Sunday, December 27, 2009
Health Care Bill is Progress, I Guess
The health care bill passed on Christmas Eve by the Senate certainly is not the change we all needed, but I guess it is a victory of some sorts for President Obama.
I have reviewed a couple of summaries of the bills passed by the House and the Senate, and I'm not convinced that this mess is over yet. What is clear is that, under both bills, more Americans will be insured. The House bill, however, is more along the lines of what Democrats and, yes, Americans want.
Polls show that Americans prefer at least the offering of a public option in the process of health care reform. The Senate bill, negotiated by Harry Reid, has no public option component. In this case, as many have rightly pointed out, Joe Lieberman became more powerful than the 435 voting members of the United States House as he singlehandedly killed that popular portion of the bill.
Now, since both bills are so different, a conference committee made up of senior House and Senate members will iron out the differences into a final bill that will need to be passed. The version passed must be identical. According to the Associated Press, it looks like it won't be until early next year. The final version of the bill, if passed by both the Senate and the House, will be on President Obama's desk after that process.
The public option still has a pulse. I'm sure that the House will advocate for it, but the Senate will likely fight it. There are some other issues in the Senate bill that have raised liberal ire. Some feel as if the Senate version is a bit of a giveaway to the insurance companies.
I just hope that the Senate and the House can settle their differences and come to an agreement on a bill that not only just increases the number of people insured but increases the quality of health care in the United States. Until then, any victories celebrated by Democrats in Congress or by President Obama will be seen as hollow in my book. The Senate bill was a chicken out on real reform. My hope is that Nancy Pelosi and the House's bill lives to fight another day...especially in the form of the public option.
Anything short of a public option is just, pardon me Sarah Palin, lipstick on a pig.