A well-wired Democrat health care lobbyist says there is about a 25% chance Obamacare could collapse. There are razor thin margins in both Houses, so many moving parts, and more and more Democrats are getting dug into their positions as the election gets closer. There are several Democrats in the Senate who simply can’t live with key House provisions, including the income surtax, and 60 votes will be needed again. Likewise liberals in the House do not want to stick it to the unions with the “Cadillac” health insurance tax the Senate has passed.
The timing of benefits kicking in several years down the road, while new taxes and regulations kick in right away, is causing a lot of political pain. Bob Dole used to say when he was Chairman of the Finance Committee you never should have a long lead in legislation before it gets put into effect. That is a recipe for its undoing.
Complicated legislation naturally gets less popular as time goes on, and polls indicate this national health insurance effort is quite unpopular. And the House majority is upset over the fig-leaf the Senate put over the public option. They don’t think the Senate’s Office of Personnel Management national plan is real.
There will not be a traditional conference appointed for this bill. It will be run by the House and Senate Leadership, and they will not send any legislation over for final floor votes unless and until they are 99% sure they have the votes.
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