All news from Democrats and the White House is positive. It looks like reform of our for-profit health insurance system is about to happen. Is the reform on the table perfect? No. None of the sides are perfectly content with the changes, including Democrats, Blue Dog Democrats, and the Party of No.
But it’s about to happen. I don’t like to make predictions. This time, I’m assured by positive words out of Washington today.
From the White House to Capitol Hill, Democrats on Tuesday confidently predicted Senate passage of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul after the bill cleared its second 60-vote test and the time was set for a final tally.
Coming to the Senate floor in the middle of the afternoon, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced an agreement to vote on final passage at 8 a.m. Thursday, Christmas Eve. It would mark the 25th consecutive day of Senate debate on health care.
“The finish line is in sight,” Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said at a news conference with other Senate leaders and cheering supporters. “We’re not the first to attempt such reforms but we will be the first to succeed.”
At the White House, spokesman Robert Gibbs declared: “Health care reform is not a matter of if. Health care reform is now a matter of when.”
Obama said the Senate legislation accomplishes 95 percent of what he wanted on health care. “Every single criteria for reform I put forward is in this bill,” the president said in an interview with The Washington Post.
Senate Democrats remained behind their compromise bill over steadfast Republican opposition. A motion to shut off debate and move to a vote on a package of changes by Reid passed 60-39.
The final 60-vote hurdle, limiting debate on the bill itself, is expected to be cleared Wednesday afternoon, setting up the Thursday morning-before-Christmas vote on the legislation, which at that point will need only a simple majority to pass.
Do you know what it means if the bill only passes with a simple majority?
It means it passes. It’s done.
The Almighty Left (and I include myself in that call, for all the times I lashed out) needs to stop whining about this bill and thank the President, thank Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, thank Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, thank them all. This will be the largest overhaul of our health care system in several lifetimes.
I was listening to Ed Schultz this afternoon whining about the health care reform bill, calling it a “Republican bill.”
Nonsense, Ed. That’s just silly. Stop it all ready. This bill means reform. This bill represents what happens when the Left, the Right and the Middle sit down to talk. Congress is working again. Congress is learning how to be a deliberative body again. That in itself is call for celebration.
Think of it: no more exclusions from coverage for pre-existing conditions. That alone is worth our thanks.
Remember, thank President Obama. Those of us on the Left need to remember that governing is different from the poetry of the campaign. Governing is tedious. Governing means compromise. Governing means setting policy. Governing means changing direction slowly sometimes, like an ocean tanker. The geek in me remembers the early episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, when Captain Picard would command, “All stop!” And the helm would reply, “Answering all stop!”
And we would wait for a moment while the Enterprise stopped.
It didn’t happen instantaneously. Nothing that big stops that quickly.
Change has come to America, but America is a big ship. Change, lasting and true change, takes time.
Passage of this bill will be huge. We should all be happy.