Greg Walden on How Republicans Will Go After Health Care Reform

Willamette Week:

Elections do matter. Now that last week’s elections have given Republicans control of the U.S. House next year. Rep. Greg Walden—the only GOP member of the Oregon congressional delegation—has a lot of juice as head of his party’s transition committee. And he’s getting a lot of face time on national TV. Last night, Walden was on [...]

Read the full article here. Discuss below.

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    I like Walden's emphasis on more transparency in the House processes. We'll see if the Republican follow through.

    Most of his points about the health care legislation are nonsense.

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    It wasn't nonsense that the bill was passed before the Senators and Representatives who passed it knew what was in it.

    Oh wait a minute. That WAS nonsense.

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      I see you pushing the same tired mythology that the Senators and Congresspeople who crafted the bill that was signed into law didn't read it before voting on it.

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        Is that not a significant part of the bill Walden is talking about here?

        It's the least thing I care about, personally, in this awful bill. I was passionate about health care reform for many many years. The politics overran all of Obama's original good intention. Horrible machinery made horrible sausage.

        If you recall, the starting point for Obama was the piece in the New Yorker called The Cost Conundrum. That was his starting point. That was the piece he required every member of his administration to read.

        And every principle, every point of that was abandoned. He opted for the political victory instead of a principled policy victory or a postponement.

        It's damn near a tragedy.

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          The Cost Conundrum was not the starting point for Obama since it was published after he was in office and after the bill was being debated in Congress. He was proposing a health care bill not to dissimilar to what is now law during the campaign of 2008.

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            Perhaps I should have said it was the starting point for pushing a policy forward, in the summer of 2009. Atul Gawande cited Obama in the introduction of the piece:

            “The greatest threat to America’s fiscal health is not Social Security,” President Barack Obama said in a March speech at the White House. “It’s not the investments that we’ve made to rescue our economy during this crisis. By a wide margin, the biggest threat to our nation’s balance sheet is the skyrocketing cost of health care. It’s not even close.”

            And jos requirement that every administration member read it was widely published.

            By November it was clear to me that the politics had gotten way ahead of what Obama could control. In my opinion and I said so at the time he would have done better to say, "Know what? Changed my mind. Doing this later (and better)."

            He opted for and got a political victory of sorts and a policy disaster. It was too important to screw up and it was imo royally -- and fatally -- screwed up.

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              Italics should have ended after the second paragraph. Third paragraph should begin "And his requirement ...." Apologies.

              The "preview" function does not work for me here.

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          And if the GOP would have actually worked WITH Obama, instead of shoving out bad amendment after bad amendment--and still not voting for it, we might have had a better bill.

          It's not the law I would like. We should have single payer, frankly. But it actually does a number of very good things:

          For the GOP to attempt to de-fund this is policy malpractice.

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            I was a dedicated advocate of single-payer health care until I read this piece, which caused me to reconsider. Took me a while to locate it.


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              This piece doesn't address single payer at all. The Massachusetts system isn't single payer.

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                It wasn't about single-payer or Massachusetts primarily. It was about different medical systems in various parts of the world, and evolving what we have rather than trying to reinvent it out of whole cloth -- and making that work. I found it thought provoking. Single payer seemed like a political non-starter. Obama sure gave it up fast. Gave it up before he picked it up, really.

                Not every single-payer system is to be envied.

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                  Single-payer was a political nonstarter. But that's what we should have, and that's what we should continue to strive for.

                  The piece you posted didn't address that, nor did it provide any insight into why single payer would be a poor solution. In fact, it didn't talk about single payer at all--so your posting of it as a rebuttal makes no sense.

                  But then your comments here often don't.

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                    It wasn't posted as a rebuttal, Carla. It was posted to expand the thought process about what kind of medical care and payment restructuring might work better than what we have. If you could open your very closed mind just a crack. I'm not focused on discussions targeted on "selling" or scoring points. I said it found it thought-provoking and I thought you or others might, also. If you can't see that there is no other "agenda" here, allow me to suggest that is why my comments don't make sense to you.

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    "And if the GOP would have actually worked WITH Obama, instead of shoving out bad amendment after bad amendment--and still not voting for it, we might have had a better bill."

    It goes both ways.

    According to "Frontline" on OPB, Republicans tried to offer amendments, and were not only shoved aside, but were left out of meetings. Even Democrats admitted it, and said it wasn't right. And Obama was quoted as saying to the GOP, "I won the election, you didn't."

    When I was in a private meeting with Sen. Merkley in September, he admitted the process was flawed, and didn't like to see his GOP colleagues left out.

    My point isn't to blame Obama or the Democrats. It's just to point out that the politics are dirty on both sides.

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    Thanks Carla.

    I'm actually tired of these huge pendulum swings when it comes to party control. I think it creates more politics, than good policy. I would rather see a better balance in both houses long-term, but that's probably wishful thinking.

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