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Senate moves closer to vote on health care reform despite public opinion

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Photo: AP/Harry Hamburg

It is looking more probable that the health care reform bill will pass in the Senate, since deals and maneuvers continue to be made to get the votes necessary to pass it.

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) was one of the last Democrats to be swayed. She decided to vote in favor of the bill after legislation was included that would provide her state with an additional $300 million in Medicaid funds, although these funds are now in jeopardy of being removed from the final version of the bill.

On Monday, the White House told Harry Reid to "cut a deal" with Senator Joe Lieberman to get his vote, and subsequently the Medicare “buy-in” program was removed from the bill. In addition, there was talk this week that a threat had been made by the White House that if Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) does not vote for the bill, Offutt Air Force Base in southeast Nebraska will be placed on the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list. Senator Nelson has denied that this threat was made.

The President told Charlie Gibson of ABC News on Wednesday that  the "federal government will go bankrupt" if the bill is not passed.  Others believe that bankruptcy would be a concern if the bill is passed.

Americans have voiced their disapproval of health care reform throughout the summer and fall, and as seen in the latest polls, Americans oppose Obamacare by a large margin. The percentage of Americans who approve of the bill has steadily decreased and is now at an all time low, ranging from 32% to 46%, depending on the poll.

Still, Congress moves forward with the bill.  Promises of transparency fade further away as Congress discusses and amends the bill behind closed doors.

If this bill passes, it is expected that health care premiums will increase across the board. The primary reason for this increase is that under the proposed bill, insurance companies will be required to accept those with preexisting conditions. Since claims presumably will be immediately payable for those who are ill at the time of enrollment, the insurance companies will need an influx of cash to pay these claims, which will be raised by increasing premiums.

The young and healthy may opt to pay the penalty for non-coverage rather than to enroll, since the penalty will likely be far less costly than the premium. Consequently, they will not pay into the health care system until they become ill, at which time they will enroll with their preexisting condition. This will become a vicious cycle, with the bulk of the burden of premium increases being borne by the middle class families who had already made it a priority to carry health insurance.

Medicare cuts included in the bill will mean reduced payments to participating doctors. As a result, there will likely be a reduction in the number of doctors accepting Medicare, which will result in longer wait times and seniors worry that this will ultimately result in reduced care.

The public option appears to be off the table at this point. While most Americans agree that it should not be included in the reform bill, this has added to the perception that Congress and President will accept any version of the reform bill, as long as it is signed into law before Inauguration Day.

Such tactics only increase the disapproval ratings for the President,  Congress and Obamacare since they reinforce the perception that the motivation behind the health care reform is political gamesmanship, not improving the lives of Americans.


  • Not fooled by fools 5 years ago

    I disagree with this article. Costs will be lower in the long run. Young healthy people will sign up for insurance. There will be more people, including healthy people, in the pool to bring costs down and those earning under 400% of the poverty level will receive subsidies so that they don't have to pay more than a certain percentage of their income towards health care. Most middle class Americans fall into this catagory. Evidence based medicine will also bring costs down, and insure that Americans get the best treatments for their conditions and not just those that are the most profitable for the health care industry, and waste and fraud will be reduced. If people would take the time to learn what health care reform is all about and not just what the lobbyists and those who profit from this broken system are trying to convince them of, most people would be demanding reform now and angry at the GOP for the harm they are trying to do to middle class Americans.

  • BobbyMac 5 years ago

    Not fooled by fools states people should be angry at the GOP for the harm they are doing... What harm is there is blocking this massive spending of money that we don't have? How about the Democrats that are blocking this bill? Do they get a free pass?
    Too bad they couldn't just start with a few simple ideas like prohibiting pre-existing condition exclusions, doubling the lifetime coverage cap, allow pooling and shopping across state lines. That would be a great start.

  • PeteGioni 5 years ago

    Eighty-eight percent of U.S. adults ages 19-29 say it is important for Congress to pass healthcare reform legislation, according to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund, conducted by Social Science Research Solutions, released Friday. Forty five percent of young people were uninsured sometime during the past year. This indicates that young people want insurance and that if we get that forty five percent of the young uninsured permanently in the pool we would bring down cost.

  • Biased article 5 years ago

    Boy this article is as biased against Health Care Reform as can be. Nothing in it is worth considering. Especially after she used a GOP alias for Health Care Reform calling it Obamacare. Shame Shame Shame on you Angela.

  • Don 5 years ago

    Hey, a search under "obamacare" and you will get results where this term was used by CNN, many newspapers, and even the liberal mouthpiece MSNBC. This is not a GOP term. And thanks for letting me know that nothing in here is "worth considering".

  • Don 5 years ago


    Most everyone in the country wants some type of health care reform. That doesn't mean that they want THIS type of reform. Did you even look at the poll numbers? How about we start with some tort reform?? Why isn't that in this bill???

  • DanTheMan 5 years ago

    To Pete: Your numbers are misleading. Poll after poll shows the majority Americans and voters don't like this bill. As for the bill bringing costs down, no way. When you force everyone to buy insurance, costs will go up. In fact the costs will get so high that there will be a govt option in the future, but that option will be much more expensive than what you can get now from private insurers. This is just a massive effort by the Dems to control a larger chunk of our lives. I don't like insurance companies, but at least I have a fighting chance. If the govt takes over, we're all screwed.

  • cwilken 5 years ago

    The democrats will pass anthing that is Labeled health care reform....even if it is only a boondoggle for the insurance industry. What a waste of money....what we need is single payer so that insurance costs go down and everyone is covered. California has not been able to enforce laws against insurance companies dumping thier clients when they get too expensive.