Health care may already be dead

Rick Moran
Like a turkey running around the barnyard after its head has been cut off, health care reform in Congress may already be dead - members just haven't admitted it yet.

The Senate Finance Committee is moving toward an agreement on how to finance the boondoggle - but without two key provisions that liberals say must be in the bill for them to vote for and Obama has indicated he will not sign any legislation that don't contain at least one of the.

Carrie Brown in Politico has what could be the start of an obituary:

Bipartisan negotiations on the Senate Finance Committee are moving closer to eliminating two health care provisions favored by many Democrats - a mandate on employers to provide insurance or pay a penalty, and a government insurance option, a senator and health care insiders said Monday.

That could bring even greater pressure on Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who has been challenged by more liberal senators who say he is sacrificing key Democratic priorities on health care reform to win the votes of a few Republicans.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) confirmed that the three Republicans and three Democrats negotiating the Senate Finance bill are moving away from a broad-based mandate that would force employers to offer insurance. The senators instead are leaning toward a "free rider" provision that requires employers to pay for employees who receive coverage through Medicaid or who receive new government subsidies to purchase insurance through an exchange.

Snowe stressed the committee hasn't reached a final agreement on any of the key provisions but said, "There is not a broad-based employer mandate. ... There are approximately 170 million Americans that receive coverage through employers. That is a significant percentage of the population. We don't want to undermine that or create a perverse incentive where employers drop the coverage because their employees could potentially get subsidies through the exchange."

Even if Obama swallows his pride and says he would sign legislation without the public option (and considering how desperate he is, this is a distinct possibility), liberals in both the House and the Senate have made it absolutely clear that they will not vote for what they consider a half baked bill. It's all or nothing for the idealogues which will play nicely into the GOP's hands.

A promised liberal meltdown and rejection of a bill that doesn't contain the employer mandate or public option means it will probably not pass the House and would be in deep trouble in the senate.  The left has promised the base that they will deliver national health care and anything short of that will be curtains in the House where there are at least 120 progressive members who would vote against it. That's more than enough - if the GOP holds firm - to send the measure to hell.

Don't be fooled, however. Even the so-called "compromise" is unacceptable in its present form. It is still too expensive and would still represent a stealth movement toward national health care. It would just happen more slowly, that's all.

The fact that Democratic moderates in both houses of Congress have gotten cold feet about health care reform means that they are desperate for cover from Republicans. While a few GOP senators might oblige them, the House looks like there's a pretty solid phalanx of GOP members who are unalterably opposed to any bill that would add to the deficit. Combined with dissatisfied liberals, that should be more than enough to defeat it if it ever comes up for a vote.







Like a turkey running around the barnyard after its head has been cut off, health care reform in Congress may already be dead - members just haven't admitted it yet.

The Senate Finance Committee is moving toward an agreement on how to finance the boondoggle - but without two key provisions that liberals say must be in the bill for them to vote for and Obama has indicated he will not sign any legislation that don't contain at least one of the.

Carrie Brown in Politico has what could be the start of an obituary:

Bipartisan negotiations on the Senate Finance Committee are moving closer to eliminating two health care provisions favored by many Democrats - a mandate on employers to provide insurance or pay a penalty, and a government insurance option, a senator and health care insiders said Monday.

That could bring even greater pressure on Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who has been challenged by more liberal senators who say he is sacrificing key Democratic priorities on health care reform to win the votes of a few Republicans.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) confirmed that the three Republicans and three Democrats negotiating the Senate Finance bill are moving away from a broad-based mandate that would force employers to offer insurance. The senators instead are leaning toward a "free rider" provision that requires employers to pay for employees who receive coverage through Medicaid or who receive new government subsidies to purchase insurance through an exchange.

Snowe stressed the committee hasn't reached a final agreement on any of the key provisions but said, "There is not a broad-based employer mandate. ... There are approximately 170 million Americans that receive coverage through employers. That is a significant percentage of the population. We don't want to undermine that or create a perverse incentive where employers drop the coverage because their employees could potentially get subsidies through the exchange."

Even if Obama swallows his pride and says he would sign legislation without the public option (and considering how desperate he is, this is a distinct possibility), liberals in both the House and the Senate have made it absolutely clear that they will not vote for what they consider a half baked bill. It's all or nothing for the idealogues which will play nicely into the GOP's hands.

A promised liberal meltdown and rejection of a bill that doesn't contain the employer mandate or public option means it will probably not pass the House and would be in deep trouble in the senate.  The left has promised the base that they will deliver national health care and anything short of that will be curtains in the House where there are at least 120 progressive members who would vote against it. That's more than enough - if the GOP holds firm - to send the measure to hell.

Don't be fooled, however. Even the so-called "compromise" is unacceptable in its present form. It is still too expensive and would still represent a stealth movement toward national health care. It would just happen more slowly, that's all.

The fact that Democratic moderates in both houses of Congress have gotten cold feet about health care reform means that they are desperate for cover from Republicans. While a few GOP senators might oblige them, the House looks like there's a pretty solid phalanx of GOP members who are unalterably opposed to any bill that would add to the deficit. Combined with dissatisfied liberals, that should be more than enough to defeat it if it ever comes up for a vote.