There have been many words written about what needs to be done next to try and improve the pathetic healthcare reform bill, and most of them focus on trying to mount pressure to immediately revisit previously failed policy points; drug re-importation, continuing support for a public option, etc.
Given what we know about the political landscape these efforts seem pointless; commendable as they may be for their pluckiness. Even ignoring the self-evident, that if the will existed to push these things forward, they would have been included in what’s being passed right now while advocates had the leverage of torpedoing a highly sought after legislative victory. There’s one mammoth obstacle that won’t be overcome. The President isn’t on our side on this issue, and he’s shown exactly zero propensity to be persuaded otherwise. In fact, he’s been outright hostile to the very suggestion.
No matter what people do to try and cajole their Representatives and Senators to put forward, a separate public option up for vote, pressure for ERISA waivers, or readdressing drug re-importation; the White House deals with AHIP and PhRMA still stand. President Barack Obama will stand in the way of absolutely anything that threatens those arrangements. As we’ve seen, he’ll put the full force of the Democratic Party machinery, and his Administration, behind pressuring members to back away from such initiatives, to back away from taking stances that even put them up for a vote.
For the sake of argument, let’s say that some miracle occurs, and one of these provisions actually finds enough support hidden under the crooked pillars of Capitol Hill to pass through both houses, they’re still going to end up on the President’s desk. Does anyone have any reason to think he wouldn’t simply pacify the movement with a slick speech about why it’s critical and necessary (and oh-so honorably "pragmatic") to veto such obviously beneficial policies? Then further that the same admirers and adulators wouldn’t step up to the plate again to engage in a veritable Cirque du Soleil of apologetics to hard-sell President Obama’s transparently asinine justifications as heroic victories? Castigating the rest of us all along the way.
Unlike the Senate’s self-imposed procedural masturbation, overriding a Presidential veto does legitimately require a super-majority, and we know for a fact we don’t have it. We’re not even close.
I really get the desire to do better than this. Hell, I get the necessity of it. However, if this whole process has taught us nothing else, it ought to be that working inside the framework of Washington gives us nothing but Dollars frittered, labor exhausted, and support cynically exploited. Why? Because, we don’t have a deal with the White House, and it isn’t a secret. Unless the "next step" to improving healthcare reform is superseding the AHIP and PhRMA deals with one of our own; it should be painfully obvious by now that we’re just wasting our time trying to prove a hypothesis we already know to be true. Washington is full of hypocrites, they take us for granted, policy goes to the highest bidder, and people who are in love with personalities don’t care about the facts of policy.
We need to stop proving to ourselves that water is wet, and instead figure out how we can quench our thirst without it. All things considered, this might be a good place to start; perhaps the only place to start:
Article V of the U.S. Constitution:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
The Washington establishment isn’t working for the citizenry; left nor right. It’s working for itself. So, the only way forward is to circumvent it. Full stop.