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December 29, 2009

Ben Nelson (D-Free Medicaid For Nebraska) Trails Potential Challenger By 31 Points In Rasmussen Poll

Granted, it's a theoretical challenger and Nelson isn't up for re-election until 2012 but still...ouch.

If Governor Dave Heineman challenges Nelson for the Senate job, a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows the Republican would get 61% of the vote while Nelson would get just 30%.

There is however some good news for Nelson in the poll. He can cut his poll deficit by more than half with one simple action.

When survey respondents were asked how they would vote if Nelson blocks health care reform, 47% still pick Heneman while 37% would vote to keep the incumbent in office. Twenty percent (20%) of those who initially said they’d vote for Heineman say they’d switch to supporting Nelson. Another six percent (6%) of Heineman supporters say they’re not sure what they’d do if Nelson stops the health care plan from becoming law.

Will he? My guess is not. Unless the Democrats in the House play hardball on abortion and the public option, he's too far down this road to walk away. He'd need something he could point to and say, 'too much!' While you generally won't go broke betting on the stupidity of Democrats, I think they'll stay focused enough to shove this through.

Still, there maybe some signs of hope.

Bob Herbert isn't generally considered the sharpest tool in the NY Times' Op-ed shed so when even he catches on to the fact that the much touted Senate bill is a disaster and does the exact opposite of what Obama claims to want to do, the jig may well be up.

The bill that passed the Senate with such fanfare on Christmas Eve would impose a confiscatory 40 percent excise tax on so-called Cadillac health plans, which are popularly viewed as over-the-top plans held only by the very wealthy. In fact, it’s a tax that in a few years will hammer millions of middle-class policyholders, forcing them to scale back their access to medical care.

Which is exactly what the tax is designed to do.

...Within three years of its implementation, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the tax would apply to nearly 20 percent of all workers with employer-provided health coverage in the country, affecting some 31 million people. Within six years, according to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, the tax would reach a fifth of all households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 annually. Those families can hardly be considered very wealthy.

Proponents say the tax will raise nearly $150 billion over 10 years, but there’s a catch. It’s not expected to raise this money directly. The dirty little secret behind this onerous tax is that no one expects very many people to pay it. The idea is that rather than fork over 40 percent in taxes on the amount by which policies exceed the threshold, employers (and individuals who purchase health insurance on their own) will have little choice but to ratchet down the quality of their health plans.

...The tax on health benefits is being sold to the public dishonestly as something that will affect only the rich, and it makes a mockery of President Obama’s repeated pledge that if you like the health coverage you have now, you can keep it.

Right now there's simply no one left or right who actually likes this plan. There's simply a political desire, disconnected from any form of reality, 'to do something'. The fact that doing something is likely to screw up the country and kill many a political career doesn't seem to phase these idiots.

I still think it's very likely that Pelosi will muscle her caucus into accept enough of the Senate bill so Reid keeps his coalition together but once the holidays are over, it'll be time to crank the opposition back up.


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posted by DrewM. at 10:59 AM

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