President Obama announced today that he is making a full push for health-care and insurance reform, with a plan that attempts to merge Senate and House legislation and rejects Republican calls to scrap previous efforts and start over. The plan puts a special emphasis on federal authority on health-insurance rate increases, something that has riled the conservative blogosphere for several reasons.
Michelle Malkin writes that “the power grab is an admission that Demcare will result in massive premium hikes. And Republicans should pound on that fact if they plan on attending the Oba-kabuki dog-and-pony show this week.” She points to a New York Times story to bolster her argument, in which Sheryl Gay Stolberg and David M. Herszenhorn write: “The president’s new provision also seemed to offer Republicans an opening for a new line of criticism—that Mr. Obama and Democrats are anticipating the possibility of hefty price increases for health insurance even after their big legislation is adopted.”
The American Spectator’s Philip Klein tweets that “almost every provision in Obama's new proposal will make it more costly than the Senate bill.” (Fox News writes that the original price tag is an expected $1 trillion over 10 years, pointing to data released last year from the Congressional Budget Office. In what is perhaps a sign of success for Obama, HotAir.com’s Allahpundit complains that “The One” has put Republicans in the impossible position of fighting the push against rate hikes. “It’d be lovely to think the GOP will challenge him on this come Thursday, but let’s face it: Defending free-market insurance rate-setting while anti-Anthem populist outrage is roiling is a poison pill, particularly given their wariness of carrying the 'party of big business' label into November. Expect them to challenge him on cost instead—estimated price tag: $1 trillion over 10 years—and of course on unintended consequences to Medicare. We are, after all, the party of AARP now.” (Allahpundit is referring to a blog by the Times’s Ross Douthat about the waning success of conservative ideals among millennials.)
But—trying to be optimistic—Allahpundit is hopeful that the Obama plan is just a sham. “But maybe I’m worried for nothing. A big part of our new 'bipartisan' White House’s strategy going forward is to create high-profile political theater that puts the 'party of no' in a position of having to say no, so maybe this is all just a means to that end, with the price-control board to mysteriously drop out before final passage.”