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As debate on the reconciliation "fix" bill winds down and Senate Democrats have been unifying around a strategy of defeating all amendments (including a public option amendment, which is why we won't see it offered) so that the bill remains intact, I've been wondering whether that strategy could or should change if a Republican amendment were somehow adopted despite the plan.

The adoption of any amendment anywhere along the line would make the question of whether or not the reconciliation bill would have to go back to the House moot. Any change would send the bill back to the House. So if the bill were amended at any point, it would basically be costless to attempt to send the bill back to the House with a public option attached.

But it now occurs to me that the points of order the Republicans are threatening might not be handled until the end of debate on the bill and any amendments, so it may well be the case that Democrats are able to prevail against all amendments and keep the bill intact until that point, and only after the opportunity for amendments to be offered had expired would any of the changes that points of order could force actually be made. So it could be that supporters of the public option in the Senate would feel constrained from offering it until it was too late. The "costless" opportunity to add it by amendment might arise only after amendment time had come and gone.

But if the bill does have to be amended due to Republican points of order, that just creates an opportunity for public option supporters in the House. Yes, the path of least resistance at that point would be for the House to concur in the Senate's changes and pass the reconciliation bill without further amendment. But if the House is going to have to take another vote on the bill, it might as well extract some price for it.

That probably means that public option supporters need to be talking to the House as well, and that the House may be the front line for offering such an amendment, with the Senate only asked to concur in it if the House is the one to include it. Supporters should be thinking about that possibility, lining up sponsors and backers in the House, and letting Senators know that if that were to happen and the bill were to return to the Senate with a public option attached by the House, that'd have to be considered as having the public option "come up for a vote," and those letters they signed would either have to be honored or repudiated on that question. If the count of Senators who've said they'd support the public option "if it came up" are solid, then House Members would have reason to believe the provision could survive -- at least politically -- in the Senate.

I can't predict for you the likelihood that a proposal to add the public option in the House would be well-received at this point, if only because it means more work at a time when things looked to have been completed. But enthusiasm is running at elevated levels after the high-energy signing event at the White House. And if those are the dynamics of the situation, then let us plan accordingly.

The fact is that the leadership is likely not particularly charged about the idea of having to deal with the bill any longer than they have to. Adding a public option, they might feel, will only make that task more difficult.

But I'll also offer this up from a different angle that holds the door open and offers some "win" for the very fatigued leadership as well.

If there's a credible threat of offering a public option plan that can survive the Byrd Rule and get a majority in both houses, then at a minimum the public option ought to be held out as a threat. If the reconciliation bill survives the amending process intact, but is under threat from Republican points of order, a leadership armed with a survivable public option threat can warn that if the bill is changed by a Republican point of order, that ruling will be honored, but the bill will come back with that provision out and the public option in.

If Democrats can demonstrate their willingness to adopt a public option amendment in both houses and to bet on its Byrd Rule worthiness -- and they were willing to make its inclusion the penalty for Republican points of order being levied against the bill as currently written -- we might get through the Byrd Rule challenges a little quicker than we might otherwise, as Republicans opt to drop their points of order rather than face losing on the public option, to boot.

But that only works if the leadership is willing to make a credible threat on the public option. And of course, that depends on whether or not they believe it would survive the Byrd Rule.

If not, there might perhaps be some other issue about which they'd be more certain that they could use to create the same leverage. Medicare buy-in? Medicaid expansion? Some other provision that puts a silver lining on having to deal with losing on Republican points of order?

I understand the desire to get the bill finished unchanged. But if the decision is taken out of Democratic hands, they can opt to do something with the situation, or not.

Or, they can make the decision to aggressively pursue points of order more difficult (or at least more weighty) for Republicans, by laying out what the "punishment" for striking provisions of the bill is. And if it's a public option amendment, or Medicare buy-in, then the deal gets offered: drop your points of order, let the bill pass, and go on your way, or else this thing gets finished with one or more of the listed additions of the Democrats' choosing.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 05:46 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  now that's playing hardball (11+ / 0-)

    and we are in the position to do it.

    The public option will live on. Don't surrender.

    by owl06 on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 05:47:44 PM PDT

  •  Let play Hardball (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    filby, lineatus, Robobagpiper, axel000, ardyess

    Republicans secret dream = the impeachment of Bo the Dog LOL

    by LaurenMonica on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 05:48:09 PM PDT

  •  The Democratic party rank-and-file wants a Public (10+ / 0-)

    Option -- but does the political class?

    "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

    by Cassiodorus on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 05:48:55 PM PDT

  •  Public Option (6+ / 0-)

    Why not just ability to buy in Medicare or new improved Medicaid instead of setting up a new public health insurance plan.

    Selective import taxes is the best job stimulus. Demand fair trade, fair currency exchange. Save Manufacturing Industry.

    by timber on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 05:49:21 PM PDT

    •  Makes too much sense? (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wsexson, Losty, Jyrinx, amk for obama, ardyess

      I think that's just what Alan Grayson proposed, in a bill that runs four pages.  http://grayson.house.gov/...

      We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

      by david78209 on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 05:56:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's actually exactly why, I think. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        david78209

        We know they never really wanted it to pass. So they had to make sure it didn't become too popular. And giving it the Medicare branding would've made it very difficult to keep their promises to AHIP.

        “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

        by Jyrinx on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:01:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This idea (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sebastianguy99, dotcommodity

          That "they" (presumably meaning President Obama) "never wanted it to pass" has become a fixed idea in the minds of the Slightly Paranoid Party here on Daily Kos.

          This despite there being not an iota of evidence for it.

          There's a big difference between "never wanted it to pass" and "not willing to let an otherwise good health care reform bill die over the public option" -- which was President Obama's position from the beginning, and hardly a concealed one.

          There are plenty of other, obvious culprits (starting with the Republicans, and moving on to the conservative Democrats in the Senate who built their power on the backs of Republican negativity) -- but looking at the obvious doesn't create the sexy conspiratorial angle.  

          •  Actually, there are a number of iotas, (0+ / 0-)

            in particular the recent confirmation of the old reporting that Obama made a deal with AHIP that there would be no public option.

            The evidence for that is certainly a lot more solid than the evidence that he ever genuinely fought for it. Have you noticed how many times the bar has been lowered for the public option? When they didn't need 60 votes anymore, the reaction wasn't “Hey! Cool! Now we can get this popular provision we wanted!” It was “Oh, shit! Now what's our excuse?” And then when the whipping efforts were starting to prove that there was in fact a decent chance for 50 votes among the Senators, suddenly it was the House that was the problem. It was always a game of hot potato.

            “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

            by Jyrinx on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:54:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly. If you're planning on an end run, (0+ / 0-)

      then why not shoot for the stars ?

      Between birthers, deathers and mouth-breathers, the gop has got 'teh crazy' and 'teh stoopid' covered.

      by amk for obama on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:15:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Medicare buy-in is a great idea, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ipl

      but lots of members start getting pissy about reimbursement rates.

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:17:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Um, this is a lot of reading. Can (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ardyess

    someone just tell me briefly:  Are we going to see some action in the Senate over the bill?  I like the fight that's developing...

  •  Well, every *other* reason they couldn't do it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ardyess

    has turned out to be bullshit. At this point, you can't threaten the passage of something that's already been signed. So their only remaining excuse is pretty much “we don't wanna.”

    “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

    by Jyrinx on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 05:51:21 PM PDT

  •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ms badger, ardyess

    I agree with the outcome, but the way to consolidate a victory is not to offer up a defeat. The momentum that is essential to this strategy would be compromised by pulling our own "statement amendment" tricks instead of just winning.

    I know, I know. Being the abused spouse for 40 years makes it tough to remember what it's like to bring a big one home, but this is it.

  •  Threats won't mean anything to them---they'll be (5+ / 0-)

    happy to send it back to the House----more delay.
    Recess coming---another month lost on other agendas.

    Finish it now.  PO won't make it thru anyway.

    •  And why the fuck not? (5+ / 0-)

      We have been told:

      • It definitely has 55, just (oh darn!) not 60 like we need
      • No, we can't use reconciliation because it's too messy
      • Oops! We have to use reconciliation after all! But it doesn't have 55 votes in reconciliation!!
      • Huh? It might? Oh! Well, you see, the real problem is in the House!! See, there're these Stupak guys, and they're being a pain, so we need every vote, and we can't risk sinking the whole bill.
      • Oh, so they passed the Senate bill after all? … um …

      I'm waiting with bated breath to find out what the reason is that we can't risk sinking the fixes the House demanded by introducing a provision the House already passed.

      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

      by Jyrinx on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 05:57:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (5+ / 0-)

        ok, you've officially crossed the line into disingenuous.

        They wanted to get the main regulatory parts into law, basically at all costs. They could not do this through reconciliation. The bill that is now law was, in fact, a 60-vote-passed bill. You know that.

        The bill that is now law doesn't go online with the exchanges for 4 years. That mean a public option is not even an issue for 4 years. To change that reality, you're back to changing the underlying law.

        If Obama wins reelection, I imagine we will get a public option in time for the exchanges to go on line. Or, better yet, Medicare buy in.

        If you really want something now, tomorrow, it would probably have to be Medicare buy in.

        •  These were all reasons given that they couldn't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FistJab

          pass the public option right now. Remember, it was part of Obama's campaign proposal, and was listed on OFA's Web site as part of The Obama Plan even after Lieberman finally killed it.

          And I don't see much reason to be hopeful that we can pass a public option in the next four years if we can't do it now.

          “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

          by Jyrinx on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:10:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sebastianguy99

            Yes, yes, Obama is an evil mendacious liar.

            The reason to be hopeful is that, say the Dems ride this to success or even minimal defeat in 2010 and they hold both chambers. They will say, shit that wasn't so bad.

            It sucks we have to analyze them like this, but I don't know that it ever hasn't been so.

            •  If they see this as the ideal, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FistJab

              we're fucked.

              This bill does good despite its ideology. In fact, my biggest fear is that it's seen as a model for how to move forward. It's a DLC wet dream. And there are issues where what's right for Americans and what's profitable for corporations are much, much harder to reconcile.

              “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

              by Jyrinx on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:41:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Did you say drop your pants? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Attorney at Arms, ardyess

    And if it's a public option amendment, or Medicare buy-in, then the deal gets offered: drop your points of order, let the bill pass, and go on your way, or else this thing gets finished with one or more of the listed additions of the Democrats' choosing.

    That might get a lot of attention from those Republicans.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 05:54:07 PM PDT

  •  Dems are appeasing hospitals and phrma (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jyrinx, FistJab

    Just fyi.

    "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

    by Benintn on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 05:54:45 PM PDT

    •  well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WIds, sebastianguy99

      fwiw, this wasn't technically health care reform or drug industry reform, it was health insurance reform. That was accomplished, at least skeletally.

      I'm sorry we couldn't do those other two things, but the need will flow from this now that we all have skin in the game.

      •  Bad examples. We also were appeasing AHIP. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wsexson

        This was, after all, the bill that they designed.

        “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

        by Jyrinx on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:08:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  they wanted mandates and subsidies (0+ / 0-)

          AHIP didn't want the vast majority of the reforms - Medicare Advantage cuts, ending denials for pre-existing conditions, the medical loss ratio stuff, etc.

          They didn't want this whole bill - they just wanted the expanded market that comes from mandates and subsidies.

          "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

          by Benintn on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:11:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  agreed (0+ / 0-)

        i was thinking about it today and now that the insurance companies are held at bay, they'll collude with gov't against abusive spending on procedures and drugs that don't improve outcomes.

        "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

        by Benintn on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:09:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Held at bay?!! Hah! (0+ / 0-)

          Look, this bill did good things. But it did those good things despite further entrenching the power of private insurers. After all, that's the way they wrote it.

          “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

          by Jyrinx on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:12:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

            You're right, that is a risk. The hedge is that the government has too much skin in the game now to not do something about costs. This is the defect in not having a public option so that the government can at least break cost-setting oligopolies if not becoming the price setter itself.

            I think as long as almost everyone has decent insurance, we'll be happy even if there is a lot of cutting fat hogs.

            This never would have happened, for example, if the insurance industry was making its record profits but delivering good service at the same time.

            •  *Right.* Because if the government is good at (0+ / 0-)

              anything, it's not being overcharged by massive private companies for things that it could be doing itself. Which is why Blackwater and KBR are out of business.

              Don't kid yourself.

              “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

              by Jyrinx on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:19:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The other nice thing about all the GOP challenges (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NDakotaDem, filby, ardyess

    is they are claiming the "mandates" as a tax.  
    That's fine; as that cuts down the Court challenge in that it has been well established that Federal Gov't can tax anyone.

    •  Not true; there are still limits. (0+ / 0-)

      The government can put an indirect tax (such as a transation tax, like income from wages) on anyone. But would the mandate be a direct tax? If so, it would need to go by apportionment among the states. The Constitution still rules.

      I'd need someone who knows the bill and the law better than me, though, to explain if the mandate is a direct tax or not.

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:04:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sebastianguy99

        It's only a direct tax if it's a tax on property (real or personal), or a captitation tax. Since it scales with income, if it's a tax, it's essentially an income tax.

        Sorry, these Originalist arguments that are getting kicked around aren't meritorious. They are something that might pop up in a Justice Thomas opinion, but there's no reason to expect the Supreme Court will suddenly reverse themselves on these issues.

        All of the Justices except Thomas have written opinions at one level or another going along with these ideas* and I have yet to see their egoes allow for such a profound reversal.

        * I don't know for sure on Sotomayor, but I doubt she's a problem.

        •  You can't expect most people to know about (0+ / 0-)

          these things. The fact that it appears in the GOP AG complain is enough to lend credibility--when there is none.

          Ok, so I read the polls.

          by andgarden on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:19:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sebastianguy99

            I can expect people not to repeat them after legal scholar after legal scholar says they have no merit, can't I?

            And if it has no merit in the abstract of the law, I can rely on them to point out that a majority of the Supreme Court is on record affirming those points, right?

            Could the Supreme Court strike down the law? Yes, sure. Anything is possible. But that's a meaningless statement. Almost anything is possible.

            It's not reasonably likely that any of these arguments will have any success in any court, at any level, unless a long self-hating dissent from Justice Thomas is the measure of success.

  •  If they want Republican support, they could offer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ardyess

    to repeal a couple of those pesky amendments to the Constitution, like the 19th, giving women the right to vote, or maybe the 14 - 16th, freeing the slaves and giving them the right to vote.  Would even make the tea partiers happy.  Don't just take us back to 1950. go for 1850!

    Umm, that's PRESIDENT Obama and SENATOR Franken, mr. o'reilly.

    by filby on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 05:55:12 PM PDT

  •  What a great hammer to hold over their (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ardyess

    pointy heads.  Maybe dull down the points a bit.,

    still verrrrry verrrrrrrrry scary  though.

    Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through. Jonathan Swift

    by maybeeso in michigan on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 05:55:48 PM PDT

  •  The Dems Will Not Let Any Ammendments Pass (9+ / 0-)

    or points of order.  The bill will not go back to the house.  The PO will be brought up again in a couple of months.  The senate can do reconciliation again when the time is right.

  •  sadf (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sebastianguy99, profh, ardyess

    I can't predict for you the likelihood that a proposal to add the public option in the House would be well-received at this point, if only because it means more work at a time when things looked to have been completed.

    This is either trying to avoid a difficulty by not acknowledging it or being relatively uninformed for someone who covers Congress. The House has said they aren't doing anything else tough this year, especially to bail out the Senate.

    The reaction will be: FUCK YOU, we've stuck our necks out too many times for you guys who can't get anything done whatsoever. They aren't going to be sympathetic to excuses about parliamentarians and Republican amendment bullshit and Senate rules.

    Pelosi has said no more tough votes this year and she was saying that before the vote and after the vote on Sunday.

    The easiest way to kill that excitement you speak of is to let the Republicans get their way on this, or anything, and stoke inter-House animosity more than they already have.

  •  We *will* get a public option (11+ / 0-)

    Just not in this bill.

    All of this is going to have to be revisited as we see how the law actually plays out in real life.  At that time all kinds of fixes will be brought up in Congress, and the public option will certainly be among them.

    But this bill has one purpose, and one purpose only: to fix the most egregious problems with the Senate bill, things that Senators voted on believing that they would be squeezed out in conference anyway.

    I'd love to see a public option now, but it's just not going to be slid in the back door like that.

  •  From A Public Option Supporter (5+ / 0-)

    To be realistic, I really don't see the House inserting a Public Option in this Reconciliation Bill if it gets ponged back to the House.  I think the overwhelming momentum on this thing coming from the President, the Senate and the House now is to "Get-R-Done"!  If the House has to  again pass a Reconciliation bill with a piece or two missing as a result of a Senate Republican "Point-of-Order, I don't think they will complicate the issue by including a Public Option which could jeopardize the whole Reconcilation bill.  If its forced back to the House (which I think is doubtful), I would expect a "closed-rule" with regard to amendments, so that they are basically voting on the Reconciliation bill they already passed (much easier).

    That said, I think Public Option supporters in the Senate (Bennet and other letter signers), who have backed off offerring a Public Option amendemnt to this bill, have extracted a deal with Reid to allow the Public Option a separate vote in the Senate, presumably under next years budget under new reconciliation instructions (presumably because it is obvious that they are not going to get 60 votes for cloture on it under regular order).

    Lastly, I think there is another angle that supporters of the Public Option or Medicare Buy-In should be persuing.  We all know that 13 States have immediately filed suit on the mandate in the law to buy private insurance.  While most legal scholers I've heard say this suit is unlikely to succeed, I wonder if our legal position against such a suit would not be strengthen by inclusion of a Public Option or Medicare Buy-In?

    Those Suing States are bound to argue that it is unconstitutional for the government to force people to buy a private product (private insurance).  But with a Public Option or Medicare Buy-In, the situation becomes similar, if not identical to medicare where the government taxes you through FICA for a service you get directly from the government after you reach 65.  It just seems that allowing people to buy public insurance blows the argument that the bill requires you to buy "private" insurance out of the water, and can provide more protection against the whole thing getting shot down on constitutional grounds.  Is this a good selling point for  Public Option or Medicare Buy-In?

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 05:59:02 PM PDT

    •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Doctor Who, sebastianguy99, profh

      The reason is this simple: it's too easy for everyone to just say "stop" right now and fall back on the Senate Bill Act that is already in effect. If there was the all or nothing stakes that existed on the House bill, this would be a different conversation.

      Folks, the exchanges aren't even going to be up until 2014. Do I wish that could change? Sure, but that's the law now. So we have 4 years to get a good, strong public option in effect.

      •  What the hell is "asdf" (0+ / 0-)

        I know this is probably a stupid question, but in all those insipid back and forths between you and .. that other commenter who won't be named (being the insipid one) .. you ALWAYS "asdf" your subjects, and it's driving me CRAZY.

        So please, keep my head from spinning off its base .. my neck .. and fill me in on what those annoying little 4 letters mean.  Thanks :)

    •  Couldn't this argument be used as leverage (0+ / 0-)

      as well?

      If a mandate to buy into insurance is only unconstitutional, when it is a buy-in into a private insurance, but is constitutional, if it's a buy-in into a public non-for-profit type of insurance, can't that be used as leverage somehow as well, if the bill is sent back to the House on Republican Point of Order"?

  •  I hate to rain on parades (10+ / 0-)

    But this is a last ditch thing and I don't see it happening.

    Yes, the second the Senate votes to so much as change a comma, this thing goes back to the House, where there might not be the votes to pass this yet again.

    So far, though, the strategy has been to table every amendment. Both Baucus and Reid said as much before the voting started. Reid only has to hold 50 of 59 members together. They seem committed to the strategy.

    Shorter version: This is not getting amended. Our best hope for a public option is Grayson's Medicare for everyone.

    "Dad, the 'unfinished business' is done."

    by Casual Wednesday on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:04:39 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for the reality. No one is in the mood for (3+ / 0-)

      another kabuki theater at this point and it will seriously backfire. Nancy won't do it.

      Tch, tch, tch, Mr Waldman.

      Between birthers, deathers and mouth-breathers, the gop has got 'teh crazy' and 'teh stoopid' covered.

      by amk for obama on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:21:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And more to the point .. (0+ / 0-)

        .. I don't think the Public Option can even be considered via reconciliation because it is not a strictly budgetary matter.  

        I'm not 100% sure about this since there seemed to be a lot of conjecture on all sides of this issue, but I sure thought that was the end conclusion.

    •  At this point (3+ / 0-)

      the important thing is to get this through. The log jam that is the status quo must be broken before the individual bits of it can be dealt with.
      I agree that Medicare for everyone is probably the most elegant solution, politically. If it gets us there, it also wouldn't bother me if this was done incrementally. Say, lower the eligibility age every few years so that the Medicare program can efficiently deal with expansion.

    •  In point of fact (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryru, Casual Wednesday

      If the change was merely a comma, and the comma didn't affect the basic meaning of the legislation, the two would be considered the same bill.  And you can find very considerable variation in the ways that laws are published when it comes to details like punctuation, capitalization, headers and so on, particularly in the earlier years of this country.

      There have in fact been cases, even recent ones, where bills that differed to some slight extent in wording have been considered the same bill and have received Presidential signature -- and the courts have refused to look into the history of these laws and simply accepted them as signed.

  •  I want (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Attorney at Arms, ms badger

    the public option or a medicare buy in for the clear benefits of said legislation.  But I must admit, there is a part of me that wants it just so that I can see the tea baggers and Republican's become completely unglued.  I'm sort of evil that way, LOL.

    Expose the lies. Fight for the truth. Push progressive politics. Save our planet. Health care is a right, not a privilege.

    by lighttheway on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:16:53 PM PDT

    •  well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sebastianguy99

      If we could have anything we want, I would want socialized medicine. Not single payer; socialized medicine, like the VA or the NHS. And free, government funded medical schools so that young doctors don't have to worry about debt and can follow their hearts into general practice.

      That could probably be done by reconciliation too; just open up VA to everyone and pay for it.

      But, anyway. We have 4 years until the exchanges open. Plenty of time.

  •  That's.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Attorney at Arms

    fascinating, Mr. Spock.

    It will never happen, but it would be awesome.

    Teabagger heads would explode all over the nation.

    "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

    by jkay on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:18:02 PM PDT

    •  hmmm (0+ / 0-)

      I guess that would just prove the thesis that they are more mad about the Democrats doing anything that any specific policy. Because at this point they already seem to think that the government has taken over everything. (=

  •  Go with medicare buy-in as the bargaining chip (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ms badger

    its a public option in everything but name anyway, and it is much less politically toxic with the media it seems.

    Of course, if it doesn't get used, it can always be voted on later anyway.

    Government for the people, by the people

    by axel000 on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:26:06 PM PDT

  •  Reconcilliation II (0+ / 0-)

    There isn't just one opportunity for reconcilliation. There is easily Reconcilliation II, with the Public Option as the only item. It would slide through the House. Why fuss now?

    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

    by MrMichaelMT on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:28:36 PM PDT

  •  Ah, shit! (0+ / 0-)

    Why'd I have to go and read this diary??

    What a buzzkill.

    :(

    www.below-the-fold.com

    by Erik the Red on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:33:46 PM PDT

  •  Can a PO even be passed w/ reconciliation (0+ / 0-)

    It was my impression that a Public Option was not a strictly budgetary provision and thus could not be included as an ammendement via reconciliation anyway ... can someone tell me that is definitively not the case.

    There are strong political cases regardless that this would be a dangerous move to make, not the least of which is the fact that we've just wended our way through 3 weeks of wrangling between the Senate and House on what a reconciliation package would look like and 3 weeks of whipping votes based on that package and to completely change the architecture of that package with a public option could throw the entire process into the gutter.  We might not like that reality, but it is a distinct possibility .. or has everyonen already forgotten the neck wringing Pelosi engaged in these past weeks including right up to the day ... hours of the final vote!

    But again, before we even talk about political feasibility .. is it even procedurally possible.  It is my understanding that it is not.

    •  Maybe not (0+ / 0-)

      It's probably not worth trying to do it that way.  I think we are better to build support to pass it on the merits of the public option.  That will only become apparent when this bill is law for awhile that we really do need the PO to keep costs down.  

      You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.

      by noofsh on Thu Mar 25, 2010 at 04:32:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bottom line: call Congress (0+ / 0-)

    whether or not this strategy can succees in bringing about a PO in the current bill is interesting, but beside the point.  We'll never know unless we try.  At worst, our reps and senators will know we're still here, and it keeps the idea alive.  It's one more opportunity.

    So please consider emailing your congress members in between comments here.  thanks.

    •  We should get a vote on a bill irrespective (0+ / 0-)

      I think a separate bill for PO will pass the House but the GOP will filibuster it in Senate.  This gives us yet more ammunition to use against them!

      You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.

      by noofsh on Thu Mar 25, 2010 at 04:36:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Kudos!!! (0+ / 0-)

    This is the most brilliant analysis of political maneuvering I have ever read. Bravo!

    The problem with the Party of Lincoln...is the Party...not Lincoln

    by Ghur AtteH on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 07:35:11 PM PDT

  •  What exactly is the current status of the PO? (0+ / 0-)

    Wasn't Kucinich supposed to be offering a reconciliation amendment or something?  Pardon my ignorance, I've been out of the loop for several weeks.

    Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous-George Bernard Shaw

    by Ashley Gleed on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 07:38:07 PM PDT

  •  ohhhhhhh . . . (0+ / 0-)

    Democrats have been unifying around a strategy of defeating all amendments (including a public option amendment, which is why we won't see it offered)

    Is THAT why we won't see it offered?

    (snicker)  (giggle)

  •  David you might want to consider that there may (0+ / 0-)

    NOT be the votes for a public option in the House.

  •  At least they're consistent. (0+ / 0-)

    Here it is, past 1am Eastern, and they're still voting on the endless amendments the GOP is trying to attach to the reconciliation bill.

    They really know how to beat a dead horse.  They should turn pro.

  •  The rational option is to include only (0+ / 0-)

    what is in the reconcilliation package "as is," and later work the ammendment into law by separate action.  The Republicans need a cooling-off period, and when they least expect it, WHAM!  

    If I write something even barely above the threshold of human intelligence, it will be interpreted by Republicans as genius.

    by MoronMike on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 10:54:43 PM PDT

  •  But if the Paliamentarian changes it (0+ / 0-)

    and indeed that is what happened, it also goes back to the House.  I think it comes down to do the Dems think it could pass the House with large changes ... ie public option.  Hard call.  I think they will error on the side of caution and take up public option as a separate bill.

    You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.

    by noofsh on Thu Mar 25, 2010 at 04:31:05 AM PDT

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