10.31.2009 0

Editorial: Senate Must Filibuster Public Option

  • On: 11/23/2009 09:50:40
  • In: Health Care
  • In a 60-39 party-line vote on Saturday, Harry Reid’s ObamaCare bill (H.R. 3950) cleared a critical test vote, which allows the bill to proceed to the floor for debate. Senate Republicans needed just one of their Democrat colleagues to vote with them against cloture, and the bill would have been defeated right then and there.

    Instead, it appears that for the moment Democrat caucus members are choosing their party over country.

    To seal the deal, Reid still needs to keep four of his caucus members in line, each who have their share of problems within their own states: Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. They are attempting avoid a severe public backlash.

    That is not to say that some of these Senators do not want to vote for this legislation—most of them probably do—it’s that the government takeover of health care is so vastly unpopular that their votes could likely end their political careers. All told, 56 percent of voters in the most recent Rasmussen Reports poll taken just this weekend say they are against the legislation.

    The largest problem this proposal faces is opposition to the public option. Both Senators Joe Lieberman and Blanche Lincoln have said they will not vote for the bill in its present form precisely because of the public option, which Senate Republicans say will cost $2.5 trillion over ten years once fully implemented.

    Senator Mary Landrieu had previously been opposed to the “public option,” too. She had previously warned Reid against including it, and said it would likely suffer the same fate as Medicare and Medicaid, the other two unsustainable health care entitlements the federal government has already enacted.

    She said, “Why don’t we fix the two public options we have now instead of creating a third one… I think if you asked, do you want a public option but it would force the government to go bankrupt, people would say no.”

    But in floor debate she suddenly had forgotten that the “public option” would bankrupt the nation. Americans for Limited Government estimates that the Senate bill will lose some $361 billion by 2019, setting it on an unsustainable trajectory.

    Landrieu is expected to vote both for cloture and in favor of final passage. Why? She got a sweetener of some $300 million for increased Medicaid payments to Louisiana in the bill in what can only be described as a bribe.

    On the other side of the aisle, the American people will need Senate Republicans to stick together in opposing political favors that make it easier to pass this bill which will ration health care away from seniors, drive Americans away from private health options, take over the entire health system, and bankrupt the nation.

    In particular, Maine’s two Republican Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins may be the American people’s only hope. They must not give in to small favors like Landrieu did, which put will put taxpayers on the hook for far more than they will receive from the handout. If they hold strong, with at least Senator Lieberman and perhaps Senator Lincoln voting against cloture on the “public option,” this trillion-dollar abomination can be stopped.

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