Byron York’s count has it at 209 “no”, 204 “yes”, with 18 undecided. David Dayden at FDL puts the count at 191 “yes”, 206 “no” (205-209 with leaners), with 17 undecided.
As you can imagine, the pressure on the remaining 17 or 18 is going to be enormous. Bart Stupak claims it has been a “living hell”.
Still nothing out of the CBO which means a Saturday vote is unlikely.
Obama’s interview with Brett Baier of Fox is likely to do nothing to change minds about health care, just as his speech in Ohio had little effect. He may as well have gone to Australia as this is shaping up. But it is clear he and the Democrats want to avoid any talk about “process” and continue to wave it away as something the American people just aren’t concerned with. Big mistake.
And although he wouldn’t own up to it in the Baier interview, Obama has told others that the fate of his presidency is on the line with this vote.
All it took for Dennis Kucinich to cave was a 45 minute ride on Airforce One. The liberal Ohio Democrat has found a way to rationalize his change of mind.
If you don’t think this is having an effect throughout the land, just remind yourself of the Scott Brown race, where Brown ran for liberal lion and chief health care reform advocate Teddy Kennedy’s seat as the “41st vote against health care”. Then cast your eyes west and note that Barbara Boxer, another Senate liberal is vulnerable as well.
Speaking of California Senators, Dianne Feinstein’s “National Insurance Rate Authority” has been dropped from the reconciliation bill. Since it has nothing to do with budgetary matters, it can’t be included. If this monstrosity passes, look for her to attempt to add it at another time as an amendment to some other Senate bill.
And Code Red suspects two new “yes” votes for the bill, from California Democratic Reps Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa have to do with announced water allocations for the water starved Central Valley in the state. Yesterday the Interior Department moved up the March allocation, something never done in the past. A “back room deal” for their votes?
One of the things Baier did in his interview is question the health of Medicare. He got the president to admit that the bill doesn’t fix the structural problems of the program. More and more medical providers are recognizing that problem and opting out of taking Medicare patients because they claim they can’t afford them. And if Medicare is in bad shape, Medicaid is in worse shape. As if to emphasize that point, drug store chain Walgreens has announced that after April 16th, it will no longer take new Medicaid patients.
The point, of course, is this “reform” does nothing to address the structural problems of the two government run systems which are at the core of the health care cost problem in the US.
Last, but not least, the Attorney General of Virginia has announced the state’s intention to sue the federal government if the present health care bill is passed under the “deem and pass” rule. Virginia has already passed a law declaring it illegal for the federal government to require individuals to purchase health insurance.