Free Markets, Free People

Health care reform status

A few points about the status of health care reform. First, if the votes were there for passage in the House, the bill would now be law. That should tell you all you need to know about the present status of the bill. The votes aren’t there.  The bottom line, however, is if the House manages to pass it, health care reform becomes law.  At that point, reconciliation is moot.  It will be part of the deal, but with or without reconciliation in the Senate, the bill is law.

President Obama has said he wants to sign the bill into law by March 18th – prior to his trip to Indonesia and Australia. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer refuse to sign on to that timeline. That should give you a good indication of the level of DEMOCRAT resistance to this bill. Again, I want to make the point that there are enough Democrats in the House right now to pass this bill into law without a single solitary Republican vote (and it appears if it does pass it will be without any GOP votes – something which also scares House Democrats, especially with November looming).

Yesterday the President was reduced to begging Congressional Democrats to pass the bill. He appealed to emotion claiming the fate of 31 million uninsured was in their hands and this bill was their only chance to get insurance (it’s not). And, of course, placing the future of his presidency second, claimed that it too was in their hands.

Heh … no pressure.  And it is the sort of appeal that many former “no” votes will have difficulty resisting (calling Mr. Stupak).

But here’s what you should take away from those meetings with liberal members of Congress, because it is important:

[Rep. Barbara] Lee said Obama said he still “strongly supports” a public option, but “the votes aren’t there.”

But, she said, Obama said the current healthcare legislation is a “foundation,” adding he “would work with us on the next effort.”

“I am going to keep hop[ing] for a public option,” Lee said. “And he said he’s going to work with us.”

The term “foundation” is the key.  From this bill the plan is to morph it into something that more closely resembles a single-payer system – something Obama has said any number of times he supports (prior to becoming president, of course, where he now claims it’s just not possible in America).  The public option is step in that direction and, as Lee is pointing out, passage of this bill allows them to build on the “foundation” at a later date with things like a public option.

One other point I want to make – the dog and pony show the President had the other day where he used doctors in white coats as props (you remember his health care summit rant about Republicans using the actual bill they were talking about as “props”?) was nothing more than propaganda. There is no “Obama bill”. His claim that all of those things that both sides agree on are in the bill is just not true. It was an attempt to claim bipartisanship and paint the GOP as unreasonable if they didn’t help pass the Senate version of the bill. There isn’t nor has there ever been any real attempt to include Republican ideas or at bipartisanship. The speech was transparent propaganda designed for a specific purpose – to justify ramming the bill through by any means necessary. It is the only thing which has been transparent in the entire process.

The next two weeks are going to be among the most interesting politically that I’ve seen in a while. The arm-twisting will be brutal and you can also expect the deals and pay-offs to be monumental (and all done with your money – in the real world we’d call them attempts to bribe a public official and jail those offering the bribe. In Congress, it’s business as usual.).

Will the administration win out in the end or will the people be properly served by the eventual defeat of the bloated, intrusive and costly monstrosity? Stay tuned.



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15 Responses to Health care reform status

  • It’s hard to imagine that it will pass, considering what you already pointed out– the Democrats have the numbers, but they do not have the support.  The pressure to get enough Democrats to vote for the bill has been both tremendous and sustained for some time now.  And that is without knowing just how bad it has been behind closed doors.  This is Obama’s signature legislation, and if it doesn’t get passed he will have spent an inordinate amount of political capital and gotten nothing out of it.  The behind-closed-doors negotiating is likely to be intense and furious.
    And after all this time, there still is not enough support to bring the bill to a vote.  It’s tough to twist arms when the likely end result for many Democrats will be the loss of a job in November.  What good is it to get some sort of political quid pro quo, when it won’t be enough to save your congressional seat?

  • With the way this has been played by Pelosi and Obama, id bet there are more thana few Dems who would like to vote no, just to rub it in their faces. Those two have been really imperious, especially since scott brown got elected and they lost the Super MAjority.

  • The votes are so close that 1 vote could be the one that either finally passes or finally defeats a bill that most of the public – and most of the voters in swing districts – don’t like.  If you were a Dem from one of those districts, which would you rather be?

    Liberal Dems don’t seem to appreciate the fact that the lack of bipartisanship itself is a factor against voting for the bill to many moderates.

  • What a balancing act we have going on.

    On the one hand, we have Imeme and the dem leadership – hardcore, power-hungry lefty idealogues – who will stick at nothing to get this thing passed as they know that this opportunity to gain tremendous, nearly absolute power over the American people will not likely come again in their lifetimes.

    On the other, we have the American people, the vast majority of whom DO NOT WANT IT.

    In the middle are the dems in Congress, many of whom do not represent (hah!) safe lefty districts and fear being trounced in November.

    Will they put their party before their own interests?  Will they knuckle under to the threats or accept bribes from a woman whose ability to deliver on either will be finished after the November election?  Will they kill their careers to save Imeme, who’s already done a first-rate job of turning himself into a miserable failure and is dragging his party down with him?  Who do they fear more: their lefty base and the union thugs, or their own voters?  Will the trash in the House trust the trash in the Senate to honor the promise to make the fixes they agreed to as part of the reconcilliation deal?

    And what about the GOP?  What will McConnell, Boehner, and the rest do?  Will some idiot RINO step in at the last minute to pull Imeme’s fat out of the fire and provide a veneer of “bipartisanship”?  Or will the GOP use every parliamentary trick in the book to derail this thing, knowing that MiniTru will be merciless to them?

    May we live in interesting times, indeed!

  • If they don’t pass it, I think they still face a fired up opposition and a demoralized base. The only way they could salvage something is to start over. I don’t know why this is not an option, because it would probably preserve the Dem control over both houses.

    • I think that’s a good point – in this case, actually stopping, resetting and including the other side could work to their advantage politically and most likely calm a political tempest.

      • The problem with starting over is that many of the dems have staked their massively inflated egoes on passage.  Were they to start over (which, I agree, would be the best move), it would be a tacit admission on the part of Imeme, SanFran Nan, and Dingy Harry that they failed spectacularly despite holding the White House, supermajorities in Congress, and a very friendly MiniTru.  Further, they’d have to work with the very Republicans that they’ve spent months deriding as “The Party of No”, and that would not only be humiliating but would also guarantee that they would not get everything they want and would also be stuck with things that they DON’T want (tort reform, anyone?).  It’s a “death before dishonor” moment for them.

        It’s really nonsensical because, as I have written from the beginning, it would have been simple to get a real bipartisan bill that includes almost everything they want because many Republicans in Congress are not philosophically opposed to government-controlled health care: they just want a say in how it’s done.

    • Starting over would indicate that what they proposed in the first place was completely screwed up. People, particularly politicians, don’t like to admit mistakes. They’ll blow $$millions and $$$billions to avoid admitting errors.
      And as some have pointed out, this whole thing has nothing to do with optimizing health care funding and delivery.

  • “…the fate of 31 million uninsured…”
    What a fantastic job Obama is doing! He has already reduced the number of uninsured from 47 million withiut increasing costs one cent.

    • I think he’s implying that 16 million died while waiting for Republicans to pass health care reform.

      • Let me play heartless conservative stereotype then.   If we wait a couple more months the problem will be even smaller won’t it?

  • I find it ironic that the thing that may finally kill the bill is that nobody is stupid enough to believe Pelosi, Reid, and Obama’s assurances that they’ll “reconcile” the bill once it is passed. The news media seems to just take it as a given that such a bill will certainly pass, but such a thing would by necessity have to contain controversial provisions, such as dealing with the abortion problem head on, and it’s simply logically impossible for Pelosi, Reid, or Obama to promise that any given fix could be passed in the future when it can’t be passed now. The lack of the very integrity they promised and have sacrificed at the altar of socialist domination is what may finally end the bill’s chances.
    (And that’s assuming they aren’t actively promising contradictory reconciliations, which I bet if all the promises could be put in one place we’d find out they are.)