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If a health care bill passes: Which party benefits?

Via Taegen Goddard's "Political Wire" comes this finding from National Journal's regular survey of congressional insiders:

76 percent of the Republican insiders believe that passage of the health care bill will help Republicans "a lot" in the midterms and the other 24 percent said it would help a little.

But 87 percent of Democrats surveyed said passage of the bill would help Democrats a lot or at least a little.

Bear in mind, these are anonymous responses (and therefore perhaps a bit more candid).

On the other hand, pollsters Pat Caddell (remember him from Jimmy Carter days?) and Doug Schoen (also a pollsters who has worked primarily for Democrats) argue in a Wash Post piece this a.m. that passage of the big bill will be a political calamity for Dems (while failure to pass it will also be bad for the Dems. They write:

"The battle for public opinion has been lost. Comprehensive health care has been lost. If it fails, as appears possible, Democrats will face the brunt of the electorate's reaction. If it passes, however, Democrats will face a far greater calamitous reaction at the polls. Wishing, praying or pretending will not change these outcomes."

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Comments (25)

Mr. Black what do you think here? Please flesh it out (or at least put some meat on the bone).

Rational people? People who know how to think for themselves?
Remember death panels and get your government hands off my Medicare?
If they will just hurry up and pass the darn thing people will have moved beyond health care and be more concerned about the new war or the newest sex scandal, which ever comes first.

This plan is essentially Mitt Romney's. Republican opposition is all about not allowing the President a political victory during an election year and has little to do with policy.

Democrats, bless their legalistic souls, are constantly diving for details and intricacies, and arguing the fine print as they lose any control of their legislative goals as the Republicans frame the situation (quite masterfully, I'd add).

If they'd just hire a good story teller to create the narrative structure and a good technical writer to strip things down to the essential framework, they'd be much more effective.

Of course it's in both side's interest to show how their favored outcome will be better for their electoral chances. My guess is that the route is of prime importance. If Dems use obvious tricks like the Slaughter rule, the public will turn against them (even more). If it's a clean process...but that horse may have already left the barn.
It should also be noted that the negative consequences of the current bills kick in well before the positive. In effect, it's like 'here's the taxes, you'll get the coverage in four years'. I suppose it will be wrong of Republicans to point that out for some reason but I think it's noteworthy.

From Richard:
"Democrats, bless their legalistic souls, are constantly diving for details and intricacies, and arguing the fine print as they lose any control of their legislative goals as the Republicans frame the situation (quite masterfully, I'd add)."

That explains why liberals so long believed that there was no such thing as a Republican plan, right? And then when such a thing was presented (and parts of it praised by the President) they quickly stopped repeating the 'party of no' stuff, right? In all honesty, liberals are just as prone to groupthink as anyone else. Maybe more so since they spend so much time congratulating themselves over their big broad expansive open minds. And this whole idea that it comes down to 'framing' is a very thinly veiled way of calling people who disagree with you 'stupid'. A truly curious mind would try to actually dig for the reasons of disagreement.

I'll comment on rational people even tho I'm hardly the one qualified to do so. For some I think we are in an age of tribalism with shibboleths being thrown about by the masterful (sad to say republican insider machinery). I'd hope to think that people with broad life experience in work, in extended family relationships, in ill health and even death. That those would be say there is a moral imperative here when 30+ million are uninsured and probably another 30 million who are being poorly served by the present situation. Being people of experience I hope they are the kind to vote their conscience. Even if they cannot name their two US Senators maybe the leaders will get it reasonably correct on this one. And if a few dems get voted out of office by our marketed campaigns that is the price you pay for doing the positive thing.

As usual the advantage will go to the best spinner.
However, I'd say the situation slightly favors the Dems, since most people agree that there is a problem, and at least the Dems will be seen as trying to do something about it.
There will of course be a hard core who will say that any solution that actually has to be paid for is bad, but most people will wait and see.
Of course, most people don't write on blogs ;-)

When folks decide that there's a basic conflict between making a profit for investors and covering people's health, that will be the impetus for either single payer or universal coverage.

We have this hugely complicated overlapping set of systems and that's one of the reasons all the other countries went to a single system. One set of forms, one set of codes....

It does not mean that there cannot be many different payers. It just means uniformity on the bureaucratic side of things.

When healthcare passes, it will benefit the democrats. The public will appreciate the end of the use of 'pre-exisiting conditions', 'annual and lifetime caps', and being able to keep adult child on family plans. As the Medicare 'doughnut hole' closes, this bill will be seen even more favorably.

I really believe that people see that this bill is in their best interests. They will not care how it was passed, just that some aspects of insurance coverage are better.

Caddel and Shoen will be right, unless:

>The house gets off the pot and votes the "big" bill down, and

>the very next day brings to the floor and passes and sends to the senate a bill to ban denying coverage or raising rates for preexisting conditions; and then

>the day after that brings to the floor and passes and sends to the senate a bill to ban canceling coverage or refusing to pay a claim or changing rates for an existing client who is current on premiums; and then

>the day after than brings to the floor and passes and sends to the senate a bill to require insurers to base rates on a pool which includes ALL covered persons, without segmenting them into risk groups; and then

>the day after that brings to the floor and passes and sends to the senate a bill which sets minimum coverage standards (a basic policy); and then

>the day after than brings to the floor and passes and sends to the senate a bill that allows children to be on their parents' health care until the age of 25, no strings attached, and then

>the day after that brings to the floor and passes and sends to the senate a bill that bans all television advertising of prescription drugs (as with tobacco).

If they did this, there would be enough votes from both sides of the aisle to pass them in bipartisan fashion, the American population would be ecstatic, and all things health care related would be forgiven going into November.

But what are the odds of that? Still, I can dream...

(#9) Richard Schulze:

You seem unaware that ALL insurers in Minnesota are non-profits.

Perhaps you mean that all hospitals, labs, pharmaceutical companies and physicians must become non-profits?

They are the cause of the escalating costs much more than the insurers, though the latter should have some checks on top salaries -- perhaps by capping their administrative overhead at 5% of claims paid.

It amazes me that ANYONE familiar with the waste and heartlessness of government bureaucracies could think them a better alternative.

Read the Cadell article today in the PP. I have to say it is one of the more cynical pieces of writing I have read. Who paid him off?? Richard I don't think I ever for once came out for single payer at this time but for more regulation and increased coverage through subsidies and new pools etc. etc.. And Pete I think you are framing or misframing it a bit. In the community voices section the writer McNeil talks about how the Dems circle the wagons and then shoot each other in the foot. And yes framing is a very very big political issue its basically rhetoric that works.

And if you don't think framing is important have ol uncle charley take the wedding pictures on your daughter/sons big day.

Although I am part of the individual insurance market and very left politically, I don't find much to like about this bill,

I think most people agree that the two biggest problems with American health care are lack of universal coverage and spiraling costs. Unfortunately, this bill solves neither problem. Essentially, its main focus is providing a guaranteed customer base for the insurance companies and subsidize them to cover low-income people. That's what most of the language of the bill is about.

I fear that this will backfire on the Democrats because many of the people I talk to, the ones who give the daily news a once-over or get all their information from TV, THINK that the bill will give them Canadian-style health care. (That's because the Republicans have been screaming about "a government takeover of health care")

They will be disappointed when they find out that there is no public option (as of today) and that they will be required to buy private insurance that still has co-pays and high deductibles. They will be disappointed when they find out that not everyone is covered. They will be disappointed when they find that there is no incentive to cut costs.

It is utterly tragic that the Democrats, thanks to Republican Lite fifth columnists in their own party, cannot use their overwhelming majority to take one of the four models for health care that work in other countries (single payer, national health service, HEAVILY regulated private insurance, or some combination of the above), run a huge PR campaign (the way Reagan used to do when he wanted legislation passed), and institute changes that both provides universal coverage and cuts costs.

Instead, they have given us what is basically Mitt Romney's Massachusetts plan.

Yup, for all the right-wing whining about "government health care" and horror stories from British tabloids, the Democrats have given us a Republican-style health care "reform."

Having been without health insurance of any kind for a dozen years because it cost the equivalent of another house payment that I couldn't afford, then having had to empty my savings account to pay for my own cancer treatment, I would LOVE to see a government-run health care plan put into place.

Oh, wait. There already is one. It's called Medicare.

It has much lower administrative expenses than any private insurance plan, and it gets very high marks from its members. Sadly, it doesn't do enough to contain the costs of fee-for-service medicine, so there's definitely room for improvement.

For what little it's worth, I think Caddell and Schoen are not entirely correct. While not exactly "lost," I think the Democrats wasted a golden opportunity by allowing self-serving arguments from the right to go on without counterargument for too long. What should have been - could have been – an unqualified "win" was allowed to deteriorate to the point where it strikes me now as a "draw."

Noticeably lacking from the Caddell and Schoen conclusion, however, is any sort of explanation of just WHY Democrats will face a "...calamitous reaction at the polls" if a big health care reform bill passes. It's hard to agree or disagree without knowing what their reasoning is for that conclusion.

Bernie Sanders pointed out the bill's saving grace the other day by noting that, since it won't take effect immediately, there will be lots of time to improve it.

Especially to pass his amendment allowing individual states to immediately --not in a number of years as desired by insurance-industry-friendly members of Congress-- enact their own single payer plans if they don't like the one on offer from the feds.

Fortunately, we have a plan just waiting to be passed and implemented: SF118/HF135, Senator Marty's MN Health Plan.

Of course it will benefit the democrats. This bill is health insurance reform and all of us are getting ripped off in one way or another by health insurance companies. When the reform is passed and we can change insurance without penalty of pre-existing conditions or we can't be dropped because we get an expensive sickness we'll never be able to go back to the old rules. The idiots who think this is a government takeover of health care or socialized medicine will realize their health care is actually the same, just easier to get it covered by insurance and understand the insurance you do have. Hospitals will get great relief as they will not have to treat so many uninsured patients. Don't you think the 40 million people who will now be covered by health insurance will thank the democrats for a plan that covers them and will actually shrink costs due to more maintenance care and less emergency care? Democrats are passing this bill to help all Americans while the republicans are opposing it because they are determined to remain ideological zealots who don't care one whit about the ordinary American while they have great compassion for those poor maligned corrupt health insurance companies. This will be a WIN/WIN for the democrats.

The latest machination from the Democrat party is "deem and pass", more appropriately known as "self-execution".

I think it's a wonderful plan.

As a matter of fact, when health insurance started in the U.S., the original Blue Cross and Blue Shields in every state were nonprofit, and they operated fine.

Oh good Machiavelli, I was afraid we'd go an entire blog w/o Mr. Swift trotting out the argument that we're on the precipice of total socialism, anarchy, communism and the eternal death of sliced bread if we don't vote right.

While Minnesota will be jumping at the chance to implement its own single-payer plan, several other states will be bringing lawsuits and passing bills to prevent the federal government from forcing their citizens to purchase health insurance.

The best part of this discussion is that we'll get an answer in November and we'll see who is right and who is wrong. Unfortunately it probably won't be until after President Obama's second term that people start to receive the benefits of this healthcare bill and we are an instant gratification country.

Eric, you know what would be really refreshing? An honsest discussion about how Americans in general would benefit from substantial health care reform. Did you know that we are the only industrialized nation in the world where people go bankrupt due to medical bills. Every one of us is just an illness away from losing everything we've worked their entire lives for. Well, the ubber wealthy can be excluded, but the other 95% us are pretty much screwed.

This is not hyperbole, this is fact. Even people with health insurance can lose it all. Every one knows it, either out right or instictively.

Can we have an honest discussion about this? Is this really the best way to run a country? Is this what the founders envisioned? Is this what Life Liberty and the pursuit of happeness is all about? Seriously, should whether your live or die depend on the size of your bank account?

Sometimes I get the impression that to some of the commenters here the issue is whether there is a problem or not.

I thought everyone agreed that there is a problem, and that the discussion is about the proper way to approach fixing it.

If that is the true case, then repeated comments insisting there is a problem seem to me to be beside the point.

Perhaps it has to do with the dems insisting the choice is between doing things their way or doing nothing at all -- a disingenuous political spin point.


If the health "insurance" reform bill gets passed (can we please stop pretending that "health-care" will be reformed?) and the Dems are able to hold on to the Senate, then they'll have two years to show that the roof of the world didn't collapse down upon our collective heads due to relatively minor insurance reform.


Agree with you that the present bill is not "health care" reform.

The trouble is we'll have no money left to fund that when and if this bill passes.