In an article by Jonathan Cohn, it is reported that the Democrats will not convene a formal conference committee made up of both House and Senate members to reconcile the versions of the health reform bills in both houses. Instead, Cohn has learned from his sources, they will negotiate informally, thereby avoiding what he writes would be “a series of procedural steps — not least among them, a series of special motions in the Senate, each requiring a vote with full debate — that Republicans could use to stall deliberations, just as they did in November and December.”
To put it differently, the Democrats will bypass the procedures of democratic debate and process in order to quickly put through what they know will be a slowing down of enactment, giving the public and opponents of the bill less time to mobilize and hopefully stop it from passing. It will be done in the name of democracy — since every “small d” democrat knows the current measure is good for the people, and hence undemocratic means must be used to protect the overall democratic good.
They will avoid “procedural hurdles” that would occur in a formal full tilt conference route in the Senate, thereby putting a stop to Mitch McConnell’s promise that “this fight isn’t over.” So while the first round failed to produce the promised open sessions televised on C-Span that Obama said would take place during the campaign, now the reconciliation process will also take place completely out of the Senate conference room. Once again the public is kept out of the process, only to find the results after a successful Senate vote.
Of course, reporter Cohn reflects the liberal view that now holds forth on domestic policy in the pages of TNR, and hence he thinks it is “a good thing.”
For the rest of us, there has been a good indication of what ObamaCare will bring forth in the future in the news from the Mayo Clinic. Last week, the organization, cited by Obama as well as others as a good model of a health institution that really works, announced that as of now, one of its clinic facilities in Arizona will stop accepting Medicare payments! Three-thousand patients who now use that clinic in Glendale will be asked to pay cash at full price if they want to continue seeing their regular doctors at this family treatment center.