What’s Next??

Life is interesting.  Who would have guessed that Massachusetts would have a Rep Senator?  To replace one of the nation’s most liberal Senators?  The Senator who drove healthcare reform?  How did the Republican win?  By trashing healthcare reform — Kennedy’s healthcare reform. Priceless. Pelosi said today that she doesn’t have the votes to pass the Senate version of the bill. That leaves two possibilities if it is to get passed. #1 – The House & Senate could decide on a slimmer bill using the Senate’s budget reconciliation procedures to pass the bill with 51 votes. or #2 – The Dems and the Reps could get together and negotiate a slimmed down version of the bill that could garner Rep votes in the House & Senate. Given the anamosity in Washington and the arrogance displayed by the Administration and Dems in Congress, I think a snowball in Haiti has more of a chance. If that’s right, then it is budget reconciliation for the Senate — the “nuclear” option.  After losing the Mass. vote I’ve got to think that the Dems will be hard pressed to take such a political risk. But then, who expected a Rep to win in Mass??

Potential Deal? Lieberman says ‘Not yet’

This week Senator Reid and 10 other Senators agreed on a compromise which substitutes the public option with a privately run insurance option that they are very careful not to call a ‘public option’. It’s not clear to me how different this new proposal really is. It would be administered by the same group that purchases insurance for Congress and the military. These plans are government controlled, yet administered by a private corporation. But to think the power in this plan sits on the side of the MCOs is a fallacy. To think that Congress won’t make sure the third-party administrator’s margin is capped is also a fallacy. The jump in the MCO stocks, as one commentator wrote is “it’s a matter of hope over brains.” Senator Lieberman on Sunday came out and said that the possibility of a public option must be eliminated from the bill, and the buy-in by those 55-64 must also be eliminated. He sees the buy-in as a step towards a single payor system. I remain convinced that some way, some how, this gets passed. Could be with 60 votes, or with 51 votes, but some version gets passed. And unless I’m missing something huge, …