Senate passes healthcare reform — but it ain't over yet

Particularly refreshing in this interview is Obama's return to specifics when it comes to discussing the real personal toll the present system has taken.

Right now there are families who don't have health insurance and, as a consequence of somebody getting sick in their family, have been bankrupt. Right now there are small businesses who've been doing the right thing by their employees and just got a notice from their insurance companies that their premiums went up 25, 30, 40 percent; and that business owner's having to make a decision, do I start dropping coverage for my employees or do I have to lay off one employee to keep coverage for everybody else?

As Obama suggests, the debate over the politics of reform has been allowed to cloud the conditions that demanded reform in the first place: the devastating personal stories of people unable to afford medical care.  Even if just some of  the changes promised in the bill come to pass — such as preventing insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions — this will mean profound improvement in potential care for the vast majority of Americans.

The Senate passed the healthcare reform bill this morning. So does this mean we have  come to the end of our long winter of discontent? I'm talking discontented tea-partiers, discontented MoveOn-ers, discontented cardiologists…

Not hardly. Winter just started and so did the next phase of healthcare wrangling. Now begins the arduous process of combining the Senate and House versions. Issues which have led to sharp divisions not just between Democrat and Republican but between Democrat and Democrat —  abortion funding, the public option — will continue to figure into the debate. Expect more rancor.

But the president sounds confident that he can make this marriage work. After the jump, check out his recent interview with Jim Lehrer on PBS.

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