by John Hawkins | September 16, 2009 6:01 pm
Although Max Baucus, Chairman the Senate Finance Committee, did attempt to tinker just enough around the edges of health care reform to pick off the squishy GOP senators from Maine, there were no serious attempts made by Congress or the White House to bring Republicans onboard for a bipartisan health care bill. So now, after Republicans en masse have miraculously rejected the idea of signing on to an unpopular bill just to say they’ve “done something,” the Democrats are on their own. Unfortunately for them, this is proving to be surprisingly difficult.
* Blue Dog Democrats in the House are refusing to sign on to a bill with the public option in it while liberal Democrats are refusing to sign on without it. Either group is large enough to kill the bill. Meanwhile, in the Senate, the public option simply cannot reach the 60 vote threshold.
* Pro-life Democrats are demanding that abortion coverage be taken out of the bill. Liberals Democrats are demanding that it be left in.
* Because of the heat that was generated by Joe Wilson’s “You lie” outburst, there are Democrats working to add enforcement provisions to the health care bill so that illegals won’t be able to get treatment. On the other hand, more hardcore pro-illegal immigration Democrats are demanding that illegals be covered.
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* Some Democrats want to tax “gold plated plans” — which incidentally, was an idea, a good one, I think, that McCain suggested during the campaign (Obama panned it back then). However, the unions, which actually have a lot of members with these high-end plans are very much against this idea.
* Liberals are demanding that the health care bill be inappropriately shoved through the reconciliation process in the Senate. Moderates, who realize that would be a “nuclear option” and would lead to a more liberal bill, are very reluctant to go that way.
And these are just the major issues.
When I talk to non-political people these days, I like to ask them what they think of the health care bill to just gauge their reactions. So far, every person I have asked has been against it — but, that’s not the most interesting thing. The most interesting thing is that each of them has been against it for an entirely different reason. That’s the problem with trying to swallow 1/6 of the U.S. economy: you end up sticking your grubby paws into a lot of different dinner plates.
What this means ultimately is that even if you set aside the fact that this is an unpopular bill, no matter which way they maneuver, there are going to be a lot of different reasons for Democrats to vote against this bill. Ultimately, they still may be able to pull it off, but it is going to be one bumpy ride for them at this point.
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