Friday, January 28, 2011

Sen. Johnson's Health Care Gamble

I'm actually surprised that this hasn't recieved more attention, but this weekend Sen. Johnson was on Mike Gousha's show fielding questions about the passage of a potential Obamacare repeal bill in the Senate this term. Here's what he said:
“My guess if we actually held a vote is you might be surprised how many Democrats just might join Republicans and vote to repeal,” Johnson said.
It's important to parse words here. Johnson qualifies his statement with an "if" because he knows repeal is never coming to a vote. The GOP needs 13 Dem defections just to break a likely filibuster that would prevent a vote and they're not going to get that. Of the 24 senators that are up for re-election in 2012 only Sen. Manchin hasn't done any of the heavy lifting that actually passed the law in the first place. Everyone else is on the hook and risks looking like a flip-flopper.

So, no, there will probably be no Democrats join Republicans to repeal the bill.

What's more is that the GOP might actually have more to lose should the repeal bill make it's way to the Senate floor. While Johnson was chatting with Gousha, Sen. Chuck Schumer was on Face the Nation explaining just what kind of shit show that would look like:
On CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Schumer, a New York Democrat, applauded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for "wisely" saying he would not bring the repeal bill to the floor.

But he added that if the repeal measure did come up, Democrats would force a vote on every individual provision in the health care bill - including those provisions which many Americans (and some Republicans) have publicly supported.

"Mitch McConnell has the right to offer an amendment," Schumer said of the Senate Minority Leader, who has vowed to force a vote on the repeal. "If he does, if the Republicans offer an amendment on the floor, then we will require them to vote on the individual protections in the bill that are very popular, and that even some of the new Republican House Members have said they support.

"Are Republicans going to vote 'no' on a provision to maintain the donut hole benefits so that seniors pay less for prescription drugs? Are they going to vote against the ability of 21- to 26-year-olds to stay on their parents' health care? Are they going to vote to repeal … the free check-ups that seniors on Medicare get which save billions of dollars in prevention?" Schumer asked CBS' Bob Schieffer.
That would change the equation dramatically and force Johnson to support or reject very specific policies instead of just continuing to blast the nebulous umbrella of "Obamacare."

Johnson seems animate about getting people on the record about ACA:
Freshman Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, of Oshkosh, said it is important for the Senate to vote to put supporters of repeal and those against it on record."The passing of Obamacare is the single greatest assault on our freedom in my lifetime," Johnson said. "It will destroy our health care system. We simply cannot afford Obamacare."
That kind of rhetoric cuts both ways. Johnson's entire career as a Senator hinges on repealing ACA. If four or five years from now Obamacare is still the law of the land then Johnson will look like a pretty piss poor defender of freedom. That's a huge gamble to make. Legislation is hard to pass for numerous reasons, but one of frequently ignored consequences of that fact is that it's equally hard to repeal.

1 comment:

Stew said...

I have no idea about the maneuverings of getting a bill passed and all that,makes my brain boil just imagining it. BUT here's a couple related thoughts ~

IN newspaper and blog comments (and also the insane rantings of conservative mouthpieces) I see PLENTY of remarks mocking the 21-26 year olds staying on their parents policy, "make the pampered Libs kids WORK and stop watching cartoon network on their parent's couches" etc. So it seems to me that a lot of people actually ADMIRE really harsh stances on any of those individual bills.
(all taxes should go to the military and Wall Street, old and poor people should just lay dying int the streets) It just seems to me that there's a lot of people these days who get serious trouser tents over the suffering of others.
So I wonder if some of the Insane Clown Posse (the politicians, not the "hiphopduo") will hesitate to throw Grandma under the bus.

AND!!! Plenty of real life evidence around me that shows the Insurance Companies are gearing up while the Washington boys haggle. Rates are apparently going to go way up, and they are for sure finding as many ways as possible (often with employer's help) to drop people off workplace insurance if possible.
So if it takes years to enact a law, that gives the Evil-Doers all that time to have their masterminds and lawyers figure out ways around the law. By the time it's in place - we'll probably still be fucked. just in ways that no one realized would happen.
i.e. McCain-Feingold was supposed to be one thing, yet evil-bastards were able to morph everything so that it pretty much doesn't matter at all?
I wouldn't be surprised it after all the work of passing "obamacare" or whatever the real name is, after a few years, it will be castrated and we'll all by whimpering beggars covered in tumors lying on the side of the road while Rupert Murdock drives by in a golden limo.

but my guess is also that even if Party people desperately WANT Johnson to succeed, he's gonna have to run at top speed just to stay at the very back of the Republican pack. There's no spark there, so it's not too surprising maybe that even if it SHOULD be "news" he gets repeatedly passed over.