The healthcare plan that Obama has been pushing and that the House is now trying to get the votes to pass is the same bill that Tom Harkin and many Democrats have called "better than nothing".
This is the bill that Obama said had 95% of what he wanted but a plan that didnt have the public option, something Obama never fought for or pushed for but the one aspect of reform that matters most.
But without it, Obama's health plan is just what Harkin said it was. Better than nothing. But after all the country has been put through is "better than nothing" good enough?
The one thing that Democrats can universally agree on, is that when it has come to the entire healthcare debate Barrack Obama has not been better than nothing -- he has been a disaster. He has been a bigger problem and bigger obstacle than the Republicans talking out of both sides of his mouth and selling out the public option.
Everyone pushing for healthcare reform including most congressional Democrats have said publicly or privately that Obama has shown no leadership, no conviction, no courage, no vision and has undercut the public option,the most important part of healthcare reform.
Instead Obama's plan will create 30 million new customers for the insurance companies and make the other reforms like preventing people from being dropped for pre-existing conditions,no bargain because insurance companies will just raise rates to cover it.
To show just how weak Obama's plan is, he was in Ohio making yet another speech and told the crowd that if his plan is passed its going to reduce healthcare insurance premiums by -- ta da! -- 14%.
A whole 14%. All this for a 14% reduction in premiums? A family of four in New York is looking at insurance premiums that will top $24,000 a year and we have supposedly gone through all this angst, all this political upheaval and all this political bloodletting with congressional Democrats sticking their necks out and possibly putting an end to their political careers to vote for healthcare reform so people can see a 14% reduction in premiums?
The public option is the best and only way to radically reform health care and its something Obama has thrown under the bus, supporting it publicly but reneging when it came to taking action. He had no problem trying to twist the arm of Dennis Kucinich to get his vote but was spineless when it came to Joe Lieberman's 60th vote for a public option in the senate.This is why most congressional Democrats would rather Obama just stay out of it and let the congress handle what has to be done.
The idea now is for the House to pass the senate bill with assurances that all the things the House objects to will be removed in the reconciliation process. The problem is that bill contains no public option. But the senate says it now has the votes to pass a public option but needs the House to include it in the bill they send to the senate for reconciliation. Where is Obama on this? Ducking. Because there is evidence he made a backroom deal with lobbyists for hospitals back in August to kill the public option.
So everytime Obama made a speech since August supporting the public option he was out and out lying, something Obama has done many times before and explains why Obama has not come out for the public option now even though there are votes now in the senate to pass it.
The public option has consistently polled better than any other aspect of healthcare, and more than that, the polls show its a lot more popular than Obama himself. People want the public option a lot more than they want Obama. And why not? The public option will do more good for more people for a longer time than Obama ever will.
If it becomes clear there are enough votes in the senate to pass a public option and it doesn't become reality because of a lack of Democratic leadership, Democrats will fulfill Republican warnings of getting destroyed in November. Supposedly this bill is just a start and according to some Democratic House members they will be back to introduce and vote on a public option later.
But for those interested in taking things into their own hands now and who wish to pressure Pelosi into including the public option in the healthcare bill, her Washington office phone number is: 202-225-4965.