. It’s not that anyone is afraid he will succeed. It’s that precedent indicates he will fail miserably. Name one successful government project that stayed within it’s budget and provided some benefit to everyone.

  3. gazelle1929

    August 20, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    “communio-socio-fascism”

    EEEEK. Run. The communio socio fascists are coming. EEEEK. Lock up your daughters. Hide the whiskey. Lock up your sons, some of them might not be heteros. Please, Rush, save us. Take another shot of whatever illegally obtained drug it is you’re taking this week and save us from the CSFs. Whatever the hell they are.

    Do you have any idea what a communio-socio-fascist is? Can you define one? Can you tell us exactly what their agenda is? Can you tell us of their organization? Can you tell us how communism (I think that’s what you mean by communio, though perhaps you left the n off and we’re talking about Catholics who take communion) can possibly be juxtaposed successfully to fascism? Or are you just using a phrase some kook on the internet is passing around and it sounded good and scary so you tried to frighten us with it?

  4. woody188

    August 21, 2009 at 1:57 am

    EEEEK. Run. The communio socio fascists are coming. EEEEK. Lock up your daughters. Hide the whiskey. Lock up your sons, some of them might not be heteros. Please, Rush, save us. Take another shot of whatever illegally obtained drug it is you’re taking this week and save us from the CSFs. Whatever the hell they are.

    I’m not crazy. Don’t like the insinuation here or the drama theater. These types of childish antics are akin to disrupting a town hall meeting.

    Do you have any idea what a communio-socio-fascist is? Can you define one?

    Working on that actually. What system is it that is controlled by the rich via money and lobbists and serves at the needs of them and their portfolios above all?

    What system keeps profits private but losses become public debt?

    What system has secret courts, secret police, wiretap their citizens, and uses torture to cover lies invented to dominate the resources of another region of the world?

    Well that’s just our imperial communio-socio-fascist government (I admit I need a better name, fascomocialism or fasocommism?) that exists of the Unitary Executive and Commander-in-Chief of the military, a Congress that represents the businesses of their districts, and a court system unwilling to risk their own paychecks ruling against the Executive.

    They get their direction largely from the Council of Foreign Relations, or as Hillary Clinton put it, “to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future.”

    Can you tell us exactly what their agenda is?

    First to combine Canada, the United States, and Mexico into one trading block similar to the EU, then ultimately to form one world government, or a New World Order as George H W Bush and Henry Kissinger like to call it.

    I don’t think you will find this name out around the internet. There are few of us actually talking frankly and honestly about what has happened since 2001. I can only show the truth, I can’t make you accept it as such. We all create our own realities.

    Fact is we’ve been on this trajectory since at least the days of Andrew Jackson and only now at the end is it all coming to light.

    We are one swine flu pandemic away from losing it all and our government tells us it’s coming this fall.

    Sorry Hal for moving a bit off-topic.

  5. almandine

    August 21, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Good synopsis Woody.

    Some folks want themselves and all of us to be communio-socio-fascists. Others don’t understand the full impact of what that means.

    I’m with Patrick Henry.

  6. sherry

    August 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Dear Hal.
    He is just another politician. He lies like rug.
    Remember when he said his negotiations with the drug industry would be televised on C-Span? Didn’t happen.
    Remember those infernal signing statements of Bush’s?
    Obama is doing it as well.
    Obama promised to get out of Iraq, which Bush began doing. Now Obama is expanding the war in Afghanistan.
    Bush started the bail outs. Obama expanded them.
    And what’s up with all these czars that are accountable to no one?
    Obama promised not to hire lobbyists. Oops.

  7. almandine

    August 17, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    There you go with those inconvenient facts again, Sherry.

  8. griff

    August 17, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Such is the party mentality.

    Where’s the anti-war left these days? They’re talking about 140,000 troops in Afghanistan.

    Where’s the outrage we saw from the left over Bush’s spending? We lost more than half a million jobs last month and the bailout and stimulus have done nothing but offer the same false hope that is the epitome of the Obama phenomenom.

    But that’s okay…The Democrats just borrow from the Republican playbook these last eight years and blindly follow to the bitter end.

    We’ve learned nothing.

  9. griff

    August 17, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    My gut…Sell Short! Sell Short!

    Oh please. Whenever Obama is down in the dumps people like you try to play it off as though he’s two steps ahead of everyone else. He’s just smarter than everyone else is all.

    Oh, he just introduced this to rile everyone up. He never intended this to pass.

    If this is true – which I doubt – then Obama is wasting our precious time and patience playing political games.

  10. almandine

    August 17, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    “If this is true – which I doubt – then Obama is wasting our precious time and patience playing political games.”

    Hey Griff, I agree on one hand, but wonder how in hell this spells anything other than the incompetence shown on all the bailouts.

    If only he understood Sell Short!! then we wouldn’t continue to be in the pickle we’re in.

    Unfortunately, medical system reform is following that same recipe.

  11. woody188

    August 19, 2009 at 1:45 am

    When they pulled their public option on Sunday I wondered if health care was just another distraction. Probably to draw attention from the heating regional war in the Middle East as you mentioned.

    This is precisely what the Bush Administration would do. They would assault us on so many issues at once and as quickly as possible in an effort to keep us on the defensive and never coming together as one against their New World Order.

    Obama screwed that formula up with the stimulus and TARP but look what has just happened. We are sending another 21,000 to Afghanistan with another 80,000 requested. The DOD got a nice fat funding increase. We are sending drone aircraft with an accuracy of less than 30% into Columbia. And they are drilling for civil unrest right in the good ole’ USA.

  12. sherry

    August 18, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Why can’t we just hold them accountable? It’s not enough to just fire the crew. We are stuck with BHO until at least 2012, unless the town halls get really out of hand…..
    I would like to see someone show up to a town hall and present him with those inconvenient facts I keep discussing. Sorry Almandine. :)
    The media keeps showing the angry droolers. How convenient. How about they show some of the ones making sense? Now that would be inconvenient.

  13. almandine

    August 18, 2009 at 12:20 am

    You go girl!

  14. bryan mcclellan

    August 19, 2009 at 2:27 am

    Hold on Woody,
    Crony Tarp, the blankets/payoffs of our devoted representatives are concerned with heat of a different matter,
    once licensed for the big Hosengrazem arena, they refuse to spell it out,
    and it’s up to the law of the land to protect us.

    Chilling thought these days.

    $ 78.00 for not wearing a seat belt, Kiss my ass.

  15. Hal Brown

    August 19, 2009 at 11:07 am

     If what is suggested in this New York Times article turns out to be the end result it lends some weight to my theory that Obama and his advisors may have had "an exit strategy" to execute if Blue Dog and right wing opposition made a bipartisan bill impossible.

     

    Democrats Seem Set to Go It Alone on a Health Care Bill (link)

    By CARL HULSE and JEFF ZELENY

    WASHINGTON — Given hardening Republican opposition to Congressional health care proposals, Democrats now say they see little chance of the minority’s cooperation in approving any overhaul, and are increasingly focused on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks. Top Democrats said Tuesday that their go-it-alone view was being shaped by what they saw as Republicans’ purposely strident tone against health care legislation during this month’s Congressional recess, as well as remarks by leading Republicans that current proposals were flawed beyond repair.

    Whether the Democrats push through a public option or a highly regulated cooperative option my point is that it seemed to be underestimating Obama to think he didn’t have a back-up plan. 

    The undisputed fact is that it will take 60 votes to get this through in the Senate.

    The pure public option has always been an lofty goal which would take divine intervention to get the votes of enough Blue Dogs Democrats and Republicans to achieve.

    I supported Obama but never attributed godlike powers to him. When it comes to bending Congress to his will he’s not a god. He’s not even a Lyndon Johnson.

  16. almandine

    August 19, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    “but never attributed godlike powers to him”

    Say what?

    Why would anyone?

  17. bogofree

    August 20, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Exit strategy? I think not. IMHO the Great One (not Gleason) thought that his usual rhetoric and slogans would make the day. Didn’t happen and this will go down as a major defeat for this administration.

  18. Hal Brown

    August 20, 2009 at 11:09 am

     Bogo,

    If you’re right about Obama being so full of himself that he thought all he’d need was his silver tongue to inspire people who get all their news from Fox to support his proposal for health care reform he’s suffering from narcissistic delusions.

    I believe that while he has natural empathy he is also a cold calculating political realist.

    It’s funny that some who will jump on him for being just like any other disingenuous politican, or worse, a calculating Chicago political machine pol are quick to say he’s political naive. 

    I know you think many of supporters thought he walked on water ( which is why you often call him WOW). Those people let wishful thinking based on feelings trump more detached rational analysis. 

    You might say that this is a personality difference as assessed in Myers Briggs as the difference in preference between feeling and thinking.

    I do agree that if there is no Democratic health care reform bill passed at all it will be a devastating defeat for the Democrats. If it is defeated I wonder if the Republicans will offer their own reform bill or will say that health care is fine as it is.

  19. Hal Brown

    August 20, 2009 at 12:01 pm

     Recommended reading:

    The GOP has become a party of nihilists" by Joe Klein, especially page 2.

    One point is that no matter how much they think health care reform is needed the Republicans are being warned and coerced by their leadership not to allow Obama to have a success in any way, shape or form on this important issue.

    Other points:

    1) 

    "The party’s putative intellectuals — people like the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol — are prosaic tacticians who make precious few substantive arguments but oppose health-care reform mostly because passage would help Barack Obama’s political prospects."

    2) "…. the nutters are a tiny minority; the Republicans are curling themselves into a tight, white, extremist bubble — but there may be enough of them raising dust to render creative public policy impossible. Some righteous anger seems called for, but that’s not Obama’s style. He will have to come up with something, though — and he will have to do it without the tiniest scintilla of help from the Republican Party."

  20. bogofree

    August 20, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    I do think he is full of himself, Hal, along with being full of something else. The cult of personality? You betcha! The media help create it and so did his followers. Some bought into it and will remain captive. I did not simply because I saw him as the same old only packaged and presented differently. Yep…a cynic and proud of it! Is it too early after six months to say “I told you so?”