I think President Obama and the “Good Democrats” may have punk’d opponents of the public health care option, and of the President’s vision of health care reform.
The Senate Committe on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (originally Pensions, Labor, Education, and Health, but PLEH didn’t sound as good) has released a health care reform bill that’s going to be pretty tough to argue with when compared with the version that the CBO originally scored. That incomplete bill carried a 10 year pricetag of over $1 trillion, and only covered about 70% of Americans. The new bill?
The plan carries a 10-year price tag of slightly over $600 billion, and would lead toward an estimated 97 percent of all Americans having coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office, Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and Chris Dodd said in a letter to other members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
I’m not complaining, but it sure looks a lot like that earlier version, and the White House’s sparring with the CBO, were a classic rope-a-dope. After the outcry over a $1 trillion plan that didn’t cover everybody, this one looks like a TKO.
If that’s the strategy, it’s one that I think has been emerging for some time. I suspect that President Obama’s much-derided “friends with benefits” memo was a similar tactic, meant to garner public support for stronger gay rights measures.
It’s a novel strategy, creating criticism of yourself in order to then satisfy that criticism. Think of the old Tom Sawyer story where he gets everyone to paint the fence for him, but instead of pretending it’s fun, he pretends not to have enough brushes.
Now, he’s just got to teach the Blue Dogs how to hold a paintbrush.