Now let’s get a good bill with the public option.
The Baucus healthcare insurance reform bill passed the more conservative Finance Committee today by a 14-9 vote. I thank Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) for nof being a Republican obstructionist even though I don’t expect her to vote on the final bill which WILL include some sort of public option. Hopefully the bill passing in the Senate Finance Committee ends the bipartisan gestures. However, make no mistake this is truly a historic moment because healthcare reform bills have never gone to the floor of both chambers of Congress before.
The fight really begins today to put the public option in the final bill. I think the battle lines will be drawn with progressives in the House supporting a robust public option and the Senate wanting some compromise bill. Even two prominent “Blue Dogs”, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) penned an editorial strongly supporting the public option. Fifty one Senators have now come on board with the public option according to Dr. Deans whip count. The momentum is behind the public option because Baucus’ bill exposed that without the public option it is not healthcare reform but healthcare insurance reform. My greatest hope is that both chambers pass a robust public option for all but I understand that is unlikely. I would rather have a robust public option with an and “opt out” clause for states rather than a watered down public option. My estimation is that a bill with a robust public option even with an “opt out” clause will lead to virtual single payer faster than a bill with a watered down public option for all. I just do not see where the public will support a bill without any public option at this juncture.
MoveOn and labor unions have already come out with campaigns against Baucus’ bill. The insurance lobby has started their campaign against any reform but their efforts will back fire this time because the more they push against reform the more ammunition progressives will have for real reform. It’s time for everyone to act and contact their congress people and the white house to push real healthcare reform. Contact information for Congress is in the Dr. Dean whip count link and you can contact the white house clicking here.
Every American should grasp the super gravity of this moment. Healthcare reform will affect every single Americans for decades to come for the benefit of all or to just stave off financial ruin from insane healthcare costs for a few more years. Politically speaking If Democrats get it right they will be the majority party for decades. But if they get it wrong they will be a footnote in history. The kind of healthcare reform that passes will cement President Obama’s legacy as well. We are at a precipice in modern American history. All congressional Democrats, especially those in the Senate should ask themselves, “What would Teddy do now?”.