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Oh My ... the moment of truth
Old 01-18-2010, 05:20 PM   #1
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Oh My ... the moment of truth

How ironic would that be, the state that looked like a sure lock may derail it all.


As Dick Enberg says, "Oh My"...

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/01/18/massachusetts.senate/index.html
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:35 PM   #2
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Or, maybe, it's interesting that the only state that has had a good look at "Universal Health Care" might torpedo it.

I couldn't believe it when the best the Dems could come up with to replace Ted Kennedy is Martha Coakley. It's almost like they are trying to lose. One of her campaign workers knocks a reporter down on video, and then she calls Curt Schilling a "Yankee fan".
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:42 PM   #3
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It the Dems want to pass health care all they have to do is get the senate version approved through the house. Done deal.

If they did that then the Mass election won't matter at all.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:34 AM   #4
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It the Dems want to pass health care all they have to do is get the senate version approved through the house. Done deal.

If they did that then the Mass election won't matter at all.
Technically, yes. But there are many, many obstacles to the House passing the Senate bill.

Massachusetts election could unhinge health care - washingtonpost.com

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One option calls for the House to pass the Senate bill and send it to Obama for his signature. But that ignores at least two significant problems.

To begin with, labor unions are adamantly opposed to an insurance tax in the Senate bill, and they successfully negotiated with Obama last week to weaken it in key respects. Second, a core group of anti-abortion Democrats says the Senate bill's provisions on restricting taxpayer funding for abortion are unacceptable because they don't go far enough.

On top of that, many House Democrats do not believe the Senate bill provides enough aid to make health insurance affordable. The core legislation would require most Americans to carry coverage for the first time, while providing subsidies to help low- and middle-income families pay premiums. Most of the benefit would go to people not currently covered by employer insurance.

A senior Democratic leadership aide, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions are private, said it is very difficult for the House to simply pass the Senate bill on its own
I've been following this on intrade, Brown has ~ 75/25 odds at this time. BTW, the title of that link isn't a prediction, it is just the title of the 'bet', you can choose the opposite side to see the ~ 25% odds...

Intrade Prediction Markets

Time and Sales Chart - Republican Party candidate to win

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Old 01-19-2010, 07:36 PM   #5
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Brown Wins.

GOP's Brown wins Mass. Senate seat in epic upset - Yahoo! News
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:39 PM   #6
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Interesting. Personally, I like things split up between the parties. I think it generally leads to better outcomes. I suppose this means that the healthcare bill is DOA without very major revisions.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:52 PM   #7
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Interesting. Personally, I like things split up between the parties. I think it generally leads to better outcomes. I suppose this means that the healthcare bill is DOA without very major revisions.

I sense a rapid movement to the middle.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:53 PM   #8
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I suppose this means that the healthcare bill is DOA without very major revisions.
Not necessarily. The House has the option of voting on the measure the Senate passed - without amendments. If that happens, the Senate version of the bill will be sent to the White House for signature.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:54 PM   #9
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I sense a rapid movement to the middle.
Perhaps. A supermajority by one party is pretty unusual and its not a surprise to see backlash, regardless of which party temporarily achieves dominance.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:58 PM   #10
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Interesting. Personally, I like things split up between the parties. I think it generally leads to better outcomes. I suppose this means that the healthcare bill is DOA without very major revisions.
Agreed about dislike for one party dominating the entire agenda.

The Democrats have some options remaining, such as using a parliamentary tactic to need only 51 votes in the Senate and for the House to pass the Senate bill verbatim, but I think many of them are afraid to ram something through now lest there be hell to pay in November. I'm not sure they can keep the moderate Democrats in line now.

Interestingly, some are noting that the polls really shifted toward Brown when all those backroom special deals were being made in health care such as the Nebraska payoff and the special deal for collective bargaining health care. That seems to be the flashpoint for a lot of the anger and it seems to have changed a lot of independent votes -- especially given how well Brown tapped into it.
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:02 PM   #11
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Not necessarily. The House has the option of voting on the measure the Senate passed - without amendments. If that happens, the Senate version of the bill will be sent to the White House for signature.
Were that to happen, I predict many House members will be sent home for retraining.
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:09 PM   #12
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I haven't been able to get into intrade.com since shortly after the polls closed, it just times out. The betting ended ~ 80-90 for Brown.

While many say Coakley ran a poor campaign, it also appears that Brown ran a very good one. I think his line about it not being a Kennedy seat, but the "peoples seat" really resonated. Be interesting to see how things proceed.

If intrade posts a "will the House pass the senate bill unchanged" bet, I'll be shorting it - it just doesn't seem realistic. If they could have agreed on a bill, they would have by now, there was a lot of push to get it done early. And the waiting did hurt them.


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Old 01-19-2010, 08:43 PM   #13
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The Democrats have some options remaining, such as using a parliamentary tactic to need only 51 votes in the Senate
Yes, they can use the "reconciliation" process to avoid the potential for a filibuster, but if they do that the legislation can only have content related to the budget (taxes and spending). So, it would be about taxes, transfers of funds to low income people, etc, but nothing about requiring insurers to accept people with pre-existing conditions, etc. It would be a mess.
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and for the House to pass the Senate bill verbatim, but I think many of them are afraid to ram something through now lest there be hell to pay in November. I'm not sure they can keep the moderate Democrats in line now.
Agreed. Plus, the language on abortion funding in the Senate version is something some House members (who voted for the House bill) said they can't accept. And, all the late deals (including the carve-out for unions regarding the "Cadillac plans" couldn't be included if they just approve the Senate bill, which would anger an important constituency.

Maybe the legislators will press ahead with the House/Senate conference process (without a conference committee) while they work on a way to pry loose one Republican defector. Senator Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins might be induced to go along, if the price was right.

But, I think this attempt at reform, done in this way, is likely dead. The question now is: Will we get right on the task of health reform again, this time approaching it from the political center, or will we let the issue drop and tend to other pressing issues (while both parties try to get maximum political mileage from the recently failed attempt). I think the adrenalin level and the blood pressures are still a little too high to expect a massive coming together, and most voters see the economy as more important right now. So, Congress should concentrate on other issues while the staffers start working on the health care issue in a low-key, "what can we all agree on" way.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:07 PM   #14
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Health care is definitely going on the back burner now. Hopefully something reasonable will be worked out, and not just ignored for another decade. Not sure how much longer we can go with how badly broken the health care system is now.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:42 PM   #15
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Health care is definitely going on the back burner now. Hopefully something reasonable will be worked out, and not just ignored for another decade. Not sure how much longer we can go with how badly broken the health care system is now.
I also think similar, I don't think there will be a deal. I think majority of people have health insurance and more or less are happy with it. So I think its not high enough in their priority list. Economy is at the top of the list. But healthcare is also part of job recovery, employer may be willing to hire but put off by health care and other insurance requirements. I guess its better to outsource or import from overseas than to put up with all this extra expenses (kind of indirect taxes).
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:15 AM   #16
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I think health care is broken in many ways. However, there's an old saying about how to eat an elephant.........."one bite at a time"........

Congress could fix one thing at a time. Start with Medicare and Medicaid, find a way to fix that, then move on to the next thing. Have the hearings public on CSPAN so the American people can see what's being discussed. Quit making all those pork deals and backroom deals that piss everyone off.
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:34 AM   #17
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Interesting. Personally, I like things split up between the parties. I think it generally leads to better outcomes. I suppose this means that the healthcare bill is DOA without very major revisions.
Me too. I've always been a believer in the "the government that governs best governs least" quote by Thomas Paine. And nothing slows the damage process better than a mix of power.

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Not necessarily. The House has the option of voting on the measure the Senate passed - without amendments. If that happens, the Senate version of the bill will be sent to the White House for signature.
It looks pretty unlikely at this point. On to Plan C - Ben Smith - POLITICO.com

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While many say Coakley ran a poor campaign, it also appears that Brown ran a very good one. I think his line about it not being a Kennedy seat, but the "peoples seat" really resonated.
Still, it's amazing. A Republican in Ted Kennedy's seat. Next thing you know they'll be electing a Republican in DC!

It's also interesting that many people are saying Brown won on his own merits. As opposed to merely being a backlash against the party in power, which as Brewer points out happens often. I personally think it was the Cosmo spread that did it for him. Scott Brown Posed Nude in Cosmo - Cosmopolitan.com
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:49 AM   #18
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As they say, real life is stranger than fiction. If someone would have written this as a movie (that the seat once held by Ted Kennedy would be the deciding seat lost), no one would have believed that.

Looks like as long as the country is pretty much split 50/50, the power is not with either party, but with the independents who have the final say to tilt to outcome.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:07 AM   #19
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Quit making all those pork deals and backroom deals that piss everyone off.
I think Senator-elect Brown should send Nebraska's Senator Ben Nelson and the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka big bouquets, as the deals they cut did a huge amount to shine a light on this whole mess and get him elected.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:16 AM   #20
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I also think similar, I don't think there will be a deal. I think majority of people have health insurance and more or less are happy with it. So I think its not high enough in their priority list.
So let's go back to the drawing board. Many people are satisfied with their health insurance but still are nervous about losing it. So why not start with the greatest fears among those who are happy with their current health care, and give them a warm fuzzy that they no longer have to worry about it? That might increase their level of support.

People worry about losing health insurance when they lose their job. People worry that a job loss means they can't afford COBRA or get individual insurance and thus they may have to "go naked" (no health insurance). And if they develop a pre-existing condition while uninsured, they're screwed.

People with retiree health insurance provided to them are often worried that it will be dropped, forcing them to either try to get an individual plan (which their health may not allow), do without (and risk financial ruin) or go look for another j*b with health insurance (at a time when these are already extremely scarce and where age discrimination is rampant).

And people worry that at the current rate of health care inflation, health care will take 20% or more of the U.S. GDP before too long.

Even people who have (and like) their current health insurance can often agree that these are still big concerns. And the uninsured and underinsured might benefit from changes here, too. Start here, in my opinion. At some point, even though the "inner libertarian" in me doesn't like the concept of a mandate to buy insurance whether you want it or not, the practical reality is to really solve the other problems, it might be the only way to avoid introducing too much adverse selection.
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