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Historic Obamacare may be, but unpopular it sure is

No wonder President Obama and the Democrats moved heaven and earth to overhaul our nation’s health care system.  It’s all about making history.  On Yahoo!’s main page, we read Obama hails 60th Senate vote for historic health reform bill

Jubilant Democrats locked in Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson as the 60th and decisive vote for historic health care legislation Saturday, putting President Barack Obama’s signature issue firmly on a path for Christmas Eve passage.

At the White House, Obama swiftly welcomed the breakthrough, saying, “After a nearly century-long struggle, we are on the cusp of making health care reform a reality in the United States of America.”

It’s all about the historical struggle, the people be damned.  For this isn’t the only thing historical about this vote as Megan McArdle (and other bloggers, including yours truly, and pundits) have pointed out:

No bill this large has ever before passed on a straight party-line vote, or even anything close to a straight party-line vote. No bill this unpopular has ever before passed on a straight party-line vote. We’re in a new political world.

We sure are.  But, we’re still in the same old media world.  In telling us how historic this bill is, the AP only reports those aspects of the CBO report that fit its narrative:

CBO analysts also said the legislation would cut federal deficits by $132 billion over 10 years and possibly much more in the subsequent decade.

According to the CBO Director’s Blog (via Big Government),

These longer-term calculations assume that the provisions are enacted and remain unchanged throughout the next two decades, which is often not the case for major legislation. For example, the sustainable growth rate (SGR) mechanism governing Medicare’s payments to physicians has frequently been modified (either through legislation or administrative action) to avoid reductions in those payments, and legislation to do so again is currently under consideration in the Congress. . . .

The legislation would maintain and put into effect a number of procedures that might be difficult to sustain over a long period of time. Under current law and under the proposal, payment rates for physicians’ services in Medicare would be reduced by about 21 percent in 2010 and then decline further in subsequent years.

And while the AP article reports all the legislation’s supposed benefits as facts, the unnamed author leaves it to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to spell out the costs, as if they’re not really facts, just allegations by a man embittered by his defeat.  The article doesn’t mention the payoffs to the state of Nebraska nor the other federal funds siphoned off to secure the votes of other once-wavering Democrats.

To talk about the messy way this bill was passed might get in the way of the historical narrative the AP wishes to offer.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  Ryan reminds us that just because something is historic doesn’t mean it’s good:

Historic? Oh, it’ll be historic.

The crash and burn of the Hindenburg was historic. The Black Plague in Europe was historic. The fall of Rome was historic. Wars that killed hundreds of thousands of people are historic. But none of these were good things. However, it’s exactly the kind of “historic” we’re seeing here in Obamacare.

The BAD kind of historic.

And I would add the Munich agreement Neville Chamberlain signed was also historic.

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23 Comments

  1. It’s all about history.

    First (sorta) black American president in history.

    Worst economy in history.

    Greatest contempt for America and her citizens by American citizens in history.

    A president who’s the biggest joke in the world in history.

    etc. etc. etc.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — December 20, 2009 @ 5:57 am - December 20, 2009

  2. Agree with ThatGayConservative……

    Sorta black, sorta a maxist (based on family history and upbringing) and contempt for his own country. What a combination.

    It looks bad but it’s still not law yet. Going against roughly two-thirds of the public. That’s classy Barry, real classy.

    Comment by rss — December 20, 2009 @ 6:40 am - December 20, 2009

  3. Obama keeps saying that “the people need health care reform”… it doesn’t matter that we don’t *want* it.

    They know best, and they’re doing this for our own good.

    Mmmmm… this koolaid is delicious.

    Comment by jana — December 20, 2009 @ 8:08 am - December 20, 2009

  4. How is health care reform unpopular? Is somone polling the 40 million plus that is uninsured? What about the crowd in ER over this past weekend? I bet they will poll over 90% in favor of health care reform. What about those who only receive health care because of a telethon and charity event? Let’s poll them.

    Comment by buck johnson — December 20, 2009 @ 8:58 am - December 20, 2009

  5. Information from the CBO is suspect given Peter Orzag who heads it is the mastermind behind the plan to take over health care by pledging to lower costs. Not surprising then is the latest estimate, Harry Reids democrat bill will save money and lower the cost curve.

    Comment by loco36 — December 20, 2009 @ 9:48 am - December 20, 2009

  6. No doubt this is an unpopular piece of legislation. Unfortunatley for the GOP, I’m seeing signs the economy is turning and if it persists, the Democrats will take full credit for it even though it’s really nothing more than a normal cyclical rebound.

    For example, in spite of excess housing inventory still on the market from foreclosures, we’re starting to see an uptick in both housing starts and permits. Similarly, auto sales/production are expected to increase an astounding 20% next year. The liquidation of manufacturing inventories that began 13 months ago has finally stopped. Inventories finally increased last month for the first time in 13 months.

    All of that tells me the economy is on the cusp of finally creating jobs. If trends persists, the economy could be adding 300,000+ jobs per month by March/April, which will cause consumption to increase and more jobs created, etc. It’s all normal business cycle stuff but it will come at the perfect time for the Democrats to take credit for it going into the 2010 elections.

    Comment by Scott — December 20, 2009 @ 11:21 am - December 20, 2009

  7. Historic? Oh, it’ll be historic.

    The crash and burn of the Hindenburg was historic. The Black Plague in Europe was historic. The fall of Rome was historic. Wars that killed hundreds of thousands of people are historic. But none of these were good things. However, it’s exactly the kind of “historic” we’re seeing here in Obamacare.

    The BAD kind of historic.

    Comment by Ryan — December 20, 2009 @ 11:31 am - December 20, 2009

  8. Scott,

    I still hold that the numbers are a bump from all the cash for clunkers and the home buyer’s credit. Those can’t last, and we’ll have a double dip before too long.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 20, 2009 @ 12:08 pm - December 20, 2009

  9. It’s kind of funny that the whole reason the current medical system is broken is because governement action through a 95% marginal tax rate and a subsquent tax exemption for employers providing health insurance.

    What’s the solution? More government control. It makes me sad that the health care industry hasn’t been exposed to market pressures and thrived like the computer industry has. Think of how many lives have been lost because of government hampering innovation.

    Comment by RM — December 20, 2009 @ 12:45 pm - December 20, 2009

  10. I dunno Scott…….here in Michigan, we have just about 16% unemployment and probably higher unofficially.

    I have read quite a bit on the subject lately and many economists predict 11% unemployment across the country for 2010.

    I don’t think we’re gonna see any real recovery and job creation because utimately, Barry’s philosphy is one of growing the central government/public sector and shrinking the private sector. No profit, no economic growth, no job growth.

    Comment by rss — December 20, 2009 @ 12:58 pm - December 20, 2009

  11. We’re saddled with massive debt and deficits and this administration, blinded by it’s efforts to beat the clock, is over ruling legislative sanity.

    The President’s “what ever it takes” strategy is best exemplified by Mary Landrieu’s $300Million Louisiana Purchase and Ben Nelson’s Corn Husker Kick Back, which by the way, guarantees in perpetuity others will pick up his state’s expanded healthcare costs. Even Bernie Sanders and Blanche Lincoln managed to get a lil something outta Harry Reid for their votes.

    A frustrated electorate has only to peek beneath the surface to see how this bill is a massive reordering of more than $33Trillion by 2020 at a cost of at least $1Trillion over the same 10 year period. Supporters of the legislation forget to tell us how 15 million new patients will be added in to the medicaid system when most doctors refuse to see medicaid patients to begin with….not to mention most state governors are saying they’re at a loss trying to figure out how to pay for the new medicaid costs without raising taxes and cutting existing local services and programs.

    The last year has flown by faster than any of us could have imagined… does anyone honestly think November 2010 will arrive at a slower pace?? Obamacare is fast tracked to become the inescapable and implacable agent of the Democrat’s downfall….. Can I get an Amen here?

    Comment by Spartann — December 20, 2009 @ 1:14 pm - December 20, 2009

  12. I’m still not sure what changes this legislation makes. There’s no single payer/public option, which was the Democrats’ goal. So, what, exactly, does this new bill do? Hand out coupons? I really don’t see any major changes to health care. I don’t why this bill would be unpopular–or popular. Name one significant change contained in this bill that you personally understand. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

    Comment by Ashpenaz — December 20, 2009 @ 1:15 pm - December 20, 2009

  13. “Information from the CBO is suspect given Peter Orzag who heads it”

    Peter Orzag is not the head of the CBO (thats the Congressional Budget Office). He is the head of OMB (Office of Management and Budget – in the executive branch).

    Comment by Tano — December 20, 2009 @ 2:00 pm - December 20, 2009

  14. My boss, Sen. Lamar Alexander talked about what a “historic mistake” this health care bill would be.

    Here’s a portion:

    It is historic arrogance to believe that we in Congress are wise enough to take an entire health care system that involves 17 percent of our economy and serves 300 million people and know how to fix it all at once.

    Comment by Sean Hackbarth — December 20, 2009 @ 2:17 pm - December 20, 2009

  15. “So, what, exactly, does this new bill do?”

    Ash,
    The NYT has a little interactive feature that explains the major points of the Senate bill and the House bill. You can probably figure out your answer from that. LINK

    Comment by Tano — December 20, 2009 @ 2:43 pm - December 20, 2009

  16. Tano, before faulting my readers for what they do or don’t know, please address the points I addressed to you–and questions I asked of you–in repeated threads.

    We don’t want our readers to think you’re only here to attack now, do we? Show them that you really want to engage us on the plain of ideas.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — December 20, 2009 @ 2:46 pm - December 20, 2009

  17. Hey Tano…

    Orzag can be head of the Kal-Kan Pet Patrol in Honolulu for all I care…. The fact of the matter is, given the fuzzy math used, the bill is nonetheless “suspect”…..The CBO assumes if after the not yet specified Medicare cuts and all the creative advanced payment gimmickry are assigned the bill will be deficit neutral. How often has anything Washington does been cost effective? Oh and let’s not forget how this legislation is a sell out to both the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. It’s estimated $100Billion could have been saved by controlling drug costs with better legislation.

    Comment by Spartann — December 20, 2009 @ 2:53 pm - December 20, 2009

  18. How is health care reform unpopular? Is someone polling the 40 million plus that is uninsured? What about the crowd in ER over this past weekend? I bet they will poll over 90% in favor of health care reform.

    Bet you’re wrong. According to CNN which polls ALL Americans, 61% of ALL Americans oppose this bill.

    It is only the far-left, greedy, lazy, power hungry, control-freak, fascist base of the fascist Democrat party that want this bill.

    Comment by American Elephant — December 20, 2009 @ 4:06 pm - December 20, 2009

  19. Thats 36% by the way. Only 36% of ALL Americans approve of this bill.

    Comment by American Elephant — December 20, 2009 @ 4:07 pm - December 20, 2009

  20. #4: buck: The crowd in the ER this weekend, please note, is NOT being denied healthcare. If some drunken wanker falls in front of a truck, if some gang-banger forgets to duck, if an illegal shows up to shuck out her umpteenth kid – the full capabilities of our medical system will be available (providing care exceeding that found in countries with socialized medicine).

    And for those being taken care of as the result of charity – what is wrong with that. Some charities (e.g. Shriners) provide first-rate, state-of-the-art care.

    The 40 million number is bogus. If you subtract illegals, people who can afford insurance but don’t buy it, people uninsured for short periods, and people who are eligible but not signed up for existing programs, you have a much smaller number (I recall in the 10-12 million range) – certainly not a large enough number to justify this abomination.

    The bottom line is this: if people want to contribute to charities like the Shriners; if physicians and nurses want to donate their time and skills (and a lot of them do); it drug companies want to donate medications (which they do) then I think that is fantastic and I am happy to do my small part. But I DO NOT OWE anyone healthcare.

    I do not want to pay any more tax to purchase yet another runaway bureaucracy with costs that will far exceed any estimate coming from CBO or OMB (like every other federal program in the last 50 years). This country is broke – taking out loans that will never be paid. We’re putting ourselves on a road to ruin.

    As I’ve written before, this is not about providing healthcare. It is about growing the welfare state past the point of any return; it’s about turning the national org. chart upside-down (where government, not the people, are supreme).

    The Founders never intended that the law be used to loot one segment of the population to purchase votes of another.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — December 20, 2009 @ 5:25 pm - December 20, 2009

  21. Well put SoCalRobert.

    This is simply looting one segment of the population to give to another – another who usually if not always, voted democrat – the traditional party of more government. The USA is not like most other nations. Our rights are NATURAL RIGHTS – not given to us by benevolent government overseers.

    Whether or not this nonsense becomes law, we are seeing our constitutional republic fade away, replaced by a simple majority rule democracy. What lefties don’t understand is what liberty means – freedom FROM goverment. To live one’s life with minimal intrusion, minimal contact with lawyer/politicians, micro-managing our lives.

    I want to be left alone; I don’t want lawyers, politicians, media-types preaching to me 24/7 on every topic, big and small. We have too much government. That’s the biggest reason why our economy is sinking.

    Comment by nessus — December 20, 2009 @ 5:35 pm - December 20, 2009

  22. I’ve yet to see a cogent explanation from TanoghillieTimboob explain why it’s really necessary or, at least, constitutional.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — December 21, 2009 @ 3:58 am - December 21, 2009

  23. “I’ve yet to see a cogent explanation post from TanoghillieTimboob explain why it’s really necessary or, at least, constitutional.

    Fixed 😉

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 21, 2009 @ 9:06 am - December 21, 2009

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