Barring a sudden change of fortunes — either the taxpayers’ good fortunes or those of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — liberal Democrats won’t be able to push through the radical remake of the nation’s health care system as they’d proposed.
Centrist Democrats, the so-called Blue Dogs who represent states and districts where the parties are still competitive, balked. In the Senate, three Democrats and three Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee are working a bill that would drop the government “insurance” option in favor of a “nonprofit cooperative” that would sell insurance. Gone, too, is a provision that invited large companies to dump medical costs onto taxpayers, though high-dollar benefits may be taxed at 35 percent and companies will be taxed to ”reimburse the government” for the subsidies that would go to those whose income is less than 300 percent of poverty.
Insurance companies would be barred from denying coverage to any applicant and they could not charge higher premiums for those with pre-existing medical conditions.
A commission, something akin the the base-closing commission used to eliminate excess military facilities, would be created to curtail future Medicare costs.
The radicals within the Democratic Party are incensed that the Blue Dogs have denied them an opportunity to overreach. Frankly, what the six Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee are proposing is considerably far-reaching. It creates a huge new welfare entitlement and, for the most part, hides the cost. Prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher premiums for pre-existing conditions means that those higher costs are spread among other policy-holders. The subsidies for those whose income is less than 300 percent of poverty, $66, 150 for a family of four, will essentially establish a welfare base that reaches into the middle class. Everybody will be required to have insurance.
The proposal coming out of the Senate Finance Committee is the best chance liberal Dems have of getting ObamaCare this year. When members of Congress go home and hear from constitutents who are now getting the word on the full impact of what the Pelosi Democrats are doing, support will soften even further.
Democrats don’t need any Republicans to pass the proposed monstrosity. But I promise you that they don’t want their party’s legacy to be a complete federal takeover of health care in America.