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Harrycare Buckles to Government Option

It’s all Harry and Nancy now.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced yesterday that his “Harrycare” bill will include a government option.  Looking a great deal like a man who can see the end of his political career looming over the horizon, Reid buckled to the far left ideologues in the White House and his caucus to go over the political cliff.

“We intend to include it [a government option] in the bill that will be submitted to the Senate,” Reid said at the presser.  “We’ve spent countless hours over the past few days in consultation with Senators who’ve shown and share a desire to reform the health care system, and I believe there is a strong consensus to move forward in this direction.”

Oops, thought this was about reforming “insurance” not the “health care system,” Sen. Reid.  Must be a misspeak after all those long hours.

Reid also said his bill will include an “opt out” at the state level which is a façade. Can individuals “opt out” of the penalties and the mandatory coverage?  Can individuals “opt out” of paying for government-run health care for everyone else in the country in the form of higher premiums, higher taxes, and Medicare cuts?  Can small business owners “opt out” of the higher payroll taxes?

Who decides what a state does?  The legislature?  The governor?  A state referendum?  It’s not clear.  Also unclear is what exactly happens in Reid’s “opt out” scenario between passage and the drop dead of 2014 for the state “opt out” date, if you’ll pardon the unfortunate juxtaposition.

Reid also said yesterday that he was sending, “… within the next few hours, to CBO…[a] proposal that we’re sending to them for scoring will make us a step closer to achieving a bill this year that lowers costs, preserves choice, creates competition and improves quality of care.”

Like the other Democrat bait and switch scenarios, Reid is not sending a “bill” to CBO for scoring but “… a number of… anyway the proposal…” for scoring.  Sources say he’s not merely sending an “opt out” government option proposal, but several others for consideration should he fail to reach cloture for this latest boondoggle.

When asked if he had support to pass his so-called public option “opt-out” formulation through the Senate, Reid also apparently made up — then and there — scores of “major polling data” showing support for the government option.

“Obviously the public option is something that’s been talked about a lot,” Reid said.  “It’s something I believe in.  In the state of Nevada, uh, all the national polls show a wide majority of Americans support the public option.”

The one major poll showing majority support was the ABC/Washington Post poll weighted 33 percent Democrat, 20 percent Republican and 42 percent “independent.”

All the real major polls show that there is no majority support for the Democrats’ health care bills whatsoever.

The latest from Rasmussen yesterday shows what polls have shown all along:  the overwhelming majority of people continue to reject health care “reform.” Support has remained steady, between 41 and 46 percent since July. Opposition has remained a steady 48 to 56 percent in the same time frame.  

The latest poll of likely voters conducted October 24-25 shows 45 percent approve while 51 percent disapprove of Democrat health care proposals.  Those numbers include 23 percent who strongly favor the plan and 40 percent who are strongly opposed.

The Politico reports, “Reid, who spoke with virtually every member of his 60-member caucus this weekend, currently has between 56 and 57 votes for a proposal to create a national insurance plan but allow states to opt out of it, according to Democratic aides.”

The looming question is whether or not Reid, in serious election trouble back home, can provoke the Democrat caucus to hold together for the necessary 60 votes for cloture to end debate.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement after the Reid presser.

“While final details of this bill are still unknown, here’s what we do know: It will be a thousand-page, trillion-dollar bill that raises premiums, raises taxes and slashes Medicare for our seniors to create new government spending programs,” McConnell said.  “That’s not reform. So, wholly aside from the debate over whether the government gets into the insurance business, the core of the proposal is a bill that the American public clearly does not like, and doesn’t support.”

Pelosi: ‘Public Option’ Just Needs a New Name

As if things weren’t dismal enough for Democrats in the Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) yesterday continued to exhibit chronic symptoms of foot-in-mouth disease, telling a group of seniors the “public option” just needed a new name and people would be more accepting of it.  Ahem.

Pelosi made an appearance in Sunrise, Florida, at a senior center where she called the government option, the “consumer” option.  Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Pelosicrat-Fla.), also suggested that a name change might help smooth over the anxiety that Americans have over nationalized health care.

Pelosi said that the term “public option” has given taxpayers the impression that they would somehow foot the bill for the government takeover of health care.

Where to begin while maintaining a modicum of decorum?

Suffice it to say that it’s not the terminology, it’s that the American people are not nearly as dumb as Pelosi thinks they are — the 2008 election results notwithstanding.

We’ll just keep calling it “Harrycare” and let the Nevada voters figure it out for themselves next year.

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Connie Hair writes a weekly column for HUMAN EVENTS. She is a former speechwriter for Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.).

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