A rebuttal to the Democratic talking points going around after the White House bipartisan healthcare summit.
1. No one’s talking about reconciliation?
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) Claims “No One Has Talked About Reconciliation.” “No one has said — I read what the President has online — no one has talked about reconciliation but that’s what you folks have talked about ever since that came out, as if it’s something that has never been done before.” (“Transcript: White House Health Summit, Morning Session,” Kaiser Health News, 2/25/10)
But Reid Himself Is Talking About Reconciliation. “Harry Reid’s got a gift for hyperbole – and it keeps on giving. The Senate majority leader’s latest gem came in response to hints that Democrats might try to use the fast-track budget ‘reconciliation’ to bypass a Republican filibuster of President Obama’s health care plan. After advising Republicans on Tuesday to ‘stop crying over reconciliation as if it’s never been done before,’ he ticked off a list of legislative feats he contends were accomplished through the filibuster-busting process: ‘Contract [with] America was done with reconciliation. Tax cuts, done with reconciliation. Medicare, done with reconciliation.’” (Jonathan Allen, “Hyperbolic Harry,” Politico’s “Live Pulse” Blog, 2/24/10)
“For Some Bizarre Reason, During His Initial Presentation, Sen. Reid Said That ‘No One Has Talked About Reconciliation,’ … But That’s Obviously Not True. Everybody’s Talking About It. And A Lot Of Dems Would Be Pretty Upset If They Weren’t Talking About It.” (Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo’s “Editors Blog” Blog, 2/25/10)
“A Number Of Democratic Senators Have Signed A Letter Urging Reid To Use Reconciliation To Pass The Public Option.” (Eric Zimmermann, “Reid: ‘No One Has Talked About Reconciliation,’” The Hill’s “Briefing Room” Blog, 2/25/10)
Obama Health Reform Advisor Says The Door Is Open For Reconciliation. “Linda Douglass, the communications director of the White House Office of Health Reform, left reconciliation on the table as an option for passing a health care bill if Democrats and Republicans don’t reach consensus during Thursday’s summit. … ‘Certainly if that were not to be the case, he would be asking for a simple up or down majority vote and would certainly hope that the Republicans would not try to block that simple up or down majority vote.’” (Carol Lee & Patrick O’Connor, “Douglass Open To Reconciliation,” Politico’s “44” Blog, 2/25/10)
2. The American People Aren’t Interested in Reconciliation?
Obama Claims Americans Don’t Care About Reconciliation. “You know, this issue of reconciliation has been brought up. Again I think the American people aren’t always all that interested in procedures inside the Senate. I do think they want a vote on how we’re going to move this forward.” (President Obama, Health Care Summit, Washington, DC, 2/25/10)
But 52% Of Americans Don’t Want The Democrats To Use Reconciliation To Pass Their Government-Run Health Care Experiment. “In the survey, Americans by 52%-39% oppose Senate Democrats using the procedure, which allows a bill to pass with a 51-vote majority rather than the 60 votes needed to end debate.” (Susan Page, “Poll: Expectations Low On Health Summit,” USA Today, 2/25/10)
3. Dem Proposals Will Lower Premiums?
President Obama Claimed CBO Determined His Plan Would Lower Premiums. PRESIDENT OBAMA: “It’s not factually accurate. Here’s what the Congressional Budget Office says. The costs for families for the same type of coverage that they’re currently receiving would go down 14 percent to 20 percent.” SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN): “The Congressional Budget Office report says that premiums will rise in the individual market as a result of the Senate bill.” PRESIDENT OBAMA: “No, no, no, no. Let me — and this is an example of where we’ve got to get our facts straight.” ALEXANDER: “That’s my point.” OBAMA: “Well, exactly, so let me — let me respond to what you just said, Lamar, because it’s not factually accurate. Here’s what the Congressional Budget Office says. The costs for families for the same type of coverage that they’re currently receiving would go down 14 percent to 20 percent.” (President Obama, Health Care Summit, Washington, DC, 2/25/10)
But Actually, CBO Determined The Bill Would Raise Premiums For Americans Purchasing Insurance Individually. “CBO and JCT estimate that the average premium per person covered (including dependents) for new nongroup policies would be about 10 percent to 13 percent higher in 2016 than the average premium for nongroup coverage in that same year under current law.” (Douglas W. Elmendorf, Letter To Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), 11/30/09)
4. Incremental Plans Are Unacceptable?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “[I]naction And Incrementalism Are Simply Unacceptable.” (Mike Allen, “Will Dr. Obama Go For Plan B-1, Or Plan B-2? — Dems’ Post-Summit Message: POTUS Was ‘Thoughtful, Comprehensive,’ Rs ‘Insulted The Summit’ — New NYT Expose May Finish Gov. Paterson,” Politico’s “Playbook,” 2/25/10)
But 56.4 Percent Of Americans Prefer An Incremental Approach. “Moreover, 56.4 percent of people indicated they would prefer Congress to tackle healthcare reform on a step-by-step basis, not take the comprehensive approach as embodied in the legislation that passed the House and Senate last year but has stalled for the past month.” (Jeffrey Young, “Poll: Most Americans Think Congress Should Start Over On Healthcare,” The Hill’s “Briefing Room” Blog, 2/16/10)
5. Public Funds Wouldn’t Go to Abortion?
Pelosi Said Abortion Wouldn’t Be Funded Under The Plan. “The law of the land is there is no public funding of abortion and there is no public funding of abortion in these bills and I don’t want our listeners or viewers to get the wrong impression from what you said.” (Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Health Care Summit, Washington, DC, 2/25/10)
But The Bill Allows Federally Funded Abortions. “Under the new abortion provisions, states can opt out of allowing plans to cover abortion in the insurance exchanges the bill would set up. The exchanges are designed to serve individuals who lack coverage through their jobs, with most receiving federal subsidies to buy insurance. Enrollees in plans that cover abortion procedures would pay with separate checks — one for abortion, one for any other health-care services.” (Paul Kane, “To Sway Nelson, A Hard-Won Compromise On Abortion Issue,” The Washington Post, 12/20/10)
Pro-Life Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) Calls Obama’s Abortion Language “Unacceptable.” “Unfortunately, the president’s proposal encompasses the senate language allowing public funding of abortion. The senate language is a significant departure from current law and is unacceptable.” (Ben Smith,” Stupak: “Unacceptable,” Politico’s “Live Pulse” Blog, 2/23/10)
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) Says 15 To 20 House Dems Who Can’t Support Obama’s Proposal. “Rep. Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democrat who led efforts to tighten abortion language in the House health care bill, said Wednesday morning there are 15 to 20 House Democrats who cannot support President Barack Obama’s effort to bridge the gap between the House and Senate health plans. … He said well over a dozen House members will likely balk, not just on abortion but on the residual tax on so-called Cadillac health plans, which he said the House had already rejected.” (“Stupak: 15-20 Dems Can’t Back Obama Health Plan,” The Wall Street Journal’s “Washington Wire” Blog, 2/24/10)