It is a triumphant night for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the senior leadership of the Democratic Party. A deal was struck in the late afternoon, and pro-life Democrats provided the margin of victory (219 to 212) for the misnamed health care reform bill. There has never been a time in American history when such an unpopular major piece of legislation such as health care reform has become law by such a narrow and partisan margin. Speaker Pelosi used the same gavel which was last seen during the 1965 Medicare debate. The difference is that Medicare and Social Security were popular entitlement programs which had broad support from both parties. The intensity of the opposition (those who strongly oppose ObamaCare) has grown steadily, and 60% of independent voters are in opposition. The best analogy to what has happened would be the 1854 Kansas Nebraska Act, which seven years later resulted in the Civil War.
The argument frequently used by Democrats is based on the need for covering the uninsured, but that is not the health care system’s major problem. According to Robert Samuelson:
The big problem is uncontrolled spending, which prices people out of the market and burdens government budgets. Obama claims his proposal checks spending. Just the opposite. When people get insurance, they use more health services. Spending rises. By the government’s latest forecast, health spending goes from 17 percent of the economy in 2009 to 19 percent in 2019. Health “reform” would likely increase that. . .
Whatever their sins, insurers are mainly intermediaries; they pass along the costs of the delivery system. In 2009, the largest 14 insurers had profits of roughly $9 billion; that approached 0.4 percent of total health spending of $2.472 trillion. This hardly explains high health costs. What people need to know is that Obama’s plan evades health care’s major problems and would worsen the budget outlook. It’s a big new spending program when government hasn’t paid for the spending programs it already has.
Jimmy Carter’s pollster Pat Caddell was on Fox News on today and said the health-care bill is a “political Jonestown” for House Democrats. He said Speaker Pelosi’s insistence on forcing them to vote yes is akin to mass suicide, “The battle for public opinion has been lost. Never in my experience as a pollster can I recall such self-deluding misconstruction of survey data by Democrats.”
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) noted on June 18, 2010, “If you just pound it through on a partisan vote, you have people practically as soon as the ink is dry looking to have it repealed.” He was correct and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) are both pushing repeal bills, and they have 47 co-sponsors so far.