Ezra Klein, one of the most vocal bill-backers, has a really good plan – scrap the bill. But that doesn’t mean healthcare reform is dead. Instead he offers up items that could easily go through reconciliation:
Democrats could scrap the legislation and start over in the reconciliation process. But not to re-create the whole bill. If you go that route, you admit the whole thing seemed too opaque and complex and compromised. You also admit the limitations of the reconciliation process. So you make it real simple: Medicare buy-in between 50 and 65. Medicaid expands up to 200 percent of poverty with the federal government funding the whole of the expansion. Revenue comes from a surtax on the wealthy.
And that's it. No cost controls. No delivery-system reforms. Nothing that makes the bill long or complex or unfamiliar. Medicare buy-in had more than 51 votes as recently as a month ago. The Medicaid change is simply a larger version of what's already passed both chambers. This bill would be shorter than a Danielle Steel novel. It could take effect before the 2012 election.
Now that is a good starting point and something every American should be able to comprehend.
But reform shouldn’t stop there and now is the time for Democrats to appear bipartisan. Once they push this through reconciliation then it’s time to offer up even more legislation. Put in a new bill that would do the following: