Looks like we have a little bit of momentum going into the August Recess. Waxman, THE most able workhorse in the legislature managed to get the ball moving and the bill is now on the floor for vote, shortly after recess.
UPDATE: Jyrinx, below, notes that the Bill will NOT go to the floor like this. It will be merged with the other two bills after that. It is POSSIBLE, that we will get the public option linked back up, but for some reason, I strongly doubt it. Compromises like this tend to hold, especially with progressives.
The vote was close, it was 31-28. But it was approved and the bill is on the way to the floor of the House. Right now, specifically, the public option is still delinked from medicare, although there may be a vote on that amendment when it comes to the floor. That said, this is a MAJOR VICTORY.
Progressives were really upset about the delinking of the public option for medicare so two things were done for them.
First, they took 50-60 billion dollars from other government plans to give subsidies to middle class families.
Second, Nancy Pelosi has allowed a seperate vote on single payer (which is not going to pass). But overall, very good news for reformers. It's on to the floor then ON TO CONFERENCE.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the legislation, 31-28, on Friday after liberals and conservatives on the panel broke a two-week deadlock that threatened President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority and reached a loose accord that allowed Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to move the bill out of his committee. Five Democrats voted against the bill, and no Republicans supported it.
The legislation would require all Americans to secure health care and sets aside subsidies to help lower- and middle-income households do so. The bill also establishes insurance exchanges and creates a system of government-sponsored coverage to help lower the price of insurance. And the overhaul would dramatically revamp laws that govern the insurance, medical and pharmaceutical industries.
Blue Dog Democrats on the committee, who are the linchpin in the House health care debate, agreed to allow their liberal colleagues to cut billions from existing government-funded health care programs in order to restore some $50 billion to $65 billion in subsidies set aside in the bill to help middle-income families purchase coverage. In a separate side deal, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised the liberal wing of her caucus a vote on a single-payer, government run health system, according to a Democratic aide.
Energy and Commerce was the last of the three House committees to consider the bill, so passage put thes package in the hands of party leaders for a titanic fight when Congress returns in the fall over the government's role in health care.
The health care fight has split Democrats in both chambers, dividing the party's liberal bulwark from their more moderate colleagues, who helped their party secure — and then expand — its majorities in both chambers. The two camps briefly set aside their differences to make sure the bill clears a key hurdle in the House.
"We've agreed we need to pull together," Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) told reporters shortly before he resumed committee debate on the bill earlier today.
Meanwhile, the Senate appears to be falling apart with Baucus allowing Enzi (though, to be fair to Baucus, he may have set a hard deadline of 9/15, but I don't know) to continue the debate and Nelson apparently threatening to kill healthcare reform if ads were run against. We could use someone like Waxman in the Senate. Sadly, that person does not exist.
Okay, folks, FINAL Bill predictions (out of House and Senate): What's everyone thinking the bill will look like?
Personally, if we get coops out of the Senate, then we're going to end up with a very watered down public option or a nationwide co-op.
If we get a public option out of the Senate, then we could end up with a medium size public option to a medicare linked one. It really depends on a variety of factors.