Political Fantasy Meets Political Reality


It appears that in spite of the most strenuous efforts of the political-media establishment, ObamaCare may crash and burn due to lack of enough Democrat votes in the House of Representatives.

What would it take to pass so-called “health care reform” in the House of Representatives, with no Republican support?

  • There are 434 members.
  • Passing a bill requires a simple majority, or the affirmative votes of 218 members.
  • Currently there are 256 Democrats in the House.

So, it would seem that passing the Health Care bill should be almost a non-event. Even with no Republican votes, Democrats can pass it with 38 votes to spare.

But ObamaCare, if it includes a government owned and operated insurance company, is in trouble, even with this overwhelming majority.  Greg Sargent, blogger for the Washington Post reports on a leaked, internal Democratic party document.  Called a whip count, it shows the following results of a survey of Democrat members by the party leadership.

  • Votes needed to pass: 218
  • Democrats who have decided to vote yes: 189
  • Democrats who are “committed” to vote no: 47
  • Democrats who are “leaning” no: 8
  • Democrats who are undecided: 12

Even in the very unlikely event that all the leaners and undecideds end up voting yes, the Democrats would still be nine votes short.

Liberal Democrats insist on including the government run insurance company, and are unwilling to vote for a bill without it.  They see ObamaCare with the government insurance company as the first step toward what they really want, “single payer,” or government becoming the only provider of health care to everyone.

As the diagram below shows, ObamaCare is a hopelessly convoluted scheme to empower some 30 new bureaucracies to dismantle and re-design the entire complex of health insurance companies, hospitals, physicians and drug companies, 17% of the American economy.  It cannot happen without causing a mass of unforeseen negative consequences, health care shortages, and economic misery.  The very idea is so preposterous it would fail the laugh test with anyone outside the blindly arrogant political-media establishment.

Yet liberals are undeterred by reality and have demanded that President Obama and Congressional leaders convert more no votes to yes votes with “the right mixture of pressure and incentives.”

In Congress “pressures and incentives” means a wide range of threats and rewards that are mostly unrelated to health care.  A member may be threatened with a Democrat party funded challenger in his home state primary.  Sometimes threats are petty, such as a reduction in personal staff or less desirable office space.

Possible “incentives” include funding for home district projects, extra money for the next reelection campaign, a judicial or administration appointment for a friend, special appearance with the President, the list is endless.

The Bottom Line

Passage of this massive legislation now depends not on its merit but on the ability of some politicians to buy off or coerce other politicians with unrelated agreements.


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