When a major piece of legislation on healthcare or American’s retirement is brought before the Congress, which party would you rather have in power? A look at historical voting patterns might give some answers.
One piece of legislation practically all Americas support was the passage of Medicare. Medicare was voted in by the House of Representatives on March 29, 1965. At the beginning of the 89th Congress, there were 295 Democrats and 140 Republicans in the House.
The vote on the final passage of Medicare was 237 yeas on the Democratic side with 48 nays (8 not voting and 2 not present or vacant seats at the time) and 70 yeas on the Republican side with 68 nays (2 not voting). That calculates out to be 80.8% of Democrats in favor vs. 50% of Republicans.
The numbers are similar for the Senate. That chamber took up the Medicare legislation on July 9, 1965 and it passed by a vote of 70 to 24. The breakdown by party was Democrats in favor 57, opposed 7 (not voting 4). Republicans in favor were 13, opposed 17 (not voting 2). The percentages were Democrats in favor of passage 83.8%, and the Republicans in favor 40.1%.
It’s fairly easy to see if the Republicans had had a majority in Congress in 1965, Medicare would not be covering me, nor anyone else over 65.
My personal belief is that the Democrats made a major strategic error when they had a majority in 2010 and used Romneycare as the philosophical basis for the ACA legislation commonly know as Obamacare. I think an expansion of Medicare for all would have been impossible to oppose once passed, but that is water over the dam now.
With healthcare costs exploding and the problems with Obamacare not being fixed or as the Republicans said “Replace!” in any fashion, one would think the most obvious question to ask is why healthcare costs are greater in the U.S. then anywhere else on the planet. And what is the party in power going to do about that? The answer has already been given: nothing! It seem to me that if the country is going to try to fix the healthcare crisis we need to know the answers to those basic questions. If not, at least put the Democrats back in power and pass something people like and would support. History tells us the Republicans are not going to do it.
If you think Medicare was an aberration, then lets look back a few more years and see who supported or opposed the creation of Social Security. I will admit times were a bit different and the Republicans were less conservative and also had less power in the 40’s under FDR when Social Security was passed. The numbers are still a bit telling, however.
In the House, Democrats had 299 members with 284 voting for final passage – or about 95%. Republicans had 96 members with 81 voting yes or 84%. Other members of the House from other parties were 10 members, 7 of which voted for final passage.
In the Senate there were 69 Democrats when the final vote to pass Social Security was held and 60 voted in favor with one voting no and 8 did not vote. That gave a percentage of Dems voting in favor of about 87%. On the Republican side their were 25 in the Senate with 16 voting yes, 5 no and 4 not voting, therefore 64% of their caucus voted for final passage of the Social Security Act. Given the conservative bent of many more of their party today I wonder what the vote to pass Social Security would have been in 2017?
It looks to me that if history is any indication, any help with retirement or healthcare for Americans is going to be up to the Democrats. After listening to the intricacies of the Republican tax proposal, I believe we would be better off to wait until the Democrats get back in the majority as well.
by Dick Goodson