Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Health Care Follies Continue

The Democrats are apparently still waiting on a CBO score, which means the score they have isn't to thier liking.  Phillip Klein reports that all the gaming of the rules regarding reconciliation has left the Democrats with a problem in trying to formulate an actual reconciliation bill...
There are several things that Democrats are up against when it comes to the CBO score. The most important is that, based on reconciliation instructions, the “fix” bill must be shown to reduce the deficit. The challenge is, that’s after assuming that the Senate bill is law. In other words, the reconciliation bill can’t claim any of the deficit reduction from the Senate bill, but rather it must reduce the deficit relative to the Senate bill. Yet the changes that are being talked about will cost a lot of money. This includes eliminating the “Cornhusker kickback” and offering enhanced Medicaid subsidies to all states, increasing subsidies for the purchase of insurance, eliminating the so-called "donut hole" on Medicare prescription drug benefits, and whatever else they put in the bill. At the same time, delaying until 2018 the enactment of the “Cadillac tax” would be scored as a reduction in revenue, and thus add further to the deficit. They’d have to make up the gap through tax increases as well as try to siphon “savings” away from the student loan bill. (More on that here.) But evidently it seems like they’re running into trouble on this front.
The benefit of the Slaughter rule is that it's making people look at reconciliation as less unseemly.  I rarely see eye to eye with Jack Caffrey, but he's right when he says the Slaughter solution "reeks." (hat tip: Instapundit) He's also been joined by a Democratic Senator, who unlike Pelosi can't be assured of hanging onto her seat in Congress. The best argument Democrats seem to be able to muster in favor of this idiotic idea is that the GOP has done it in the past (although not for anything as big as reforming 16% of the American economy), a form of argument that wouldn't pass muster on an elemetary school playground. You cannot assert the propriety of the measure by invoking precedent -- that may be persuasive in the court of law, but pointing out the hypocricy of the other side (if I grant the argument that it's hypocritical) does not make this right.

Meanwhile, my Congressman's staff is calling the Capitol Police on his constituents.

I don't doubt that there's a rule against filming in Congressional offices, but perhaps Congressman Connolly's constituents can deem the rule no longer exists. And hey, I happened to glance at Congressman Connolly's webpage on how a bill becomes a law. I thought these passages were enlightening...
The consideration of a measure may be governed by a "rule." A rule is itself a simple resolution, which must be passed by the House, that sets out the particulars of debate for a specific bill—how much time will allowed for debate, whether amendments can be offered, and other matters.

...After a measure passes in the House, it goes to the Senate for consideration. A bill must pass both bodies in the same form before it can be presented to the President for signature into law.
Remember, a rule is a simple resolution. I'm assuming that "other matters" includes "doing an end-run around the Constitution so our weak-kneed members can avoid taking a tough vote."

Meanwhile, I'm not sure why Nancy Pelosi has called a woman's-only meeting of Democrats on Capitol Hill, other than to provide some intrigue to the process as it drags on and on. Yes, CNN is reporting that opponents of reform are close to killing the bill, but both sides are close... although it says a lot about the Democratic state of play that they are desperate to get Dennis Kucinich's vote-flip.

The Hill's health care whip count is here, FDL's is here, and Cost is here.  No matter what the count is, it won't matter until it's over, when either the President will be screwed (bill fails), or we'll all be screwed (bill passes).  Either way, it should be entertaining.

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