Nelson responded with his own letter to Heineman.
“In your letter you note that the current Senate bill is not in Nebraska's best interest. I agree. That is why I continue to work to change it,” Nelson wrote.
Nelson wrote that he has proposed that the Senate bill include an “opt-in” mechanism that would allow states to avoid the issues raised by Heineman.
“Under my proposal, if Nebraska prefers not to opt in to a reformed health care system, it would have that right,” Nelson wrote.
I don't know if Ben Nelson is bluffing or grandstanding, but if the White House's and Harry Reid's past behavior is any indication, they will do anything Nelson asks.
Making states “opt-in” to the reforms would be a policy nightmare in this political climate. You would probably be lucky if even a third of the most liberal states opted in. Having an “opt-in” truly guts any ostensibly real reform left in the bill by restricting it to some small subsegment of the country (likely the states least in need of reform).
We are comically well past the point where regular order can give you a better bill than using reconciliation. It is time to finally switch gears and stop letting this unconstitutional 60 votes nonsense stand in the way of helping the American people.