PREFACE I was going to write a well-thought-out, sourced piece about healthcare, but I’ve gotten lazy, so it’s just a bunch of related and unrelated points running together. Sometimes I will just keep such posts in eternal draft mode. But since I don’t generally have solid idea pieces on anything, there’s no reason I must start now. Besides, I really like using the Jim Backus image.
The Baucus-led, conservative-leaning Senate Finance Committee voted down two public option amendments today. I wish there would be more headlines about the other bills out of Congress that do have a public option. The great hope now would be that a strong public option winds up in whatever comes from the merger of the Finance bill and the HELP (Health Education Labor Pensions) bill or that it winds up in a ultimate reconciliation between a House bill and a Senate bill. But that so many Democratic senators are reluctant to embrace the public option is very disappointing. Two years ago, we’d always hear from Dem leaders, “But we don’t have 60 votes!” Now, they’ve got 60 votes in the Senate, and it feels as if it doesn’t matter.
Meanwhile, I find Obama’s lack of forcefulness to be mystifying. He’ll tell an audience that he supports a strong public option, but where is the pressure on Arkansas’s Blanche Lincoln and Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu? I feel like Mitch McConnell is right when he claims that Obama will sign anything that says “health care reform”. From everything I’ve read, co-ops, triggers, and even a weak public option plan, when it is not allowed reimbursement rates comparable to Medicare, are b.s. reform.
Meanwhile, where’s the outrage that a sitting member of the House of Representatives has called Obama “an enemy of all mankind?” Not only do the Democrats seem to put up with this type of behavior, but they (particularly the Senate Dems) seem to want to placate the GOP on health care reform, even where there are no votes to be had.
Obama has been in office for eight months now. I’m getting inpatient.