It seems pretty obvious that neither the Blair House summit nor the inclusion of some of the Republican suggestions have gained health care reform any Republican votes. So how exactly can the bill pass?
Here is a diagram from today’s Washington Post
The President never used the term reconciliation in his remarks presenting his plan, but I think it was pretty clear what he meant. According to the New York Times story
Wednesday’s remarks, made to a group of sympathetic medical professionals, many of them clad in traditional white lab coats, marked Mr. Obama’s entry into the end game of Washington’s long and divisive health care debate. With Republicans unified in opposition to the measure, Mr. Obama used his appearance to make the case to the public that while he is willing to accept Republican ideas, starting over, as Republicans are demanding, does not make sense.
He called on Democrats to stick with him.
“This has been a long and wrenching debate,” Mr. Obama said, adding that while health care “easily lends itself to demagoguery and political gamesmanship,” that is no reason “for those of us who were sent here to lead to just walk away.”
The President’s proposals would be shaped into legislation and then included in the bill by the House Rules Committee, but I guess that Representative Boehner doesn’t understand how the process works because he is now complaining that the President’s bill is “too short.” I know that Representative Cantor thinks the bills passed by the House and Senate are too long. Guess the Republicans will complain no matter what the length of any Democratic bill or Democratic proposal.
The health care bill is not going to make everyone 100% happy, (Where’s the public option?) but the important thing is to make a start. We are still tinkering with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and we can do the same with health care reform. And one final thought: I think the Democrats will do much better in the fall elections if they have an actual bill they can explain and sell – especially if they pass it with no Republican support.