Sunday, December 27, 2009

Anya Thinks You're Tired of Hearing About Healthcare . . .

. . . But really hopes you're not. And she begs your indulgence for one more point. After this, we'll be going on to other topics, until the Conference Committee starts work on merging the House and Senate healthcare bills.

I've already given you more than an earful about the contents of the bill. Now, I have to say that I'm not very happy with the final vote, for several reasons. Actually, they all boil down to the same reason, but here goes:

  1. Party line 60-39 vote (main reason)
  2. Artificially imposed deadline (Christmas)
  3. The fact that very few senators have read the whole bill (kudos to those who, like Claire McCaskill [D-MO] who did)

Yes, I think the bill was too conservative. But no, I don't think a more liberal version could have passed. Yes, I'm unhappy that all of Reid's focus was on getting the whole Democratic caucus behind him. But no, I'm not sure I would have liked the bill better if there had been more Republican involvement. Yes, I think that the Republicans made themselves look a bit childish by scrambling for procedural roadblocks to throw in front of this bill. But no, I don't think they're the only ones to blame for the partisan sniping that has surrounded healthcare all year. Both sides hurled their fair share of nastiness around, and what was the result? I don't think anybody is really happy with this bill.

Our Constitution was written so that our government would debate almost everything and do next to nothing. In this case, it worked to well without working at all. Debate everything? Well, if they did that, we wouldn't see a final bill for twenty years, but communication between the two parties was sorely lacking here. Doing next to nothing? Well, the bill passed, so that is something, but it was pretty iffy there for a while

Let me tell you something, Mr. Reid. A party line vote on an issue this big is not a good thing. It makes our government look split and opens you, ostensibly the victor, to acidic attacks from the other side of the aisle. You might be proud of getting your sixty votes, but you should have tried for 61 or 62. There are moderate Republicans who wanted to be involved in this bill. Maybe you couldn't have come to an agreement with them. But you should have tried, and you shouldn't have had to "buy" the votes of anyone in your caucus with special benefits to their states (Nebraska, I'm looking at you). You just needed one Republican to give this legitimacy . . . and if you want my frank opinion, you could've gotten her.

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