Health Care or Die
If you have yet to watch Obama’s speech on health care, watch it now. The speech attempts to clear up some common myths and misconceptions about his plan for Health Care Reform. If you have seen the speech, you are probably ready for some sign of progress. What’s next?
This week, I spent a few feverish days sweating and coughing through the nefarious swine flu. As I lay dying, my thoughts flitted between being caught up in a lava storm, and my indefinite lack of health insurance. I realized that if if my temperature of 203° did not break, I would have to call Barack and tell him he was running out of time.
Luckily, my delusions were stronger than the virus, my health returned after an extended nap and some ibuprofin, and I had a chance to figure out just what we all are waiting for.
Here’s the breakdown, as I best understand it.
Barack Obama had an IDEA. After some public dispute and despite some public distaste, this IDEA became a BILL. Now, before we will see any changes in the way things work the BILL must become a LAW. Sound familiar? Okay, Schoolhouse Rock explains it best. I’ll leave that part to them.
Last week, the Baucus proposal for health-care reform passed in a much-anticipated Senate Finance Committee vote, gaining the head-turning support of a single Republican, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe. But this is only the first step in a long and arduous process for our friend “Bill”. Time’s Jay Newton-Small acknowledges that “[t]he notion that anyone is now actually in control of this process is an illusion. But,” he continues, “to the extent that anyone’s hand is on the tiller, it is [Harry] Reid’s.” The Senate Majority Leader will control which amendments come to a vote, which is of course a powerful position during the merger process. He will be working with White House staff and Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus to blend the Finance bill with a more liberal version passed by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — before bringing a final product to the Senate floor.
If passed, the legislation would then go to a conference committee to reconcile differences between the House and Senate bills before heading to the president’s desk. That is, if the House of Representatives can draft some sort of agreement…hopefully before another H1N1 plague comes around and reminds us we still can’t afford to wait.