Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Health Reform - Interesting Week

It will be interesting to see how the Democrats in the House of Representatives "perform" this week as the (potential) health care vote nears.

On the "left" we have some who are not willing to give any more and could vote against the bill if it is unduly (more) restrictive on abortion.

On the "right" we have the die hard opponents of abortion rights.

Other smaller issues similarly divide.

The drug companies and hospitals have been "bought off" to support a situation where seemingly they will do better than the status quo. The Chamber of Commerce interests merge with the Republican issues and matter only in how strongly they can lobby with the conservative Democrats.

If the Democrats win the vote this week it will be a moderately impressive success at allowing some to "duck and cover" and vote against the bill, while having enough votes to just barely win. Unless the Democrats can effectively get votes from both the right and left they will be doomed to a serious defeat.

One can hope that enough Democrats in the end will recognize the obvious paralysis of the party if the vote doesn't go through and vote for it. If the bill passes, the Democrats road will still be difficult. If the bill fails, the path will be pretty hopeless both for future legislation and the 2010 elections.

If the bill succeeds, it will obviously be necessary for future legislation to add to the "reform" so that cost savings actually occur. Otherwise, costs will continue to skyrocket with some more people potentially covered.

It is sad that Obama won't ask both houses to vote on a non-binding resolution in support of a public option to see if the votes are there to pass it. That clearly could either unite the Democrats or spell their doom (and the risk is probably too great to try that).

Perhaps some day I'll live long enough to see single payer - and a "destruction" of our current health care mess. That seems unlikely until and unless Congress passes serious legislation limiting the powers of "private interests" to own individual Congresspersons. That seems a long, long way away! Thanks!

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