Democracy and the House Health Reform Bill
To make one metapoint, the legislation previewed by the health reform committees in the House of Representatives also offers an interesting political contrast with the legislation being considered in the Senate. In particular, this is what legislation looks like from politicians with more to fear from voters.
The House is not a perfectly representative body, but it's pretty representative. Particularly compared with the Senate. Its membership is a function of the population (so where California has two Senate seats and Montana has two Senate seats, California has 53 representatives while Montana has one). Each member represents fewer constituents and so, at least in theory, is more closely attuned to their preferences. Elections come every two years rather than every six, and so representatives cannot trust that their votes on large bills will be forgotten by the time their next election rolls around. There is no filibuster that can be used to insulate the views of the minority or excuse the failures of the majority.
And this is what their bill looks like: Not single-payer, or even anything close to it. But recognizably left-of-center, particularly on points of controversy like the public plan. Which makes sense: In the last two elections, voters have expressed a preference for Democrats, and so you might expect the views of Democrats to prevail in legislative tussles. As I argued earlier today, you can't answer the question of votes by pointing to the results of polls. These policies may not be able to pass the upper chamber. But it's noteworthy that the House leadership clearly thinks them defensible in elections across the country.
More: The opposite version of this post.
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