Tim Pawlenty and GOP minority in Legislature thwarted in challenge to health care reform

Categories: Politics, T-Paw

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Majority rules. The Democrats in the U.S. House and their supporters in home districts, won the health care reform battle. The minority Republicans are licking their wounds and figuring out what to do next.

In Minnesota, lame duck Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants Attorney General Lori Swanson, a Democrat, to consider filing a lawsuit over the constitutionality of the health care bill -- before it has even been signed into law by President Barack Obama.

No dice. At least, not yet.

"The attorney general's office operates in the legal arena and we are not going to make any legal comments until we have had the opportunity to review the 2,400-page bill," spokesman Benjamin Wogslund told the Pioneer Press.

In the DFL-controlled Legislature, GOP gubernatorial candidate Rep. Marty Seifert failed in his effort to force Swanson to the file the lawsuit blocking the health reform package by way of an amendment to a state budget bill. He lost on a 86-48 vote. A similar effort failed in the Senate

Meanwhile, on TV, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is promoting her bill to repeal the measure, even though, again, it hasn't been signed into law, and even though she's part of the House minority. As we've noted elsewhere, she's been confused recently about the law of the land with regards to this bill.

"It's no secret, President Obama and Democrat leaders have ignored the will of the people and have chosen to ram through their trillion-dollar health care bill despite the American people's overwhelming objection to it," she said in a statement announcing the repeal effort.

Bosh, said Tom McMahon, of Americans United for Change, which is launching a massive ad campaign against Bachmann starting today.

The bill represents a "monumental victory for average Americans over powerful special interests," he said. "Michele Bachmann made a different kind of history by voting to deny giving Minnesotans access to the same kind of insurance she enjoys very much as members of Congress. If it's good enough for her, shouldn't it be good enough for the people of Minnesota?"

On Facebook, Rep. John Kline had a firmer grip on the meaning of "minority."

"Please join me in ensuring we begin to right this tragic wrong over the coming months leading up to Nov. 2," he said. "Let's ensure that we send conservative representatives to Congress that will listen to the American people who could not have made it clearer that they overwhelmingly reject this bill."

Whether Americans "overwhelmingly reject this bill" is an open question. Many don't even know what the bill does, as polling expert Nate Silver points out on his FiveThirtyEight blog:

Only 61 percent [of Americans] are aware that the bill bans denials of coverage for pre-existing conditions. Only 42 percent know that it bans lifetime coverage limits. Only 58 percent are aware that it set up insurance exchanges. Just 44 percent know that it closes the Medicare donut hole.

Once they know what's actually in the bill, a majority support its components, Silver said.

Update: What a difference a vote makes. This is from USA Today.

Americans by 9 percentage points have a favorable view of the health care overhaul that President Obama signed into law Tuesday, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, a notable turnaround from surveys before the vote that showed a plurality against it.

By 49%-40% those surveyed say it was "a good thing" rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill. Half describe their reaction in positive terms, as "enthusiastic" or "pleased," while about four in 10 describe it in negative ways, as "disappointed" or "angry."

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