July 29, 2009


In today's NYT David Leonhardt writes the following:

Members of Congress have come up with one idea after another to pay for covering the uninsured. But they still haven’t put together legislation that could pass.
This is simply false. The House HAS passed legisation that covers the uninsured, and provided funding for doing so.

There is also no doubt that there are at least 51 votes in the Senate for the House bill. A filibuster can be beaten if Reid wants to beat it. Between using strong arm tactics within his caucus, and shutting down business on all other matters while taking cloture vote after cloture vote, he will eventually get the bill to the floor. He will also be able to pick off Republicans who really can't go into a 2010 race being seen as opposed to providing up to a fifth of their constituents with health care services they do not currently have. And, of course, there is the reconciliation process that can be used to circumvent the automatic filibuster Reid has created.

It's not just Leonhardt. Scott Lemiux discusses an Ezra Klein post about what compromises are necessary to get passage.

So let's be clear. A good bill, with a public option, would easily pass in both houses. The insurance lobby, through the Senate Finance Committee doing everything it can to gut the Senate bill, and to slow the process down because the lobbyists are well aware that a good bill would pass easily. Slowing down the process allows the lobbyist's disinformation machine more time to operate, more time to confuse voters with false, even crazy ("the government will kill old people!") information.

The media is doing us, once again, a tremendous disservice by treating what can only be called lies as legitimate points of debate. The opponents of a good bill don't care about costs, even though they say so, because a bill with a strong public option that removes current insurance industry subsidies is cheaper than either the status quo or a "reform" plan that adds more subsidies to the insurance industry. All the malarkey that is intended to make old people afraid is totally ridiculous; they will be completely unaffected because they are already on a government health plan that was supposed to lead the country down the path to socialism. The US has the worst health care system in the OECD, but the media parrots, unchallenged nonsensical claims about the US having the best health care in the world and about how awful health care is in Canada. And d0n't get me started on why it is that wars don't have to be paid for, but health care does.

Media support for dishonest GOP spokespeople and Democrat Senators fronting for the insurance companies won't do the trick if a good bill, like the House bill, reaches the floor of the Senate. It will pass. There is no reason for Reid to take elements of a bad Finance committee bill into the Senate bill. He has the votes he needs.

And, in the end,we will get a reasonably good bill.


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