Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Thank God I'm not claustrophobic. Snowpacolyps has been absolutely ridiculous, Washington, DC hasn't seen this much snow in over seventy years and the entire federal government is shut down. Except for the Armed Services, so don't get any ideas Canada!
One note on the Super Bowl. Great game and I'm happy for New Orleans. They went for it the entire game. But if they lost that onside kick at the start of the second half Sean Payton would have been ripped in the headlines like no other coach.
And can we all agree that CBS leaned conservative in their choice for super bowl ads? First they didn't allow a commercial for a gay dating site to be aired, but did allow Tim Tebow and his mom to promote their pro-life views. I was also at a party with a lot of people who work on the Hill or politics one way or another, and none of them knew about the defeat the debt ad. This concerned me so I just wanted to post a link for when I wrote about it here.
Now to more important issues, did anyone watch House last night? If you didn't you need to. I swear its the only show on television that is actually trying to push the barrier, and this season has been great. Last night they followed the day in life of the head of the hospital, Dr. Cuddy. She was in the middle of negotiations with an insurance agency, and because her hospital had better numbers then others who are under the same insurance, she wanted to get more reimbursements from the insurer. While other hospitals were getting more money, Dr. Cuddy's hospital was not because they were smaller then the others.
Then I happen to be reading the New York Times this morning and I see an article on this very subject! One of the experts said they would like to see payments from insurance companies based on how well a hospital takes care of its patients, not just on how many patients they admit. One of the key wins for the Democrats this year was in the stimulus package where they put in incentives for hospitals to invest in technology to share records on their patience. This will allow doctors to see what works for certain illnesses. Economists estimate this will save millions for hospitals just on overhead alone. Plus when we know what to do, doctors can better treat their patience which will also save them money.
As I'm writing this, the President was taking questions from reporters, and he said there are now more people who get health insurance from the government then private insurers. This should be a rallying call for a public option. Private companies cannot support getting all Americans health care. Even before this, we already knew that while private insurers spend 8% on overhead, it only costs the government 1%.
One of my favorite quotes by FDR is: "A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward." There has been a lot of talk lately on bipartisanship and how Social Security had many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle vote for it. At this time there were 322 Democratic members in the House, and 69 Democrats in the Senate. 81 Republicans in the House and 16 Republicans in the Senate voted for the Social Security Act, so yeah it was bipartisan. But FDR still had a lot of work to do to get it passed. Speeches, town hall meetings, meetings with leaders on the Hill, plus the Supreme Court. With Obama wavering on all the specificson health care its hard for the people to understand what he's trying to do, and it doesn't make him sound confident in his policies. That's why he's having a hard time getting health care reform passed.
FDR's New Deal was clear to everyone, he made it so popular that voting against it would have been political suicide. That's how FDR got bipartisanship. President Obama hasn't made it clear to people how health insurance reform will help them, particularly those who have insurance. But talking to Republicans isn't going to help, no matter how ridiculous it makes them look. While Congress' approval ratings are low, Americans still want Democrats in charge.
In the short amount of time he has left to get something done, the President needs to tell the people exactly what he wants. He has said many times that he would prefer a public option, but what he should say is that he wants a public option. The tell them he wants it because it is the best way to lower costs for families. That is whether they are paying for their own insurance or their parents if they go into a retirement home.
During House, Dr. Cutty was having a conversation with the CEO of the company she was negotiating with. The CEO said "You can make me look like a rich bastard in the press all you want, but I'll still be a rich bastard." But Dr. Cutty stook to her guns. She told the insurance company exactly what she wanted and got it. Obama should do the same.
We're expected to get another foot of snow here in Washington. The federal government will probably be closed again, and none of the politicians are going to go on TV. This will give the administration time to think of a game plan, and hopefully get something substantial passed. Obama should take advice from Teddy Roosevelt and stop using the carrot, and go with the stick.