The solid front of Democratic Party progressives supporting the Senate’s health care form bill, has now cracked wide open with Howard Dean’s call to kill the Senate bill and start over in the House with reconciliation. Dean’s call hasn’t cracked open the floodgates among the Senate and House Democrats and in recent days people like Bernie Sanders and Anthony Weiner have indicated that even though they’re sympathetic, they’re not with Howard yet, while others like Ben Cardin, Jay Rockefeller, and a veritable hallelujah chorus of other Democratic Senators have registered strong disagreement with him, insisting that the bill should still be supported. Meanwhile, Harry Reid continues to oppose using reconciliation to pass a bill. Why?
|By: letsgetitdone Thursday August 20, 2009 3:51 pm|
Let’s summarize now. The important aspects in the present bills can be broken into three segments. 1. Establishing a public component to compete with private insurance. This can be done by extending Medicare and Medicaid eligibility to everyone under reconciliation and will take 50 votes + 1 VP vote in the Senate to pass. 2. Eliminating the worst insurance company abuses. This will take 60 Senate votes in a separate bill, but would be hard for any Democrat and even a few Republicans (Snowe, Collins, Voinovich, Lugar) to vote against. 3. Creating an exchange, and providing subsidies and implementing mandates. This will take 60 votes in a separate bill and is most vulnerable to defeat. But it is the least important of the three segments. And from the progressive point of view, it is not important whether it passes or not. So, lastly, it isn’t at all obvious that a public option needs to be abandoned by the President, and, whatever he does, by the progressives and Democrats in both Houses. All that’s necessary is for progressives to give up the words “public option” and provide that option by extending Medicare and Medicaid eligibility to everyone.