Your assumption is that people have no problem being forced to buy insurance, it's only the notion of having to buy it from those evil insurance companies. I think there is a limited subset of people who have that as their focus.
More realistically, I think most people want affordable insurance. If they can get affordable insurance from a for-profit company, most folks won't chafe at the notion that their monthly premium is being used to stoke the fires of capitalist oppression. By the same token, if someone doesn't consider the public option affordable (and I think we're all guilty of assuming that of course it will be affordable, the same way one might assume a pony), they're not going to be any happier about the fact that at least they're not being gouged by a private company.
This last point I've said a million times, but I'll say it again: the vast majority of people who dislike the mandate are already insured. The mandate is not going to affect them; they merely object to the principle. It is doubtful that very many of them will choose to vote against Democrats based solely upon a principle.
The Kaiser Foundation released a paper a few weeks ago in which they compared the current bill to the Republican alternative that was introduced in 1993 as an alternative to Hillarycare. The Republican bill was written by John Chafee, a liberal Republican, but it was co-sponsored by 20 other Republicans, including Bob Dole. 5 of the Republicans who co-sponsored that legislation are still in the Senate.
The Kaiser Foundation found that the two bills were substantially similar. The major components of the current bill were all in the Republican bill from 1993. Yet somehow, this bill is supposedly a socialistic, communistic government takeover of healthcare, blah blah blah.
This is why Frum is speaking an inconvenient truth when he says this bill was not very far removed from Republican principles, or the things that are supposed to be Republican principles at any rate. It's fun to engage in consequence free-demagoguery when you're in the opposition, but a lot of these folks seem to have bought into their own propaganda.
The President does not lie when he says there are a lot of Republican ideas and a lot of Republican amendments in this bill. The question of whether there is any kind of political reward for passing a bill that is bipartisan in substance, but lacks the actual bipartisan support necessary for political cover, remains to be answered.
Failing to pass the bill sure ain't gonna put any pressure on the insurance companies. It's ironic that someone who claims the bill doesn't do enough to oppose the insurance companies is voting exactly the way the insurance companies want everyone to vote.
More to the point, someone who represents a blue district, and thus has to worry more about a primary from the left than about a general election challenge from the right, probably shouldn't be automatically trusted when they claim they voted against the bill because it wasn't progressive enough. I mean, we're supposed to believe that even Dennis Kucinich has been co-opted by the insurance companies or something, and Stephen Lynch is the one true liberal in America? Yeah right.
It is a great day... although I vowed no victory lap until the whole package is signed, sealed and delivered. And say whatever you will about the missteps and the messaging and all that stuff, at the end of the day Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi got this thing to a point that so many others have failed to reach, and I give them all the credit.
I just watched the Republicans try to sink the bill with a poison pill motion that would have written the President's executive order on the Hyde Amendment into the bill - which would have killed the legislation because the language wouldn't have been acceptable for reconciliation in the Senate. For those who missed it live, the much-maligned Bart Stupak got up and delivered an absolute stemwinder in favor of the bill and against the Republican motion, declaring the Democrats are the ones protecting life and that this bill will ensure pregnant mothers can get pre-natal care and so on. It kind of drives home the importance of this final deal that was cut.
The vote on the motion is still open, but it has already been voted down. Next up, the House votes to accept the Senate reconciliation fix, and then their job is done.