Groundhog Day


Here we go again, as the President announces the latest push for health reform. As usual, the Obama approach was to misrepresent the issue.

If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.  If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.  I can tell you as the father of two young girls, I would not want any plan that interferes with the relationship between a family and their doctor.

The bottom line is our proposal is paid for.  And all the new money generated in this plan goes back to small businesses and middle-class families who can’t afford health insurance.  It would also lower prescription drug prices for seniors.  And it would help train new doctors and nurses and physician assistants to provide care for American families.

As you might expect, Obama focused a great deal on the problem getting the GOP on board, ignoring the reality that his challenge has been getting Democrats to support his proposals.

Now, both during and after last week’s summit, Republicans in Congress insisted that the only acceptable course on health care reform is to start over.  But given these honest and substantial differences between the parties about the need to regulate the insurance industry and the need to help millions of middle-class families get insurance, I don’t see how another year of negotiations would help.

Democrats are talking about using reconciliation to make some tweaks to the senate bill in order to get the house to pass it, resulting in a convoluted process with many chances to go wrong.

Democrats are considering pushing the health care bill through the Senate using a parliamentary maneuver that will test the boundaries of constitutional lawmaking.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters Tuesday that the leadership was mulling first passing a “fix” to the Senate health care bill, then passing the Senate bill it is supposedly fixing. The fix, in Capitol Hill-speak, is being called the “reconciliation bill.”

“We could pass the reconciliation first, have the reconciliation passed by the Senate and then pass the Senate bill,” Hoyer said.

This would reverse the usual order of passing a bill, then passing the additional “fix” bill. Hoyer said that while putting the legislative cart before the horse would be “more complicated,” it could be done.

This maneuver would boost the health care bill’s chances in the House by reassuring nervous lawmakers that they will not be abandoned by their Senate colleagues.

But Hoyer conceded it would be tricky to execute and seriously bend the procedural rules as well.

The dems are so desperate that they see prolonging this agony, and further infuriating the American people, as their best alternative.

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