ObamaCare Update: 3-15-10

The latest from the world of ObamaCare...

House Dems want to pass ObamaCare without actually voting on it

Yes, believe it or not, it's come to this.  House Democratic leaders are working on a strategy which would allow the House to "pass" the Senate version of ObamaCare but avoid the unpleasant prospect of having to vote in favor of it on the record.  The trick would involve them voting instead for a "reconciliation" package (changes to the Senate bill) which, under the new rule adopted for this purpose, would pre-suppose passage of the underlying Senate bill which they just voted to "reconcile".

Just in case you're not keeping track at home, this makes at least three "unusual" changes to the normal legislative process that Democrats have employed to ram this bill through.  The first being not having a conference committee to iron out the differences between the House and Senate bills, (because that could then be filibustered by the no longer filibuster proof Senate); the second being to propose using reconciliation in the Senate as a way to "fix" the bill so the House would vote for it, (again, so as to avoid need more than just 51 senators), and the third now being the House trying to pass a bill they don't actually vote for.

What will they think of next?

Senate going back on its deal to remove "special deals"?

It looks that way.  Just when Obama and Pelosi are working to round up the required extra handful or so House Democrats to get the Senate bill passed in the House, Senators have begun to say they don't want to remove the special deals (such as the notorious "Cornhusker Kickback" and "Louisiana Purchase") that were inserted into the Senate bill in order to win its passage just before Christmas. 

The problem (for Obama and Pelosi) is that they have been telling House members and the American public that such provisions would be removed from the "final, final" bill via reconciliation if the House would just get with the program and pass the Senate language.  Now some senators are suggesting they oppose removing them.

And this also presents a problem with the proposed House strategy of only voting for the "reconciliation" package outlined above...as the Senate doesn't now seem able to be counted on to approve the "fixes" they would propose.

Are some Democrats avoiding Obama?

As the politics of (and public opposition to) ObamaCare continue to play out, it's looking more and more like Obama wont be the hot ticket one would normally expect a sitting president to be for candidates of his own party.  An increasing number of Democrats have just failed to appear at events Obama has put on in their states or districts, and a growing number of vulnerable Democrats have indicated that they won't be asking Obama to campaign for them this fall.  Via Politico:

Moderate House Democrats facing potentially difficult reelections this fall have a message for President Barack Obama: Don’t call us; we’ll call you.

Interviews with nearly a dozen congressional Democrats on the ballot
this year reveal a decided lack of enthusiasm for having Obama come to
their districts to campaign for them — the most basic gauge of a
president’s popularity. ...

The arithmetic of ObamaCare

When it comes to "new" math, ObamCare is hard to beat.  In their attempt to have their health care legislation keep Obama's promise of "not adding one dime" to the deficit, the authors of the bill have engaged in all kinds of accounting chicanery.

For example, the bill double counts funds appropriated for Medicare and Social Security - counting the money as being "saved" by changes to those programs and thus available to fund ObamaCare, while at the same time still being appropriated to those programs.  Viola!  No deficit!  It's so obvious even some Democrats can't defend it.  Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad called it "a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would have been proud of". Of course, in a Ponzi scheme, money is taken from one group of investors to pay off other investors...which only words so long as you can keep convincing enough "new" investors to buy into the sham to repay original investors.  Otherwise - crash!

What would ObamaCare look like without the new math?  According to Republican Representative Paul Ryan, "If you take all the double counting out of the bill, this thing has a $460 billion deficit in the first ten years.  A $1.4 trillion deficit in the second ten years."

How's that for "not adding one dime to the deficit"?


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