Friday, December 25, 2009

Only The House Can Deliver Reform Now

The Senate actually did it. They took our broken health care system, put a few band aids on it, passed that fraud on a 60-39 vote, and are now trying to convince Americans that it is real reform. Evidently, they think the American people are stupid enough to believe that.

The most disappointing thing is that every single senator that claims to be a progressive tucked his tail between his legs and went along with this travesty -- including Feingold, Sanders, Schumer and Franken among others. I had really hoped that at least a few progressives would demonstrate they had a backbone and fight for real reform -- even if it meant killing this monstrosity and starting over.

Now all hopes for real healthcare reform rest on members of the House of Representatives (they actually approved a fairly good reform bill). The House and Senate will now meet and try to reconcile the huge differences between the two bills. It is my fervent hope that the House members will insist on a public option being included in the final bill.

Sadly, President Obama (who has sat out the entire process until now) has said he will take an active role in trying to reconcile the two bills. This is not good news. Several weeks ago, Obama threw the public option under the bus and threw his tacit support behind the mess now passed by the Senate. I expect he will just try to pressure the House to go along with the Senate version. Obama has been the most disappointing person of all in the effort to reform health care.

I urge the progressives to stand firm in the House. If you have to, kill the whole thing. Then start over and use the reconciliation process. You are America's last hope for real health care reform. Stand fast -- if you give in then the chance for real reform is probably lost for many years, if not decades.

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