Speaker Pelosi brings the hammer down on the final vote of this chapter of the health care fight.

Because it does, indeed, need to be noted, the House has just passed the amended reconciliation act that cleared the Senate earlier this afternoon. This concludes the entertainment portion of your health care reform flight. . . I mean fight—health care reform fight.

There are provisions in this bill that can, if implemented properly and enforced with authority, help some people by the end of this year, but I will continue to contend until shown otherwise that most Americans will discover their situation little changed over the next several years. That means increasing prices for decreasing care.

The ink is not yet dry on the original bill, and insurance industry has already begun to game the system. Meanwhile, the president and his party will call this a win, and Democrats will campaign with some strange mix of messages, implying that they overcame GOP obstruction to a bill that, in reality, is a Republican one at its heart. . . or something like that.

The final vote tonight was 220-207.

There have been many hardworking heroes in this multi-year struggle, and they deserve special thanks and recognition. Alas, in the end, the performance of our national elected representatives proved less heroic. This is nowhere near the last fight we will have to fight for universal access to quality affordable care–one would hope that when the next battle is joined, we will have a few more in Congress and the White House who show a little less deference to the industries that created this mess, and a little more allegiance to the people that put them in power.

Meanwhile, and with all the “excitement” I almost forgot, it should be noted that this reconciliation bill does contain a progressive victory. . . one that would not have likely happened without the efforts of many in this community. Included in the measure now on its way to the president’s desk is a degree of student loan reform that will remove wasteful private middlemen from much of the educational lending process. It is a reform that was championed by Obama, but only a few weeks ago looked like it was headed for the sixty-vote slag heap of Congressional inaction. Interested private lenders, like Sallie Mae, Nelnet, and CititBank, leaned hard on their appointed proxies in the Senate to get it removed from the reconciliation sidecar, and they might have pulled it off had it not been for a good deal of attention given their efforts and the lies they were using to buttress them. Thanks to Jane, Jon, Dave, Scarecrow, and masaccio here at FDL, and many concerned journalists and activists across the country for giving students and educational institutions—not to mention American taxpayers—a measure of victory tonight.

Gregg Levine

Gregg Levine