60 Votes – It’s Done! And Now the Fun Starts
I know many think healthcare reform was rushed through the Senate (and House) and that we should have taken more time to get it done. I actually think those people are wrong. If I really thought delaying the process would have allowed people to work together to craft a better bill, well that would have made sense. Except that is not what would happen. In reality, more time would have meant more fighting, more horse trading, and less substance. In the end, we just needed to get this done. We needed to provide affordable insurance to more Americans, reduce costs, eliminate pre-existing conditions, and open the insurance markets to more choice. These are the important goals and it looks like it will get done soon. Doing nothing or delaying the process would have horrible consequences for this country.
While the Senate bill now gets reconciled with the House bill, and there is no guarantee the final reconciled bill will make it to President Obama for signature, a great day has arrived for this country. 30 million Americans will soon have access to healthcare without the fear of going bankrupt. We will now have a process to start looking at reducing costs and waste from the system. Certainly this bill is not perfect. In fact, it’s far from perfect but there is a lot of good in this bill as well. We will have many years to fix the pieces that Congress did not get right. The fighting that occurred this past week over abortion and a national plan was really a sideshow for the larger goal of getting healthcare reform finished. While it had the potential to kill the Senate bill, it was really just part of the process. While Senator Lieberman is taking heat for killing a national plan, in fact, had the national plan been left in, more of the moderates would have dropped their support. So accommodating his request actually sped the process along. The abortion piece still confuses me. Whether you are pro life or pro choice, healthcare reform was not the right place to have the debate. That being said, I am ok with the language inserted to get Senator Nelson along. We should all recognize choices and compromise were necessary.
Now the fun starts. It will take many years to put this whole program together and implement the various components. You can feel comforted in knowing I will continue to explain how it will work as we start the process and you can always ask us questions on air or on this website. It’s complicated and if you think the current system is tough to navigate, wait until we start the new programs. Sadly, it will not happen fast enough. On the other hand, by getting a bill finished over the next few weeks, a lot of Americans will be able to sleep a little easier.