Senate Republicans have attached an amendment to the FAA funding bill currently pending to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It appears that Harry Reid is willing to allow the vote to go forward, in order to "get it out of their systems quickly".
"We want to get this out of their system quickly," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at a press conference with his top deputies Tuesday afternoon, who said the vote could come up "sometime today," depending on how long the floor debate drags on. Aides suggest the vote's more likely to come Wednesday.
"A budget point of order lies against it. It breaks the budget by a trillion dollars, they don't show any way of making up that trillion dollars." said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters. "I for one was hoping that Senator McConnell would not do this on this bill... but he did, its his right."
To waive the point of order, Republicans will need 60 votes. They won't come close.
Meanwhile, they are at least (finally) admitting that the goal of their tweaks isn't "repeal and replace", but rather to kill the whole thing and allow the status quo to remain for everyone.
I caught a few minutes of Senator Tom Coburn bloviating on the Senate floor this afternoon with the same old mantra about free-market health care, and how government will interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, etc. etc. ad infinitum. I could only wonder how he can stand there with a straight face and do that. The man is an OB/GYN who wants the government to execute doctors who perform legal procedures on women, robbing them of choices rightfully made with the advice of a doctor and without the US government in the examining room.
Finally, in what could be the ultimate irony of the day, Forbes wonders aloud why the uninsured aren't protesting in the streets like Egyptians.
Put plainly, the political and legal peril in which health reform finds itself is directly attributable to the failure of the uninsured to visibly advocate on their own behalf. Those without health insurance have allowed a civil rights issue of guaranteed access to medical care to become a referendum on Big Government rather than a test of basic human compassion for brain-damaged husbands. And, even more ironically, have left the heavy lifting on lobbying against repeal to the big insurance companies of the world such as Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint
Worse, while the prestigious Institute of Medicine characterizes the consequences of a lack of access to care as “needless illness, suffering, and even death,” it is Republican physicians in Congress brazenly lead the effort to repeal care coverage.
By coincidence, there are about the same number of elderly on Medicare as there are uninsured. Egyptians understand the power of an aroused populace. Do the uninsured? In Red States and Blue States in 2012, there will be Congressional districts and senatorial races up for grabs and a contest for the presidency featuring a man who made a historic effort on their behalf. Will Republicans whose party has never put forth a serious proposal to provide access to care for all suffer any consequences at the ballot box from turning to the sick, the scared and the suffering with a curt, “Government is not the answer.”
It's a good question, though. We should be in the streets. Every damn day.