Health Policy Update: The Battle [Behind Closed Doors] Continues. You may have noticed that White House officials have started talking a lot about banking reform and economic recovery. There’s a reason for that: the unpopularity of government-run health care.
Don’t Be Fooled! NCPA President Dr. John Goodman was exactly right in his recent Health Alert when he wrote, “Democrats will not try to go into the fall election empty-handed.” On Capitol Hill, health care negotiations continue unabated. Consider the following:
- Fact #1: The Senate Doesn’t Have to Vote Again on Health Care. The Senate approved government-run health in its now-infamous Christmas Eve vote. The only thing preventing government-run health care is the Pelosi-led House of Representatives.
- Fact #2: House Moderates Want Safety. Voter ire has moderate House Democrats fearful. While at the moment they want to stop talking about health care, at some point House moderates will have to decide whether to pass legislation and defend it before the voters or abandon it and apologize for the colossal waste of time. Pelosi will make the case to House moderates that the safest course is to show strength, not contrition.
- Fact #3: House Liberals Want Change. Months of delay have liberal House Democrats feeling betrayed. Despite Senate foot-dragging, they know that they’re closer than ever before to realizing the dream of government-run health care. Pelosi will make the case to House liberals that the wisest course is to cut a deal with the Senate.
- Fact #4: The Senate Can Pass a Clean-Up Measure with 51 Votes. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid holds an ace up his sleeve: a reconciliation vote. If the House passes the Senate version of government-run health care, the Senate could subsequently pass separate, modifying legislation with only 51 votes. All it takes for that plan to work is Pelosi convincing House moderates that it’s safe and House liberals that it’s wise.
LET’S FINISH THE FIGHT! We’ve come along way together in the last eight months and for the first time we’ve got a fighting chance to stop government-run health care. We didn’t start this fight, but now it’s time for us to finish it. Here’s how:
- The First Punch: Contact the Stupak Supporters. Sixty-four House Democrats supported the Stupak (abortion) amendment – legislation that doesn’t exist in the Senate version and is unlikely to make it through on reconciliation. As such, these House members might vote against government-run health care if convinced.
- The Shot to the Body: Write the Disloyal Opposition. Sixteen House Democrats opposed the overall bill but voted for it on partisan lines. They’re ripe for well-placed letters, phone calls, emails and member visits.
- The Knock-Out Blow: Collar the Blue Dogs. Eleven House Democrats are self-described moderates. While they supported the bill during Round 1, Round 15 is getting close-and they may be ready for a change we can believe in.