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The US comes 1 tiny step closer to meaningful healthcare reform.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced this afternoon that the Health Care Reform Bill he will put forth in the Senate to be voted on will indeed include a public option – one that contains an “opt-out” clause if certain states don’t want to use it, but a public option nonetheless. Part of Reid’s statement reads:

“Under this concept, states will be able to determine whether the public option works well for them and will have the ability to opt-out…I believe that a public option can achieve the goal of bringing meaningful reform to our broken system. It will protect consumers, keep insurers honest and ensure competition and that’s why we intend to include it on the bill that will be submitted to the Senate for consideration.”

It’s a far cry from single-payer health care as we in Canada have, but it would be a massive improvement over what the US currently has for a health care system.

There’s another angle to this as well. The opt-out portion of this public option was put in there to appease moderate Democrats who aren’t so sure about the government getting involved in health care, but it was also put in there to put pressure on Republicans – Josh Marshall of TPM explains:

A big argument from Republicans was that the public option would force people into ‘government health care’ or in various other ways destroy the universe. The opt-out just says: ‘fine, then don’t allow it in your state. Next …’ That takes a lot of the wind out of the sails of that argument…And there’s one other part to this — momentum in the favor of full opt-in. Just as people rail against ‘government health care’ and love their Medicare, there’s good reason to believe that the Public Option will have been a lot scarier as a GOP straw man and a Glenn Beck temper tantrum than it will as a real world option for people who can’t get private coverage. And if the public option is available in North Carolina, just to pick a hypothetical, and not South Carolina, after a while, people in the South Carolina might start to wonder what the logic was of denying them a lower cost health insurance option. And if that’s true, presumably, pressure will build in the opt-out states to opt-in.

There is still a long ways to go. Because of the arcane Senate rules, Harry Reid needs to get 60 votes out of 100 in order to break a (Republican-led) filibuster of the bill in order for it to be actually voted on in the Senate, where it then would need to simply pass by a majority vote. The House of Representatives also needs to pass a Healthcare bill with a public option (but that was always more likely anyhow, as there always have been more advocates of that in the House), and then the 2 bills need to go into conference where representatives from the 2 legislative bodies hash out their differences over the 2 separate bills

That all said, considering that a month ago, official Washington was declaring the Public Option portion of health care “dead and buried”, this is a big step today in helping Americans to reform their health care system and to give them more choice in choosing a health care plan, if their insurance company is screwing them over.


5 comments to The US comes 1 tiny step closer to meaningful healthcare reform.

  • kwittet

    the us is already massively in debt due to obamas reckless spending so lets add health care now. looks like we can look forward to our best trading partner and canada staying in this miserable recession for a long time to come!
    It will give liberals an excuse to raise taxes.
    Look at Dalton..raises taxes over 250 times yet still runs a massive provincial deficit. Perhaps dalton should be your new federal leader.

  • Roll Tide

    The Democrat’s control the Senate with 59-60 seats, however they can use the reconciliation process with only 50 votes. They will pass some sort of health care reform regardless.

    Private health care will survive in some form. After all, where the would elite Liberals get catered to.

    • @Roll Tide,Destroying private health care was never the Democratic Party’s aims. Too many “moderates” beholden to their insurance industry donors ensured that single-payer was taken off the table early. Still, if they can pass this, it will be an improvement.

      By the way, I’m waiting for you to post a comment on here without taking a cheap shot at Liberals. (or “liberals” as is the case in the US). Seems to me the Conservative Party war room must be paying you by the word to attack Liberals, because you can’t make a comment on here without throwing in an attack.

      • kwittet

        @Scott Tribe, Scott. you shouldn’t throw stones at Roll Tide for taking cheap shots at the liberals. Your whole blog is about cheap shots at the conservatives!!

        • Roll Tide



          Exactly! and notice that Scott says nothing about these comments from “kirbycairo”

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