41 Senate Democrats now support passing a public option through reconciliation. Nine more and there will be absolutely no reason for a public health insurance option not to be part of the final bill. It's worth noting that these 41 Senators have gone on the record without any urging from the White House on the issue. It's the blogosphere and progressive health reform groups that have kept the public option alive. The president is not talking about the public option anymore. Congressional leaders aren't really talking about the public option anymore. It's a rank and file movement at this point. The White House has said the votes aren't there in the Senate, but each day, we see another vote or two show up. If Obama (not to mention House and Senate leaders) started actually pushing for a public option in the final bill, I think we would certainly see at least 9 more senators step up.
It's ironic that it's now the House that is the potential obstacle to passing any bill at all. If you count every Republican as a no vote on a final bill, add a possible no vote or two from the left, then include the handful of Stupak bloc Democrats, it's gonna be a squeaker. After all this time, all this debate, a handful of conservative Democrats trying to make a point about abortion may be the thing that sinks the entire bill and keeps 30 million Americans uninsured. Can they please make their point somewhere else? Like, in a bill that pertains to abortion? A deal will be struck between Stupak and the leadership. But the question is how long will it take and how will that delay harm the overall process.
However you look at it, we're nearing a conclusion.
BTW, Kate and I went to the health care rally in DC yesterday. I'll post pictures soon.