Ken AshfordHealth CareLeave a Comment

For about a year now, teabaggers and GOp operatives have been lamenting “ObamaCare”.  Either out of ignorance or dishonesty, the right’s use of the phrase “ObamaCare” is, quite simply, wrong. 

Obama has never put forward a health care plan.  He’s left it to Congress.  And that turned out to be a waste of time, as the GOP repeatedly called for the health care reform to be watered down, and then refused to vote for it.

Well, now Obama has a health care plan.  Now, we actually have “ObamaCare”.

Aside from the specifics of the plan (which are laid out over several pages on the White House website), one of the noteworthy things is that it appears that Obama is taking a different tack with the GOP.  He’s clearly putting the ball in their court. 

For example, the White House website specifically notes the many “Republican ideas” in Obama’s health care plan.  This puts Republicans on the defensive.  No longer can they reject health care reform on the notion (which was never true, by the way) that their “ideas” were ignored.  In black and white, their ideas are now incorporated.  This puts the ball squarely in the Republican’s court.  They can no longer whine about being shut out of the process.

Now, of COURSE, the GOP is still going to vote “no” on health care reform.  The problem (for them) is, they no longer have the we-weren’t-listened-to excuse.  Now, their obstructionist agenda will be exposed for what it is — an obstructionist agenda.

In other HCR-related news, the big news comes from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is embracing the reconcilation process to get some lesiglation passed.  He announced that congressional Democrats would likely opt for the reconcillation process, allowing the Senate to make final changes to its healthcare bill with only a simple majority of senators, instead of the 60 it takes to normally end a filibuster.  One wonders why it took him so long to do this, but we’ll let that pass.

UPDATE:  On further reflection, I think Ezra Klein is right about this:

The talk right now is about what “Democrats” will do on health-care reform. But the truth of the matter is that we know how 95 percent of Democrats will vote. We know what the congressional leadership and the White House want. But the fate of this project lies with a relatively small number of ambivalent Democrats in the House of Representatives. No one knows exactly who those votes are (though they’re mainly among these folks, and then the Stupak 14) , nor what they want. Say what you will about Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman and Blanche Lincoln, but they made their demands loudly and clearly.

A lot of the confusion right now, however, comes because the concerns of House members are not as well understood. The media is focusing on the theater between Barack Obama and the Republican leadership, but the outcome will be decided between Democrats, not Democrats and Republicans. So far as the White House is concerned, they’re the real audience for Thursday’s summit, and no one knows exactly what they’re hoping to see.