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Posted by on Jul 29, 2009 in Health, Politics, Society | 17 comments

The Point Is Health Care Reform, Not GOP Support

Health care reform is about to die because Democrats cannot handle being the majority in Congress, or having a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate:

A House fight among Democrats on overhauling the nation’s healthcare system has spread to the Senate, where centrists and liberals are clashing over the direction the legislation should take.

Trouble is brewing now that a bipartisan group of senators — led by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) — has signaled it will exclude a government-run insurance option from the committee’s draft legislation that could be marked up next week.

Leaving it out would be a major step toward attracting Republican support for President Barack Obama’s signature issue. But it also would alienate liberals, who say the effort is wasted without it and are preparing a barrage of amendments for the Finance markup.

This remark made by Olympia Snowe perfectly encapsulates the problem here:

“What we do obviously would be important to our Republican conference,” said  Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (Maine), a member of the GOP team, along with  Sens. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the ranking Republican on the finance panel, and Mike Enzi (Wyo.), the senior Republican on the health committee. Snowe said the primary goal of the negotiations is a bill that can draw Republican votes.

“Drawing Republican votes” should not be the primary goal of the negotiations. The primary goal(s) of the negotiations should be (1) to halt and reduce the skyrocketing cost of health care in the United States, and (2) to insure most, if not all, of the 47 million Americans who have no insurance coverage or are underinsured. Any proposal that is strong enough to do that stands an excellent chance of gaining my support.

Barbara O’Brien put it aptly in her post yesterday responding to the New York Times article written by the wall hangings-and-junk-food-obsessed David Herszenhorn and Robert Pear:

“We Don’t Need Bleeping Broad Bipartisan Agreement,” she gently pointed out:

I read this first thing this morning, and I cannot tell you how sick I feel. That the lives of Americans rest with this corrupt little crew — at least some of them are essentially sponsored by Big Pharma and other parts of the medical-industrial complex, who are major campaign contributors — is beyond outrageous. It is the utter failure of American democracy in microcosm.

My favorite quote:

“If this is the only bill with bipartisan support,” Ms. Snowe said, “that will really resonate. It could be the linchpin for broad bipartisan agreement.”

And we need broad bipartisan agreement so much more than we need health care.

These people need to hear from us[.]

She then gives the names and complete contact information for the Gang of Six.

Brava, Maha.