BATNA and an acceptable status quo

The Hill reports that Senator Johnson (R-WI) thinks that the House Republicans are the major blocking force on funding CSR:

Other Republicans say Alexander doesn’t appear to have a grasp on the politics of the House, where anything seen as shoring up ObamaCare is likely to draw fire from conservatives.

Asked if Alexander was out of step with House Republicans, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said, “Just based on the communication coming out of the House since yesterday, I would say that’s an accurate assessment..”.”

The Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) is a good exercise to figure out where hard lines are. People will not agree to deals that make them worse off than doing nothing.

From the right, a CSR funding bill creates major problems during Republican primaries. The major political prize from the Republican point of view is the following two headlines next October:

” Obamacare premiums drop in SWING STATE X by 12% this year”

” Obamacare premiums due to Governor Z’s waiver are dropping another 8%”

The baseline premium drop would be the removal of Silver Loading that added 19% to Silver premiums this year. That drop is not the full 19% because of medical inflation but premiums are overpriced this year. States would be able to decrease off-exchange premiums as well by filing rapid “me-too” reinsurance waivers. Oregon just got approved for a reinsurance waiver that will lead to a 7.5% drop in premiums.

If there is no Murray-Alexander agreement to fund CSR, what is the alternative from the Democratic perspective?

  • A major club to beat up on Republican incumbents in swing districts
  • Silver Loading in all states
  • Expectation that good insurance on the Exchanges is now a Gold plan instead of a Silver plan
  • States with massive flexibility to innovate

The major political gains from the Democratic point of view on Alexander-Murray is wedging House Republicans between primary and general election electorates and getting at least some Senate Republicans as stakeholders.  The policy gains are more needed technical tweaks to waivers which should lead to more state-level buy-in and outreach funding for 2019.  The policy cost is funding CSR.  This precludes an opportunity to reset the actuarial value benchmark from 70% AV to a benchmark in the mid-80%s AV.

No agreement involving CSR is an acceptable outcome for Democrats.  They could agree to outreach funding, catastrophic plans, waiver modifications and employer mandate changes and still be better off with that agreement than no agreement.  Re-funding CSR is not a critical component of Democratic policy or political objectives over the long run.

The Democratic BATNA of doing nothing to CSR is an acceptable alternative.  And since one party has an acceptable outcome of no deal, they have the leverage to restrict the changes in the deal.


Tuesday Evening Open Thread: Somebody’s Gotta Keep the Lights On…

While the NYTimes dutifully attempts to weave a dark romance around “powerful survivor” and nativist bigot Steven Miller, Nancy Pelosi is out there fighting to defend the DREAMers (not to mention the rest of us). From the original Washington Post article quoted in the top tweet:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) dismissed President Trump’s new hard-line immigration proposals as “a complete non-starter” Monday, adding that her caucus may withhold support for must-pass spending bills later this year if Congress can’t reach agreement on how to protect “dreamers” from deportation.

“I fully intend to use every possibility” to strike a deal on the status of young immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Pelosi said. But, she added: “We’re not at that place yet. Right now, we’re trying to get Republicans to vote on what we believe.”…

On Monday, Pelosi dismissed the fresh immigration policy ideas unveiled by the White House. Based on documents released Sunday night, the Trump administration is demanding full construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, restrictions on legal immigration and a plan to curb young migrants from leaving Central American nations to cross illegally into the United States. The new proposals came after Trump last month decided to end DACA and gave Congress six months to pass a solution he could sign into law…

Pelosi said that the administration’s new plan is “un-American” and that “there’s nothing in it to negotiate because it does not have shared values of who we are as Americans. As long as we understand that, let’s go on with what we can agree on.”…


Apart from cheering NANCY SMASH!, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: God Is Not Your Personal AI Assistant, Dude


I am not an expert on Protestant theology, especially in its current media-friendly Prosperity Gospel offshoots, but in the old-line Catholic Church where I was educated this would’ve come perilously close to blasphemy:

Unless there is an opt-out clause I missed, you don’t get to give your God instructions, Failed Sheriff Clarke.

Consider that He might’ve sent Nancy Pelosi to promote gun-safety laws suitable for a 21st-century society, not your small child’s fantasy of a wild-West shoot-em-up.

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Never Bet Against Nancy Smash

Every woman knows that when a guy does something important, it proves how smart & powerful he is; when a woman does something important, it proves some man gave her a (probably unearned) break. Politico, in its best Media Village Idiot suck-up mode, explains how “Pelosi rises again — thanks to Trump”:

Just months ago, Nancy Pelosi’s grip on power was tested again by rebellious Democrats frustrated with her leadership. Now she’s strategizing with President Donald Trump in phone calls and over dinner at the White House.

The dramatic reversal of fortune for the longtime House Democratic leader is forcing even her loudest critics to reconsider.

“While she’s here in this leadership position, I think there’s no one better to do the job,” said Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), who vocally pushed for a leadership change earlier this summer. “I think this is a good start.”…

Both friends and critics of Pelosi within the caucus say her rising leverage is a good thing. Pelosi, who bills herself as a “master legislator,” may be able to broker some wins for her caucus that she likely wouldn’t be able to achieve with a more traditional Republican president, they say.

But some rank-and-file lawmakers say despite Pelosi’s power plays, the caucus could still use fresh leadership after next year’s elections if Democrats don’t take back the House. Other members say they’re watching the current bipartisan bonhomie warily, noting that there’s only so much Democrats can agree on with Trump…

Pelosi has tried to put Democrats at ease, arguing that she can be trusted not to compromise her party’s values.

“I’m a progressive from San Francisco. Proud liberal,” she told reporters Tuesday. “I have my own kind of credibility on these subjects.”

Those close to Pelosi also say she’s no amateur. She’s dealt with several presidents during her three decades in the House, particularly the past 15 years as Democratic leader — and won’t hesitate to call out Trump in areas where they disagree, large and small.

Pelosi was the one who challenged Trump during his first sit-down with congressional leaders after becoming president. At the time, Trump repeated a debunked claim that he lost the popular vote because of voter fraud, upon which Pelosi spoke up to tell him that was false.

For his part, Trump has limited his attacks on Pelosi since coming into office, not targeting her with some of the viciousness that he’s hurled toward others who criticize him…

“[We] are always hopeful that we can find common ground, which we have a responsibility to do,” Pelosi told reporters. “If we can’t find it, we stand our ground.”…


Apart from giving thanks for strong (if underappreciated) women, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Thursday Morning Open Thread: Blindsided!

Once again, Nancy and Chuck privately stroke “President” Manbaby’s tender ego, and come away with a public promise he’ll do something which will anger all the noisiest members of his in-every-sense Base. And the dumb fekkers are blaming Paul Ryan! Could not happen to a more deserving Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver, per the Washington Post:

Democratic leaders announced late Wednesday that they agreed with President Trump to pursue a legislative deal that would protect hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation and enact border security measures that don’t include building a physical wall.

The president discussed options during a dinner at the White House with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that also included talks on tax reform, infrastructure and trade. Trump has showed signs of shifting strategy to cross the aisle and work with Democrats in the wake of the high-profile failures by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act…

In a sign of the potential trouble for the president, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an immigration hard-liner and early Trump supporter, wrote that if reports of a potential immigration deal are accurate, the president’s “base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.”…

Congressional aides familiar with the exchange said that Trump and the party leaders agreed to move quickly on legislation to protect dreamers, though aides did not disclose whether they agreed that the goal should be for dreamers to eventually be offered a path to citizenship.

In a statement, Schumer and Pelosi said they had “a very productive meeting at the White House with the President. The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.”

In a letter to her Democratic colleagues in the House, Pelosi said she hoped the deal could be done “in a matter of weeks.”…

Pelosi and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) met earlier Wednesday to begin discussing the broad parameters of the forthcoming immigration debate. Ryan’s team signaled that despite the administration’s eagerness to quickly seal the deal, it will take awhile…

Ryan is already facing growing pressure from House conservatives who have begun to question his leadership and have even floated names of possible replacement as speaker. An agreement between Trump and Democrats on a bill to protect dreamers could potentially put Ryan in the position of having to decide whether to bring it for a vote with the prospects that it might pass with more Democratic support than among the GOP…

Of course the sumbitch doesn’t intend to carry through on his promise — he never does — but now the Democrats have a ‘permission slip’ to wave at all the Repub bigots who just wanna make ‘Murkca white again, like they remember it from 1950s sitcoms. And the more the GOP leaders shriek at him, the more Trump will dig in and insist that he did so intend to hang them up by their tiny thumbs, because they are not the boss of him.

And nothing that makes Paul Ryan squirm in public is a total waste of effort!

MondayWednesday Evening Open Thread: Goddess Bless Nancy Pelosi

This is a very sensible position, per the Washington Post:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that single-payer health insurance is not a litmus test for Democrats and that she is focused on protecting health-care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) declined to endorse “Medicare for All” legislation backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and instead called on Democrats to release a wide range of proposals to fix and improve President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law. Her position on health care is the latest evidence that Democrats in the House are willing to ignore pressure from liberal factions aiming to drive the party further to the left.

“I don’t think it’s a litmus test,” Pelosi said in an interview. “What we want is to have as many people as possible, everybody, covered, and I think that’s something that we all embrace.”

Pelosi said that she would like a variety of health-care ideas to be vetted and analyzed by budget scorekeepers but that she thinks none of them will succeed while the ACA is under attack from Republicans.

“Right now I’m protecting the Affordable Care Act,” Pelosi said. “None of these things, whether it’s Bernie’s or others, can really prevail unless we protect the Affordable Care Act.”…

“Fortunately, I’m a progressive from San Francisco. I’m a liberal, and I have my own credibility on these subjects,” Pelosi said. “While we all share our values and priorities and the rest, I think Chuck [Schumer] and I are both strong Democrats.”

Both Democratic leaders have said they think it is their job to work with Trump where possible to pass legislation that meets the values of the party. Pelosi said it is her job to get bills passed.

“You can never satisfy everybody,” Pelosi said. “We don’t have a responsibility to get nothing done.”

I suspect there’s more than a few Democrats going to tell their angrier leftist voters (all 27% of them) that they would totally vote Single Payer for All Starting Yesterday, were it not for their mean legislative mommy who does not understand what The People Want. And that’s part of Pelosi’s job — being the mean mommy who won’t allow anyone to jump off bridges or go to the bitchin’ rave just because it’s a school night.

Apart from being grateful for legislators who see the wisdom in fighting for what’s possible instead of losing for what’s “best”, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

There’s no action

Kind of funny that Trump does what Pelosi tells him but doesn’t give a fuck what Paul Ryan wants.

It makes sense, right? Pelosi’s the kind of House leader who takes away your committee assignments if you cross her. The worst thing Paul Ryan’s going to do to you is think angry thoughts about you while he’s rocking out to “Enter Sandman” during his P90X workout.