Elspeth Reeve at The Atlantic with a round-up. Reeve:
House Republicans will vote to repeal the health care law Wednesday–a vote widely expected to go nowhere, because the Senate won’t pass repeal, and if it did, President Obama would repeal it. But is the vote more than symbolic? It certainly won’t be the last we hear of the health care debate, The New York Times’ David M. Herszenhorn and Robert Pear report. Not by a long shot. Lawmakers will be fighting for the next two years over the government’s proper role in the health care system, and so will 2012’s presidential candidates.
The House began debating repeal Tuesday. Republicans argue that the Congressional Budget Office is underestimating the future cost of the law. Democrats say the CBO might be overestimating the price tag, because the law is meant to improve the delivery of care and thus slow the growth of its expense. Another major point of contention is whether the law will create or destroy jobs.
Andrew Stiles at The Corner:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) continues to challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) to take up the Republican repeal of health care reform in the Senate once it (presumably) passes the House, where a vote is currently scheduled for 6:30 this evening.
“We have [s]aid that we are going to be a results driven Congress,” Cantor told reporters this morning. “So I have a problem with the assumption here that somehow the Senate can be a place for legislation to go into a cul-de-sac or a dead-end.”
“The American people deserve a full hearing,” he continued. “Let’s see the votes.”
Reid has said he has no plans to bring repeal to the Senate floor, in part because it has no hope of passing. Cantor has urged the Democratic leader to put his money where his mouth is. “If Harry Reid is so confident that the repeal vote should die in the Senate, then he should bring it up for a vote, if he’s so confident he’s got the votes,” Cantor said Tuesday.
The conventional wisdom (i.e. the consensus of wishful-thinking, generally liberal elite opinion makers) is that it then goes nowhere. But don’t be so sure. Senate leadership advisers tell me there is always a way, through amendments and other procedural efforts, to get votes. They point out that filibusters also can be mounted. That is precisely why filibuster reform is going nowhere.
The Republican Senate leadership does not expect any Senate Democrats to flip sides on the vote for an out-and-out repeal. The consolation prize is that Democratic senators such as Jim Webb, Claire McCaskill, Ben Nelson and Bill Nelson will have to defend those votes in 2012.
On votes on discrete issues, there is a high likelihood that some provisions — e.g. the massive paperwork burdens on business — will draw Democratic votes. Likewise, there may be difficult votes for Democrats on everything from Medicare Advantage to the individual mandate.
Red state Democrats up for re-election in 2012 will have a very tough time of it — back the president or help their own re-election prospects? And as this goes on, the House will be holding hearing after hearing on ObamaCare to, in Nancy Pelosi’s words, find out what is in it.
For reasons I can’t quite fathom, progressives have decided that one of the big stories this week should be whether or not Speaker Boehner will change the name of the “Repealing The Job Killing Health Care Law Act”. Apparently, “job killing” is now verboten speech, lest some barely-hinged right winger mistake a Democrats for a job and kill…wait…mistake a Democrat for Obamacare and…
…okay, I’m baffled here. I don’t know why this is a story except that it involves the word “killing”, which is violent rhetoric, and violent rhetoric is wrong.
To Boehner’s credit, he toyed around with a few alternate phrasings, such as “job crushing” and “job destroying”, but they didn’t send the requisite tingle down Chris Matthews leg so he went back to the original name.
However, I am in possession of a super secret, ultra-classified list of names the GOP had considered to replace the “Repealing The Job Killing Health Care Law Act”. At the risk of running afoul of Dick Cheney’s Haliburton Ninja Death Squads, I will share them with you now.
5) The “We’re Not Going to Grind Gramma Into An Edible but Nutritious Slurry Act”.
4) The “Sarah Was Right; There Really Are Death Panels Act”.
3) The “Dear God in Heaven, What Were We Thinking Act”.
2) The “We’re In Charge, So How Do You Like Us Now Act”.
1) The “Happy Cuddle Puppies Nuzzle Wuzzle Act”.
I’m glad they stuck with the original.
Philip Klein at The American Spectator:
Of all the arguments liberals have been making during the health care debate, among the most tenuous is the idea that Republican members of Congress who accept government sponsored health insurance are being hypocrites for favoring repeal of government-sponsored health insurance for other Americans. Today, bloggers over at Think Progress post what they evidently think is a clever video of them challenging Republican members to explain why they accept government health care benefits.
The explanation for this is quite simple. Most Americans receive their health insurance through their employers, and members of Congress are employees of the government. Hence, the government helps pay for their coverage.
To extend the logic being used by liberals would mean that if Democrats were to propose a law in which the federal government sends $100,000 checks to every lower-income American, any Republican members who still collected their salaries would be hypocrites for opposing it.
Peter Suderman at Reason:
Here’s Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s latest defense of the administration’s health care overhaul: If it were repealed, according to the headline from an HHS press release yesterday, “129 million Americans with a pre-existing condition could be denied coverage.” That’s roughly half of all Americans under 65 who might “be at risk of losing health insurance when they need it most, or be denied coverage altogether,” according to the release.
Or maybe it’s a little less. OK, perhaps even a lot less. The release quickly qualifies the headline estimate to indicate that it may be that as few as 50 million Americans—just 19 percent of the non-elderly population, rather than half—under 65 have “some type of pre-existing condition,” which apparently means everything from cancer to high blood pressure. It’s all rather hard to pin down, you see. 50 million. 129 million. It’s somewhere in there. With precision estimates like these, you know they’ve got the goods.
Fine. 50 million is still a big number. Should we seriously worry that almost 20 percent of Americans will lose their health coverage without the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?
Not really. As the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon points out, a 2001 study by none other than HHS noted that only 1 percent of Americans have ever been denied health coverage for any reason. And according to a just-published study in the health policy journal Health Affairs, “the fraction of nonelderly uninsured persons…who would be rated as actuarially uninsurable is generally estimated to be very small, less than 1 percent of the population.”
Scott Johnson at Powerline:
Putting Obamacare out of its misery is the critical mission that must be carried out be Republicans in the coming years. It seems to me to raise in a profound form the question Lincoln asked regarding Douglas’s professed indifference to slavery: “I ask you in all soberness, if all these things, if indulged in, if ratified, if confirmed and endorsed, if taught to our children, and repeated to them, do not tend to rub out the sentiment of liberty in the country, and to transform this Government into a government of some other form.” The form of the question suggests that the answer is yes, as I believe it to be in both cases.
In “Buck up and stop Obamacare,” Dr Milton Wolf asserts: “Obamacare has become ground zero in the fight for America’s future.” And that’s the spirit in which the task of killing Obamcare must be approached.