60-39: Senate Dems Pass Healthcare

Early this Christmas Eve morning, the Senate held its vote for final passage of H.R. 3590, the $2.5 trillion government takeover of the health care industry.  Democrats passed the bill on a 60-39  straight party-line vote. 

And it’s still not a sure thing that the bill will ever become law.

The bill still must pass the House unchanged by a Motion to Concur or must go to conference for an agreement between the House and Senate Democrats (they’ve excluded Republican leadership from every negotiation so far in this Congress).  Any conference report produced by backroom deals in conference would still have a 60-vote threshold in the Senate to end debate on the measure.

Just prior to the vote this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in remarks from the Senate floor vowed to work with his colleagues to stop the bill from becoming law.

“I guarantee you the people who voted for this bill are going to get an earful when they finally get home for the first time since Thanksgiving,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.  “They know there is widespread opposition to this monstrosity.  This fight isn’t over. My colleagues and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law.  That’s the clear will of the American people — and we’re going to continue to fight on their behalf.

A real champion on the side of the people in the health care fight, Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Ok.), spoke of the historic nature of the vote.

“This vote is indeed historic,” Coburn said.  “This Congress will be remembered for its arrogance, corruption and stupidity.  In the year of 2009, a Congress ignored the coming economic storm and impending bankruptcy of our entitlement programs and embarked on an ideological crusade to bring our nation as close to single-payer, government-run health care as possible.  If this bill becomes law, future generations will rue this day and I will do everything in my power to work toward its repeal.  This bill will ration care, cut Medicare, increase premiums, fund abortion and bury our children in debt.”

“This process was not compromise,” Coburn continued.  “This process was corruption.  This bill passed because votes were bought and sold using the issue of abortion as a bargaining chip.  The abortion provision alone makes this bill the most arrogant piece of legislation I have seen in Congress.  Only the most condescending politician can believe it is appropriate to force Americans to pay for other people’s abortions and to coerce medical professional to take the lives of unborn children.”

Coburn, a physician for over 25 years, spoke of the Medicare rationing that takes place here and the rationing by other governments who have adopted measures like the Senate proposes.

“The experience of government-run health care in the United States and around the world shows that access to a government program is not access to health care,” Coburn said.  “Forty percent of doctors restrict access to Medicaid patients.  Medicare already rations care and denies medical claims at twice the rate of private insurers.  Nations like the United Kingdom with government run health care routinely ration care based on cost, and Canadians flock to the United States to escape waiting lines. Neither nation, incidentally, has managed to control costs as promised.”

Coburn also admonished Democrats who impugned the integrity of the overwhelming majority of the American people opposed to this health care boondoggle.

“The rhetoric that will be remembered in this debate was not between elected officials but between elected officials and concerned citizens,” Coburn said.  “The clear will of the public was not only ignored, but concerned citizens were personally attacked by politicians in power.  The American people were derided as an angry mob, and were called evil-doers and unpatriotic by the leaders of the House and Senate.

Coburn also warned of the dangers in passing a government takeover of medicine.

“In my 25 years of practicing medicine I’ve treated countless patients who would have had their lives cut short had the Reid bill been in effect,” Coburn said.  “I don’t need to conjure up scare tactics or rely on talking points written by staff.   I’ve seen cancers that would have gone undiagnosed, treatments that would have been denied, and care that would have been delayed had this bill been in effect.”

Then Coburn wrote a prescription offering a cure for this blatant power grab.

“Soon enough, the American people will have the opportunity to ration the terms of the elected officials in Washington who sought to impose their will on the public,” Coburn concluded.

What’s Next for the Senate Health Care Bill

Next the bill goes to the House where there are several different scenarios that can be worked out there — behind closed doors.  Why would our Democrat rulers deign to open up the process now?

The Senate bill can pass through the House by simple majority vote on a Motion to Concur, but that’s not going to happen because it would require pro-life Democrats in the House to shed their principles and vote for the federal funding of abortion included in the Senate bill.  Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), the co-author of the Stupak-Pitts amendment adopted in the House bill barring federal funding of abortion in the House-passed bill, has already stated his objection to the Senate-passed language.

Far-left radical Democrats in the House who call themselves “progressives” also object.  Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), chair of the Rules Committee , Lynn Woolsey (D-Cal.), chair of the so-called “Progressive Caucus” and Barbara Lee (D-Cal.), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, have already voiced their opposition to the Senate bill.

The most likely scenario is — as rumored last night — that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will decide the final bill’s terms themselves behind closed doors.  They might succeed, but there’s no guarantee that House “Blue Dog” Dems, and others, may yet stop it.

Other Senate News

Yesterday, all 60 members of the Senate Democrat caucus proclaimed with their vote that it is constitutional for the federal government to require an individual American citizen to purchase an insurance product from a private company.  The courts will have the final say on that one, with attorneys general in Texas and South Carolina already exploring lawsuits.

The Senate also passed this morning H.R. 4314 on a 60-39 straight party-line vote, a bill that increases the national debt limit to $1.4 trillion.  

“Democrats just finished approving the $2.5 trillion Reid health care bill and what’s their first order of business?  Voting to raise the limit on their credit card so taxpayers can pay for it. We need to start living within our means as a nation, instead of upping our credit limit every time Democrats want to pass another trillion dollar bill,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said of the vote.

Charge your batteries over the holidays, folks.  January is going to be a bumpy ride.

Merry Christmas!