Thursday, June 18, 2009

DASCHLEFAIL on Healthcare

USA Today reports:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Trying to prevent a repeat of the 1990s standoff over health care, four former Senate leaders are preparing a plan that combines ideas from both political parties to guarantee coverage for all.

Democrats Tom Daschle and George Mitchell are set to join Republicans Bob Dole and Howard Baker on Wednesday to release a $1.2 trillion proposal that would be fully paid for with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.


Perhaps the most controversial part calls for taxing health insurance benefits worth more than the value of the coverage that members of Congress get.

Republicans have supported such an approach, arguing it would encourage people to switch to less expensive insurance plans, and that might cut overall costs in the long run. But unions, a major Democratic constituency, are adamantly opposed.

On another hot issue, the proposal would leave it up to the states to create publicly sponsored insurance plans that would compete with private insurers.

The four former leaders acknowledged they don't have to answer to voters or worry about interest groups any longer. But they said health care is too important an issue to get dragged down again by partisan political warfare.

First of all, what is Obama's Israel-Palestine envoy George Mitchell doing in that group? Shouldn't he be off making peace in the Middle East or something?

Second of all, Tom Daschle? This guy was almost our Secretary of Health and Human Services? Here he is pushing a plan that taxes health benefits (an idea firmly rejected by the public back when McCain was touting it) and axing the idea of a national healthcare plan that's publicly run. They aren't worried about interest groups any longer?

That's nonsense, they're doing the work of the big insurers here. Daschle's been paid very well by the healthcare industry, as WaPo reports:

The release of the financial statement [Daschle] submitted to the Office of Government Ethics [] details for the first time exactly how, without becoming a registered lobbyist, he made millions of dollars giving public speeches and private counsel to insurers, hospitals, realtors, farmers, energy firms and telecommunications companies with complex regulatory and legislative interests in Washington.
Daschle's expertise and insights, gleaned over 26 years in Congress, earned him more than $5 million over the past two years, including $220,000 from the health-care industry, and perks such as a chauffeured Cadillac, according to the documents.

Ugh. We have a gigantic leadership deficit when it comes to the healthcare debate.


Nick said...

No argument here. I think Obama needs to take command in several arenas, including healthcare, instead of dancing around it like so many other issues.

Brett said...

Honestly I don't see why everyone's so mad at Obama for not addressing single-payer health care. The plan that his administration has put forth is nearly identical to the one that they campaigned on for two years. This isn't news, we knew what was coming.

Zaid at UGA said...

Yeah, but we also knew it sucked, too.