To what, I'm not quite sure yet. But the Dems in the Senate held together this morning to defeat the Cons' filibuster of Harry Reid's manager's amendment. The bill's got a long road ahead, but it's possible it may pass.
Cujo's hating it. And I'm meh. I think Cujo got the impression I support the thing just because. How, I don't know - I've been linking to arguments for and against, and my main argument is not that we should pass any bill, no matter how bad it is, but that we shouldn't let progressive setbacks keep us from fighting for better Dems to represent us. As for the bill itself, I'm wanting to see some improvements before the end.
I do know that this bill's already seen some meaningful changes, and it will see more before its final passage. McJoan's got an excellent rundown of the good, the bad, and the ugly in this current incarnation. Howard Dean's backed off calls to kill the bill and is sounding more hopeful about what we might be able to do in conference.
Personally, I believe we should have single payer. We ain't gonna get it. Failing that, I'd like a public option. We're probably not getting that. And without the public option, either subsidies need to be higher or the mandate should probably go altogether. But am I calling for them to kill the bill without that? No. What I'd ask for is higher subsidies. And I'd like to know that this "exemption for those who can prove they can't afford coverage" is actually a meaningful protection for those who may not qualify for subsidies and can't afford their premiums. If we can't pull the bill a lot further to the left by pressuring Reps and Senators in conference, then I'd at least insist on that. And the percentage of income that goes to health insurance should be a fuck of a lot lower, much more in line with the House bill, if not even smaller.
Cujo seems to think those of us who support the bill, or at least don't despise it, have never been poor. Hate to break it to him, but many of us have. And those days when I didn't have health care because my $6 per hour job didn't offer benefits were horrible. I wouldn't have been able to afford a coverage mandate. Fuck, I could barely afford my (mandated) car insurance. But newsflash: under this bill, I'd qualify either for Medicaid or subsidies. Under this bill, my teeth may not have rotted nearly away, and I'd have been able to go to the doctor when I got sick. And under this bill, my pre-existing asthma wouldn't disqualify me for coverage. Those are no small things. That's why I can't put myself firmly in the "hell no" camp. Especially not before we see what comes out of conference.
So, no unqualified celebration in the cantina tonight. But at least we're on our way to conference. If anyone's got any blackmail material we can use on kings Lieberman and Nelson to keep them in line if the House manages to insert progressive priorities back into the bill, now would be an excellent time to pony it up.