FLASHBACK: Democrats’ ‘Secret’ Closed Door Obamacare Process

“ObamaCare’s ‘Secret’ History: The distortion du jour is that the GOP is operating ‘in secret.’ This week Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Republicans of working ‘behind closed doors, writing a bill they won’t let the public read.’ …if Republicans are trying to suppress a public debate about repealing and replacing Obama Care, then they haven’t prevailed, either now or across the presidential campaign. Health care has been central to U.S. political debate for nearly a decade as Democrats created a new entitlement with little public support.” (Editorial, “ObamaCare’s ‘Secret’ History,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/14/2017)


FLASHBACK: Obamacare’s History

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Wrote The Senate Obamacare Bill ‘In Private,’ ‘Behind Closed Doors’

October 18, 2009: “…now, as a Senate vote on health-care legislation nears, those negotiations are occurring in a setting that is anything but revolutionary in Washington: Three senators are working on the bill behind closed doors.” (“Small Group Now Leads Closed-Door Reform Negotiations,” The Washington Post, 10/18/2009)

October 26, 2009: “On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to request a cost estimate on the bill he has worked out behind closed doors … In recent weeks, [President Obama] has stepped back from the process, leaving his aides and Congress to work out the details…. Most negotiations are taking place in private.” (“Next Phase In Health-Care Debate: The Art Of The Deal,” The Washington Post, 10/26/2009)

  • November 09, 2009: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last week was still waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to complete its analysis of a bill he negotiated with the White House … Several portions of the Senate legislation - including its cost - remain under wraps pending the conclusion of the CBO analysis.” (“Senators Prepare for Battle,” Roll Call, 11/09/2009)

November 20, 2009: “Now it is Senator Harry Reid's health care bill…. Mr. Reid involved himself to an unusual degree in assembling the final measure…. Mr. Reid was the one to pick and choose provisions from existing Senate and House bills -- while adding a dash of new ones, including a Medicare payroll tax increase for affluent Americans and a 5 percent tax on cosmetic medical procedures.” (“Reid, As Legislative Tactician, Takes Ownership Of Health Care Overhaul,” The New York Times, 11/20/2009)

“On Dec. 19, 2009, a Saturday, then Majority Leader Harry Reid tossed the 2,100-page bill the Senate had spent that fall debating and offered a new bill drafted in an invitation-only back room. Democrats didn’t even pretend to care what was in it while passing it in the dead of night on Dec. 24, amid a snowstorm, in the first Christmas Eve vote since 1895.” (Editorial, “ObamaCare’s ‘Secret’ History,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/14/2017)

  • “…after the bill reached the floor, most of the changes were made behind the scenes in Reid's office. For instance, Lieberman forced his will on Democratic leaders by refusing to support efforts to kill a GOP filibuster if the measure included either a public insurance option or a plan allowing people between the ages of 55-64 buy into Medicare. In response, Reid retooled the proposal through a ‘manager's amendment’: a 383-page proposal and a hodgepodge of additions to improve the bill and win over other Democratic holdouts. The amendment was unveiled Saturday and included controversial additions involving abortion and Nebraska's Medicaid payments - part of an effort to win over Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). … Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the real debate happened ‘within Reid's office.’” (“Senators Talk Much But Vote Little,” Politico, 12/23/2009)


Democrats Jammed Their Partisan Bill Through Holidays And Blizzards

“After a long day of acid, partisan debate, Senate Democrats held ranks early Monday in a dead-of-night procedural vote that proved they had locked in the decisive margin needed to pass a far-reaching overhaul of the nation’s health care system. The roll was called shortly after 1 a.m., with Washington still snowbound after a weekend blizzard, and the Senate voted on party lines …” (“Health Bill Passes Key Test in the Senate,” The New York Times, 12/21/2009)

“Senate Democrats approved landmark legislation just after sunrise Christmas Eve that would transform the nation's health-care system … Vice President Biden presided over the 60 to 39 party-line vote …” (“Senate Passes Health-Care Bill, Now Must Reconcile It With House,” The Washington Post, 12/25/2009)


Democrats Used Reconciliation To Secure Passage Of Obamacare

“Democrats are pushing through the package of healthcare modifications using a process known as reconciliation, which requires a bare majority of 51 senators and vitiates use of the filibuster.” (“Little Cheer About Deal On Abortion,” Los Angeles Times, 3/25/2010)

  • “The White House and congressional leaders revived the bill after deciding on a two-step process - the House passing the Senate bill, followed by both chambers using fast-track rules known as reconciliation to pass a package of fixes. This was the only way House members would agree to approve the Senate bill and the only way the Senate could make changes that the House wanted.” (“Year-Long Fight Ends As Health Bill Clears Congress,” Politico, 3/25/2010)



Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Obamacare