"It's time to level the playing field for American healthcare consumers and make the insurance industry play by the same rules that other industries live by," said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.
And there you have it- the Senators are going after the insurance industry not just with the public option but where it hurts- the insurance industry’s exemption from antitrust laws.
So, is this an earnest attack or just a bargaining chip in a brutal battle over the coming healthcare reform vote- as in, Democrats saying look, back off with the assault on the healthcare reform or we are going to come back at you and bust up your antitrust exemption. Don’t make this any nastier than it already is, guys.
Since Democrats are saying they will add it on to the bill that will be going to the floor in the next few weeks, I expect it is there as a bargaining chip, something to be taken off later on once the battle gets going.
Aren’t we all absolutely exhausted by this bill already? I mean, didn’t Obama ask this to be voted on and done with in July? Didn’t we spend a month watching angry conservatives rally against mythical “death squads” as the summer wound down (I wonder what she’ll say about those in her upcoming book…)
But it would seem that the American public is as undecided about this one as most people are when they get to the speaker at the local McDonald’s restaurant- The USA Today/ Gallup poll from this week showed 50% backed a public option and 46% opposed it. That’s enough to call even.
But then there’s CNN who found that 61% supported an insurance option administered by the government, while 38% opposed it… so is it just about the wording? Or is there really that much difference around the country as to who supports the healthcare reform?
Or, do people still just not really have any idea what healthcare reform is?
With a bunch of different bills and Baucus changing whether it’s the government or some nonprofit running the separate option that is supposed to compete with the giants, I can’t say I even understand what’s going on anymore.
I expect the government run public option to make it through the House, but it’s only in one of the two bills that are being combined in the Senate- so who knows? If the House version has a strong public option and the Senate version doesn’t even have a public option, well, we’re stuck.
Pelosi sounds pretty certain that the House will have a bill through before Thanksgiving, which means the Senate has a 1 in 5 chance of doing the same, if at all this year. I’d like to think that we can make it happen, certainly so it isn’t going on at the same time as Copenhagen, but the Senate seems to have no interest in playing nice with the president, the rest of the country, and certainly not the rest of the world, so we’ll have to see if Santa brings an actual joined bill between the House and the Senate… ho ho ho.
Photo Credit under CCL: American Progress Action