In my recent predictions for 2010, I prognosticated that Obamacare will pass without the public option. Today, Senator Lieberman said he will vote for the bill because the PO is out. That could be the magic 60th vote, although abortion remains a potential impediment. But what about the House? Representative Steny Hoyer, the #2 honcho, said the House too could vote the bill through without a public option. From the story:
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday the House can pass a healthcare bill without a public option. “My opinion now is that it is yes,” Hoyer (D-Md.) said at his weekly press conference in response to a direct question. Hoyer, who supports a public option, said “the guts” of the healthcare bill still provide insurance coverage to 30 million people who now do not have affordable, quality healthcare. “Reid does not have the votes for a public option so in a world of alternatives you gotta focus on what you can get,” Hoyer said.
That’s good news, but it’s not, because the darn thing will pass, meaning we will still be on road to rationing. Still, that won’t take place for years and bad laws can be fixed. Moreover, given the political ground faced by Obamacare opponents, I am not sure what else could have been achieved. If things turn out as they look to, at least opponents can take comfort in the fact that they clearly won the political battle–breaking the back of what seemed an unstoppable juggernaut only 6 months ago–and may have positioned matters for even greater success in the coming years.