Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.

Why Amend?


While the Senate debate over Obamacare rages, one does wonder: why is the GOP fussing over amendments when its real goal is to kill the bill? Shouldn’t they just quietly let it collapse as it fidgets and flails through the upper chamber? I posed the question to a few senior GOP Senate staffers. No way, they say. “The idea is to make Democrats walk through glass everyday until the final vote on this puppy,” says one. “Make them take the kinds of stands that will be tough to explain to the media today — and to their constituents come election time. McCain’s Medicare amendment is the perfect example of that.”

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), you may remember, proposed the Senate GOP’s first Obamacare amendment on Monday. His motion called for Majority Leader Harry Reid to strip the Senate bill of its more than $400 billion in planned Medicare reductions.

On the Senate floor, McCain aimed his amendment speech directly at seniors: “The cuts are not attainable,” he said. “And if they were, it would mean a direct curtailment and reduction in the benefits we have promised to senior citizens. . . We are receiving incredible and overwhelming response from seniors all over America. They paid all their working lives into the Medicare trust fund, and now they’re in danger of having $483 billion cut out of it.”

Even the New York Times had to tip its hat to McCain’s strategy: “Mr. McCain’s proposal would effectively cripple the bill, because Democrats are relying on savings in Medicare to help offset the cost of providing coverage to more than 30 million people who are now uninsured,” they wrote.


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