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Health care and the election

I'm pretty skeptical that the GOP's strategy to force Senate Democrats to take embarrassing votes on the reconciliation bill will mean much in the November elections. Most voters don't follow the minutiae of congressional procedure, but nor are they stone-cold idiots. An ad saying that "so-and-so voted against a bill to stop the government from covering Viagra for child molesters" isn't going to move many voters, though it may make whoever approved the message look bad. More realistically, the attacks that say Democrats voted to destroy Medicare are going to run into two problems: First, Democrats are more trusted on Medicare than Republicans. And second, that the health-care bill has a bunch of early deliverables in Medicare, including free preventive care visits and a $250 rebate for seniors who fall into the doughnut hole.

Which gets to the Democrats' counter-strategy. The immediate benefits in health-care reform are pretty small compared with the eventual impact of the bill. But they sound good to voters. Nancy-Ann DeParle put up a list of them at the White House's blog, and this is probably the list that's going to go out to every Democratic candidate in the country. I've copied it below the fold. But before getting to that point, I'll make a prediction: If the election is about health-care reform, Democrats are going to do much better than expected. They're simply more trusted than Republicans on that subject, and they can make a more concrete argument. But if the election is about the unemployment rate, or the bailouts, or trying terrorists in civilian courts, Republicans are in better shape.

Anyway, here's DeParle's memo:

Let's start with how health insurance reform will expand and strengthen coverage:

* This year, children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance coverage. Once the new health insurance exchanges begin in the coming years, pre-existing condition discrimination will become a thing of the past for everyone.
* This year, health care plans will allow young people to remain on their parents' insurance policy up until their 26th birthday.
* This year, insurance companies will be banned from dropping people from coverage when they get sick, and they will be banned from implementing lifetime caps on coverage. This year, restrictive annual limits on coverage will be banned for certain plans. Under health insurance reform, Americans will be ensured access to the care they need.
* This year, adults who are uninsured because of pre-existing conditions will have access to affordable insurance through a temporary subsidized high-risk pool.
* In the next fiscal year, the bill increases funding for community health centers, so they can treat nearly double the number of patients over the next five years.
* This year, we'll also establish an independent commission to advise on how best to build the health care workforce and increase the number of nurses, doctors and other professionals to meet our country's needs. Going forward, we will provide $1.5 billion in funding to support the next generation of doctors, nurses and other primary care practitioners -- on top of a $500 million investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Health insurance reform will also curb some of the worst insurance industry practices and strengthen consumer protections:

* This year, this bill creates a new, independent appeals process that ensures consumers in new private plans have access to an effective process to appeal decisions made by their insurer.
* This year, discrimination based on salary will be outlawed. New group health plans will be prohibited from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that discriminate in favor of higher-wage employees.
* Beginning this fiscal year, this bill provides funding to states to help establish offices of health insurance consumer assistance in order to help individuals in the process of filing complaints or appeals against insurance companies.
* Starting January 1, 2011, insurers in the individual and small group market will be required to spend 80 percent of their premium dollars on medical services. Insurers in the large group market will be required to spend 85 percent of their premium dollars on medical services. Any insurers who don't meet those thresholds will be required to provide rebates to their policyholders.
* Starting in 2011, this bill helps states require insurance companies to submit justification for requested premium increases. Any company with excessive or unjustified premium increases may not be able to participate in the new health insurance exchanges.

Reform immediately begins to lower health care costs for American families and small businesses:

* This year, small businesses that choose to offer coverage will begin to receive tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums to help make employee coverage more affordable.
* This year, new private plans will be required to provide free preventive care: no co-payments and no deductibles for preventive services. And beginning January 1, 2011, Medicare will do the same.
* This year, this bill will provide help for early retirees by creating a temporary re-insurance program to help offset the costs of expensive premiums for employers and retirees age 55-64.
* This year, this bill starts to close the Medicare Part D 'donut hole' by providing a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the gap in prescription drug coverage. And beginning in 2011, the bill institutes a 50% discount on prescription drugs in the 'donut hole.'

By Ezra Klein  |  March 24, 2010; 12:43 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Midterms , Health Reform  
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Next: The Supreme Court, nominations and the individual mandate

Comments

I doubt there will be much change in public opinion before the mid-terms. If you hate this bill, you will hate it in November. And, if you love it, you'll continue to love it. Very few minds will change. But, it will be interesting to see if the 55% that think this is bad legislation will actually get off their butts and go to the polls. If they do, the Dems are in big trouble! Public opinion means nothing to Obama and the progressive left.....we'll see if it matters to John Q. Public!

visit: http://eclecticramblings.wordpress.com

Posted by: my4653 | March 24, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

So now then you know the genius of GOP Chairman Steele who is raising money for 'Nancy Bomb' along bone headed Bohner and McConnell who all are making Health Care as the main plank to contest the Nov election. (GOP also needs to change their language. All these words like 'bomb', 'Armageddon', 'Baby killer', 'bringing worst of others'; I am not sure all these phrases and war like language is any good here.)

It may be good ride for Democrats, but any time our Opposition Party wastes further their 'marbles' on HCR we Americans loose or get only one sided solutions for other problems.

As and when GOP picks up other issues, that will be good for all of us.

Posted by: umesh409 | March 24, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"If the election is about health-care reform, Democrats are going to do much better than expected . . . But if the election is about the unemployment rate, or the bailouts, or trying terrorists in civilian courts, Republicans are in better shape."

The election is going to be about all those things. I think independents (the kind that vote in midterms, anyway) may tend to vote more on the perceived job performance of the Democrats in the past two years, and they tend to be fickle folks.

But much of the election is going to come down to who has the more motivated base. And the Republican base is motivated on HCR, irrespective of the Democrat's credibility on the issue, and jobs and the bailouts and just about everything. So, unless there is a perception that the Republicans are wussing out and rolling over, they'll get the base. They will come out and vote come November.

The Democratic base may be more motivated now that HCR has passed, as I've always said the Democrats really need to pass HCR if they wanted to have a chance in November. However, independents (who seem to like everything their promised yet hate the process it takes to get there) seem to be warming up to the Republicans as November nears. So it's a good bet that the Republicans will pick up seats in November, and that they won't be trying to make the election about healthcare.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 24, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Also: "I'm pretty skeptical that the GOP's strategy to force Senate Democrats to take embarrassing votes on the reconciliation bill will mean much in the November election

This isn't about creating ad-fodder from November campaigns (except possibly in the reddest of red states). It's about throwing red meat out to the base, to show the tea partiers and formerly disaffected Republicans and rock-ribbed conservatives that, yes, they do indeed has some testicles. It's about pleasing the base now, and the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks of the world will let their listeners know which Republicans are exhibiting the biggest, brassiest cajones.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 24, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Once it became clear that the House would pass the Senate bill, the GOP should have stopped wasting its time with these stupid amendments. This is all red-meat, rile-up-the-base stuff that if anything will poison the atmosphere further. Democrats would be wise to trumpet 1) what they've accomplished, and 2) that the GOP's only goal is to waste time and take off early afternoons.

This strategy became a non-starter when the Democrats wisely declared victory in big fashion after the House vote, diverting media attention from the process to the actual law itself. Even the usually complacent media (which loves to cover hijinks instead of actual news) seems to understand that these are empty political maneuvers and that the Reconciliation bill is basically a sure thing.

Were they trying this sort of thing in the House, where everyone is up for a vote every 2 years and there are more people to keep in line, I could see empty maneuvers being more useful, but in the Senate the impact is much more limited.

If the Democrats learned anything from this past year, it should be that the media is very easily diverted from real news to the procedural equivalent of schoolyard fistfights and name calling. If they want to get anything done, they need to get the legislation through committee and then out to a vote fast, not wasting time with press conferences that open the floor to the GOP spreading misinformation. These "what the bill means for you" articles are the best coverage I've seen from the media on healthcare all year, but they've only come up now that the legislation's been passed.

Posted by: scotbrad | March 24, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I donated $100 as a congratulations gift at https://donate.barackobama.com/page/contribute/dnc08hvshirt?thankyou=signup
I'm looking forward to wearing the "Health Care Reform" t-shirt, with the Hope and Change logo, they will send me in return. I'm a retired Colorado homebuilder and have been around the block a few times. Although I'm a confirmed independent to maintain objectivity in the issues I am a solid supporter of President Obama and his agenda. My hope is as I wear the shirt I can engage in conversations with folks I meet about health care reform and share my insights - in particular, list the lies and hypocrisy that is running roughshod through the GOP/teabagger crowd. The bill is not perfect, Obama admits this, but it was shameful the way the GOP did the "waterloo dance" to "kill the bill". If I have any success they will pay a price for their anti-American, immoral tactics - which amount to nothing more than a naked grab for power.

Posted by: truthseeker13 | March 24, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Not quite true about children with pre-existing conditions. There's a big fat loophole:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100324/ap_on_bi_ge/us_health_overhaul_children_s_coverage_3

Posted by: uberblonde1 | March 24, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

My prophecy: HCR Law changes everything.

I think the Democrats will prevail in November and Republicans will come back chastised.

Posted by: ns3k | March 24, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

The primaries in IN, NC, and OH take place on 4-May, with AR, KY, OR, and PA following on 18-May. These primaries may provide some insight into voting behavior.

Regardless of the status of health legislation, and due solely to systemic factors, Republicans are likely to regain the Senate majority in 2014 (but probably not 2012). The House is a bit of a different story, but I still don't think health legislation is a major factor.

I do believe that the Court battles regarding health legislation will continue for many, many years to come: the legitimacy of the Medicaid Act of 1965 is still routinely questioned (with recent results typically being a reduction of program scope).

Posted by: rmgregory | March 24, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

This is a huge victory for President Obama and the Democrats. They won't lose one seat, mark my words.

Posted by: Acewrite | March 24, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

@Acewrite: "This is a huge victory for President Obama and the Democrats. They won't lose one seat, mark my words."

It's extremely rare for the incumbent party not to lose seats in a midterm election. Even if you ignore all the polling, and recent elections in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts, you're still faced with the fact that the incumbent party has lost seats in almost every mid-term election. FDR gained 9 house and 9 senate seats in 1934, but lost 77 seats in 1938. Then Clinton gained 5 seats (after losing 60 total) in1998. And W. gained 10 seats in 2002, right after 9/11. In every other midterm election since 1934, the incumbent party lost seats.

A huge victory for Obama motivates what has been, over the past few elections cycles, a disaffected Republican base. The idea that they won't lose a single seat of their near-historical majorities . . . well, I think it's wishful thinking, just as the thought that Democrats will get swept out and usher in Republican supermajorities in 2010. That's not happening either. Statistically, they are almost guaranteed to lose seats. They may not lost their majority status, but they will almost certainly lose some seats.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 24, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Well, business as usual for the ' party of NO ' . After spending the last year using all their energy attempting to defeat a vital health care bill millions of Americans desperately needed, that passed despite their efforts, rather than move on to other essential issues such as jobs, immigration, education, banking regulations, and world relationships, now the obsdtructionsis want to continue their defiance by spending millions
of more dollars in attempt to defy the health care bill, continue dividing Americans , and once again use all their time bringing down the Obama presidency. What great representation for all the non progressive states.
I just hope the states trying to protest from being part of the health are reform law, are allowed to pull out, and then in two years from now when they see how successful it is, they are no longer allowed to get access to any of the benefits.
One can understand why the Republicans are so opposed to progress, they haven't had any in eight long years.

Posted by: dylan915 | March 24, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm a registered Democrat, but I don't agree with Obamacare.
This bill was Not passed by the people of this country, the Majority are Against it.
This bill was passed only because Pelosi/Obama bribed and twisted Democrat's arms.
Be honest: They had trouble getting their own to vote for it.
We all know there are better solutions. I think the Democrats made the mistake with this bill, and now they have to live with it.

Posted by: ohioan | March 24, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey Ezra,
I wanted to ask if you knew if the White House has the above listing of new rules and allowances compiled with actual citations. This seems to be the hardest thing to get a hold of, and while few people would be able to read the law and correctly piece everything together, it definitely lends a bit of authority to those who are arguing for the administration's announcement if we have the page numbers to go along with it.

Posted by: LucasPattan | March 24, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"I doubt there will be much change in public opinion before the mid-terms. If you hate this bill, you will hate it in November. And, if you love it, you'll continue to love it. Very few minds will change. But, it will be interesting to see if the 55% that think this is bad legislation will actually get off their butts and go to the polls."

Well, could be, but the number of folks who oppose the recently passed legislation stands at 40% per the latest Gallup poll. This actually meshes well with your figure of 55% percent, about 14% of which thought the legislation didn't go far enough.

(Gallup split was 49/40/11 - +/-/0)

Posted by: antontuffnell | March 24, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Your column states that several provisions of the HCR bill take affect this year and next which will require expenditures by the Federal Government. However, the revenue-generating portions of the bill (Student Loans, taxing "cadillac" plans) won't take affect for several years.

In the meantime, will this increase the deficit, or will these expenditure be kept "off the books" becuase there "is a plan" to pay for them later?

Posted by: MDLaxer | March 24, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

For me, health care reform has always primarily been about providing universal coverage and secondarily about controlling costs. I found it discouraging that eliminating the unnecessary suffering of people lacking coverage never seemed to get discussed much. T.R. Reid, in his book on healthcare, tells the story of one such person who suffered and died unnecessarily from a curable condition. Studies report there are tens of thousands more in the richest country on earth who die each year because they lack health care coverage. Presumably there are many more who suffer unnecessarily for the same reason.

If I were creating ads for the next election to support a candidate who voted for health care reform, I would tell the stories of individual people who died or suffered unnecessarily from curable conditions due to the lack of health care -- have the parents or children of the person tell the story if possible -- then conclude by stating that because of the candidate's vote in favor of health care reform, such tragedies would never happen again. I think these would be powerfully effective.

Posted by: Natoman | March 24, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

TTTT, I'm not sure how Republicans are in a better position on Employment and jobs because from my recollection, wasn't it under Bush that we were launched into a huge recession?

Posted by: amesshawn | March 24, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I am an alcoholic. I've experienced addiction, as well as observed it and studied it a bit.

The Republicans are addicts.

They exhibit the same behaviors as other addicts: they know what they're doing is counter-productive; they know they're harming themselves.

If they keep doing it, they avoid facing reality.

If they stop doing it, they will have to face reality.

The pain of facing reality is too great. They are addicted to their behavior. They find it preferable to facing reality.

Posted by: theworm1 | March 24, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

@amesshawn: "wasn't it under Bush that we were launched into a huge recession?"

After two years, the incumbent party will own the recession, and the jobs picture, fairly or not.

If people were that granular in their voting that they pick out the folks responsible for the legislation and policies that contributed to the recession, they'd have to be after Barney Frank and Andrew Cuomo and Chris Dodd as well as George W. Bush and friends. Swing voters and independents will tend to judge the performance of the party in power by how things have been since the last election.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 24, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

It's certainly important to win elections. I don't know how the 2010 one is going to play out. But vventually the Dems are going to have to get serious about the tradeoffs and explain this to the American public. To have a more robust welfare state, taxes will have to increase. But that's ok, because a more robust welfare state will be better for everyone, except libertarian curmudgeons.

See my post on this for more info.

http://threews.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/historic-health-care-bill/

Posted by: weineroctopus | March 24, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh, apparently Joe Lieberman DOES like his job...

http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/03/lieberman-to-vote-for-reconciliaiton-fixes-in-the-senate.php?ref=fpb

Posted by: alexanderswill | March 24, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey Ezra, where did you get the fac t that Democcrats are more trusted in Medicare???
I would suggest that you get your head out of Obama's butt and start providing factual data for once in your sorry ass life

Posted by: brooklynborn1 | March 24, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Ezra is correct. Attacks on health care will be only be effective insofar as they are related to the economy at large (i.e. why did they spend so much time on this -- Washington is out of touch, where's the jobs?). The primary reason Democrats will lose seats this fall is the poor condition of the economy. To maximize their gains, Republicans should just say "jobs" a lot and point out that we are still losing jobs (or not gaining enough jobs) despite spending all this money on the stimulus. The vast majority of Americans in recent polling believe that exactly zero jobs were created by the stimulus (which is of course ridiculous to those of us that follow these things more carefully), and so Republicans can capitalize on that sentiment. Health care is much more even terrain for Democrats.

Posted by: vvf2 | March 24, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse


I think there's also a possibility of health care fatique and that running anti-HCR becomes the 2010 equivalent of running on Monica Lewinsky in '98. There might be a good argument that people don't show up to midterms based on year-old outrage.

Posted by: ThomasEN | March 24, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

All good things start SOMEWHERE - SOME TIME. It's here, it's now - it's a start - it's a good thing that is bound to get easier and better, as have all good, large issues (Social Security, Medcare, Civil Rights, etc.)Show patience naysayers...

Posted by: scapable | March 24, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The democrats weren't scared when they passed the Ban on Assault Weapons and the Brady Bill either. What were they thinking?

This bill adversely effects a lot more people than it helps. Just reading the laundry list of new taxes, penalties and increased costs will warm the hearts of the insurance, drug and for profit hospitals but I doubt it will do much to help the democrats this November. Or the republicans for that matter if they cannot stop this odious state take over of our health delivery system. This is their last chance to redeem themselves after handing the Congress over to the democrats by marching in lockstep worshiping the inept and illegal Bush agenda.

Anybody see how many of those angry white males are gathering for their revenge out there?

Posted by: jsbar | March 24, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Wow! I'm sold. I love it all. In heaven they won't have any more than this bill. The common denominator of Obama's bill and heaven is they both can make money out of thin air.

Posted by: tichy1 | March 24, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

As we can see, Obama and his comrades, assisted by their ACORN-types and media operatives like Ezra Klein are busy "selling" us Obamacare.

They have even SUGAR COATED their snake-oil poison so the dumb down population will swallow the poison because it's made to taste so sweet!

Most Americans understood the dangers of Marxists like Obama and Marxist SCAMS like Obamacare before our enemies managed to dumb down many Americans through a substandard and politicized education as per the warnings of Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k6KUDv1wzraWhwl

For example, here's a 1948 cartoon about a Marxist like Obama and Marxist scams like Obamacare: http://nationaljuggernaut.blogspot.com/2009/09/this-cartoon-seemed-far-fetched-in-1948.html

Posted by: AntonioSosa | March 24, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

The only issues important in November will be the deficit and jobs. The Republicans will argue that the Democratic health care bill negatively affects both and that everyone suffers as a result.

Plus it will be obvious by that time that neither the cost of medical care nor the cost of insurane has decreased.

Later it will become obvious that fraud, abuse and mismanagement are not only still in the system, but have increased as always occurs when we put bureaucrats (individuals with guaranteed employment, political direction and no ownership) in charge.

Posted by: LewisE | March 24, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Waht "victory," Acewrite?

By "winning" a la Hugo Chavez, Democrats lost the trust of the American people. By "winning" a la Hugo Chavez, Obama and his comrades only added to the stench previously generated by the Obamacare scam.

The stench of the lies, manipulation, intimidation, coercion, bribery, corruption, and backroom deals to force us to swallow the Obamacare SCAM -- which would destroy our health care, our economy, our freedoms and our country -- has forever tainted the Democratic Party.

More and more Americans understand there's no longer a Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has been replaced by the Progressive (Marxist) party, controlled by U.S. enemies like George Soros and bent on destroying America using the tactics of their mentor Saul Alinsky.

That's why Obama and the Democrats LOST. Honest Americans are more fired up than ever and ready to fight tyranny until FREEDOM is restored.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | March 24, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I assure you that there are many, many Republicans and Democrats who do not need to "follow the minutiae of congressional procedure" in order to know how to vote in November. This bill is odious in both content and the means used to pass it. There certainly are serious defects in our health care system, but this socialist solution is both antithetical to the founding principles of our country, and if not repealed will be detrimental to the welfare of generations of Americans.

Posted by: NotOnMyWatch1 | March 24, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein, perhaps YOU are hoping RIGHT TO LIFE folks won't pay attention,

but we're scrutinizing things very carefully.

And even many who think abortions should remain legal are opposed to making taxpayers foot the bill for medically unnecessary abortions.

Posted by: tncdel | March 24, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Open mic night for trolls begins again...

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 24, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Those of us who have health insurance through our employers will be in the middle of open enrollment as the November elections roll around. If there are huge premium increases then, I think that it will have an impact on how folks vote.

I'm far removed from DC (opposite corner of the country in SoCal). I've never heard so many political discussions at random spots (like the gym, grocery store..). Folks aren't happy...but that extends to both parties. November will be interesting.

Posted by: Beagle1 | March 24, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

2 words: Information Ratchet.
In the next 7 months until the next election, two thing will happen: (1) As Ezra points out, Americans will become more aware of the benefits of the legistlation (either by experiencing it themselves, hearing about friends & friends of friends). (2) Even if true, the dire claims of the opponents will be slow to be realized, allowing the right-wing hysteria will fade from memory.
Time is against the right-wing on this issue, but I am sure that by that time they will find something else with which to stampede the electorate.

Posted by: Denswei | March 24, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

You stupid idiots. Basically every single bill passed by Bush was via reconciliation. And now that the other party uses the same tatic, it is unconstitutional?

Posted by: withoutanet | March 24, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

All of you that have HC right now through your employer are socialist, b/c you are not even paying for half the cost of your HC. Your employer is paying the rest. If you want to get serious about paying your own way and not for others, stop accepting this subsidy from your employer. What a bunch of hypocrites!

Posted by: withoutanet | March 24, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see an amendment offered that mandated that Obamacare stay within the CBO estimated cost. If as Obama says it'll "only cost 940 Billion over the next 10 years then it shouldn't be allowed to grow beyond that. Same for the 20 year estimate.

Posted by: RobT1 | March 24, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

@ NotOnMyWatch1: but this socialist solution is both antithetical to the founding principles of our country, and if not repealed will be detrimental to the welfare of generations of Americans

Oh the socialism!!!! Hide the women and children!!! This is the plan outlined by those noted socialists, Bob Dole, Howard Baker, and Tom (Red Dawn) Daschle and has the most of the ideas included in the plan submitted by communist Newt Gringrich and far left ideologue Trent Lott.

Oh no!!!They are coming!!!Be afraid!!!!

Posted by: srw3 | March 24, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

@ AntonioSosa

Oh no!!!They are coming!!!Be afraid!!!!
see comment to notonmywatch1 for more. You are not worth the 1s and 0s to repeat it.

Posted by: srw3 | March 24, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, you finally got something RIGHT!! The voters are not "stone-cold idiots"! The voters will in fact completely understand the following and take action in November. You are in for a very unpleasant experience as angry voters express their displeasure with Congressional high handedly ignoring them (16% approval rate).

Bo and Congress have sealed the fate of our economy. Not that it wasn't planned to do just that along with Cap & Trade (Energy Tax), Stimulus Bills (folowing the long failed Keynesian economic theory), Immigration Reform (Amnesty for law breakers), and polarization of the country (with Congress now at a 16% approval rate), a looming $100 trillion National Debt and unfunded liabilities for Medicare, Social Security & Veterans Benefits (SS has just reached the tipping point of more cash out than tax revenues in - HELLO baby boomer retirees), and 20 % unemployed and under employed.

The only people who still believe this mess is good are avowed Communists & Marxists who want ALL citizens' livlihood 100% dependent on the government (12 million illegal immigrants with no jobs in a depression and their 24 million dependents)who will then tell us what to do because we no longer live in a free country.

Posted by: PRRWRITER | March 24, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

You didn't mention the cost of the new law. I think you should apply for a job in the administration as it should be easier for you to carry their water if you were working for them.

Posted by: vitaglubet | March 24, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

you folks write like you already read the full health care bill, now that you have may i ask whos gonna pay for it, surely not just the rich theres not that many so it will be you folks with higher taxes an insurance premiems rates . keel in mind nothing is free in life. and further more there's only 18% of people without insurance an 78% of those can afford it, its just they didnt want it so now we have under 10%, so we have 10% deadbeats that has medicaid lol

Posted by: borderlinedevill | March 24, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

The problem now is that the Republican senators have now adopted a united "repeal and replace" approach. They've discerned that the public will view them has having made bipartisan contributions with their amendments. They will try to play it up (like they have been) as if it was the Democrats were obstructing the GOP and not the other way around. Seems like a good strategy, from their point of view. Democrats in both houses and in the White House need to be aware that this is what they are up to and plan strategy accordingly.

Posted by: emax1 | March 24, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

RobT1, the 940 billion was based on the smoke-and-mirrors data that Obama and his comrades provided the CBO.

Obama and his comrades used deception, gimmicks, creative accounting, smoke and mirrors to hide the trillions of dollars their scam will cost us. What they gave the CBO to consider was only PART of the scam, while the most expensive parts of were hidden under other bills or passed to the states (which we will still have to pay).

"Legislative Reality vs, Political Reality," by Peter Suderman, identifies specific deceptive strategies. One of the strategies entails shifting expensive parts of a bill to completely DIFFERENT pieces of legislation. So the costs found by the CBO will be only PART of the costs.

In the House, Democrats shifted an expensive, unpaid-for "fix" to doctor's Medicare reimbursement rates over to a separate bill. And in the Senate, they backloaded the spending so that its full effects would not be felt in the 10-year window that CBO scores. In the latest Senate bill, 99 percent of the spending would occur in the last six years of the budget window.
http://reason.com/archives/2009/12/10/legislative-reality-vs-politic

Obamacare will dramatically increase taxes, costs and the deficit while rationing and destroying health care, destroying businesses and jobs, and destroying our economy and our freedoms.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | March 24, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for your insults, dear srw3! Coming from Obama's operatives or lemmings, insults like your are always welcome as they further demonstrate that Obamacare is part of the Orwellian future that Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov warned us about.
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k6KUDv1wzraWhwlBt1

Regarding socialism, Obama's own comrades are now admitting Obama and Obamacare = socialism.

Comrade Al Sharpton said: "The American public overwhelmingly voted for socialism when they voted for president Obama."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqojWrtnieI

And comrade Dingell said Obamacare will eventually control the people.
http://www.breitbart.tv/shocking-audio-rep-dingell-says-obamacare-will-eventually-control-the-people/

As you can see, the truth is coming out from the comrades themselves. Obama is a U.S. hating socialist/Marxist, who is working for U.S. enemies like George Soros to radically transform the U.S. from a prosperous FREE country into a failed, enslaved socialist/Marxist country.


Posted by: AntonioSosa | March 24, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Too many voting for taking from the producers and giving to the sloths (no slur intended to the animal), Keep voting for the best panderer and you will end up with no one to pay the bills.

Posted by: vitaglubet | March 24, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

"Most voters don't follow the minutiae of congressional procedure but nor are they stone-cold idiots."

On this I totally agree Ezra. But if that's the case then why bring up the 2pm issue from this morning??

I would humbly disagree. Some of them are stone cold idiots.

Wasn't it you who posted that "X" percentage thought that Obama was a socialist earlier this week? The far right and far left are easily duped.

Why just this evening Rachel Maddow all but inferred that Boehner incited people to kill Steve Dreihaus saying he was a "dead man" if he voted for reform. Somehow I find it shameful that Rachel would incite the hatred further.

Further onto that topic anyone whose made threatening calls to Bart Stupack should be thrown in jail. Whoever cut Tom Pariello's brother's gas line should likewise spend some serious time in jail. If anyone shows up at Steve Dreihaus' house this weekend other than his own family they out to be taken away in cuffs.

In deference to fair journalism it was the far left that called Mr Stupak's home in the middle of the night when he was threatening to vote no on reform or to use the more strict language on abortion.

The only difference between the crazies is that the far right crazies seem to far outnumber the far left ones. I think we can correlate that to the ratings of Fox/Glenn Beck and MSNBC and their hosts.


Posted by: visionbrkr | March 24, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

It should surprise no one that political whor---er, opportunists on both sides of the aisle are trying to make hay from this disaster. They are the ones who got us into this mess, Dems and GOP both. But worse than their addiction to power is the fact that the American People are their enablers. It's all well and good that the polls are so negative on the Dems and Obama and the health care disaster NOW, but in 2008 the majority of the American People were S-O-O-O-O in love with Obama, The One! He was the smartest, the handsomest, the coolest, the Hopey-Changey Man who would befriend our enemies, end all wars, make nuclear weapons evaporate and usher in a Utopia! How did we ever elect a 1st term junior Senator with no business or leadership experience and a childhood spent in Indonesia and later mentored by an infamous Communist and who even wrote in his autobiography that he surrounded himself with the most radical elements on college campuses? And now that he and his pinko friends have pushed through the most radical restructuring of American Life in more than seventy years, we expect the GOP the be our Saviors? Where were they when Geo W Bush passed the TARP? And when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were disasters waiting to happen, why didn't they step up to rescue us THEN? President Suit, Savior of the World Daily Snarky political humor at http://patrioticmobster.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/barry-and-crazy-joe-the-thing-with-two-heads-the-movie/

Posted by: PresidentSuit | March 24, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

It should surprise no one that political whor---er, opportunists on both sides of the aisle are trying to make hay from this disaster. They are the ones who got us into this mess, Dems and GOP both. But worse than their addiction to power is the fact that the American People are their enablers. It's all well and good that the polls are so negative on the Dems and Obama and the health care disaster NOW, but in 2008 the majority of the American People were S-O-O-O-O in love with Obama, The One! He was the smartest, the handsomest, the coolest, the Hopey-Changey Man who would befriend our enemies, end all wars, make nuclear weapons evaporate and usher in a Utopia! How did we ever elect a 1st term junior Senator with no business or leadership experience and a childhood spent in Indonesia and later mentored by an infamous Communist and who even wrote in his autobiography that he surrounded himself with the most radical elements on college campuses? And now that he and his pinko friends have pushed through the most radical restructuring of American Life in more than seventy years, we expect the GOP the be our Saviors? Where were they when Geo W Bush passed the TARP? And when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were disasters waiting to happen, why didn't they step up to rescue us THEN? President Suit, Savior of the World Daily Snarky political humor at http://patrioticmobster.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/barry-and-crazy-joe-the-thing-with-two-heads-the-movie/

Posted by: PresidentSuit | March 24, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Reduce Your Debt by up to 50 Percent http://bit.ly/axCvQi

Posted by: faberrachel | March 25, 2010 4:27 AM | Report abuse

In his comments about who is and isn't paying attention to the details of Congressional votes, Mr. Klein that he is not paying attention to the news about the Tea Party movement. We are paying attention. With the vast email networks that we communicate over, we are keeping millions of Americans up on those details, sir. But, then, I suppose that, even when the November vote counts are in, you still will find reason to not be convinced. But, for those who are paying attention, Obomba has done more to awaken the sleeping, pro-freedom American than anything that the Progressive-Liberal-Leftist-socialist leaders have ever done. There seems to be more politically-active individualism alive in America now than at any time since the Revolution. God bless Obomba!

Posted by: pbeaird | March 25, 2010 6:39 AM | Report abuse

The real fact not discussed is that there are only a small number of seats in play in the next election. To think that a majority of Congress could actually be outed is nonsense. Most of these are in areas that Lean Republican and there are more Dems than Repubs in Congress so they are most affected. The Dems that voted for the Bill are helped by it because they can campaign on results and good deeds. The same goes for the jobs bill and extension of benefits. A lot of the people that voted against extension are going to be in trouble in high unemployment areas. The Repubs will gain seats in the midterm as is usual but with nothing positive to run on and with the current extremism of conservates alienating true independents their gains will be moderate and preclude them gaining a majority in either House. And to those on here railing about Socialism, McCarthy is dead and the Cold War over. You only make yourself appear foolish.

Posted by: Falmouth1 | March 25, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

"Most voters don't follow the minutiae of congressional procedure, but nor are they stone-cold idiots."

At times, the latter seems a pretty generous assessment of our electorate. In November 2004, for example, re-electing Bush the Lesser AFTER he led us into a war under a false pretext. Or Connecticut, re-electing Lieberman.

But I suppose its a hopeful thing for Ezra to write.

Posted by: Iconoblaster | March 25, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

A lot of these comments are wishful thinking for those who support the "Big O" and Pelosi and Reid. This is one Democrat who will not forget what happened when the November election comes. We are not idiots who change with the wind. The anti healthcare people may not gain enough votes in 2010, but add 2012 to it and the takeover is possible. Seeing that a lot of the plan doesn't kick in for years, there will be ample time for a takeover to abolish a lot of that junk. And they can do this by reconciliation, just as Pelosi and Reid did. They will not need a super majority. Rangel said it best when he said that Obama represents socialism. This country was founded on capitalism and in the end capitalism will win. If I were the insurance companies, I would move to another country where I would not be subject to this socialistic society. I wish Mr. Klein and all others would read the Constitution where it specifically says that "Congress shall have not powers except those granted by the Constitution; all others are reserved to the states." Where does Congress have the power to do this. It is this clause which should be enough to declare this plan unconstitutional. The only things the Constitution guarantees individuals is the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That does not include killing unborn babies and the right to health care. Health care is not a right, it is a privilege, just as education is not a right, but a privilege as far as the Federal Congress is concernedm because constitutionally, Congress does not have that right to usurp the rights of the States.

Posted by: jjeleven | March 25, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"The only things the Constitution guarantees individuals is the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That does not include killing unborn babies and the right to health care. Health care is not a right, it is a privilege, just as education is not a right, but a privilege as far as the Federal Congress is concernedm because constitutionally, Congress does not have that right to usurp the rights of the States."


God help us if the "bid O" and the socialist Congress ever attempts to infringe upon your constitutional right to remain uneducated, eh friend?

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 25, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

This sentiment appears frequently coming from those who mistakenly take the Declaration of Independence to be a law: 'The only things the Constitution guarantees individuals is the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' Sorry - those words aren't in the Constitution. The document they are from is not law, but predates the existence of any federal government (or any independent United States).

More to the point, the preamble to the Constitution, which IS law, gives the following as its reasons for existence: to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.'

Noble goals, sometimes requiring a careful balance among these important priorities. But DO note that one among the seven is 'to promote the general welfare.' Can anyone argue that health care is not part of 'the general welfare' of our citizenry?

Posted by: PeggyB1 | March 26, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

God Bless You Ezra. You gave me a smile and a laugh with the stone-cold idiots line.

Posted by: equalon | March 29, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

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