As of today about 17% of our gross national product is spent on health care. Without meaningful government control that number will grow. It is also a number that is not sustainable. The economic drain from our health care costs inflicts the economy in staggering ways. The ‘little guy’ who buys into the GOP rants against health care legislation is the same one that does not get a pay raise due to the employer needing to take money and put it into the health care plans at the workplace. Ever increasing health care costs limit purchasing dollars to every aspect of the economy. For those who do not have health care and require expensive emergency room care the ‘little guy’ also picks up the costs through higher premiums. The lack of preventive care for everyone creates a huge fiscal mess as more costly and time-consuming procedures will take place due to a lack of essential primary services. The current health care system is one that covers too few at too high of a cost.
The fact we have an employer based system is nothing short of absurd in 2010. While the current bill in Congress does not address that problem in the way that many progressives had hoped, and what the economy requires, there are still enough positive parts to the current legislation passed in the Senate version to qualify it as needing President Obama’s signature. For some to now suggest, based on what happens in the Senate race in Massachusetts, that we stop this bill and start over is nothing short of immoral and indecent. Instead I am behind the mood and words of Speaker Pelosi. As I have stated before we need to get the door opened with this bill so future sessions of Congress can improve it and add onto the foundation that is contained in it. Slow for sure, but right now we have no other alternative.
“Let’s remove all doubt, we will have healthcare one way or another,” Pelosi said during an event in San Francisco on Monday. “Certainly the dynamic would change depending on what happens in Massachusetts. Just the question about how we would proceed. But it doesn’t mean we won’t have a health care bill.”
There is one way to pass the bill, even without 60 votes in the Senate, that’s getting a lot of attention now. But Pelosi probably won’t like it, and neither will a fair amount of her members.
The procedure in question would involve simply having the House vote on the bill that the Senate has already passed. That would mean avoiding yet another cloture vote in the Senate, one Democrats would be likely to lose if their caucus is down to 59 members after the special election in Massachusetts on Tuesday.
House liberals will be upset about this idea, and progressive activists would likely be angry as well, but it may well be the only option left, and Democrats are reportedly leaning towards it. On Monday night, the New York Times reported: “The White House and Democratic Congressional leaders, scrambling for a backup plan to rescue their health care legislation if Republicans win the special election in Massachusetts on Tuesday, are preparing to ask House Democrats to approve the Senate version of the bill, which would send the measure directly to President Obama for his signature.”