Sunday, March 14, 2010

Health Care Endgame

This upcoming week will be the critical week in the health care fight. Speaker Pelosi is expected to start the process for the House to hold its final vote to approve the Senate bill. The vote will probably take place at the end of this upcoming week.

Right now, they are probably still a few votes shy of the majority they need:

"Dem House vote-counter lacks health care votes now"
Associated Press, 3/14/2010

"Can Nancy Pelosi Get the Votes?"
Michael Barone, Wall Street Journal, 3/11/2010

This is an extremely risky move by the Democrats. Normally, a Speaker wouldn't plan on voting on such major legislation unless he or she was sure of having enough votes.

But the Democrats are also (correctly) concluding that time is not on their side. They have made the calculation that if they push for it now, then maybe then can squeeze out the last few votes via a combination of political carrots and sticks. For example, they have "sweetened" the deal for the wavering moderates by promising billions of dollars of new student loan subsidies.

On the other hand they recognize that if they wait much longer, then when these wavering Congressmen go back home for the Easter recess, they will get an earful from their constituents who are strongly opposed to the bill, and they'll lose even more support.

Hence, from the Left's perspective, it's now or never.

If you (like me) support free-market health reforms, this means three things:

1) We are winning. We have a chance to defeat this terrible bill.

In particular, do not uncritically accept the inevitable news stories about how the Democrats are "close to getting the votes" or how Pelosi is "confident she'll have the votes". She has to exude an aura of public confidence, otherwise her coalition will quickly unravel.

Polls repeatedly show Americans opposed to ObamaCare:

"Why Obama Can't Move the Health-Care Numbers"
Rasmussen and Schoen, Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2010

Similarly, head counts of House Democrats also show that they don't quite have enough votes yet:

"Scrambling for votes, Democrats face uphill climb to pass healthcare reform"
The Hill, 3/13/2010

"The Hill's 'Whip Count' on ObamaCare –- as of 3/13/2010"

If they had the votes, they'd have already passed it by now.

2) We must keep up the pressure.

The Democrats are pulling out all stops to find some way to get this through now, before the critical Easter recess.

At this point in time, the single most important thing you can do is contact your Congressman and tell him or her what you think:

This is especially important if your Congressman is one of the undecided or swing votes on these "Code Red" lists:
Tea Party Patriots Code Red Alert

Even if your Congressman is a firm "Yes" and you disagree, it's still important to let them know where you stand. If even the liberal Democrats from "safe" seats consistently hear that their constituents are against it, it will give the wavering moderates more political cover to vote "No". They can then tell Pelosi, "Even your constituents hate this thing -- there's no way I can support it".

*** Our counter-pressure is our best weapon against the pressure that the statists will exert on these wavering Congressmen. ***

Your letter doesn't have to be long or eloquent. It just has to convey certainty, passion, and moral conviction. One short letter that I've seen against ObamaCare runs something like this:
"Please vote NO on this terrible health care plan! If you vote yes, you will destroy the ability of me and my family to receive good health care in the future. This is personal! If you vote yes, we will never forgive you for hurting our lives and trampling on our basic freedoms."
(Of course, you should express your opinion in a fashion that reflects your own style and values.)

Feel free to use all contact methods -- phone, fax, and e-mail. And please feel free to contact them multiple times over the upcoming week. In this context, repetition is a virtue!

And of course if you agree with your Congressman's position, then thank him or her. They also need our moral support.

3) If you have friends or family in other parts of the country, tell them to contact their Congressmen.

If you need intellectual ammunition for them, one of my personal favorites is from the AFCM website:

"Fifty Fallacies About Health Care" by Richard Ralston

Jared Rhoads' Lucidicus Project also has a good set of OpEds.

And of course, FIRM has its archive of articles and OpEds.

I personally think that the most important thing we can do in the next few days will be to directly contact our Congressmen and have friends/family do the same. LTEs and OpEds will still be important, but not as much as before. (That said, I'm still going to continue writing and/or disseminating some of my earlier writings to people I know around the country.)

This is the endgame, folks. Most political observers regard the health care bill as a 50-50 "toss-up" or "too close to call". It really could go either way. What happens this week will determine the course of this great country (for good or for ill) for decades to come.

Your voice could be the critical difference in swaying the right one or two minds. If you value your lives and your freedom, the time to speak up is now!

(Anyone is welcome to forward or repost this to any appropriate recipients or venues.)