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Well, it looks like Lieberman wins:
Asked by a reporter if the Medicare buy-in will be pulled out, Harkin said “looks that way,” before praising a Democratic health care bill without the two public option compromises.
“There’s enough good in this bill that even without those two, we gotta move,” he said. “All the insurance reforms, all the stuff we wrote so hard for prevention and wellness in there, the workforce development issues that we have in there, the reimbursement based on quality not on quantity — there’s good stuff in this bill. It’s a giant step forward, changing the paradigm of health care in America.”
Dragging the party away from the core principles of its base carries with it the risk losing votes from the progressive end of the caucus. But several of those members emerged from the meeting open to supporting Lieberman’s bill.
“There’s going to be a good bill,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “I want to see health care reform. I want to see health care reform.”
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has been an outspoken supporter of the public option and a strong backer of the Medicare compromise, which Lieberman unilaterally rejected. Rockefeller, however, said he is open to the new bill.
“It’s a question of ‘can you govern?’ Can you just simply fail to govern because you couldn’t get everything you wanted so you just opt out of it. And then there’s no bill. And that is not why we’re here. We’re here to make progress,” he said.
Baucus was upbeat about the bill. “This is exciting. I hope you feel as excited as I do. This is a big deal. I mean, really, we all tend to focus on process and we tend to focus on individual provisions, which is really very important,” he said. “But it’s just huge for our country. This is going to be the biggest legislative effort that I’ve ever been involved in. And it’s going to mean more to more people, I think, than anything I’ve been involved in.”
The base is not happy because now people are forced to buy insurance from insurance companies and there are no price controls (the comments remind me of what we were saying about the Republicans when they kept caving to the Dems and adding pork barrel spending to their bills even though they knew it ticked off the base).
And Hoyer says that the House will accept the Senate bill without the public option. But doesn’t sound open to ping-ponging the bill:
“Just take the Senate bill? That’s not gonna happen,” Hoyer said. “There are key differences between the Senate proposal and ours and we’ll just have to work that out.”
BTW, those who think Lieberman was the only Democrat to oppose the Medicare expansion haven’t been paying attention. Lieberman was able to take the heat for the rest. He’s taken on the base and won so he doesn’t need them (he needs the Republicans and Independents). He knows Reid isn’t going to punish him since he needs him to end future filibusters. He was the perfect Dem to take on Reid and Obama and force a change in the bill.