Thursday, October 8, 2009

Light At The End of The Tunnel for Healthcare Reform?

Of course it's not over until President Obama's signature is on the dotted (is it even dotted?) line, but the past few days some very significant things have happened which signal that we might be reaching the end of this healthcare reform fight.

First, the Congressional Budget Office came out with their report on the Baucus Bill and said that it will cost $829 billion and will CUT the deficit by $81 billion over 10 years. I will simply insert a reminder here that the Baucus Bill is HORRIBLE, however, the important news here is that this news from the CBO gives the Democrats a win as far as the political narrative goes. Had the report said that the deficit would go up or if the cost were anywhere around a trillion we would have a problem. Moving on...

Second, this week Charles Schumer presented an interesting idea (that I am sort of warming too at this early stage) which would allow individual states to "opt-out"of the public option. This would make it impossible for the GOP to claim that the federal government is coming in and taking over anything. If the conservative states don't want a public option, they have a choice not to have one (I feel bad for democrats and the uninsured in those states though). So far, this idea has been getting good reviews from both liberals and conservative democrats. Even, Howard Dean said he would vote for this proposal.

Last but definitely not least, dare I say that Senator Harry Reid may have manned up. Since he has a history of wimping out when push comes to shove, I will believe it when I see it, but all the signs are there. Here is a short clip from last night's Rachel Maddow, where she says that Reid is warning Senate Democrats who are on the fence about the public option, that if they stand with the Republicans and filibuster the bill, then he will begin taking away chairmanships. THIS IS A BIG DEAL.

Watch the clip below and let me know if I am again alone in feeling optimistic?

Update: A few minutes ago 30 Senate Democrats sent a letter to Harry Reid saying that they support the public option. More good news. Progress.

Update II: If you are not already familiar with the genius that is Nate Silver, then you should become familiar. His blog was required reading last year during the campaign. One thing you need to know about Nate: He is USUALLY right. Here is what he had to say about the "opt-out" public option proposal. I continue to be cautiously optimistic.

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