More on "Pass the Damn Bill"
by CA Pol Junkie
The lack of leadership we are seeing now is flabbergasting. Pelosi's "I don't see the votes for it at this time" and Obama's "letting the dust settle" are exactly the wrong things to say when the House Democratic caucus is running around like 257 sad and lost sheep. This is a time that calls for leadership telling us health care reform will be passed and then make it happen.
There are three options:
1. Senate bill + reconciliation - The Senate bill has insurance reforms and exchanges which can't be passed with reconciliation. The uglier parts of the Senate bill (the Cornhusker kickback, financing mechanisms, relatively weak subsidies) could be fixed in reconciliation and passed with 50 votes in the Senate since those are budget related issues.
2. Reconciliation only - You couldn't get insurance exchanges or reforms, but you could expand Medicaid and provide a Medicare buy-in if you can get 50 votes in the Senate.
3. Do nothing
Here's some strong support for option number 1:
Celinda Lake, who most recently served as the pollster for Attorney General Martha Coakley's losing campaign in Massachusetts, said there is deep frustration with Washington but moving away from health care would be the worst decision.
"We can't talk about it for a year and deliver nothing, that would be a disaster," Lake said. "We should pass it and then we have to go sell it. We have to tell people what is in it."
Letting this process die is, of course, the worst of all worlds. Democrats have 59 votes in the Senate and almost 260 votes in the House. They brought their bill to the one-yard line before Scott Brown forced a fumble. Proving yourself unable to govern in that scenario is proving yourself unable to govern. Moreover, it would be staggeringly cruel to the people that this bill is meant to help, and who need this bill's help. Covering 30 million and protecting countless millions more is not just a talking point. It's the reason for this whole enterprise. To abandon those people because Brown won in Massachusetts is simply indecent, and would prove the Democratic Party worse than ineffective. It would prove the party unconcerned.
Sure, the Senate bill isn't perfect. Nothing ever is. But the political situation has changed and it's now the only game in town. It's beyond belief that we could get this close to a century-old goal of liberalism — we are, literally, just a hair's breadth from the finish line — and then allow the most significant social legislation of the past 40 years to slip from our grasp just because we're tired and pissed. All we need is one roll call vote in the House. That's how close we are to passing this genuinely historic bill. One vote. Then the next day we can start in on the next 20 years work of improving and finishing what we've begun.
It's deeply personal for the 30 million uninsured. It's deeply personal for the self-employed and small businesses who deeply fear a illness for themselves or their employees. Only the Senate bill can provide the exchanges and give everyone the opportunity to get insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions.
Even if you are in the reconciliation only camp, for goodness sakes contact your congressman, your senators, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama and demand leadersip and action. Passing health care reform this year is vital for tens of millions of Americans. Failure is not an option.