Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) just made the announcement:
The top Democrat in the Senate says lawmakers won’t vote until after August on health care, a blow to President Barack Obama’s ambitious timetable.
The Nevada Democrat says the decision to delay a vote was made Wednesday night in the hopes of getting a final bipartisan bill.
Count this as a win for obstructionist Republicans, the health care industry and their puppets.
This delay in passing health care reform is going to have serious consequences for the American people. Keep in mind that, by the time the August recess is done,
143,000+ will lose their health care.
53,000+ will file for bankruptcy because of medical bills.
1,265 will die because of lack of coverage.
And here’s some more evidence of just how dire the health care crisis is becoming:
A survey of more than 29,000 individuals in June by Gallup shows that 16 percent of Americans over the age of 18 are currently without health insurance. That number reflects what the survey’s authors describe as a “small but measurable uptick in the percentage of uninsured adults.”
According to 2007 U.S. Census data, the population of those 18 years or older stood at 228,196,823. By using that figure, in September of 2008, the number of uninsured adults would have totaled approximately 31.7 million. Today, the figure stands at 36.5 million — meaning that 4.8 million adults have, in less than a year, lost their insurance coverage.
GOP obstructionists and the health insurance industry will continue to go all-out in order to block health care reform; they’re hoping that the recess will give them time to kill reform once and for all.
President Obama and Congressional Democrats (at least those Democrats who aren’t owned by the health insurance industry) need to use this recess to both complete a strong health care reform bill and to sell that bill to the American people.
A month’s delay is a long time; if Congress can’t hit the ground running on health care reform come the fall, it’s quite possible that we may have to delay universal health care for a generation or more once again.
UPDATE: The President weighed in on the delay during a townhall in Ohio today:
Well now, first of all let me be clear, if there’s not a deadline in Washington, nothing happens. Nothing ever happens. And, we just heard today, well, we may not be able to get the bill out of the Senate by the end of August or the beginning of August. That’s ok. I just want want people to keep on working. Just keep working.
I want the bill to get out of the committees, and then I want that bill to go to the floors, and then I want that bill to be reconciled between the House and the Senate, and then I want to sign a bill. And I want it done by the end of this year. I want it done by the fall.