FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Democrats are plowing ahead with health care reform - trying to iron out the differences between the Senate and House bills before the president's state of the union address in a few weeks.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/07/art.obama.1.6.jpg caption=""]
And one of the biggest differences is how to pay for this massive overhaul. President Obama is now telling House Democrats to drop their opposition to taxing so-called Cadillac insurance plans.
The House had wanted to increase income taxes on individuals making more than $500,000 and couples making over 1 million dollars; while the Senate backs taxing insurance companies on the higher end plans. Do you suppose the insurance companies will simply raise their rates to compensate?
And there are other disagreements too - lots of them. Like the fact that House Democrats will likely have to drop the public option - many liberals think it's not even worth passing health care reform without a government plan.
There are questions about funding for abortion - still don't know how that will be addressed - and whether illegal aliens should be allowed to buy insurance coverage with their own money.
Meanwhile Democrats are short-circuiting the legislative process by not having a formal conference committee to meld the two bills together. Instead the entire process is taking place behind closed doors, out of sight of the American public - something President Obama promised would never happen. Remember?
Here’s my question to you: Will health care reform help or hurt the Democrats in the midterm elections?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Cheryl from Bluffton, South Carolina writes:
It will help. As imperfect as the legislation is, and as ugly as the process has been, health care reform will save American lives and help us catch up with the rest of the civilized world.
Jack, Most likely, it'll hurt. Badly. Most Americans are so focused on instant gratification that, if the effects of the health bill are not immediate, the bill will be dubbed a failure before it can even take effect.
Gini from Maine writes:
Jack, The health care reform bill will hurt the Democrats slightly in 2010, but help them substantially in 2012. By 2012, the good parts of it will have kicked in. It’s not a great bill, but it’s the best we can get right now.
Help. That is one of the primary reasons they were elected. It took them a while, but they finally figured out Republicans don't want to compromise or negotiate… They better do everything they can while they have the majority.
Who cares if health care reform helps or hurts the Democrats?! We want to know if it will help or hurt the American people!
Loren from Chicago writes:
Hurt. The Republicans will play on the lack of debate and the decision being made behind closed doors to work on the swing vote, while the Democrats will have a compromised bill that loads the cost onto our children. And, while they will try to call it a success, the fact that several Democrats have already announced that they won't run for reelection suggests that even the Democrats don't believe in the value of the bill.
Grady from San Marcos, Texas writes:
Jack, It hurts my heart to contemplate the possibility that the Democrats might retain control of both Houses of Congress. It also hurts my heart to contemplate the possibility that the Republicans might capture one or both Houses. Either way, we're screwed.