Most of the media are treating Senate Finance Committee passage of the Baucus bill as a sure sign that some sort of bill Obama can sign and embrace as real hopeychange will be passed by Congress this year. Naturally the Register had to beg to differ. Our editorial suggested that some of the most divisive and contentious days are yet to come.
The most prominent (or at least numerous) holders of the "Cadillac" health insurance policies Baucus wants to tax (at 40%!), for example, are union workers, though I imagine some fatcats have them as well. Will left-Democrats actually vote against a bill that doesn't include the sacred "public option," or will they grumble and vote for something they think is a half-measure they see as a giveaway to evil insurance companies? How Blue will the Blue Dogs be with an election staring them in the face in a year or less?
Pray for gridlock. Only if the gumbo that emerges from the legislative back kitchen doesn't make it to the table (or is sent back indignantly by customers) will there be a chance for real cost-cutting or even (dare we even imagine?) consumer- and patient-oriented reform.