ObamaCare on Life Support

by Sal on March 18, 2010

in Election 2010,Health Care,Politics

I am getting increasingly confident that ObamaCare as it is currently construed will not pass.  Despite the attempts of the state-run media claiming that Stupak’s supporters are caving (they’re not), despite Pelosi’s continued claim that she has the votes, this bill isn’t gaining momentum.  Both the state-run media and Pelosi are trying to create that momentum, or fauxmentum as Ace calls it, in order to try to win over more votes.  Let’s look at the evidence from the last 24 hours to try and see which way the wind is blowing.

First, the Senate.  As we’ve said before, the House is inherently distrustful of the Senate and they are distrustful of the Senate’s ability to pass a reconciliation bill.  It has been said all along that the Senate would write a letter to the House promising to pass the reconciliation fix.  I scoffed at that idea, as did most pundits, but it turns out that the Senate couldn’t even do that.  Instead, they sent a letter stating that they support health care reform in general, but made no promises regarding reconciliation.  On reconciliation, after a close-door meeting yesterday, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), chairman of the Senate Budget committee, noted that many of the provisions in the reconciliation fix were skirting the Byrd rule, and it was possible that many of them would be stripped.  Sending both these signals to the House will do nothing to bolster their confidence in the Senate.

Then there’s the CBO score leak.  The CBO score was originally supposed to be released yesterday.  Instead, it is supposedly being released today.  The original CBO score is rumored to have been in the neighborhood of $1 trillion, a deal breaker for many so-called blue dog Democrats.   The latest is that the Democrats are scrambling to mark up the bill to lower the cost, and may end up removing some of the pro-union fixes such as the delay of the Cadillac tax, which will anger some members of the House as well as the unions. With the delay of the CBO score, the vote has now likely been put off until at least Sunday.  We’ll see where it goes from here.

Finally, the whip counts are not in the Democrats favor.  Gabe Malor at Ace of Spades has the best whip count I’ve seen online.  Put it this way.  No Republicans are expected to vote for the bill, and Pelosi can only afford 37 defections from her caucus if she wants to pass the Senate bill (with the so-called reconciliation “fix” that the Senate can’t even commit to).  Thus far, there are 20 committed no-votes from people who voted no last time.  On top of that, you have the Stupak eleven, bringing the total likely no’s to 31.  Then, there are 3 prior “Yes” votes who have publicly stated that they are switching to “No”, bringing the likely “No” count to 34 (although one vote, Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) may just be posturing).  So Pelosi can only lose 3 more votes (or 4, if Gutierrez ends up switching back) if she wants to pass ObamaCare.

Here’s where the rub comes in.  There are 28 members who are undecided.  Of those, 12 voted “Yes” last time around, and 16 voted “No”.  Pelosi needs 25 of those 28 (or 24 if Gutierrez flips).  It is hard to believe that there will be too many prior no votes who will switch to yes at this point, when the bill is even more unpopular than it was back in November.  The fact that there are 12 “Yes” votes from last time who refuse to commit also can’t be too comforting for Pelosi and her crew.  It is going to be very difficult for her to whip up support, and the frustration is mounting.  There’s even speculation that a lot of the undecideds are remaining so in hope that the bill will just die on its own if Pelosi can’t get the votes secured, and they won’t be forced to vote on it.

My prediction:  with the distrust of the Senate, the CBO score, the problem of reconciliation, and the long odds in the whip count, I believe that ObamaCare is on life support, and it’s only a matter of time before the plug gets pulled.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Paul Williamson March 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I hope you’re right about this. The impact of this legislation would be greater than any piece of legislation passed in decades in my view. Coulter has an article pointing out effects of the antitrust exemption which protects health insurance companies from competition.

http://townhall.com/columnists/AnnCoulter/2010/03/17/my_healthcare_plan

And for some more on the soppy Obama report of the Ohio lady, this blogger filled in some blanks:

http://intelligent-sequences.blogspot.com/2010/03/another-side-to-natoma-canfield-story.html

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