The problems Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is having securing the 60 votes he'll need to block a filibuster of his health care reform bill raises the possibility that he'll scrap his proposal and revert to a more moderate version that can attract bipartisan support.
The Nevada Democratic rolled out a bold bill Monday that includes a controversial government insurance plan, leaving several moderate Democrats on the fence and expressing deep skepticism. Democratic aides told Fox News that Reid, who still does not have the 60 votes needed to kill a Republican filibuster, could end up falling back on an alternative plan pushed by Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine.
Maine wanted a bill that would "trigger" a government health insurance plan in the future only if insurance companies do not meet certain benchmarks. Reid ignored that suggestion, and when he rolled out a health care bill that includes a government-backed insurance plan that individual states can opt out of, Snowe withheld her support.
Now, besides the fact that it doesn't appear that Reid doesn't have the votes, there are even other problems for this bill. Let's start with the fact that it's done but Reid refuses to release it. That's never a good sign. You aren't hesitant to release that which you think is a good piece of work. In fact, no one will see the bill until Tuesday of next week at the earliest. That's when the CBO scoring will be finished.
Just put that together. It doesn't appear as though the Senate Leader has the votes and we haven't even seen a bill yet. We don't even know what the bill will cost yet. That's not a recipe for success.
In fact, it's not entirely clear what Reid is trying to accomplish with this exercise. This bill isn't going to pass even if the CBO scores it well enough. So, all Reid is opening himself up to is hyperanalysis of a bill that won't be law anyway. That sounds like a painful death for no reason. Reid doesn't appear to know what he's doing. This is a total debacle. The bill doesn't have the votes to pass. He knows it. We all know it. Instead of going back to negotiations he is going through the motions.
Of course all that does is waste another couple weeks. We'll be into November just when this bill will be produced. This bill will not become law. So, we'll spend a week or two debating a bill with no hope of passing. Where does that leave the health care debate? It leaves it in total chaos, where it's been since the beginning.