The battle over health care reform continues, and as I write, the latest prediction is that the U.S. House will vote this Sunday … if the Democrats have the vote. The political push for votes continues as the House Democratic leadership says they “will have the votes,” meaning that they do not currently have them. Since the only Republican member to vote for the bill last fall has stated that he will vote no this time because of the federal funding of abortion in the Senate version; all the pressure is on Democratic members, and pro-life Democrats who oppose the bill are getting hammered by their own party. Democratic leadership is getting frustrated with their own, and the arm-twisting will likely get worse. All of this with the latest poll showing the public opposes the bill by 55% to 35%.
The bill was finally posted about 2PM yesterday, and the 72-hour rule requires that the earliest the vote can take place is Sunday afternoon after 2PM. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released it’s “preliminary” report yesterday and it has been used to bolster the argument that the bill will lower the deficit and save medicare in spite of using $500 million from Medicare to pay for the new entitlement and medicate at the same time.
In spite of all the pressure on the Democratic House members, the vote could go either way, and the leadership is desperately trying to create a sense of momentum – and is having trouble doing so. Even if the Democrats are able to pass the bill this weekend this is far from over. Republican Senator Tom Coburn has issued a warning that those who make deals for their votes will pay a price and not just at the polls. He’s promising to hold up any appointment in the federal government, look for special deals that have been made, and expose them. Then there is the whole issue of the bill going back to the Senate for the “reconciliation” changes, not to mention that Idaho has passed a bill to prohibit the plan from being implemented, setting up a legal battle and Virginia is planning to challenge the law as well.