A funny thing happened on the way home to Blue Dog Democrats. Many of them had voiced enthusiasm for overhauling the American health-care system while on Capitol Hill. After getting a blast of constituent anger at yet another big-government, big-spending program, though, ABC’s Jake Tapper reports that their enthusiasm has diminished considerably:
But despite efforts by Congressional leaders and the White House to make the legislation more palatable to them — by, perhaps, eliminating, the public health care option, or imposing more Medicare cuts — many of these members of Congress have sounded more skeptical of the bill as of late, according to local media reports.
Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., at a town hall meeting in Moss Point Monday night, said, per the Associated Press, “I would hope that everyone in this room knows by now that I am not going to vote for the health care plan.”
Says Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Ga., according to the Gwinnett Daily Post, “As the bill stands right now, I would have to vote ‘no’ until we get a better handle on the costs. I am adamantly opposed to throwing more money at the current system.”
During a town hall teleconference Tuesday night, Rep. Travis Childers, D-Miss., said “he would not vote for a House health care reform bill in its current form,” a Memphis TV station reports.
Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Louisiana, said “it’s appearing more likely that he’ll break with his party and oppose President Barack Obama’s controversial health-care plan should it come to a vote on the House floor,” reports Houma Today.
Tapper lists several others at least hinting at opposing the plan in the House, including:
- Walt Minnick (ID)
- Heath Shuler (NC)
- Leonard Boswell (IA)
- Dan Boren (OK)
- Bobby Bright (AL)
However, unless all 52 Blue Dogs vote as a bloc to oppose the House bill, it will likely pass. The real action will be in the Senate, where the Democrats have made clear that they don’t have the votes to get past a filibuster, and in conference if anything ever does pass the Senate.
Jim Tanner (D-TN) probably speaks for many in the BDC when he advises an incremental approach. Noting that people do want some of the problems in the current delivery system addressed, such as the difficulty of insuring with pre-existing conditions, Tanner says that Congress should take a much more deliberative approach. “[W]e’ve got some holes in the current delivery system that are resulting in inefficiency, duplication, nonproductive … provider-to-patient expenditures, and what I’ve been telling people is we need to figure that out before we start overturning the entire system.”
ObamaCare advocates routinely point to polling showing support for health-care reform, but this is the difference between that impulse and the rush to ObamaCare. Tanner and more than a few Republicans want to take a systematic, analytical approach to see what works and what doesn’t in our current system, so that we can reform the latter while protecting the former. Instead, the White House and Democratic leadership in Congress wants to rush through a proposal that no one has read, few understand, and one that almost literally throws the baby out with the bathwater in a mad rush to get a vote. Their rejection of deliberation and reason exposes their motivations as something other than reforming a system that satisfies an overwhelming majority of Americans, and it’s not unfair to ask why they want to reject the deliberative and analytical approach. Hopefully, more Blue Dogs will learn that new trick.