Critical Condition

3 Things You Should Know About Health-Reform “Inside Baseball”

As Yogi Berra famously said, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” While the country awaited President Obama’s promised “new” health-care reform proposal, we were instead treated on Wednesday to a speech revealing that his much-anticipated Plan B is simply a recommitment to Plan A — with A still standing for Abortion (at your expense).


I’m not going to bore you again with five ways the Obama-backed Senate bill promotes public funding of elective abortions. Instead, let’s launch from another Yogi Berra line — “It ain’t over till it’s over.” As a matter of public education, the following is a brief summary of exactly how the president hopes to put one over on the American people, and what you should know:

* Point 1: Focus on the House. At the current time, everyone is distracted by the decision of the president and his leadership to go the reconciliation route in the Senate. But it is important to understand that reconciliation in the Senate doesn’t even come into play until after the House passes the Senate bill exactly as it is right now, and after the president signs the pro-abortion mega-bill into law. Now proceed to Point 2.

* Point 2: Show me the language. The president and his leadership claim they will craft a bill that will “incorporate Republican ideas” and “fix” the Cornhusker deal through language that would later be added through reconciliation (50 plus 1) in the Senate — again, after the Senate bill has passed the House as-is and been signed into law by the president. But the president has not produced any actual legislative language to show us exactly how he would “fix” things. The language will purportedly be drafted over the next couple of weeks, but no one — not even House Democrats, who would have to trust the president and Harry Reid to “fix” the bill after they pass it — has seen any language. It is therefore entirely possible that if Speaker Pelosi jams the Senate bill through the House, it will all be over with the president’s signature. In other words, if the Senate decides to follow its own rules and not use the budget process of reconciliation to pass substantive health-care policy, then we will have the current Senate version of Obamacare as the law of the land. I kid you not.

* Point 3: Beware of the public option. Don’t forget that there is an active move afoot in the Senate to pass the Pelosicare public-option bill, which narrowly passed the House in November after Pelosi was forced to allow Rep. Bart Stupak (D., Mich.) and a bipartisan coalition to remove public abortion funding (leaving a host of other pro-life problems in the bill, such as incentivized end-of-life rationing). MSNBC reports that 34 senators have publicly indicated their support for the House public-option bill via reconciliation. Therefore, if the House bill were to pass the Senate under the 50-plus-1 reconciliation scheme, then it, too, could head to the president’s desk. And then, well, you guessed it. It’s over.

But at this point it’s far from over. Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine claims that “the American people elected this president to get results. They don’t care about the inside baseball.” Really? Perhaps Mr. Kaine should review a few polls showing the historic engagement of the American people on both sides of this issue. While Bioethics Defense Fund neither endorses nor opposes any particular legislation, it is our mission as a public-interest group to educate citizens about this inside baseball. Because contrary to Mr. Kaine’s opinion, we know that you do care. And that you just might want to stay in the game.

– Dorinda C. Bordlee is vice president and senior counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund, and editor of

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