House Passes Healthcare

The US House or Representatives officially passed H.R. 3962, The Affordable Health for America Act, at 11:15 PM ET upon the confirmation of the tally by House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D); although the qualifying number of votes were cast 8 minutes earlier:

Healthcare Passes US House

The final vote was 220 Ayes to 215 Nays:

Healthcare Passes US House

The lone Republican voting for the measure was Rep. Joseph Cao of Louisiana's Second District.

The House adjourned until Monday at 6 PM, after a fourteen and a half hour session. There will probably be several press conferences from each party at some point; you can watch live on CSPAN.org or check your local TV Listing for the channel number in your area.

Update [12:25 AM, CT 9/8/2009]: Immediately following the passage of the bill, and before the Democratic press conference, CSPAN fielded callers from around the country. Below is one of these such exchanges:

@6:08

Announcer: Lets hear what you have to say about the debate today. This is Pam in San Diego, California against the bill; go ahead.

Pam: Yeah. My name is Pam, and I am very much against any bill, on any kind of insurance, because insurance is not an airbag to protect you. Insurance does not buy healthcare; there is something, just, infinitely wrong with the idea that doctors are actually taking care of people.

[emphasis added]

Source: CSPAN.org Video Library

The bolded text above is probably the most vile and incompetent critique of healthcare reform possible. Insurance does buy healthcare, in fact it's the purpose of having insurance; you spend money, i.e. you buy insurance, and in turn, you receive healthcare. Insurance is the exchange of money for access to healthcare within a distributed stress system. The general concept of insurance places roughly equal burden upon all participants in exchange for assistance when a statistical anomaly occurs, such as cancer. Insurance buys access to, in this example, healthcare for cancer; this healthcare is probably not affordable, without insurance, for the average American [pg. 5].

Secondly, the purpose of doctors is to take care of people; which I thought was a common sense notion, but apparently I was wrong. The Hippocratic Oath, the corner stone of ethical medicine, seems to hint at a doctor's need to care for their patients:

...

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

...

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

...

Source: PBS NOVA

The statements by Pam above, are without a doubt, the most ignorant things I have ever heard relating to the healthcare debate.

Published on November 7th at 10:38 PM CT :: 0 Comments

The Bailout Bill: First Impressions

I've traversed through page 76 of the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008," and have learned relatively little about how the actual bill will effect the current economic situation. The text is very dense and appears to be written by multiple parties, comprehension suffers as a result of both. I am by no means an expert on legislation, so for now I'd like to focus on the political impact rather than the substance.

After McCain's galactic stunt last week he's politically obligated to vote for whatever bill arrives on the Senate floor; and the Democratic leadership knows this. There are two paths this bill can go down, neither road is good for McCain. If the Democrats play their cards right they can turn McCain's opportunism into a disaster. I'll start by arbitrarily assuming the Democratic leadership supports the bill's content.

If the Democrats want the bill to pass, the bill will pass. Under this pretense we can assume that the bill leans left and would likely be supported, at least ideologically by Obama. We already know that McCain has to vote for the bill which leaves Obama in an interesting situation. If the vote follows party lines and McCain supports the bill, Obama's vote is not essential for passage. Using the fact that most American's do not support a financial bailout of Wall Street, Obama could publicly denounce the bailout while pinning the final result on McCain. This brilliant tactic would play extremely well among independents and may create dissonance amongst McCain's base.

The second path includes some theatrics by the Democratic leadership, perhaps they are faking their support. If they force the bill to the House floor knowing they have the votes to kill it, the Senate vote is simply irrelevant. It would take at least another week to sort through additional agreements causing the economic cloud to loom over the presidential race for yet another week. If the vote doesn't matter in the Senate Obama can do whatever he wants, he can vote for it, he can vote against, he doesn't even have to take a position. If the bill falters in the House, McCain will be held responsible for the failed compromise. A stalled bailout falls directly into Obama's narrative. The issue dominates until the VP debate, forcing Palin to answer economic questions; something she knows nothing about. If the topic is the economy and Palin cannot pull through, John McCain's campaign is over.

I really don't see both sides mutually agreeing to the resolution, but tomorrow's polls may dictate what route the bill follows; if Obama gets a huge boost from the debate, the bill will likely pass, if not the Democrats will try and further damage McCain's stock, whatever form that takes.

The House vote is scheduled for Monday, and the Senate's on Wednesday. I hope to have some additional commentary on the bill's content tomorrow.

Published on September 28th at 10:55 PM CT :: 4 Comments

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