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Our hero, waking up after a long winter's nap.

Q. Er, what am I doing here?
A. It's back.

Q. What's back?
A. Health Care Reform.

Q. I thought it was dead?

The answer and much more below.  For previous chapters: Part IV, A New Hope  Part III Part II Part I

A. It was dead.  It died in Massachusetts.  Martha Coakley murdered it, but because she's the state's Attorney General, no one can prosecute her.  Rumor has it a tape was discovered and on it were it's last words: "No, Martha.  Curt Schilling is not a quarterback for the Yankees!"

Q. Ahem.  And?
A. You've heard of zombies, vampires and the like? Well, add another category to the undead: Congressional Health Care Reform bills.

Q. How did it undie?
A. Anthem Blue Cross.

Q. Gezundheit.
A. Bless you too.  Just as health care reform was being buried, the Anthem Blue Cross Insurance Company in California announced they were hiking policy rates on individual policies by 25% on average, 38% in some cases and even higher.  In less time than it takes to say 'pre-existing condition' someone noticed twitching in the corpse and called 911.

Q. What happened?
A. They were arrested under the Patriot Act for causing a zombie alert.

Q. Figures. But what happened to the corpse?
A. According to our best accounting, it made its way to the Oval Office where it visited the President in the middle of the night; first as Richard Nixon, then as Bill Clinton, both times claiming to be the Ghost of Health Care Reform Past and scaring the bejesus out of Bo (and the President).  And then it glided down the mall to the Senate Majority Leader's office, where it demanded to be reconciliated.

Q. Oh, Oh.  Do children read this kind of thing?
A. Only mental children.

Q. So how does it get, get, dare I say it, reconciliated?
A. It's simple.  So simple that it will take a mere two months, according to Reid. (Which in Senate time is like an hour to us mere mortals.)

Q. So simple it out...
A. Okay.

  •   Step 1:  Harry Reid grows a spine.
  •   Step 2:  The President holds a Health Care Reform summit.
  •   Step 3:  The Republicans say no.
  •   Step 4:  A reconciliation bill is introduced in the Senate that will amend the current Senate Health Care Reform bill enough to satisfy the majority of the House of Representatives and satisfy the Byrd Rule.
  •   Step 5:  The Republicans spend two months delaying a vote on it.
  •   Step 6:  The Senate passes the new bill, needing just 50 votes and a Vice-Presidential tie-breaker to do so, and sends it to the House.
  •   Step 7.  Republicans heads explode.
  •   Step 8:  The House, now assured that the Senate will not screw them over yetone more time, passes the original Senate Health Care Bill.
  •   Step 9:  The President signs the original Senate Health Care Bill.
  •   Step 10: The House passes the reconciliation bill.
  •   Step 11: The President signs the reconciliation bill.
  •   Step 12: Remaining Republicans heads explode.

Q.  Wouldn't three steps be simpler?
A.  Shut up.  There's simple. Then there's difficult. Then there's the Apollo Moon missions.  And then you have Congress.  

Q.  What if the Republicans say 'yes'?
A.  Hahahah.  HHahahahaaha.  Oh, hahahahaaa,  Choke, Sputter, Gasp.   Sheesh. You really had me going there for a second!

Q. What's the Byrd rule?
A. You don't want to know.

Q. Sounds like Catch 22.
A. Only the Senate Parliamentarian knows for sure.

Q. Will it work?
A. It has to.  Or the Democrats are completely fucked.  And they know it.  You can't spark to life progessive organizations, and generate enough enthusiasm to (hopefully) make 1,000,000 phone calls to Congress just before the White House summit, and then not accomplish your goal.  It would be the ultimate fail.  A complete and utter catastrophe.

Q. So there's an 80% chance it will fail, then?
A. Conservatively speaking.

Originally posted to jpmassar on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 09:45 AM PST.

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