Is Health-Care Reform Inevitable?
By Ben Pershing
Is health-care reform inevitable?
That question has come to the fore in recent days, as President Obama and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill attempt to navigate a maze full of opposition and entrenched interests to arrive at a reform package. Politics is all about leverage, and for now, the pro-reform forces have it. That's why so many potential opponents of the White House's efforts -- drug companies, hospitals, moderate Republicans -- have been willing to sit down and negotiate on the issue. If health-care reform is inevitable, they'd rather make some sacrifices and have a seat at the table then be caught outside the room when the deal is made.
But what if reform isn't inevitable? What if all those interest groups look at Obama's declining poll numbers and the complicated politics of the Senate and decide there is a better than even chance that nothing will pass this year? Then their incentives change, from trying to shift the bill incrementally in their favor to just opposing it outright. Now, no one is reading the reform movement its last rites yet, but each time a new hurdle rises, its advocates get a little more worried.
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