They shot a few hostages

They shot a few hostages

by digby

Ok, I didn't see this one coming. In fact, I thought it was the one area of the budget President Obama would never allow them to touch. But it looks as though they'll be allowed to whittle away at elements of his health care plan too:

The budget agreement also takes aim at two provisions of the new health care law. It would cut more than $2 billion set aside for the creation of private nonprofit health insurance cooperatives.

It also eliminates a program that would have allowed hundreds of thousands of lower-income workers to opt out of employer-sponsored health plans and use the employer’s contribution to buy coverage on their own, through new insurance exchanges.

Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, the architect of this provision, lamented its demise.

“Publicly,” Mr. Wyden said, “both parties say they are champions of choice and competition and making health insurance more affordable for everyone. But then behind closed doors they kill a program that does exactly that. This seems like a victory for special interests.”

I know that everybody must have seen this coming --- special interests systematically removing pieces of the health care bill that create competition or offer services beyond their commercial reach. But I did think that they wouldn't succeed in doing it as long as Obama was president. Seems it's fair game.

It should be interesting now to see what he decides is essential. Watch out Medicaid.

*One piece of excellent news, though. Taxpayers will no longer be burdened with the budget strain of keeping the gray wolf on the endangered species list. The two Democratic Senators from Montana fought hard and they won the right to shoot them. So that's good.