The long-awaited bill that emerged this week from the Senate's Finance Committee represents the best chance of a nominally bipartisan health care/health insurance overhaul that can pass both chambers, conventional Washington wisdom says.
But the battle is far from over. Reflecting the makeup of the Senate, the bill does not include a so-called public insurance option, considered vital to some Democrats in the Senate and many more in the U.S. House.
In addition, the bill includes a variety of targeted taxes aimed at paying for the program and hopefully, controlling insurance costs. One such tax, generating opposition from many unions, including the Sheet Metal Workers, is a tax on so-called "Cadillac" health insurance plans.
With many private sector employers cutting health care and boosting premiums -- one of the reasons for overhauling health care, according to supporters -- unionized workers are one of the few groups who still enjoy fairly broad, low-deductible health insurance.
And since union workers are a reliable backer of the Democratic Party, angering them is dangerous for the president and his supporters.
I'm still convinced something will pass this fall, because the political fallout from doing nothing, as happened in 1994 when President Bill Clinton's health care proposal died without votes in either chamber, is too great. The GOP took over both houses of Congress for the first time in 50 years in part because of the way Democrats fought amongst themselves over that issue.
But with the insurance lobby also now opposing the current proposals, getting a bill to the president won't be easy.
What do you think?