Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Did You Catch That? We got Health Care.

Obama pulled a real fast one on the Republicans last night and I've been putting the pieces of it together all day today. Yeah, the Bobby Jindal flop has gotten a lot of attention - the sound of the last bit of air coming out of the GOP tires - but the real story didn't hit until this evening (4:22 pm) when Washington Post put up a story that says Obama's budget will include $634B as a health care account for the next ten years. Sounds tiny, right, I mean it's really small beans compared to what it will take to reform health care, right?

Here's the brilliance, best explained by Al Giordano at The Field: Now that all the big contentious stuff got through with the Stimulus Bill, and Obama realized that the Republicans couldn't be counted on to work with the administraiton on the heavy work that needs to get done, he pulled a fast one on them all and slipped a health care line into his budget that will now go through the Senate on a special vote (as all budgets do) without the possibility of fillibuster and only requiring 50 votes plus Biden.

In other words, he just took the pay question out of health care reform! It's in the budget already. Wipe out Medicare's Plan D ($50B a year), which simply pays insurance companies as middle men, and you've got another chunk of change for reform. Oh yeah, and the tax breaks for the super rich are about to expire. There's another chunk. Bingo. We've got the moola without having to fight the obstructionist Republicans for it. PURE BRILLIANCE.

There's talk that this somehow pits the insurance companies against the Republicans but I haven't yet figured the ramifications of this beautiful move out.

So what do the Republicans think of this? Did you notice that right after Obama said his budget will "build on these reforms" how the Republicans looked lost, scared, blank, defeated? Neither did I, I was watching on my little computer screen. But I did notice a sudden enthusiasm coming from the Republican side of the aisle. Suddenly, after not even applauding for health care for children, they were bounding out of their seats regularly with slapping hands. Is this their, If you can't beat'em join 'em reaction, as Al Giordano asks? Once they realized what he meant and that they could do nothing about it? Would be beautiful to see the Republicans a little cowled.

Absolutely beautiful to see a politician working. I have huge reservations about Obama's Afghanistan talk to date and who knows what the DOJ is up to with extension of some of Bush's policies but as far as Obama's performance goes with domestic issues, I am pretty tickled so far. Hell, my expectations were so low after the defeated Clinton years and the scandalous Bush years that this is like pure candy.



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