Out With the Old

Nichole Hungerford is associate editor at FrontPage Magazine.


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Even before taking office, Republicans slated a vote on the repeal of President Obama’s healthcare overhaul bill for January 12. The repeal is expected to pass comfortably in the House, but stall in the Senate. Yet Democrats in the upper chamber are notably weakened and the controversial “insurance mandate,” integral to the president’s healthcare plan, is quickly losing support. Six Democratic Senate seats were lost to Republicans in the midterm election, with a number of remaining Democrats, such as Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), signaling that they will align with Republicans on a host of issues. McCaskill, who is noted as being close to the president, has said she is amenable to getting rid of the insurance mandate, which is highly unpopular in her state. Manchin disapproves of the mandate and has claimed he will vote for the repeal if it is not removed. Senators Ben Nelson (D-FL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CN) have both indicated they will review the healthcare bill, especially apropos the insurance mandate.

House Democrats are still led by Nancy Pelosi, who was voted minority leader also on Wednesday. But a resolute constituency of nineteen moderate Democrats refused to vote for the embattled former speaker, opting instead for moderate Heath Shuler. This sends a clear message to both Pelosi and President Obama that the days of rank-and-file liberalism are over. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) has projected that if the vote to repeal Obamacare wholesale receives strong enough bipartisan support in the House, “it will put enormous pressure” on the Senate to do the same. At the very least, piecemeal repeal would stand a much greater likelihood of success.

This is especially true of the insurance mandate, which appears to be seriously imperiled at this time. It is highly unlikely that measures that are popular with the public, such those that allow children to stay on parental health insurance longer or that prohibit the termination of coverage due to pre-existing conditions, will be repealed. The paradox is, these practices, cruel as they are, unfortunately keep down the cost curve in a system plagued by state-government-created insurance monopolies, limited risk pools, and costly state regulations. If we are to avoid finding ourselves in exactly the same situation a few years hence, and if we are to truly stop “kick[ing] the can down the road,” as Speaker Boehner said in his Wednesday address, then we must hope that the 112th Congress is willing to be as bold with effective free-market solutions as the 111th was with statist ones. To “end business as usual,” there can be no other way.

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  • Rosewood11

    The end of Obamacare? It is something devoutly to be wished, and as the author says, it will likely pass the House and stall in the Senate. Or will it!?! I have the feeling that more than one Democratic senator got the message that was given to the House last fall even if he/she wasn't up for election last year. That message was that "We the People" understood Obamacare very well, and didn't want any part of it. We also understood the difference between an open vote and "deem and pass." Additionally, the mess in the economy has alerted us to the fact that there is no money to pay for any of this new entitlement unless we sell our souls to the Chinese–if Congress hasn't already managed to do that. I think you might be surprised how many of the faithful Democrat legislators become strangely "bipartisan" when they are actually forced to publicly vote for something they know will get them kicked out of office in the next election. And yes, should the repeal pass, Mr. Obama will certainly veto it. "We the People" will remember that, too, as we expend a little of our $5.00-per-gallon gas to get to the polling place to veto him in 2012.

    • Dennis X

      Obama Care will save 143 billion dollars over the next ten years. You want to bring back not being able to get insurance with a pre-existing condistion, or kicking your 23 old off your insurance, or senoirs not getting a 50% discount on medication? In California Blue Shield wants to increase your cost by 59% !! Make the debate public and see what the public wants!!!

      • dgc001

        That is what the election reflected! Stop insulting the majority of the American public; we are not mindless drones, and many of us ACTUALLY have begun to read the bill to "find out what is in it". Nifty little surprises like the CBO revising it's cost estimates to show that the cost curve will bend dramatically upward, not down; that 45 new or existing physician-owned hospitals nationwide must now shut down because they are illegal; that their was absolutely NO tort reform; that the much ridiculed 'death panels' have now resurfaced through rule making in HHS; that the American people were compelled for the first time in the history of the republic to buy a government sanctioned product or face legal sanctions…Gee! We're all dolts! Get real pal! Americans have not warmed to this power grab, and they won't!

  • http://www.therepublicrevealed.com/ Victor Laslow

    After Pelosi spoke for so long I thought she would not let go and have a tug of war over the gavel with Boehner. One would think she said enough over the last few years but she had to praise herself and the progressive socialist accomplishments. Her speech to turn over power in the house broke the record for taking the longest time. So if as a reporter said by speaking for a considerably shorter time Boehner may have analogized the future of our government "Less Is Better"….

  • USMCSniper

    Vince Lombarbi once said; "Fatigue makes cowards of us all" and this is indeed true. The democrats will obstruct in every way possible with the MSM on their side, the RINOs will be the first to cave, then a large number of republicans will "compromise" as they will spin it, and Obamacare will not only survive, but be permanent – and they will all congratulate each other and raise taxes.

    • wsk

      Man, I hope you're wrong, but I fear you are correct.

  • alexander

    Boehner – Pelosi – big hammer – closeness….do it, John! ;)
    Republicans – you have no media – get some!!! WHO'S GOT MEDIA THAT RULES