In my final post of this year, I want to say that my heart is with rebellious progressives but my head is telling me that a health care bill must be passed, even if it has no public option. As I have said in past posts, the Senate version would expand eligibility of Medicare to millions of low income workers.
Let me mention one more reason (this year) for hoping we will get passage of health care reform: the employer mandate that will certainly be in a final bill. Employers will be required to either provide health insurance or pay into a fund. This “play or pay” provision was the core of the Nixon plan as well as the Clinton plan.
Although there is a justifiable amount of angst about driving millions of people into the arms of the insurance industry because of a mandate for everyone to purchase insurance, with the expansion of Medicaid and the employer mandate, we don’t know how many individuals will be faced with purchasing insurance on their own. I do find it interesting that there was little outrage – that I can remember at least – when somewhere around 40 million people over 65 were driven into the arms of the insurance and the pharmaceutical industries as a result of passage of Medicare Part D.
Let’s face it, when the final bill is passed and signed, our (us activists) work will just begin. We have to organize and take on the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies. It is obvious theyhad to power to stop health care reform in its tracks and were, therefore, bought off by the Obama Administration and Congress.
Have a happy holiday season!