The ‘glass is half-empty’ crowd might describe what Democrats accomplished with Saturday’s vote on health care reform as “barely enough U.S. Senators agreed to begin debating a health care reform bill some of them hope to actually pass.” WaPo columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. acknowleges all of the complaining about the reform bill, but he emphasizes the more optimistic view in his ‘Post-Partisan’ blog, “Can’t we celebrate a little on health care?“:
Something truly momentous happened in the United States Senate last night…Okay, it’s entirely true that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s success in putting together 60 votes to let debate on a health-care bill go forward is only a first step. ..But can we pause to note that a comprehensive health-reform bill has never been this close to passage?…Is it really so hard to remember that for the 15 years since the failure of President Clinton’s reforms, the conventional take was that health-care reform is impossible?
Dionne recommends Rob Brownstein’s post at The Atlantic on cost-containment in health care reform legislation, and adds,
Brownstein’s point is that while the Senate health care bill is not perfect on this front — has any legislative body ever enacted a perfect law? — the bill is winning praise from very tough-minded health-care analysts for how extensive its cost-containment measures are. There is nothing naïve about Brownstein’s post, and he offers a lot of sensible caveats, but he’s right to suggest that this round of legislating may well be “a milestone in the health care journey.”
The praise the Reid compromise has gotten from cost-containment advocates is an important angle for supporters to promote more energetically. As Dionne concludes, “Let’s celebrate the fact that we are dealing with an issue that we have left unattended for far too long.”