Health care bill update

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.

[Crossposted at QandO]

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