Thursday, January 7, 2010

Defeated, Republicans Throwing Hail Mary Haymakers in Final Stages of Health Care Fight

Republicans across the country are crying foul when it comes to the current health care reform bill passed by the United States Senate on Dec. 24, and they are getting desperate. The latest to add his voice to the screams of bloody murder is Indiana's senior Senator, Richard Lugar.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Lugar has asked Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller to look at the constitutionality of the Senate package that, according to analysts, would raise the number of insured individuals in the country to 93 percent. Lugar charges that certain provisions of the bill violate the United States Constitution. The key provisions that are being targeted include the mandate that everyone buy health insurance and the Nebraska and Michigan exceptions which were negotiated by Harry Reid to gain votes for passage.

You know my feelings on this bill. I believe it's a piece of crap in comparison to what was ordered. It's like trying to get a pizza with the works minus anchovies and getting a cheese pizza with anchovies. Parts of the bill read like a big giveaway to the insurance companies; however, it's a step in the right direction, and, I guess, big picture, I see it as progress.

It would seem that Lugar and the Republicans are now conceding defeat on the health care issue as they are trying to position themselves for a court fight to try to overturn the legislation. It's the fourth quarter and they are down a couple of touchdowns. Time to go to that last page of the playbook.

It's important to remember that the bill still has to be reconciled between the two Houses of Congress since the House bill and the Senate bill are nowhere near the same bill. Republicans and conservatives are griping that the process has not been so transparent. I heard some poor crazy-sounding conservative subbing for Greg Garrison on WIBC Tuesday that was decrying the perils of having a "Rogue Congress" in Washington, D.C. as well as the end of our great republic.

However you slice it, the Republicans seem to be done talking and they will now again be obstructionists. That's certainly been their M.O. for this session of Congress. It's no wonder why Democrats just quit trying with them.

Lugar's not the only legislator asking his home A.G. to take a look at the bill. Texas and Florida are also thinking about taking up the fight. Personally, with the state coffers so in the red, I would hope that Zoeller looks carefully at the case before proceeding. The state already spent $2 million in taxpayer money going after Chrysler last year in court before losing.

Legal scholars are all over on this issue with conservatives predicting victory in the courts and liberals predicting a victory of their own should the bill be reviewed. If it arrives on its desk, you would have to think that the U.S. Supreme Court might still be sympathetic to the conservative cause with strict constructionalists like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas leading the charge against the bill. I could definitely see another divisive 5-4 vote.

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