Health reform: Are we there yet?

Nancy Pelosi is known around San Francisco — and in a few other spots — as one tough politician. She likes being Speaker of the House, and she doesn’t much like losing. So this week’s do-or-die health reform bill is going to get all the muscle she can manage. It is, Pelosi has declared, “a moral and political imperative.”

Okay, it’s not what we hoped, it’s too complicated and too fraught, it’s going to be full of little gifties given to get votes. If we don’t get something America will be stuck with a non-functional system and millions will remain without health care at all. So I for one am on Pelosi’s side.

The plan is for the House to pass the Senate version and send it to Obama for his signature and enactment. Certain fixes the House is demanding for passage of the more conservative Senate bill will be included in a separate, special measure that will go to the Senate for an up-or-down vote that avoids a filibuster.

But once the House passes the base legislation and Obama signs it, the measure becomes law regardless of what the Senate does.

Democrats do not yet have the votes in hand and Pelosi will not call a vote until they do. Liberal lawmakers have deep reservations about the Senate bill, and fights over abortion and immigration have yet to be resolved. But Pelosi has set the legislative train in motion, even as Republicans have publicly begun to express doubt that they can stop it.

Pelosi laid down the law to wavering Democrats who are threatening to bolt. “It’s not about abortion, it’s not about immigration,” she said. “The only reason, therefore, to oppose the bill is that you do not support health care reform.”

A lot of people don’t support health care reform. The Republicans, the insurance industry, the anti-abortion folks and the anti-immigration folks and more than a few people who feel pretty much okay with what they’ve got and frankly don’t care a lot about what others don’t have.

But health care reform is a moral imperative.

Pelosi: Dems will have votes to OK health care.


  1. I agree that the bill that is likely to become law is only a partial solution to the problem. A single-payer approach, modeled on any number of other programs in other developed countries, would proved a simpler approach for health care and incidentally, take the responsibility for providing health care from businesses allowing them to be more competitive in the global marketplace. However, if we must take one step at a time, then we need to accept this bill for what it is: the first step in regaining our status as a world leader. For those who believe such a program is unconstitutional, please reread the constitution. In addition to providing the common defense, the US government is required to provide general welfare. Given the state of health care in the US, creating a program for all citizens to have reasonable and affordable access to health care is part of providing general welfare.

    1. Amen, Ron. Especially about the constitution and providing for the general welfare. Meanwhile, maybe we’ll pass single payer in California (if we can get a governor who won’t keep vetoing it.) And do this state by state. Any little piece of progress looks good to me.

  2. Fran, I am not a conservitive or republican and therefore take offense to your assuming that if anyone is unhappy with Pelosi and/or any part of the health reform that we are ALL “anti” everything. I personally don’t like Pelosi because she has a permanent phony,condesending, narcissistic smile on her face,just like used car salesmen,and anyone trusting a used car salesman is a fool. I am NOT anti-abortion, I am anti-“tax payer funded” abortion. I am NOT anti-immigrant,I am anti-“illegal” immigrant. There is a huge difference between the two. By omitting certain descriptive words,like you do, the whole context is altered. You tend to “twist and spin” the content of your sentences to fit your particular agenda,just like ALL politicians do. Did you attend the same 4 year post grad class on how to mislead the public as politicians have ?? I think it’s called “political rhetoric 101”.

    1. OK, cato, you make some very good points, and I was waxing wayy too sweeping-generalization here; maybe it was too late at night. Plus, I do understand about the Pelosi perma-smile. I just feel very, very strongly that the anti-abortion movement (your taxes won’t be funding abortions willy-nilly) and anti-immigrant sentiments (those “illegals” already clog emergency rooms) may prevent something I feel is only common decency: access to health care for every human being. To let people, legal or illegal, needing an abortion or not, suffer and die for want of health care seems immoral to me. So I do see this botched-but-the-only-chance-we-have bill as a moral imperative.

      1. Fran, I respect your viewpoint on abortion and illegals. I do, however, have a suggestion on how to solve this issue of tax payer funded/not-funded abortion/illegal immigrant care. How about there being an opt-in/opt-out option for all taxpayers. That way if you really want to fund these issues you can be taxed for it, or if you don’t want to, then you won’t be taxed for it. This seems very fair to me and all would be happy…..right ???

      2. Not a bad suggestion; I would be happy to be taxed for both, and for those in disagreement to be taxed for neither. Not sure that’s possible, but why not. If this boondoggle of a bill just gets off the ground, that sounds like one good way to start fixing it. If it sinks, I’m afraid it’ll be another two decades before coming up again.

      3. I think you’re right Fran and thanks for answering my comments. It really is enjoyable to banter back and forth with someone that is informed and/or has good ideas and suggestions about important issues. On many of the other boards all I get is insulting,vulgar and nasty comments from people that can barely spell and most certainly can’t form a coherent sentence. It is refreshing to say the least.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: