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Monday, January 25, 2010

Small Biz Health Care Daily: After Massachusetts?

Liberal Massachusetts went for a Republican to fill Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat. Why? Anger over the radical moves towards big government by the Obama administration and Congress, including on the health care front, seems to be the answer.

Did President Obama and congressional leaders get the message?

An article in the January 22 New York Daily News reported the following:

After a string of meetings yesterday, angry, stunned House Democrats decided they were willing to break the measure into pieces and use a loophole called budget reconciliation to pass tougher parts in the Senate. The process requires a simple 51-vote majority, not the 60 votes often needed to move bills in the upper chamber. "We will have health care reform in this Congress," vowed Bronx Rep. Eliot Engel. The puzzle, though, is how.

Is finding another way to cram through bad ideas really the lesson of Massachusetts, along with the polls running against these health care reform measures?

The article went on to note that Democrats still want to pass measures that will raise costs and hurt the quality of care, such as mandates, prices controls, government-run plans, and insurance exchanges to make it easier to regulate.

Another piece from the January 25 issue of the Daily News mentioned something different:

Republicans, meanwhile - led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the GOP's 2008 presidential nominee - insisted their party was open to negotiating. He said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that Obama should consider some of the GOP's health care prescriptions, like limiting medical malpractice lawsuits, letting residents buy health insurance across state lines and tax credits for people who buy insurance on their own.

That would make sense in terms of expanding choice and competition, and making health care coverage more affordable. But are the Obama White House and congressional leaders really interested in greater affordability and competition, or just more government involvement?

Raymond J. Keating
Chief Economist
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

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