Despite efforts by the Democrats and their media lapdogs to paint Obamacare as inevitable (Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said today that there is now a “sense of inevitability, the sense that, yes, we're going to pass health care reform, and it's going to lower costs, provide better health insurance coverage and cover ... and reform the health insurance market.”), the votes are just not adding up. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he was going to push ahead on health care legislation with a public option included.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that health-care legislation that comes before the Senate will have a government-run health-insurance plan that states will be able to choose not to carry. Mr. Reid told reporters that, under the legislation, states would have until 2014 to ‘opt out’ of the public option. He cast aside questions of whether the measure can attract the necessary 60 votes to avoid procedural delays. ‘I believe we clearly will have the support of the [Democratic caucus] to move to the bill,’ Mr. Reid said.”
From CNN on Sunday:
“Conservative Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson of
Nebraska told CNN’s John King that he has not committed to lend his vote to aid Democrats in avoiding a filibuster of health care reform legislation. ‘I’ve made no promise,’ Nelson said Sunday, adding that he can’t decide whether he should help stop a filibuster until he sees the substance of the Senate bill being crafted by Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid.
“Nelson also said that he does not support the latest proposal that Reid is considering – a national public health insurance option that would allow states to opt out. But Nelson said he might be able to support a public option where states are allowed, instead, to opt in.”
From the AP last week:
“Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln faces a potentially tough re-election race next year in
Arkansas, where Obama lost to Republican John McCain by 20 percentage points. She says she will base her health care votes on what is best for Arkansans. Choice and competition among insurers are good, Lincoln said, but ‘I’ve ruled out a government-funded and a government-operated plan.’”
“Sen. Mary Landrieu of
Louisiana…said she might be willing to let some states try “fallback or trigger” mechanisms that would create a public option if residents don’t have enough insurance choices. But she told reporters, ‘I’m not for a government-run, national, taxpayer-subsidized plan, and never will be.’”
All of this gives weight to what George Will noted on Sunday:
According to NewsBusters, “Will on Sunday accused the media of manufacturing the return of government mandated healthcare to the current reform debate.
“Discussing the subject on the recent installment of ABC’s ‘This Week,’ Will said it was highly unlikely Democrats actually have the votes for what they call a ‘public option,’ but the media are assisting them in ‘cleverly and skillfully manufacturing a sense of inevitability that they hope will be self-fulfilling.’”
Now, according to Fox News, Senator Evan Bayh (D-Ind) has joined the chorus with serious concerns over Reid’s plans. Fox notes that, “Key Democratic moderates including Sens. Evan Bayh, D-Ind.; Ben Nelson, D-Neb.; and Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., also said they were uncertain how they'd vote, expressing deep reservations about the public plan.”
It doesn’t look or sound like the Democrats have anywhere near 60 votes in the Senate.
Significant numbers of House Democrats are not towing the party line either. According to The Hill “Rep. Bart Stupak said Speaker Pelosi is not pleased with his effort to change abortion-related provisions in the healthcare bill being crafted by the House.
“During an interview on C-SPAN's ‘Washington Journal’ show, Stupak (D-Mich.) said he is undeterred in trying to ensure that taxpayer dollars do not pay for abortions…The Energy and Commerce subcommittee chairman said he has been working with Democratic leaders on a compromise, but they haven't been able to strike a deal. Stupak pointed out that he and Democratic leaders have a fundamental disagreement on whether health plans that receive subsidies from the government should be allowed to provide coverage options on abortions.
“Stupak wants a vote on the House floor to strike the language, and predicts he would have the votes to pass such an amendment. ‘This has been federal law since 1976,’ he said, noting that President Barack Obama has vowed not to allow healthcare reform to pay for abortions. ‘We have to have a vote,’ he said.
“If he doesn't get one, Stupak said he and as many as 39 other Democrats will vote no on a procedural motion to bring the health bill to the floor. A House vote on healthcare reform could be taken next week.”
It doesn’t appear that Obamacare is getting done anytime soon, if at all.