Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Obama Veto on Health Care Reform

(Comment on Ezra Klein's second Op-Ed in WaPo)

President Obama has famously remained out of Congressional detailing of Health Care Reform as per his playbook. He wished for more Liberal versions of reforms to make headways, but looks like more Conservative versions of reform bills will win. As a result he sounds frustrated. Congress and the whole world know that he and Dem have got themselves so much into the box that, they would sign any bill which has the name called Health Care Reform. Naturally that strengthens hands of Conservatives like Sen. Snowe and Sen. Nelsons of the world and it also means they can very well afford to bury the well worth ideas mentioned in Ezra's this column.

So the time has come for President Obama to say what things are unacceptable to him and which Health Care Reform Bill he will actually veto. The non-negotiable things for President Obama should be:

1. Deficit neutral health care reform (that job will be done by Conservatives for him)
2. iPAC with ability to control Medicare Fees as well as structure (despite misplaced critique of this idea by CBO) and
3. Fully functional, open to all, national Health Care Insurance Exchange as outlined in this article.

Rest of the details President Obama can leave to Congress to fight out:

1. How the cost of reforms is paid (who is taxed for what)
2. Whether Public option is included or not
3. Whether respectable number of uninsured folks are covered or not (indirectly the 'reach', how much the new funds can buy).

That will be smart politics for President Obama too since he draws the Red Line. It will also fulfill the clamour of people who are desperate for the President (with his mandate) to weigh in this political brawl. In all probability President Obama's legacy will be determined by how strong willed he is for the first set of 3 ideas. Everything else is drama.

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