The leading activist group behind healthcare reform, HCAN, is urging Congress to pass real, comprehensive reform.
Health Care for America Now is putting its money where its mouth is. Last week, the nation's largest reform campaign put itself on the side of major labor organizations, and leading members of Congress, saying the way out of the Democrats' health care conundrum is for the House to pass the Senate's legislation, and then pair it with a separate package amending key financing and structural aspects of the bill. This week, they're stepping up their efforts to make sure that happens.
The group has launched a new website to help supporters contact their members of Congress to deliver the following message. "I need quality, affordable health care, not politics. This is about health care for everyone, not a special election in Massachusetts."
That process could work, according to what Dem aides on both sides of the Hill told Greg Sargent--House Members can be persuaded to vote for the Senate bill if those fixes are guaranteed.
Senior aides on both sides tell me that despite Nancy Pelosi’s claim that she doesn’t have the votes to pass the Senate health bill in the House, the Dem leadership still thinks it’s possible to win over enough House members to do it — if they’re convinced that fixing it through reconciliation is procedurally realistic.
This gets at an aspect of this whole discussion that’s been lost in the noise. Specifically, there’s good reason for many House Dems to say right now that they can’t vote for the Senate bill, even if it includes a "reconciliation fix": The leadership has not persuasively made the case — yet — that such a fix can actually work....
"Say you’re a House member who’s worried about his own political stuff," one senior Senate aide says. "You need to be convinced that, whatever this is, it can work. They’re not gonna get to the point [where they might support it] until they see that piece of paper."
A senior House aide adds that things could change with that piece of paper, pointing out that leadership wouldn’t be discussing this option if they didn’t remain persuaded that House Dems could still support it in big enough numbers for it to pass.
That "piece of paper" is presumably a pledge from the Senate that there are 50 votes for reconciliation. The actual procedure is probably less of a concern than working out which elements of the reform would need to be in the reconciliation package and it's not clear yet what will fall into that rubric. With the starting point of what had already been decided upon in negotiations pre-Massachusetts, there's a good starting point for an agreement.
If you have a Dem representative or Senator(s), call them, and you can use HCAN's new website to make it easy. Tell them, including your Senator(s), to commit to making reform work through the reconciliation process.