House to face unsightly health care bill

December 22, 2009


— It was serendipitous to have almost simultaneous climaxes in Copenhagen and Congress. The former’s accomplishment was indiscernible, the latter’s was unsightly.

It would have been unprecedented had the president not described the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change summit as “unprecedented,” that being the most overworked word in his hardworking vocabulary of self-celebration. Actually, the mountain beneath the summit — a mountain of manufactured hysteria, predictable cupidity, antic demagoguery and dubious science — labored mightily and gave birth to a mouselet, a 12-paragraph document committing the signatories to ... make a list.

A list of the goals they have no serious intention of trying to meet. The document even dropped the words “as soon as possible” from its call for a binding agreement on emissions.

The 1992 Rio climate summit begat Kyoto. It, like Copenhagen, which Kyoto begat, was “saved,” as Copenhagen was, by a last-minute American intervention (Vice President Al Gore’s) that midwifed an agreement that most signatories evaded for 12 years. The Clinton-Gore administration never submitted Kyoto’s accomplishment for ratification, the Senate having denounced its terms 95-0.

Copenhagen will beget Mexico City next November. Before then, Congress will give “the international community” other reasons to pout. Congress will refuse to burden the economy with cap-and-trade carbon-reduction requirements, and will spurn calls for sending billions in “climate reparations” to China and other countries. Representatives of those nations, when they did not have their hands out in Copenhagen grasping for America’s wealth, clapped their hands in ovations for Hugo Chavez and other kleptocrats who denounced capitalism while clamoring for its fruits.

The New York Times reported from Copenhagen that Barack Obama “burst into a meeting of the Chinese, Indian and Brazilian leaders, according to senior administration officials. Mr. Obama said he did not want them negotiating in secret.” Naughty them. Those three nations will be even less pliable in Mexico City.

At least the president got a health care bill through the Senate. But what problem does it “solve” (Obama’s word)? Not that of the uninsured, 23 million of whom will remain in 2019. Not that of rising health care spending. This will rise faster over the next decade.

The legislation does solve the Democrats’ “problem” of figuring out how to worsen the dependency culture and the entitlement mentality that grows with it. By 2016, families with annual incomes of $96,000 will get subsidized health insurance premiums.

Nebraska’s Ben Nelson voted for the Senate bill after opposing both the Medicare cuts and taxes on high-value insurance plans — the heart of the bill’s financing. Arkansas’ Blanche Lincoln, Indiana’s Evan Bayh and Virginia’s Jim Webb voted against one or the other. Yet they support the bill. They will need mental health care to cure their intellectual whiplash.

Before equating Harry Reid to Henry Clay, understand that buying 60 Senate votes is a process more protracted than difficult. Reid was buying the votes of senators whose understanding of the duties of representation does not rise above looting the nation for local benefits. And Reid had two advantages — the spending, taxing and borrowing powers of the federal leviathan, and an almost gorgeous absence of scruples or principles. Principles are general rules, such as: Nebraska should not be exempt from burdens imposed on the other 49 states.

Principles have not, however, been entirely absent: Nebraska’s Republican governor, Dave Heineman, and Republican senator, Mike Johanns, have honorably denounced Nebraska’s exemption from expanded Medicaid costs. The exemption was one payment for Nelson’s vote to impose the legislation on Nebraskans, 67 percent of whom oppose it.

Considering all the money and debasement of the rule of law required to purchase 60 votes, the bill the Senate passed might be the only bill that can get 60. The House, however, voted for Rep. Bart Stupak’s provision preserving the ban on public funding of abortions. Nelson, an untalented negotiator, unnecessarily settled for much less. The House also supports a surtax on affluent Americans, and opposes the steep tax on some high-value health insurance. So to get the bill to the president’s desk, the House, in conference with the Senate, may have to shrug and say: Oh, never mind.

During this long debate, the left has almost always yielded ground. Still, to swallow the Senate bill, the House will have to swallow its pride, if it has any. The conference report reconciling the House and Senate bills will reveal whether the House is reconciled to being second fiddle in a one-fiddle orchestra.


Flap Doodle 8 years, 1 month ago

How will Pelosi ever find enough money to bribe Democratic House members into voting for this grand mess?

Brent Garner 8 years, 1 month ago

To answer Snap_pop_no_crackle's question, Pelosi will find it where the Liar Harry Reid found it. She will simply appropriate it and the Treasury will then dutifully go out and try to find some foreign smuck who will loan us the money! Talk about deficit increasing! A political philosopher long ago remarked that our experiment with democracy would last only as long as the electorate did not vote themselves largesse from the public trough. We have been doing that for years and will, sooner or later, have to pay that bill. Ireland and Greece are facing it now and it isn't going to be pretty. This "health bill" will only speed us down that path to total national fiscal bankruptcy. Wonder how all that medical care will be provided when the economy implodes under the weight of all that debt? Won't Landrieu and Nelson be proud then?

leedavid 8 years, 1 month ago

I think the House votes for it pretty quickly and no more sweetheart deals. I believe the goal here is for Obama and the democrats to say they passed a health care bill. The quality of the bill is not important for the left today. What is important is to get any bill passed and to begin working on jobs before the midterm election. Their record of accomplishment is pretty weak at this point.

jaywalker 8 years, 1 month ago

"and will spurn calls for sending billions in “climate reparations” to China and other countries. Representatives of those nations, when they did not have their hands out in Copenhagen grasping for America’s wealth, clapped their hands in ovations for Hugo Chavez and other kleptocrats who denounced capitalism while clamoring for its fruits."

Sure is nice one member of the media is willing to report on that.

Linda and Bill Houghton 8 years, 1 month ago

That change in affiliation isn't going to change the balance of power. He has been siding with the Republicans already.

leedavid 8 years, 1 month ago

Beobachter, you need a new TV because if you would have had a plasma when the news was on, you would have seen the GOP had nothing to do with this. The democrats shot themselves in the foot over this deal.

Brent Garner 8 years, 1 month ago

I find myself agreeing with opposeobama. Perhaps it is time for a 2nd American Revolution.

notajayhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

beobachter (Anonymous) says…

"Actually, we need to ban the party of NO, formerly known as the GOP."

The difference being, Be.O., is the Republicans say 'No' to the weasel-in-chief and the rest of the Democrats. The Democrats say 'No' to the people that sent them there to represent their interests.

You, on the other hand, just say 'No' to reality.

jaywalker 8 years, 1 month ago

"You had 40 senators that were totally clueless on entire proposal"

As opposed to the 60 senators that are totally clueless on the entire proposal, but wanna strong arm it through anyway.

jafs 8 years, 1 month ago

The way our federal system works is that we pay taxes into a large pool, and then that money is spent on a variety of items.

The "I don't want to pay for anyone else's..." line is old and stale.

We're all paying for all sorts of things right now - the interesting question would be what should we all be paying for collectively.

I'd rather pay for healthcare than "pre-emptive" wars. I'd rather pay for education/social programs than jails. I'd rather pay for humanitarian foreign aid than military aid. I'd rather pay for help to the average citizen than help to large banks/corporations.

Anyone else have a list?

jaywalker 8 years, 1 month ago

Other than the first item on your list, jafs, we do all that already.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 1 month ago

In other news: "A Democrat's view from the House: Senate bill isn't health reform By Louise M. Slaughter, Special to CNN December 23, 2009 -- Updated 1531 GMT (2331 HKT)

Washington (CNN) -- The Senate health care bill is not worthy of the historic vote that the House took a month ago.

Even though the House version is far from perfect, it at least represents a step toward our goal of giving 36 million Americans decent health coverage.

But under the Senate plan, millions of Americans will be forced into private insurance company plans, which will be subsidized by taxpayers. That alternative will do almost nothing to reform health care but will be a windfall for insurance companies. Is it any surprise that stock prices for some of those insurers are up recently?

I do not want to subsidize the private insurance market; the whole point of creating a government option is to bring prices down. Insisting on a government mandate to have insurance without a better alternative to the status quo is not true reform."


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