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March 25, 2010

The Many Silver Linings to the Healthcare Vote

Lots of people are in despair this week, in the wake of the health care vote. I’ve spoken to them. But there are lots of reasons to be of good cheer . . . 

1. Political pressure worked against a Super Majority, Part I. With pressure, we delayed a sure-to-pass vote that was supposed to happen at the end of July ’09, and pushed it all the way back to late March ’10 where it was unsure until the final hours, when the Democratic leadership had to make even more concessions to members of its own party.

2. Political pressure worked against a Super Majority, Part II. Pressure from a bunch of groups like AAPS,, as well as town hall meetings and tea parties, squelched the so-called “public option” — a plan to get most Americans into government managed healthcare.

3. Political pressure worked against a Super Majority, Part III. We have, thus far, completely postponed a vote on Cap and Tax that was supposed to happen before Barack Obama went to Copenhagen in December. Word is, that proposal is now unofficially, but effectively dead for this Congressional session.

4. Political pressure worked against a Super Majority, Part IV. We shamed the House Democratic Leadership into retreating from the “deem and pass” procedure, and got them to cast a recorded vote on the Senate plan, which includes the Cornhusker Kickback, and other shady deals.

** Now, what if we could dramatically increase the size of our pressure, and reach the point where we could change the political environment? What if we were so large and powerful that we could advertise better ideas everywhere, every day? What if we could begin to pressure and drive the media coverage in our positive, Constitutionally-limited government direction? **
5. The shoddy parliamentary shenanigans of Congress have been exposed and UNDERSTOOD (including the fact that Congress DOES NOT READ ITS BILLS), in this debate, at a level we’ve never seen. Eyes have been opened.

** We have moved closer to implementing the Congressional reform portions of the Downsize DC Agenda. Read the bills, for example, is a meme that can be found at Tea Parties and all over the web. ** 

6. The Health Care Debate isn’t over, Part I. The President signed the Senate plan, but reconciliation is still underway. Can the Senate pass the House reconciliation bill without the slightest amendment to a single comma? …Despite the radical nature of the House requests? …Despite the Byrd rules for reconciliation? Or will the bill end up back in the House again? Oh, this could be interesting and troublesome for the Democrats. Will the health care debates ever end? Answer, not in the near future. The Democratic Party is now like the dog that chased the moving car and caught the bumper in its teeth. Now what do they do?   

7. The Health Care Debate isn’t over, Part II. Reconciliation is a budget process, designed to reduce deficits. That meant that the House had to find deficit reduction in this bill. Yet we already know the legislation was written in a way to attain the “score” the Democrats wanted from the Congressional Budget Office. The result was double-counting savings, and under-counting expenses. That news will come out — probably soon. How is that going to go over?

8. The Health Care Debate isn’t over, Part III. And they didn’t include the so-called “Doc Fix.” More and more doctors are losing so much money from Medicare and Medicaid that they’re refusing to see patients from these programs. A completely separate piece of legislation is needed, BEFORE OCTOBER, to fix the Shrinking Pool of Doctors problem. Forget the CBO score, even if it was accurate — this one fix alone is going to blow away any alleged deficit savings this plan was going to deliver. This is not a good year for “tax and spend” politics. Speaking of which…  

9. Elections are just over seven months away. Voting for this bill is not popular. Rasmussen reports 54% opposition to the plan. But digging deeper we learn, 46% are strongly opposed, while only 23% strongly support the bill. Those underlying numbers show intensity. In fact, 50% say they won’t vote to re-elect someone who voted for the plan. That means the members who voted for this bill will get little to no additional support as a result of casting this vote, but lots of blame for so doing. This is what’s called a “legacy” issue — as in, the vote for this bill, will explain, in total, why a given legislator lost his or her re-election bid.  

** Something tells me the Democrats are going to live to regret this. **

10. The Health Care Debate isn’t over, Part IV. Now, we move to the Courts. The health care bill is unconstitutional, if you believe the Constitution means what it actually says, particularly in the Tenth Amendment. But that Amendment is so passe these days. Congress doesn’t understand the Constitution, or at least they’re pretending not to comprehend it. {LINK} But even within the modern lore of precendents and penumbras, there are several legal methods of attack on the mandates, in particular. If the politicians cover all pre-existing conditions but don’t compel purchase, then people can buy health “insurance” when they get sick. Imagine if you only had to purchase auto insurance AFTER you got in your accident or had your car stolen. Without the mandates, this entire house of cards collapses.

** So this bill might not even stand: All this trouble for nothing. **

11. As these court battles commence, a national dialogue could also commence, and it’s the kind of discussion we would relish. It would be about the nature of the Constitution. What is “constitutional?” While you’ll hear a reference to the Constitution from time to time, and some court cases make news, most of these arguments are strictly parochial and partisan — that is, “Did the judges favor our ‘side’ or not?” But this debate could prove to be very different. It might even be a chance for us reintroduce the “rule book,” and demonstrate to our fellow Americans how failing to abide by rules like Enumerated Powers led to perdition. Stranger things have happened: Three years ago, I couldn’t imagine the national debate we’re now having about the Federal Reserve.  

** Constitutional debate? Bring it on! **

12. Newtonian Physics and the Next Great Awakening. As covered in point #5, eyes have been opened to the chaos (lawlessness) and corruption inherent in our political process. Perhaps Americans were shielding their eyes before because they didn’t want to face how bad things were. But now, more and more appear to recognize “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism,” and they are determined to see it as their, “duty to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” You see, the Statist side has pushed and pushed so hard, so long, and so far that their force is engendering an equal and opposite reaction. From that perspective, LOSING THIS VOTE JUST MIGHT BE THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO OUR CAUSE.

** Now, the question is, can we channel that surging energy into productive and peaceful means of change? ** 

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