I am one of the few thousand or so people on this planet to have had the ‘privilege’ of attending the quarterly meetings of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The NAIC is a voluntary organization of the chief insurance regulatory officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Every three months the commissioners get together and discuss model insurance regulations.
While these meetings are closely watched by industry and consumer representatives, they could hardly be described as riveting.
But contrary to Thursday’s White House Health Care Summit, those meetings are usually at least a bit productive. What a small slice of America witnessed take place at Blair House yesterday was stagecraft, not statesmanship. And while the President may think he accomplished the goal of attempting to look reasonable (so that he and his fellow Democrats could then pursue the nuclear option in the Senate) all yesterday did was expose their weaknesses and diminish the office of the President itself.
For years now, the Left has tried to portray the Republicans as the Party of No, particularly as it pertains to health care. Yesterday proved that this is not the case. One after the other, GOP lawmakers explained dozens of policy efforts they’ve attempted to advance. No one was more brilliant than our own Paul Ryan. Below, you can see what I believe to be the defining moment of the Summit.
To the contrary, Obama played the role of a petulant NAIC breakout session moderator. At times it seemed as if the GOP had a firmer grasp of what was in his plan than Obama himself did. When the Republicans pointed out what they disliked about the Democrats’ bloated plan, Obama curtly dismissed them (in the case of Senator McCain, outright mocked him) and then changed the subject and cut them off.
The Democrats’ idea of bipartisanship on this issue: Here is our health care regulation Christmas tree, all decked out with backroom deals for unions and states like Louisiana and Florida, and draped with massive new federal regulations that do not curb health care inflation. You Republicans are free to add a couple ornaments on it, if you can find room, as long as they do not offend the trial attorney or our other allies, but you absolutely can’t remove any of our items from the tree.
That’s not compromise, by even the widest interpretation.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, much to the chagrin of the status quo in Washington, D.C., yesterday’s Television Special did nothing to quell the passions of the growing tea party movement.
It was politics as usually, only televised.
Highlights of the Summit
Ryan’s first attempt was cut short.
But he eventually got his say, and this is an excellent recap of the day
By Brian Fraley
A MacIver Perspective