For the moment, the prospects for a good, strong public option being included in the final health care bill from congress not good but not dead by any means. I applaud the efforts of Senators Schumer and Rockefeller in the Senate finance committee to push for a public option and I know that the fight is far from over. I am disappointed that they seem willing to vote for a bill that does not contain a public option but I can live with that under one very important condition: no mandate to purchase health insurance with out a public option. Period. I feel that this is where we have to draw the line and this is where we have to apply the most pressure on our elected officials. A bill that contains no public option but has some meaningful reforms in it would be a weak but acceptable first step in health care reform. IF this bill mandates that Americans purchase insurance from a private company without including an affordable public option, it is not acceptable in any way and we need to let all our elected officials know this loudly.
We need to continue to push for the public option, no question. However, I would bet my bottom dollar that Baucus and Reid have already have an agreement not to put it in the final bill, whether it could get 60 votes or not. I do not trust Baucus for a second when he says he supports the public option but won't vote for it because it can't pass the Senate. When push comes to shove, Baucus would probably filibuster any bill with a public option, that's how close to the insurance industry I think he really is. Without a public option, the bill coming out of the Senate finance committee is downright scary as it forces mainly lower to middle income Americans to purchase unaffordable insurance from a private, for profit, company or face a stiff fine from the government. THIS IS RIDICULOUS and the fact that Obama has signaled he would sign such legislation baffles me. The fact that more liberal members of Congress have not stood up and stated they will not vote for a bill that contains this provision is also very troubling. Somehow, this is what health care "reform" has come down to: a giant, hand-wrapped multi-billion dollar gift to the very industry that has caused our health care crisis. The Republican base is already angry; it's time for us on the left to get angry as well and let Democrats know their base will not stand for this corporatist bullshit. If this is "change", I am fully ready to vote Republican or not at all next election and let the country go to hell fully; maybe then we can actually bring about real change and take Washington back from the corporations because our current elected officials have not gotten the message yet, especially if they go and pass this garbage.