By Conn Carroll
This morning just after 7 AM EST, the United States Senate passed, again on a straight party-line vote, President Barack Obama’s health insurance bill. Originally scheduled for a 9 PM vote tonight, the bill’s Senate passage is a welcome Christmas gift for a beleaguered White House. However, as the First Family jets off for Hawaii, the American people, liberals, moderates, and conservatives are all saying this bill is closer to a lump of coal in their stocking than real health care reform.
The American Public Does Not Want This Bill: When the American people first turned their attention to President Obama’s health care plan, bare majorities of the American public told pollsters they supported his health care reform plan. But as the debate wore on, and the American people looked past the rhetoric and examined the details of Obama’s proposal, support for the legislation steadily declined. By mid July, more Americans opposed than supported the plan. Now that the House and Senate have both approved separate versions of the bill, strong majorities of Americans now oppose Obama’s plan.
The Left Does Not Consider This Bill Real Reform: We have already documented the strong opposition figures like former-Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have to what has come out of the Senate. But now powerful members of the House of Representatives, Democrats with actual votes in Congress, are also voicing their strong objections to the Senate bill. House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) wrote on op-ed for CNN yesterday including: “[U]nder the Senate plan, millions of Americans will be forced into private insurance company plans, which will be subsidized by taxpayers. That alternative will do almost nothing to reform health care but will be a windfall for insurance companies. Is it any surprise that stock prices for some of those insurers are up recently? … Supporters of the weak Senate bill say ‘just pass it — any bill is better than no bill.’ I strongly disagree — a conference report is unlikely to sufficiently bridge the gap between these two very different bills. It’s time that we draw the line on this weak bill and ask the Senate to go back to the drawing board. The American people deserve at least that.”
Moderates Are Disgusted by This Bill: Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), who voted for the House version of Obamacare after getting Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to take taxpayer funding of abortion out of the bill, tells National Review Online: “This shouldn’t be a bill where you use hush money. This isn’t an appropriations bill where you try to get the best projects for your state. … I’ve spoken with a half-dozen members in the last 48 hours, and they’re all really concerned with the Senate bill. We all agree: We’ve lost our objective with health care. Where you live should have nothing to do with the quality or cost of your coverage.”
Conservatives Want Real Reform: Detailing the increased health costs, the trillions in new spending, the billions in new taxes, the loss of Americans’ current health insurance, and the damage it would do to our national debt, Heritage’s health care team concludes their analysis of the Senate bill: “The Senate bill would impose enormous costs on the American people, totaling at least $2.5 trillion for the first 10 years. After the first 10 years, as costs escalated, Congress would need to impose additional major tax increases and impose major cuts in benefits to pay for this health care agenda. The American people want and need health reform, but the Senate bill is clearly not what they have in mind.”
Do not let this Christmas Eve Senate disaster get you down. There is still hope Obamacare will be stopped. The White House is already downplaying expectations, telling selected media outlets that negotiations between the House and Senate over their major policy differences may slip into February. Considering the House is not back in session till January 12th, the Senate till January 18th, and that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will need at least a weak to score the bill, the American people will have plenty of time to educate themselves further. So take heart: today’s Christmas Eve vote may just be Obamacare’s high water mark.
By Conn Carroll