As is traditional for attempts at theft, the House version of health care reform passed in the dead of night. The way was cleared for the passage of health care reform after the Stupak Amendment banned funding for elective abortions.
The vote count for the House version of health care reform was very narrow, 220 for, 215 against. All but one Republican, he being Joseph Cao of Louisiana, voted against the health care reform bill. Thirty nine Democrats also voted against the House version of health care reform.
The spectacle of the House passing a health care bill over the objections of the majority of the American people cannot be over emphasized. Unprecedented numbers of phone calls, emails, and letters had poured into Congress urging that the health care bill be voted down. Thursday, a protest had taken place on the steps of the Capitol, attended by as many as twenty thousand people, chanting, “Kill the bill!”
The degree of arm twisting and leg breaking that took place behind closed doors by Nancy Pelosi and the House leadership may never be fully documented. What is pretty clear are the depths of contempt that House Democrats have for the American people, especially the majority who opposed the health care bill. According to the New York Times:
“Mr. Obama, during his private pep talk to Democrats, recognized Mr. Owens election and then posed a question to the other lawmakers. According to Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who supports the health care bill, the president asked, ‘Does anybody think that the teabag, anti-government people are going to support them if they bring down health care? All it will do is confuse and dispirit’ Democratic voters ‘and it will encourage the extremists.'”
Think about the argument President Obama used behind closed doors. Voting down health care reform would only encouraged people who opposed it, which happens to be the majority of the American people, who are, after all, “tea bag”, “anti government”, and “extremists.”
The problem with the President’s somewhat nakedly political reasoning is that Democratic members in swing districts may not have been helped if health care reform had not passed the House, many of them will be, in effect, falling on their own political swords now that it has.
Some estimates of the cost of the House version of health care reform bill go as high as an extra three trillion dollars added to the deficit. Provisions to raise taxes, slash Medicare, and mandate that people buy health care insurance on pain of prison tucked away in the nearly two thousand pages of legislative jargon are at once mind numbing and blood chilling. As Congressman Kevin Brady said, it is as if the IRS and Medicare had mated and had a baby.
The bitter irony is that the health care reform debate now goes to the Senate, where a completely different bill is evolving. The narrow passage of health care reform in the House, along with the results of the 2009 elections, will weigh even heavier on the minds of wavering Democrats and fence sitters. If health care reform passes the Senate, and that is by no means certain, it will look nothing like the House version. Then would come the House Senate Conference and work on the real health care reform bill would begin.
Sources: Pelosicare Vote Coming Tonight, Allahpundit, Hot Air, November 7th, 2009
Lawmakers Detail Obama’s Pitch, Jackie Calmes, New York Times, November 7th, 2009
Gregg: CBO cost estimate of Pelosi Plan $3 trillion, Ed Morrissey, Hot Air, November 7th, 2009
PELOSI: Buy a $15,000 Policy or Go to Jail, Congressman David Camp, House Ways and Means Committee Republicans, November 6th, 2009
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX): “If the IRS and Medicare Had a Baby, It Would Look Like This” , Kevin Boland, House GOP Leader Blog, November 7th, 2009