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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Amateur Hour On Health Care Continues

The House is getting to the difficult business of combining legislation and putting together a final product. We can all figure out the direction based on who's leading in crafting the final legislation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi intends to present a unified, redrafted health care reform bill next week, the head of the House Democratic Caucus said Wednesday.

Chairman John Larson said the new bill would meld together parts of legislation written and approved in July by the House Education, Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees. But Larson cautioned against people reading this as the last step in a long health care journey for the House.

So, it appears that we'll have health care reform San Francisco style. Already, there's word that Pelosi is backing away from a deal with the Blue Dogs.

Speaker Pelosi is backing away from a deal she cut with centrists to advance health reform, said a source familiar with talks.

Pelosi’s decision to move away from the agreement that was made with a group of Blue Dogs to get the bill out of committee would steer the healthcare legislation back to the left as she prepares for a floor vote."

Pelosi is planning to include a government-run public option in the House version of the healthcare bill.

Putting myself into the shoes of Speaker Pelosi, I can understand what she's thinking. She's on the cusp of achieving her lifelong political ambition. She's about to engineer a massive liberal health care transformation. She will milk it for all it's worth and squeeze out every possible liberal policy point she can get. Why compromise on anything that will only water down her liberal fantasy?

Yet, this is totally politically brain dead. Mara Liasson described this dynamic perfectly. No liberal Congressperson will lose their seat if they vote for a moderate health care reform package. Meanwhile, 90% of the moderates will lose their seats if they vote for a liberal bill.

I understand that every politician wants to fulfill their liberal fantasy but they should all think about their nightmare. Speaker Pelosi is upon hers. She's about to create a bill that will not receive enough support to pass. Crafting a liberal piece of legislation that shuts out the Blue Dogs means that most of them won't vote for it and that means it won't pass.

Meanwhile, on the Senate side, chaos also continues to reign. The biggest news of the day was the dust up between Senator Kyl and Senator Baucus. The real news though happened at the end of the day. Chuck Schumer and Jay Rockefeller plan to present an amendment that will introduce the public option. Now, Baucus has long said that he's taken out the public option because it won't pass. Senator Snowe won't sign on if the final bill has the public option. So, why include it?

The Democrats voted down an amendment that would allow the final bill to be available on line for three days prior to a final vote. Do the Democrats have any self awareness? All those promises of transparency were worthless. This is exactly why people hate politics. All the Democrats do by voting this amendment down is reveal themselves for the duplicitous and opportunistic politicians they are.

Most importantly, the Finance Committee is nowhere near agreement on anything. We can only imagine what will happen when the public option amendment will get voted down. Will the liberals revolt? That's just one minor problem. The bill keeps changing so much the CBO can't score it. Meanwhile, the Democrats are looking to schedule a vote before the CBO has a chance to score it. All of this only creates even more tension to an already tense process. Worse yet, it costs votes. The Democrats will barely pass this as it is and yet all they do is create roadblock after roadblock that will make it even more difficult to pass. It's truly amateur hour right now in the health care debate.


Anonymous said...

It would have been easier to take Pat Roberts at his word with the "72 hour" amendment if he didn't explicitly say he submitted it out of concern that Health Insurance lobbyists wouldn't have time to look at the bill.

As far as Pelosi, she is probably seeing how the Blue Dog's opposition to a public option is collapsing. The caucus' co-chair, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, told the Huffington Post that the caucus is "somewhat split" on it, and that it is not their primary concern. As for Mike Ross, there is the very real possibility that he has taken a bribe to oppose the public option. And I don't mean the "influence for campaign contribution" stuff, I'm talking the real money in personal bank account kind. The William Jefferson kind.

In any case, public opinion on health care reform is recovering, support for the public option is climbing, and Americans never really did stop approving of Obama's handling of the issue. In any case, you're forgetting the most significant point: if those moderate Democrats allegedly won't vote for a public option because if they do "90% would be voted out" as you claim with all the accuracy of an Investor's Business Daily poll, what good are they to the Democrats?

Perhaps you might want to show a little humility, Mike. Your "we're up by 4 touchdowns so I don't need to play defense" attitude you give off every time you claim health care reform died months ago is really childish.

mike volpe said...

Yeah, we have this debate every time I say something negative about the Dem's handling of health care reform. I don't know what Sandlin said to the Huffington Post but her quote in the Fox News story was a lot different. I have heard several Blue Dogs on Fox saying things that are different. I don't know what Roberts said and he wasn't the only one that was pushing the bill. I don't care about the health insurance companies but rather about transparency.

As for health care reform "making a comeback" you also say that every time and never cite anything to back you up. It isn't making a comeback. It never was making a comeback. Overwhelmingly, they don't like it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, because I'm just so dead sure that you've got something to back up your "90% of moderate house Democrats will be voted out of office" claim.

According to RealClearPolitics, his numbers are up in CBS/NYT, NBC/WSJ, and Fox/Opinion Dynamics.

But I'll cut you a break, you probably didn't see them because you were distracted by the RNC forfeiting the Illinois Senate race. I knew that Mark Kirk's vote for Cap and Trade would come back to bite him, now the RNC has had to withdraw his endorsement for fear of angering their base. Just like 2008, your party is tripping over its own conservatism.

mike volpe said...

That's today's NY Times story. Here's the first three paragraphs. You can read the rest on your own.

"President Obama is confronting declining support for his handling of the war in Afghanistan and an electorate confused and anxious about a health care overhaul as he prepares for pivotal battles over both issues, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

But Mr. Obama is going into the fall having retained considerable political strength. At 56 percent, his approval rating is down from earlier in the year but still reasonably strong at this point compared with recent presidents.

Blue Dogs are from conservative districts. What do you think happens to someone from a conservative district when they vote for a liberal health care reform bill? It's not difficult to understand. I don't know what these polls are that you speak of because you don't cite them. His personal popularity is still relatively strong but dropping. On health care, approval is in the 40's. It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

I don't need the New York Times to think for me. I can make my own conclusions from the numbers. As someone whose distrust of the media has led him to agree with Glenn Beck in renaming the mainstream media the "fringe" media, I figured you would have understood that. So I really don't see the point in highlighting the Times' negative assessment of what are really pretty decent numbers.

mike volpe said...

Come on, New York Times, negative assessment, Obama, that won't happen. You should have read the story. It's not exactly a negative assessment. His approval is still 56%. Yet, on health care, he's in the 40's. I cited it not because it's a negative assessment but because it's the most recent poll I know of.

Anonymous said...


According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll published on Wednesday, a plurality of respondents said that if health care reform fails, the Republicans will be at fault.

Those who disapproved of the way that Republicans are handling the health care debate outnumbered those who approved of their behavior by a margin of more than 3 to 1.

And, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll released on Thursday, more people said Republican opposition to Obama’s health care proposals is politically motivated than those who said that Democratic support of them is politically motivated.

mike volpe said...

That's really digging into the numbers. Do you really think that with filibuster proof majorities, that the public is going to blame the Reps for the failure of health care reform?

The other poll of course has no link and it's irelevant. Who cares if people think that Reps are blocking for political purposes? You aren't going to win elections blaming the other party when you have all the power.

Here's the bottom line. This package, which was originally supposed to have passed before August, is now being strung along and no one knows when it will pass. That is entirely the problem of the Dems. You can cite all the polls you want but it won't change the fact that Dems are fighting amongst themselves and when it doesn't pass they will have no one but themselves to blame.