Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Health Care: Public Option Fails in SFC, But Hope Remains Alive (Looks at Harry Reid)

Yesterday was an interesting day on the health care front. In the conservative dominated Senate Finance Committee, both amendments to "The Baucus Caucus Bill" that would have added a decent public option failed. Sen. Jay Rockefeller's amendment to tie it to Medicare lost 8-15 while Sen. Chuck Schumer's amendment to model it more like a private insurer lost 10-13.

Of course, our dear Sen. Johnny Casino voted against both proposals. Why, you ask? Oh, it would be popular and successful! You know we can't let the masses have health care!

Republican Sen. John Ensign delivered one of the more curious arguments against a government-run, public health care option during a long and lofty Senate committee debate Tuesday.

People might like it and use it.

Then it would become popular, and too big to fail.

And the government would have to support it.

“Does anyone really believe this Congress will let this government program go away if it has a constituency?” Ensign asked his colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee. “To have a large program like this, once it’s started, you’re never going to get rid of it.”

The public option would be a government-run health care alternative to the private insurance market. It’s intended to provide an option for those currently without health insurance, and, through competition, rein in rising insurance costs.

Yes, that's really our Junior Senator "hard at work" denying us health care because he fears it would be the final nail in the coffin for his already dismal electoral chances in 2012. Isn't Nevada so lucky to have him?

But anyway, now that the Republicans and ConservaDems kept the public option out of their preferred HMO/Pharma Bailout bill, all eyes shift to our other Senator, the one with a fully functional brain and a real work ethic. Yes, Harry Reid will be part of the small group of Senate Democratic leaders that decides what stays and what goes when the Senate Finance Committee bill is merged with the Senate HELP Committee bill.

Now this is where it gets really interesting.

Chuck Schumer believes our own Harry Reid backs him. If this is true, then we have good news. This is why we must keep working for real health care reform with real choices for consumers.

However, we can't rest on these laurels. Keep bugging Reid and asking him to do what a strong majority of Nevadans want, which is to give us the choice of a Medicare-like public option. If Reid delivers for us, we'll deliver for him next year. Simple as that.

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