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Staff Blog: Health care reform(?)

Well, it looks like ReidCare is going to make its way through the last procedural cloture votes this week, culminating in a Christmas Eve vote.

So, rejoice! Cue – “Hark the Herald.”

Except – cut the Angels mics off – for the simple fact the left, the right and the independents are up-in-arms. The right is decrying too much government intervention, the left is livid over the lack of a public option – the sole stated purpose by many advocates – and the independents and libertarians are left wondering who will pay for this and at what cost.

Anticipate coal this year, or at most, a sole carbon credit.

‘Indie’ rock band the YACHT summed up the current political sentiment with their song “Ring the Bell” – however unintended – quite succinctly: “So I ask myself and I ask you now / Will we go to Heaven or will we go to Hell / It’s my understanding that neither are real.”

Yes, in the age of the devil-may-care attitude toward fiscal responsibility, constitutional restraints and horse-trading, political Purgatory is the order of the day.

Conservatives are warning against unintended consequences, while Liberals are performing a very ineffective ‘mad dance’ about the exclusion of federal funds to assist the poor with abortions, a lack of a public option and, in general, an extremely watered down magnum opus they intended to create.

Organizations like The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations and the Service Employees International Union to left-wing media organizations like the Daily Kos and the Huffington Post are already starting to wash their hands of this milquetoast piece of legislation.

Regardless of all of the concessions – read political bribery – the Senate made to accommodate Blue Dogs like Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson, it managed to upset the constituency that put them in power.

Politico reports: “As part of the deal to win Nelson’s support, the federal government will pay for Nebraska’s new Medicaid recipients. It’s a provision worth about $45 million over the first decade. Medicaid is usually paid for with a mix of federal and state funding, but Nelson’s carve out means that any Medicaid beneficiaries who join the program after the bill passes will be paid for in full by the federal government.

It’s a sweet deal considering that many governors are worried that the Medicaid expansion will further strain already stressed state budgets. The deal is emblematic of the kind of horse trading that gets done to win votes on any landmark piece of legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent $300 million in Medicaid funds to Louisiana as a sweetener to secure Landrieu’s vote to begin debate on the bill.”

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board summed up the biggest complaint from moderates: “Mr. Obama promised a new era of transparent good government, yet on Saturday morning Mr. Reid threw out the 2,100-page bill that the world’s greatest deliberative body spent just 17 days debating and replaced it with a new “manager’s amendment” that was stapled together in covert partisan negotiations.

Democrats are barely even bothering to pretend to care what’s in it, not that any Senator had the chance to digest it in the 38 hours before the first cloture vote at 1 a.m. this morning. After procedural motions that allow for no amendments, the final vote could come at 9 p.m. on December 24.

Even in World War I there was a Christmas truce.

The rushed, secretive way that a bill this destructive and unpopular is being forced on the country shows that “reform” has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently expanding the American entitlement state. An increasing roll of leaders in health care and business are looking on aghast at a bill that is so large and convoluted that no one can truly understand it, as Finance Chairman Max Baucus admitted on the floor last week. The only goal is to ram it into law while the political window is still open, and clean up the mess later.”

Without commenting on the frivolities of actually reading the bill before voting and waiting on a complete scoring by the Congressional Budget Office – which has yet to happen – this bill is dead on arrival when it goes to conference.

Several Liberal and Blue Dogs – for various reasons – have already stated they will not support the bill, and one Democrat, Parker Griffith of Alabama, has even opted to change parties to distance himself from the legislation.

But what is probably more disconcerting for the Democrats is the polling numbers: CNN’s opinion poll between Dec. 16 – Dec. 20 has 56 percent of Americans in opposition to the bill. Gallup’s Dec. 16 poll has a 48 percent disapproval rating. Not to mention, President Barack Obama’s approval ratings are his worst yet, with 46 percent strongly disapproving, according to a Dec. 22 Rasmussen Report.

Take heart though; regardless of what the bill actually does – if anything – it is more than likely it will contain the words “Health Care Reform.” Somewhere.

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  • J

    JonasJan 8, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Well said James. This bill’s a total mess regardless of from where on the political map you’re looking at it.

  • J

    jsbDec 23, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Unfortunately, this dog still has legs. I won’t believe it’s over till it’s, er…over.