Nelson Caves, Will Support the Reid Health Care Reform Bill

Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has caved in to pressure from Democrats in their proposed government takeover of the health care industry, settling for language that allows use of federal taxpayer dollars to fund abortion. 

But was the abortion issue the reason he objected to the bill at all?  Now that he’s caved on the language and will vote to allow federal funding of abortion, people are left to wonder.

The House-passed bill includes language that would repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act which exempts insurance companies from federal anti-trust legislation, which facilitates insurance company monopolies within each state.

Yesterday afternoon, the insurance trade underwriter Property & Casualty posted this breaking news item on their website which informed insurance industry insiders that Nelson had been successful in having the anti-trust language barred from inclusion in the Senate bill.

From the report:

In reaction, Blain Rethmeier, a spokesman for the American Insurance Association, said, “We’re glad our arguments against modifying McCarran have appeared to carry the day in the Senate, but the battle’s not over.”

He added, “We expect this issue will heat up again next year, and it’s going to take the entire industry being united to oppose this in the final bill.”

Joel Kopperud, a director of government relations for the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, added, “Indications that the anti-trust amendment is not included in the manager’s amendment are encouraging.”

The report goes on to credit Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska and a former state insurance commissioner, with having the language pulled as part of his deal.

The Senate bill still cuts half a trillion dollars from Medicare which will severely curtail services and practitioner participation in the program.  The bill heavily taxes health insurance plans and medical devices, taxes that will be passed on to the consumer.

The bill still includes the CLASS Act provisions which create an entirely new entitlement that the Chairman of the Budget Committee Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) called, “A Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would have been proud of.”

Conrad plans to vote for the $2.5 trillion bill.

The first cloture vote is expected in the wee hours on Monday around 1:00 am.  That’s the first opportunity under Senate rules to hold the cloture vote.  Two more votes for cloture are required before a vote for final passage, each requiring a 30 hour of post-cloture debate period, unless Republicans give unanimous consent to waive.  Failure to meet the magic number of 60 on any of these votes for cloture could still kill the bill.  The vote for final passage could take place as early as Christmas Eve (barring a Republican cave that would waive the post-cloture debate periods and allow for an earlier vote).

Should the Senate pass the bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could send the bill straight to the president’s desk for signature, which would most certainly cause a revolt from the radical left in the House.  The House would offer a Motion to Concur with the Senate Amendment and a simple majority passes.  The House would need to hold their far-left caucus vote and the pro-life Stupak vote together for that simple majority vote.

In the alternative, Pelosi can take this bill to conference.  If the House changes one dot or tittle, the Senate would have to pass a Motion to Concur with the House.  That would require 60 votes to reach cloture and end debate on the Motion to Concur.

“Now is the time to fight harder,” House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) said today.  “When the American people are engaged, Washington listens.  Now is the time to speak out, more loudly and clearly than ever, against this monstrosity.”

Amen, Mr. Boehner.