NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Here’s a gem that’s buried deep within the healthcare debate. Columnist Robert Samuelson writes: “In 2009, the largest 14 insurers had profits of roughly $9 billion; that approached 0.4 percent of total health spending of $2.472 trillion. This hardly explains high health costs.” He wrote about other health care myths, including most of the promises about cost control. Read it here: http://tinyurl.com/yjj9myc
This is the critical week for healthcare. Given what we know today, here’s what I think will happen:
• I don’t believe “The Hill’s” vote count. The Capital Hill newspaper trumpeted the bill would pass the House of Representatives, 216-215 if the vote were held today. I don’t think Nancy Pelosi has the votes. If she did, they would be voting today or tomorrow.
• Nancy Pelosi will still get the votes she needs to pass the bill. The speaker and the White House have too many tools at their disposal to arm-twist.
• President Obama will sign the Senate bill, as-is, into law.
I’m certain that will happen. From there, it’s fuzzy.
• The U.S. Senate will move forward with reconciliation. (Rush Limbaugh and some other pundits think House democrats could be double-crossed. Obama could sign the bill as-is.) I don’t think that will happen. Leaving house Democrats out-to-dry and vulnerable on Election Day doesn’t do Nancy Pelosi any good.
• Some parts of the Senate bill that were intended to be ‘fixed’ may not be. Reconciliation, as a legislative tool, will be a mixed bag. Some special deals will be stripped out, others will remain.
• Republicans will run negative campaign ads specifically highlighting the sweetheart deals in the Senate bill, even though there were supposed to be altered. Those ads will be damaging.
As for what happens on Election Day… after the bill passes, the GOP will wish the election was next week. If it was, they would regain control of Congress. But in the post-mortem of the health care debate, remember this: the election will still be 8 months away, the White House controls the political agenda, and the public’s memory is short.
Operations Manager, Midwest Communications-Wausau