For the last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has jettisoned a Medicare Buy In for people beginning at age 55 because Joe Lieberman didn't like it. Now that he's done all he can do to try to secure Lieberman's vote (which has set the left on fire), now Reid is trying to accommodate Nebraska's Ben Nelson, who not only represents (like Lieberman) a state where insurance companies dominate, but he's also a hold out on provisions on making sure that there are tight restrictions on abortion.
Incidentally, regarding Joe Lieberman, according to the New York Times:
On Thursday, a spokesman for the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org said that it had raised more than $1 million from its network of online donors in less than two days in an advertising campaign against Mr. Lieberman
But back to what are the possibilities of health care legislation getting passed? According to some reports, Harry Reid is prepared to keep it going up to Christmas Eve. But even if somehow Nelson and Lieberman acquiesce, the bill needs to be negotiated in a conference committee - but how many House liberals will go for a bill without a public option?
Tampa's Kathy Castor, among others, has insisted that a bill has to have the public option for her to support it. Many other Dems have said the same thing, though Ralph Nader said on WMNF yesterday that he thinks most of those Representatives will "cave". One who won't he said, is Michigan's John Conyers, who Nader said has told him he won't vote for the bill in its current (whatever that is) form.
It should be said that not all public progressives are against the bill. Paul Krugman, for example, from the New York Times, writes that of course the legislation isn't perfect,
But lets all take a deep breath, and consider just how much good this bill would do, if passed and how much better it would be than anything that seemed possible just a few years ago. With all its flaws, the Senate health bill would be the biggest expansion of the social safety net since Medicare, greatly improving the lives of millions. Getting this bill would be much, much better than watching health care reform fail.
At its core, the bill would do two things. First, it would prohibit discrimination by insurance companies on the basis of medical condition or history: Americans could no longer be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, or have their insurance canceled when they get sick. Second, the bill would provide substantial financial aid to those who dont get insurance through their employers, as well as tax breaks for small employers that do provide insurance.
All of this would be paid for in large part with the first serious effort ever to rein in rising health care costs.
Sitting right next to him on the Op-Ed page of the NY Times today, David Brooks, argues in support of voting for the bill in the first half of his column, before declaring that it does not sufficiently address rising costs, and ultimately comes out against it.
The title of his column? "The Hardest Call."