Green Room

ObamaCare Kabuki

posted at 11:52 pm on October 5, 2009 by

In recent days, we have been subjected to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claiming there will be a “public option” in whatever healthcare takeover bill comes out of Congress, and reports that the Obama administration is working behind the scenes for the “public option.”

But The Hill’s report on the Democratic negotiations adds this:

A Democratic Senate source downplayed any differences, saying that Reid, Baucus and Harkin cooperate well but that the Finance Committee bill is the only legislation that can pass the Senate.

“President Obama clearly articulated his blueprint in his speech, and everyone knows Finance has the bulk of the bill that reflects that blueprint,” the source said. “Everyone, including the White House, knows the Finance bill is the only bill that’s paid for and can pass. In short, the White House wants a win, and using the bulk of the Baucus bill is the playbook to get the ‘W.’ “

OpenLeft’s Chris Bowers notes that Reid has backtracked from his prior boast,as the number of House progressives demanding the “public option” dropped from 60 to 46. And then Reid’s office issued a modified, limited hangout from the backtracking.

The Wonk Room (i.e., George Soros’s Center for American Progress Action Fund) runs a piece explaining why Reid should stick with the Senate Finance Committee’s bill, and not merge it with the HELP Committee’s far more progressive alternative. It is a decent argument, but one awfully pragmatic coming from folks heavily involved in astroturfing for the “public option.”

The Washington Post reports in passing that “Rockefeller and other proponents of a public insurance option say they will fight to add the provision on the Senate floor or in negotiations with the House, which appears to have the votes for it.” That sounds a lot like an admission by Rockefeller and other libs that the “public option” may not be in the bill that goes to the Senate floor — and that the Senate may not be able to pass a bill with the “public option.”

At the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore reports that Senate Republicans are now suggesting a “pre-conference agreement” that would instruct conferees not to impose a public option as part of any House-Senate conference agreement. Senate Dems are operating on a thin margin that gives the GOP some leverage in the process, so it may be that everyone should take “news” leaked by the Dems in light of their need to establish bargaining positions.

Indeed, for all of the rumors of the Dems moving to ram a bill through the Senate, it looks like the Senate Finance Committee may delay action on the Baucus bill until the CBO scores it. Reid, not to mention House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, are talking about not setting any arbitrary deadlines. As with the “public option,” Democratic talk of lightning-quick action on ObamaCare may not live up to the hype.

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Here’s a novel idea. How about listening to the people you serve and deep six the whole thing?

Daggett on October 6, 2009 at 2:08 PM


PatriotRider on October 6, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Hiroshima or Nagasaki

hawkman on October 6, 2009 at 2:31 PM

The whole GD thing is a public option!

macummings on October 6, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Tort Reform and ability to sell across state lines are ALL that is needed we don’t need the SEIU running healthcare but thats’ what the Dims want!

That and free heath care for as many Hispanics as they can escort across the border to vote in 2010 after amnesty passes!

dhunter on October 6, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Ya know “they” can talk about slowing down, not including a public option, actually listening to the people whom they serve. But I for one will not believe a word they say until I see the actual proof.

The white coat shenanigans should tell us everything we need to know. I question whether those people in the white coats were even real MD doctors. How many of them actually are practicing physicians? Obama and crew are all about showmanship and snowmanship. It’s perception and what you can make people believe that counts, not the truth. on October 6, 2009 at 3:01 PM

No matter what they pass, it’s intent will be a gov’t takeover, now or later, openly or covertly.

Kill the Bill!

Maquis on October 6, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Kill it dead, dead, dead.

Neither the White House nor Congress has any idea what it is they are doing and they are corrupt/incompetent to boot.

We don’t trust you and we have no confidence in you.

Stay the hell out of our lives. Name post offices, sleep with your interns, drink excessively, whatever, just leave us the hell alone.

Is that clear?

NoDonkey on October 6, 2009 at 3:12 PM

It’ll be November in a few weeks. Can’t we just take a political mulligan, please?

Lummox on October 6, 2009 at 3:50 PM

Sounds like this is laying the groundwork for using the Reconciliation process (the nuclear option).

Am I reading this right?

connertown on October 6, 2009 at 3:55 PM

It’s just resting. Pining for the fjords.

connertown on October 6, 2009 at 3:56 PM

The longer this drags out the harder it will be to pass something. I think that if the CBO scores the Baucus bill badly, then they’re going to be in world of hurt as UE inches up these last few months of ’09.

volnation on October 6, 2009 at 4:00 PM


GarandFan on October 6, 2009 at 4:04 PM

The Score is:
CBO: 100 ObamaCARE: 0

SayNo2-O on October 6, 2009 at 4:29 PM

Senator Kyle said on Cavuto tonight something like the “public option” is going to pass the house/senate conference when they get that far — in other words,
We are screwed!

rebuzz on October 6, 2009 at 5:22 PM

Sounds like this is laying the groundwork for using the Reconciliation process (the nuclear option).

Am I reading this right?

connertown on October 6, 2009 at 3:55 PM

No. That’s not to say reconciliation is off the the table, but all the anonymous talk seems to point toward cutting some sort of deal with the GOP to get the bill to the floor in the normal process (probably by piggybacking on a House tax bill, since bills with taxes like this one must necessarily originate in the House).

Karl on October 6, 2009 at 5:39 PM

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