Health Care Fight Divides Democrats
By Ben Pershing
The traditional narrative for any big Washington policy fight is typically Democrats vs. Republicans, or occasionally, "change" vs. "more of the same." But the increasingly heated debate over health care reform isn't quite breaking down along those lines yet, as the primary battles today are happening within the Democratic party.
The contours of a health care bill, particularly whether it should include a public plan or "option," Politico writes, "has touched off an increasingly fierce Democratic civil war on Capitol Hill." It appears likely there will be some sort of public option. Nancy Pelosi said on MSNBC Wednesday that no bill would pass the House without one, though the American Medical Association is opposed to the idea. The current debate is focused mostly on how the new health care system would work, and not as much on what will be an equally contentious issue -- who's going to pay for it. "To date, interest groups remain reluctant to appear intransigent and risk getting shut out of negotiations," the Los Angeles Times notes, but that will change soon as funding plans get clearer on the Hill.
President Obama will be in Green Bay this afternoon to hold a town hall meeting on health care. (Will he get a question on Brett Favre? Can he invoke some sort of emergency powers to force Favre to stay retired? We digress.) The event, Ceci Connolly writes, is designed to spotlight the Wisconsin town's smart health care practices and how other cities could become more effective and efficient by adopting similar strategies. On the other end of the spectrum, experts continue pointing at McAllen, Texas, as an illustration of how health care shouldn't work, following Atul Gawande's story on the subject in The New Yorker that has been the talk of the health care commentariat for several days. Ezra Klein jokes (we think) that "all health-care-related commentary must now, by law, include a reference" to Gawande's story.
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