Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid effectively pulled the rug out from under Pres. Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today by announcing that the Senate will wait until the fall to debate and vote on the presidents health care reform proposals:
Senate Democratic leaders on Thursday abandoned plans for a vote on health care before Congress’ August recess, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama’s ambitious timetable to revamp the nation’s $2.4 trillion system of medical care.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., delivered the official pronouncement, saying, “It’s better to have a product based on quality and thoughtfulness rather than try to jam something through.”
His words were a near-echo of Republicans who have criticized what they have called a rush to act on complex legislation that affects every American.
Reid’s announcement isn’t particularly surprising, he doesn’t have the votes in Senate and despite her claims to the contrary I doubt Speaker Pelosi has them in the House either… If they did there’s nothing the Republicans could do to stop them from passing the bills. The Democrats have sufficient majorities in the House and Senate to pass their Health care reform bill without a single Republican vote.
The fact that they can’t get it down says more about the popularity of this bill and leadership abilities of Pres. Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid than it does about Republican opposition.
The fight isn’t over though, the just got a lot longer and bumpier but the Democrats aren’t going to give up on this. As Marc Armbinder points out Sen. Reid is more than likely going to spend his summer recess trying to reconcile what the Seante Finance Committee is willing to pay for with what the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee wants.
As an aside, that oft quoted “47 million uninsured Americans” statistic is at best misleading… As CNSNews.com points then number comes from a Census Bureau report published in August 2008. The actual number given in the report is 45.65 million people without health insurance, of them 9.73 million are foreigners, leaving only 35.92 million Americans who were uninsured. Of that 36 million roughly 12 million are eligible for Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program–but haven’t signed up.
Once you drill down through all the numbers you’re left with roughly 10-12 million uninsured Americans who would prefer to have insurance but can’t afford it. Politicians and pundits who continually cite that 46, 47 or 48 million uninsured number without providing the full context are doing a great disservice to their constituents or readers.
Bottom line if our elected leaders were really interested in addressing the uninsured they’d focus their efforts on increasing participation in existing programs like Medicaid or SCHIP and providing a safety net for those how want insurance but either don’t qualify for existing programs or who are excluded because pre-existing conditions.
- Pelosi backs off recess healthcare deadline – The Hill
- Obama Accepts Health Won’t Be Done by Recess – Wall Street Journal
- Stocks Surge as Obamacare Implodes – Larry Kudlow
- Breaking: Reid caves on August deadline for ObamaCare – Hot Air
- Fox “Hannity” tonight – “Hawaii’s Universal Health Plan” – Wizbang
- President Obama Failed To Calm The Nation’s Health Care Fears – The Strata-Sphere
- Why Obama might have just killed Obamacare – James Pethokoukis