Connecting the solution and the problem-solvers

CONNECTING THE SOLUTION AND THE PROBLEM-SOLVERS…. The problem is obvious: we need health care reform. The solution is obvious: the House passes the Senate bill, and then makes improvements through reconciliation. The mechanism is obvious: one roll-call vote in the House.

The one thing that isn’t obvious is how to connect those responsible for solving the problem to the solution.

The pundits want the House to pass the Senate bill. Leading reform advocates want the House to pass the Senate bill. Major union leaders want the House to pass the Senate bill. And now dozens of leading health care policy experts also want the House to pass the Senate bill.

Nearly four dozen of the nation’s leading health care luminaries–including Jacob Hacker, the man who brought the public option to light–are urging the House of Representatives to pass the Senate health care bill, and quickly pass a separate bill to modify it: an approach favored by some members of Democratic leadership, major unions, and reform advocates.

In a stark message to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and her health care lieutenants — Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Henry Waxman (D-CA), and George Miller (D-CA) — the experts say it’s time for the House to act.

“Both houses of Congress have adopted legislation that would provide health coverage to tens of millions of Americans, begin to control health care costs that seriously threaten our economy, and improve the quality of health care for every American,” reads a letter, obtained by TPMDC. “These bills are imperfect. Yet they represent a huge step forward in creating a more humane, effective, and sustainable health care system for every American. We have come further than we have ever come before. Only two steps remain. The House must adopt the Senate bill, and the President must sign it.”

“Some differences between the bills, such as the scope of the tax on high-cost plans and the allocation of premium subsidies, should be repaired through the reconciliation process,” the experts say. “Key elements of this repair enjoy broad support in both houses. Other limitations of the Senate bill can be addressed through other means.”

The estimable Harold Pollack of the University of Chicago posted the entire text of the letter, which was apparently just drafted yesterday, along with a full list of signatories.

I wish I knew what it would take. House Dems presumably want to succeed, and realize that the brass ring is hanging in front of them, waiting to be embraced. They’re now being encouraged by policy experts, union leaders, leading reform advocates, and pundits, all of whom recommend the same course of action.

The only other contingent outside of government that might help is the electorate itself — Kevin Drum and Balloon Juice are actively encouraging voters to contact their representatives, urging them to do the right thing and pass the Senate bill. The calls may be the only thing that really works.