“This is not renaming the post office. Make no mistake — this bill will reshape our nation and our lives.”

Share Button

That is the reaction from Senate Minority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, on the vote to pass the Senates version of Obamacare. The GOP leadership is licking their chops, as this as seen as a real opportunity to win more votes from the independents who voted for Obama and Democrats in 2008. At this point, it’s not news that this group of voters has been slowly dropping off the Obama bandwagon since June, and this votefor even more expanded government, in the eyes of the GOP, is going to accelerate that process. Though I do believe the GOP is cerrtain to win back more than a few seats in the House and Senate lost in the 2006 and 2008 elections, I’m not sure that Obamacare is going to be that much of a dealbreaker for the following reasons:

A)     Obamacare is not a surprise move from Obama – it’s one of the isues he actually campaigned on in 2008. And, compaired to what Obama actually wanted, a public option, he didn’t get that much. The bill is more of a slight restructuring of bit of the healthcare system, and not a major overhaul.

B)     The  Congressional Budget Office had blasted the House version of the bill as expensive and a deficit increasing package, criticism which was used to great effect by the GOP, The current analysis of the Senate version states that it is cost neutral, and suggests that it may actually reduce Federal spending on health care in the future:

Congressional budget analysts reported Saturday that the revised package would not worsen the nation’s fiscal situation, as GOP critics have warned. The analysts said the updated Senate bill would spend $871 billion over the next decade to extend coverage to the uninsured by dramatically expanding Medicaid and by offering federal subsidies to those who lack affordable coverage through employers.

Those costs would be more than covered by nearly $400 billion in new taxes over the next decade and by nearly $500 billion in spending reductions, primarily cuts to Medicare, the federal health program for people 65 and older. All told, the package would reduce federal budget deficits by $132 billion by 2019, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Over the long term, the analysts predicted, the package could reduce budget deficits even more sharply, slicing as much as $1.3 trillion from projected deficits between 2019 and 2029. That would represent a significant improvement in long-run savings compared with the bill approved by the House and a measure previously crafted by Reid.

Now, I’ve said it once, and I’ve said it a thousand times – ten and twenty year projections are just about useless. Way too much stuff can happen in the interim that make these projections useless (remember the Clinton budget surpluses that were going to last as far as the eye could see), and I personally don’t believe that Obamacare will actually save any money. Rather, it will just shift payment of bills from one source to the other. It will probably also increase the cost of health insurance for the general public. Which leads to…
C)     Cost, and time. Here is the main reason I don’t think the GOP will be able to make much hay with the impending changes that are Obamacare. Most of the changes don’t occur until after 2013, long after the upcoming 2010  and even 2012 elections. The general public will not feel the effects one way or another on their daily lives in that period. Realities, such as two wars and the economy, will still have the most sway in the public consciousness.

Again, I’m pretty certain that the GOP are going to pick up a number of seats in the next election. But I’m not sure that Obamacare is going to matter much.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply