Nothing reminded me more of my younger days as a law student than the passage – or at least, forcible tentative way into health care. I remember discussing the two Chambers and the history of the democratic process of representative voting for the people, law-making while serfs were toiling the soil, implementing progress while our grand-grand-grandfathers were working in the metal industry or dying for some world war started by someone who had been rejected by painting galleries and developed ego issues. One of the lessons that stuck with me the most was a heated debate on the democratic value of the Senate, that my friend Damian thought should be burnt down. “Only the lower chamber [House of Representatives] has a real democratic value”, he argued, “Senators are usually way more conservatives and prove through their voting and constant filibusting to be a hindrance to progress.” I don’t remember his grade, but I remember watching C-Span and laughing at this group of old white men trying to stop the passage of every potentially progressive bill with the might of any 65 year old man believing he could stop prostate cancer from spreading.

Little did I know that in the clusterfuck that is the healthcare reform, the Senate would prove to be less childish, more consistent and slightly more reformative than the House of Representatives. I, myself, am completely under shock after reading this piece on the Huffington Post explaining how some Democratic senators, who didn’t share the same poisonous water Blue Dog water fountain, are fighting to put the public option back on track. Yes, the same public option that the people want, that the people have been asking for ever since Clinton killed it: the public option that would save hundreds of thousands of Americans to die of preventable and cureable diseases every year like the third world country it is about to become.

The House of Representatives, elected by the people and supposedly on a mandate to respect the wishes of their consistuency – that was apparently the way of a distant past – has only managed to not only give in to the Republicans by killing the public option, but became famous by passing the woman-hating, coathanger-loving Stupak amendment that has been so decried by every liberal, progressive, or vagina-bearing citizen. That was not exactly the way it was supposed to happen. Technically, the lower chamber was to pass universal health care only to be stopped by Checkpoint Charlie, aka the Senate, for being a little too ahead of its time, I mean, european, look at all those British people with their healthy bodies, they play soccer, surely we can’t base our own model after a population with a Queen.

Bernie Sanders

All that because of a man bearing the name of a sitcom character.

Bernie Sanders (Ind. – Vermont) threatened everyone last Sunday that without a public option, the bill will not get his vote. Caucusing with Democrats on the subject, he managed to gain the support of Senator Brown (D-Ohio), Burris (D-Illinois), and a three-member collective of Democrats (Schumer from New York, Carper from Delaware and Landrieu from Louisiana) hard at work on a public option that would perhaps help the United States move onto the third millenium. Brown himself stated what we thought we knew: “[If the bill favors conservatives], you’ll lose people on the left”. You mean those very same people who voted en masse on November 4th to vote for Barack Obama, mostly because he promised them the healthcare coverage they deserved but never obtained? Schumer predicted that the public option would rise from his short stint as a dead buill and revive to land on the President’s desk at the last minute. Bernie Sanders, who self-identifies as the biggest threat to the GOP – a democratic socialist – is trying to prove that the Senate is now the more progressive of the two chambers, despite Senators not being on a direct popular mandate.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans want to be able to choose between a strong public option and a private insurance plan. Without that competition, there is very little in this bill that would keep health insurance premiums from escalating rapidly”, he claimed. “This legislation cannot simply be a huge subsidy to private insurance companies that will get millions of new customers and be able to raise their rates as high as they want.”

Sounds like the most rational piece of discourse I have heard regarding the reform in months.

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