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Obama Admin on Health Care: If Republicans Won't Join Us, We'll Do it Without Them

July 15, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

There are maybe two Republicans in the Senate who might be open to some version of Obama’s health care legislation. Besides that, every Republican in Congress seems to have already decided that they will vote against any of the proposals being floated, including the Senate Finance version that is expected to contain barely a hint of the public option plan, if that.

But that doesn’t mean the bill can’t be passed. Democrats have a procedural option that would allow them to pass the bill without any Republican support, and the Obama Administration now is coming out sand saying that they are not afraid to use it:

President Barack Obama may rely only on Democrats to push health-care legislation through the U.S. Congress if Republican opposition doesn’t yield soon, two of the president’s top advisers said.

“Ultimately, this is not about a process, it’s about results,” David Axelrod, Obama’s senior political strategist, said during an interview in his White House office. “If we’re going to get this thing done, obviously time is a-wasting.”

Both Axelrod and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said taking a partisan route to enacting major health-care legislation isn’t the president’s preferred choice. Yet in separate interviews, each man left that option open.

“We’d like to do it with the votes of members of both parties,” Axelrod said. “But the worst result would be to not get health-care reform done.”

Here’s how this could play out: Democrats in Congress continue to try to get a few Republicans on board for a compromise (and make sure they don’t lose conservative Democrats). If no good compromise is found before, say, the August recess, they come back in the fall, push forward with a bill that includes a “robust” public option and try to get it done through the budget reconciliation process, which requires only 51 votes. As I’ve explained before, whether or not they can do this will ultimately up to the Senate parliamentarian who will determine if the bill is more than incidentally related to the budget. If the parliamentarian determines that it is, Democrats can pass it as part of the budget with 51 votes. If the parliamentarian decides it’s only incidentally related, it would be back to the drawing board.

For those who say that the reconciliation route isn’t sufficiently bipartisan, Rahm Emanuel has a response. Bipartisanship, he says, isn’t about attaining Republican votes for the bill, but about incorporating Republican ideas in the bill.

“That’s a test of bipartisanship — whether you took ideas from both parties,” Emanuel said. “At the end of the day, the test isn’t whether they voted for it,” he said, referring to Republicans. “The test is whether the final product represented some of their ideas. And I think it will.”

House Democrats released their version of health care reform legislation yesterday. The Senate HELP Committee approved their bill today and the Finance Committee will do so soon. Subscribe to our RSS feed for updates as things move forward.

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Comments

  • Moderated Comment

  • jkpcguru 07/15/2009 9:30am

    The comment above me is obviously written by someone who is blinded by what is really happening in the real world. This person doesn’t know the the largest reason for bankruptcy in the United States is because of medical bills. The person doesn’t know the people who work all their lives, lead an honest life, become sick with cancer and their insurance company cancels them because they failed to report that they had the flu a couple years ago. This person doesn’t know that the majority of the US does want health reform. I hope this person finds out the people are pray for them and hope that they find god. If they think they already have, they should look a little deeper.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 07/16/2009 7:40am

    That’s great that it will benefit you or someone you know, but I love the medical coverage I have now. My wife and I struggled to complete our education and find decent jobs that rewarded us with great coverage. So now we will lose our coverage and end up subsidizing people who choose not to complete an education and stand around with their hands out. Being a veteran and a “patriot” I love my country, but I wish there was a practical/realistic country I could move to with my family. I do not want to live in a country that rewards apathy and punishes success.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 07/16/2009 7:40am

    That’s great that it will benefit you or someone you know, but I love the medical coverage I have now. My wife and I struggled to complete our education and find decent jobs that rewarded us with great coverage. So now we will lose our coverage and end up subsidizing people who choose not to complete an education and stand around with their hands out. Being a veteran and a “patriot” I love my country, but I wish there was a practical/realistic country I could move to with my family. I do not want to live in a country that rewards apathy and punishes success.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 07/16/2009 7:40am

    That’s great that it will benefit you or someone you know, but I love the medical coverage I have now. My wife and I struggled to complete our education and find decent jobs that rewarded us with great coverage. So now we will lose our coverage and end up subsidizing people who choose not to complete an education and stand around with their hands out. Being a veteran and a “patriot” I love my country, but I wish there was a practical/realistic country I could move to with my family. I do not want to live in a country that rewards apathy and punishes success.

  • GreatWhiteDork 07/15/2009 9:38am

    We do want healthcare reform. Tort reform to stop stupid lawsuits from causing doctors to need $4M insurance that they then pass on to the customer. Wait, only some of the customers, because the government only allows them to charge insurance companies a specific amount, so they pass the cost to the poor uninsured in the form of $40 Ace bandages in urgent care.

    Reform, not complete take over by the Federal Government, who has time and time again shown themselves corrupt an incompetent under either party.

  • Anonymous 07/15/2009 5:11pm

    Many people who want to overhaul health care never lived in a country that had government-sponsored health care, as have I. Anyone who is able comes to the US for the best health care in the world. Our current system is not perfect, but it is vastly better than astronomical taxes and government bureaucracy.

  • Anonymous 07/15/2009 5:47pm

    well well well, I see that poster going by “jkpcguru” is another fear mongering partisan. In all my life, knowing so many people who have many afflictions all the while changing health providers/insurance companies, I have NEVER actually witnessed any of these great horror stories of those evil insurance companies. I have heard stories of people being provided health care via government/single payer options, and those are real horror stories. Stop trying to be Obamas surrogate and trying to govern via fear. I grew out of being told scary stories when I was child, and this is an adult issue with very adult consequences.

  • Anonymous 07/16/2009 2:01am

    This is all insane… At what point is our entire paycheck going to be taken from us to pay for every one else!!!

  • b58 07/16/2009 4:31am

    I guess Obama is going to ram that health care and all his other socialist communist government take over through and tax us till we die.He has already bankrupt this country already and no one in Washington has raised a hand to stop it. History repeats its self like what started the states pulling out of the union and lead us into a civil war on our own soil.

  • Anonymous 07/16/2009 6:06am

    We don’t want the Government running our health care. If you want it for me, why don’t you want it for yourself? Obama wants to fine me if I don’t follow blindly into that mess. If he was Pinochio, his lies would cause his nose to be half way around the world by now. You Dems. have the world record when it comes to telling lies.

  • judysandage 07/16/2009 6:15am

    Yes we need health care reform but not this way. If this plan is so good why doesn’t every member of Congress agree to sign up for this plan instead of their current plan? We need tort reform, first and foremost. There are many OB/GYN’s dropping their OB practice because they can’t afford the outrageous liability insurance anymore. I don’t want a system that tells me what treatment I can have or not. I don’t want reform that will break the backs of small business and “tax the rich” to pay for it. Soon there will be no more rich, then where will the money come from?

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