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Supporters of Health Care Reform Also Support More Spending

March 23, 2010

In the lead up to last Sunday's vote on the health care bill in the House, supporters argued that the bill was not only the way to reform the health insurance industry but that it was also the most important deficit reduction vote in years.  If that were true, one would expect those who support lower federal spending to support the bill.

To look at that assumption, we looked at how Members voted on roll call vote 163 (the procedural rule that brought the bill to the floor for debate) and their support for additional government spending as measured NTUF's BillTally system using data from the 110th Congress.  What we found was that those voting yes, on average, supported 25 times the amount of spending those who voted against the bill supported, on average.  See Figure 1.

click to open figure in a new window

Digging a little deeper, we found that Democrats who voted yes supported 27 times more spending, on average, than the Republicans who vote no.  Democrats supporting the bill also supported, on average, 4 times as much spending as Democrats who opposed the bill.  See Figure 2.

click to open figure in a new window

Breaking the Democrats down into Blue Dogs (those who identify themselves as more fiscally conservative) and non-Blue Dogs, we found that non-Blue Dogs supported, on average, approximately 3.5 times as much spending as the fiscally-concerned Blue Dogs.  See Figure 3.  However, the Blue Dogs still supported, on average, 8 times as much spending as did Republicans.

click to open figure in a new window

There was a significant difference among the Blue Dogs.  Blue Dogs who voted yes supported, on average, almost 6 times as much spending as the members of their caucus who voted no.  See Figure 4.  Even Blue Dogs who voted against the bill still supported almost twice as much spending, on average, as Republicans who opposed the bill. 


While this vote might have been billed as one of the most important deficit reduction votes in recent years, it appears that those who voted for it are the ones who support more rather than less government spending.


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