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How Reform Bill(s) Could Become Law

By Ben Pershing
If yesterday's health-care narrative was all about message, today's is focused on legislative tactics, not about selling a reform bill but the mechanics of getting one passed.

The Wall Street Journal writes, "The White House and Senate Democratic leaders, seeing little chance of bipartisan support for their health-care overhaul, are considering a strategy shift that would break the legislation into two parts and pass the most expensive provisions solely with Democratic votes." Under that scenario, Democrats would move a big chunk of their bill under reconciliation, which would only require 51 votes to pass. The Journal pegs the chance of that happening at an oddly specific 60 percent. But are leaders really that serious about this idea, or is it another threat designed to increase pressure on Republicans and moderate Democrats? The Washington Post reports leaders "have not, however, stepped up preparations to draft a Democratic bill or to use ... reconciliation" to get a measure through. Politico notes President Obama "would face a minefield of obstacles under the reconciliation process because opponents could strike anything from the bill that the Senate parliamentarian deems not directly related the budget."

Perhaps instead of two bills, Democrats just need to move a smaller bill. Chuck Grassley told the Post that after seeing so much anger at town-hall meetings, he believes "lawmakers should consider drastically scaling back the scope of the effort." Kaiser Health News says that many experts agree with Grassley that "Democrats will have to scale back the cost and scope of the legislation to get something through Congress this year." Obama, meanwhile, said Wednesday that passing health-care reform was ""a core ethical and moral obligation." He will attempt to reach two different audiences on health care today, reaching out to conservatives through Michael Smerconish's radio show before preaching to the choir a bit at an Organizing for America rally.

Continue reading at Political Browser »

Posted at 8:36 AM ET on Aug 20, 2009  | Category:  The Rundown
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The GAO is the agency that reports the medicare fraud. They are nonpartisan.


People blame the insurance companies for higher prices, but notice the higher medical costs hit medicare too.

Does all the money from H.R. 3200 go to insurance for those not on medicare, or does some of it go to medicare? More to the point, if it has a different cost structure then medicare, a more flexible cost structure, then medicare costs can be pushed onto the exchange via cost-shifting. Much like they are pushed on to private insurance now. The middle class will pick up most of the bill, as that is how H.R. 3200 is structured now.


"The share of Medicare costs that is financed by general revenues is rising, for several reasons. Medicare costs have been growing faster than the economy for some time and are projected to continue doing so, largely because of rising costs throughout the entire U.S. health care system, both public and private.(CBPP)"


Posted by: matthewsp1 | August 20, 2009 5:04 PM
McLean, Virginia -- I worked in the Medicare Bureau for years, designing advanced software. Medicare has been a unique success. It is highly efficient, and helps millions of disabled and elderly Americans. Millions of us have seen the benefits of this program.

Those Republicans who pretend that "Medicare is going broke," or that it is inefficient, just don't get it. Not only that, they just don't care.

I saw my grandmother die of heart trouble the year before Medicare was enacted. If she had had Medicare coverage, she would have been alive for some years afterward.

Those who disparage and belittle the worth of the federal Medicare program are hatemongers. Ignorance is no excuse.

Posted by: win1 | August 20, 2009 11:00 PM

McLean, Virginia -- I worked in the Medicare Bureau for years, designing advanced software. Medicare has been a unique success. It is highly efficient, and helps millions of disabled and elderly Americans. Millions of us have seen the benefits of this program.

Those Republicans who pretend that "Medicare is going broke," or that it is inefficient, just don't get it. Not only that, they just don't care.

I saw my grandmother die of heart trouble the year before Medicare was enacted. If she had had Medicare coverage, she would have been alive for some years afterward.

Those who disparage and belittle the worth of the federal Medicare program are hatemongers. Ignorance is no excuse.

Paul Matthews

Posted by: matthewsp1 | August 20, 2009 5:04 PM

If we let the government run our healthcare it will be another failure. They can’t run Medicare now and you want them to run everyone’s healthcare? That is so silly. This is nothing but another power grab by the Obama Administration. Just like the reports of a media consulting firm with ties to White House senior strategist David Axelrod has been hired to produce a multi-million dollar ad campaign touting the Obama administration's health care overhaul. How much corruption are we going to let happen before we stop it? Just like the Cash for Clunkers bill, how is getting Americans to turn in cars that are paid off and working fine helping Americans bottom line? This program is going to do the same thing as it did in the mortgage crisis and get people who can’t afford to buy something making payments that they were not making before.
This is the same thinking and policy making that decided that after a mortgage mess that the thing to do is offer people 8K to buy houses. How is that going to help? You are just tempting people to buy things that they can’t afford. Isn’t this how our economy got in this predicament anyway? We need to elect leaders that can make decisions and write legislation that makes since. Not dream up a cockamamie scam to stimulate the economy, not wreck it. It is time to elect leaders that have brains and that are not under the thumb of special interest and lobbyist. By the way, ask yourself this question..Why isn’t the Obama administrations putting the same effort that they are putting into the healthcare take over to putting Americans back to work? He did promise that he would do that. What is more important to you?
VOTE FOR REAL CHANGE!! ELECT A NEW CONGRESS IN 2010!!
http://www.showusobama.com/

Posted by: mongo9584 | August 20, 2009 12:44 PM

"...Chuck Grassley told the Post that after seeing so much anger at town-hall meetings, he believes "lawmakers should consider drastically scaling back the scope of the effort."

Senator, you knew that the bill allowed patients to consult their doctor without being denied coverage by their government or corporate rules. You knew it when you opened your mouth and said something totally warped and perverse at a Town Hall.

And now, citing the public anger you helped gin up, you calmly announce that the way to pass reform is to eliminate reform.

That's just evil.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | August 20, 2009 11:41 AM

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