Two years ago today, December 17, 2007, there was an Assembly vote on a comprehensive health reform in California, the result of a year-long negotiation between then-Assembly Speaker Nunez and Governor Schwarzenegger. The bill went on to defeat in the state Senate.
There was a debate about whether the bill was worthy of support. Many consumer and constituency groups supported it, but some didn’t.
The political situation before us is both strikingly similar, and radically different. Same goes for the policy proposal itself.
One big difference is that the bill in 2007 was a final product, in more ways than one. A companion ballot measure had been filed, and so the Senate was being asked to ratify it without changes. Were the ballot measure to pass, key parts would not be easily changeable.
The situation now is different–the bill is still in flux, and there are things to win, and to lose: the next week the Senate is considering to move an amended health reform bill, to go to a conference committee. It will need to be melded with a House bill, which is a very good bill, before final votes in the House and Senate in January. Even after passage, there will be opportunities to improve the bill in the years ahead, at both the federal and state level.
So I am concerned that some seem to be giving up on the current process. There’s been a back-and-forth on the positioning of the Senate health reform bill, where Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight has asked “20 Questions” for those who would kill the Senate health reform proposal; bloggers at DailyKos and FireDogLake have responded; and FiveThirty Eight followed up.
In a similar vein, Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo has opened the TPMCafe to a discussion of what is in the health reform proposal, it’s virtues and challenges.
We’ll have more. But it is a good discussion to watch.