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Crunch Time in D.C. for Health Care

by JJFCPA (editor), McLean, Virginia, January 08, 2010

Tension in the White House as the President exerts pressure and influence on key legislators to pass a bill he can sign.

The days in the Nation's Capitol are frigid like most of the country. With temperatures in the low teens, most of the city is sequestered in their homes and offices. Not so up on the Hill and in the White House as Democrats and President Obama meet frequently to push a reconciliation bill into final form. The question is whether there has been a loss of support by those on the fence Democratic senators for a bill that the public has now learned of the backroom deals required for passage.

According to reports in the Washington Post, the President has been meeting twice weekly with the Democratic leadership in both houses and with key (or on the fence) senators in order to move a bill for passage and signature before his State of the Union address. At the same time, House leader, Nancy Pelosi has been in front of the cameras expressing her intention for transparency in the deliberations.

The Senate version for health care legislation has been established as the basis for reconciliation legislation. This is a bit of departure from a normal reconciliation process where both the House and Senate versions are fully vetted for reconciliation. By promoting the Senate version, the Democrats are indicating that the required votes in the Senate are more at risk than the House.

The Republicans have not been silent. Senator John McCain and his Republican counterparts have been speaking with the media nearly daily about the fact that their views and input have been excluded from the deliberations. On Fox news, there have been video clips of the President on the stump speaking about health care and his commitment to having the deliberations open and on C-SPAN.

In recent Washington Post and NBC polls, the shift in opinion against the legislation has increased to over 55% of those polled. This is a 10% swing against the proposed legislation in the last 90 days. Many Americans who believe that the intention is correct are against it now because of the manner in which the law has been crafted and the concern over provisions that are not fully understood in the nearly 2,000 page Senate document. What impact this will have on those on the fence congressmen and Senators remains to be seen.

The President is actively engaged in this process. He and his fellow Democrats may win passage of a landmark piece of legislation, but the back lash against the party in this year’s midterm elections could be substantial and risk their majority proof status in both houses. The next week is supposed to continue to be very cold in the Capitol, but there will be plenty of heat in those private White House meetings on health care.

About the Writer

JJFCPA is an editor for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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5 comments on Crunch Time in D.C. for Health Care

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By alan handwerger on January 09, 2010 at 10:57 am

Where did the much vaunted transparency disappear to? And what's the point of having a "majority proof status" in both houses if you can't get anything done -- oat least not without Nancy Pelosi's pemmission? (And is it just me, or, politics aside, does she not have a face that longs for a custard pie?

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By JJFCPA on January 09, 2010 at 05:17 pm

I read something today by Peggy Noonan that made alot of sense. Obama should have begun the process by passing a very limited bill that prevents insurance companies from denying coverage from a person with a pre existing illness. After this which would have presumably a negative budget impact, albeit manageable in amount, he could then propose other changes that are (1) understandable and (2) have more measureable budget and economic impact. He has bit off more than I can support.

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By TheGuysPerspective on January 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm

With any new bill, it's likely to need revising, but in order to start the process it needs to get done. Democrats need to do what's right to fix this country, not worry about the backlash. That's the problem with how our political system is set up. The two party system just doesn't work that well anymore.

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By mdifran on January 27, 2010 at 09:30 pm

Hurricane, I have two questions about points that you have made. How do you conclude that "the majority of the people that elected Obama -and Americans in general- still want some sort of universal health care. Something like Medicare for all,"? I find it hard to believe that most Americans are looking for a Canadian-style system or something like it. I would be more inclined to believe that Americans would perhaps prefer a system of managed competition like in Denmark or, even more likely, Switzerland.

Secondly, you mention such a Canadian-style system eliminating "the insurance premiums, deductibles, and the onslaught of hidden charges they currently have to deal with on a monthly bases." I understand that some kind of nationalized system would change the playing field a bit, but to assert that we could replace what now costs Americans, on average, 17% of their income with only a 1% tax seems to be a bit far fetched. How do you see this working and where would the funding come from?

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By Lucy Ong on September 15, 2010 at 06:38 pm

Republicans believe providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, after all we did invade them, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism as HMO's and insurance companies have the "best" interests of the American public at heart.

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