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No news, but I have to get this off my chest...

To pass a bill into law, the Constitution says you have to get a majority vote in both houses of Congress, and then the President's signature. Failing that, you have to get a 2/3 majority vote in both houses of Congress.

Obamacare met those requirements; it is now the law of the land, for better or for worse. If you want to repeal it, you have to meet the same requirements: either a majority vote in both houses of Congress and the President's signature, or a 2/3 majority vote in both houses. Neither of those is going to happen in the next year, and almost certainly not in the next three years. In short, there is not the political support to repeal Obamacare through the Constitutional process any time soon.

When you can't get what you want through normal means, there are several ways you can react. If you're a civilized adult, you accept the loss and move on to another fight, at least until the balance of power has changed. If you're a two-year-old child, you throw a screaming temper tantrum until you get what you want. If you're a terrorist, you threaten mass annihilation until you get what you want.

John McCain and Mitch McConnell have decided it's in their interest to be civilized adults. Most House Republicans, and a few in the Senate, have decided differently; the question is whether they're better described as two-year-old children or terrorists.

I'm imagining a discussion between a Tea Party member of Congress and an older, wiser Republican.
"You folks are seriously risking a government shutdown or a default on our credit."
"You say that like it's a bad thing. We all know that 'that government governs best which governs least.' A temporary government shutdown and forced spending cuts are two steps in the right direction."
"Yes, it is a bad thing. A government shutdown hurts our side in the polls; we saw that in the 1990's. And not all of government shuts down. 'Mandatory' spending continues, as does 'discretionary' spending that is considered critical (to protecting lives, etc.) You know who gets to decide what's 'critical', or which bills to pay in case of a default? President Obama. And he might decide that Obamacare is 'critical' to protecting lives. In other words, your insistence on defunding Obamacare might end up defunding everything except Obamacare."
"I don't care about all of that cynical realpolitik gobbledegook; somebody's got to stand up for what we believe in."
"I hope you've got a good job lined up for January 2015."


Like it or not, it's going to go down in history as Obamacare. Which is part of why the Tea Party are so desperate to prevent it from working: what could be worse than generations of Americans thanking Obama?

Of course it doesn't do enough, but it's a substantial step forward, and it's as much as could be done in the politics of 2010. It won't save a lot of money, because anything that saved a lot of money would have been blocked by the lobby for whoever was receiving that money. But it'll save lives.

The next step should be to extend Medicare to children under the age of one year, where preventive care is a really good investment. Suddenly tens of millions more Americans will have first-hand experience with Medicare, and they'll be upset that their children are aging out of it, so they'll lobby for it to be extended to older children. Eventually Medicare-for-the-old and Medicare-for-the-young will meet in the middle, we'll save some serious money, and we'll have caught up with where Canada was thirty years ago.