So what is to be done with health care reform?
Nothing could be done. Health care costs will continue to escalate, more and more Americans will become uninsured, thousands more will die for lack of insurance, the federal deficit will spiral upward. It will soon get so bad, that citizens may revolt and demand the government take over health care. Oh yeah, this is a great idea. The Republicans like it, because it increases their chances in this year's elections - which is far more important to them than the American people. They think correctly that voters will blame the Democrats because they were in control but did nothing.
Democrats and Republicans could work together to craft a bipartisan bill. This is what the American people want us to do. This is NOT going to happen. The wimpy Democrats wasted months trying to work with Republicans - they really wanted a bipartisan bill. However, as has been shown over and over again, the Republican political strategy was always to kill health care reform so as to defeat Obama. Now that they can smell Obama's defeat, do you really think they are going to play nice? No way in hell! If you still believe in Santa Clause and the tooth fairy, then you can think the Republicans are going to work with Democrats on health care reform. Everyone else knows better.
We can pass a bill with the parts everyone agrees on. The only people who say that simply don't understand health care. To make any changes at all, health care reform must be broad and comprehensive. For example, suppose the bill just eliminates all discrimination against pre existing conditions - everyone agrees on that. Know what would happen? Healthy people wouldn't buy insurance - they would wait until they got sick and then buy it. So the only people with insurance would be the sick - which would drive up the cost of insurance so astronomically that no one could afford it. Not only that but insurance companies probably would just get out of the individual market - as they say "we don't insure burning buildings" - and we can't make them sell it. The only way that we can eliminate pre existing conditions is if we require everyone to get insurance - healthy and sick. Then you've got to add subsidies for people who can't afford it. Then you have to pay for the subsidies. Then, guess what - you've got the bill passed by the Senate. No significant change can be passed all by itself. All the easy changes have already been made and haven't really changed anything.
Pass the damn Senate bill. This is the only viable option. There are definitely some bad parts to that bill - probably the worst of which is the sweetheart deal Senator Nelson was able to extort out of the Senate in return for his vote. After the vote in Massachusetts, it is abundantly clear that the Senate is not going to vote for a health reform bill of any sort. The House already passed a health care bill - which in many ways is better than the Senate bill. Those same House members are just going to have to hold their noses and vote for the Senate bill as it is and send it to the President. It is the ONLY option that doesn't go back to the Senate to be killed. It will then be much easier to pass legislation to clean up the bad parts.
What has to happen to accomplish this? Obama has to look through those boxes he brought to the White House and find his balls. It will require his very strong leadership and courage. I'm not worried about the Speaker of the House. Pelosi has shown she has plenty of guts and leadership (which is why the Republicans hate her so much). But she can't do it alone. Everything depends on the President. If he can't pull this off, then I guess he'll be a one term President - and deservedly so.
The only thing that can save Obama and the Democrats is to pass the damn bill. Even though voters are ambiguous about it now, they will love it when it happens. How do I know that? Simple. Massachusetts already has a system almost identical to the one in the Senate Bill - and it's wildly popular. In fact, the new Senator from Massachusetts who is coming to Washington to kill national health care, is a big supporter of the Massachusetts plan. (Republicans aren't known for their consistency.) Plus, if you read the bill, you'll see that it is basically a very good plan. Here is an article listing the individual components of the bill, showing each component's favorability ratings (high) and awareness ratings (low).
Most Americans have not read the bill nor have they tried to learn what's really in it. They just listen to what someone else tells them. Unfortunately, that person may also be ignorant - or even a liar. But once they experience it, then they'll know for themselves how good it is. I keep seeing claims that members of Congress have not read the bill because it's so long. Most Republicans probably have not, because if you know you're going to vote against it, you don't have to understand it. But I guarantee you that most Democrats who are voting for it have read it. Their careers are on the line, and they want to make absolutely certain what is really in it. There are parts in it that they hate, but they've decided the overall good of the bill is worth putting up with the bad.
PASS THE DAMN BILL!!!