Congratulations to the President, the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader of the Senate, the Committee Chairs, the Democrats who voted for health reform, and all the people everywhere who worked to make this moment happen – especially the late Ted Kennedy. In the months between now and November 3, people everywhere will come to see that this is a seismic shift in American politics and that this bill represents genuine positive change. And with this achievement, we now have the opportunity to build on a new foundation and improve the structure of health care each year. All in all a remarkable piece of history tonight.
Update: TPM has the list of who got the 20 presidential pens at today’s signing ceremony. My favorite is #19.
Three pieces set the stage nicely for today’s House vote:
- Politico on Nancy Pelosi’s role in getting us past Scott Brown’s election and keeping the White House and the entire Congress on the path to comprehensive health reform.
- The SF Chronicle, Pelosi’s home town newspaper, make similar points on the Speaker’s leadership.
Both articles cite the depth of the opposition and the polling numbers in ways that seem to buy into the Republican narrative that the country will punish the Democrats in November if health care reform happens.
I don’t buy it. If the House passes the health insurance reform bill today, the narrative shifts. The media is forced to cover the bill accurately and focus on what it does, rather than covering the opposition to it as if it had an intellectual leg to stand on. Obama and Pelosi, and even Harry Reid will be recognized for having fought and won the fight to recognize health care as a right, a battle that has been waged since FDR’s early days. And the American people will begin to recognize that all the dire predictions of the right have been lies. They made the same arguments against Social Security in the ‘30s and Medicare in the ’60s; they were wrong then and they’re wrong now.
And finally, Maureen Dowd is at her best today as she takes Bart Stupak to task and celebrates the leadership of America’s Catholic nuns on this issue as they took on the bishops and stood up for the best traditions of Christian social justice.
If we win today, Nancy Pelosi and the nuns are the heroes of the end game.
Matthew Yglesias, writing in The American Prospect, looks at the “election eve” polling and finds that “once Democrats stopped arguing about health and started getting real on passing reform, voters got behind them.”
Talking Points Memo counts the votes and links to the news. The administration sure sounds confident they’re going to win passage of the Senate bill in the House. But it’s going to be close and I wish it were clearer where the votes are actually going to come from.
Chart of the Day – Paul Krugman’s blog notes that on the Intrade betting market “health reform has gone from a long shot to more likely than not.”
Steve Benen in The Washington Monthly takes note of a growing movement in the House and Senate to include reform of student loans in the same reconciliation package with health care. It has a certain logic in terms of bringing House liberals aboard, and Nebraska’s Sen. Ben Nelson won’t like it one bit.
The New Republic’s health care blog, The Treatment, has become indispensable to understanding what’s happening in the health insurance reform macro debate and the details of the politics involved.
Three recent items from Jonathan Cohn’s self-described “must-read guide to health care reform:”
Australia Can Wait. Health Care Cannot. (3/12)
Skin in the Game, Congressional Style (3/10)
What, You Have a Better Idea for Cost Control? (3/5)
E. J. Dionne manages to keep the Post’s op-ed page honest.
The big lie about ‘reconciliation’
Steve Benen in the Washington Monthly has the basics on the intensely partisan politics of the reconciliation process.
Update: Benen adds to the post above, via NBC’s Chuck Todd. Health care reform has already passed the Senate with 60 votes; reconciliation is about a few budget-related amendments. Anyone ignoring that fact is missing the major part of the story.
“Matalin’s mendacity” – and others’, too