Monday, December 28, 2009

Column in N and O, Dec. 27

highlights the two trickiest issues for a conference bill....abortion and taxes (which ones). For taxes, the big issue is income tax increase (House bill) v. tax on high cost health insurance plans (Senate). Since I wrote this last Monday....the spotlight has shone brightly on special deals for states of holdout votes in the Senate....so that is likely to be important in negotiations with House. Also, I didn't list public option as a key sticking point because I think that is dead. The key for getting to a bill that gets 218 in the House is coming up with a face saving way for the House to basically assent to the Senate bill.

Odds and ends. Ezra Klein talking about the 24 Republicans who voted for the Part D plan with no spending offsets or tax increases and how they try and justify that with what they say now. The gem, a quote attributed to Orrin Hatch ....Hatch admitted that when Republicans controlled Congress, "it was standard practice not to pay for things." Here is the original AP story....part D plan added about half Trillion over first 10 years to deficit.

Klein also has a variety of interesting interviews about the filibuster in the Senate, how its use has changed and notions of reform.

Some Republican Attorney's General say they will sue over deals associated with Senate Dem holdouts. I don't watch so much TV, but this am was cruising the cable networks and saw a few of them talking...they mostly sounded like people who wanted to be governors or Senators instead of AGs, but I was impressed with their level of outrage for the Monday after Christmas...they were pretty jacked up.

But, I think they need to get straight what they are suing about. 10th Amendment challenge of the individual mandate? If yes, then Republicans need to stop calling it a tax increase, as the fed gov't clearly can do that. 14th Amendment equal protection challenge of Nebraska, etc. deal? Wouldn't Calif and NY be able to launch same over fact that the Medicaid formula differs by state per se, based on poverty levels? And isn't all this a bit tricky when the Repubs main rejoinder in the debate has been for fed gov't to pass law allowing insurance to be sold across state lines? This is fed govt telling states how/whether they can regulate insurance. They need a more coherent plan of attack....

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