Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nancy Pelosi: She Who Saved Comprehensive Healthcare Reform

The New York Times joins Politico with an article that gives House Speaker Nancy Pelosi much of the credit for comprehensive healthcare reform. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Jeff Zeleny, and Carl Hulse report that after Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate election, the prospects for comprehensive reform died. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel urged President Obama to abandon the more elaborate package and to pursue piecemeal legislation. Pelosi dismissed this approach as "Kiddie Care."

The New York Times article confirms much of the substance of the Politco article, but it adds factual details. The New York Times describes a partnership between Obama and Pelosi that developed once he trusted her instincts on reform more than his most senior advisor.

Here is a clip from the article:
In a series of impassioned conversations, over the telephone and in the Oval Office, [Pelosi] conveyed her frustration to the president, according to four people familiar with the talks. If she and Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, were going to stick out their necks for Mr. Obama’s top legislative priority, Ms. Pelosi wanted assurances that the president would too. At the White House, aides to Mr. Obama say, he also wanted assurances; he needed to hear that the leaders could pass his far-reaching plan.
“We’re in the majority,” Ms. Pelosi told the president. “We’ll never have a better majority in your presidency in numbers than we’ve got right now. We can make this work.”

Now, in what could become a legislative Lazarus tale — or at least the most riveting cliffhanger of the Obama presidency so far— the House is set to take up the health bill for what Democrats hope will be the last time.

For Mr. Obama, who vowed earlier this month to do “everything in my power” to see the bill to fruition, the measure’s passage would be an extraordinary triumph. Its defeat could weaken him for the rest of his days in office.
Only a month ago, several journalists wrote off comprehensive healthcare reform and asserted that Emanuel was right to advocate less. Today, it appears that the opposite is true.

See also: Pelosi Convinced Obama to Reject Emanuel's "Kiddie Care" Proposal and to Pursue Comprehensive Reform.


Sue said...

Darren I am one of the those who admire, respect and really LIKE Nancy Pelosi! She truely is a great Speaker. Today I am standing tall and am so proud to be a Democrat!!

(I can't friggin wait til this bill is signed into law and we get on with other matters! :-)))

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Hey, Sue. It does feel great - after such a long battle. And honestly, I'd rather lose points trying to help sick people, than to murder people in Iraq over nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.

Sue said...

I hear ya Darren. The righties do love sending Americans to war, and they turn their backs on the cost, money and lives!

LETICIA said...

Really? "Comprehensive reform?" This bill is about as far from true reform as Earth is from Pluto. I've had to sit here and watch Obama and the rest of the Democrats bend over backwards to appease the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry while throwing us a few inadequate scraps.

Seeing Obama sell out nearly every principle he supposedly stood for during the campaign makes me ashamed that I ever bought into his rhetoric.

If you would like a less angry look on what a joke this bill is, check out this link:

FLRN said...

Darren - I appreciate your post. Health care reform needs to come and it looks like the politicians are shaping the way. I am unsure if this bill and speaker Pelosi's efforts are going to be enough. Time will tell. However as a clinician for the 17 years from my dual perspective as a caregiver and a consumer I will offer the single most broken aspect of health care is access through care coordination and I dare anyone to suggest otherwise.
Difficulty with navigating the health care system, preventing duplication, loss to follow-up, record management and historical archive access for specialist management and continuity of care are the true drivers of increasing health care costs. Consumer health care literacy issues and poor coordination between tertiary care facilities - floor to floor - much less facility to provider and to the patient are the real problems facing consumers. Any reform actions that ignore these priorities will fail to correct the overarching deficits of our health care system and right now I do not see this aspect of the reform process, so no matter the outcome of the reform measure there is still work to do and miles to go for all consumers.
I'll assert one more time that congress cannot understand these issues in part because they may enjoy preferred access and care coordination - therefore they are largely unable to recognize where care actually breaks down. I challenge the health care reformers on both sides of the aisle to imbed in the process to understand health care delivery- sit for a day with a care coordinator - a nurse or a case manager or the spouse of a complex patient - get a bird's eye view least we fail to really fix what needs repair.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Leticia: This is as comprehensive as we could have obtained. I wanted the public option. I still believe in it. I cannot be sure, but I do not think it could have passed. The White House was not really behind it, and under those circumstances, it was DOA.

FLRN: I belive that part of the stiumulus was devoted to creating more tech-based healthcare systems -- of the kind we have discussed before (e.g., greater use of electronic communication). This bill is imperfect. Much more needs to be done. But this is a step forward.

Anonymous said...

I too admire Pelosi, and believe that without her guts, the bill, as imperfect as it is, would have gone nowhere.

I've said it before, but will repeat it: I'm always impressed by both her steel resolve and ability for diplomacy. Whenever she's interviewed, she always manages to say just the right things and no more, never letting her personal doubts or frustrations to be seen (except for her brief and well-deserved glare directed at Joe "You Lie!" Wilson in Congress last September). This woman is one tough cookie. And I'm so glad she is this way.

Now if only Hillary was elected instead of Obama... Sigh.

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