Heathcare reform in the Senate passed a major, and perhaps the largest remaining hurdle late last night with a 60 vote filibuster-busting vote. I think this is great news, and it means we might have a signed bill by the end of the week.
But recently with the demise of the public option or medicare buy-in the Left has now split in half with people like Keith Oberman and Howard Dean et. all. sounding like Health care reform was only about the public option the whole time, and that this will be a "bail out" to the insurance companies. Never mind that this bill is more liberal than Dean's own plan than he ran on in 2003-04! And if the deal with the devil means increasing insurance companies profits by 1% a year for the next 10 years to insure 10's of Millions of Americans, well count me in.
So this isn't a "perfect" bill, but the history of our modern social programs is an ugly one. Social Security excluded agricultural labor, temporary workers, domestic service, government employees, and many teachers, nurses, hospital employees, librarians, and social workers (also known as women, minorities and the poor) when it was enacted in 1935. Very progressive. This healthcare bill will get us an exchange, with required transparency, subsides for those who can not afford it, much tighter regulations, and price controls. I will let Ezra Klein add to that. Further, it creates a framework for a government run national option to be inserted into the exchanges later on, which is worth fighting for.
And if this fails in 2009 we will have the exact same healthcare system I thought we all hated for another 20 years. It happened in 1975, it happened in 1992, and it would certainly happen this time. Democrats are going to loose seats in 2012. There will be more Joe Lieberman's, and there are currently lots of Joe Lieberman's in our highly dysfunctional "60 vote" Senate already! Obama won't be president forever, and odds are his successor with be a Republican. Meanwhile the Insurance industry will continue to live happily unregulated, and America's health care system will continue to become more and more expensive and inaccessible.
The death of this bill would be tragic. People need healthcare in this country, and the current system is literally killing us.
EDIT: And speaking of money, here are some estimated costs for insurance, and total risk for families, under the current system compared the the new bill. And this ignores those who today would be denied coverage, whos risk goes until bankruptcy.