No one knows the answer to that. Senator Olympia Snowe sided with the Democrats and besides that this bill passed on a party line vote. So, it passed 14-9 out of the Senate Finance Committee. What no one knows is what will happen from here. The Senate Finance Committee has continued the same dynamic that has existed throughout the process. The further in we are the less is clear.
Senator Snowe sided with the Democrats but she also said this doesn't mean that she will vote for the final bill. At the same time, Senator Joe Lieberman said he wouldn't vote for this bill, if he were on the committee, but it's unclear what he would do with another bill. Both Jay Rockefeller and Ron Wyden voted for the bill but it's unclear how happy they are with the bill. It's still unclear how the liberals will feel about a bill without a public option and vice versa for moderates.
Meanwhile, this "transparent" process now goes back to the backrooms of Congress. Now, this bill will be combined with the other bill passed all the way back in July in the Health Education Labor and Pension Committee. That process will be lead by Harry Reid.
Meanwhile, the House is trying to do something similar and that process is being lead by Nancy Pelosi. That's been stalled since the end of July. That's when the last of the house committees passed their bill. Since then we've been promised a final bill and we are all still waiting.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote a piece pointing that still there is no bill. Now that this "bill" has moved out of committee, that is still correct. First, this isn't a bill. It's a very detailed outline. This committee allows for a so called bill to pass without the actual language of a bill.
Second, and much more importantly, no one expects this to be the final bill. Still, what I've noticed for the last month remains the same. Nothing has been settled. We don't know if there will or won't be a public option. We don't know what will be taxed and how much. We don't know if there will be a mandate.
So, now, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, the President and his aides, along with a select group of legislators (of which no more than one, maybe, will be a Republican). From that we'll get two different bills. What will be in them no one knows including those charged with making the bill. Then, they'll hope that these two final products will have enough votes to pass. If that happens, they'll have to go back into their backrooms and negotiate one final bill.
So, the Baucus bill just passed and we don't know anymore about what health care reform will look like now than we did back in March when it started. Welcome to the most transparent administration of all time.
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