As with most things, once the social norms are developed from even watered down legislation, where a health care system is widely accepted as a public good, it becomes possible to modify and improve it. That's how legislation works - it has to be tested out in practice. Although I have misgivings too about the central involvement of the insurance industry, criticism from the left that the bill must be all or nothing elides the realities of legislation. Dennis Kucinich pushed the envelope until Wednesday when he threw in his support behind the bill. That is the right move.
The Republicans know that legislation, even when considered controversial at the outset, has a habit of settling in once it's clear it's an improvement. They have not proposed anything substantial and have no intention of allowing any health care reform whatsoever. As we've seen over and over, the driving reason is simply to deny Pres. Obama this most high-profile policy victory. Failed health care reform is a cynical victory only for the GOP for electoral reasons.
We know, however, that there absolutely must be some kind of reform to the current bloated, socially expensive, and often morally indecent health care status quo. Now is the time to get this done once and for all.
I live in Washington, DC and as such have no voting representative in Congress. Please call your representatives now and ask them to vote for the health care bill, especially if they're undecided or voting "no." Demand that they give coherent reasons why they're either voting against it or are still undecided. Telephone numbers are available here.
TPM has the current tally:
Undecided Dems Who Voted 'No' On The House Health Care Bill
John Tanner (D-TN), Brian Baird (D-WA), Jason Altmire (D-PA), Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Glenn Nye (D-VA), Scott Murphy (D-NY), Harry Teague (D-NM), Rick Boucher (D-VA)
Undecided Dems Who Voted 'Yes' On The House Health Care Bill
Many of the undecideds who previously voted "yes" are comprised of pro-life Democrats who are leery of the Senate bill's abortion language and are led by Rep. Bart Supak (D-MI).
-Easy to get Stupakers: Brad Ellsworth (D-IN), Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA), Henry Cuellar (D-TX),
-Hard to get Stupakers: Marion Berry (D-AR), Jerry Costello (D-IL), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Steve Driehaus (D-OH), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Bart Stupak (D-MI)
(While Costello, Donnelly, Driehaus, Lipinski and Stupak have all declared their opposition to the Senate bill's abortion provisions, their votes still may be in play)