TNR: Senate considering bad compromises on health care reform bill

Jacob Hacker does an excellent, quick, overview of where Health Care Reform stands in the Senate, and the various “compromises” being considered. It’s pretty bad news.

In short, the new compromise proposals are anything but. They represent calls for advocates of the public plan to eat their crumbs and be happy. But a majority of Senators support the public plan. At least two–Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and Senator Burris of Illinois–have said having a real public plan in the legislation is a precondition for their support. Those who believe in the public plan—and, more important, who believe in the principle it embodies: that no American who lacks access to good insurance should be forced to buy coverage from the private plans that got us into our present mess–should stand firm in the face of these non-compromises.

This includes President Obama. He made the public plan part of his promise of change in 2008. Now he needs to put his weight and influence behind the public plan and its essential goals, rather than allow them to be gutted. This is in our nation’s interest. It is also in his and his party’s political interest. A bill that forces people to take private insurance but doesn’t create competition or a public benchmark is a prescription for unaffordable coverage, runaway costs, and political backlash. The “middle ground” is nowhere to stand if it’s going to crumble beneath you.

In the end, the only people willing to take a stand are the four or five conservative Dems who don’t want even a weak public option. Liberal Senators refuse to issue the same threat, that they’ll walk if they don’t get their way, so no one is talking to them – the conservatives are running the show because they’re the only ones willing to show some backbone and draw a line in the sand.


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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