The all that is pretty much the same as what the House and Senate have passed but won't conference on thanks to the loss of the Democratic Senate supermajority that makes its passage impossible.
The little bit more is the empowerment of the federal government to roll back "egregious" premium increases by insurance companies. Google "WellPoint" for background. WellPoint is the new Osama.
Such an addition is entirely political for several reasons that are patently obvious. And since pointing out the patently obvious is what we do on this blog, here goes:
- First, such a move would be entirely impossible economically. Rolling back a big increase simply because it's big while at the same time not addressing mandates for specific coverage or for open enrollment will make it impossible for insurance companies to do business. It's essentially saying that the government can eliminate profits at will.
- Second, the previous point makes the provision entirely unconstitutional. Congress can regulate interstate commerce. It cannot outlaw it. There's settled precedent that regulated companies, like public utilities, have to be allowed to make a profit. The Supremes would deliberate about five minutes on this and rule 9-0.
- Third, this provision makes it less, not more likely, that the bill will get sufficient support to pass. Even if the Ds resort to using reconciliation, it's very unlikely they'll get a House majority for this stinker and rather unlikely they can get 51 in the Senate. Right now, Democrats are the Democrats' problem, not Republicans.
The point is to let the bill go down to defeat and then blame the Rs in the fall for not standing up to the insurance companies. It's putting some red meat in the populist freezer.
BHO and his Chi cronies know that everyone hates health insurance companies. They intend to link Republicans to this hated class and present themselves as Champions of the Little Guy. There's probably an element of payback as well: BHO courted the insurance giants for support and got it, but then he lost it as he started dealing sharp for the benefit of unions. It's not nice to mess with The One, and insurance companies are about to be demonized for the part they played in the unraveling of The Historical Legacy.
Bottom line: The White House is playing the electorate for stupid. We'll know around midnight on November 2 if they're right.