Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html en-gb 30 Wed 24 Sep 2014 01:38:56 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html timohio http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=98#comment88 re. 88. Sara Godday:If you read the reports a bit more closely you will find that what the press is saying is that because Chile is a relatively rich country (compared to Haiti), they were in a better position to provide disaster relief. Also, Chile has had earthquakes in the recent past while Haiti has not had one in living memory. It's harder to enforce building codes, for example, when no one has seen what happens to poorly-built buildings in an earthquake. You also have to remember that the Haiti quake hit the capital and the epicenter was closer to the surface. So the government was taken out of action at the very moment when it was most needed. In Chile the government was intact and could begin rescue operations immediately.Even before the earthquake Haiti had been hit by a series of storms and hurricanes. The country was hanging on by its fingernails. So when the earthquake hit, governments and NGOs knew immediately that massive amounts of help were going to be needed. Foreign governments typically wait for the government of the distressed country to call for help before intervening. Sometimes, as with Burma, they either don't want help or put so many conditions on it that the outside world gives up and goes away. Chile seems to be coping. I haven't read of any appeals by the government for outside help. An 8.8 Richter earthquake is a horrific event, however, so they might eventually need outside assistance. Mon 01 Mar 2010 15:48:03 GMT+1 Sara Godday http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=97#comment87 Dear MarkRe Chile and Haiti respective earthquakes. Associated Press has recently published on the Interned a note saying that Chileans were well prepaared for the earthquake, while Haiti wasn't. Is there a recipe for earthquakes?For instance do you tell the people to tie themselves to a post in case the earth shakes? Is Associated Press conclusion that because Chile has at the present time a socialist government does not deserve our help and sympathy? Or it is that Haiti as a tourist attraction and therefore a seller of airline tickets and hotel reservations for our country is more deserving than Chile? Chile's economy is well grounded, people there have taken the time to build houses and apartments, highways, provide electricity and normal everyday necessities for their inhabitants and it is not their fault that the earth shook under their country. On the other hand, Haiti's government has always depended on other governments for survival they have not improved the quality of life for their people, they do not provide good education nor adequate health services for their people. While both deserve our assistance, I think it is not fair to compare both countries.Associated Press is confusing the readers with their subliminal message, whatever it might be and is far of being objective in the drama that earthquakes represent. Very respectfully, etc... Sun 28 Feb 2010 19:24:52 GMT+1 Fluidly Unsure http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=96#comment86 "I think we agree on what the problem is, we just disagree on the solution." That is what I was trying to say. I am not the corporate fed monster some people try to depict any body that disagrees with BO's solution to be.The coupling of insurance with employment is based on what I've heard happened in Massachusetts when they required coverage. There were too many stories of people being laid-off from medium sized businesses seeking the exempt status and small/medium sized businesses (and their employees) holding back on new-hires because of the requirement. Small businesses and self-employment is the only way I see to reenter the job market as a 50+ who hasn't had a job for almost 20 years.Early intervention wasn't a possibility with my brain tumor since I've had it since birth, but no one recognized it until I was an adult. Several universities thought it was scar tissue.Government assistance may help me survive, but I want the chance to succeed. I have lived my adulthood in the safety-nets available. Now I have to make up for those years before I become a "senior citizen" (only a few years away). Hurting small/medium businesses reduces that chance.There are other options that we should be pursuing. I don't want to go into details for one of them because I'll sound like I'm from their sales/marketing department. Others are county clinics which are usually run by local colleges for training purposes. Unfortunately, many avoid them because of the "riff-raff" in the waiting room and the idea that the service is inferior. (Every one I've been to has been supervised by licensed doctors and some of them see most every patient to make sure the care is acceptable). Sat 27 Feb 2010 23:28:58 GMT+1 timohio http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=95#comment85 re. 83. Fluidly Unsure:I think we agree on what the problem is, we just disagree on the solution. When we as a nation based our health care on fee-for-service, we started down the road that led to the abuses you point out. We go to the doctor's office with an illness or other physical complaint. The doctor prescribes a treatment, and we pay him/her. End of story. If the treatment or medicine doesn't work, we go back and repeat the process. Although a good doctor will do their best to help us, the system really doesn't encourage it. Insurance companies have tried Health Maintenance Organizations as a way around the problem, but they do it mainly to maximize profits. And people dislike them. There is this myth about a sacred doctor/patient relationship. You don't have a special relationship with someone who is making money off you. You are a customer. And the average patient has no way to know if their physician is up to speed on effective treatment or hasn't bothered to update their training since medical school. Or is just a quack who has abandoned everything they learned in med school and is totally on their own. There really should be someone looking over the physician's shoulder to make sure that their outcomes are up to generally accepted standards.A well-designed health care system would focus on health maintenance and early intervention. That's what I like about the better national health care systems I've heard about. Even if the physicians are in a private practice, there is more of an incentive for them to watch over the general health of their patients. They aren't paid on a fee-for-service basis, they are paid on a fee-for-patient basis. And there should be reviews of cases and treatments and some sort of evaluation. State medical boards don't do that. They just deal with licensing of physicians and with the really bad complaints.Medical training should not put a new physician immediately into huge debt, which creates an incentive for them to maximize profits by things like botox injections. Med school should be subsidized with the stipulation that upon graduation the new physician would go into practice in an area or for a population that is underserved. The US military is already doing something like that. A medical student can get financial support from the military and then become a military physician for a fixed number of years upon graduation. And it's not just doctors to patch up wounded soldiers. They serve on military bases treating military families. Why not do that for other parts of the population? I have no objection to physicians making a good living, but I see no reason why we should be paying to keep some physicians in luxury while their patients struggle to pay their medical bills. If we subsidized medical schools and did more on a national level to control costs, we would encourage those young people who want to become doctors for the right reasons and not because it's a lucrative line of work. We have too many physicians going into specialties that are higher paying and not enough going into primary care.You do realize, don't you, that a national health care or health insurance system would decouple your health care from your employment? You wouldn't be passed over for employment because of pre-existing conditions that would increase the employer's insurance premiums. It's amazing to me that the very people who would benefit most from a national health care or health insurance plan seem to be the ones most opposed to it.I find your dichotomy between humiliation you have to bear vs. humiliation you can walk away from to be not very convincing. Eighty percent of Americans have their health insurance coverage through their jobs. People stay in bad jobs because they can't walk away from the coverage. And they can't walk away from bad coverage because they can't afford health care without it. And I really don't understand why people who are routinely subjected to the whims of their insurance companies would object to a government employee doing the same thing. At least the government is subject to pressure at the ballot box. The insurance companies do what they damn well please and there is very little recourse. Sat 27 Feb 2010 21:51:33 GMT+1 PursuitOfLove http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=94#comment84 CNorwood #84. . .Yes, to some extent, it absolutely does matter who you talk to when conducting a poll. But if a poll is conducted by a neutral polster (such as the Pue research center, ABC or the BBC) with a perportional representative cross section of society interviewed, then one can pretty well eliminate the risk of getting a skewed or biased result. Such as the one evidenced in this one. I must say, I was a bit surprised to learn that AOL's web site has largely right-wing contributers. I would have thought that those people would prefer Fox's web site, as they do the Telegraph's in the UK."So many of the things that I've heard from journalists on tv/radio (Limbaugh, OReily) they would NEVER get away with saying them on the BBC or elsewhere."And, of course, that is entirely the BBC and anybody else's prerogative to dictate what is allowed and not allowed while on their soil or employed at their company."Maybe I've just had unfortunate experiences, it just seems that such things are tolerated (and sometimes expected) here just a little too much."I agree. But you have to bare in mind, however, that just like the UK, there is hate speech legislation in place here, punishable by anything from being fired to even time in prison. So, for example, Rush Limbaw may be able to get away with an utterly unashamed, unadulterated racest tirade like he did the other day, but if he were to imply in any way that he thinks/wants people to go out and commit acts of violence against African-Americans or whoever, that would be the end of his radio show. Also keep in mind, that the reason why we permit more outlandish and inflammatory language than the UK is, simply, because its in our cultural DNA, so to speak, to do so. Frankly, with the very beginning of our constitution guaranteeing free speech, its pretty hard to curtail that right. I personally am part of that group that thinks its a good thing, but again, like you, I don't think the hate legislation is strong enough to prevent acts of violence. And, please don't take offense, but I think that in the current Labour government's attempts to make the UK a fairer, more accepting society, it has passed laws that have lead it to go a little bit too far in the other direction. There's a fine line between free speech and a safe public, so perhaps the US is too far on the free speech side and the UK the public safety side?"Britain's problem isn't outright fear mongering though, for example after September 11th the government tried to use the fear to their advantage to press for compulsory ID cards, to which people outrightly rejected." But, you see, there in lies the very deffinition of fear mongering. To me, at least, it means to exaggerate and embellish an existing threat and/or invent one for an intended use. After 9/11, the British government, like the American one, instead of redoubling its commitment to its deepest held values and principles and explaining to its people that it is those values that make the UK strong and that altering them or deviating away from them only emboldens the terrorists because a terrorist's whole intention, after all, is to strike fear in the hearts of their enemies in order to force them to change their lifestyle, it capitalised on the public's fears and anxieties for its own personal gain. Now. Whether the IDs were a sound, reasonable, good idea or not I don't know. But the way in which they were introduced, against the backdrop of '"its the only way to fight the terrorists who want to do us harm" is the issue here. "It seems to me that our greatest problem is that when it comes to politics we are in a total state of apathy, we let in lots of rules that we hate with a "it's terrible but what can we do aboutit" attitude."As do we. As do, I suspect, every democratic people to some extent. Its the nature of the beast of democracy. But the key to remember is that the people can make a difference. Case and point? The public option in the health care reform debate. Both the White House and the Congress didn't want to touch this issue with a ten foot pole because of how (supposedly) contravercial it is and their fear of not being reelected (as all politicians, unfortunately, all too often operate.) The only reason why it is still a real (if faint) possibility, is because enough of the American people have been hounding their senators and representatives to include it in the final bill if possible. And who knows? Perhaps if enough Britons had spoken up, then you might have been able to have a say in your membership of the EU. But that's an entirely different can of worms, of which I haven't the strength to get into now. Sat 27 Feb 2010 01:55:51 GMT+1 CNorwood http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=93#comment83 Pursuit: True it's hard to get a true gauge of how the US public feels. The polls seem to indicate that the people generally don't like the democrats plans but it also depends on who you ask, right? I noticed that certain media sites that include feedback, AOL for instance always have really hard right wing commentators. Then there's media outlets, like FOX who are definitely on an agenda to make the numbers look in republicans favour whatever the cost and also some states are also known to lean left or right, correct? So depends where these polls sampled from. Of course, human perfection is definitely unobtainable :) I base my opinion really by personal comparison, which would be that it's far more acceptable still in the US to say things that are flammable in regards to gender or race (e.t.c). Some would say this is a good thing, freedom of speech and all that but so many of the things that I've heard from journalists on tv/radio (Limbaugh, OReily) they would NEVER get away with saying them on the BBC or elsewhere. There is still racism and sexism in the UK of course, also dependent on where you live there, but such remarks are only spoken to like minded and are generally kept on the hush and rarely go unremarked in public. Maybe I've just had unfortunate experiences, it just seems that such things are tolerated (and sometimes expected) here just a little too much. About the state of democratic countries, it's true! Britain's problem isn't outright fear mongering though, for example after September 11th the government tried to use the fear to their advantage to press for compulsory ID cards, to which people outrightly rejected. It seems to me that our greatest problem is that when it comes to politics we are in a total state of apathy, we let in lots of rules that we hate with a "it's terrible but what can we do about it" attitude. Joining the EU would be a perfect example - the majority of the Brits did not want to sign up and everyone knew it, but we were not given the referendum to voice our opinion on the matter. We should have made our voice heard and demanded a referendum. The UKIP launched a petition to get one - about a week before the EU joining deadline (or something). Bit late! Which leaves me to your last comment, which pretty much explains itself! Fri 26 Feb 2010 20:43:22 GMT+1 Fluidly Unsure http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=92#comment82 @Tim, sorry but I'm not on a plan. I'm too expensive and have too many "pre-existing conditions" for anybody to accept me. I don't want my insurability, or lack there-of, being tied to my employment anymore than it already is. One of the reasons I was passed by for employment in the past is the affect I would have both on the rates and my co-workers co-payment amounts.For me the solution is to quit expecting third parties to pay, quit isolating ourselves from the mainenance needs (including the cost), and let people look for the right solution for their situation. Mine will be different than yours. People walking into the dr office saying "fix it!" is the source of many woes. People don't do what it takes to avoid more problems and take an 'Ill get it fixed when the time comes' attitude, and get botox and viagra before they fix their weight or blood pressure. Priorities are messed up and isolating people from the problems isn't the cure.Several posters here seem to have missed my point. I'm not saying the system we have isn't broken or that the solution I see is perfect. I am saying that more reliance on "insurance coverage" isn't necessarily the solution to more "health care"- there is a difference. I am intimately familiar with the negatives of a government based solution. If you think negatives aren't a part of every choice we make then I've got a bridge or two for sale. Some solutions have too many negatives to be acceptable. People are being give two remedies that might poison them and they are choosing the one they are least familiar with. Ok, but don't expect someone with my experiences to get in the boat you are in, and don't tell me we don't want to solve the problem.@Tim again; there is a big difference between humiliation I can walk away from and one that is required by the government. In other words, one where I am chained to the paper stack. Fri 26 Feb 2010 19:16:39 GMT+1 PursuitOfLove http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=91#comment81 CNorwood #80. . .Thank you so much for the detailed response to my (I'm sure) irritating barrage of questions!! It was very kind of you! But a few comments, if you please?First of all, you're right. Your story about you and your family having to live in fear every time your husband's employer didn't/couldn't cover you is an unacceptably far too common one, and unfortunately you got off lightly. People have, as president Obama and countless other Democratic politicians have cited time and time again as part of their justifications for their attempts to change our health care system, no joke, literally sold their houses in order to pay off insurance bills, or had them foreclosed upon (repossessed) because they have spent all of their money on insurance companies rather than their mortgages.However, "It makes me furious that the general attitude on health care is "well if it's not happening to me, I don't care""I caution you, that attitude is only rife among the tea partiers (who are essentially made up of biggots and racests) anyway, so please don't become too alarmed. Most educated, rational people in this country, if they haven't already, or are currently witnissing first hand the dire need for health care reform, then they are worried enough about our country's future and/or at the very least sympathetic and compassionate toward those who have faced difficulty, and as such want it to change."Well there are good and bad things about every country and the history of the creation/independence of the US must have had consequences on other nations in terms of how we see freedom and equality so it's not all bad." The first shots at Bunker hill were not dubbed "the shots heard round the world" by one of our founders or an enthusiastic supporter of independence of the time, that's for sure. But rather from 19th-20th century historians and accademics who saw the impact that our independencehad had on the rest of the world. And I think it rather flattering that when the universal declaration of human rights was conceived as part of the foundation of the United Nations in 1945, our bill of rights was essentially plagiarized with the exception of a right to health. "Shame it's still a work in progress but better than none at all." I presume by "it" you mean the US? I hate to burst your bubble, but if you're looking toward a day when we'll be perfect, you'll never see it. No nation is perfect. Every nation is a "work in progress." And, whether it be a blessing or a curse (in inventions such as the light bulb and Google its been a blessing) but in the endless debating over health care reform its been an absolute nightmare, as your greatest prime minister once observed, "America can always be relied upon to do the right thing...after having exhausted every other conceivable alternative." "Maybe this too is ideology, but one day I expect people of the US will get tired of being constantly fear mongered into a state of compliance to agree to bad health care, war or whatever else and do something about it."Me too. But don't count on it. And again, this is not a reactionary '"you're just jealous" temper tantrum, but merely pointing out that all people in all democracies have, sadly, been (to some extent) fear mongered into a state of compliance on a whole range of issues. It has not just been Americans (although I believe that one would be hard pressed indeed to find a people who have been successfully manipulated more than Americans.)"I need to study the Declaration of Independence more thoroughly but it seemed to me the inhabitants of then understood that the people needed to be proactive about their government's use of power, through force if necessary, to keep the country moving forward. A great contrast to people now who would rather watch tripe on tv because "politics is boring", even if ignoring it means our quality of life is slowly being choked and opportunities are being taken away from our children tomorrow through financially immoral behavior today."Yes those people do sadly exist. But again, there are still many proactive people out there. We could obviously always use more, but there are a lot of proactive ones now. And, just a suggestion, but perhaps some of those people who watch tripe on TV are doing so because they are simply apathetic and don't believe anything will change as aposed to thinking "politics is boring?" I don't know any, so can't be sure. But its a high possibility isn't it?The very best of wishes to you and your family. Fri 26 Feb 2010 17:46:09 GMT+1 carolinalady http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=89#comment80 Marcus Aurelius II and MagicKirin (and other ilk): don't insult my intelligence. I specifically mentioned I had contacted my Senatorial delegation; thus, a mildly attentive reading of my post would have given you the information that Moveon.org's virtual march was aimed at getting the Senate to vote. Neither is it relevant to the discussion of healthcare in America to drag up snark on progressive donors or elected officials. In North Carolina, by the way, we have one of each stripe...both of whose phone lines were busy. I was after both Senator Hagan(D) and Senator Burr(R) and have to be satisfied that I did at least get through to Senator Hagan because SHE at least emailed a response. I have yet to hear from Senator Burr. Fri 26 Feb 2010 16:25:26 GMT+1 CNorwood http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=88#comment79 Pursuit: I married a US Citizen so I'm here to stay, though when he lost his job we did discuss moving back to the UK (in some ways I still want to) and healthcare was one of the big considerations. Without health insurance I was worried every time we got into the car that something was going to happen to us, plus I was learning to drive and we had a baby in the back. Luckily Medicare/Peachstate took care of our baby and he got all the shots he needed until my husband landed another job. But it was a typical story, we had just bought a home, had a new baby and it was Christmas. His job had just sent a letter saying that so far everybody's job was safe and then a week later he got laid off. Having spent about 3 years here I've had a good chance to size up both places and honestly I'd say the UK has an overall better quality of life. I've had my share of horror stories from the NHS, I had to fight hard to get diagnosed with a condition but if I had been raised in the US I would not have had insurance (my mother is disabled, I worked part time) so would never have even been diagnosed in the first place. But as you know there are far worse stories than that out there and it makes me furious that the general attitude on health care is "well if it's not happening to me, I don't care"I think that a lot of people who have "free" healthcare assume that if you pay for insurance you get treated no questions asked. When I was pregnant we had health bills coming in all the time and every other week I had to call the insurance company to ask why they were not paying this or that. They were always claiming that people hadn't faxed forms and then checking with the ER billing staff or my OB who told me that they did, sometimes on more than one occasion. They also tried to tell me I had pre existing conditions when I didn't. If that's just having a baby then what happens to those with cancer who need ongoing treatments? What happens to those with cancer without any insurance at all? Well there are good and bad things about every country and the history of the creation/independence of the US must have had consequences on other nations in terms of how we see freedom and equality so it's not all bad. Shame it's still a work in progress but better than none at all. Maybe this too is ideology, but one day I expect people of the US will get tired of being constantly fear mongered into a state of compliance to agree to bad health care, war or whatever else and do something about it.I need to study the Declaration of Independence more thoroughly but it seemed to me the inhabitants of then understood that the people needed to be pro active about their government's use of power, through force if necessary, to keep the country moving forward. A great contrast to people now who would rather watch tripe on tv because "politics is boring", even if ignoring it means our quality of life is slowly being choked and opportunities are being taken away from our children tomorrow through financially immoral behavior today. Fri 26 Feb 2010 15:09:12 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=87#comment78 "THE SCARRIEST WORDS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARE:I'M FROM THE GOVERNMENT AND I'VE COME TO HELP YOU!"(RONALD REAGAN) Fri 26 Feb 2010 13:27:06 GMT+1 timohio http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=86#comment77 re. 72. Fluidly Unsure:Does anybody who wants Government assist to solve the problem gone through what bureaucratic clerks put you through? Do they know how humiliating it is? Why would they wish that on anyone?I absolutely agree with you. This is America. We should be humiliated by insurance company bureaucratic clerks. The private sector is so much better at it than government could be. Don't send a boy to do a man's job.If that hasn't been your experience with health insurance, what is your plan and can I get on it? Fri 26 Feb 2010 03:30:24 GMT+1 PursuitOfLove http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=85#comment76 CNorwood #71: '"Don't worry, sitting here in Georgia wondering if the insurance company is going to pay out my latest claim without any fuss, I don't have much to "rub in"!"You have my deepest apologies!! And that, my friend, is what nearly 100 years of selfishness, fear mongering, and increasing corporate subserviance will get you! You know we've been at this for nearly half of our republic's existance? Think about that. For half of our national life we've been trying to solve what your country, and countless others, have solved in, maximum, 40 years! That would be like if Britain had been trying to solve a major national problem for around about 1000 years. Disgraceful!!If you don't mind my asking, why are you in Georgia? Are you here on vacation/holiday? Work? Both? Family? Just because? How long do you plan to stay? Do you plan to visit any other states (or *shudder* Washington) while you're here? I must say, I'm rather flattered that you've taken such an interest in our health care debate. It makes me not feel so odd being intrigued by the expenses scandle etc. Fri 26 Feb 2010 00:41:08 GMT+1 Nevada_Blue http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=84#comment75 #72I've worked with 'government bureaucrats' for work planning or permitting(all kinds of construction, drilling, etc.) and my own home improvements at all levels from county to federal in at least 5 states across the continental USA. Almost all were (and are) reasonable and helpful. Typically 'feel-good' interactions and outcomes, with experts/professionals or at least people trying to act professionally. Notable exceptions were the worst interaction and longest process, with a small county staff over small job site improvements, because they had axes to grind with land owner/client. Next longest (just back and forth over details to fill in, no rancor) was with US Army Corps of Engineers for residential dock and seawall repairs. Nearly all those were a better experience than my interactions with most USA health insurance representatives - in those cases I have to deal with people paid to defer or deny response, and several times a hard working doctor or dentist who charged the same fee for the same procedure on 2 different kids led me to a long process of showing the insurer this was not a duplicate claim despite all the obvious info. on the first set of paperwork. That's annoying and wasted maybe a week of my time each year, but it's not near to the horror stories from a few colleagues who have spouses or kids with chronic (but curable with treatment) conditions who've transferred across state lines - they've spent months and many thousands out of pocket, all taken away from US productivity. I can't imagine a system more complicated, inefficient, or unfriendly to most of its consumers than the status quo of US health insurance, and I have a good imagination. Fri 26 Feb 2010 00:20:31 GMT+1 AndreaNY http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=83#comment74 67. csgators:"Wow, the President just straight up lied. Reduce the deficit. LOLWhere is Joe Wilson when you need him"*******************I have to admit. I thought the same thing. Although I don't consider President Obama a liar. He is just full of it sometimes. He believes his own hype. After he promised to lower the cost curve and improve outcomes, I realized he didn't really concern himself with details.By the way, I read that a few days after that infamous shout out from Wilson, the check for citizenship was quietly put into the bill. Although it read that no illegals would be eligible, it had no verification step (the same one that other US benefits require). If only Wilson could have called him out at another, more appropriate time. Thu 25 Feb 2010 21:29:21 GMT+1 csgators http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=82#comment73 Anyone else notice that the people who say they are going to be brief talk the longest? Dodd in on about his 3rd "one more thing". Thu 25 Feb 2010 21:24:01 GMT+1 K_Cali http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=80#comment72 Lucy I applaud Joe Wilson. The greatest disrespect in that situation wasn't Joe's outburst, it was the President lying to the American people in the first place. Thu 25 Feb 2010 21:15:21 GMT+1 Fluidly Unsure http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=79#comment71 Does anybody who wants Government assist to solve the problem gone through what bureaucratic clerks put you through? Do they know how humiliating it is? Why would they wish that on anyone? Thu 25 Feb 2010 20:58:38 GMT+1 CNorwood http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=78#comment70 Pursuit: Well I guess ultimately we will see how much reform is left when the final arrangement is reached. I can't even imagine that as it stands now with all the fighting. Don't worry, sitting here in Georgia wondering if the insurance company is going to pay out my latest claim without any fuss, I don't have much to "rub in"! Thu 25 Feb 2010 20:57:16 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=77#comment69 Joe Wilson is a disgrace to our country. That guy completely disrespected our Presidency by what he did, shouting at President Obama on national tv. It was truly sad to see that take place.Even if you don't always agree with the President, you should still show respect to him for the position. Otherwise, we are just like the other countries that do not have respect for each other and no order. Thu 25 Feb 2010 20:55:15 GMT+1 Via-Media http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=76#comment68 43 Gavrielle LaPoste"You know what? This is going to take many years to do and waste a lot of time while people suffer miserably and die slowly as more and more people lose their health care, because neither they nor their employers can afford comprehensive coverage. Why don't we do it all in one big bill and get it out of the way now. If problems show up, we can work those out later. One at a time. Incrementally."I agree. Wholeheartedly. Except we do not appear to be given this choice any more. Regardless of causes (Republican stonewalling and misrepresentation, Democratic mismanagement and lack of spine) the only choice appears to be a. take what we can get now, or b. get nothing. I don't like having to aim lower, especially because of the blown opportunities and lack of leadership. But if (to use my original example) it's a choice between getting universal coverage for all children 18 and under, and no change at all, then I'd gladly take the smaller step. That's that many fewer people suffering because of the current mess. Which is worse- improvement for some (and the first step upward,) or continued decline for all?Every time I go into our small local grocery store, the bulletin board out front has multiple ads for fundraisers for medical expenses for small children with leukemia, or cancer, or other terminal illnesses. If we're to start anywhere, surely no one can argue against starting with children?Unfortunately, the "leadership" in Congress and the White House seem dead set on heading for the cliff. The time when we could have gotten everything was mismanaged, and won't be back. The time where we can get a few steps on the way is evaporating while we continue fighting yesterday's fights. Pretty soon we'll be stuck with the status quo for years to come, with only a possible blown election to show for it. Thu 25 Feb 2010 20:40:49 GMT+1 csgators http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=75#comment67 "My American friend needs a Mamogram and dosn't have Health Cover"Do you use your insurance plan when you change the oil in your car? Thu 25 Feb 2010 20:35:33 GMT+1 csgators http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=74#comment66 Wow, the President just straight up lied. Reduce the deficit. LOLWhere is Joe Wilson when you need him. Thu 25 Feb 2010 20:32:33 GMT+1 PursuitOfLove http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=73#comment65 CNorwood #61: '"Did anyone SEE what happened to the senate bill? The republicans tore into it so much there was no "reform" left. How the democrats had the gall to say it was still a historic piece of legislation is beyond me."The Democrats are a bunch of pushovers, that's true. But I wouldn't say that there is "no" reform left in the Senate bill, at least not the way it stands now."We Brits may have many complaints about the NHS but ask how many want to start having US style health insurance instead. Not very many, I'm sure."Yeah, go on, rub it in some more why don't you! Be thankful that you're not cursed with having to sift through every other conceivable option before arriving upon the right thing to do. Thu 25 Feb 2010 20:26:27 GMT+1 Scott0962 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=71#comment64 re. # 52. At 6:07pm on 25 Feb 2010, The Toothbrush Man wrote:"Er - what you have that they don't have is a first world economy compared to their own second world economy. And that's why they leave for the US in leaky boats. It has nothing to do with health care. "But to listen to all the socialists I thought universal health care was the true mark of a nation's greatness. Why would Cubans give that up to go somewhere where they're expected to take responsibility for funding their own health care? Could it be that the socialists are wrong and that some things are more important than universal health care? Things like freedom and opportunity? Oh surely not! That's the slippery slope that leads to individual responsibility instead of collectivism.OK, enough tweaking the Europeans. I'm not denying that the American health care system couldn't be improved or that making some provision to ensure no one lacks access to health care isn't the moral thing to do but you're going to have a tough time convincing me that putting the government in charge of it all is the right answer. Thu 25 Feb 2010 20:18:20 GMT+1 PursuitOfLove http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=70#comment63 WebPendragon #56: '"My American friend needs a Mamogram and dosn't have Health Cover.Can any of our American contributers explain how that can be right ?"It's not. At least to the rationalists among us. What I suggest, is that your friend either see if they can get funding from either of the government institutions that are already set up now, or move abroad. Plain and simple. They can pursue their happyness in Great Britain right? Thu 25 Feb 2010 20:14:52 GMT+1 PursuitOfLove http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=69#comment62 GH1618 #51: '"But what do the Germans and Italians suggest?"I'm not quite sure what you mean by that, but if I had to guess I'd say that they suggest that we finally join the civilised world and implement universal coverage. Thu 25 Feb 2010 20:07:58 GMT+1 Scott0962 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=68#comment61 re. # 39. At 5:24pm on 25 Feb 2010, tim wrote:re. 6. Pancha_Chandra:"American voters are by no means gullible. Eh? They elected Bush twice. You know the old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."True but look who the Democrats ran against Bush when he was up for re-election. As the recent senate election in Massachusetts proved, any party can lose an election with a lackluster candidate and a bad campaign. Bush's re-election wasn't so much an endorsement of him as it was a rejection of John Kerry. Thu 25 Feb 2010 20:05:34 GMT+1 CNorwood http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=67#comment60 From what I have seen of the whole health care debate (minus this particular one), in the sense of partisanship especially, is that people generally treat both sides like two school kids just separated in a fight. Both get reprimanded and are as bad as each other then get sent on their way without bothering to get down to who did what and why.The American public has to ask just that.It doesn't take much investigation into this to see that the republicans in this debate, so far they HAVE been the party of no. They say that both sides are not giving anything to the other - did anyone SEE what happened to the senate bill? The republicans tore into it so much there was no "reform" left. How the democrats had the gall to say it was still a historic piece of legislation is beyond me. The fact that the government option for buying health care was kicked to the side (through blatant lies and fear mongering no less, death panels indeed!) that the republicans aren't getting nothing out of this deal but they want it their way or no way at all. I can't see that anything significant is going to pass here, not just because the republicans will do anything they can to prevent positive change for the struggling middle working class families (at the expense of their rich peers, "wealth distribution" brings about foaming of the mouth here even though this nation is so top-heavy in such a small group of people), but also because many of the democrats are also corrupt and in the pockets of special interests. All of the ear marks that get passed are just an extra burden on the same working families. If I could have voted (British conditional resident) it would have been for Obama in the primaries because he played honest and clean, but in retrospect Hilary might have been the better choice for health care reform. I think she would have been more prepared for the fight and kept her party in tow, some of the things democratic senators have said on this have been so disappointing. If you go back to media footage over justifying the Iraq war, Bush and co were always on a concise message and everyone in his team stood behind him. Ultimately however many discussions there are in the future of this country over providing "free" health care for Americans it is always going to be a dirty fight on the pharma businesses (and friends!) to prevent it from happening. Once the US gets it they know the average citizen will not want to go back - we Brits may have many complaints about the NHS but ask how many want to start having US style health insurance instead. Not very many, I'm sure. Thu 25 Feb 2010 19:47:03 GMT+1 K_Cali http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=66#comment59 On presidential humility. I like a President that's humble and doesn't take himself too seriously, but thinks his country is the best in the world. Bush easily fit this description.Obama is the opposite. He thinks very highly of himself but tries to paint the US as humble, rather than a capable world leader. This I don't like. Thu 25 Feb 2010 19:34:43 GMT+1 Philly-Mom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=65#comment58 44. tim - Excellent points all around!I wasn't that big of a Mitt Romney fan. Sorry. He actually drove a bunch a projects over budget. Some folks said he gave jobs to 'cronies' & some folks said he was just getting things done. Whatever. -- But, I like that he helped universalize MA healthcare. It's a pretty new model up there. Glad you like it.Actually, when I moved to Massachusetts in 2001, I didn't have healthcare. Fortunately, young children were covered by MA's "Socialized Healthcare" (which pre-dated Mitt) so my sons had insurance when I couldn't afford it for myself. Ya see - I moved to Massachusetts a few weeks before 9/11... and then could only find temp work for almost two years. Temp jobs don't usually provide "Medical Benefits." I just kept my fingers crossed on the highway every night, hoping I didn't die while driving on ice so that I could pick my kids up from childcare. So, I was one of those popular voters who kept asking Boston for the same fine public coverage my kids were getting. (you can thank me later.)Ole' Mitt Romney was an 'Only-Moderately-Stingy Somewhat-Socially-Minded Republican'. Weird, isn't it? They have those in Massachusetts. Not many, but some. Scottie-B seems to be one. Fascinating. Care for some PopCorn? How 'bout them Saints! Thu 25 Feb 2010 19:16:15 GMT+1 Philly-Mom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=64#comment57 Mr Magical (#2)'But I question his humility and ideolgical ridgedness to do it.'Um... why do you need your president to be humble? Personally, I'd expect anyone who's gonna run for that job to be a complete egomaniac. How else is he supposed to tell us Voters, with a straight face, that he is in fact qualified to "Run the Free World" (whatever that means). -- no one said Humility was in the Job Description.And as for 'rigid ideologies'... Anything less would be considered spineless. You know it. I know it. The American people know it. Personally, I expect my President to have rigid ideologies. I want candidates to tell me what they think is important so I know what they're going to work for. 'Cause getting ANYTHING done in Washington DC takes a LOT of hard work. He did. I voted. I'm watching. I'm waiting... Isn't this terribly exciting?_________________Obama. Rockin' the Free World. Can't wait to watch the ideological ripples as the wake flows across the US. Who knows. Maybe folks will get inspired and try to collaborate and compromise and achieve and... Gosh. The possibilities are endless... How's that popcorn? Bait. Switch. Shoot! SCORE! (ya gotta love a good 3pt shot.) Thu 25 Feb 2010 18:50:45 GMT+1 jobsw32 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=62#comment56 My mother also died of ovarian cancer and received a slow diagnosis that plunged our family into chaos! At first it was just some sort of gastric complaint and each step seemed to take weeks at a time until she reached the marsden and while nobody put any obstacles in the way of her treatment there were a few upsets when things didn't go smoothly. There were questions about finances but not medical ones, questions about all the other things that needed to be kept in balance while she received treatment. There was a lot of help to hand and I can only be grateful for that.It's difficult to explain what happened but I think if she was diagnosed sooner then maybe she would have had a better chance.We tried everything we prayed but in the end the last thing I could do for her was call the nurse when she was uncomfortable because of a ruck in the blanket she was reclining on in the hospital bed. The next day she died and between us we spent the next year sorting out the family affairs and to me, that is all laid to rest.We went through it but now there are other things to be concerned with. The trouble with reforms is if you don't have one problem you have another but I do believe that staff and everyone else genuinely do all they know how to help. Thu 25 Feb 2010 18:30:16 GMT+1 WebPendragon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=61#comment55 All very well to enjoy the Political Theatre Mark,but meanwhile........My American friend needs a Mamogram and dosn't have Health Cover.Can any of our American contributers explain how that can be right ? Thu 25 Feb 2010 18:26:10 GMT+1 Philly-Mom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=60#comment54 I share your amused zeal for this forum. Pass the popcorn, will you?Oddly, my cynical arm-chair-politician/boomer-republican father (who happens to be tall & broad shouldered, but is not Darth Vader) sent me a 'funny email joke' yesterday:"Pundits said the chances that the New Orleans Saints could win the Super Bowl were like a snow ball's chance in he11. On Super Bowl Sunday, Washington DC was incapacitated by an unexpected 2 feet of snow.-- Coincidence? I think not."Heh heh. That was actually kind of amusing.So I wonder --As I watch the snow falling yet again along the American mid-Atlantic coastline...Does our cool man with the dashing blue tie have a snow-ball's chance in he11?I hope so.May the Saints go Marching On.I have a Dream.Pass the PopCorn.But please remember to salt and butter your popcorn responsibly. The original recipe for the American Delight did not include the orange nuclear waste topping preferred by most AMC Theaters. Thu 25 Feb 2010 18:11:24 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=59#comment53 This summit is, by far, the best example of government at work I have seen in a long time, and something we should all be proud of.Contrary to what many of us expected, with the exception of Sen. McCain most Republicans seem to be genuinely engaged in the debate, have not only read the proposed plan but understand it to the point that they can address or challenge specific issues and seem willing to participate in seeking a solution.In contrast, the only robust arguments and cohesive responses from the Democratic side have come from President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius, the rest seem to be light weights with little to contribute.Obviously, both side are defending their positions, but the fact that after months of ridiculous claims and counter claims they are now talking and seem willing to negotiate is definitely a step in the right direction. Thu 25 Feb 2010 18:09:02 GMT+1 K_Cali http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=58#comment52 http://onenewsnow.com/uploadedImages/Cartoons/022510.jpg Thu 25 Feb 2010 18:08:28 GMT+1 The Toothbrush Man http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=57#comment51 #30 Scott0962 wrote:"I can't help but read with interest the BBC's coverage of problems with Britain's National Health Service which was offered up as a model for how government run health care could be made to work here. Lately it seems to lend itself to the opposition's arguments about the pitfallls of socialized medicine."Once of the benefits of a "socialised" health care system is that being paid for out of the public purse it means that all the nasty stories, scandals, mistakes and horror stories are a matter of public record. A further advantage is that Contrast with the corporate HMOs in the US. Each HMO would do anything and everything they could to keep the horror stories out of public records - and millions of $$$s are spent by the HMOs doing exactly that. Thinking that the "socialised" health care systems are inferior on the grounds that you hear more horror stories from the "socialised" health care systems says more about the efforts made to cover up the horror stories by the HMOs.And succeeding, apparently."And yet Cubans continue to risk their lives in leaky boats and shark infested waters in an attempt to flee the worker's paradise for the United States. It would appear that they value something we have more than they value Castro's free medical care."Er - what you have that they don't have is a first world economy compared to their own second world economy. And that's why they leave for the US in leaky boats. It has nothing to do with health care. Thu 25 Feb 2010 18:07:17 GMT+1 GH1618 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=56#comment50 PursuitOfLove (#42) "Pole after pole suggests ..."But what do the Germans and Italians suggest? Thu 25 Feb 2010 18:03:00 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=55#comment49 rE #39 American voters are by no means gullible. Eh? They elected Bush twice. You know the old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."And that's why I seriously doubt Barack Hussein is going to be reelected in 2012.But in the meantime let's guess who's going to be reelected in November?[that's merely 9 months from now :)] Thu 25 Feb 2010 18:00:07 GMT+1 Susan Retten http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=53#comment48 Incremental change is the way to go. Lowering the age of Medicare and instituting free health care for children, as well as barring insurance companies from raising rates or denying coverage. Anthem Blue Shield of California is proposing a rate increase of almost 40%! If they scream that they're not making enough profit, who cares? Call their bluff. Let them go out of business, free up the market for more reasonable non-profit institutions. Like many Obama supporters, I am now impatient for action. Let the Republicans whine and growl all they like--now is the time to do SOMETHING! Thu 25 Feb 2010 17:58:45 GMT+1 timohio http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=52#comment47 re. 30. Scott0962:The incremental approach would seem to make a lot of sense rather than Obama's attempt to change the whole health care system at once. There will be a lot less political resistance to making smaller changes and the extra time it will take should lead to a better thought out approach to the problems of health care reform.I would agree with you if this was 1980, when a larger percentage of the work force had health care coverage through their jobs and when health care and health insurance were eating less of the average person's income. Health care reform is not just a touchy-feely do-gooder proposal. It affects the economic health of the country. At a time when the economy is reeling and when so many are out of work, fixing our health care system is part of the process of fixing our economy. Thu 25 Feb 2010 17:46:40 GMT+1 PursuitOfLove http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=51#comment46 Saint Dominick #8: '"At this point, the most we can hope for are minor changes to the draconian practices of the insurance industry. It will be a long time before the USA adopts a healthcare system as efficient and cost-effective as the ones in other developed nations."I'm not so sure about that. The only reason why the so-called "public option" is still even possible is because people have been putting pressure on their congressmen. Lord knows the White House and Congress on their own surely don't want anything to do with it! So perhaps there's a glimmer of hope yet. Thu 25 Feb 2010 17:45:22 GMT+1 Gavrielle_LaPoste http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=50#comment45 34. At 4:55pm on 25 Feb 2010, bayleyco wrote:Reconciliation is intended to be used for tax increases and reductions- not for broad policy changes or other actions of a substantive not numerical nature, like judicial confirmations. Anyway, they don't have 51 votes anyway- they're running scared.It's not just for tax increases and reductions. Go read the rules.By the way, now we know why Obama hates insurance companies- he tried to make a claim on his insurance for damage to his clunker in a rear ender, and the insurance adjuster laughed at him. Probably it was a liability-only policy, and he didn't know the difference between that and a comprehensive auto policy (and probably still doesn't).He was making a point about how you can have health insurance for catastrophic care, but it doesn't cover the cost of maintaining your health through out your life. Also, personal insults are totally uncalled for - no matter what your political philosophy. Insulting someone's intelligence, especially that of the President of the United States, is just plain rude. Your side didn't like it when President Bush was mocked for his lack of "edumacation". If Republicans are so eager to lead again, why don't you show a little class and try leading by example first instead? Thu 25 Feb 2010 17:43:47 GMT+1 K_Cali http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=49#comment44 Magnus, Andrea, Marcus, I'm reminded of some wise words I once heard and I'd like to pass them on to you. This isn't to say you shouldn't post stuff here, just to remind you why it might seem no one's listening."Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words." Thu 25 Feb 2010 17:40:57 GMT+1 timohio http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=48#comment43 You know, I can't understand why no one in national politics is pointing to the Massachusetts universal health insurance scheme. I know it's not perfect, but it (in theory anyway) covers everyone. When my son moved to Massachusetts I looked into it for him and I was really impressed. And it was enacted under a Republican governor: Mitt Romney. One of the reasons Scott Brown gave for opposing the Democrat's national health care plan was that it could interfere with what Massachusetts set up. So it must be doing the job. Thu 25 Feb 2010 17:34:29 GMT+1 Gavrielle_LaPoste http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=47#comment42 30. At 4:36pm on 25 Feb 2010, Scott0962 wrote:The incremental approach would seem to make a lot of sense rather than Obama's attempt to change the whole health care system at once. There will be a lot less political resistance to making smaller changes and the extra time it will take should lead to a better thought out approach to the problems of health care reform.Sure thing. How about we get rid of the "No pre-existing conditions" rule first and save some lives? And then, how about we move on to the no life time caps rule and save some more lives? Then, how about we figure out a way to make sure that those same people who would be trapped in a high risk pool, because of those pre-existing conditions, don't have to pay through the nose and can afford their health care insurance? And then let's go after the donut hole in Medicare, fraud, waste, tort reform...You know what? This is going to take many years to do and waste a lot of time while people suffer miserably and die slowly as more and more people lose their health care, because neither they nor their employers can afford comprehensive coverage. Why don't we do it all in one big bill and get it out of the way now. If problems show up, we can work those out later. One at a time. Incrementally. Thu 25 Feb 2010 17:34:22 GMT+1 PursuitOfLove http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=46#comment41 Mark: '"The claim that he (Obama) is some sort of left-wing ideologue, even by an American definition of far left, is over done." While it's certainly no secret that America is more conservative than perhaps every other western country on earth, nevertheless, wanting an NHS-type health care system implemented in the United States (as I do) is not considered "far left" by anyone except, of course, the Republicans who, surprise surprise, have their own agenda. You really have to be careful, Mark, about who you go to in America for your political deffinitions. Might I suggest, just to be on the safe side, that you seak out a Political Science professor, neutral think tank expert, or American news paper or TV reporter for your next clarifications/deffinitions. "Last year he didn't seek out compromise on this issue."Pardon my rudeness, but what are you smoking? That's all he did! For nearly 6 months, he did nothing but dance around with Republicans, giving, and giving, and then giving some more. Occasionally from time to time the one Republican who (after all that caving) was still keen on being included and in compromise, Olimpia Snow, made the right noises to suggest that a bipartisan bill might still be possible and to give the White House just enough hope to carey on, but at the end of the day, just like everyone else, she said no."They (Republicans) seem confident in their interpretation of the polls, that a very clear majority of the American public reject the various Democratic plans, be they House, Senate or White House. We will see how they plan to play it but they are right to scent danger."Again, factually incorrect. Pole after pole suggests that a clear majority of the American people (even self-described Republicans!) want universal health care of some sort, and 70% want some sort of public option included in the final bill. Now as to what specific bill people like the best I don't know, but it seems to me, that for the Republicans to demand that we start over from scratch just because the people aren't exactly 100% clear as to what measures the various bills contain rather than merely nigociate the three virsions into one cohesive, comprehendable, universally applicable and affective bill is childishness and stupidity at its finest. Leaving me to believe that the real reason why they want to start over, is so that it obviously won't even get off the ground, therefore securing their salaries and campaign funds for decades/centuries to come."What happens next? Obama could admit failure and blame it on the Republicans. But it is ego damaging and disappoints the base."How exactly? They'll see that he made a real sincere effort to compromise and level with them; that he extended his hand of friendship, and that all he got in return was an unclenched fist. They will then feel comfortable enough to move on without their support despite what the Republicans say about the Democrats having been exclusive and unyielding, because they'll know that it wasn't true."He could go for a process called "budget reconciliation" and push it through the Senate on a simple majority. This seems a favourite of many Democrats who think a win is a win, helps millions of people, and it doesn't matter they will be accused of liberal arrogance."Not to mention, of course, that of the 22 times over the last 30 years during which this process has been used, it has been so by Republicans 16 times, and Democrats only 6. And actually, it's merely called "reconciliation," not "budgedt reconciliation.""This promises to be theatrical and the quality of charisma on the Hill is sorely strained."Whereas it is utterly brimming in Parlament? A riviting and robust episode of Prime Minister's Questions every week doesn't necessarily translate into individual charisma. Thu 25 Feb 2010 17:33:21 GMT+1 AndreaNY http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=44#comment40 3. Via-Media:"Why is it that the only concept of change we seem to understand in the United States is massive, game-changing restructuring? There is a lot of wisdom for incrementalism, especially with the opposition on health care."****************I believe it's because it's the only way Democrats could provide access to everyone. For them, it's always been about access. Obama's promises about lowering the cost curve and improving outcomes were always sketchy. Their real problems began when they had to answer questions about costs. My own very jaded view is that Democrats saw universal health care as the gift that would keep on giving back to them for one or two decades. This entire change management process was a disaster. Rule number one: Don't ignore key stakeholders. Ignoring all the people who liked their health care and didn't want to see it changed was a big mistake. Thu 25 Feb 2010 17:32:20 GMT+1 GH1618 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=43#comment39 Here's a link to an interesting point of view on tort reform:http://www.justinian.us/2003/10/what-is-tort-reform---and-why-is-it-bad-for-the-public.html(from Justinian Lane) Thu 25 Feb 2010 17:27:52 GMT+1 timohio http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=42#comment38 re. 6. Pancha_Chandra:American voters are by no means gullible. Eh? They elected Bush twice. You know the old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Thu 25 Feb 2010 17:24:27 GMT+1 Nevada_Blue http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=41#comment37 For insurance cost and coverage, Tort, Anti-Trust, pre-existing exclusion and competition (and I think competing with the governemnt is OK, I have no love stories about insurers except for some small whole-life providers)... and for medical care costs the obscene commercial marketing side of the drug industry as well as the general over-medication and over-scanning and under-general practicioning and under-fitness of America... are all ripe areas for attention. Some of those are areas for corporate regulation, some government policy (expand Medicare or add other public option) and some are dire need for public/consumer education.Saying that one single issue among all these is the crux of the problem is a blindered and ultimately obstructionist view, which it's time to move beyond. Thu 25 Feb 2010 17:24:10 GMT+1 AndreaNY http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=40#comment36 11. Lord Dzakpasu:"My hearts go out to Obama.It is SAD is see Republicans who want to see poor and innocent Americans die due to their greed and selfishness."*******************We should hold a summit for those who believe it is a moral imperative to provide health insurance and those who oppose the mandate Those who feel it is a basic human right can explain their "generosity" and "concern" for those who don't want to buy insurance. I wonder if those who oppose the mandate will "feel the love". Thu 25 Feb 2010 17:14:36 GMT+1 Gavrielle_LaPoste http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=39#comment35 28. At 4:14pm on 25 Feb 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:Which one, the House bill? The Senate bill? The compromise bill? The President's bill? The one he wants to negotiate with the Republicans about? What's in the last three? I know, don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up. As long as we get a bill, who cares what's in it. What could be worse than nothing? Even Hitler wasn't worse than nothing? Or was he? The virtual march was just to urge Congress "to finish the job and pass real health care reform". There was no specific bill being endorsed. Thu 25 Feb 2010 17:01:19 GMT+1 Gavrielle_LaPoste http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=38#comment34 For anyone who is interested C-Span. MSNBC, Fox News and CNN Live are also live streaming the summit live. They are about to take a break, but it will continue all afternoon. Thu 25 Feb 2010 16:55:30 GMT+1 bayleyco http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=37#comment33 #1Reconciliation is intended to be used for tax increases and reductions- not for broad policy changes or other actions of a substantive not numerical nature, like judicial confirmations. Anyway, they don't have 51 votes anyway- they're running scared.By the way, now we know why Obama hates insurance companies- he tried to make a claim on his insurance for damage to his clunker in a rear ender, and the insurance adjuster laughed at him. Probably it was a liability-only policy, and he didn't know the difference between that and a comprehensive auto policy (and probably still doesn't). Thu 25 Feb 2010 16:55:13 GMT+1 Scott0962 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=35#comment32 18. At 2:59pm on 25 Feb 2010, mitty_w wrote:"They have 100% coverage in CUBA, for Christ's sake. And that country is under an economic blockade."And yet Cubans continue to risk their lives in leaky boats and shark infested waters in an attempt to flee the worker's paradise for the United States. It would appear that they value something we have more than they value Castro's free medical care.Actually, the economic embargo on Cuba makes little sense now. We trade with China and Vietnam, why not with our neighbors in Cuba? It's proximity makes it a natural market for American goods and the embargo has had no effect on the nature of the Cuban government, it has only served to hurt the Cuban people. High time for Obama to take the hit with Cuban-American voters and end the embargo. At the very least he could add more exceptions such as medical equipment and medicines; even the Cuban exiles who oppose ending the embargo would be hard pressed to argue against such a humanitarian gesture. Thu 25 Feb 2010 16:48:10 GMT+1 _marko http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=34#comment31 To MagicKirin #10"the Democratic propoganda" (careless spelling = more authentic??!)I would like to join you in your enthusiasm to minimize propaganda. I am sure you can wholeheartedly and without hesitation confirm that you have always expressed your personal opinion, never been instructed to post certain views and have never continuously promoted information you have known to be false.One way to sort out propaganda is to state it explicitly and precisely and rely on the wisdom of the blog crowd to supply evidence, debate and facts to confirm or deny that it accurately represents a situation.So what exactly are your top three most serious propaganda items that you can show to be partial, completely misrepresenting a situation and designed primarily to influence an audience? (you can quote your own posts) Thu 25 Feb 2010 16:44:20 GMT+1 Gavrielle_LaPoste http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=33#comment30 26. At 3:56pm on 25 Feb 2010, CYLManque wrote:The Blair House Summit, to me, simply accentuates this administration's cock-eyed optimism.Why don't you go to the White House website and watch the summit, as I am doing now? There's an actual discussion going on that you might find interesting. Thu 25 Feb 2010 16:41:16 GMT+1 Scott0962 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=32#comment29 The incremental approach would seem to make a lot of sense rather than Obama's attempt to change the whole health care system at once. There will be a lot less political resistance to making smaller changes and the extra time it will take should lead to a better thought out approach to the problems of health care reform.The suggestion that as a start Obama should offer up something in exchange for health care for children is a good one, but it won't be tort reform: the trial lawyers would turn on him in the next presidential primary. So what else can he offer? Interstate shopping for health insurance is one possibility. It's sure to be opposed by the insurance lobby and that could be useful to force a compromise because neither party wants to be portrayed as being for insurance companies at the expense of children.On a side note, I can't help but read with interest the BBC's coverage of problems with Britain's National Health Service which was offered up as a model for how government run health care could be made to work here. Lately it seems to lend itself to the opposition's arguments about the pitfallls of socialized medicine. Thu 25 Feb 2010 16:36:28 GMT+1 David Murrell http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=31#comment28 To be honest I am not sure much else can be debated on this subject, from our side (the board users) hopefully not the case where the politicians are concerned. I can pretty much guess what any specific poster is going to say, who will disagree and what they will say in return.I understand that this is an important topic in the US, the problem is that it has remained an important topic long enough for everyone to make their opinions on this board clear. Thu 25 Feb 2010 16:19:19 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=30#comment27 Carolinatheextralonggrainrice;" I tried to call to register my support for their votes for passage of the Healthcare bill."Which one, the House bill? The Senate bill? The compromise bill? The President's bill? The one he wants to negotiate with the Republicans about? What's in the last three? I know, don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up. As long as we get a bill, who cares what's in it. What could be worse than nothing? Even Hitler wasn't worse than nothing? Or was he? Thu 25 Feb 2010 16:14:25 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=29#comment26 There's a lot President Obama is going for. But what are the Democrats and Republicans willing to compromise on?Someone has to take order and keep things focused on health care and not on politics involving the two parties. There always needs to be a good mediator.Who is willing to truly do their best to help the American people? Thu 25 Feb 2010 16:13:58 GMT+1 CYLManque http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=28#comment25 This administration, which I voted in wholeheartedly with "hope" for the badly needed reforms, to right the wrongs of eight years of Republican governance, has disappointed me to no end. The Democratic majority in the House is inept and weak-kneed. And the Minority party still controls the direction of the political dialogue. Why? The Obama administration is obstinate in its pursuit for that elusive bipartisan legislation. If Americans had wanted a gridlock, and paralysis in the legislative process, or, simply put, status quo, they would not have elected Obama. As Congressman Weiner (NY) so succinctly put it, if one party is dead-set on a Yea and the other party is dead-set on a No, there can never be a bipartisan product. (I'm paraphrasing Mr. Weiner). The Blair House Summit, to me, simply accentuates this administration's cock-eyed optimism. Political pundits suggest that this summit is merely White House's political ploy to entrap Republican legislators. Health Care Reform is too important and too imperative. We need not be playing politics. Mr. Obama and the Dems should jam this legislation through in any way possible for the good of this country. Then perhaps they can look forward to the fall with their heads held high. Be careful. What happened in Massachusetts is indeed a wake-up call! Thu 25 Feb 2010 15:56:29 GMT+1 Gavrielle_LaPoste http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=26#comment24 9. At 12:22pm on 25 Feb 2010, SaintDominick wrote:For Heavens sake Gavrielle, how could you have the audacity of suggesting such thing? Only the bad guys resort to tactics like that to achieve their goals. Surely you know that.Then in the immortal words of Michael Jackson, "I'm bad! I'm bad!"How about a few emergency resolutions to fund the public option out of budget? Now, that would be an idea with a proven track record. Admittedly, there is no comparison between the need to make healthcare available to all Americans and altruistic causes such as awarding multi-billion dollar sole-source contracts to Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater USA and others, but wouldn't it be fun if someone proposed that? It is not as if it was unprecedented from a federal expenditure standpoint...just add it to the nebulous world of unfunded liabilities and problem solved!I'd agree with that, and how about instead of discussing Tort Reform only, we make it easier to strip bad doctors of their licenses to practice? Right now, that is next to impossible unless they've killed, repeatedly, and even then they can skip to another state and continue "practicing" on more unsuspecting patients. Most people just want some justice, because no amount of money is going to bring a loved one back or heal a permanent injury. If injured patients or their survivors could make certain careless or incompetent doctors would never hurt another patient again, most of them would be happy to take a much smaller insurance settlement. Or does no one remember that most of those exorbitant awards are meant to be PUNITIVE? What is more punitive, or fair, than stripping an incompetent doctor of his right to make a living once he's stripped a patient, or patients, of their right to have the lives to which they were entitled? My point is that, in addition to paying out damages to the victims or their families, the punitive nature of the most extreme awards ought to be understood in the context of people wanting justice. Income loss due to death or permanent injury is important and should be addressed, but if we only discuss tort reform, we are missing the real reason for the incredible size of the biggest awards.Personally, I don't believe tort reform is necessary. I believe that the process of stripping doctors of their licenses ought to be made easier and more transparent. Getting rid of bad doctors early in their careers, and making sure they could never kill or injure again, would not only make it safer for everyone, but lower insurance costs for the good doctors and make those malpractice suits far less frequent. Thu 25 Feb 2010 15:50:54 GMT+1 Magnos Iacobos http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=25#comment23 Mark,For eight long years the Democrats were the Party of "No". There were hailed as being upright by many (perhaps the majority in the US). It is the duty of the opposition to OPPOSE. In American politics the two major parties are diametrically opposed in almost every arena. Therefore, in order for the Senators and Representatives to stay true to the platforms they were elected on they must at fail to aid legislation that goes against their party's platform.Reconciliation? What of it? The Democrats wept and moaned loud and long every single time the Republicans brought out that option. Only now, when the shoe is on the other foot, are the minority vilified for opposing its use. How very ironic. I believe the phrase, "Damned if you do, and Damned if you don't," is accurate for this situation.The righteousness of the bill notwithstanding, if the Democrats really want this bill passed they can do it themselves. They need no help from the Republicans, at least if they can get their own house in order. Thus the veneer of bipartisanship is a facade, a petty attempt to ruin the credibility of the opposition. The most sobering part of this whole episode is how few people, besides you yourself Mr. Mardell, see the trap for what it is.If the Democrats want to pass this bill, let them force reconciliation and be done with it and on their own heads be the consequences. Placing a bet that the Republicans will blink is unwise. The American President rivals Churchill for eloquence, and the opposition hasn't blinked yet. Thu 25 Feb 2010 15:46:59 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=24#comment22 ref #20carolinalady wrote:Good morning: I participated in Moveon.org's virtual March for Healthcare Reform yesterday with the result that both my Senators' telephone lines were continuously busy whenever I tried to call to register my support for their votes for passage of the Healthcare bill.____________________I get the same response when I contact my democratic rep or Senator Kerry. I do get responses from Senator Brown.By the way your shawdow finacier of Move on org was one of the major beneficiers of the finacial collapse. Thu 25 Feb 2010 15:44:42 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=23#comment21 I haven't realised we head a health CARE problem.I thought, in may naivete, we had a cost of health INSURANCE problem.Which, of course cannot go down without a meaningful TORT reform.Please stand by for Barack Hussein Obama and other lawyers in the US Congress resolving the latter problem pronto. ;-) Thu 25 Feb 2010 15:37:47 GMT+1 David http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=22#comment20 Why is BBC covering this like it's bad that the debate is being taken to a public forum? We need more of this kind of transparency in politics and encouraging the return to smoke-filled rooms is not helping. Thu 25 Feb 2010 15:28:52 GMT+1 carolinalady http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=21#comment19 Good morning: I participated in Moveon.org's virtual March for Healthcare Reform yesterday with the result that both my Senators' telephone lines were continuously busy whenever I tried to call to register my support for their votes for passage of the Healthcare bill. So, I emailed, faxed and became a Facebook fan of Senator Hagan -- though NOT Senator Burr -- and left messages in all those places. My takeaway from all this is that at least the NC Senators got the message that they had better pay attention, unless they left their phones off the hook on purpose.It is a national disgrace that the United States of America is the only developed country in the 21st Century that does not offer universal healthcare access to its citizens or regulate Big Insurance to force transferrability and ban refusal of care for "pre-existing conditions" or expense limits! Thu 25 Feb 2010 15:07:45 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=20#comment18 MM wrote: Obama could admit failure and blame it on the Republicans.I'm willing to bet that's exactly what he'll do.Since he'll fail. Due to defectors from his own party's ranks.[There's a Congressional election coming in merely 9 months :-)] Thu 25 Feb 2010 15:05:01 GMT+1 mitty_w http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=19#comment17 Republicans won't blink, that's for sure. Maybe they will get outmaneuvered, but they will risk looking ugly than 'weak'.Democrats, in Paul Krugman's words, "will go for the capillaries when presented with an opportunity to take down the Republicans".Incompetence is as bad as malice. They have 100% coverage in CUBA, for Christ's sake. And that country is under an economic blockade. What's the use of free speech et al if you can't help the Little Man? After all, he's the one paying the taxes. Thu 25 Feb 2010 14:59:12 GMT+1 Eideard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=17#comment16 Does anyone commenting ever read anything?Every conservative suggestion for "Republican" needs to be met - has already been included in both House and Senate bills. I can only presume ignorance is the motivation.Today's meeting will be limited to political theatre. There hasn't been Republican support for any legislation which challenged the hegemony of the insurance barons since the passage of Medicare.Which, not so incidentally, along with Social Security runs with an administrative cost of less than 3% - the essential reason the public option can compete well enough with insurance company bloat to put the fear of working for a living into any politician.But, those of the reactionary bent need not be concerned. Democrats have not suddenly sprouted a spine. Thu 25 Feb 2010 14:55:42 GMT+1 The Toothbrush Man http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=16#comment15 #15 Marcus,"What necessities should they give up as a consequence, food, paying for their mortgages or rent, their heating bill, their electric bill, beer and pizza? "Er. Anybody poor enough to consider not paying for "mortgages or rent, their heating bill, their electric bill, beer and pizza? " has bery probably already given up paying for health insurance.When money is tight, one of the first things folks stop paying for is the health insurance. After that it's the pizza, the beer, the electricity ...From what I understand, part of Obama's plan is to unburden companies from having to pay for health insurance for their employees. This would presumably mean that a company can afford to pay the employees more. Thu 25 Feb 2010 14:53:30 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=15#comment14 The economy is far more important than health care. Obama's plan would only make things worse. How can people who are out of work comply with a government mandate to buy health insurance? What necessities should they give up as a consequence, food, paying for their mortgages or rent, their heating bill, their electric bill, beer and pizza? Thu 25 Feb 2010 14:27:03 GMT+1 ghostofsichuan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=14#comment13 The Republicans are owned by the insurance industry. They will misrepresent everything to add confusion to their supporters who will be abused by the existing system. People do not always vote self-interest, particularly when mis-informed or lied too. The amount of corruption in the existing insurance programs would pay for a more open system. the jingle-heads who hear, socialism, with no understanding of what that means, can never be changed until they have an illness that would subject them to the greed and lack of coverage they currently think is reliable. The Republicans are the handmaidens of big business and banking they have no concern for the welfare of the citizens. It was the Republicans that supported Most Favored Nation status for China and opened the door to all those jobs being moved overseas. They wrap themselves in the flag so people won't see who is under it with them. Thu 25 Feb 2010 14:23:54 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=13#comment12 Ref 10, MagicYour post exemplifies what President Obama is up against. Thu 25 Feb 2010 14:19:27 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=12#comment11 ref #11 Lord Dzakpasu wrote:My hearts go out to Obama.It is SAD is see Republicans who want to see poor and innocent Americans die due to their greed and selfishness.This is really pathetic, Obama in his good mind want to see the poor in America excel in good health but so called political in-fighting is leading disagreement on petty isssues.HOW SAD CAN THIS BE!!!!_______________how to pay for it and goverment innefiency are hardly petty. too bad Obama good heart does help hm stand up to trial lawyers and other Democratic special interests groups Thu 25 Feb 2010 14:14:37 GMT+1 Lord Dzakpasu http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=11#comment10 My hearts go out to Obama.It is SAD is see Republicans who want to see poor and innocent Americans die due to their greed and selfishness.This is really pathetic, Obama in his good mind want to see the poor in America excel in good health but so called political in-fighting is leading disagreement on petty isssues.HOW SAD CAN THIS BE!!!! Thu 25 Feb 2010 13:23:27 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=10#comment9 ref #8 SaintDominick wrote:Ref 6, Pancha"Selfish polical motives are pretty evident but this approach will come to haunt the Republicans later on. American voters are by no means gullible."________________I hope there are not so gulliable to believe the Democratic propoganda. The Republicans have some principaled objections that reflect the majority.If Obama would get rid of the special favors to labor unions and other political group; I could take his seriously.But he is for now a crature of the chicago political machine. Thu 25 Feb 2010 13:00:10 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=8#comment8 Ref 1, Gavrielle"All of Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy and big business were passed by reconciliation. Would that then be Conservative arrogance?"For Heavens sake Gavrielle, how could you have the audacity of suggesting such thing? Only the bad guys resort to tactics like that to achieve their goals. Surely you know that.How about a few emergency resolutions to fund the public option out of budget? Now, that would be an idea with a proven track record. Admittedly, there is no comparison between the need to make healthcare available to all Americans and altruistic causes such as awarding multi-billion dollar sole-source contracts to Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater USA and others, but wouldn't it be fun if someone proposed that? It is not as if it was unprecedented from a federal expenditure standpoint...just add it to the nebulous world of unfunded liabilities and problem solved! Thu 25 Feb 2010 12:22:09 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=7#comment7 Ref 6, Pancha"Selfish polical motives are pretty evident but this approach will come to haunt the Republicans later on. American voters are by no means gullible."Although there are some aspects of healthcare reform that have not been explained with enough clarity - especially the cost of the proposed plan and how we are going to pay for it - it is evident that the campaign carried out by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries to preserve their lucrative business, ideology, political opportunism, greed and disdain towards what other countries have has influenced public opinion to the point that most Americans are no longer in favor of reform that would help us as individuals, would help American corporations, and would reduce the burden of the current system on our economy and treasure.At this point, the most we can hope for are minor changes to the draconian practices of the insurance industry. It will be a long time before the USA adopts a healthcare system as efficient and cost-effective as the ones in other developed nations. Thu 25 Feb 2010 12:09:50 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=6#comment6 The Blair House Summit is nothing more than political gamesmanship. Both sides will try to project an image of bipartisanship and cooperation, but I doubt either side will give an inch.What would be interesting to me would be a follow up to the crude attempt that took place yesterday during the congressional hearings to link potential TOYOTA law suits with the GOP insistence to include tort reform in the healthcare reform bill. I would be greatly disappointed if President Obama doesn't seize the opportunity to point out the broad scope of tort reform using the TOYOTA example to highlight the futility of including it in a healthcare bill. He could have a check mate if he encourages Congress to pursue tort reform as a separate bill that addresses frivolous as well as legitimate law suits in all aspects of life in America rather than just one facet of that complex issue.With 52% of Americans believing the President is not doing enough to cooperate with Republican members of Congress, and 67% believing Republicans are not cooperating with the President there is much at stake for both sides...herbal remedies notwithstanding. Thu 25 Feb 2010 11:56:46 GMT+1 Pancha Chandra http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=5#comment5 President Obama is determined to keep his promise on health care reform, a key plank in his presidential campaign. If he fails to deliver on this he would lose considerable credibility. The Republicans are determined to oppose him tooth and nail, hoping in the process that they could derail his Presidency. Selfish polical motives are pretty evident but this approach will come to haunt the Republicans later on. American voters are by no means gullible. Thu 25 Feb 2010 10:52:15 GMT+1 vagueofgodalming http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=4#comment4 Via-Media, the obvious incremental change is to lower the age of Medicare eligibility in a staged fashion. Thu 25 Feb 2010 10:36:16 GMT+1 vagueofgodalming http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=3#comment3 Obama could admit failure and blame it on the Republicans. Quite good politicsNo. The Democrats have the White House and both houses of Congress. The takeaway message for the electorate will be that Democrats, however well-meaning, are ineffectual (and this understanding is the basis for Republican obstruction). To have any chance this Autumn, they have to have an achievement. Yes, it will alienate people who would probably have voted against them anyway. Thu 25 Feb 2010 10:34:19 GMT+1 Via-Media http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=2#comment2 Why is it that the only concept of change we seem to understand in the United States is massive, game-changing restructuring? There is a lot of wisdom for incrementalism, especially with the opposition on health care. Start with a few obvious points- give the Republicans (as MK suggests) limited tort reform, in exchange for universal coverage for children. Simple, direct, and scores big points- after all, who could win an argument for protecting children?Then gradually move on, point by point, over a period of years. This gives time to examine consequences one at a time, and make adjustments for what needs tweaked. But instead we waste months and probably years gambling on one huge, bloated, behemoth. These don't generally work well as they're hard to fix and hard to kill once they're in place- witness Homeland Security. Thu 25 Feb 2010 10:06:24 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=1#comment1 If one looks at this from a political point of view: Obama should come out for tort reform and interstate shoping.It would take 2 of the biggests arguments out the Republican hands, but as Howard Dean says I am paraphrasing"The Democrat party is owned by the Trial Lawyers"Obama should e trying to reach common ground with blue dogs and republicans who do cross the aisle(something he rarely if he ever did) like McCainLieberman SnoweBrown, Bayh, Nelson etc.But I question his humility and ideolgical ridgedness to do it. Thu 25 Feb 2010 09:23:34 GMT+1 Gavrielle_LaPoste http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/obamas_healthcare_balancing_ac.html?page=0#comment0 All of Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy and big business were passed by reconciliation. Would that then be Conservative arrogance? Thu 25 Feb 2010 08:53:13 GMT+1