The Frying Pan or the Fire

| January 24, 2010 | 0 Comments

Since the Massachusetts election debacle, we have come to an interesting place on the healthcare debate. There are two schools of thought on the situation:

1) The Democrats moved too far to the left and lost the independents. Therefore, they need to dramatically scale back their ambitions on healthcare reform. Either cave to whatever the Republicans want, or pass some modest tweaks.

2) The Democrats moved to far to the center, trying to accommodate centrists or even Republicans, constantly compromising to the point that the base of the party became disillusioned. So, the solution is for the House Democrats to suck it up, pass the Senate bill and work on tweaks through the reconciliation process that only requires 51 Senate votes in order to enact legislation.

Politically, I can’t really say which analysis is correct. Interestingly, adherents of both schools of thought claim that following the other will result in an election catastrophe in the Fall, if followed. In that respect, they both could be right. Who knows. That’s a long way off. Stuff happens. No one would have predicted Sen. Scott Brown, even as near as a month ago.

Politics notwithstanding, only option 2 will result in significant policy change. The House has already passed a healthcare reform bill, one that is even more liberal than the Senate. Republicans are going to try to hang that around Democrats’ necks no matter what happens next. There is no increased political risk to voting for final passage and, having actually accomplished something, there could be less.

They have to pass the Senate bill.

Category: Healthcare Reform, Politics

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