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Old 03-07-2010, 12:16 PM
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Default A furious health care push _ but what about jobs?

A furious health care push _ but what about jobs?

By BEN FELLER (AP) 1 day ago [3-6-10?]

WASHINGTON President Barack Obama's furious, final push to get a health care bill passed threatens to shove aside the message he promised would top his list this year: creating jobs.

Even as the White House juggles several enormous issues at once, the public takes its cues about the president's chief concern from how he spends his time, energy and capital. As Obama himself put it on Wednesday, from now until Congress takes a final vote on a health care overhaul, "I will do everything in my power to make the case for reform."

That kind of now-or-never campaign means the nation can expect a debate consumed by health care, again, for weeks.

The White House is trying mightily to focus it on real people and the human cost of inaction. But there will be no escaping the same slog that turned off so many people in 2009 congressional process, arm-twisting and doomsday rhetoric.

So what unfolds over the next few weeks will affect millions of Americans and alter the course of Obama's presidency. He has a shrinking window in which to find enough votes within his party to pass health care legislation so he can free himself to spend more bully pulpit time on the single issue that has stoked the public ire since he became president disappearing jobs.

Polling shows the economy remains a bigger personal worry to people than the cost, access and coverage problems endemic to the health care system.

There is a huge economic element to health care as people struggle to pay premiums or keep their insurance. Yet to many, the astounding loss of jobs is a singular issue that demands constant, bold attention.

It is just this competition the economy versus health care that helped define Obama's grueling first year in office and prompted howls within his own party for a recalibrated jobs-first agenda.

Obama responded with a State of the Union speech on Jan. 27 that was remarkably focused on the economy, dwarfing all other issues. "Creating jobs has to be our number one priority in 2010," Obama emphasized the next day at a stop in Tampa, Fla.

Yet it was always the reality that Obama would consolidate his attention on health care again, at least for one last blitz. Beyond all the policy implications, Obama has spent a year on it and never intended to let that effort go to waste.

The White House's political calculation is that the next few weeks are their last chance to push through an overhaul of health coverage. But aides also know it cannot drag on, as every day focused on process overshadows their message.

There is no expectation within the West Wing that voters' moods will change until they see their lives improving. Senior Obama adviser David Axelrod said the plan is to keep plugging away on an agenda to shore up the economy for the long haul.

"We're going to still be out there on jobs," Axelrod said, dismissing any worry that the economy-first message will be obscured. "We're going to be focused on health care for the next few weeks, but we're still going to be doing jobs."

To get votes, Obama is lobbying lawmakers, many of whom are teetering in this election year. He's calling on his 2008 campaign supporters to push Congress for a vote. He's staging health care events in Philadelphia and St. Louis this coming week.

"They are looking at the election in November, and they need to have one big victory that they can claim," said Michael Lind, policy director of the economic growth program at the New America Foundation, a Washington think tank. "This is not the victory they would have chosen, because even if it does help the economy, it won't help most people for years to come. The problem is, there just doesn't seem to be the ability to do anything significant about jobs this year."

The House and Senate have passed versions of a $35 billion bill that offers a tax break to companies that hire workers and extends federal highway programs, but even supporters doubt it will create many jobs. By comparison, the economic stimulus bill enacted last year and not nearly spent out yet was an $862 billion measure.

Lawmakers plan more steps this year. But there is less political will to keep spending on big jolts to the economy.

Obama has always argued that overhauling health care is not just about health, but also an economic imperative for families who will suffer "if we let this opportunity pass for another year or another decade or another generation" a message he conveyed Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.

Part of Obama's final argument to Democratic lawmakers is that getting health care done will give them momentum on other issues. It's possible that the opposite is true, and a defeat now could undermine him on other fronts.

Gov. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., said Obama understands that the rising costs of health care are hurting U.S. economic interests long term. Still, he urged Obama to finish up this priority and pivot back to a heavier jobs message.

"If we wrap this up, if we get this passed, it will become clear that health care was always about jobs," he said.

AP National Political Writer Liz Sidoti and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this story.
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Old 03-07-2010, 12:40 PM
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Opinion by Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnist

Quote:
Onward, He Said, Regardless

by Charles Krauthammer

03/05/2010


So the yearlong production, set to close after Massachusetts' devastatingly negative Jan. 19 review, saw the curtain raised one last time. Obamacare lives.

After 34 speeches, three sharp electoral rebukes (Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts) and a seven-hour seminar, the president announced Wednesday his determination to make one last push to pass his health care reform.

The final act was carefully choreographed. The rollout began a week earlier with a couple of shows of bipartisanship: a Feb. 25 Blair House "summit" with Republicans, followed five days later with a few concessions tossed the Republicans' way.

Show is the operative noun. Among the few Republican suggestions President Obama pretended to incorporate was tort reform. What did he suggest to address the plague of defensive medicine that a Massachusetts Medical Society study showed leads to about 25 percent of doctor referrals, tests and procedures being done for no medical reason? A few ridiculously insignificant demonstration projects amounting to one-half of one-hundredth
of 1 percent of the cost of Obama's health care bill.

As for the Blair House seminar, its theatrical quality was obvious even before it began. The Democrats had already decided to go for a purely partisan bill. Obama signaled precisely that intent at the end of the summit show -- then dramatically spelled it out just six days later in his 35th health care speech: He is going for the party-line vote.

Unfortunately for Democrats, that seven-hour televised exercise had the unintended consequence of showing the Republicans to be not only highly informed on the subject, but also, as even Obama was forced to admit, possessed of principled objections -- contradicting the ubiquitous Democratic/media meme that Republican opposition was nothing but nihilistic partisanship.

Republicans did so well, in fact, that in his summation, Obama was reduced to suggesting that his health care reform was indeed popular because when you ask people about individual items (for example, eliminating exclusions for pre-existing conditions or capping individual out-of-pocket payments) they are in favor.

Yet mystifyingly they oppose the whole package. How can that be?

Allow me to demystify. Imagine a bill granting every American a free federally delivered ice cream every Sunday morning. Provision 2: steak on Monday, also home delivered. Provision 3: A dozen red roses every Tuesday. You get the idea. Would each individual provision be popular in the polls? Of course.

However (life is a vale of howevers) suppose these provisions were bundled into a bill that also spelled out how the goodies are to be paid for and managed -- say, half a trillion dollars in new taxes, half a trillion in Medicare cuts (cuts not to keep Medicare solvent but to pay for the ice cream, steak and flowers), 118 new boards and commissions to administer the bounty-giving, and government regulation dictating, for example, how your steak was to be cooked. How do you think this would poll?

Perhaps something like 3-1 against, which is what the latest CNN poll shows is the citizenry's feeling about the current Democratic health care bills.

Late last year, Democrats were marveling at how close they were to historic health care reform, noting how much agreement had been achieved among so many factions. The only remaining detail was how to pay for it.

Well, yes. That has generally been the problem with democratic governance: cost. The disagreeable absence of a free lunch.

Which is what drove even strong Obama supporter Warren Buffett to go public with his judgment that the current Senate bill, while better than nothing, is a failure because the country desperately needs to bend the cost curve down and the bill doesn't do it. Buffett's advice would be to start over and get it right.

Obama has chosen differently, however. The time for debate is over, declared the nation's seminar leader in chief. The man who vowed to undo Washington's wicked ways has directed the Congress to ram Obamacare through, by one vote if necessary, under the parliamentary device of "budget reconciliation." The man who ran as a post-partisan is determined to remake a sixth of the U.S. economy despite the absence of support from a single Republican in either house, the first time anything of this size and scope has been enacted by pure party-line vote.

Surprised? You can only be disillusioned if you were once illusioned.
Quote:
Charles Krauthammer "received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and practiced as Chief Resident in Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital from 1975 to 1978. In 1978 he came to Washington to serve as a science advisor in the James Earl Carter, Jr. Administration ] and, later, speechwriter to Vice President Walter Mondale. He was a writer and editor for The New Republic from 1981 to 1988 and in the mid 1980s, began writing a weekly syndicated column for The Washington Post and a monthly essay for Time magazine.
__________________
Freibier gab's gestern

Hay burros en el maiz

RAP IS TO MUSIC WHAT ETCH-A-SKETCH IS TO ART

Don't drink and post.

"A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat." - Old New York Yiddish Saying

"You can observe a lot just by watching." Yogi Berra

Old journeyman commenting on young apprentices - "Think about it, these are their old days"

SOMETIMES IT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.

Never, ever, wear a bright colored shirt to a stand up comedy show.

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Old 03-07-2010, 03:04 PM
Eagle1 Eagle1 is offline
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What a job this President is doing on us. They mention thirty million folks without insurance. Th3e illegal population is estimate to be between thirty and forty million.

There is nothing acceptable about this "health care bill".
Intrusive and impossible the politicians have made this a priority over illegal immigration, domestic energy production, and a revamping of the tax code so as to encourage productivity instead of penalizing it.

President NoBama and congress. What a bunch out of touch!
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