Thats' right, one of the most ardent of the pro-Obamacare voices in the Senate now wants to join the self-appointed fire brigade trying to contain the five alarm blaze known as Obamacare.
This gang that had hitherto included only Senate Democrats desperately looking at their 2014 re-election campaigns being conducted in front of meetings full of cancellation-clutching, waiving fists. Folks like the hapless Mark Pryor of Arkansas, the smarmy Mary Landrieu and the utterly forgettable Kay Hagan want to lead the effort to save Obamacare.
The Keystone Kops of the Senate aren't going to stand by and let Harry Reid and the president cost them their cushy jobs and, crucially, their very nice health plans.
Other senators --senators who can be trusted to actually care about the full-on disaster that is Obamacare like Florida's Marco Rubio-- have been writing about what needs to happen. GOP leader Mitch McConnell knows exactly what Obamacare is --"a monstrosity"-- and is having fun with the fact that his opponent next fall is deeply committed to the fiasco that is the new anti-health care law. "The panic has set in," McConnell said of the suddenly Obamacare-aware Senate Democrats. "The troops are restless."
Bill Clinton is leading Team Clinton's pivot away from the disaster though that will be hard as Hillary is truly Obamacare's grandmother. Bill's swipe at the president yesterday came in an elegantly phrased deception, saying about young people specifically:
"They were the ones who heard the promise, if you like what you’ve got you can keep it. I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to these people and let them keep what they got."
Of course it wasn't just young people who heard the president lie and lie and lie again.
Everyone heard the president say those "political lies" as Clarence Page put it to me, and everyone assumed that the law which no Democrats had read on their rush to pass it allowed people to keep the health plans they liked.
Note that Clinton focused on the "young people." The reason, of course, is that this is the demographic least likely to support the presidential bid of a 69-year old achievement-free Secretary of State who seems to have been around since before they were born and who they dimly understand to have been for Obamacare before she was against Obamacare because she invented Hillarycare, which had it passed in 1994 would have made Obamacare seem tinker-toy simple by contrast.
No wonder Bill is spinning his old --make that very old-- schtick. Obamacare has become the creature that is swallowing the Democratic Party whole. Bill knows, and he is trying to save his family business from the flames.
The question for Congressional Republicans is what to do? Should they lend a hand in the effort to get a few million Americans off the Obamacare island on which all 330 million are presently stranded?
The argument in favor of a piecemeal bit of reform is straightforward: Millions of Americans are going to wake up on 1/1/14 without any health care because of a terrible convergence of circumstances. These aren't the previously uninsured who are poor and not previously eligible for or indifferent about Medicaid.
These are middle class and upper-middle class folks who own houses and have accumulated savings and college funds for their kids, who have always worked hard and saved and paid their taxes. Many of them are caught in one of the two horror chambers of Obamacare.
The first room is just skyrocketing costs via soaring premiums and higher deductibles. They are just facing piles of bills and a shattered household budget. Avik Roy told me Tuesday it looks like an average 40% increase across the country. That's the average cost hike for every American. Shocking. Not yet fully grasped by a disbelieving MSM, but real, and economy altering and crushing.
Some though won't have been able to figure out the system at all. No few people are going to get caught in the gap --and if they are those in the gap who get injured or sick n January, their life's savings will vanish in a flash.
That was always the rallying cry of the left: Lifetime coverage caps and/or pre-existing conditions would too often bankrupt the hard-working, faithfully saving middle class when a health crisis arrived. Overnight Obamacare has worked to increase exponentially the numbers of people exposed to exactly that scenario.
So Democrats want a magic trick fix: a waving of the legislative wand that will start up the way-back machine and put everyone where they were on September 30, before the Obamcare destructo machine chugged to visible life.
Should the GOP go along with a partial fix that will help a handful of vulnerable Democrats save their seats and a few million Americans save their insurance --for one year?
Hard as it is for me to say given the peril of those Americans, I think the answer is no, unless the Republicans drive a very hard bargain, one that includes some very apparently unrelated items, items which are indeed connected to the terribly destructive way Harry Reid has run the Senate and the president has run the executive branch.
We need the president to stop his war on the economy as well as his war on healthcare. He has to stop the EPA from gutting the energy industry. He has to negotiate on the debt.
We need Harry Reid to stop destroying the Senate and to live by the very rules he and Pat Leahy wielded against Bush judicial nominees from 2003-2006.
We need immediate relief for the DOD from the absurd sequester caps even as domestic spending remains cabined.
Mostly though, we need real Obamacare reform, and not just a delay of one year. I accept the president won't accept repeal, but he ought to accept postponement until 2017 because the very basics of the system are so deeply flawed as to prevent rollout until then, and another presidential election will allow people to focus on the law and decide whether to proceed with eyes opened. There are plenty of smart folks who could fix this mess --like Wellspring founder Denny Weinberg and Avik Roy and many others-- but they need time and the state insurance commissioners need authority. Those sorts of provisions must be part of an Obamacare bailout bill.
Or there shouldn't be any Obamacare bailout bill at all. The GOP should just say no. The suffering is going to be huge, but the GOP can't throw a lifeline to Senate and House Democrats that won't help the tens of millions of Americans whose small business plans will come crashing down a year from now or whose employers are poised to toss them on to the shatter security-free exchanges in 2015.
Mitch McConnell knows exactly the sort of bargain to drive, as does Paul Ryan. If the president and the desperate Democrats want to deal, the Speaker should send just Ryan along with Leader McConnell to the meeting, and get down to the specifics of undoing the vast damage the bystander president has wrought.