On Wednesday morning, I felt like someone had died. I've worked so hard on health insurance reform, as have so many others. I couldn't bear the thought that one Senator-elect from Massachusetts could really end it all.
My first reaction was to say let's pass incremental pieces, let's do what we can, and keep working on a broader solution in small steps. So I wrote a letter posted below to the President suggesting just that.
I WAS WRONG. The fight for real reform is not over. We can still get it done.
If the House passed the Senate bill AND a second bill incorporating the changes to the Senate bill that were negotiated by leadership -- almost all of which affect budget issues -- the Senate could take up the second House bill under reconciliation -- a procedure that requires only 51 votes rather than 60. Even the abortion issue is about funding, not about abortion. WE CAN STILL GET THIS DONE.
Now is not the time to give up. We musn't retreat. We've worked way too hard to just start over. And the cost of doing nothing is unacceptable -- people with pre-existing conditions who can't get insurance, people with chronic illnesses who lose insurance to lifetime or annual benefit limits, people whose insurance premiums are higher than their mortgage payments.
The fight is not over. Senator Kennedy was right. Hope is alive; the cause endures. Stay strong. Jennifer