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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 12/22/2010

Defunding ObamaCare wasn't exactly a secret

By Jennifer Rubin

Ezra Klein breaks the news gently to the left:

The Senate passed the Continuing Resolution 79-16 this afternoon. Another way of saying that: The Senate voted to defund the implementation of both health-care reform and financial-regulation reform....

Republicans had been talking about attacking the health-reform law by defunding it, but few thought they'd succeed without a fight. The assumption was that Democrats would shut down the government before they let Republicans take that money. But as it happened, there was no fight at all. The omnibus spending bill collapsed, and the continuing resolution compromise was reached within a few days. Most senators probably don't even know the implications their vote had for the implementation of bills passed over the past year.

He concludes that "this is bad news for the health-care bill and the financial-regulation bill."

Well, that is partly true. A key senior aide e-mailed me to caution that it isn't really accurate to say there is no money for ObamaCare in the continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the government until March. As the Hill notes, there is an additional $1.6 billion for funding ObamaCare in the CR, money that was mandated by the statute for implemenation. The aide said that the administration will be able to "tap" this money, but that without any extra funds, it "will have to draw down on that mandatory money sooner, meaning there will be less of it or it will be gone when they really need it as 2014 approaches."

Moreover, I don't see how Democrats could have missed the implications of the defeat of the omnibus for ObamaCare. The aide, with obvious relish, dismissed the idea that Democrats in effect missed this one. He told me, "I think senators knew there was funding in the omni. That makes it all the sweeter: [Senate Democrats] would have had to force a fight to spend more and fund a bill that half the country not only hates, but wants to defund."

If this was all a secret, it was a poorly kept one. Republican leadership offices blasted out e-mails and press releases to activists and members of Congress warning that the omnibus included a billion dollars to fund ObamaCare. Republicans talked about it on the floor. I don't see how anyone voting, on either side of the aisle, could have missed this. Liberals might not have wanted to highlight it, but that's different than being unaware.

How did Democrats wind up in this fix? A GOP operative and former Senate staffer e-mails me that "after the omnibus collapsed, [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid didn't have an alternative. If conservatives are feeling bad about START, they should be really happy about this. With the new Congress in January, the GOP will be in a strong position on fighting ObamaCare."

In other words, the loss of funding is directly attributable to the slothful behavior of House and Senate leaders who passed no budget or appropriations bills before the lame-duck session. They assumed, I guess, that Republicans would roll over and pass an omnibus spending bill after an election, one that everyone had assumed was going to go badly for the Democrats. Well, that was poor planning. The failure was then compounded by Reid, who dramatically overreached on the omnibus, making it impossible to round up votes for cloture.

Defunding ObamaCare is not a new idea that Republicans came up with during the lame duck. It has been the subject of intense discussion by lawmakers, pundits, advisors and activists since the law was passed. The opportunity to defund ObamaCare simply came sooner than expected. And for that, Republicans can only thank Reid and soon-to-be former Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 22, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Budget, Obamacare  
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Comments

Obamacare wasn't well thought out from the beginning. It fails to address the biggest problem in American health care: its cost.

Maybe a complete review and "do over" would be the best course of action.

Posted by: Benson | December 22, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

This is all true


Maybe it was part of the deal with McConnell

Someone should tell Krauthammer.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 22, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I can't read another word about Mitt Romney's Obamacare.

Posted by: danw1 | December 22, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile....
Seniors are making appointments for FREE checkups effective Jan. 1 via Obamacare.
And now children can stay on parents' policies until age 26.
And now insurance companies cannot drop coverage when the insured get sick.
And now insurance companies cannot set maximum limits on benefits.
And now insurance companies cannot deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

Obamacare timeline by year........woohoo!

http://docs.house.gov/energycommerce/TIMELINE.pdf


Posted by: angie12106 | December 22, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Sooo tell me again why "We The Small People" have to pay for congresses "Life Time Gold Plated Health and Pension Benefits"?

Hey TP'ers wake up will ya!

Posted by: knjincvc | December 22, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Here is a sure sign that Liberalism is just extended adolescence:
"And now children can stay on parents' policies until age 26."

Jus what America needs less than more lawyers, 26 year old "children".

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 22, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"just what America needs less than more lawyers, 26 year old "children" great reply

Posted by: mlbmedia | December 22, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Benson posts December 22, 2010 12:47 PM
"Obamacare wasn't well thought out from the beginning. It fails to address the biggest problem in American health care: its cost.
Maybe a complete review and "do over" would be the best course of action."

Actually it was well thought out, it was republicans who bastardized the outcome, on purpose hoping it would fail.
Republican say they want to replace Romney-Obama care but have never laid out their plan.
What is it republicans? Where is HC in the Boehner/McConnell agenda?

Chop-chop republicans you've got twelve months to accomplish something, time a-wasten.

Don't forget the jobs you "PROMISED" 2%'ers would create if bush tax cuts were extended.

Posted by: knjincvc | December 22, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

What's funny is that "children" will stay on their parents policies until age 26, after which they will be REQUIRED to purchase insurance.

All the while, nobody is looking to reduce the cost of health care, which is determined without input from the people actually paying for the health care.

Why does socialism not work for all other types of commerce, but good when it comes to health care?

Posted by: Benson | December 22, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"Another way of saying that..." -- What a nice attempt to spin a fairly straightforward continuing resolution into a badly-needed "win" by the GOP.

They didn't defund anything. Reid screwed up on the omnibus, sure, but they didn't defund healthcare; they passed a resolution to keep the government going. They didn't "defund" any of the bills passed last year.

I grant that it's better (for the GOP) than passing an omnibus with healthcare funding, but it's also better for the Democrats, who don't have to fight about closing the government and instead get to keep the focus on the sizable victories they've racked up in the past few weeks, which is political gold.

It's a stall, nothing more. The GOP will have to face a government shutdown in February, that's all, and if the Dems aren't focused on other legislation, one imagines they will be ready for that fight.

Posted by: samslaw25 | December 22, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse


The Dims are going to vote on whatever funding legislation comes from the GOP-controlled House. The House controls the purse strings. Guess what Dims ... there are 47 GOP senators starting on January the 3rd. No more showboating by that pair of RINO's Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe either. Those two will find that their influence has faded to zero.

Posted by: screwjob23 | December 22, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

“What's funny is that "children" will stay on their parents policies until age 26, after which they will be REQUIRED to purchase insurance.
All the while, nobody is looking to reduce the cost of health care, which is determined without input from the people actually paying for the health care.
Why does socialism not work for all other types of commerce, but good when it comes to health care?”

So-called children staying on their parents policy may be young adults still going to school trying to improve their skills in order to find a job which provides HC. Or it could be handicapped young adults who can’t work or find a job which provides HC.

Ask Europeans why their HC cost are 10% lower than HC costs in USA.

Other forms of socialism which work; roads, schools, hospitals, military, public transportation, libraries, fire and police protection, EPA, FDA … organizations which most of us value but don’t readily see as socialism.

Sooo tell me again why "We The Small People" have to pay for congresses "Life Time Gold Plated Health and Pension Benefits"?

Hey TP'ers wake up will ya!

Posted by: knjincvc | December 22, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Nothing wrong with replacing it with something better but remember that it DID replace something worse.

Posted by: mandrake | December 22, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney's Obamacare needs those 26 and under to keep rates down. I think. I'm no expert in it and neither are any of you.

Posted by: danw1 | December 22, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The collapse of the Omnibus with its ObamaCare funding was in the old, repudiated Dem Congress. Wait until the new Congress arrives!

Using the power of the purse strings is a wonderful way to stymie runaway executive power. The Republicans need to impede the FCC's takeover of the internet as well as Obama's takeover of healthcare.

Posted by: eoniii | December 22, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

There will still be more than 40 Democrats in the Senate willing to block de-funding of health care reform next year and probably for years to come. This is the two edged sword of the filibuster, that the Democrats can also use it to make sure that their priorities are funded as well as the corporate welfare that the GOP is all about.

Posted by: ThomasFiore | December 22, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing wrote>>>Jus what America needs less than more lawyers, 26 year old "children".

Bush shipped so many jobs overseas, that there are fewer jobs now for young adults.....


BUSH: SENDING JOBS OVERSEAS HELPS U.S.
February 10, 2004

WASHINGTON — The movement of American factory jobs and white-collar work to other countries is part of a positive transformation that will enrich the U.S. economy over time, even if it causes short-term pain and dislocation, the Bush administration said yesterday.

The embrace of foreign "outsourcing," an accelerating trend that has contributed to U.S. job losses in recent years and has become an issue in the 2004 elections, is contained in the president's annual report to Congress on the U.S. economy.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2001854367_bushecon10.html


Posted by: angie12106 | December 22, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

eonii wrote>>>The Republicans need to impede the FCC's takeover of the internet

jeeeeez - another MISinformed Rightie.
Betcha watch Fox "news."

Posted by: angie12106 | December 22, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

angle12106--I agree with you 100%. "skipsailing's comments are just typical of the non-caring policies proffered by the right. Their attitude that everyone can take care of themselves, that no one ever needs any help or assistance, is so blatantly at odds with what is really happening in this world. My own 26 year-old daughter was so fortunate to find a job in her chosen field after college, but I can name at least five close friends of hers that were not so fortunate, that are doing McDonald's-type jobs, bank tellers that get paid squat with no benefits, that have no health insurance and are so-o-o glad to have the breathing room to stay on their parent's policies for just a year or two more. Yes, those younger folks don't know what will happen in a year or two, but they do know that at this minute they do have the security of the healthcare that they have known for their entire lives. Maybe if the conservatives wouldn't have put up such an ideological fight against single-payer or public option we would not be stuck with the cobbled-together uncertainty of this particular version of healthcare, but it is what it is, the Republicans obstructed and demagogued until we had only a half-way bit of legislation, and it is sure hypocritical of them now to glory in any damage they do to the lives of those less fortunate and less well-off. Whether it be against younger folks, Hispanics or 9/11 responders, it seems that conservatives have no sense of altruism towards their fellow human beings, only the hard-edged attitude of "I've got mine, now you get yours."

Posted by: rtinindiana | December 22, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

My my this is just too funny.

No doubt about it, the left can think of a million excuses for failure to thrive. Maybe the commenters here are supporting the idea of extended adolescence because they are sitting in the basement of their parents house waiting for mom to make her special english muffin pizzas! Yum.

the socialized state allegedly spend less because the people themselves don't control a darned thing. Less money is spent simply because the government spends less, not because there is less demand, or even less real need.

I heard all the liberal nostrums about the joys of socialized medicine during the debate virtually none of them are true.

anyone that would like to relitigate this by all means, do so. I'll be here.

but for the liberals here are some simple questions: why are health care costs in Canada growing at a faster rate than their inflation? Why did the guy who originally proposed the Canadian system wind up expressing serious doubts about it years later? Why, if socialized medicine is soooo good at controlling costs, does the portion of the provincial budget allocated to healthcare grow every year?

Why would you destroy an excellent system and replace it with this disaster? What do you have against freedom for the American people?

I believe I know the answer to the last question, but I'll look forward to a lively debate if anyone cares to take me up.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 22, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing:
"but for the liberals here are some simple questions: why are health care costs in Canada growing at a faster rate than their inflation?"

Why does skipsailing never provide a source for his claims?

"Why would you destroy an excellent system and replace it with this disaster?"

Why does skipsailing think the American system is excellent when we pay much more than everyone else in the first world for our health care and get less for it?

"What do you have against freedom for the American people?"

What does skipsailing have against keeping people alive and well?

Posted by: presto668 | December 22, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

So, once again we have yet another dismal failure by the trickey undocumented Democrat Voter posing as President,clown from Kenya Barack Hussein Obama and his riduculous screwed up Obamacare disaster.
As well as the most incompetent clueless
useless President in all US history with
some equally incompetent TEAM OBAMA clown
show! Thank God for Defunding Obamacare.

So,isn't it 2012 by now?

Posted by: carleen09 | December 22, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

The liberal "progressive" Democrats don't actually care about accomplishing the ObamaCare, they merely wanted to have the "monumental" signing so that they can give themselves a star on their report card. They know it won't actually be implemented and frankly could care less.

Posted by: Jsuf | December 22, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

As long as there are lying, greedy, shortsighted, delusional zombie lapdog GOP / T Party members of Congress,

The American people can be absolutely sure of one thing:

They're NEVER going to get a fair deal. If they get one good thing, another good thing will be yanked away from them.

The GOP is always going to find a way to attack and try to destroy the middle class, and find a way to support giant global corporations ---- way before individuals.

Perhaps the saddest thing is, there are enough people so dismally, horribly stupid, clueless and gullible that they keep voting these ruthless, lying vultures, like Mitch McConnell and John Kyl and John Boehner, back into office.

Then, the same idiots ( !!! ) complain that '..they don't like 'Congress' ...' without making ANY distinction between obstructionists like the lying GOP / T Party and those who really want to help... the Democrats.

It's going to be a miracle if the United States makes it through the next 50 years with evil, greedy people like Mitch McConnell allowed to haunt the halls of Congress.

Posted by: StevenK3 | December 22, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

For some reason , conservatives think that defeating Obama's bill forever puts to rest the fact that our system of delivering medical care stands but that system is failing millions of people. One day we will stop this contorted effort to try and save our private -sector-only, for-profit system which has made for the most expensive system in the world while not serving 18% and growing. Obama has bent over backwards to try and save our failing system of private sector only care, rationed by insurance companies and their own private death panels and conservatives, by peevishly stamping out that effort, are merely hastening the day when single payer, public option, becomes law. Do nothing senators of the right but you'll likely live to see the you've made that day come sooner

Posted by: Waterloo1 | December 22, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Checkmate Republicans

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | December 22, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

carleen09,

Your not very bright are you?

Posted by: rharring | December 22, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Desertdiva,

How is this a checkmate? And are the GOP going to go to seniors and tell them those free checkups you get now, your not going to get? Or how about telling the people who for years have been denied health care because of a preexisting condition and finally have health care because of this bill that they cant have healt care any more? Your logic is ridiculous, but then again you support the GOP.

Posted by: rharring | December 22, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh, thank you sweet Jesus. We just know in our theocon hearts that no health insurance is your righteous castigation for the sloth and inability to find a job in Bush's depression for those who don't have it.

Merry Christmas poor kids. Don't catch cold now.

Posted by: areyousaying | December 22, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

eonii wrote>>>The Republicans need to impede the FCC's takeover of the internet

jeeeeez - another MISinformed Rightie.
Betcha watch Fox "news."

Posted by: angie12106
--------------------------------
The Wall Street Journal and WaPo have also covered the story extensively, one of the biggest of the week.

Posted by: eoniii | December 22, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

The solution is obvious: The Dems should tie funding health-care reform to funding for farm welfare. The GOP will never, ever, force Elmer Fudd off socialism and into the free markets.

Posted by: Garak | December 22, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I've been out of touch with the Left for quite a few years, and started hearing these kinds of arguments against once Rubin moved over here. It's true--the Left really does believe that caring more about people is all the argument you need for a policy. If anything, George Will and Charles Krauthammer are too generous in their representations.

I hope that once the new congress gets in, we can pay a lot less attention to the Left and much more attention to rolling back, rather than just slowing the growth of, the welfare state. Health care is a very good place to start--begin by allowing for the sale of health insurance across state lines, by restricting FDA determinations to the safety, not effectiveness of drugs, so as to bring their costs down, and take away the tax break for employer-granted insurance, so getting health insurance through work won't be privileged over buying it personally. There are plenty more good ideas if the new congressmen have the courage to really make some changes.

Posted by: adam62 | December 22, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

This blog is drivel, nothing more. Rubin continually operates on the premise that only she & her Repub masters know anything about political tactics. Watch how this plays out. I have a hunch the Repubs, and Rubin, are in for a surprise from the White House. It may not be HCR that's defunded, it may (& likely will) be something near & dear to the Repubs. There's something called an "Executive Order," remember? The Prez has a great deal of power & discretion when it comes to executing the dictates of Congress. The Prez will find a way to get his hallmark initiative up & running, methinks.
In the end, I don't think McConnell, or Rubin, is gonna be too happy at how this turns out for them.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | December 22, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rubin, you are the best. For sometime, you have been the best analyst and opinion writer on the internet. Now you are also the best reporter on all media. What a scoop! You are going to become a one person news and opinion empire. More power to you.

Posted by: JohnMarshall3 | December 22, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

"In the end, I don't think McConnell, or Rubin, is gonna be too happy at how this turns out for them."

Yes, Obama and the Democrats have been such masters of strategy so far--and now they've got the Republicans right where they want them!

Posted by: adam62 | December 22, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse


But for many hardworking families, affordable insurance can be hard to find. The new "Wise Health Insurance" is giving you more control over your family’s health care by expanding your options for health insurance and making them more affordable.

Posted by: daleleblanc | December 23, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

I will have spent fully 25% of my income this year on my health insurance premiums ($785 a month just for me) and my $5,000 deductible which I used up, plus my co-pays -- and I'm relatively healthy for a 60 year old. For a fully employed person in America to have to spend 25% of his income on health care is a national disgrace. I'm stuck with our small group policy and our insurance company knows it -- because without it we can't get pre-existing conditions covered.

While the health care reform act is an extremely complicated and convoluted piece of legislation (largely to accommodate the lobbying of the different elements of the health care industry) it was a lot better than doing nothing like the Republicans wanted.

But I've got to agree with its critics that it did little to control costs. To be charged hundreds of dollars for each 1/2 hour physical therapy session, for example, is simply outrageous. To be charged $400 for blood tests that my doctor insists cost about $35 to conduct -- totally outrageous. I actually paid $85 out of pocket for the blood tests rather than submit them to my insurance company and have to pay $400 which is their deal with the hospital that processes the blood tests. The collusion of the health insurance companies with the health care providers who overcharge is criminal.

We needed a single payer system -- and sadly the President had to compromise that away thanks to the power of the insurance industry's lobbyists -- and the unified opposition of the Republican Party to any meaningful health care reform.

Posted by: dl49 | December 23, 2010 2:25 AM | Report abuse

Remember a year ago when President Obama signed an Executive Order promising not to spend tax dollars to fund abortions in order to get Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich and his cronies to help him pass ObamaCare?

Well, we subsequently learned that it was a ruse, and now they tried to slip this one past us; a total of over a billion dollars for abortion was in the Omnibus spending bill.

Just more deceit, tricks and lies from Obama.

Posted by: fury60 | December 23, 2010 4:41 AM | Report abuse

While I can appreciate that this column is to be the antidote to the vast leftwing conspiracy that is the Washington Post, I am curious why an author who states, "What do I believe in? . . . calling things by their proper names (e.g. Islamic fundamentalism) , and recapturing vocabulary (a "feminist" is not the same as a pro-choice activist), " would use the term "ObamaCare" six times in the same article? (I will deduct for usage in the headline and in a quote from an unnamed source)

Surely there is a line between being “provocative and interesting” and being biased and pushing talking points?

Posted by: Goombay | December 23, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

What's news about Republicans not paying for what they don't like? There's 11 Trillion of Debt on the books pre- Obama because Republicans have refused to pay for what they don't like. Debt happens when you don't pay. In fact, on top of not paying, they've taken money out of government (with our approval - that's the corruption of us)via tax cuts that give incentive to gamble with money on financial markets instead of investing for the long term in companies that employ people. What we invent we give to China to make. Our economy went to the Far East because we allowed it to go. We don't want to pay someone a living wage to make what we buy, they can even live oppressed in a Communist state. That doesn't matter to us - it's the corruption of us. Walmart succeeds because they are like us. Walmart refused to pay what is was worth to make it here. We bought it. We need to stop whining because jobs aren't here. We allowed it.

Posted by: tigman_2 | December 23, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

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