Look at the results from Massachusetts:
82% of Obama voters who voted for Scott Brown in Massachusetts support the public option.
Only 32% of Obama voters who voted for Brown support the Baucus Bill, repelled by its toxic combination of mandates and no public option.
Again, how complicated is this?
Obama voters who voted for Brown:
82% support for Public Option
32% support for Baucus Bill
Obama voters who stayed home:
86% support for Public Option
34% support for Baucus Bill
The Baucus Bill just cost us a Senate seat in Massachusetts.
If the Baucus Bill is made law, it will cost us many, many House and Senate seats this November.
The administration needs to save healthcare reform politically.
And the administration has a tool at their disposal to create a healthcare bill that is both politically popular and good policy. They can instruct Harry Reid to begin reconciliation on a bill that would include:
- A public option
- A Medicare buy-in for those 55 to 64
- Reasonable subsidy levels to ensure affordability
- A funding mechanism that forces the wealthy to pay their fair share
- Changes to expand Medicaid
There are various ways to do such a bill while leaving the regulatory structure of the Baucus Bill in limbo in the House during the interim. Best guesses are that it could be completed in four weeks. We need 50 Senate votes, and by our count is that we can count on 54 to 56 votes.
In short, we can deliver genuinely good healthcare reform that is politically popular if we're willing to make our Senators work for a month.