I have always been a strong supporter of single payer for our country. I actually believe that, if Obama and his staff had pushed hard for single payer in early 2009, we would have gotten it. That, of course, was a pipe dream considering the President's pragmatic liberalism. Also, I don't think Rahm would have ever allowed something that would so offend the health insurance industry and its lobbyists.
When the House passed their original health care reform bill with a watered-down public option, I was ready to accept that as a severe, but perhaps necessary, compromise. When the Senate gutted the House's bill and not only eliminated the public option, but inserted a private mandate with insufficient subsidies, I was completely in favor of killing the bill then and there.
When our President balked at the idea of watering down the health care reform package to appease Republicans in the Senate, he redeemed himself in my eyes and showed that he does not just listen to Rahm on policy matters. Obama knows that scaling back the health care reform package from the Senate bill would be signaling surrender to the obstructionist Republicans in Congress. The President then decided to push forward with the sidecar plan. While many of us liberals expected a public option to be in the fix bill, we were sadly disappointed - especially after more than 51 Senators came out in favor of a public option in the reconciliation "fix" bill.
The combination of good insurance company regulation (albeit without rate setting authority), improved subsidies for the economically disadvantaged, funding for community health centers, and a semi-permanent COBRA extension, have brought me on board.
The House looks poised to pass the bill and, barring an adverse ruling from the Senate parliamentarian (which should not come to pass, considering that the White House and the House and Senate powers that crafted the reconciliation bill routinely asked for advisory opinions from the parliamentarian), the bill should pass the Senate by 29 March and be signed into law by the end of the month.
As a liberal, however, I believe we need to keep the push on for a strong public option indexed to Medicare rates and opening up Medicare to those 55 and older. Then, we can push for a two-tiered single-payer system.