Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Health Care Reform is Dead

Labor is throwing a fuss about the excise tax and has now declared opposition to the Senate bill.

I think this effectively kills the reform effort. Even with Brown's election the house could vote on the Senate bill that has passed exactly as it was written and pass it into law (the ping-pong route). This would obviate the need for an additional senate cloture vote that would be necessary if the bill went to conference, which became increasingly important as of yesterday when the Democrats lost their 60th vote. However, now that labor is opposing the senate bill this makes ping pong route unlikely.

The Senate could try to craft new legislation but it no longer has the 60 votes unless it is able to turn a republican or two. Obviously this raises Olympia Snowe's importance. The important question is will Olympia Snowe be willing to ditch the excise tax and embrace a revenue measure that is likely to pass in the house (such as a surcharge on top-earners). I view this as unlikely.

I still think some bill will be passed that is called health care reform but it will be substantially less ambitious.

1 comment:

Mary said...


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