With any luck and a following wind, US Health Care Reform will soon be a reality – a signed bill. Thank goodness for that. There have been so many twists and turns in the debate/legislative process that it is very easy to be “punch-drunk” and confused as to what is actually being passed through congress.
An email from President Obama to supporters sets the scene:
Last Thursday’s first-of-its-kind summit capped off a debate that has lasted nearly a year. Every idea has now been put on the table. Every argument has been made. Both parties agree that the status quo is unacceptable and gets more dire each day. Today, I want to state as clearly and forcefully as I know how: Now is the time to make a decision about the future of health care in America.
In technical terms, this is what will soon happen:
The House will first pass the Senate bill after Senate leaders demonstrate that they have the votes to pass the reconciliation fixes in the Senate.
…Then the Senate willpass the reconciliation “fix”.
The Grand Ol’ Party and the Tea Party say this is the cheats way out – using “budget reconciliation” to pass what they call a “socialist” measure, thereby avoiding the requirement for 60 Senate votes, which the Democrats don’t now have due to losing (one of) their safest seat(s). In fact, such a process has been used more often than not in the past, not least by the Republicans. And the Democrats have already mustered a 60 seat “super-majority” for the bill, plus they will muster a simple majority for the final measure.
And it’s hardly a “socialist” blockbuster – more a cobbled together patchwork of measures which will make things better with a insurance/tax credit safety net.
Quite frankly, I don’t know what I am talking about on the make-up of the final bill (I am totally confused), and as soon as I read someone who does (know what they are talking about), I’ll tell you about it.
And the unreconcilable? Well, save, I think, one vote in the House, not a single Republican has supported the bill and although Obama says some of their (Republican) ideas are in the mix, they fiercely deny this.
It really is not surprising, but woeful, that such a bill is going through without bipartisan support even from Olympia Snowe, a usually persuadable moderate Republican.
My feeling is that when the Reform Act starts to take effect, Americans will wonder what all the fuss is about and realise that their nation has taken a positive step forward. It will certainly relief not to have this potboiler on the griddle for a change.