Saturday, December 19, 2009

Coal in Your Christmas Stocking?

Is there anyone left, on either side of the political spectrum, who wants the Senate health care bill to pass?

Republican Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour had this to say about the Senate bill last week, “This health care plan is like mackerel in the moonlight. Longer that it's out there, the more that it stinks.”

And yesterday, MoveOn said this about the Senate Democratic health care bill in an email to its members, "America needs real health care reform—not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies. Senator Bernie Sanders and other progressives should block this bill until it's fixed."

When Haley Barbour and MoveOn are saying about the same things—this bill should be stopped in its current form albeit for very different reasons—that says a lot.

I haven’t seen a poll the last month that has found an approval rating for the Democratic efforts that was any better than the high 30s or low 40s.

Then came what has to be the most bizarre health care poll finding I have ever seen. In this week’s Washington Post/ABC News poll, 54% of those who are uninsured said they thought Democratic efforts to change the health care system would mean their health insurance would cost more if it were passed—35% said it would cost less.

The uninsured aren’t even buying this!

In a recent post, I pointed out that the Democrats would face four health insurance renewal cycles and two elections between 2010 and 2014 when the benefits of the health care bill would finally become effective. That’s four years of new taxes and continuing big health insurance rate increases before voters see any big benefits from what looks like it will be a very unpopular bill.

This debate isn’t coming down to the “Harry and Louise” moment we might have expected.

It does look like it could be more like a “Thelma and Louise” moment with the Democrats seemingly intent on driving this health care express off a political cliff.


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