This coming week may be a major milestone in the history of the United States.
The Administration will pull out ALL stops and will do ANYTHING to get their version of the healthcare bill passed.
First let’s review the procedures for passage.
A couple of months ago the House and Senate passed different versions of the reform bill. Given that the Senate could not pass (by 60 votes) the same bill today, the House needs to pick up the Senate bill and pass it without amendments.
The House does not have the votes to pass the original Senate bill, unless they cut a side deal with the Senate. With a side deal in place, the House intends to get the votes to pass the original Senate bill and that will be signed by the President.
The deal with the House is that the Senate will introduce another bill to make some budget changes to the original bill, and will move to pass this new bill with the 50 vote reconciliation process of the Senate. The purpose of this new bill is to adjust the final version of the original act, which is necessary to get the House votes necessary for passage.
Once the House and Senate pass the reconciliation bill, then the President signs this second bill. It is the second bill which alters the original bill into a form that can pass the majority of the Senate, but not a 60 vote majority.
If that is not convoluted enough, the House will reportedly add provisions to get the Federal government into the business of directly providing funding for college educations and stopping the practice of guaranteeing student loans with Sallie Mae and others. Why is college educational funding in the House bill? So the Dems can twist enough arms to get the healthcare bill passed.
Hard to say how voters will look at this abomination of the country’s legislative process, but only educated voters will care and the majority of voters today don’t seem to fall in that category. I think the marginal, independent voter will move votes from the Dems to the Reps in 2010 and 2012, but how many votes is far from certain.
If this bill passes, the hospital stocks do better—the managed care and home health stocks do worse. But ultimately the passage of this vote will make my October 2007presentation of the future of for-profit healthcare an overly optimistic report. Rather than saving dollars, the initial healthcare bill will increase rather than decrease cost and the freight train of healthcare and other entitlement spending will pick up even more speed. Rather frightening given that Medicare is already scheduled to be broke between 2017 & 2019 depending on the source.
Governments all over the world have the same issue—over leverage & too many entitlements which can not be paid for under any set of likely circumstances. This has never happened in the history of the world and instead of dealing with the problem, we will add another 31 million people to the rolls, increase benefits and play budgetary games to call $1 Trillion in spending “saving money”.
Riots in the streets of Greece will be replicated all over Europe, the UK and before it is all over, the US.
Any one want to join me in St. Kitts or Grand Cayman?