In September, they seemed hopeless internally divided, unfocused in their message, and unable to clear the Senate Finance Committee. The Presidents promise of health-reform legislation by years end seemed like an exercise in wishful thinking.
What a difference a month makes. The Democrats are on fire. The squabbling about the public option has quieted down. With a hand from the CBO, they now have a clear message of expanded coverage without larger deficits. And, yes, today Senator Baucus pushed his draft legislation though the Senate Finance Committee and did it with a Republican vote.
Much work remains to be done and problems remain for the Democrats. Polling suggests that Americans are against new taxes to finance new healthcare programs and taxes will rise with their proposals. The insurance industry is pushing back hard. Its even possible, though quite unlikely, that Senator Snowe will drop her support (her endorsement this afternoon was hardly robust).
Make no mistake, however: Democrats took a major step forward today. And the path ahead is obvious: a Senate compromise that largely favors the Baucus bill over the HELP Committee draft, with the House then passing this with few (if any) amendments.
Health-reform legislation by years end. Maybe earlier.
The true cost? The practicality of the Medicare cost cutting? The impact of the tax hikes? These questions will almost surely remain unanswered.
The Democrats have been skillful in their politics. America will soon find out if good politics makes for good policies.
Original Source: http://www.newmajority.com/dems-get-obamacare-back-on-track