I interviewed the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne and the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol in back-to-back segments on yesterday’s show. (The transcript of the conversation with E.J. is here; with Bill here.)
E.J. is confident that once passed, seniors and other opponents of Obamacare will relax and get used to it. Seniors will have to pay more if they have Medicare Advantage, but not so much that it will move the political needle much in the U.S. Besides, he adds, most seniors are conservative anyway.
Bill is more certain that the political fallout from Obamacare will haunt the Democrats throughout 2010, and argues that there are sufficient numbers of Democratic congressmen who are sufficiently afraid that the bill could still be stopped.
This Wall Street Journal story provides a handy summary of the bill, as it stands after the secret cutting and pasting in White House supervised talks. The short summary: Huge tax hikes, including on so-called “Cadillac plans” which are actually very common; massive Medicare cuts; a mandate for all but poor people to buy insurance (another big hit on your wallet); and subsidized insurance for poor people.
No word yet on how the Stupak amendment is faring. Almost certainly it will be on the cutting room floor.
That’s it in a nutshell, though the downstream consequences to medical care from skinnied down insurance policies and doctor and hospital shortages are going to roll out in future years as will the massive deficits. Even so the Obama-Pelosi-Reid team spent yesterday trying to figure out how to spend even more money on the subsidy side.
The only question now is not whether the White House will cobble together a “compromise”. It will, and it will be the Senate bill with more money for subsidies. The pro-life Democrats in the House will be stiffed, as will the loud left, revealed now as impotent and used.
The big difference since 2009 is Dodd, Dorgan and Ritter and the immense hostility to the bill and the Democrats that forced their sudden retirement announcements. Every tool in the president’s arsenal plus all those held by the Speaker and the Majority Leader will be used to cudgel their members for the final vote. Will enough of them simply say “no, I like my job and my constituents don’t want this bill” to stop it?
Help persuade them via a contribution to ReverseTheVote.org. A handful of these 24 Democratic congressmen who voted for Obamacare in November have to change their vote to get the political target off their backs. The more donors there are to the campaign, the louder the message.