In advance of the health care summit later this week, President Obama put forward a proposal this morning to start the process of passing health care reform.
But the president's plan is largely based upon the negotiations that were happening before Jan. 19th's election in Massachusetts. It's still a plan that is written with 60 votes in mind to succeed. It still includes elements written by Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson. It includes proposals from Republicans. It has all kinds of trade-offs aimed at senators who will never vote for this bill.
President Obama has given the Republicans and conservative Democrats ample opportunity to get on board with health care reform. It's time to pass healthcare without them.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said if he has the votes, he will pass a bill with the public option. Reid has also said that reconciliation is how he's going to pass health care, which would require only a simple majority -- 51 votes. That means he doesn't need a single Republican vote. Or Joe Lieberman's or Ben Nelson's for that matter.
The president's bill is just an opening bid for discussion with Republicans, so you might think that it would include a public option that is supported by most Americans and is extremely popular with Democrats . But there is no public option in the President's proposal.
The president has supported the public option in the past. And once this last ditch effort to curry Republican support for change fails, it's time to pass the bill the president campaigned for.
Tell Congress we want a good bill, not a bipartisan bill. We need them to pass real health care reform with a public option using reconciliation.