Sunday, November 8, 2009

PelosiCare’s Pyrrhic Victory

Once again, the MSM has it wrong. The House voted 220-215 to pass PelosiCare and today the media is busy celebrating Nancy Pelosi’s “victory.” But I wouldn’t buy the confetti just yet. As I see it, last night made it much more difficult for the Democrats to pass any version of ObamaCare. What a shame. Consider the following. . .
1. The Senate Problem
Passing the Baucus bill was already going to be a challenge. As we discussed before, the Democrats lacked the support of two key Senators -- Snowe and Lieberman, with several more sitting on the fence.

The House bill goes much further than the Senate bill. Indeed, even noted RINO Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-Reid’s Lap) stated today that: “The House bill is dead on arrival in the Senate. It was a bill written by liberals for liberals.”

Joe Lieberman likewise re-confirmed that he would not allow any bill that includes a public option to reach a vote in the Senate:
“If the public option plan is in there, as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote because I believe the debt can break America and send us into a recession that's worse than the one we're fighting our way out of today.”
If Lieberman is to be believed, he will not let a bill pass that could result in a public option after the bill is reconciled with the House bill. But the House lacks the votes to pass anything that doesn’t include a public option. Basically, it’s a stand off.

Moreover, seeing that the House does not have the votes to move toward the center, and the Senate will not move left to meet the House, one should expect opposition to grow in the Senate to even putting this thing to a vote. Why vote on something that cannot pass? Indeed, I’m suspecting that several Democrats are quietly sending thank you letters to Snowe and Lieberman as we speak.

Thus, Pelosi’s inability to play well with others, her unwillingness to compromise and her inability to seek consensus before acting, may have just made a Senate vote much less likely. . . which would kill ObamaCare.
2. Unresolved House Problems
Even aside from the Senate problem, passage in the House actually still remains in doubt. Indeed, this vote solved nothing, it just put off the moment of decision:
• The Abortion Problem
Abortion has been a serious problem throughout this entire process. As we stated before, there are a group of 40 or so House Democrats, led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich) who have stated that they will not vote for any bill that allows the use of public funds to pay for abortion. On the other side are a group of about 190 pro-abortion Democrats who will not vote for this bill if it does not cover abortion. Another stand off.

Pelosi “resolved” this dispute with a stupid bit of double-dealing. She let the anti-abortion group insert language (tougher than they even demanded originally) into the bill, but she simultaneously promised the pro-abortion group that this language would not be in the final bill. Indeed, Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-Planned Parenthood) has already stated that if the restrictions imposed by Stupak make it into the final bill, “many of us couldn’t support it at the end of the day.” Rep. Diane DeGette (D-NARAL) called this “the greatest restriction of a women’s [sic] right to choose passed by Congress in our career. [sic]”

So the problem remains. Both sides have the power to kill the bill, and neither side will budge. And even if this can ultimately be resolved, do nervous Senators take that chance and put their votes on record?

By the way, let me credit the Republicans with backing the Stupak amendment and thereby keeping this controversy alive. Brilliant tactical move.
• Illegal Aliens
Both the House and the Senate bill explicitly prevent illegal aliens from using the new system. This is a requirement for the bill to pass. But then. . . Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Mexico) said that Hispanic lawmakers got a pledge from the House leadership “to defeat” any attempts to insert language that bars illegal aliens from participation, and they would oppose the final bill if it contained such language. Hmm.
3. Why Support Will Fall, Not Rise
Further, don’t expect support for this bill to grow, as usually happens after a bill passes. Normally, Americans give the benefit of the doubt to bills after they pass, and give them a chance to work. But support for this bill will not rise, it will fall as more and more negative details keep slipping out. Take a gander at these. . .
• Insurance Is Too Expensive
Section 224 of the bill requires the HHS Secretary to decide what constitutes a qualified plan within 18 months. On November 2, the Congressional Budget Office estimated what these “qualified plans” would likely cost. An individual who earns $44,000 will need to pay $7,300 a year -- 17% of their pre-tax income. A family earning $102,000 will need to pay $20,300 -- 20% of its pre-tax income. That will go over like a lead balloon.

But the public option or the exchanges will save us right? Actually, no. According to the CBO the public plans “would typically have premiums that are somewhat higher than the average premiums” for private plans.
• Options? You Don’t Need No Stinking Options
Under Section 303, the bill appears to provide for three options -- basic, enhanced and premium levels. But those levels refer only to the co-pays and deductibles (and you thought those would go away?). The plans themselves will be “one size fits all” in terms of coverage.
• The Jail Thing
The House Joint Committee on Taxation has confirmed that Pelosi can send you to prison if you don’t get coverage. Anyone who does not get acceptable health insurance coverage and who refuses to pay the fine (2.5% of income) is subject to a fine of $250,000 and imprisonment up to five years -- about what you get for armed robbery.

Interestingly, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-FascismLand) notes that: “There’s just going to be some people who choose rather to pay the fine than to pay for health care. There’s going to be some people that just philosophically don’t want to buy health care.” And if they don’t, we make them political prisoners. . . for the good of the American Volk!
• The Uninsurable Problem
The biggest supporters of this bill are the five million uninsurable Americans who think they’re going to be covered. But they’ve just learned that they need to wait six months to be considered uninsurable. Said the American Cancer Society, “if you are a cancer patient and have cancer now, you can’t wait six months to go into a plan because your condition can go from bad to death.”

Moreover, they won’t be able to afford their insurance. PelosiCare lumps these people into pools with other uninsurables, which pools are supposed to be self-sustaining. Translated into English, your premiums will be thousands of dollars a month.

To cut this cost, the Democrats have allocated just $5 billion dollars. That works out to $1,000 subsidy per participant over a ten year period -- less than $10 a month. Any chance that’s all it takes to help pay for someone with an uninsurable condition? And if that’s all it takes, why not just get Sally Struthers to beg rich foreigners for $10 a month. . . “33 cents a day can change a life.”
• The Funding Problem
Even leaving aside who the Democrats plan to tax to pay for this -- currently an impassable point of contention between the House and Senate -- this bill contains a bizarre contradiction: it relies on people refusing to participate to pay for the bill. Indeed, the House assumes that millions of Americans will rather pay the fine than buy the health care, to the tune of $167 billion. If these people fool us and sign up for the bill, this money vanishes. Chaos ensues.
• The End of Medicare As You Know It
The bill also cuts $500 billion from Medicare, a program that already bankrupts doctors. But what’s worse, the bill fundamentally changes the way Medicare works by allowing Pelosi to dictate your treatment decisions.

Section 1302 of the bill introduces something called a “medical home,” which is euphemism speak for an HMO. Right now Medicare lets you choose your own doctor and the doctor is paid for each service provided. This new plan requires primary care providers to determine whether or not you can see specialists or get specific tests. The CBO says these medical homes will resemble “unpopular gatekeepers of 20 years ago.”
• Interest Group Payoffs
Finally, the bill is crawling with giveaways to left wing interests. For example, Section 299V gives money to community groups. Section 222 provides reimbursement for culturally and linguistically appropriate services. ¿Qué es eso? And Sections 2521 and 2533 establish racial and ethnic preferences in nurse training.
4. Democrats Exposed
This has all the makings of a pyrrhic victory. How pyrrhic? To give Pelosi her moment in the sun (not literally of course, because that would kill her. . . but figuratively), the Democrats have now exposed themselves to the American people.

The public hates this bill. Poll after poll shows support dropping like a stone in a lake -- 42% at last check. And the elections in Virginia and New Jersey demonstrated the level of anger the public holds. Even Owens in New York had to promise to oppose PelosiCare to get elected, a promise he promptly broke.

With this vote, the public now sees the Democratic Party laid out in all of its public-ignoring, healthcare-system-seizing, petty-tyrannical glory. Leftist bastards. There is no hiding anymore. No one who voted for this monster can claim to be a moderate. . . and, best of all, they exposed themselves for the sake of a bill that will never pass!

And let’s not forget the “Blue Dogs” who voted against this thing. They aren’t blameless. They could have stopped this thing long ago on numerous procedural votes. They also could have joined with Republicans to create real reform. . . but they didn’t. They are as complicit in this assault on America as if they had loaned Pelosi the crowbar.

Moreover, their vote was nothing but self-preservation. Of the 39 Democrats who voted against the bill, 31 represent (and I use that term loosely) districts that voted for Old Man McCain over Menthol Smooth B. Obama. Of the remaining eight, three are freshmen who defeated Republicans in 2008. One Democrat, Rep. Betsy Markey (D-FingerInTheWind) only voted “no” after it was clear the Democrats had the votes to pass the bill.

So in the end, while the left trumpets this as a victory, this could well turn out to be the most pyrrhic victory in the history of pyrrhic victories.


JG said...

Good breakdown. I was encouraged by the vote result the sense that the bill barely squeaked by. In the subsequent votes, I see the scale tipping even more in our favor.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I see it pretty much the same way. It's a declaration of war on American taxpayers, and the sleazy maneuvering to get an abortion amendment into a bill that won't make it to the presidential desk anyway was just a cheap (but clever) political ploy. They'll put paid abortion back in the final version anyway. I see it as comparable to the Somali pirates firing a shot across the bow of the USS Ronald Reagan. Like putting lipstick on a pig, it doesn't fool anyone, and it irritates the pig (thank you, Abraham Lincoln).

Nancy Pelosi has just declared the great Democratic Pyrrhic Victory.

Joel Farnham said...


The Internet wasn't even a dream in 1994 when the conservatives took back the party and Congress. Now, with the Internet, the conservatives have the Information that the Democrat Party as it is constituted now totally refuses to listen to the people. Back then, it was just the attempt. This time they actually voted on it.

I have the distinct feeling, the Democrats are now saying, "Oh my, what have we done? "


AndrewPrice said...

JG, Thanks! I was encouraged too that it was so close, especially since Pelosi didn't solve any of the problems before forcing through this vote.

If she wasn't so insane, she would have gotten a consensus among Democrats and this would be a very different story. But that's not her style. Good for us!

It will be interesting to see if the Senate puts this to a vote. And if they do, if they can come anywhere near the votes they need in the House to pass the final version.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, You make a very good point. If the threat of HillaryCare was enough to wipe out the Democrats in the 1990s, this vote should be much worse -- especially since the Democrats have been busy demoralizing their base!

patti said...

there is good reason i read here: you guys offer an education on the issues like no other. well done, friend. will be linking soon...

CAPCHA: patie (eh, close enough!)

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I do like that quote from Lincoln. I think this will be interesting. If I'm right, then Pelosi may have just wiped out the Democratic Party. I guess we'll see.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Patti! :-) We try to do our best to be informative! Knowledge is power!

P.S. I liked your piece today too -- very inspiring!

Joel Farnham said...


One other thing, if the MSM thought the Tea Partiers were bad, they have yet to see anything. This will make the anger of the Tea Partiers seem like a quietly minor disagreement

As patti said. This isn't over. Not by a long shot.

Tennessee Jed said...

Lieberman is great; lots of respect for him. Nice work, Andrew, a terrific summary. Blue Dogs are, like most of Congress, bonafide politicians who want their cake and eat it too. If I were running against a Blue Dog, I would go to my campaign manager (previously cited at this blog) on how to beat them; e.g. 30 second ads showing how they came up dry on procedurals.

Of course I live in a solid conservative Republican district mind you, but I'm just saying. . . .

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Jed, Glad you agree!

Interestingly, the AP just posted a story a little bit ago about this bill going nowhere in the Senate, and that Reid is now thinking of pushing the vote off to next year -- which will effectively kill it. The article started with:

"The glow from a health care triumph faded quickly for President Barack Obama on Sunday as Democrats realized the bill they fought so hard to pass in the House has nowhere to go in the Senate."

P.S. As I said before, I'd be happy to be your campaign manager!

AndrewPrice said...


I think you're right. The outrage on this one will be huge -- not just on the right, but in the middle too.

And the left will be entirely demoralized because they got nothing but false promises.

2010 is going to be very interesting!

Writer X said...

Thanks for breaking this down, Andrew. Knowing this, why do you think that the Blue Dogs, particularly the freshmen ones (I have three in my state) voted for this? Are they just not that smart? Did Pelosi threaten to arm wrestle them? This is what I don't get because politicians are usually so risk averse. What's in it for them to vote for something that will fail in the Senate?

BevfromNYC said...

1. What about Christian Scientists and others who eschew traditional or uncovered holistic medicine/treatment? Do you think they will be allowed to opt out without penalty?

2. I am not so hopeful. It has become apparent to me that our reps in Congress really DON'T care what we think. They will pass something just to win at all cost. My Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Obviously) went so far as to call anyone who disagreed with her "just noise" on her website. What politician insults constituents?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, People determined to do something that nobody wants dismiss the concerns of their constituents.

But keep in mind that you're also in a district that is probably heavily Democratic. The people who matter on this vote are in districts in places like Colorado or Alabama, districts where they barely hold a majority or don't even hold a majority.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X,

Most elections are decided by turn out. You need to do certain things to bring out your own base. You also try to do things that don't excite the opposing base.

I think that the ones who voted for believe that it is more important to keep their own side voting for them (which won't happen if they are accused of killing this thing) than they feared exciting the other side.

I also think that they thought they could explain it. I suspect that they have a strategy (which you will see when they begin trying to explain the bill) that outlines (1) how they had no choice but to vote for it, (2) how they did their best to make the bill palatable, (3) how what they voted on wasn't the final bill and they were promised a better bill out of the reconcilliation conference, and (4) how nobody could have known this thing wouldn't work.

I also think they hope that because nothing happens until 2013, that they can argue that "nothing bad has happened". And then when all hell breaks loose in 2013, they will argue that it wasn't the initial vote, it was the way it was implemented by HHS. Basically a blame deflection strategy.

But that won't work this time because the people are too involved in this one, i.e. they know too many of the details.

patti said...

thanks andrew. some days all we need is a reminder that we aren't alone in the fight.

AndrewPrice said...

You're welcome Patti. And it may sound trite, but we're all in this together!

Unknown said...

WriterX: I think we can also attribute a bit of chidish foolilshness to freshman Blue Dog Democrats. They haven't yet learned how their own left wing will sell them down the road as fast as look at them. Many were probably told that if the abortion amendment passed (which it did), then it would be "safe" to vote for the bill without repercussions. There's no fool like a young fool. Their constituents are not nearly so naive, having experienced the perfidy of everyone in the Obama administration and under San Fran Nan's wing.

Writer X said...

Thanks, Guys. The thing that continues to perplex me is that Blue Dogs like Harry Mitchell and Ann Kirkpatrick, who both represent largely conservative districts in Arizona, would make the career-ending decision to sign onto this Bill if it doesn't have a chance in the Senate. To Andrew's point, we're already seeing something of their lame explanations: "Inaction is not an option" which Harry continued to use throughout the summer or my fav from Kirkpatrick, "I promised the seniors in my district cheaper prescription meds." Huh?

Time will tell in 2010. And I really hope this Bill dies a painful death in the Senate.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, We'll see if anyone buys that, but I doubt it.

In any event, I think it's important that people call them on these arguments -- we can't let them get away with trying to shift responsibility for their vote.

If you hear any polling results on the races in Arizona, please let us know!

Individualist said...


What of the previous threats by Reid to take some unrelated bill that was passed and tack on the Health Care Bill as an ammedment thus only requiring 50 votes (Biden trumping ties I imagine).

Is the strategy to just pass this thing so that by next election cycle the damage is done and in 2013 when it takes effect and they are out of office the Dems can blame Republicans for runing it since they are in "charge" now.

The lack of caring for being honest with the people is evident in this lot. What stops them. I am not so confident they won't find a way to still screw up the country, it's the only thing they are good at.

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, To attach this to an older bill requires closure vote now. That's what they were trying to do when the doctor pay of issue blew up in their face. The idea was "vote for this insignficicant procedural issue now while no one is looking so that you don't have to support the bill later." But that didn't pan out when people caught on before they could vote.

I think they are hoping that if they pass it now, their voters will turn out to protect them in 2010, and then if things go wrong in 2013, they can blame a whole host of people other than themselves for voting for it. The argument will be "I voted for a good bill, HHS screwed it up in the way they implemented it."

Individualist said...



I have a feeling they think the angst of the Tea Party movement will wane if the issue is voted on and done with.

Do you really think this gets killed in the senate. After all we'd need democrats to filibuster it. I can smell the musty cigars in the backrooms where the deals are cut as we speak. I'd have been happier if they were still arguing about it.

AndrewPrice said...


Obviously, I don't know exactly how this will play out. And whether or not they can find a compromise that gets them to a vote, I don't know because I don't know what they're willing to offer or accept.

That said, I think what Pelosi did makes this harder because she raised the danger level for Senators if they make a mistake. This was a declaration that if the Senate moves forward, they will need to match her extremism.

By the same toke, she simultaneously made the Senate vote more pointless because it's less likely that a deal can be struck that satisfies everyone in the Senate AND everyone in the House.

That makes a vote in the Senate less likely. In fact, in the end, she may simply have offered up the House as a test case, with the Senate waiting to see what happens to them in 2010 before proceeding.

And if they do get a Senate vote, and they prevail, they still need to solve the problems that they just pushed off this time -- with Pelosi having no room for error.

So if I had to put money on it, I think the entire endeavor will fall apart and they'll pass some really small (but still expensive) bill right before the 2010 election.

BevfromNYC said...

I just think that we are being overconfident that this won't get out of the Senate. I promise you they will sign something by the end of the year. They must pass something. These are not adults we are dealing with. These are teenagers who will do it just to say they did! Hell, they don't even care what the legislation really is as long as they have something by the end of the year. Do you think they care what any of us think. These idiots wouldn't even delay for a hour out of respect for 13 dead soldiers killed in a domestic terrorist attack.

And I just don't trust that Lieberman is not going to cave at voting time. He had to make big promises to keep his seniority and this may be where he has to pay up. He can't be trusted anymore than McCain.

Obama will sign anything they put in front of him no matter what it is. He does not care what he has said in the past. He has proven over and over again that he will throw anyone under the bus who does not do what he wants or gets in his way and that includes the American people. Please forgive me if I don't share your optimism.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, It's not about optimism. I'm not sure if they will get something or not. What I've done is to outline the hurdles that they face. I don't know if they can overcome though, but right now, it doesn't look like they can. Yet, things can change -- and I never trust any politician to not sell us out.

Right now they have a House bill that can't actually pass the House if put to a final vote. Moreover, that bill is DOA in the Senate. And what it will take to get a bill through the Senate is DOA in the House. Those are serious problems. And I think that Pelosi's choice to force this through and declare victory, rather than work them out with all concerned before having a vote, has made these problems worse.

Her petulance has overcome whatever political sense she may have had. . . if any.

Do they need to do something? Yes. Do they need to do this? No. And when that becomes clear, I think they will choose the easier path and then declare victory. Could they ultimately go with this bill? Possibly, but right now, that's the long shot.

StanH said...

Let the games begin! The great Washington purge of 2010 is at hand! Spot on synopsis Andrew! You are all right this monstrosity is doomed in the Senate. I still think that they will get something through to trumpet the Barry’s healthcare, as a success, but with many changes.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Stan. I also think they'll get something, but I doubt it will be this or even the Baucus Bill. I just hope that people keep up the pressure.

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew & Bev, I just finished an interesting assessment by Jeff Anderson at N.R.O. although I happened to access it through Real Clear Politics' site.

In a nutshell, he is pretty close to your thinking Andrew; any senate bill is now harder, and if eventually passed, will not look anything like the House version.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, It's good to hear that others see this the same way. I really think this is a case of Pelosi's ego getting her to do something counter-productive. A better politician would have paid more attention to getting her ducks in a row before forcing a vote.

If this bill fails, it will be interesting to see if she gets any blame for it, or if the left will take it out on Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats?

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