As you all know, I was a participant in the first debate held here, and I had plenty to say about the abysmal House healthcare reform bill, particularly the Stupak Amendment, the mandate and the very weak public option that gave no one with existing healthcare through employers a chance to opt out.
I was against this bill, not because I did not want reform, but I felt we deserved a better one. Who would have thought the Senate would actually begin to get it right, and head us in the right direction.
I know it’s not over yet, there is one more hurdle cloture vote, but then, Harry Reid has pretty clear sailing, comparativel,y to what we might have thought a month ago.
I was, and continue to be, an advocate for single payer. It makes the most sense in a number of ways, among them an existing bureaucracy rather than the creation of a new one. It also offers several other major benefits: lower cost, more freedom in choosing physicians and hospitals, greater coverage in post surgical therapy, greater coverage, period.
This compromise is something I can accept, even more than the original public option that covered so few of us, with restrictions on low income women, which is non negotiable for me.
First, it sets us on a path to single payer coverage for everyone, and on the path of least resistance. By simply incorporating additional age brackets, say at one year intervals for the next bracket, 45-55 year olds, in 2011 and move downward in one year increments, we could have universal single payer healthcare by the end of President Obama’s second term. It would increase the chances of seat gain in both houses of Congress in 2010, which will make the changes even easier.
Additionally, the plan would have the elimination of denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, a cap on out of pocket expenses and non cancellable policies if one becomes seriously ill. The Nelson amendment was shot down, thankfully. No one is saying the government should pay for abortions, but that the coverage be available. Who in their right minds plans for an abortion, anyway?
Though the public option will be watered down or eliminated by trigger, President Obama never promised us a public option, only that we deserved the same kind of coverage that federal government workers have, through the private, non profit boards similar to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Personally, being a single payer advocate, anything but a robust public option made little sense, the creation of a new bureaucracy made even less sense.
Now, this is on the right track. It is not a perfect plan, but I can now buy into the concept of improving it because it can now be done in a less complicated manner.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed. We’re close, I hope Reid can get it done.