WASHINGTON – The end game in sight, Senate Democrats coped with stubborn internal differences as well as implacable Republican opposition on Monday in a struggle to pass health care legislation by Christmas.
Of course, the AP just has to start with a statement about the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil Wepubwicans and how they’re being impwacabwe in standing in the way of His Obamaness’ foreordained health-care plan! Nevermind that with only 40 members, the GOP couldn’t stop this bill without the help of some Democrats, which is where the real problem lies.
Of course, to their credit, the AP does start talking about that in the second paragraph.
A liberal-backed call to expand Medicare as part of the legislation drew strong opposition from Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. and quieter concerns from a dozen Democrats, raising significant doubts about its ability to survive.
Later in the article, they expand on this…
Despite that optimism, opposition to the Medicare changes blossomed from doctors and hospitals, who are paid less to treat patients under Medicare than those covered by private insurance companies.
Lieberman announced his opposition over the weekend, but he was not the only critic.
“We appreciate the rationale underlying the proposed Medicare expansion but fear that provider shortages in states with low reimbursement rates such as ours will make such a program ineffective, or even worsen the problems states are experiencing,” a dozen Democrats from across the political spectrum wrote Reid.
Democratic officials said late last week that efforts were under way to try and ease the concerns of doctors and hospitals, as well as defray the cost of buy-in coverage for consumers. Under some estimates, the price tag could reach $7,600 annually or more.
Lieberman said on Sunday he was opposed to the Medicare provision, threatening to deny Democrats his vote if it remained in the bill.
Reid’s problem can be summed up very quickly and easily. Anything he does to make the bill more agreeable to the “moderates” in his own party makes it that much less agreeable to the hard-leftists, and vice versa. Because of that, he’s not likely to ever reach 60 votes, regardless of what arm-twisting or bribing or begging he does.
As others have pointed out, if Reid had offered a hand to the GOP, toned down some of his hyper-partisan rhetoric and moved a little bit in the directions the Republicans wanted, he probably could have picked up enough “moderate” Republican votes to make up for whatever hard-left votes he lost from his own party, and he could have passed a bill. Perhaps not a perfect bill from his perspective, but something. However, what Reid did was his level best to alienate the entire Republican party, and now he’s reaping what he sowed, as the Bible says he will.