My first instinct is to say no, no, no (with apologies to Amy Winehouse). That’s because the bill that passed the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday didn’t contain a public option. We keep being told that it could be negotiated as different bills come together, but there doesn’t seem to be the guts among Democrats to see it through. That would include President Obama, who’s been sending conflicting signals about the public option for quite awhile now.
Back to the Finance Committee vote. It was 14-9, with Republican Olympia Snowe breaking ranks to vote with the majority. This is being hailed as some sort of breakthrough. While I hail Senator Snowe’s willingness to break ranks with her party, one Republican voting in favor of a watered down bill isn’t my idea of something to celebrate. But that’s just me.
I remain curious about just what the nine naysayers on the Finance Committee really wanted in the first place. Was it just time, time to eventually kill reform? They tried their best, these slaves to insurance industry dollars. They even tried the last minute tactic of putting out an industry funded report that said the reform bill wouldn’t work. They continue to try to convince the American people that if more people have access to affordable healthcare, those who are already insured would lose something.
What they’d lose varies, depending on which right wing lugnut you’re watching on TV or listening to on the radio. The strategy, however, is classic. If THEY gain, YOU lose. Watch them go after Olympia Snowe (oops, they already have!). What they won’t tell you, however is that this us against them tactic is fundamentally un-American. If people really want their country back , how about taking it back from people who pit Americans against each other? Or is that too much like politics as usual?
There’s still much work to be done in the battle to make sure all people in this country have access to affordable healthcare. I’ve said it before, this ought to be a matter of national pride. Should we be satisfied being the most powerful nation on earth while we’re 37th in healthcare outcomes? Trust me, the Party of No has no answer to this, but sadly, they’re rarely asked the question. One person who understands this clearly is my good friend Brent Budowsky. Check him out in thehill.com, click on Pundit’s Blog. He pulls no punches when he says it’s time for the Democrats to stop playing and lead. It is about time, isn’t it? You tell me.