Roger L. Simon

Congress: Gov't healthcare for thee but not for me

I guess many Members of Congress secretly realize the Dean of Harvard Med was correct when he attacked the proposed healthcare legislation as a virtual anti-health boondoggle in the WSJ last week, because those members aren’t signing onto the legislation for themselves. They are only signing on for you.

Yes, the healthcare legislation still does not require Members of Congress to be part of the public plan, option, call it what you will, only poor sucker citizens. Those Congressmen are no fools. They know government-run medicine hasn’t worked in Canada and the UK. You think they want their wives lining up for a mammograms?

Here are some interesting tidbits that have been pointed out to me on my current brief visit to DC:

Ways and Means Committee – Rep. Heller (R-NV) offered an amendment to require all (“exchange eligible”) Members of Congress and their families to get insurance through the government-run plan. It failed, by a vote of 18-21, with three Democrats supporting the amendment: Berkley, Davis (AL), and Yarmuth. You can read all about it on p. 518 of this interminable document. (Who says PJM isn’t a full-service media company?) When a similar amendment was offered at the Energy and Commerce markup, it was dismissed by chairman Henry Waxman as “nongermane.” That’s my Congressman, of course. No comment necessary.

Over at the Rules Committee several amendments were filed on this subject, but ultimately not permitted under their rules. Rep. Sessions moved to make an order and provide the necessary waivers for amendment #1 offered by Reps. Fleming (R-LA), Wilson (R-SC), Gingrey (R-GA), and Herger (R-CA), which would automatically enroll all Members of Congress and all Senators in the public option. His motion was defeated on a party line vote of 4-6, with the following Members absent: Slaughter, Matsui, Pingree.

There’s more passed on to me by PJM’s “undercover correspondent,” but you get the point. It’s pretty depressing. You won’t read about this nonsense in the MSM, of course, but we’re going to try to deliver more on PJTV and the pages of Pajamas Media. That’s why I’ve been in Washington the past few days, helping to set up a team to do some investigating. The results won’t be immediately evident, but as we move into the new year, I hope you’ll see more of it.

Speaking of depressed, I don’t think I’ve even seen the nation’s capital in such a genuinely depressed mood. In my job, I have made multiple visits in recent years, but the atmosphere now is almost unnerving. No one seems to really like this healthcare legislation (how can you like what you couldn’t possibly read?). People just care about enacting or defeating it. The level of discussion is nihil; there is no discussion. Cap-and-trade, Afghanistan, everything is in a weird stasis. Some Republicans gloat that the administration seems to be imploding – and perhaps they are right – but there should be a cautionary note in all this. Imploding seems to be the natural state of this city. A party arrives in victory and months later they are in shambles. What’s astonishing about the Obama crew, however, is that they arrived on the wings of untold optimism supported by almost the entire media and still they have plummeted to near nothing in less than a year. Scary.