Health Care May Sort of Be Reformed A Bit!

13 Oct

Olympia Snowe, Republican Senator from Maine, broke ranks with the entire Republican Party to sign off on the Baucus health care bill in the Senate Finance Committee.

This is a big deal, except for the fact that it’s not that big a deal.

Over the next several weeks, the House and Senate will haggle and bicker and argue over what sort of incremental change may or may not result from a bill which they may or may not pass which may or may not lead to people having more consumer protection in their health insurance and also may or may not make health insurance more affordable, efficient, and accessible.

Then again, they could just expand Medicare to everyone, abolish Medicaid, and be all done. But that’d be way too easy.

Obama’s remarks after the jump.

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Today we reached a critical milestone in our effort to reform our health care system. After many months of thoughtful deliberation, the fifth and final committee responsible for health care reform has passed a proposal that has both Democratic and Republican support. This effort was made possible by the tireless efforts of Chairman Max Baucus and the other members of the Senate Finance Committee. It’s a product of vigorous debate and difficult negotiations.

After the consideration of hundreds of amendments, it includes ideas from both Democrats and Republicans, which is why it enjoys the support of people from both parties. And I want to particularly thank Senator Olympia Snowe for both the political courage and the seriousness of purpose that she’s demonstrated throughout this process.

Now, this bill is not perfect and we have a lot of difficult work ahead of us. There are still significant details and disagreements to be worked out over the next several weeks as the five separate bills from the Senate and the House are merged into one proposal. But I do believe the work of the Senate Finance Committee has brought us significantly closer to achieving the core objectives I laid out early in September.

Most importantly, this bill goes a long way towards offering security to those who have insurance, and affordable options for those who don’t. It reins in some of the worst practices of the insurance industry, like the denial of coverage due to preexisting conditions. It also sets up an insurance exchange that will make coverage affordable for those who don’t currently have it. And as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has certified, it will slow the growth of health care costs in the long term and it will not add a penny to our deficit.

The committee’s progress over the past several weeks is the culmination of work by all five committees and numerous members of Congress over the better part of this year. We’ve reached out to stakeholders across the spectrum — doctors and nurses, businesses and workers, hospitals and even drug companies. And we’ve considered a wide variety of ideas and proposals in an effort to find common ground.

As a result of these efforts, we are now closer than ever before to passing health reform. But we’re not there yet. Now is not the time to pat ourselves on the back. Now is not the time to offer ourselves congratulations. Now is the time to dig in and work even harder to get this done. And in this final phase, I hope that we will continue to engage each other with the spirit of civility and seriousness that has brought us this far and that this subject deserves.

I commend the Chairman and the committee’s members for their achievement and the example that they’ve set, and I look forward to continue to work with Congress in the weeks ahead. We are going to get this done.

Thank you very much, everybody.

5 Responses to “Health Care May Sort of Be Reformed A Bit!”

  1. Mike Walsh October 13, 2009 at 10:52 pm #

    Qui bono? The bill and all it’s amendments…..of course it would take an army of us to connect all the dots…

  2. Ward October 14, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    The Unions (twenty-seven of them, in defiance of Rahm Emanuel) don’t like this bill, so what are its realistic chances? Randi Weingarten condemns it as a “tax on the middle class”. OMG–did Obama lie–twice?

  3. hank October 14, 2009 at 8:56 pm #

    Snowe says she’s a “fiscal Conservative”
    But she’s voted for every big spending plan by BOTH parties in the Congress. She says the Republican Party left her. Can’t see how. I think she should just do a Jim Jeffords and jump to the Democrats. It certainly wouldn’t change the majority, as she votes with the D’s most of the time, while threatening to vote with her own party.
    I agree with Alan—this was expected and not that much of a big deal. As long as the D’s don’t proclaim “Bi-Partisan” because one R who votes with them anyway voted for it, its a non-issue.

    Why can’t health care reform be done to cover the legal citizens who don’t have any, fix tort reform and not allow denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, and let citizens make their own choices? Too fucking simple I guess.

  4. mike hudson October 14, 2009 at 10:41 pm #

    seriously, snowe, pelosi, glenn beck and the others who have injected themselves into this debate. president obama promised it, president obama has a filibuster-proof majority in the senate and and overwhelming majority in the house, and if he can’t deliver on universal health care — like he said he was gonna — a lot of people got suckered.

  5. Mike Walsh October 14, 2009 at 11:32 pm #

    @Hudson:

    “if he can’t deliver on universal health care — like he said he was gonna — a lot of people got suckered.”

    What did you expect? They all promise the moon when they’re running for office. The math doesn’t add up to afford Medicare much less universal health care. Anybody who claims that this health reform bill will save money on medicare is lying. There’s 76 million baby boomers in the queue for benefits starting in 2011.

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