February 23, 2010

So we've seen the newly released proposals for health care by President Obama. While they improve the Senate bill, it's still lacking for many members of his base. If the White House wants to save the 2010 midterms and possibly his job in 2012, he should allow either an expansion of Medicare or a public option to be introduced via reconciliation -- preferably both. That would send shock waves throughout the country, electrifying the Democratic base and his most ardent progressive supporters. It would be the right kind of shock and would send the Villagers into a frenzy too.

22 Senators have signed a letter pushing for the public option, which is a good thing, and momentum is picking up even if Sen. Rockefeller doesn't approve of using the procedure to get it done.

The president still needs the House, and I doubt there are the votes to pass the bill as is.

Nancy Pelosi issued this statement over the new information:

As a result, Democrats now are considering a plan to use a parliamentary maneuver called budget reconciliation to attach changes to the Senate health care legislation as a budget measure, which cannot be filibustered and requires only a simple majority for passage in the Senate.

Ms. Pelosi, in her statement, said Mr. Obama’s plan “contains positive elements from the House and Senate-passed bills.”

She continued, “I look forward to reviewing it with House members and then joining the president and the Republican leadership at the Blair House meeting on Thursday. This discussion will continue a year-long historic level of transparency and open debate of this crucial reform effort.”

The speaker added, “We must pass comprehensive, affordable health insurance reform, and I am hopeful that Thursday’s meeting will help us achieve this goal.”

Robert Gibbs said that it's up to Harry Reid to decide the fate of the public option.

White House press secretary Robert Gates said today that the White House will leave that up to the Senate Majority Leader.

"I think they've asked for a vote on the floor of the Senate, and that's certainly up to those who manage those amendments and up to Leader Reid," Gibbs said.

President Obama did not include a public option in the new health care plan he unveiled this morning, which builds on the Senate bill.

I do think the president should get some credit for reintroducing health care at a time when it appeared dead in the water and not just giving up the fight for reform. Now is the time to get his base involved. The damage has been done by the horrendous strategy by Axelrod and Emanuel, combined with the howlers at Fox News.

As I think we'll see later this week at the "bipartisan summit", the Republicans will never come to the table when it comes to any of your legislation, especially health care. So take this opportunity to do the right thing. If the White House wants to see incredible renewed support from the left, now is the chance. Support Congress and Harry Reid to get it done.

Americans would also fall in love with an expansion of Medicare by lowering the age to fifty because it would produce immediate results for the country, and for the voting population at large. If the White House is just throwing this plan out there to see what sticks, then they are doomed ,because the House is not going to move off their basic principles on HCR and it's hard to imagine they didn't have a plan in place before moving forward with health care. Starting over is not an option, as we all know.

Well, everyone but Republicans, who seem to want to make dumping everything a precondition to any "bipartisanship." Sure, and why don't we just slit our wrists while we're at it?

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