With “Death Panels” dominating the healthcare reform debate, I was getting depressed. My hope had continued to rest with the House, that as long as the House remained committed to a strong public option, substantive reform this year may be possible. This article by Mike Lux on the Huffington Post lays out what needs to happen in more detail:
1) Hold the progressives in the House to only vote for a public option. So far, so good. They’ve signed multiple letters, taken multiple pledges, sent a very clear message about their determination. They need to stay strong.
2) Get the Democrats in the Senate to accept that this will have to be a Democrats-only bill. This seems to be moving in the right direction. Schumer sent exactly the right message over the weekend, and it’s clear things are beginning to head that way.
3) Split the bill into two parts in the Senate, with the public option and the financing going through the reconciliation process. Democats are sending signals that they are moving in that direction as well.
4) Get enough Senators on board for the public option. The whip count DFA and we at OpenLeft have been running shows us at 45. We need five more, and there are several Democrats I think are prime possibilities to come along if this is the path we go down.
5) Above all, don’t panic. There will be some rough days ahead. Certain Senators will keep saying we can’t get this done, and pundits will continue to shed the worst possible light on each day’s events. But we just need to hang tough, hold strong, and keep working.