In particular, I think the Democrats should go ahead with this good bill because I feel that the GOP (though maybe not all its members) are actually not interested in true healthcare reform at all (many feeling that the you don't fix what ain't broke because they don't see from their position that it is broken) and are only interested in again killing the prospect of universal healthcare, which is anathema to their political ideology.
Having said all that, I think that the political process itself is quite interesting, akin to when NAFTA was going through Congress and we had Vice President Al Gore debating H. Ross Perot on CNN and things like that, so I thought I would bring together a collection of links over the next few days until the vote comes down.
- Over at PBS's Newshour, which is probably the single best news analysis in the US when it comes to objective and comprehensive reporting of issues important to America, commenters Mark Shields and David Brooks talk about what's ahead in the final days of the Democrats' push to pass this sweeping healthcare legislation.
- In late-breaking news, the House leadership has decided not to go ahead with the highly controversial "deem and pass" procedure that Republicans had complained about, a sign that they are inching closer and closer to having enough votes for a separate vote as they move to appease anti-abortion Democrats.
- Nancy Pelosi is rejecting a vote specifically to appease anti-abortion Democrats, who want it clearly stipulated that no Federal money will be used to fund abortions (Pelosi and Obama have hinted that could come later in an executive order): "Not on abortion, not on public option, not on single payer, not on anything," Pelosi said. She later added, "The bill is the bill."
- This New York Times article gives a good overview of the Democratic leadership's scramble to close in on the 216 votes they need if all current 431 members of the House show up to vote. (We are missing four, including one of Hawaii's two Representatives, the bearded Neil Abercrombie, who quit Hawaii's "rural" seat to run for Governor of the Aloha State.)
- A related article in the NYT, about the search for Aye votes narrowing to less than two dozen holdouts. Obama himself is joining the arm-twisting, which I hope doesn't turn into gift-giving
- The NYT has an excellent interactive display of Democratic holdouts (as well as the rest of the Democratic members of the House), focusing on which members voted yes in November, which voted no, which ones are in Republican-leaning states, which are concerned about Federally funded abortion in the healthcare package, etc., etc. It doesn't focus on Republicans because it is assumed that all 178 of them are going to vote against the healthcare bill.
- The House Rules Committee is setting up parliamentary procedures and rules that will be used in reconciling the House and Senate versions of the healthcare legislation. When they're done, the bill moves to the full House.
- Here's a graphic of how the bill might move forward.
- The Los Angeles Times has a timeline of how the Federal government has played a role in healthcare going back to 1798.
- A Washington Times op-ed says that if the House had "deemed" the Senate bill passed, then the impeachment of Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid should be a key issue in November elections.