Fair. Balanced. American.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The blogosphere's catch-all solution: reconciliation

Here's a thought. Yes, it only takes 50 votes to get health care expenditure provisions that will expire in five years (though no actual permanent, binding laws). But can you get 218 votes in the House for this (temporary) dream legislation? After yesterday, the answer is no. The House couldn't even get a majority for Medicare plus 5, and barely passed the weaker version of the bill.

And you won't get 50 in the Senate anymore either; there were only 47 or so firm votes for the public option to begin with, and it's an open question as to whether a serious version of it could have been created through reconciliation.

Not passing the Senate bill kills health care for a generation, probably more. The piecemeal approach being proposed by Bill Delahunt will please Republicans, however, since they will get to pick the parts that everyone agrees with, like pre-existing conditions, and drop the parts that help the poor, like the $200 billion a year subsidy. Then they'll be able to tell voters they were for health care reform, just not the increased spending and "government-run healthcare."

Once an enforceable law is in place, we can use reconciliation to sweeten this bill to our heart's content. And as I wrote late last year, the bad parts of the bill practically guarantee that once it's law, it will be sweetened... forever.

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