|Source: The Real News-|
It was clear pretty early on in the 2009-10 health care reform debate, that even though Democrats had the White House and Congress and large majorities in both the House and Senate, that so-called Progressive Democrats didn't have the votes for a single payer Medicare For All health care system. Not just because every single Congressional Republican was going to vote against it, including voting to block it in the Senate. But you got to remember that House Republicans and their Leader John Boehner only had 178 seats in a 435 member House. And Senate Republicans and their Leader Mitch McConnell only had 40 seats in 100 Member Senate. You need 60 votes to be get to a final vote on legislation in the Senate. Senate Democrats had 60 seats.
My point being that Congressional Republicans didn't have the power to block legislation on their own in 2009. You can blame them all you want but the fact is if Congressional Democrats held their own, they would've got the health care reform plan they wanted. But 50 plus House Democrats in the Blue Dog Coalition (fiscal conservative group in the best sense of the term). They are not supply siders, would never vote for a single payer health care plan. And maybe half of the Senate Democratic Caucus would've voted for a single payer plan. Put that together with all of the House and Senate Republicans, Congressional Democrats don't have the votes to pass single payer health care. But they did have the votes for a public Option something I support in a certain form. And I'll explain how the votes were there all along for a public option but democrats blew it.
President Obama I believe wanted a health care reform bill all along that had bipartisan Support. It would've been his LBJ Medicare moment which is how Medicare was passed in 1965. Which is why you saw so many Congressional Republican amendments on the final Affordable Care Act in 2010. He ran for President being someone who could cross the isle and bring Democrats and Republicans together. And didn't want to be viewed as another politician full of Washington hot humid air and I get that. And she should've done that.
The problem was President Obama should've figured out by I don't know late summer 2009 during the Congressional recess with the Tea Party movement taking off, that just wasn't going to happen. The Tea Party wasn't going to allow that to happen and told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid, as well as Minority Leader's Boehner and McConnell and committee Chairman and Ranking Members of jurisdiction, (I know I'm sounding really technical) the majority and Minority Leader's of these committees, that they like their plan that has the public option and Patient Bill of Rights and health care tax credit, health savings accounts in it. And they'll accept amendments from the minority in the House and Senate that they like. But the Leaderships is not going to take out of the bill what they want and they're going to go their own way.
House Democrats passed a health care reform bill in November 2009 that had exactly in it what I was talking about with only a couple of votes to spare. Senate Democrats passed basically the same bill in December with a few Republican amendments to it. But it still had the public option, health care credit and Patients Bill of Rights in it. So they should've brought the House and Senate together to work out the differences.
Put the Republican amendments in both bills and there you have it a health care reform bill, with a public option, health care tax credit, Patient Bill of Rights, Medicare reform. That fully pays for the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit of 2003, bring the bill up through reconciliation in the Senate. Meaning Minority Leader McConnell wouldn't be able to block the bill with Senate Republicans and Centrist Democrats. And you pass the Affordable Care Act in January 2010, with 220 votes in the House, 50-51 in the Senate. Huge win for President Obama and Congressional Democrats. And with the so-called Progressive Democrats feeling pretty good about the 2010 mid-term elections. But that didn't happen because Democrats blew that opportunity.