Free Markets, Free People


Senate Update: Reconciliation Out – Luring RINOs In?

Is anyone else tired of hearing about Sarah Palin?  As an aside, she’s ginned up one heck of a media storm to push her book – I’ll give her that.  One of the best I’ve ever seen.

Anyway, on to the Senate.

First the semi-good news from the senior chamber – the Senate won’t consider the cap-and-trade economy buster bill until spring. Harry Reid, Senate majority leader and all around putz, says they simply can’t get to it before then.  That, of course, gives us the opportunity to concentrate fully on the other legislative monstrosity they’re engaged in trying to pass – health care reform.

Reports have Reid “cautiously optimistic” about getting the 60 votes necessary to invoke cloture and pass the bill.  How, you say?  Well there’s a new strategy, apparently.  Forget reconciliation and get Republican Senator Olympia Snowe on board (yes, the terrifying RINO attack).  CQ (via Brian Faughnan) reports:

Senate Democrats have abandoned plans to use a fast-track parliamentary strategy to avert a threatened Republican filibuster and pass a health care overhaul — a signal that they are considering major policy concessions to moderates.

The most significant of these could be restructuring or dropping altogether a proposed government-run insurance plan — the so-called public option — that many liberals consider a necessary part of the overhaul.

The idea, of course, is to attract at least one Republican by removing the obstacle of a “public option”. It would also supposedly allow all Democrat hold-outs (Lincoln, Landreau and Nelson) and Independent (Democrat) Joe Lieberman to support the bill.

The substitute?

One possible fallback is a proposal by Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., to create a government-sanctioned insurance plan that would be available only in states deemed to lack affordable private insurance plans. Under Carper’s plan, the insurance plan would be structured as a private nonprofit entity, run by a board appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate…

You have to love the use of “private” immediately followed by the president having to be “confirmed by the Senate”. Yeah, no undue pressure can be brought to bear in that sort of a set-up can there?

Anyway, the entire point of Carper’s plan is to lure Olympia Snowe on board (the fact that it isn’t a public option should bring Lieberman and others on board – or at least that appears to be the thinking):

…[Carper's] proposal is similar to one Maine Republican Olympia J. Snowe offered that would create a “trigger” for the public option, making it available only if private insurers fail to meet deadlines and targets for affordable insurance plans.

What a coincidence. A plan that a RINO could love. Of course the details have yet to be set in concrete:

Carper said he was still discussing how the government would determine whether private insurance in a state is unaffordable. A bill the Finance Committee approved (S 1796) deems insurance unaffordable if premiums consume more than 10 percent of a policyholder’s income.

The government would lend money to the new nonprofit for startup costs. After that, Carper said, the plan would have to be self-sufficient.

Of course the policyholders may not care that premiums consume more than 10% of their income if the benefits warrant that. However, as I recall, the plan is to tax “Cadillac plans” into oblivion anyway – so we can all suffer the same mundane “benefits” despite our willingness to pay for more. So I would think the trigger would never be pulled. Oh, what am I saying, this is government we’re talking about – triggers are mechanisms placed in bills to allay legislative fears and give legislators cover back home when explaining their vote. All of them know that there is every intention, if a trigger is placed in the legislation, of finding an excuse to pull it. And my guess is they’ll use the same sort of math to decide to pull the trigger as they have in computing “saved and lost jobs”.

Secondly, does anyone believe that if the government gives this new “nonprofit” startup money, it won’t save it if it begins to fail? If so, I’ll have to ask which turnip truck you fell off of last night. This, like the vast majority of the legislation on health care, is all smoke and mirrors designed only to provide political cover for its passage.

That’s apparently the developing plan in the Senate. Reid has to get this done and passed before Dec. 18th when Congress plans on going into recess until next year. Your job, should you decide to take it, is to ensure they go home unhappy and unfulfilled with this legislation still marked as “pending”.

~McQ

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9 Responses to Senate Update: Reconciliation Out – Luring RINOs In?

  • [Carper's] proposal is similar to one Maine Republican Olympia J. Snowe offered that would create a “trigger” for the public option, making it available only if private insurers fail to meet deadlines and targets for affordable insurance plans.

    That ruse is so obvious that only Congress would be shameless enough to try and use it.  Gee, I wonder who sets the deadlines and defines the targets?

    • Why does anybody need a trigger ?
      There are going to be plenty of chances to amend the hell of this this monstrosity in the future, if it passes.
      Snowe should realize this too.
      Meanwhile, the chances of becoming a victim of a Democratic “bait-n-switch” are just so high as not to be believed.

  • Maybe i give Lieberman too much credit, but i dont see him going for this kind of shenanigans. Especially the part about it being self sufficient, i mean its one thing to think they might hold it to that promise, but to believe its even possible would be a worse crime. And then an appointee president? Cmon, thats called government run option….

  • Under Carper’s plan, the insurance plan would be structured as a private nonprofit entity, run by a board appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate…
    So he wants to create a mutual health insurance plan (many of which already exist), but give the government rights to meddle with it.  And he thinks this is a good idea.
    And the man is my senator…  Oh for the days when he was a moderate.

  • So how many do they lose dropping the public option?
    .
    When I was a toddler, I once sat on the floor for an hour trying to pick up three potatoes.  With one in each hand, I looked down and saw there was one still on the floor.  So I put one of the ones I had down and picked it up … only to find there was still one on the floor.  So I put one down so I could pick it up.  But there was still one on the floor.  I was three years old.  What’s Reid’s excuse?

    • AchilleaSo how many do they lose dropping the public option?

      I suspect that Dingy Harry is busily assuring the more liberal senators that they aren’t REALLY dropping the public option; it’ll be put back during the conference.  If it’s really gone, then the bill is dead as SanFran Nan and the dems in the House are ADAMANT that there be a public option in the final bill.  Quite a quandary:

      Public option – Fiscal conservatives will not vote for it

      No public option – Social liberals (i.e. socialists) will not vote for it

      The games being played and the lies being told in this process are really disgusting.

  • I wonder if the tide has turned and even an idiot like Snowe can see that voting for this monstrosity will kill her reelection chances, or if she’ll hear history calling again.  How stupid ARE people from Maine?

    As for the ruses and devices and triggers and all the other crap that various senators are cobbling together in a desperate attempt to get 60 votes… Doesn’t it speak volumes about how bad an idea this thing is that they’ve got to go to these lengths to get a bare majority?  Shouldn’t that make the lot of them stop and think that they might just want to start from scratch or give up this stupid idea entirely?  Or are they so trapped in the bubble of their ideology and the DC echo chamber that they really think that this is a good thing to do?

  • No amount of lipstick is going to make this “pig” acceptable.

  • “the insurance plan would be structured as a private nonprofit entity, run by a board appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate…”

    Great! I am sure this nonprofit will do for health insurance what Fannie and Freddie did for affordable mortgages. It also makes another place for political hacks to get rich between government jobs, also like Freddie and Fannie. 

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