White House spokespeople refused to lay out Obama's position on almost anything related to health care. The refusal to demand the public option and only providing a half-hearted defense for the idea by White House officials got the most press. But the public option is only one of the many issues where Obama has refused to stand firm.
David Axelrod, on This Week, could not say if Obama would ultimately back the ideas of a minimum medical loss ratio or ending the anti-trust protection for insurance companies. He also remained noncommittal on what Obama wanted to happen with the new excise tax on high-end insurance plans.
The nearly complete lack of direction from the White House is being criticized by rank-and-file Democratic Representatives; Eric Massa (NY) said:
"The Senate bill and the House bill are on different planets," Massa said during an appearance on the liberal "Bill Press Radio Show" podcast. "And they're on different planets because, as much as I want this administration to succeed, they did not present a piece of legislation to the United States Congress.Obama's refusal to weigh in until “when it's important to weigh” (which at his point can almost only be interpreted to mean during conference committee because both chambers should be introducing full bills with in a week or two) directly flies in face of his promise for openness and transparency. If Obama is showing leadership on health care, it is only behind closed doors, far away from public scrutiny.
"We still don't have a piece of paper that says what his plan is. We're kind of like pilots flying blind," he added.