The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn declares, “August is where reform will be won or lost.”
That’s the consensus across the web as commentators dig in for another intense month in the health care debate.
What’s the playbook? The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent reports the focus will be on demonizing insurers: “There’s a reason Dems will stick to this script: An internal poll conducted for House Dem leaders, which I’ve obtained, tested a range of Dem and GOP messages and concluded that the anti-insurance industry line is the most convincing of all messages from either side.”
But Critical Condition’s Tevi Troy cautions, “Other industries cooperating with the effort should take careful note,” of the Democrats’ offensive. He points to a New York Times’ article where health insurer lobby President Karen Ignangi says, “[t]he inconvenient fact is that we support those reforms.”
The Washington Post’s Ceci Connolly wonders: “The big unknown for the month of August is how aggressive industry groups will be in their grassroots campaigns.” Connolly points to insurers, business groups and the pharmaceutical industry as all pondering how to weigh in.
Regardless of the industry’s moves, the American Spectator’s Robert Goldberg is “afraid”:
The “All Obama, All the Time” media have gone to great lengths to save his health-care reform crusade from faltering. So you might get the impression from their coverage of the shaky deal established at gunpoint by Obama consigliore Rahm Emanuel between conservative Congressional Democrats and Representative Henry Waxman that “real reform” is at hand.
I am afraid they might be right.
Goldberg critiques the reform effort, saying an overhaul will lead to a “push to ration care and delay treatment.”
Time’s Karen Tumulty speculates why Obama appears to remain calm: she publishes and excerpt from a new book on the Obama campaign by Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson that focuses on a “near-disaster” for Obama at a 2007 campaign roundtable on health reform. The excerpt focuses on Obama’s semblance as less informed on the issue than rivals Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. Tumulty uses the event to describe the President’s evolution on health policy:
All of this brings me back to a criticism we are hearing more frequently of the Obama strategy on health reform. While he has laid out broad principles, more and more in Congress are asking him for more specific guidance to get them past the roadblocks. In health care, details matter; to get anything done, you have to be ready to engage them. But timing matters, too, and an early stumble or two isn’t fatal. Maybe that’s why the White House doesn’t seem to be as rattled as everyone else at the fact that there are rough spots along the way.
Jaan Sidorov of the Disease Management Care Blog thinks “proposals before Congress favor making things bigger without really addressing the underlying inflation problem.” Sidorov says he’ll be taking the month of August to discuss his own biases in the debate, and says he is open to changing his mind.
On the lighter side, several bloggers have linked to this tongue-in-cheek piece from Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter: What’s Not to Like? An excerpt:
So tell your congressmen and senators when they’re home for the summer recess that it’s too soon to address this issue. We’ve only been debating it for 97 years, since Theodore Roosevelt put national health insurance in the Bull Moose Party platform of 1912. We’ve only had 745 congressional hearings on the subject (I made that number up, but it’s got to be close). That’s not enough! Let’s study this problem more before we do anything about it.
However, Insure Blog’s Mike Feehan, in a post titled, “I prefer to keep the ‘clunker’ I have, thank you,” gives 10 reasons he “refutes the notion that U.S. health care system is in desperate need of a government trade-in.” Here are a few:
1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.
5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians.
6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom.
10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.