Although the GOP has decided to oppose any reform of the health care funding system, despite numerous efforts to reduce the scope of the bill to make it more amenable to GOP concerns about costs, the momentum seems to have finally turned in the Democrats' favor. I will agree that leaders in Congress have mishandled this, and President Obama probably should have jumped into the middle of this much sooner, the key to this change comes from two directions within the Democratic Party.
First, Dennis Kucinich, one of the most liberal members of Congress decided to vote for the Senate bill. He'd like a stronger bill, especially one that would offer a single-payer provision, but he realized that's not in the offing. Thus, he'll vote for that which can be achieved. I expect that other liberal members who voted no initially, will follow his lead.
Second, and equally important, is the collapsing of Catholic opposition to the bill. This includes the move on the part of nearly 60,000 members of Catholic women's orders to come out in support of the bill -- bucking the resistance by the bishops. Their decision follows upon the endorsement of the bill by the Catholic Health Association -- an organization that represents the church's hospitals and clinics. They did all of this due to their understanding of the church's long-standing social teaching. Again, cover is provided those Catholic Democrats who oppose abortion.
Added to this, we hear the CBO estimate that this proposed program will reduce the deficit. Now, whether that will be true remains to be seen. Things could change over time, but at least their is the sense that cost controls could be introduced that will save money.
Now, there are issues that remain to be solved. This doesn't provide universal coverage -- there will still be many left out. That will have to be worked out. Then there is the issue of creating the networks wherein we can purchase the offered health programs.
Still, I'm more hopeful than I have been in a long time. Yes, the Republicans will try to make this an issue in the 2010 election, but in the end, once the legislation is enacted, will most Americans remember the "process"? Or will they recognize that something -- while not perfect -- was done!? At this point the Democrats face the reality that they are the party in power and thus, they'll face political consequences due to the economy. People want results, and results have been long in coming. Still, progress is being made.