Monday, January 18, 2010

Where Do We Go From Here? 5 Ways The Dems Can Still Pass Health Care Reform

Okay, so we can safely assume that none of us are all-too-happy that the misogynistic, daughter-sellin', waterboard-lovin', nudie-posin', homophobic, teabaggin' birther has stolen Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. Fine, he was elected, even if some of the ballots were pre-filled with his name. But how do we get health care reform through the Senate? Nancy Pelosi has already stated that there is "no going back to the drawing board," but if the filibuster-proof majority is gone, where do we Dems go from here?

So here are what I see as the possibilities, and what I believe are the odds of each succeeding:

1. The GOP took advantage of the Special Election, so we take advantage, too. Certification of the seat can take approx. two weeks, so we get to work and get something through. Anything. Then we fix it later. Besides, I think it'd be kinda fun to pull a Franken on the GOP. Don't dish it out if you can't take it, I always say...

2. Reconciliation, reconciliation, reconciliation! I've said it before, and will say it again, this is the best way to actually pass a bill with some value for families and the middle class. There's no real insurance or pharmaceutical company reform in this bill, so worry about that in a separate bill and run the coverage of uninsured Americans through reconciliation, where 51 will clear it through.

3. Woo Olympia Snowe. Though she's helped on procedural votes, this just 'aint gonna happen. But I can dream, can't I??? ("I have a dream, that one day the Dems will rise up and be an organized party...") Hey, it's been a rough night, and we've taken a hit, so a little comic relief was in order...

4. Adopt the Senate version as is, and send it straight to The President to sign. Perfect? No. But a work in progress, and a win versus the Rethugs' obstructionist agenda? You bet. They'd hate it.

5. Bring each element of the plan through in a bill of its own merit. A lot of Dems just could not vote against some of the specific elements. It'd be political suicide, or at least a real political hit. Who votes against limiting the cancer care you can receive in a calendar year? "Just come back next year and we'll start your chemo again then. Good luck!" Same thing goes for lowering the age for Medicare and raising the income cap for Medicaid, too. Both easy, and good steps forward.

6. Just put together a great bill, with no insurance or pharma lobby involved, and just let them filibuster! If we really had an amazing bill, one that cut costs and gave families the security they need to be assured they were safe in the face of catastrophic illness, then let's show it to the American people and let the GOP show what obstructionists they really are! (Excuse me, my idealism is showing...)

This is still possible. Let me repeat, this is still possible. It is still possible to improve health care for the American people. It is still a do-able thing to make health care better for my family, less costly for working Americans, and available for those who are uninsured. Let's not make this about the circular firing squad again - the homophobe daughter-seller ran a tough campaign in a lot of respects (he's still a sleazeball, don't get me wrong). Now we need to pick ourselves up from this fall, dust ourselves off and get back to work! Especially if we want to pull it out in 2010.

And this election is not a referendum, by the way. Massachusetts' unemployment rate is better than most of the states' rates, and I believe this election was more a commentary on the state politics that were going on. Ah, but that, fair readers, is another post for another time. Meanwhile, send my ideas on to your Senators, and let's get the ball rolling once again.

What do you think? Is health care reform still viable, my fellow politicos? Are there more ways than I have listed to make it a reality? Can't wait to hear from you!