While the Senate Democratic caucus pats itself on the back for its “historic” vote this morning, their counterparts in the House have decided to aim somewhat lower. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the at-large whip and the chair of the powerful Rules Committee, lets Senate Democrats know in an op-ed in CNN just how “historic” she considers their vote to be:
The Senate health care bill is not worthy of the historic vote that the House took a month ago.
Even though the House version is far from perfect, it at least represents a step toward our goal of giving 36 million Americans decent health coverage.
But under the Senate plan, millions of Americans will be forced into private insurance company plans, which will be subsidized by taxpayers. That alternative will do almost nothing to reform health care but will be a windfall for insurance companies. Is it any surprise that stock prices for some of those insurers are up recently?
I do not want to subsidize the private insurance market; the whole point of creating a government option is to bring prices down. Insisting on a government mandate to have insurance without a better alternative to the status quo is not true reform.
By eliminating the public option, the government program that could spark competition within the health insurance industry, the Senate has ended up with a bill that isn’t worthy of its support.
But — but — but — Harry Reid got cloture! Ben Nelson got big subsidies! Chris Dodd got $100 million for a hospital that no one can identify! Isn’t that historic?
Leadership in the House seems to have coalesced into the position that they will have to rework the Senate bill — and significantly. This is not a congratulatory missive from someone who will willingly vote for this as “better than nothing,” and she’s not alone. Progressives want a public option put back into the plan to accompany the mandates. Bart Stupak and his small band of pro-life Democrats want an explicit ban on abortion funding, not the language for which Ben Nelson got hundreds of millions of dollars to ignore.
Small wonder, then, that the White House has told everyone that the health-care bill will have to wait for his “hard pivot” to jobs and the economy. Reid’s bill is going nowhere, and he’s eventually going to have to do it all over again.