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Friday, December 11, 2009

Harry Reid's Healthcare Compromise-> One Foot on the Banana Peel The Other in the Grave

Much has been said about "the great compromise" that was announced by Harry Reid on earlier this week, most of what has been said has been negative. Much of the negativity is coming from key democrats, the ones most likely to cross over and vote against cloture. Reid is having a very hard time finding the 60 votes he needs to cut off debate and allow an up or down vote on Obamacare.

Now here's the fun part, there is no real compromise. that's why no one in the senate knows what he heck is in it. In reality the plan is nothing but a "Hail Mary Pass," a last chance long bomb. The original Senate Plan that the Democrats had been working on for weeks had no chance of getting to the 60 vote mark. So Reid took a five year-old plan put together by Teddy Kennedy, gave it an update, threw in a few progressive trinkets and sent with great fanfare sent it on its merry way to the CBO for scoring.

The new feature of the plan, expanding medicare is so outlandishly illogical, that even the most casual observer sees right through it. The plan cuts Medicare by half-a-trillion dollars and adds tens of millions more people to the medicare rolls. More people, less money for a Medicare system that is predicted to go bankrupt in 2017. But you see the specifics of the bill doesn't matter anymore. The goal is no long a heathcare bill, the goal is to get 60 votes. Whether or not what is created by those votes is efficacious doesn't matter, it will be fixed at a later time, but the basic structure will be there.

The Washington Examiner also suggest that it is a "phantom compromise"
Democratic attempts to feed the press an encouraging storyline while pretending to hold their cards to their chest have been comical to say the least. In that regard, this quote from Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., in the New York Times is fairly typical:

"Any big agreement is progress,” said Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania. “Even if we do not know any of the details.”

Uh-huh. Let's restate that: "Any agreement is good, even if I don't know what it is I'm agreeing with." Then today, The Hill reports:

Responding to a complaint by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that Republicans haven't been told what's in the new bill, Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, responded that he's in the same position.
"I would say to the senator from Arizona that I'm in the dark almost as much as he is. And I'm in the leadership," Durbin said on the Senate floor.

So the Assistant Majority Leader has no idea what 'deal' has been cut. Then who the heck does? If Durbin doesn't know about it, does this deal even exist? It looks like there's a good chance that it does not. Also reported by The Hill:

The supposed healthcare deal cut by Harry Reid is a "non-starter," Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said today.

Reid announced this week that Democrats had reached a "broad agreement" on replacing the public option with a Medicare "buy-in" provision and a series of non-profit insurance plans similar to what federal employees are offered.

But apparently that "broad agreement" didn't include Nelson.

So if there is a deal, the Senate leadership is "in the dark" about it and at least one Democratic senator says it doesn't include him. It seems like Democrats may have expended a lot of credibility trying to maintain a facade.

"I think when we get the score back from CBO that it’s going to be too costly," Nelson told Fox News Live today.
Even without the Congressional Budget Office there is bad news filtering in about Reid's new gambit.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican and GOP conference chair, tells NRO that Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) is “all tied up in a knot.”

“All of the king’s horses and all of the king’s men may not be able to put 60 together again,” says Alexander, in reference to the (barely) 60 votes Reid got last month to bring his bill to the floor. “With two weeks until Christmas, Democrats find themselves in the awkward position of trying to pass a 2,000-page bill — a bill which most of them admit they don’t know much about.”

Alexander cites the new report from the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as a potential death blow to Reid’s cause. The CMS, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, says that if Reid’s bill became law, America would spend $234 billion more on health care over the next decade.
In the end it seems as if the new Reid plan has one foot on the banana peal the other in the grave. Rich Lowry puts it this way:
The Reid bill is really tottering now. "If this thing falls apart, you can look back to today as the tipping point," says a Republican aide in the Senate, echoing what Lamar Alexander notes in the Costa post below. First, there was last night's CNN poll showing 61 percent opposition. Then, there was the devastating CMS report today. "Nobody went to the floor that I could see to defend it on the Democratic side," says the aide. The back-drop for all this is the non-deal that Reid hyped as a break-through earlier this week, only to have it unravel almost immediately. Even Bill Nelson says the Medicare buy-in is basically a "non-starter." "You're starting to see other Democrats nibbling around the edges," the aide says. He predicts that if one Democrat comes out clearly against the Reid bill, others will follow, in a dynamic like the unexpectedly decisive defeat of the amnesty bill a few years ago. Reid also has to worry about the clock. He needs everything to break exactly right—a CBO score coming in on Monday, a score that's good, no intervening, unexpected drama—to force a final showdown next weekend. If he goes to Christmas break without a bill, it gets much harder to pick up the pieces in January. Since the Senate debate began, the bill has only gotten more unpopular. It’s all still in flux obviously, but we just might be watching the bill fall apart before our eyes.

1 comment:

LL said...

Harry Reid is trying to figure out how to pick up a turd from the clean end while convincing the public (and Senate colleagues) that it's ice cream.