Great news - the devil will be in the details so we will have to watch, but at least he is not saying that it might be run by private insurance companies.
My news item on it:
I will still fight for single payer until the last vote - because I thing that is one way to make sure we get the best public option. But I still think this is good news. Kennedy is no longer worrying about campaign donations from lobbyists to get reelected.
by David Waldman
Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 01:00:07 PM PDT
Last Tuesday, a half-finished draft of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee health care reform bill was released with some fanfare.
The first thing everyone noticed -- and which was readily confessed by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) -- was that concrete language for a proposed "public option" was missing from the text. That gave me some concern, but I immediately began hearing that the move was entirely procedural/strategic, and not indicative of any sort of backing off from the commitment to at least offering up a public option. That is, committee rules required that the draft be circulated seven days before the scheduled mark-up (currently set for next Tuesday). The public option component, we were assured, would be released on Friday. How releasing the key components on Friday complied with a rule requiring release the previous Tuesday was a question left unanswered.
Well, Friday has come and gone, and no one I've heard from so far has yet seen the public option language we were waiting for.
No, that doesn't by itself mean that anyone's commitment to offering a public option has waned. But it does mean that neither Republicans opponents nor Democratic allies (at least those who don't have an "in" with the key players) are going to see the critical component of what's supposed to be a historic shift in the way Americans get and pay for their health care until the day before the committee starts voting on it.
Was this the way you envisioned it?
As for fixing it, I still have one unanswered question. I'm sure there are all kinds of parlor tricks available for getting this done (and I'm told the committee staff have no doubts but that they can do it) but does anyone have any idea what mechanism they're planning to use to square the fact that they're only circulating one of the most important portions of the draft one day before the markup with the explanation given last Tuesday that committee rules require circulating it seven days in advance? I think an explanation of how you can comply with transparency rules by releasing something that's actually not the draft seven days in advance, only to substitute in something different six days later, would be really instructive. It'd be great to know how that really works, versus what's written in the rules.