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You’re Getting Reform

After they spent weeks complaining that they needed time to read the thousand-plus pages of H.R. 3200, Republicans have a new line:

At a town hall meeting Wednesday Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) told Chickasha residents he does not need to read the 1,000 page health care reform bill, he will simply vote against it.

I don’t have to read it, or know what’s in it. I’m going to oppose it anyways,” he said. (Emphasis mine)

Mike Enzi (R-WY), one of the Republicans in the “Gang of Six,” told a town hall last week that he was not going to compromise with Democrats — and was merely staying in negotiations to delay and water down reform:

“It’s not where I get them to compromise, it’s what I get them to leave out,” Enzi said Monday, according to the Billings Gazette.

Enzi found himself under attack at the town hall simply for sitting in the same room as the three Finance Committee Democrats. Republicans in the crowd called for him to exit the talks. He assured conservatives that his presence was delaying health care reform.

If I hadn’t been involved in this process as long as I have and to the depth as I have, you would already have national health care,” he said. (Emphasis mine)

In the wake of the AP’s report that health insurance premiums will go up by 10.5% in the next twelve months, Blue Dogs are happy to admit the problem but won’t admit we should do something about it:

Marshall started the meeting by explaining that if we didn’t do something to reform our health care system, by 2030 or 2040 we’d have so much health care related debt that we wouldn’t be able to pay the interest on any other government debt. The rest of our tax revenue would only cover current health care expenses, federal retirement obligations such as Social Security, and nothing else: no defense, no education, no highway projects… nothing.

[…]

Regardless, Marshall said he was against the current bills floating around in the Congress. Marshall added that he hadn’t read H.R. 3200 because he knew it didn’t meet his criteria for health care reform and therefore he wasn’t going waste his time. (Emphasis mine)

In an effort to stay relevant, the GOP has ginned up an effort to make itself out as the savior of Medicare:

Intended as a political shot at President Barack Obama, the Republican National Committee manifesto marks a remarkable turnaround for a party that had once fought to trim the health program for the elderly and disabled, which last year cost taxpayers over $330 billion.

Which led to this hilarious scene: NPR’s Steve Inskeep got Michael Steele to argue with himself.

As I have said many times now: when Congress returns to DC, reformers own all the momentum. The GOP has nothing. Obama has created a wave of progressive sentiment aimed squarely at the Blue Dogs. And he only needs 50 senators:

A Democratic member of the “Gang of Six” senators charged with finding a bipartisan solution to health care reform said at a town hall Monday that he would support using the budget reconciliation process to push a bill through the Senate if necessary.

Reconciliation is a parliamentary procedure that would allow Democrats to pass health care reform with 51 votes, meaning the party could do it without any Republican support.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico has been one of three Democrats participating in the widely-watched Finance Committee negotiations. His willingness to consider reconciliation is another sign that a a genuine bipartisan deal may be impossible.

The public option isn’t dead. Anyone who says so is substituting wishful thinking for evidence. In fact, it looks like a perfect storm is brewing for the Party of No.

Socialize this!
  • Annette

    I concur with your assessment sir…and have laid out a similar scenario.. please read mine and see what I have come up with.. If they take a bill to a vote, they already have a committed 45 votes in the Senate..all they would need is at the least 5 more and at the most 16 and I think they could get those..with a little push and that's what we need Dodd and Kerry and Rockefeller to do now. Push and Prod a little.

  • Matt Osborne

    Thanks, Annette! I think Obama's going with the "five" option in the end.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Matt. I usually agree with your sentiments on Bob Cesca's website. Annette and yourself seem like the most sanest of commentors over there.

    Thanks for the continuing confidence and positive information.

    – Da Bomb

  • Matt Osborne

    Thanks! Anonymous comments are da bomb.