Obama loyalists scorned that reconciliation proposal,
insisting (at least before theSenate passed a bill with 60 votes)that
using reconciliation was Unserious, naive, procedurally impossible, and
But all those claims were put to the test -- all those bluffs were called -- once the White House decided that it had to use reconciliation
to pass a final health care reform bill. That meant that any changes
to the Senate bill(which had passed with 60 votes) -- including the
addition of the public option -- would only require 50 votes, which
Democrats assured progressives all year long that they had. Great news
for the public option, right?Wrong. As soon as it actually became
possible to pass it, the 50 votes magically vanished. Senate Democrats
(and the White House)were willing to pretend they supported a public
option only as long as it was impossible to pass it.
I've long suspected that the White House wants done with the health care battle and is willing to cede perhaps the most important element of reform, a viable public plan, even if it is politically possible. The overhaul without the plan will certainly help slow down spiraling costs and lack of coverage, but it is a band aid on a much larger, more lethal wound. It is another example of the Democrats negotiating with themselves and ceding ground where they don't have to, all in the name of 'bi-partisanship'. If Democrats truly wanted a public option, they would fight for it. Instead, they will attempt to pass a bill that 10 years ago, would have been considered a Republican plan. Better than nothing, but still a wasted opportunity.