While others have reported that a bipartisan group of Senators arrived at the current Senate compromise all on their own, Howard Dean says that’s not true. It seems that he’s responsible for the proposal currently being considered in the Senate.
Former Governor Howard Dean helped broker a health care compromise that Senate Democratic leaders say could move the bill forward.
Dean’s proposal is designed to satisfy both supporters and opponents of a “public option” health plan.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.
(Kinzel) While the vast majority of Democrats support the public option, all the Republicans and a few Democrats do not, and this group has threatened to filibuster the bill if the public option is part of the final package. And it appeared very unlikely that Democratic leaders could find the 60 votes that are needed to break a filibuster.
So Dean outlined a compromise plan to Senate Majority leader Harry Reid as a way to break the deadlock.
Dean has been extremely critical of the path that Senate Democrats were going down. It wasn’t long ago that he was saying that no bill was better than the one Democrats were preparing to pass. Now suddenly he believes the Senate has hit on a formulation that he likes – one that he’s even taking credit for. Why does he like it so much?
The compromise includes a plan that Dean proposed during his 2004 presidential campaign: allowing people between ages of 55 and 65 to buy into Medicare.
(Dean) “There’s no point in reinventing a program if you already have all the infrastructure that can set it up. What they’ve done is allow people who are over 55, instead of over 65, buy into Medicare. So that’s a big step forward and it does two things. First of all, of course, it allows more people to get in the government single payer if they want to. And, secondly, it uses a bureaucracy, which makes much more sense than even what’s in the House bill.”
The reason Dean likes this compromise – the reason he proposed this compromise – is that he would rather have the government bureaucracy in charge of people’s health care plans than private insurance companies. That’s one point of view. Some may agree with it; others not. But it seems the real value of this proposal to Dean is that it ‘moves the ball’ toward a single-payer health care system.
Dean has long been a proponent of a single-payer, government-run system. It should come as no surprise that the plan he proposed is one intended to move in that direction. It’s also why Congressman Anthony Weiner likes it and why liberal blogger Chris Bower likes it. Others – including health care wonk Mort Kondracke and the editorial page of the Washington Post – also see this as a move toward single-payer care.
The fact that Harry Reid is now taking ideas from Howard Dean ought to show how desperate he has gotten. The only way he can hope to pass the plan is to ram it through the Senate before too many people realize that it’s designed to lead to government-run care. It may cost Blanche Lincoln and Mary Landrieu their seats, but at least it will stealthily get the Democrast the enormous expansion of government they’re craving.
Cross-posted to TheConservatives.com