After a measure passes in the House, it goes to the Senate for consideration. A bill must pass both bodies in the same form before it can be presented to the President for signature into law.
If the Senate changes the language of the measure, it must return to the House for concurrence or additional changes. This back-and-forth negotiation may occur on the House floor, with the House accepting or rejecting Senate amendments or complete Senate text. Often a conference committee will be appointed with both House and Senate members. This group will resolve the differences in committee and report the identical measure back to both bodies for a vote. Conference committees also issue reports outlining the final version of the bill.
Yes, the Senate beat back a fillibuster attempt but the Democrats gave away everything that matters. There are huge differences in the house and senate versions. The hype is to put us all to sleep, to make us think this is a done deal. It is not.
Despite the prevailing view in MSM, including Krugman, that this is a positive incrementat step, it is not. If you don't know where you are going, you can wind up anywhere. And in this case. we will be no closer to a sane system to ensure everyone who needs health care receives it.
Just say no to this one--and tell Obama a leader is supposed to lead, not accept whatever crumbs are possible just to preserve the illusion of "Yes We Can."
I know--writing to our elected officials in DC is probably futile but that is what is left--so tell them to kill the bill if it does not have a public option or a medicare buy-in for everyone who wants to.
I prefer a single payer system on both moral principles--no one should make money on human suffering--and fiscal principles--it would be cheaper for the government to provide a single reimbursement system than paying all these insurance companies. The truth is that the sickest of the sick would wind up on the government option, while the healthy would continue to pay exorbitant fees where the profit is made and then be kicked off when they got really sick.
Just let people who want to buy into Medicare and also expand Medicaid for the working poor and lower middle-class. It is the simplest step forward to ensure that those without access to health care will actually receive it.
If that eventually forces insurance companies to actually compete by lowering its premiums and/or offering better services, that would be a good thing.