June 18th, 2009at 09:03pm Posted by Eli
I had planned to write something very similar tonight, but Feingold beat me to it:
Today, I want to talk about one of the most important elements of any reform, and that is a strong public health insurance option. Frankly, I am disappointed that this has become the topic of so much controversy, because it is such a fundamental part of making sure we provide the reform that my constituents, and all Americans, deserve. Some have even suggested scrapping a public option in the interest of passing a bill with bipartisan support. I want to pass health care reform and I hope very much we can do so with bipartisan support. But I am not interested in passing health care reform in name only. I am not interested in a bill that allows us to somehow tell our constituents we have done something but doesn’t really address their concerns. We need real reform, and real reform means a strong public option.
Once again, too many Democrats are becoming obsessed with passing something, anything, so they can puff their chests and declare victory. But if what they “succeed” in passing is worthless, it’s a greater failure than not passing anything at all.
If only a shitty plan can pass, then the Democrats shouldn’t want to be the owner of that – they should force the Republicans to kill a good plan. In fact, there is such political risk in voting against a good plan (voting against a shitty plan is in fact a political positive) that there’s at least a slim chance that some Republicans and Blue Dogs might cave rather than having to campaign as the grinch candidate in the next election.
I would also note that in the public’s eyes, the Democrats are the ones who will bear sole responsibility for watering the plan down into oblivion.
If the death of real healthcare reform is inevitable, then the Republicans must be the ones wearing the executioner’s hood. And if real healthcare form is a possibility, it can only be achieved through an attempt to actually pass it. Either way, Obama and the Democrats must press the issue and insist on a public option, or the outcome will be worse than failure.