Healthcare, Public Option, Blah

I can't be mustered to write anything about healthcare this week. Here's a good example of why:
Senator Bernie Sanders, in a brief interview in the Capitol just now, confirmed to me that he's willing to commit to introducing an amendment that would add the public option to the Senate bill’s reconciliation fix.

This is important, because as far fetched as this seems, if this amendment is introduced, a vote on it would be very hard for the Senate Dem leadership to block. The only thing that could stop it from happening, according to Senate expert Robert Dove, is for the parliamentarian to rule that it's not germane to the Senate bill somehow — something that seems unlikely.

"I think somebody should do that, and I'd certainly be prepared to do that," Sanders told me when I asked him if he'd be willing to commit to introducing a public option amendment. This is, in effect, a commitment to introduce the amendment if no one else does.

The possiblity that a single Senator will introduce a public option amendment — which would get a straight majority vote — is actually worrying to Senate Dem leaders. Indeed, Dick Durbin, the number two Senate Dem, yesterday told reporters that this would create headaches and even conceded that the leadership might be forced to ask liberal Senators to vote against it to ensure smooth passage for the overall bill.
So the public option could get an up-or-down vote in the Senate...only for liberal Dems to vote against it. Depressing.

It's not like I don't care about healthcare insurance reform; I care about it quite passionately, especially since I'm self-employed. It's just that I've totally lost any feeling that the Democrats are open to influence from genuine progressives, so I've lost the will to advocate.

I'm just waiting to see what happens now. Like everyone else.

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