by Bob Geary
So Scott Brown wins in Massachusetts, and all of a sudden the Democrats don't have a filibuster-proof 60-vote supermajority in the U.S. Senate to pass health care legislation. Nooze flash: They didn't have one before. Joe Lieberman is not a Democrat. (Google up some video of him at the '08 National Republican Convention).
I haven't written a word about health care of late because there was nothing to say that wasn't going to be disproven within a day by the clusterf--k that is the Democratic party in Washington circa November-January, 2009-10. But now, I think, the dust sh-- is settling in and the truth of the fact that the Democrats have never been in a position (given the ridiculous rules of the Senate) to stop a GOP-plus-Lieberman filibuster is beginning to filter through. Which means nothing worthwhile can be accomplished except by using the budget reconciliation process.
But remember, using reconciliation was always the preferred approach, always made sense, and always was what President Obama should've been doing but wasn't for reasons best known to, uh, maybe Rahm Emanuel? No-drama Obama? Equals No-fair health care.
Using reconciliation, Medicaid can be expanded to cover everyone who's poor or low-income; S-CHIP can be extended to every child; and a Medicare buy-in can be offered to everyone over age 50 or 55 or 45 -- or everybody. What a concept: Cover everybody. Universal coverage! Why didn't anyone think of that?
And later, put a bill in to ban insurers from dodging pre-existing conditions, dumping clients when they're ill, and/or loading on super-premiums (use the limit in the House-passed bill -- no more than double the youth rate for your older customers), and dare the Republicans to oppose it. And/or the House passes the Senate's passed bill after reconciliation supercedes all the bad stuff in it, which is a lot.
It's a formula kicking around out there now. Best short summary is offered by Jon Walker at Firedog Lake.
This thing ain't over 'til it's over, and it's not over until we achieve universal coverage. Obama's stepping back? OK, as long as it isn't for more than the weekend. How about stepping up at the State of the Union?