Obamacare

Does the House Have Enough Votes to Move Forward With Health Care Reform?

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House Democrats are caucusing in a few hours meeting with disgruntled members this afternoon to examine their remaining options on health care reform in the wake of Scott Brown's upset in Massachusetts. It doesn't look like they'll have much to work with. The Senate has effectively washed its hands of reform, saying that at this point, it's all up to the House. But House Democrats don't seem terribly ready to go forward. And that presents a problem: Without the support of everyone who supported the original bill, Democrats do not have the 218 votes necessary to move forward.

Remember that when the House passed its initial health care reform bill, it squeaked by, garnering 220 votes. Presumably, no one who voted against the original bill would want to vote for it in the extremely heated political climate. And of those 220, several are already out of the picture. One of those votes was a Republican, Joseph Cao, who would almost certainly not vote with the Democrats this time. Democrat Robert Wexler, who also voted for the bill, recently left the House; he won't be replaced until April. That leaves exactly 218 votes, one of which is Bart Stupak's. Stupak refused to vote for the original bill until strict language preventing federal funding of abortion was included—language that the Senate bill doesn't have, and would not be inserted before a vote.

In addition, formerly stalwart reform supporters like Barney Frank and Anthony Weiner are already expressing, at minimum, extreme hesitation about going ahead with the bill as it stands. Perhaps Democrats will come up with some comparatively quick-to-pass, dramatically scaled back compromise measure. But unless there are votes out there that no one knows about, I can't see them pressing forward with the bill they have; the numbers don't add up.

Update: Commenter Joe M. points out that the caucus meeting scheduled for this afternoon has been postponed until tomorrow morning:

As an addendum to this post, which noted that House leadership would hold a caucus meeting this afternoon to regain control over their caucus and put together a new coalition to pass health care: that meeting has been canceled, and rescheduled for 9 a.m. tomorrow morning. Leadership will instead hold individual meetings with key members—including progressives, and blue dogs—to achieve the same ends.

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  1. I think the real danger [although the Democrats are too stupid to do it this way] is that they’ll begin to strip off portions of the overall health care bill and jam them through piecemeal. They have a better chance of success if they pick the popular elements of their plan and pass them individually, and stop being married to the notion of a system-wide “reform”.

    Forcing community rating on all insurers? They could get that done, I bet. Or force the GOP to stop it, which the GOP pussies won’t want to do. The same thing with forcing insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. Sure, passing that in isolation would destroy the industry, but I think that many Democrats would be happy to light the fuse of a time bomb that would destroy the health insurance industry.

    1. Forcing community rating on all insurers? They could get that done, I bet. Or force the GOP to stop it, which the GOP pussies won’t want to do. The same thing with forcing insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. Sure, passing that in isolation would destroy the industry, but I think that many Democrats would be happy to light the fuse of a time bomb that would destroy the health insurance industry.

      Right. The problem is that those individual “cures” all sound (and are) popular with voters, but people don’t actually like either the unintended consequences or the other laws needed to make community rating and guaranteed issue work.

      The Democrats saw a 60 vote majority and decided to go for as much as they could grab. The only danger of this election is that they’ll come back smarter, as you say.

      1. Forcing community rating on all insurers?

        Easily demagogued by opponents, since it will raise rates on the healthy for the sole purpose of lowering rates on people who engage in all manner of unhealthy habits.

    2. I don’t think community rating is exactly the dark night of communism falling on America. I don’t agree with hit. But it is not insane. It screws the young in the short term, but they hope to be old some day don’t they? And it is a way of giving coverage to high risk people without mandating the purchase of insurance that getting rid of the pre-existing exclusion. And it would have none of the horrible effects of fully socialized medicine.

      I don’t agree with it either. But if community ratings are the worse thing that happens, we will be pretty lucky.

      1. But it is not insane. It screws the young in the short term, but they hope to be old some day don’t they?

        This highlights the worst injustice of them. What about those who don’t live to be old? It’s a tax on people who die young. People who die at a young age already have gotten a crappy deal out of life; why make it worse?

        And it is a way of giving coverage to high risk people without mandating the purchase of insurance that getting rid of the pre-existing exclusion.

        Except community rating plus guaranteed issue will lead to mandates. It’s one of the cases where moral hazard probably would apply.

      2. Without mandatory insurance, however, there’s an adverse selection problem. If the price for young people goes up, fewer of them would buy insurance (than are buying now), which would require higher prices to pay for everyone else. Raising the prices again would result in another round of young people who opt out… requiring another price increase, and so on and so on.

        1. Not that I’m for mandatory insurance…just wanted to point out that problem.

      3. CR is insane since it doesn’t price risks fairly and will lead to adverse selection spiral and higher insurance costs. The needed reform is healthcare reform not health insurance. The health care market is dysfunctional due to government intervention. Bending the cost curve will only happen when the health care provider market becomes a true free-market. IT IS NO WHERE CLOSE TO THAT NOW.

  2. I believe ObamaCare is dead, but not because of your historically unreliable assurances, Peter. (And learn to alt-text, dammit.)

    1. I’ll help: “Pelosi: ‘See all these dudes around me? I just screwed them all in the cloakroom back there. Who wants to go next?'”

        1. SugarFree wasn’t around.

          1. What would be worse than banging Nancy Pelosi? Being sloppy sixths after Charlie Rangel.

            1. Ugh. Waxman is in the mix.

              1. Well, you know what they say about sausages and law making.

          2. Without mandatory insurance, however, there’s an adverse selection problem. If the price for young people goes up, fewer of them would buy insurance (than are buying now), which would require higher prices to pay for everyone else. lower abs exercises for men | ab ripper x exercise list

  3. From the bottom of that talking points memo link:

    Late update: Democrats have canceled their caucus meeting, originally scheduled for this afternoon. Instead, leaders will meet with key, disgruntled members individually, in the hopes of shoring up for health care reform. The caucus meeting has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo…..dually.php

  4. I hope the class of 2010 is more afraid of not getting re-elected than they are of Pelosi.

    1. Not me. I hope Pelosi scares them into forging full steam ahead.

      1. You may have a point there, now that I think more about it.

  5. 2010 will see the following:

    1. A Republican Majority in House
    2. A Republican Majority in the Senate
    3. END of HEALTHCARE REFORM
    4. END OF ALL of OBAMA’s REFORMS

    If you ask me, Obama might as well step down at this point. There is absolutely NOTHING that he can do. Too bad, I like him and voted for him.

    However, him being the presidend is too devisive for this country. I doubt we’ll ever see another black president in our lifetime.

    1. Oh, his presidency is a disaster because of us and our racism, not because of his and his fellow travelers’ arrogant incompetence?

      1. The Man is keeping him down. As usual.

        1. And your point is?

    2. Thanks for sharing, Alice.

    3. “I doubt we’ll ever see another black president in our lifetime”

      So what?

      1. And that is the typical american sentiment.

        1. The guy was elected. By white people more than by anyone else. Isn’t a charge of racism at the country in reference to him rather ridiculous at this point?

        2. Because the most important quality of a president is his skin color, rather than his ideas.

        3. So we should have a black president, any black president, regardless of his policies? Basically stick a token minority in their to appease your conscience?

        4. I guess we’re all typical, just like Hopey O’ Changey’s grandma

        5. And that is the typical american sentiment.

          You mean being color blind to race and only care about a politicians politics.

          How awful that must be for you to live among such beasts.

      2. We will – but mainly due to advances in sub-dermal cosmetics and that, in 2036, Black will be the new Black (think everyone at the inaguation is Nigerian black but robot Joe Biden).

        So it will really be a fairly uninteresting fact.

    4. As long as there are Rupublicans and Democrats there will never be anything but divisiveness. Devisiveness is part of the checks and balances.

      Of course, a Progressive would like to do away with checks and balances. They are always correct on everything all the time. Why would anyone want to stop them?

      1. A conservative will do away with Checks and Balances way b4 a progressive would.

        1. Seems like Dems and Repubs are both eager to get rid of checks and balances.

          1. I’d like to check and balance both parties out of existence. If the Censor were adopted, we could start tossing these guys out left and right. Literally.

            Speaking of old Roman republican offices, maybe we should adopt tribunes of the people, who could hang around DC and veto shit for no good reason.

            1. And beat Congress-creatures with sticks.

              1. That goes without saying. In fact, why not start today?

        2. Did I propose he/she wouldn’t? You brought up the beholden/golden of Progs, all by yourself.

    5. 2. A Republican Majority in the Senate

      Incredibly unlikely. There are only 19 Democrats even up for election in 2010 (and neither Independent who caucuses with them). One of those is Sen. Inouye (D-Hawai’i), one is Senator Leahy (D-VT), and two are in New York.

  6. Poor Nancy. She seems to have aged ten years since last December, which would make her…what…109?

    1. Pelosi’s Birthday Today
      Credits Long Life to Satan

      1. Satan blames long life on Grim Reaper’s incompetence

  7. A week ago, people were talking about the possibility that there weren’t 218 votes in the House.

    I think (hope) there will be open revolt when the “leadership” brings forth their “compromise Bill” and dumps it in the laps of the assembled Representatives and tells them to just vote for it.

    Can the Democrats give Nancy the hook? A “no confidence” vote on the Speaker’s performance would be sweet.

    1. If there is a compromise bill, it will be filibustered in the Seneate.

      The best they can do at this point is to pass the Senate bill and try to modify it using, I think it’s the budget reconciliation process.

      Health care reform is dead for now.

      1. Or the Senate.

        1. You can say that again.

      2. Or the Senate.

  8. I don’t think he is incompetent. I just think that his flavor of change is simply unacceptable to the powers that be in this country.

    He might as well step down. It would be a crime to let this man (or any other black or progressive man for that matter) run ever again. This country is simply not ready nor is it willing to lean toward any progressive stance in socializing anything.

    MONEY TALKS in AMERICA. The DOLLAR god lives on.

    1. What change? What does he really represent? Let’s consider the healthcare reform. The bill has changed so much since its inception as to be an unrecognizable mishmash. It’s not change or reform, it’s a desperate attempt to pass something with a certain label on it. That’s new? That’s an improvement? This is with control over the Congress, a lot of the industry willing to go along with mandated health insurance, etc. And yet they failed.

      I omit any reference to the continued Bush policies, the untransparency, doing next to nothing useful about the economy, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

      Stupid is as stupid does.

    2. How dare we be so retrograde as to not believe in socializing everything. Money is evil, so I know you’ll be rejecting your next paycheck ? “I don’t believe in money, boss, you keep it; I work here for the fun of it”. Of course, a “crime” to you is whenever someone doesn’t immediately fall to their knees before the obvious superiority of any progressive idea.

      I hope your right ? I hope the country is never ready for your progressive socializing (sadly, I have my doubts)

      1. The money everyone else gets is evil.

    3. Yeah, because its the money and the dollar that gave Brown the win. No. No. No. That is called popular revolt. Brown’s opponent had more than enough money, dollars and power. She had unions and the POTUS for heavens sake.

      And I think you can safely say America doesn’t want to socialize its economy. Saying its because of race is a bit much. I don’t think Brown won his seat because the traditionally liberal people of Mass. are worried the president is black.

    4. MONEY TALKS in AMERICA. The DOLLAR god lives on.

      I don’t understand, you say that as if it were a bad thing.

    5. I don’t think he is incompetent.

      Who cares what you think. you already proved you are an idiot with the above comments about race.

      I just think that his flavor of change is simply unacceptable to the powers that be in this country.

      Oh you must mean the powers above the president and congress and the voting public who put him in office.

      Let me guess who someone like you think those powers are:

      Jews?

      Aliens?

      Go back to your hole.

  9. “MONEY TALKS in AMERICA. The DOLLAR god lives on.”

    Obama spent more in order to become president than anyone else in history.

    1. Actually, he raised more money than anyone in history.

      Goes to show, the president can ONLY DO HARM. I’ve yet seen a single presidential policy do good.

      1. Wow ? That’s the most intelligent thing I’ve read all day.

        I swear that was written without an iota of sarcasm.

        1. No sarcasm, I really believe that a president can ONLY harm…and, is incapable of doing any good.

          1. I meant “no sarcasm on my part”. I think it truly is the most intelligent thing I’ve read today

        2. In practice, I agree. In theory, well, there is the The Top 100 Things I’d Do if I Ever Became a Libertarian President.

          1. That was great!

            1. Feel free to send it to the president. There’s still time.

            2. Oh, and thanks! It took forever to write.

  10. This country is simply not ready nor is it willing to lean toward any progressive stance in socializing anything.

    Man, if only that were true!

  11. From a robo-email I just received from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee:

    we must be strong in reminding voters what the Republicans did to our country and what they will do again if given the chance

    What they’ve actually done is make me realize things things could be worse than they were under Bush et al.

      1. +1…like that last Indiana Jones movie, it’s hard to believe how bad it is until you actually see it.

        1. The only thing I know about that flick is that it has a nuclear bomb-proof fridge.

          1. Yes, that was the fridge that allowed us to update the phrase “jump the shark.”

            1. I refuse to join that. After all, I am old enough to have seen the original broadcast with Fonzie jumping the shark tank.

  12. The DOLLAR god lives on.

    I hope it continues to do so. Do you know what money represents? Life, that’s what! Every dollar you hold in your hand, providing it was come by honestly, represents a certain amount of your work – of your time and energy. And what else is a life but the time and energy one puts into living it?

    1. “Every dollar you hold in your hand, providing it was come by honestly, represents a certain amount of your work – of your time and energy.”

      Unless you’re like brotherben.

    2. “providing it was come by honestly”. That’s always the tricky part isn’t it?

  13. Obama spent more in order to become president than anyone else in history.

    And he didn’t spend any of it on bathroom-mirror TVs and chromotherapeutic LED arrays for his shark tanks, the white-ass motherfucker.

    1. It looks like the Democrats are going to let Brown write the new healthcare bill. Unfortunately it will still suck. lower abs exercises for men

  14. If you ask me, Obama might as well step down at this point. There is absolutely NOTHING that he can do. Too bad, I like him and voted for him.

    Best thing he could do is veto all the Republican bills that come across his desk. That way the economy will have a chance to rebound before the next knucklehead takes the seat (Biden or Palin)

  15. He might as well step down. It would be a crime to let this man (or any other black or progressive man for that matter) run ever again. This country is simply not ready nor is it willing to lean toward any progressive stance in socializing anything.

    MONEY TALKS in AMERICA. The DOLLAR god lives on.

    *tunes violin*

  16. Now that the healthcare bill is dead (thanks to those goddamn stupid Republicans like Michael Steele), what will Suderman have to write about?

  17. No more posts about healthcare reform until we can actually start celebrating please. I just can’t handle the suspense anymore.

    “It’s Dead”
    “It’s Alive”
    “It’s Dead”
    “It’s a Zombie”
    “It’s Dead again”
    “The Zombie got reincarnated”
    “Someone found a shotgun”
    “The Zombie ate their face and stole the shotgun”

    and so on.

    1. But is it a slow zombie or a fast zombie? 😉

      1. Fast zombies are a myth.

    2. HCR wears a hockey mask

      1. Nope, a Shatner mask.

  18. From WSJ:

    Mr. Obama told ABC News that lawmakers should “move quickly to coalesce around” parts of the health-care bill that both parties can agree on, “core elements” that include insurance reform.

    “Throw me a freakin bone here!”

    1. parts of the health-care bill that both parties can agree on

      These would include the words “the”, “and”, and “pertaining”.

      Not all Republicans would go along with the last one, but you could peel off a couple.

  19. It looks like the Democrats are going to let Brown write the new healthcare bill. Unfortunately it will still suck.

  20. To create real health reform that doesn’t become a colossal all or nothing decision subject to the fear mongering of the GOP or the backroom deals of specific Democratic and independent senators, the Democrats should look to breaking up the bill into a bunch of much smaller ones that focus on reform for which bipartisan support could be obtained. At least then they would make progress for the public to lower costs and ensure those with numerous illnesses aren’t left in the cold. They are spending far too much money to come up with proposals that cannot be passed.

  21. The same thing with forcing insurers to cover pre-existing conditions.

  22. If you may well ask me, Obama may as well step down at this time. There is completely NOTHING he can do. Too bad, I like him and voted for him.

    However, him being the presidend is simply too devisive for this country. I doubt we’ll ever see another black president within our lifetime.
    ab exercises for men

  23. Obama can do everything he want’s and Health reform is one of them. ab exercises for men

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