Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rehashing the ObamaCare Debacle

The health care "reform" bill was and is a debacle, but not the way I had hoped it would be.

I should know better than to try to predict how Congress will act , much less how specific members of Congress will vote when under concerted pressure from the President and their congressional leadership. (See my previous post: Obamu's Health Care Debacle.) But I let my hopes cloud my political judgment.

The vote in the House was disappointing, but it should not have been surprising to see Representative Stupak sell out his stated anti-abortion beliefs for an essentially meaningless executive order. A presidential executive order cannot change a law—in this case, the Senate health care bill—although it can affect to some degree how a law is enforced. However, an executive order carries no guarantees. President Obama or any future President can withdraw it at any time without any warning.

I assume that Stupak at least knows this, so despite his protests that he was acting on principle to protect the lives of the unborn, he knows that the executive order is worthless. This leads me to the conclusion that he was just looking for political cover.

In fact, as of tonight, President Obama has not signed the executive order on abortion funding, even though he did sign the health care bill today. "Stupak predicted Obama would sign the order later this week." This smells of political gamesmanship. At the very least, Obama is purposely delaying the signing to remind Stupak who is in control and to punish him for pushing things to this point. I expect Obama will eventually sign it, but the games he's playing make me wonder what threats Obama and the Democratic leadership made against Stupak and the other House Democrats who dared to defy him: Primary challenges? Airing some dirty laundry? Withholding federal funding for projects in their districts?

The one good thing that "happened" is that the Democrats decided to follow the Constitution by actually voting on the Senate health care bill instead of following the Slaughter strategy of deeming it passed. Although, it's a pretty low bar when merely following the procedures laid out in the Constitution is the best that can be said about a vote.

The one certainty that has emerged from this mess is that the debate and the political battles will continue. Whether or not ObamaCare will ever be repealed is much less certain, even with all its fatal flaws.

"On Health Care Day, Obama Skips Signing Executive Order on Abortion," Fox News

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