submitted by SamHenry, Editor
The Financial Times is reporting the heart of the matter at this hour: a bipartisan soultion to health care reform is DOA. Olympia Snowe, the President’s hope for a bipartisan solution could not support the Bacus initiative; liberals were outraged at the lack of a public component. The measure had been introduced by Centrist Democrats led by the Max Baucus, Democratic chairman of the Senate finance committee. The bill had substituted a co-op insurance arrangement for the public option but to its credit, it also got good reviews from the Congressional Office of the Budget. That public option is the financial killer.
“Seldom have so many waited for so long for so little,” said Lloyd Doggett, the Democratic lawmaker from Texas. “This isn’t negotiation; this is capitulation.” The White House emphasised that the Baucus bill was not a final draft, but a “building block” that would change.
The polarised response to Wednesday’s announcement suggests that Mr Obama’s hopes of getting a bipartisan healthcare reform bill passed are almost certainly dead. Any further concessions would alienate already-disenchanted liberals. The main question now is whether the White House pushes for the bill to be enacted under the budget reconciliation rule, which would enable its sponsors to pass the reforms with a simple majority of 51 – against the 60 needed to shut off an opposition filibuster.
It all seems too much as if we’re back to a public option with perhaps a tort reform for dessert