Saturday, January 23, 2010


Hopefully, everyone here knows that Obama has been pushing for a healthcare bill for a while now. If you do not know, I hope you will stop living under a rock. This post is about the current state of the healthcare and the likelihood of it passing.

So how likely is it that Obama will get this bill passed? Not very likely. There are a lot of people opposing this bill, namely the Republicans. However, Obama seemed to be capable of moving the bill past the GOP by having the support of the Democrats. Obama’s party has shown that it can work together by getting the bill passed both in the House and in the Senate. In fact, Obama would have already signed the bill into law by now if the versions of the bills were not different. There needs to be one version of the bill passed by both the House and the Senate. A little while back, it seemed only a matter of time until the Democrats compromised on one version. Undoubtedly, the compromise would have angered some people, but the healthcare bill would have been passed. After the election in Massachusetts, hopes for just a simple compromise were lost.

The Democrats had been getting worried before the MA election. Sure, there might have been a ton of Democrats in the House and in the Senate (enough to get past a Republican filibuster), but the Democrats were losing popularity. Both the polls and the gubernatorial losses proved this. The November midterm elections were getting closer, and the Democrats wanted to stop losing face. Despite the pressure from the upcoming elections, the Democrats stuck to the bill. Brown’s victory in Massachusetts was a wakeup call for them. The Democrats needed to focus on becoming popular, and showing their support for healthcare reform was not helping.

Not only are the Democrats losing their firm stance, but the Republicans have also gained more power from the victory. The Democrats’ magic number in the Senate has disappeared, and the Republicans can now filibuster. This puts Obama in a tricky position because he has not been reaching across the aisle to gain GOP support. Perhaps he believed he did not need to win their support because he had a supermajority in the Senate. Now, Obama needs to, and reaching across the aisle at this point means major concessions. These major concessions are not going to work well with the very liberal Democrats in the Senate. They have felt jilted since the compromises about the abortion language in the healthcare bill.

Although Obama is already scrambling left and right to maintain the Democrats’ support of the bill, one more item needs to be added to his list of headaches: the possibility that the Republicans might refuse a compromise altogether. After all, trying to work with the Democrats has failed with the Republicans before and helping Obama and his big government healthcare bill is probably very appealing. Since they have the power to filibuster, it would be very near impossible for Obama to get this bill through. Obama needs support from both sides to get the bill passed, but he’s receiving help from neither.

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