A new Gallup poll released today shows the American public basically divided in half on whether or not the health care reforms are what this country needs. 41% support changes to the system, while 40% believe that reforms will make things worse.
The problem for President Obama and Congressional Democrats all year long in their fight to reform health care has been that for those who do have health insurance, a great deal of those people like what they have and are fearful that changes will make things worse for them.
In politics, legislators like to campaign on things they can do for people. In the case of health care reform, it's been about changing the system, making it more cost effective ('bending the curve' as they say), as well as on a more altruistic level, insuring as many of the 47 million or so people in this country without insurance.
The House bill roughly will cover 36 million more people, which is a major achievement. Whether it actually brings down total costs is something that, unfortunately, may not be the case.
The NY Times reports today that there are serious concerns that the legislation doesn't do nearly enough to do that:
some experts would like to see such changes adopted more quickly, and senators of both parties say they will press for more aggressive cost-cutting measures when the bill comes up for debate. But drastic changes in the health care reimbursement system could cost the White House the support of doctors and hospital groups, who have signed onto the legislation and are lobbying hard to keep the current fee-for-service system from being phased out too quickly.
Yesterday Florida U.S. Senate Democrat Bill Nelson was in Ybor City, where he shared some of his thoughts on what will now happen in the Senate.
He said what is pretty much considered conventional wisdom in the days after Saturday night's dramatic cliff hanger of a vote - that the Senate bill will be different. Specifically, more centrist, as referred to the House bill as "tilted a bit to the left."
The House and Senate bills are different in several ways.
1) Senate needs to figure out if there will be a public option of some sort
2) House bill strictly limits coverage of abortion
3) mandating employers to provide coverage to employees
4) Whether to tax high income people or those with high cost insurance plans ("Cadillac Plans")
The Senate's out this week for Veterans Day (In the rest of the world of course, most people get a day off for a Holiday, though most don't get Veterans Day off. In Congress, it's always at least a week). But when they return, the negotiations will get hot and heavy.