What Happens After “Deem And Pass”?
If President Obama and the Democrats get their way, healthcare reform will get passed via “deem and pass”. There are all sorts of hurdles set in the path of this approach. Skittish Democrats more worried about their political futures than expanding government might not support it. Various parts of the current bill may not be eligible for passage in this way. The whole endeavor may be thrown out on Constitutional grounds. But let’s assume for a moment that all these hurdles are overcome and healthcare reform in its current incarnation becomes reality.
The possible scenarios look like this: 1.) a great purge of Democrats in Congress begins in November and continues in 2012. Republicans, in a stunning turnaround from the permanent Democratic majority that was being whispered about when Obama took office, recpature both houses of Congress and likely the Presidency. 2.) Republicans make strides in both houses, but capture only one (or perhaps none). The threat of a supermajority is gone for the foreseeable future, but Democrats still have the advantage. Obama is still a one-term wonder. 3.) Every poll is wrong, the Scott Brown election was a weird aberration that meant nothing, the Tea Party movement is mere sound and fury, signifying nothing, and the anger the general public has been threatening in the face of efforts to ram this bill down our throats was a bluff.
Throwing out number three (let’s face it; it’s pure fantasy), we are looking at scenarios in which the framework is in place to undo much of the damage wrought in our hypothetical world of Obamacare. Republicans would certainly be eager to pass legislation undoing the damage. I suspect many surviving Democrats would be willing to cross party lines as well. In the end, this “deem and pass” maneuver, even if it survives all the challenges that will be placed in front of it (a dim prospect at best), will backfire so soundly in the faces of the Democrats it will likely all come to naught anyway. Doesn’t that make you feel a little bit better?
Oh, and wouldn’t it be fun (albeit unnecessary) if a Republican-controlled Congress undoes Obamacare through the same “deem and pass” process? Not that I would avocate such a thing. I think the process is being abused in the current climate and would think so in a repeal effort. But listening to the Left talk about respect for the Constitution and their reverence for Congressional procedure and all those things they are conspicuously silent about now would be hilarious.