The House is officially adjourned and lawmakers are skipping town – back to their districts for the month-long recess (aka “health reform war of the airwaves.”) But the advice from reformers (and their advisors) coming from the blogs is a change of tone.
The New Republic’s editorial for its newest issue calls for a shift to a more emotional plea:
Something strange, and not entirely welcome, has happened in the last few weeks: The focus on policy minutiae has crowded out part of the big picture. Health care has become almost entirely a technical discussion, rather than a personal one. It’s all about deficit neutrality and bending the curve, instead of making sure every American can get affordable medical care.
Likewise, TPM’s Josh Marshall is concerned about the administration’s strategy going into recess:
But I don’t feel like I’m hearing from the White House any clear narrative, any clear and digestible argument for why this is necessary. I hear the phrase ‘public plan’. But it’s such a blah-blah gobbledegook phrase that even though I’m fairly deep into the policy details of this debate, half the time even I find myself forgetting exactly what that even means.
Peter McMenamin on the Health Affairs Blog has also picked up on that concern and suggests “some simpler clarifying questions” for public plan supporters to address that would demonstrate “specific ideas on how to get there (wherever there is) from here.” He continues, “Proponents should be expected to provide practical demonstrations of how a public plan could work in a real world.”
But the Obama administration has gained a key online ally: the Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan explains his support for a public plan: “Pure pragmatism given the fiscal and economic costs of the status quo which are simply unsustainable. Sure, I’m worried the government might abuse their market power, but there could be ways to limit that.”
Meanwhile right-leaning bloggers are seizing on news that the “Cash for Clunkers” has already run out of money after one week. J.D. Foster of the Heritage Foundation thinks the experience offers “so many valuable lessons to be drawn from this sorry episode it’s hard to know where to begin … this was a simple program, and Congress botched it twice over, once by thinking it was a good idea and again by underestimating the demand and hence the cost.” Foster has some advice about a parallel scenario for a health overhaul “Look to the Cash for Clunkers program for a clue and multiply many times over.”
Insure Blog’s Bob Vineyard went the satire route: “Obamacare hit the wall today due to lack of funding. The Obamington administration announced today the wildly popular Cash for Health Insurance program is being suspended due to overwhelming demand. The program allowed insureds to trade in their old health insurance plan for a new, government issued plan and receive cash rebates up to $4500.”
Elsewhere, Joanne Kenen of the New Health Dialogue focuses on an effort in the Nation’s Capital to improve the sad state of the health of Washingtonians (life expectancy eight years below national average).
The Incidental Economist believes that several prominent liberal bloggers as well as mainstream news media often use studies with “selection bias” to prove a point, for example, on people’s satisfaction with their health insurance.
Kimberly Krautter has another installment of a series on Huffington Post that’s seeking to “un-spin the healthcare reform debate.”