Over at The American Spectator blog, Phillip Klein isn’t very surprised about Kucinich’s new-found support for the Senate legislation.”There’s no shock that every single-payer advocate in Congress would talked tough for over a year will ultimately support the final bill,” he writes. The legislation is a slippery slide towards single-payer and Kucinich would be a fool not to support it, the argument goes. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) agreed:
GRAHAM: Well, I like Dennis, but if you had any doubt this was a liberal bill, now any doubts removed. I don’t think Dennis would be voting for this bill if he didn’t think it accomplished a lot of the liberal goals of expanding health care and giving the government a bigger role in health care. It does cut Medicare, it does raise taxes and I think Dennis’ goal of more government run health care is being accomplished or he wouldn’t vote for it.
But this argument really doesn’t make much sense. During the presser, Kucinich explained that he was voting for the bill “as is” and described his support as a “detour” from the single-payer cause. “As this bill passes, I will renew my efforts to help those state organizations which are aimed at stirring a single payer movement which eliminates the predatory role of private insurers who make money not providing health care”:
KUCINICH: I have doubts about the bill. I do not think it is a step toward anything I’ve supported in the past. This is not the bill I wanted to support even as I continue efforts until the last minute to try to modify the bill….I know I have to make a decision not on the bill as I like to see it, but as it is…. I’ve taken a detour through supporting this bill. But I know the destination I will continue to lead for as long as it takes, for whatever it takes to an America where health care will be firmly established as a civil right.”
In other words, Kucinich doesn’t believe that a bill that excludes the public option and requires Americans to purchase private coverage will lead to some tremendous increase in government involvement and neither do most of the Democrats in the Senate who voted for the legislation. In fact, even the Congressional Budget Office has concluded that the Senate bill would create “no significant change in [the government's] commitment [to health care].”
If anything, the bill represents a tremendous compromise of Democratic and Republican ideas. The final product is something neither side is incredibly happy with, but most Democrats believe (now with Kucinich on board) that it will establish the necessary foundation for achieving universal coverage.