On Saturday, all 58 Democrats and 2 independents in the Senate voted as one to bring the health-care bill to the floor for debate. As a Barack Obama staffer tweeted for the president, "America is now closer to real reform than ever in our history." Yes so close. And yet so very far away. There are three Democrats, and Joe Lieberman, who, despite voting to begin debate on the bill, may not actually vote for the bill itself. There's Nebraska's Ben Nelson, who has delivered an itemized list of requested changes to Majority Leader Harry Reid. There's Joe Lieberman, who still insists he'll join a Republican filibuster on any bill that includes the public option. There's Louisiana's Mary Landrieu, for whom $300 million in state Medicaid funding was apparently enough to secure her vote to begin debate but not enough to overcome her concerns about the public option. And finally, there's Arkansas's Blanche Lincoln, who, facing reelection in 2010, said she would not vote for the current version of the public option. At the same time, Vermont independent Bernie Sanders is warning that he and other liberals will withhold support if the bill lacks a public option making the solution to this riddle quite elusive indeed. And we haven't even solved the abortion thing yet!
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