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Things Are About to Get Ugly

Word is that House Republicans will attach an amendment to the latest federal spending bill that will cut-off funding for the health care bill.

The last Congress never finalized a budget for the current fiscal year—the feds have been operating under a series of continuing resolutions. The most recent one will expire on March 4th. If another resolution is not agreed to, much of the government has to shutdown.

House Republicans, under heavy pressure from their base, have decided to take the Democrats on over the new health care law by cutting all remaining funding for implementation of the law in the current 2010 fiscal year (October to October).

Democrats, under the same heavy pressure from their base to protect the bill, aren’t about to let them do that. While the Republicans can accomplish this in the House—and will next week—they don’t have the votes in the Senate and they don’t have the President’s pen.

Now, I know the Republicans won the last election and they control the House. But what is their end game here?

Shut the government down until the Democrats agree to suspend the health care law? With Democrats under the same intense pressure from their base to protect the new law at all costs, they aren’t going to agree to do that.

With the polls showing the country evenly split on this law, about the only political outcome either side will accomplish is to show their base just how macho they are.

Just where might a compromise occur? HHS can have half the money it needs? That won’t make the Republican base happy.

Where will this end?

As George W Bush used to say, don’t get into a war unless you have an exit strategy.

Robert Laszweski has been a fixture in Washington health policy circles for the better part of three decades. He currently serves as the president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates of Alexandria, Virginia. You can read more of his thoughtful analysis of healthcare industry trends at The Health Policy and Marketplace Blog, where this post first appeared.

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JasonLynnciphertextpcpDeterminedMD Recent comment authors
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Peter
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Peter
nate
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nate

political will to win sums up the problem right there. If you don’t have political will you don’t send our sons to their death in the first place. When we declare war if we aren’t ready to send every solider, marine, seaman, and airman we have to kick ass and end it asap and spend every penny needed then we have no business doing it int he first place. Since WW2 we have never fought a war with the political will to win, our leaders are always worried not to send to many troops or what it will cost etc… Read more »

steve
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steve

@nate- Having served in the military in the 70s, and having maintained a life long interest in military history, I think that your assertion is mostly wrong. Modern military historians have moved past the stabbed in the back narrative. Besides, I dont believe the Vietnam war was a bill. While I read lots of history, my knowledge is not complete. If you can think of a bill somewhere on this order of magnitude that was not overturned, but killed off by sabotage I would be glad to hear about it. I would highly recommend McMaster’s Dereliction Of Duty as a… Read more »

DeterminedMD
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DeterminedMD

Two comments here: 1. Just watching some sound bites of what Berwick allegedly said today at a congressional hearing was not just pathetic, it was the echo of blog posts and commenters here who think this legislation is the second coming of Christ. He really did not say one thing in this legislation was bad, even almost word for word repeating the witch Pelosi’s lame agenda of “let’s see the bill play out to see what is in it”. I mean, what logic on Earth is this!? Write legislation and then determine the consequences by just letting them play out… Read more »

Jason
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Ultimately, we can debate until we are blue in the face. But we are already paying for the uninsured through emergency room care, lost production, etc. If you want to leave it to the state level, fine by me. But the states that have the most insured citizens will be better for it.

nate
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nate

Why does it have to be done at the federal level Lynn, why can’t it be left to the States where it belongs?

Lynn
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Lynn

How exactly does stopping funds flowing in the federal gov’t help resolve the our health problems of access, costs, and quality? Our citizens health is NOT a game. The politics played in DC is far removed from the daily needs of human beings (insured or not). Stopping health reform doesn’t resolve anything. Constituents are sick and still need care. If we can’t agree on how to organize and pay for care for our citizens, can we at least agree to provide a dignified death and make hospice care universal? Seems like the minimally adequate thing we might do. The French… Read more »

nate
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nate

I think we know how it will be portrayed in the media, the populace will have no idea there is alternatives to Federal management. I’m not sure 50% of the populace even knows there is a difference between State Government and Federal Goivernment, to them it is just all Government. I have seen numerous people argue or state why does the right oppose ObamaCare then suggest the states do the same thing, completly unaware we are a republic. It would have to be a concerted effort by a group of states to take back power for the idea to even… Read more »

ciphertext
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ciphertext

I am sympathetic to Nate’s view on the prospect of the Federal government ceasing routine operations. Though it will likely play out in one of two ways depending on how well it is portrayed to the populace.The shutdown will be used as a lever to wrest more control over the citizenry from local and state governments.The shutdown will result in both the states and local governments consolidating (or reclaiming) control over the citizenry. You preference for one or the other will depend largely whether you find yourself a “Federalist” or “Anti-Federalist” as described by the earliest debates on the formation… Read more »

pcp
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pcp

The Viet Nam war and Guantanamo Bay were not laws.

nate
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nate

sorry Cut not cut off, that doesn’t chage the point you and rbar can’t seem to grasp that this is not the first time Congress has used funding to stop a law they disagree with, why is it you and rbar spin so hard to cover up the fact with a tricial grammitical beef? Steve claimed this set a precident, obviosuly it did not regardless if the correct wording was cut or cut off. If you really want to split hairs when you reduce funding from 1.4 to 700 some operations obviouslly have to be cut off. taking your point… Read more »

DeterminedMD
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DeterminedMD

Gotta love this extremist mentality from both sides, “it is our way or no way.” Meanwhile, those of us in the middle, which by the way is the majority of the country, gets screwed either way this plays out.
Pay attention folks, once and for all, this is why we should NEVER let one party rule the Legislative and Executive Branches at the same time. Remember this come 2012, because as painful 2008-10 has been, 2000-2006 was no picnic either!

Mike
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Surely Mr. Laszewski knows that an amendment adopted by a single branch of the Congress doesn’t “cut off spending for health care bill.” Why can’t writers write the truth? Why must they exaggerate the importance of symbolic steps?

Peter
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Peter

“What happened when Democrats in Congress cut off funding for the Vietnam War?”
How come you didn’t find this link Nate?
http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/126150.html
More of Nate’s “Democrats invented global warming” mentality.

nate
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nate

How would a dysfunctional federal government bring the country down? So our parks would be closed? IRS wouldn’t be hassling people? HUD, HHS, and other dysfunctional agencies would be closed. What the politicians should really be scared of is the public seeing how well we can get along without them and leaves them shut down.
Most of what the federal government does should be done by the states anyways. Shut the fed down for rest of the year.