Why the Senate HCR Bill is Dead

Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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18 Responses

  1. Jim Webb is already out in front calling for an application of the brakes. Perhaps not surprising, but one wonders if that marks an anomaly or the beginning of at least a minor flooding.Report

  2. E.D. Kain says:

    I think it will have to be done via reconciliation. Possibly some bipartisan bill will emerge, but I doubt that.Report

  3. My dream scenario is to break the bill up into smaller pieces and pass the stuff that everyone agrees on, then have some debate on the remaining sticking points. I really don’t see how Democrats go forward from this with healthcare intact as-is. They desperately need to start tackling jobs if they want to keep their majority in the midterms. For better or for worse, public opinion has turned against health care reform and continuing to beat that horse will only spell doom, especially for Blue Dogs. They need to turn the page.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

      Has this approach ever been used?

      Given that it strikes me as something that could work, I’m left scratching my head wondering why it’s not used more often. Like, increase Medicaid payments by 25 bucks a visit or something. You could get 75 votes for that, easy.Report

    • greginak in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

      I would like to see that only so people would confront the reality that R’s will not do anything about health care. they will vote no to everything.

      And Big Tent Dem is wrong, big time wrong, that there is no constituency for this bill. That constituency is people who don’t have health care, people with pre-existing conditions, people who can barely afford what they have now, etcReport

    • North in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

      Gonna have to go with Greginak. The Republican position seems likely to be no regardless of what is being proposed. It’s deeply in their interest that nothing be passed before November. They’ve been going to town on their moderates to keep them in line. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when they read Snow the riot act.Report

      • I don’t think that’s true. Republicans have voiced opposition to a few major points (abortion funding, public option, etc) It’s a very large bill. I suspect if you took out the poison pills, a lot of Republicans could get on board with the rest. We’d much rather debate the Left on things like abortion funding and the public option anyway because public opinion is on our side and we won’t be perceived as holding up the whole process. To the contrary, it benefits Democrats to spike the bill with deal-breakers because it plays into their narrative of Republicans as the party of no.

        The similarities to SS reform are striking. If I recall, we were using the ‘NO’ label for Democrats circa 2005 when they refused to come to the table on SS reform because of the private accounts idea Bush floated. They knew SS was messed up and needed to be fixed and they walked away over 1 point of the GOP proposal. They also suffered no long term (or even short term) ill-effects from doing so, which sort of set the stage for the way the past year has gone.Report

        • North in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          It’d be nice if that turns out to be the case.

          It’d have been far less nice if Bush’s private accounts had been instituted considering how the market has fared in the past couple of years. Republicans would have been held up high by the electorate I’m sure (high as in their heads high up on the end of sticks that is).Report

  4. North says:

    Big Tent Democrat seems to be pointedly going out of his way to ignore the changes in HCR that would be applied immediately and would likely be quite popular. I’ll pop a few on here for examples:
    -Seniors will see the Medicare “donut hole” start to shrink.
    -Families will get to keep kids on their policies past high school, until the kids are 26.
    -Preventative services will have “first-dollar” coverage, meaning you’ll pay nothing out–of-pocket–that’s right, nada, zilch–when you get a regular checkup.
    -People who are uninsurable because of high medical risks will get access to catastrophic policies, as a stopgap until full coverage becomes available in a few years.
    -The government will set up a website with information about different insurance plans, letting people compare benefits in standardized, plain English terms.
    -Insurers will have to fess up about how much money they divert from patient care to overhead and profits–and to set up systems for appealing coverage denials.
    -People will have the right to go to the emergency room–and women the right to see an obstetrician/gynecologist–without prior approval.

    My own personal investment in HCR is pretty minimal but I do view the affair with a political eye. I find it hard to believe that the Dems would benefit more politically from accomplishing nothing from all of this than they would from accomplishing even the Senate’s version of HCR. If they let the whole thing collapse now then they would essentially allowing the republicans hyperbole about death panels etc… to stand as the last word on their effort. If they pass it into law then they will have something concrete to actually defend and it’ll be significantly more difficult to caricature.

    Now it’s become quite clear that Obama has over learned the Clinton lesson on the issue of healthcare and probably let things run along too long without direct nudging. It’s also clear that the republicans very cleverly stalled the entire process while the dems chased them around trying to get some of them on board. The situation isn’t good right now. I still think their best bet is for Pelosi to whip her votes and try to get the Senate bill passed in the house. An interesting part of budget reconciliation bills is that you could in theory pass the amendment to the HRC (with 51 votes in each house) ~before~ passing HRC itself. This is not obviously something that would be easy to do procedurally but the primary test is one of leadership and nerve. Obama has been playing things aloof and airy as is his wont up until now. If he wants this done he’s going to have to really get his people down into the House and work the process. Pelosi has been signaling that she’s ready to try and pass HCR so it’s not dead until it’s dead.

    Ultimately it’s going to come down to determination, messaging and leadership so obviously I’m not optimistic but they could still pull it out.Report

    • Mark Thompson in reply to North says:

      I don’t read BTD or, for that matter, the folks at Firedoglake as advocating that Dems give up on HCR. Instead, I read them as telling the Dems to go back to the drawing board and push for a reform that accomplishes something big without punishing the middle class while rewarding favored interest groups.Report

      • North in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        Lord I don’t know what Congress and Senate they think they have but clearly it isn’t the one that sits in DC. Start from scratch with 9 months to go and no political capital without a filibuster proof majority in the Senate? Frankly that strikes me as even worse than abandoning the whole effort and changing the subject.Report

  5. Bob Cheeks says:

    Well, the sissy Repubs won’t burn all the huts..no scorched earth, darn! I do want to see what happens with the Enlightened One’s commie agenda, e.g. will the Dems take over the mantel of “stupid party” and swallow O’s kool aid as they jump over the cliff or do they want to have a party after Nov.? I notice there’s a lot of graveyard whistling going on here today!
    Come on guys, it’s your own leaders fault!Report

  6. Jaybird says:

    A question about the election:

    Is Scott Brown a senator for the next ~6 years or is he a senator until Kennedy, had he lived, would have been up for election or is he a senator until the 2010 election?Report