Congress has exempted itself from Public Option

This is really all you need to know about Obamacare and how wonderful it’s going to be for you and me: Congress has already exempted itself from the public option:

…Moffit points to an amendment offered by Rep. Dean Heller, R-NV, during a House Ways and Means Committee meeting just before the recess began that would have required Members to be covered by the Public Option plan if they approve it for private citizens.

Predictably, however, the Heller amendment was defeated, with all 21 committee Democrats voting against it. That vote is indicative of the reality that any bill requiring Congress to be covered by the same health care as the public has the proverbial snow ball in Hades’ chances of being enacted.

So, compromised and rationed healthcare for thee, but not for me, says Congress.

Also, I recall during the presidential campaign, Obama stating that he was against requiring people to buy insurance under penalty of fines. How he feels about that today? That’s anyone’s guess.

But I’m thinking with unemployment at a 26 year high, fewer people are amenable to such an idea, or able to afford it. Then again, if you put the country out or work, you take away their insurance, and then it rather forces the Public Option, doesn’t it?

Ugh. The President and the Congress deserve each other, and we deserve much better. To quote John Kerry, what a bunch of “crooks and liars.”

Oh, and the president who was going to bring everyone together hasn’t talked to the GOP about healthcare since April.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • dry valleys

    Republicans get rolled… and deservedly so

    Yes- this (while always worth reading) is about Obama’s speech re: education rather than health. But if Obamacare proves to be innocous & actually gains popularity, you’ll be well & truly shafted. You know as well as anyone else that, regardless of whether they’re good or not, these things have a habit of making themselves permanent.

  • Richard W

    So… what they are doing is forcing everyone into an underground economy. Drop off the radar and avoid taxes. Hire people under the table and avoid penalties. Oh… this is going to work out reeeeeal good. :) Or not.

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  • Just_Saying

    Sorry, Dry Valleys, but I don’t get your point: “But if Obamacare proves to be innocuous & actually gains popularity, you’ll be well and truly shafted.”

    Don’t you mean, if Obamacare is a success, we’ll all be better off than we are? On the other hand, if it is a horrendous catastrophe, THEN we’ll all be truly shafted!

  • Just_Saying

    BTW, The Anchoress’s point was that if Obamacare is so great, why does Congress make a careful point to exempt itself?

  • Mutnodjmet

    I foresee any Obama-approved version of Healthcare Reform will be as successful as the Stimulus Package and “Cash for Clunkers”. I can only surmise that Congress sees it the same way.

  • dry valleys

    If Obamacare is a success, Republicans will either have to come to terms with it or make themselves wildly unpopular.

    If it isn’t a success, but can make some vague pretence of being one, it will still probably become entranched, established, popular because this is what government programmes of that kind do.

    This is why Obama really is a game-changer. Your only hope is to stop legislation passing in the first place.

  • Bobfan

    First of all, it’s well known that Obama is talking to Republicans like Senators Grassley, Snowe and Enzi about health care (your link is to a story on another subject). It’s well known that others wouldn’t work with him if Reagan came back and asked them to.

    Secondly, you’re making an unwarranted presumption. No one in Congress (and no one in the Obama administration) is saying that Obama’s going to get a perfect bill passed, with a perfect health care plan. In a better world with better people, Congress would live with the same plan. But the fact that they give themselves something better doesn’t show that the plan is bad, or that it won’t accomplish its goals of extending health care to a lot of people who don’t currently have it, provide it for others who will sooner or later no longer be able to afford it, and improve it for lots of others. It just shows the plan doesn’t do the impossible and provide perfect coverage. That’s just basic logic.

  • Iris Celeste

    Dry valleys’ point is that even if it is perceived as a success, we would be giving up freedom for security. In other words, we would be no more than cattle, that has no choice whether the farmer gives it antibiotics or anything else as well as withholding treatment…

    I remember before the election “arguing” with my Obama supporting brother about socialism not working. He wouldn’t let me get a word in edge wise when I tried to present the evidence I had gathered on socialism in other countries, but kept shouting over me telling me, “your own mother wasn’t admitted into the hospital when she needed it!” Well, he didn’t let me explain that the reason she wasn’t admitted is because she didn’t meet Medicare admission standards, even though she is starving herself to death because of OCD… My father was present and all he could tell me after the fact was since my brother hasn’t been the one to be the predominant care giver for my Mom, that duty has fallen mostly to my father and myself, he really didn’t know what he was talking about!

  • Bobfan

    Every law restricts freedom, often for the sake of security. Cattle? No, citizens.

  • Gayle Miller

    It isn’t good enough for our “betters” – those people who are EMPLOYED BY US then it isn’t good enough for us either.

    “IF” Obamacare is a success? What planet do you live on? The stimulus plan hasn’t produced any kind of jobs, the Cash for Clunkers boondoggle was so poorly managed that car dealers are up to their trusting little butts in unpaid monies from the government who is supposed to reimburse them. All we’ve actually gotten from His Nibs in the White House is blah, blah, blah! What a loser he is.

  • Anglican

    Bobfan–We have, right now, a system that isn’t, perfect, but in many respects it’s pretty damn good–in some areas–oncology, heart disease, neonatology, development of new drugs and treatments–it is unquestionably the best in the world. Why should we change it for another imperfect system–especially when we know how badly it has worked out elsewhere?

    Your argument about why Congress is exempting itself doesn’t hold water–but then arguments about why selfishness and corruption are really virture rarely do.

  • Bobfan

    We sure read an awful lot of regurgitated Republican talking points on this blog. Not that there is really anything wrong with that, but one often gets the sense that the people posting them neither know nor care that there are other views.

    Anglican, our health care system is the best in the world in some respects, and worse than much of the industrialized world in others. A couple of studies released in 2007 rank it “last among other major rich countries for quality, access and efficiency.” It’s pricey too. So how good the system is is at least debatable. And if my argument about why Congress is exempting itself doesn’t hold water, I’m sure you’ll explain why. :-).

    Gayle, do you know how many jobs the stimulus plan has saved? I don’t either. And there are supposedly lots of jobs in construction and high tech in the pipeline.

  • Brian English


    I would like to see a cite to those studies you refer to. Asserting that this country is last in quality, access and efficiency would require some creative definitions of those categories.

    The big talking point is usually that our life expectancy is lower than other developed countries. However, the life expectancy point fails to take into account: (1) we have a far higher rate of people killed in car accidents than other countries (because we drive everywhere); (2) we have a greater rate of homicides; (3) we have a far greater rate of obesity than other developed countries. None of those factors have anything to do with the healthcare system.

    We do have much better rates of survival for just about every type of cancer. We also have longer life expectancies than other developed countries if you look at the number of years lived after the age of 65 is attained.

    The reason your argument about Congress having its own plan does not hold any water is that the members of Congress are not a hereditary aristocracy and this is not 17th Century France. They work for us and it is about time they started to realize that. If the plan is not good enough for them, then it is not good enough for the rest of us.

    With regard to the number of jobs saved by the stimulus plan, based upon President Obama’s predictions at the time the plan was passed, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost that were supposed to have been saved by that plan. Consequently, we know that no jobs have been saved.

    What is the source for your claim that there are “supposedly” lots of jobs in construction and high tech in the pipeline?

  • Bender

    Yeah, the healthcare system here is a real hell-hole. Not much above stone knives and leeches.

    As for the financing system, for that we largely have St. Teddy to thank for that, having been the major force in implementing HMOs, moving it from a true insurance system to a quasi-socialist system, where nobody is responsible for themselves. And is that financing system lousy and inefficient? Of course it is — it is quasi-socialist. Moving to a more purely socialist system will not make thing better, but will, like all things socialist, only make it all that more crappy.

  • Momma K

    Well—we are not going quietly into this good night–now is the time–Sept. 12th in Washington–let your voices be heard–call, write and email your congressmen, let them know how you feel about Congress–the servants of the people who serve only themselves. This is a representative government–how about some representation of the will of the people.

  • Peggy Coffey

    If it’s so important that we get this thing passed right away, why doesn’t it go into effect until 2013? Congress still doesn’t get it, the public doesn’t want it. But that doesn’t matter. We are not important. Continuing Obama’s plan for the US is what is most important.
    I have a letter from my grandmother’s brother dated 1950 and he was complaining that he hated voting because” they are all a pack of rogues”. Nothing changes.

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  • Bobfan

    Brian, google “US Health System Ranks Last Compared to Other Countries: Studies” if you like, or look for it at I’m not taking a position on that particular study, just noting that the quality issue is not settled.

    And you’ll note that I did not at all defend Congress for opting out of whatever new plan passes. I wrote: ” In a better world with better people [senators and congressmen among them], Congress would live with the same plan. I merely noted that the fact that Congress can take advantage of a still better plan doesn’t show that Obama’s won’t be better for those of us who aren’t so lucky.

    “With regard to the number of jobs saved by the stimulus plan, based upon President Obama’s predictions at the time the plan was passed, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost that were supposed to have been saved by that plan. Consequently, we know that no jobs have been saved.”

    Er, if a team only scores one touchdown when the coach predicted three, his team didn’t score at all? That makes no sense. A lot of money went to the states, who used it to pay for new jobs or save others.

    “What is the source for your claim that there are “supposedly” lots of jobs in construction and high tech in the pipeline?”

    They’re not hard to find. I’ll let you take the time to look them up.

  • Bobfan

    “If it’s so important that we get this thing passed right away, why doesn’t it go into effect until 2013?”

    You folks would be the first to complain (see Cash for Clunkers) if there were startup problems. It’s important that we also get it right.

  • Bobfan

    “This is a representative government–how about some representation of the will of the people.”

    We’re all Republicans?

    I believe you folks lost the election.

  • cathyf

    Every healthcare system has two parts,

    1) healthcare delivery — doctors, nurses, hospital supply manufacturers, drug manufacturers, cleaning people in health care places, HR people who make sure those other people get paid, insurance company bureaucrats, etc.

    2) producers of intellectual property — companies which invent drugs, researchers who invent medical procedures, researchers who invent medical devices, writers of health textbooks, etc.

    In every healthcare system, they pay for however much of #1 that they deliver — because if they don’t pay for it, it doesn’t get done. But more or less the only people who pay for the intellectual property of healthcare — the technological advances and knowledge — are Americans. They don’t pay for it because they can get away with not paying for it. Because Americans have already paid for it, so the Europeans, Canadians, etc. can simply free ride on the American ratepayers.

    Take a hypothetical new drug. It costs $1billion to develop (about average.) It costs 3 cents to make each pill. The 100,000 Americans who pay for their health insurance each pay $11 in insurance premiums that are paid to the company for the pills over the 17 years before the patent runs out. The British NHS pays $5/person which goes to pay NHS bureaucrats to drive a hard bargain with the pharma company, plus 5 cents per pill which goes to the pharma company.

    Then people point to this: the Brits get the same outcome — access to the drug — for less than half the cost! Ok, fine:

    a) The only way that the NHS works is that they are parasites on the intellectual property paid for by Americans. But it doesn’t work if everybody tries to be parasites — with no host, all the parasites die. If the US goes to a European/Canadian system, then there is no more new technology in medicine.

    b) You know it’s not really very impressive when you compare costs when you realize what Americans are paying for vs. the socialists. We are financing multiple billion-dollar drugs every year, multiple billion-dollar medical devices every year, while they spend 40-50-60% of what we spend on real medical advances just for financing bureaucrat parasites.

  • That One Girl a.k.a. Bender’s Cheerleader

    Bobfan -

    I believe you folks lost the election…

    NOT A MISTAKE THAT WILL BE REPEATED. Obama and the dems are going to be so despised by the time this is done that they will be lucky if another one is elected in the next 50 years.

    The medical system can be fixed in 5 seconds. Get rid of insurance as a jobs benefit, privatize it like your auto insurance, get the damned government out of the business altogether and get their damned noses out of physicians business, including reimbursements.

    You don’t have insurance for the gas station or the grocery store. Why should you have it for health care? Surely one has even more of a right to food than medical care? Try regulating lawyers the way physicians are regulated and watch the fur fly. They wouldn’t stand for it as far as they can spit. But gee, don’t we all have the right to a lawyer any damned time we think we need one?

    As far as physician fees – if there was truly competition among them, as I’ve said before, the good ones would swim and the bad ones would sink.

    This asinine debate has gone beyond annoying.

  • Kurt

    Good for Heller! I’m proud to say he’s my representative. (That also means I’m terribly embarrassed by the fact that one of my Senators is the majority leader.)

  • John Bey

    My gripe with the current health care system is rescission and dump-the-sick tactics of insurance companies to maintain high margin profits in the trillions of dollars.

    Wake up folks, the insurance companies are using you to divide and conquer. They love the status pro too much, just ask Wendell Potter, the former head of corporate communications for health-insurance giant Cigna. Look him up on the web and see what’s really up.

  • Catholic Greta

    As someone who actually has been in and around the healthcare system for over 40 years, there are issues that need to be fixed in the healthcare system. there are a large number of lies and distortions out there. the problem is that the reform bills to date address few of the problems and create more issues that will cost money and make healthcare worse for the majority of people. Does making something worse for 80% of the people to make it better for 10% make sense? Does increasing spending by a trillion dollars make sense when the problem was stated at the start that we were spending 2.4 trillion which was the problem.
    Obama mistake as with the stimulus was turning the issue over the the far left that leads the committee and power base of congress for the democrats. They have years of pent up desires and needs that quickly filled the stimulus and now the healthcare reform. At at time of almost 10% unemployment by the lowest figure, and far worse in many states, it is a time when full focus needs to be on fixing the economy. with the wars in Iraq and afghanistan, whether you like them or not, we have a huge deficiet as happens most of the time when we are at war. We also had failure of freddie and fanny which created banking problems and old problems building up in the auto industry where each car started with a cost of 1600 dollars to pay huge benefit costs to retired and existing workers which made them problematic. We have medicare, the government run system, with huge problems that the reform does not fix, and social security also in big trouble. Obama has promised no one under 250,000 a year will see any type of tax put on them in any way which is about 97% of the population.

    If we allow this boondoggle healthcare plan, the coming global warming tax called cap and trade, and then the amnesty program to go through, we may be over the edge.

    Obama says there is 600 billion that can be saved from medicare without impacting a single senior. Do that now so we can save some money and see how government run care works. Fix the economy and wind down the wars without impacting the safety of the people, and Get people working on jobs that actually pay something. Best way to do this is expand tax cuts to small business as they creat jobs. Stop spending everywhere you can for stupid pork. But don’t pass this mess called reform for healthcare or we will really be in trouble.

  • Bobfan

    “The medical system can be fixed in 5 seconds. Get rid of insurance as a jobs benefit, privatize it like your auto insurance . . . ”

    In other words, let the poor do without.

    ” For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in”

    Comments, That One Girl? I’m just trying to understand how you think

  • cathyf

    “…for I was sick, and you forced the company that was looking for the cure to my illness out of business…”

  • That One Girl a.k.a. Bender’s Cheerleader

    Why is is that everytime someone says that there must be a better way than having the government involved, they are labeled heartless beasts who want to ‘poor’ to suffer?

    They ARE fed. They ARE clothed – i’ve not seen any naked poor yet. I don’t know anyone who would turn away a truly needy person, and in fact, I’m such a sucker, I even give to panhandlers – although there are not a lot of them where I live. You ever heard of The Catholic Church???? Worldwide she feeds and clothes more people than anyone else. And where does she get her money? FROM US GREEDY BASTARDS WHO WANT TO OPPRESS THE POOR.

    The difference with health care is this – as it stands, if a ‘poor’ person is hungry, they can’t just go into the grocery store and get food. They can’t just go into the clothing store and take what they need. But, if they have an illness or injury they can go into any damned hospital in this friggin’ country and get IMMEDIATE, COMPETENT CARE!!! What is so damned hard to understand here? You said before that you had a family member that was in medicine – you should understand this. Does that person think that the ‘poor’ should be able to abuse the system the way some ‘rich’ patients do? Get immediate care for a damned runny nose? Let me tell you, that happens.

    Another thing – people have to stop lumping the ‘poor’ into one big group, just as you can’t lump the ‘rich’ into one. Some of them are poor because they want to be. Some are lazy, some are truly needy. Some people are content with less, believe it or not. Some rich people were born into wealth – some worked their asses off to get ahead, and are called ‘rich,’ when in fact, what most of them have is cash flow, which, when or if they quit working, is GONE.

    That’s how my mind thinks – and I guess I better stop thinking now or Anchoress will ban me for my foul language, and so early in the morning, too.

  • Bobfan

    Cathyf, we both know that Obama has no intention of forcing any companies out of business. Now I’d bet the house you want to believe he does. It’s evident that a lot of people here just revel in making Obama out to be as bad as possible. But that doesn’t make it so.

    That One Girl, if our #1 goal is to prevent people from taking advantage of us, we’re going to show very little mercy. I have seen poor people game the system; I don’t deny that some of them have only reaped what they’ve sown. But if you know you have to wait for hours in an emergency room for any and every medical problem, chances are you’re only going to go when you have major trouble, so you’re going to suffer more in that respect, you’re not going to get preventitive care, and when you eventually develop major problems as a result, the rest of us are going to pay for that.

  • Brian English


    With regard to Congress not being subject to the plan it wants to impose on the rest of us, you at the very least indicated that is okay. It is not okay. They are not a superior caste that is entitled to more than the rest of us. If the government is going to impose a plan, it has to apply to the people who voted in the plan.

    Your football analogy does not work in this situation because it is not as if Obama said the stimulus plan would save 1,000,00 jobs and it only saved 750,000. Following passage of the “urgently needed” stimulus plan, all of the jobs Obama said would be saved were lost, and then hundreds of thousands of jobs beyond that.

    The money that went to the states basically paid off unionized state workers. It did not stimulate the private sector.

    I will pass on searching for the construction and high tech jobs you claim are so easy to find. There are people across the country who are desperately searching for them and they cannot seem to find them.

  • That One Girl a.k.a. Bender’s Cheerleader

    First – the rest of us are going to pay, period. Next, those, who want preventive care, which, with a few exceptions is a rather dubious term, will continue to seek it.

    What is this Utopia you see? It doesn’t exist!

    Do you really think that there is going to be this wonderful system whereby if you are sick you need merely call the good physicians office and they’ll usher you in the door that very day? Talk about waiting – if you get in at all, especially if you have serious disease or illness. That just might relegate you to the human trash heap depending on which ‘czar’ looks at your case.

    Another thing is that a natural consequence of mandatory health care run by the government will necessitate the government selecting which specialty physicians go into – can’t have too many of one kind or another – if there is no room for the cardiologist this year, well then perhaps a great potential will be relegated to family practice. Not to mention, who is going to subject themselves to that? It’s slavery! And worse case scenario – selecting those who will become physicians and who won’t. Ever read ‘Anthem’ by Ayn Rand? It’s not a perfect example of this, but it’ll do.

    Greater minds than ours have postulated that if the government can get to the people through medicine, then they can do whatever they want. There is no stopping them.

    And Cathyf makes some good points.

  • JuliB

    Touching on the title, I had posted something similar on my Facebook status. A liberal friend came and posted the wording of the bill showing who would be exempted, and that Congress fell under the description.

    My reply was that Congress wrote the bill as to exempt themselves. His reply: … crickets…

    My rep had a tele-town hall, along with a doctor from the Administration (I’m not really sure how that works, but that’s what she said). Someone asked her if she would add herself and her family to the public option. She said she would look into it and might join it, all things depending.

    She didn’t know she was exempt.


  • Bender

    I guess I better stop thinking now or Anchoress will ban me for my foul language

    No, our dear Anchoress would never ban my girl.

    Besides, if anything, folks have been too docile. When it is all too apparent that war is being waged against you and your society (and make no mistake, Obama is engaging in revolutionary war, seeking to destroy and remake America in multiple ways), then the time for the pleasantries and niceties of polite company is long past.

    [Usually there is a warning before a banning (and there have been precious few in 5 years), and I never mind "hell" and "damn." Commenting rules are here. Note: I have no problem with hell, damn, balls, cojones, or crap, nor “bitch” when it is used as a verb. Asshat is sometimes an absolutely necessary word in the English language, as is “screw that,” “screw this,” and “Screw me? Hey, screw you!” (I am from New York.) Beyond that, don’t tempt me. If you are inclined to the F-word, “freaking” will do quite nicely, and as stated before, both C-words (male and female) will get you banned until you grovel as you have never grovelled before. -admin]

  • That One Girl a.k.a. Bender’s Cheerleader

    …and just like that, all the frustration leaveth me. I rest my case.

    Bender and A, I love you guys. ;-), sniff.

    Bobfan, I love you, too, and if you are ever in the gutter and I am there, I will pick you up and carry you. I promise.

  • Bobfan

    Brian, you miss the simple fact that Obama and company are not seeking to _impose_ anything, but to give us all more options. That being the case, the facts, the truth, I can’t get too worked up about Congress taking the best option _it_ can get.

    And the money sent to the state saved jobs from being cuts, and funded other jobs.

  • Bobfan

    That One Girl, i made no claims that a bill will usher in a wonderful, i.e. basically trouble-free, system. Obama told you last night what it wlll do.

    “That just might relegate you to the human trash heap depending on which ‘czar’ looks at your case.” In your dreams.

    “a natural consequence of mandatory health care run by the government will necessitate the government selecting which specialty physicians go into” More fantasy.

    “Greater minds than ours have postulated that if the government can get to the people through medicine, then they can do whatever they want.”

    Who are these awful, scheming people? You and your friends here have got hold of a hateful fantasy about people who in many cases are our fellow members of the Body of Christ, and you’re clinging to it with all your might. It feels good to hate, doesn’t it?

  • Jack B. Nimble

    To Bobfan:

    I would not argue with you for the same reason that I would not try to teach a pig to dance. You love to cite “facts”, the source of a few which I have checked out to the detriment of your credibility. And if you ask me which ones, let me just say that “they’re not hard to find. I’ll let you take the time to look them up.”

    Laying aside your judgmental question regarding “how good it feels to hate,” do you feel better wrapped in your tiresome Christian smugness?

    [Sigh. Oy, since I did see this one, can we refrain from calling each other pigs, even metaphorically? Thank you! -admin]

  • Jack B. Nimble

    Admin (and Bobfan):

    My comment was in no way intended to relate Bobfan to any large, ugly, nasty but essential animal, rather I was merely paraphrasing the old quote which has at times has been attributable to Mark Twain and Robert Heinlen which goes something like: ““You shouldn’t try to teach a pig to dance. You waste your time and it annoys the pig.”

    Admittedly, however, the annoyance was intentional.