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Pelosi on Health-Care Reform: "It Will Win."


Nancy Pelosi hasn't lost many big votes. Nor has her primary lieutenant on health care, Henry Waxman. So when she says that "when I take this bill to the floor, it will win," history suggests that she's not bluffing. After all, if cap-and-trade could get a majority -- and that was a tough bill with a lot less external momentum and a lot more divisiveness within the Democratic Caucus -- health-care reform is a pretty good bet to follow.

It's easy to forget that this process is quite a bit closer to completion than health-care reform has ever been. Two committees in the House and one in the Senate have already voted out legislation. That's never happened before. But if a bill actually passes the House, that will be a gamechanger.

After all, that has never happened before. In 1994, Bill Clinton's plan didn't survive long enough to see a vote. Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Harry Truman weren't any luckier. Obama is likely to not only see a vote in the House, but win it. And that gives him more than just bragging rights. It will put tremendous pressure on the Senate to follow suit.

After all, it's one thing for health-care reform to die. it's wholly another for Senate Democrats to kill it. They don't want that. In particular, Harry Reid doesn't want that. His place in the leadership -- not to mention history -- might not be able to survive that. And the few key senators who would stand in the way of reform might rethink their position in a world where blame isn't diffuse, and where the White House will know exactly who murdered their top legislative priority.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak.

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 9:46 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Every Blue dog in the house and conservative Dem in the Senate who are making noise about killing health care reform, need to have a primary challenge. (the sooner the better)

If they suddenly have pressure from a primary opponent who supports the bill that the public wants, it's amazing how they suddenly see the light. (see Arlen Spector)

Posted by: atlliberal | July 27, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, I think you could do the health care reform debate a world of good by helping some of your media colleagues better understand one aspect of the issue: The mistaken but persuasive notion that reform will require "sacrifice" by average Americans, especially in the form of less medical care. The idea comes up all the time; Jake Tapper asked a question about it at last week's press conference.
Many reporters, even those without any ideological agenda, are skeptical of Obama on this. They hear him saying that we need to control health care costs, yet they also hear him saying Americans will continue to get all the health care they need. From their point of view, those two can't simultaneously be true.
What these reporters are assuming is that the current system delivers health care in an efficient, prudent, non-wasteful manner. Of course, most people reading this blog know the opposite to be true; that a huge percentage of U.S. medical spending is not only wasteful, but actually makes us sicker. So when a journalist asks, "Won't Americans get less medical care in a reformed system?" he believes a) they will, and b) that would be a bad thing. By contrast, people who understand how the system works assume a) they might, and b) to the extent they do, they will probably be healthier and we will save money. The White House doesn't nail the win-win nature of spending less money as forcefully as it could, and as a result, reporters think it is being evasive on the question, or worse, think that Obama secretly wants to turn off granny's respirator. Hence the headlines like the ones you saw last week of Obama "not asking Americans to sacrifice anything" for health care, etc. A little bit of wonkery from the president, along the lines of "Jake, the premise of your question is wrong," could help a lot here.

Posted by: SavvyCommenter | July 27, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse


The healthcare reform bill released by the House Of Representatives is an excellent bill as I understand it. It's a bill with a strong, robust, government-run public option, and an intelligent, reasonable initial funding plan to cover almost all of the American people. It is carefully written, and thoughtfully constructed, informed, prudent and wise. This bill will save trillions of dollars, and millions of your lives. It is also now supported by the AMA.

This is the type of bill that all Americans can feel good about. And this is the type of bill that has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. Rich, middle class and poor a like. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and all other party affiliations. This bill has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of every American.

The house healthcare bill should be viewed as the minimum GOLD STANDARD by which all other proposed healthcare legislation should be judged. All supporters of true high quality healthcare reform should now place all your support behind this healthcare reform bill released by the United States House Of Representatives, as the minimum Gold standard for healthcare reform in America.

You should all now support this bill with all your might, and all of your unrelenting tenacity. This healthcare bill is a VERY, VERY GOOD! bill for all of the American people. Fight tooth, and nail for every bit of this bill if you have too. Be aggressive, creative, and relentless for this bill.

From this time forward, go BIGGER and DEEPER with the American people every day until passage of healthcare reform with a robust, government-run public option.

FIGHT!! like your life and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES!


Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (

God Bless You

Jack Smith — Working Class

Posted by: JackSmith1 | July 27, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I eagerly anticipate the watered-down joke that will eventually emerge this fall, and I look forward to transferring additional wealth to the insurance companies who have worked tirelessly to gain our trust and respect over the years. I am heartened to see that the entrenched "conservative" style of governance has been turned our federal government into a corporate welfare system, and I am excited to see which needy company will win the competition and get to cram as much of the federal budget into their shopping cart as they can manage in 3 frenzied minutes.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | July 27, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse


It is precisely because the Blue Dogs want to retain power that they are fighting reform. What the left does not get is the sheer irony of it all. In an attempt to gain the majority, they picked candidates in the south that are left of center but not liberal. If you think these guys are worried about running against liberal challengers, think again. They are worried about Republican challengers should they vote for this socialist takeover.

As for Ezra, don't count on Nancy getting this one done and don't count on anybody getting too worried about Obama and his memory. The POTUS is losing credibility by the day and he is spending political capital faster than he is spending our money. If Nanny State Nancy does get it passed, it is all but dead in the Senate (at least with the public option). Then those who voted in the House for this bill will have stuck their necks out, and to what end?

This is the real dynamic that is working. Attempting to be Cheerleader while ignoring the facts is not very becoming of a reporter. Also, Pelosi's statement that she will get this vote is arrogance in the extreme. One of the biggest mistakes Obama (who was popular) made was letting Nancy (who is not popular) become the power broker on health care. Let her ram it down the publics throat again and I can assure you that 2010 will see a trail of liberal entrails across the political landscape and no health care reform because the senate is the real body to worry about getting this done.

I guess living inside the beltway skews one's perspective of how real America views the situation in Washington. I live in Austin and was shocked at the number of anti-socialist health care protesters that turned out during a recent gathering that was supposed to be for the liberal health care reform. We outnumbered the opposition by 3:1 at a minimum.

And before anybody gets it in their head to state that Republican's don't want health care reform - we do. It just does not include the government option and a lot of the other liberal waste in the current house bill. Give me one example where the Government has ever got it right with respect to social engineering. Medicare - nope. Social security - nope. Even Bush's Medicare prescription drug program. It goes to show you even a Republican can be an idiot.

America is catching on and the gig is up. Liberals and those who support them are starting to sound like the adults in Charlie Brown. Wah wah wah, wah wah wah wah.

It's deafening I tell you.

Posted by: geraldmerits | July 27, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, one question. How come you do not consider the medicare prescription drug benefit a health care reform?
One comment. It would be a lot easier for people to understand the act if it were 100 pages instead of 1000 pages.

Posted by: wrbpilot | July 27, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

@ geraldmerits: I live in Austin too, a very liberal city. Ain't heard a sound anything like the uproar you're fantasizing.

Posted by: wapomadness | July 28, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

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