Thursday, December 10, 2009

The art of the possible

I'm no health care wonk, so I'm not capable of assessing how good or not good the current Senate health care bill is. I will say that I am encouraged when staunch progressives like Anthony Weiner and Howard Dean weigh in with support. There is a lot more work to do and amendments to consider, but I'm dismayed by the full-throated opposition by sub-commander Markos, Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher, and groups such as MoveOn based solely on the absence of a public option. To me, sharply broadening coverage to those who can't get coverage now, advancing towards the ultimate goal of "Medicare for all," making insurance companies compete, eliminating rescissions, all of this is to the good. This idea that the "insurance companies won" is silly. The goal is moving inexorably towards universal coverage, not to make insurance executives cry.

I'm all for holding our Democratic legislators' feet to the floor and demand support for progressive legislation, but some realistic cheerleading right now for what's been accomplished would be a lot more helpful (certainly for next year's mid-terms) then harsh criticism of the compromise needed to get 60 senators to vote for the damn thing. I say, congratulations to Harry Reid for getting us to the goal line. Now let's make sure we cross it, because next up is another piece of progressive legislation that will make the GOP squeal but also disappoint the purists on the left: Cap and trade.

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