Now that the reconciliation bill must go back to the House, there is no reason for Senate Democrats to not offer amendments that could make health care reform better. Possibilities include minor changes to the state waiver for innovation, adding a public option (which the House whip says he has the votes for), adding Medicare buy-in, higher medical loss ratios, etc. Senate progressive have until roughly 2 pm to offer amendments.
But, instead of acting like the “ferocious advocates” for progressive health care reform, Senators seem like they just want to take a nap.
Senator Bernard Sanders, independent of Vermont, who supports not just a public plan but also a government-run Medicare-for-all system, said he had secured a commitment from the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, for a future vote on a public plan, when it could well be harder to pass. But Mr. Sanders also said Democrats were smart to quit while they were ahead.
“Is it possible that if I or somebody else introduced the public option today, that it conceivably would go back to the House and be passed?” he asked. “Is it possible? Yes. Is it possible that it would fail? Yes. Is it possible then you would not have the reconciliation bill? Absolutely. Is that a risk work taking at this moment? I think not.”
This is absurd. Way to not want to risk a relatively minor bill in order to deliver on your promises, core principles, and moral convictions. Let's not forget, if the House does not have the votes for the reconciliation bill with a public option, they can just amend the bill again and send it back to the Senate. It is called the legislative process.
Senate Democrats hardly offer real profiles in leadership and courage.