Posted by: sweeneyblog | September 29, 2009

The Fate of the Public Option

Hello all five of you that read my blog for political updates, here you go. Right now, Congress has been discussing the Public Option for health care. Basically what the true Democrats want to build is a Health Insurance option that is managed by the government, just like Medicare. It would compete in the marketplace with all the rest of the companies but because its the government, they would not drop people for pre-existing conditions, amp up the rates when they feel like it and discriminate against gays. That’s the plan anyway.

Here is what has happened so far. On the House side, they have passed a robust public option bill out of committee and they are waiting to bring it up for a final vote. Democrats have the votes to pass this without too much trouble when they are ready. Unfortunately, it is not the same in the Senate. In the Senate, they have this little quirk called a fillibuster:

As Mr. Smith explains, one senator can hold the whole process hostage. To bypass this, we need 60 votes. We have 60 democrats but too many are in the pocket of the insurance companies to be sure. We have passed two bills out of committee, one that has the public option (that’s from the Health and Human Services committee) and one that doesn’t (from the finance committee). Sen. Majority Leader and resident jellyfish Harry Reid (D-Nevada) is going to bring one or both of these bills up for a vote in the next couple of weeks. If he brings up the public option, there might be a fillibuster. If brings up the one that doesn’t have the public option, Democrats are going to riot.

Now we wait and see which bill he brings up for a vote. Once it is voted on, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and Democratic Powerwoman, brings up her bill in the house with the public option and it passes. Then it goes to a joint committee reconcilliation with members from both houses (on which our Senator Patty Murray holds quite a bit of power), where they iron out the differences.

Best case scenario: Harry Reid pulls up Public Option bill, the Republicans fillibuster for a little bit then it is voted on. It passes barely. House passes their version, it spends very little time in the Joint Committee and Obama signs it by November.

Worst Case Scenario: Harry Reid pulls up Non-Public Option bill, it passes. House goes into riot trying to re-tool their bill to fix the Senate bills mistakes. House passes something seriously messed up. It goes into reconciliation with the joint committee, where they take the better written bill, the non public option bill and send it on to Obama, who has to sign it to show we made some progress.

That’s where we are at now. Feel free to tell me what you think. I tried to make it simple but if I lost anyone let me know.


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