Friday, February 26, 2010

The Health Care Summit: Fight On!

First of all, kudos to Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee and the Progresive and Black Caucuses for presenting just the right statement on the public option; to HuffPo for giving it (and us) space; and to the 1.2 million people who stood up in one day(!) around the country yesterday for comprehensive reform. All this certainly paved the way for final statements by Murray and Pelosi on the public option.

The upshot? Obama's timeline - up to 6 weeks - to resolve all this was worrisome, if he meant to suggest this could drag on through Easter recess.

But on the whole, I think it was a careful and methodical dismemberment of every Republican argument and proposal. After both sides agreed that it was imperative to do something about the health insurance crisis, and almost 5 hours of discussion, Boehner retreated back into the standard Republican tropes and misrepresentations. It left the President sounding like the soul of reason and consideration in stating that he could not settle for a Republican plan that made no progress and would at best cover 3 million of the 45 million uninsured. He outlined places where the Democrats had already compromised (no public option, allowing insurance companies to trade across state lines, within the context of a national exchange), and offered a few weeks for the Republicans to consider if they had actual compromise proposals. But he made a firm commitment to move forward if the two sides could not agree soon. It made the reconciliation process, with a 51 vote majority, seem like a desirable process, and perhaps one the country would do well to rise up and demand.

It is clearly the moment for the public to continue the drumbeat.

(see live blog at Huffington Post:

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