December 17th, 2009

Question about health care reform

I have a question, and Google hasn’t given me an answer yet. So I’m throwing it out here for my very erudite commenters to tackle:

If Democrats lose seats in the 2010 Congressional elections, and then enough representatives vote to repeal the health care reform bill that is probably about to be passed by this Congress, I assume that Obama can veto their repeal. Is this correct—and, if so, can they get around that by just not voting funding, or some other similar Congressional machination?

25 Responses to “Question about health care reform”

  1. Scottie Says:

    I would think the easiest path for Congress, if Obama vetos the repeal, is to simply vote to override the veto if they have enough votes.

    Anyone out there still believing their votes don’t matter????

  2. RPF Says:


    If this Healthcare bill passes and then is overturned after midterms, the political climate that would facilitate such a repeal would also create a climate where a Presidential veto would do everything negative short of impeachment to Obama’s career, in other words a one term President. Republicans would win in 2012 simply on a promise to ‘finish the job’ of repealing this insane bill congress seems hell bent on passing.

    Funding isn’t an issue because it is supported by taxes and other means considered budget neutral, it is supposedly written in such a way. This of course needs to be validated because no one has actually read the bill. This however does not matter because all the most unpopular parts will be enacted immediately (taxes etc.), again whatever political climate existed that would facilitate its repeal would facilitate Obama’s political demise if he goes against its repeal.

  3. Roy Lofquist Says:

    Obama can veto. Congress can refuse to fund. Next comes the court. You thought WWII was messy?

  4. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Politically, it is harder to vote against something than to not vote for it. For pols whose constituents are decidely against this monsoon, that won’t make any practical difference. As health care is high-profile, and lots of people have a clearer idea than usual what a yea or nay vote means, it reduces the ability of Democrats to demagogue the issue by accusing Representative Stolid of cutting off Granny’s dialysis.

    But “reduces” is not “eliminates,” and there are still plenty of people who will fall for that, as memories are short. Representatives from those districts are going to be harder pressed if it’s a repeal. If you are rejoicing because your current Public Servant, who looked like she might vote for, has been persuaded to vote against this time around, think twice. Next time she could swing back.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    Scottie: I know that would be the easiest path, but there is no mathematical way that there would be enough Republicans in the Senate by 2010 to override a veto. It would require overwhelming support from Democrats, in most cases the very ones who voted for the bill in the first place. I don’t see that ever happening.

  6. Holmes Says:

    Nothing goes away at the Federal level, but it can be modified until it is *mostly* harmless, minus employing a few thousand new federal employees.

  7. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Sure, Congress can vote to repeal prior legislation, but the President can veto any such Congressional action, and unless the composition of Congress has changed so greatly in favor of Republicans that there are enough members to override such a Presidential veto, such a veto is likely to stick.

    Congress can also refuse to fund the various boards and commissions created by any Health Reform legislation that becomes law but–you might want to notice that–some of the key mechanisms of Health Care Reform, plus funds to set them up and start them functioning–were concealed within the “stimulus” package that Congress passed without reading it, in anticipation of the rest of the Health Care reform bureaucracy clicking in around them, so these already existing and staffed organizations and any regulations they might have started to issue would have to be killed too.

    For me the key question is, what changes—if any, and I am sure there are some, as many as they could come up with–will the Health Care Reform bill make that are almost, or are irreversible, say, like causing wholesale withdrawal from the health care market of companies who can’t offer the Reform required basket of health care coverage, under the terms the government dictates, at the price that the “Reforms” demands it offer them at. Who is to take their place?

    Obviously, the “Reform” was designed so that the “government”—which can always raise taxes or print even more money–is the only available replacement who can offer such an expensive basket of medical coverage at such a low fee, but what happens if this replacement process is arrested in midstream?

    Or, what happens if massive numbers of doctors, seeing how things will likely trend if the Reform passes, decide to retire and leave medicine entirely, as some polls suggest many would do? How to replace them?

    What to do about Medicare–already teetering on the edge of bankruptcy eight or so years down the road–if the proposed $500 billion dollars to partially pay for the Reform is extracted and then the funds, or what might be left of them, are put back in the Medicare budget? What about those on Medicare in the interim, that could take a year or two or more to sorth things out?

    Many doctors, practices and hospitals will be overwhelmed by the tens of millions of new patients to be covered. What if many just fold and, say, a year or two later the Reforms are repealed? How to you reconstitute/reanimate such organizations once they have shut down and their staffs dispersed or gone on to other things?

    I am sure that the far Left think tanks and individuals who crafted this massive “Reform” legislation were trying to make it as hard as possible to go back to the “status quo ante,” and they likely have.

  8. Scottie Says:


    You’re right about the repeal vote needing a lot of Democrats to pass – but the scenario you present is predicated on the idea that Republicans (or *conservatives by other names*) have retaken at least a large segment of Congress as a direct result of this Health Care monstrosity passing.

    In a political environment where the Democrats have seen their party all but annihilated in the previous November election cycle, the remaining Democrats may well be quite open to the idea of breaking with Obama in order to save their own hides before the next election cycle hits.

    During each election cycle, all members of the House of Representatives are up for re-election, and about 1/3 of the Senate is up for re-election.

    Southern Blue Dog Democrats – who tend to be far more *conservative* than Republicans in the NorthEast, and ultra left Democrats in safe ultra left wing districts in the NorthEast and on the West Coast, may be the safest for re-election.

    Everyone else may be up late chewing their nails on election night.

    That’s a lot of congress critters who have 24 months to figure out how NOT to go the way of former congress critters who lost their positions in that previous election cycle.

    If the sea change in control of Congress is huge enough, I expect Democrats to consider self-preservation as a higher priority than party loyalty to an Obama administration that led them to destruction.

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    Scottie: the scenario was that Republicans had gained, perhaps enough for a simple majority. It takes a 2/3 vote to override a veto. That will not happen.

    I’m in a hurry right now and I don’t have time to find it, but I wrote a post a while back that analyzed who was up for re-election in the Senate in 2010. Not enough to get the requisite number of Republicans in there, or even close, and many of the elections will be held in true blue states. I agree that perhaps a few more Democrats of the moderate variety could buck Obamacare in 2010, but I just don’t think there will be enough, especially in the Senate, to override a veto. And I think Obama is an ideologue who would use the veto.

  10. Steve G Says:

    If the Republicans gain enough seats so that they need not worry about a possible defection by either or both of the Maine twins, they can forestall bad legislation and put some limits on spending, but that’s about all. If they gain control of either the House or Senate things change dramatically. Republicans can push their own legislative initiatives and, given the sinking poll numbers for the Democrats, might even be successful in getting legislation adopted. Moreover, they can put an end to silly government and even begin to take the executive branch to task, as by conducting hearings on matters of potential embarrassment to the administration, such as the decision to bring terrorists to Illinois, to summarily terminate the prosecution of the black panthers, and so on. They can and will dramatically reduce spending. They will have a much greater say on judicial selections. Best of all, they can hold Obama to speaking the truth by demonstrating when he has no substance to his claims. What they should not do is make Obama look good (as was done by the 1995 Republican congress) so as to enhance his chances for reelection.

    Unlike Clinton, who had a streak of realism and was able to listen to and accept good political advice, Obama will hold on to his Chicago clique and hunker down for a fight. He is not talented enough to compromise even when it is in his interests to do so.

    If the Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress, they will still be hamstrung by the need to overcome filibusters in the Senate or of the ability to garner the votes needed to override vetoes. But, with control over the purse strings there is a lot that can be done. And, they can push their own legislative agenda.

    Should the Republicans make great gains in the November, 2010 elections, of great concern is the damage the lame duck Democrats congressmen might and could do until they leave office in January, 2011. The reason for the concern is that they have shown the world that they do not act for the benefit of the country as a whole but only for gaining and holding power in their party and they view Republicans and conservatives as the only true enemy. They no longer even give lip service to sharing power or acting in a bipartisan manner.

  11. Steve G Says:

    In 1994 the Republicans picked off almost all of the moderate Democrats as the very liberal Democrats came from the larger cities and held the safest seats. As a result, the Democratic party moved to the left and lost the more moderate members of their party. Note that the very liberal left was in a position to gain control over the party when it was able to attract more moderate blue staters. That is how Nancy Pelosi, a ward heeler if there was ever one, and Harry Reid, a pathetic twit, rose to leadership positions.

    The same thing will happen in 2010. Democrat losses will not come from the very safe seats held by the most liberal Democrats. It is the blue dogs that will disappear. And, the liberals that remain will hunker down for their next opportunity.

  12. Thomass Says:

    Steve G Says:

    “The same thing will happen in 2010. Democrat losses will not come from the very safe seats held by the most liberal Democrats. It is the blue dogs that will disappear. And, the liberals that remain will hunker down for their next opportunity.”

    On the other hand, the blue dogs have voted with the leftists on most major issues… which begs the question of how useful having ‘moderate’ dems around is.

  13. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    The essential thing to remember here is that every benefit, every change in law that gives somebody some tangible benefit, creates a new constituency that will fight to keep that benefit—the beneficiaries and their families, institutions, advocacy groups and organizations that somehow get some secondary benefit, lawyers who can argue on behalf of beneficiaries, the federal bureaucrats whose jobs depend on dispensing, overseeing and regulating such benefits–and it is awfully hard, politically, to yank such benefits back once they have been extended to potential voters.

    Say, for instance, some form of Reform passes and suddenly ten, or twenty, or thirty million people have some form of health care coverage they didn’t have before. How possible would it be—politically—to take those benefits away from them? How about the anger, how about the sob stories–“Tiny Tim,” and “Scrooge”–and a million violins playing the saddest of sounds in the background?

    How about the provision in the Reforms bill—talked about, but since there is really no actual text of the “Reform bill” that anyone but Harry Reid and his co-conspirators have actually seen, so we don’t know if it is in or out of the bill–that provides for the government to pay for the relatively lavish health care benefit plans that unions have promised their members, but can’t deliver? Are congressmen, any congressmen, going to tell millions of union workers that its just tough luck, but they won’t be getting all their great health care benefits covered as they had been promised they would be?

    What about the radio ads I heard today, advocating coverage for replacement artificial legs for amputees who, as they grow, need longer legs, new replacement artificial legs that are supposedly not usually covered by today’s health care coverage? What about all of the emotional pleas—should this coverage be included in the Reform bill—sure to be coming from amputees and a million other special pleaders like them? Can congressmen resist such pleas, especially if benefits have been granted by the Reforms and they, then, have to yank them back, angering voters?

  14. Askmom Says:

    I am a former lobbyist who worked in DC and many of the biggest states. Just a few observations:

    Remember that the federal income tax, itself, was originally designed to be “temporary.” New entitlements do tend to generate entrenched interest groups around them, and become harder to eradicate with each passing year.

    On the more cheerful side, it was once considered impossible to abolish slavery because of the economic changes that would have to be made. And every noxious tentacle of health care reform that has a thousand beneficiaries, will also have ten thousand victims. More people are being convinced, or driven to understanding, of our cause every day.

    Additionally, there will be unfunded mandates to the states that the states will have to fund, driving them deeper into debt. When police and firefighters, schools, parks and roads are trashed to pay for free health care for people that taxpayers don’t want in their communities anyway, you can bet they will pay attention.

    I’ve always agreed with Gerard van der Leun and others, that the Obamoids bottoming out is the only way to clear the hopey-changey fog from minds of the people. This does mean that, if passed at all, we will have some socialist health care until 2012. It will hurt, but also enrage the populace even more. I expect that election to be a gully-washer that not even ACORN and the union thugs can damn up.

    In the meantime, Congress can refuse funding. They can hold hearings and set up special investigations, the nuisance value of which can be very, very great. The taxes, commissions, etc, etc, already passed as part of the stimulus will burden people and businesses and PISS OFF VOTERS. And in 2012 the bill will come due for the Democratic Party and Obama.

    As to the possibility that elections can be totally subverted, I think as things tend that way we will see local action, some of it quite draconian or even brutal, to clean up the messes. Each precinct in America is part of a neighborhood. Voting places CAN be monitored. STATES can require voters to have proper ID. The higher the stakes, the less likely all of us are going to be to sit on our hands.

    I suggest that anyone seriously worried about these issues get involved NOW in local, small scale politics. Be on a water, sewer, school, parks, precinct board. Run for a small, probably part-time and unpaid, office. Learn who your neighbors are and get tough about accountability at the ground level.

    America is not what happens in DC. We got into this mess because we let the Obamas and thousands of other sleazy players work their way up the system while we weren’t looking. Start looking. The Congressmen who will restore the constitution are twenty-somethings running for small town councils NOW. Find them and help them succeed!

    Precinct control. Neighborliness and accountability. Get it.

  15. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    I second Askmom’s advice to get involved in local politics.

    You can’t fight something with nothing, and getting involved in local politics is the absolutely necessary house-to-house fighting, the “clearing operation” we need to do to clear the Republic of those Leftists who have infiltrated it, and are trying to take it over; so far they have been so successful because they have had little real opposition.

    Personally, I find politics boring and grubby but, we need to master politics and practice it–starting at the fundamental level in our neighborhoods–if we want to have any chance at all of taking back and have reflect our views and wishes–our local governments, the schools, the boards that determine and regulate increasing parts of our lives, and, ultimately, to take our country back.

  16. Alex Bensky Says:

    Once this system is installed, deleting it is going to be very difficult and very expensive. I had wondered why the administration didn’t try the incremental approach–for example allowing small business to pool their insurance, some sort of tort reform (I do not mean tort immunity), allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines. If the goal were truly to reform the system it seems obvious that they would have wanted to start smaller and build.

    Alas, the goal is obviously to aggrandize as much power as possible in their hands. This is why the bill should be defeated, not modified.

  17. jhankey Says:

    I cannot add anything to the political side of this discussion. I do believe that the morale part of the equation is as important. We must fight the temptation of pessimism at all times and in all ways. This can be done, a way will be found. Can you imagine the outlook of people just before the Revolution or the Civil War. If there was a time to sucumb to pessimism it was then, but they persevered and a way was found.

  18. Baklava Says:


    Sadly, once the entitlement is started, it is extremely difficult to have anyone support repealing it.

    Reforms of Medicare in 1995 had the PRESS and DEMOCRATS making accusations of Republicans cutting medicare of $270 billion yet they were actually increasing Medicare by 7% per year.

    Things are different now that talk radio has the addition of the Internet. I’m not sure the Democrats and Press could get away with what they did.

    The point is – even if unpopular and not the best system – systems set up people with entitlements that if ripped away will have a crowd of people playing victim and “not knowing what to do”.

    As in:
    What will I do without my Social Security
    What will I do without my Health care – etc.

    Even if the goal of the Republicans is to get them a better retirement and better system for health care – the entitlement is there.

    There will not be support for repeal. The republicans won’t do that.

    We have to STOP it before implementation.

    To answer your question though… Yes – Republicans can just spend less for these programs but they will have to show HOW and the press and Democrats will cut their throats figuratively.

  19. curt cowley Says:

    I think that the Republicans will be in a stronger position to kill this thing (if it passes) in 2010. I agree with the other comments that say the Democrats will take a thrashing next November. Republicans may very well take the House and will probably gain enough in the Senate to take away the fillibuster proof majority. I do disagree a bit with the idea that “New entitlements do tend to generate entrenched interest groups around them, and become harder to eradicate with each passing year” as askmom says. Because taxes are going to start immediately, and medical “services” will not be fully in place until 2013, people will not had the opportunity to become addicted. The pusher is going to taking the addicts money years before he will the addict his “fix”. Might work to Republicans favor.

  20. curt cowley Says:

    Edit (don’t type in the dark-just doing my bit to lower my carbon footprint)

    because medical “services” will not be fully in place until 2013, people will not have the opportunity to become addicted. The pusher is going to start taking the addicts money years before he will give the addict his “fix”. Might work to Republicans favor.

  21. Baklava Says:

    Obama calls out Howard Dean by the way. 🙂

    You are either on Obama’s bus – or under the bus.

  22. neo-neocon Says:

    Baklava and others: my question was also predicted on the idea that the bulk of the supposed benefits are not due to kick in until after 2012. So if repeal and/or de-funding occurred before that, it would be giving up benefits that people haven’t yet grown accustomed to getting—although they will have grown accustomed to paying for them. The payments kick in before the benefits, which might make these particular entitlements easier to repeal.

  23. Scottie Says:


    There is yet another element that I didn’t see in my quick perusal of the comments this morning as being addressed.

    My understanding is every citizen would still be required to purchase health care.

    Talk about the mother of all unfunded mandates!

    That is SERIOUSLY going to tick off a lot of voters – and has been pointed out by others already the costs kick in long before any benefits do.

    Sure, there will I believe be some sort of federal assistance program for those not able to afford health insurance, but at the same time it seems there’s a huge bubble of middle and upper-middle class that are going to get creamed in this mess – plus when was the last time anyone here actually tried to get money out of the federal government for anything other than a tax refund?

    Most of the folks who would qualify for such assistance aren’t going to have the knowledge or connections or paperwork to go through the process properly to get that assistance.

    Then of course there is the inclination to deliberately make the process difficult as this will save the feds money when it’s clear they have to cut costs somewhere.

    The Democrat leadership may have to backtrack out of sheer survival at some point, Obama be damned in the process….

    There could be quite substantial reasons for a lot of Democrats to go along in 2011 with repealing this boondoggle.

  24. Baklava Says:

    Makes sense Neo.

    I can still see them trotting people up on stage who would ‘receive’ benefits shortly in the future – saying, “Republicans would take health care away from this family”.

    It’s not easy to gauge what Repub leaders would do. Olympia Snowe wouldn’t write such a repeal but would she support it.

    Obviously Obama would veto such a reform and it would be up to Republicans to stick together and not fund people getting benefits. I don’t see it happening.

    I’m back to having to stop this now. 🙁

  25. njcommuter Says:

    I’m preaching to the choir, but to those who have long memories one can make the argument that “health care reform” bears the same relationship to human health that “urban renewal” bore to the health of the inner cities: destruction, misery, and damage to society and civilization.

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