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Do We Just Need Congressional Consensus?

approvehealthcare.jpg

“We need to get a bill that 75 or 80 senators can support,” says Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). “If the Democrats choose to shut out Republicans and moderate Democrats, their plan will fail because the American people will have no confidence in it.”

It's worth noting that the American people have no confidence in moderate Democrats or Republicans. The graph atop this post comes from the latest WSJ-NBC poll. A slight plurality of the American people don't approve of the job Barack Obama is doing on health care. A huge majority of American people don't approve of the job Republicans are doing on health care. It's not as if Americans have surveyed this effort and decided the problem is that the totally irresponsible Republican Party hasn't been sufficiently consulted.

What Enzi is actually saying, I imagine, is that a bill that appears to achieve consensus in the Senate will inspire confidence in the country. But there's not much evidence of that. The American people are being scared off of health-care reform because the opposition is convincing people of all sorts of lies about the bill. If eight more Republican senators were attached to this legislation but talk radio and tea parties and Freedom Works and the rest of the controversy engine remained steadfastly opposed -- and they would -- there would be little difference in the confidence level of the American people.

Enzi -- like the administration, and like many of his colleagues -- overestimates the cues people take from congressional process. Most Americans don't know much of anything about the bills moving through committee, or the Gang of Six process. They're not in the street demanding that the White House let the Finance Committee finish its work rather than go with the House bill. Rather, they look at the TV, hear controversies about all sorts of crazy things, see people screaming at each other in town halls, and assume they can't trust anything that emerges from this chaos.

By Ezra Klein  |  August 20, 2009; 11:51 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Comments

It's worth noting that the American people have no confidence in moderate Democrats or Republicans.

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you know you can dismiss it all you want because almost no one that posts on here says it but there's a large group of the population that doesn't trust left wing democrats who want single payer. We're not all screaming about death panels and killing Grandma. Many of us know that it will severely limit the doctors we have based upon changes in reimbursement schedules and we have very valid points that deserve consideration no matter who your party affilliation.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

And why should anyone trust the Senate when Sen. Baucus says something like this: "a couple people in the crowd had youtubes"? A little better then Ted Stevens, but still....

Posted by: glewiss | August 20, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"Many of us know that it will severely limit the doctors we have based upon changes in reimbursement schedules and we have very valid points that deserve consideration no matter who your party affilliation."

By "us", do you mean "sellers of health insurance policies", or something wider? Because you're somewhat compromised on this, at least when generalizing from your own position of interest to the population at large.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | August 20, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Not being a historian of the Senate or anything, but when was the last time we had 75 Senators agree on anything? I think Enzi, Kyl and Grassley have made it pretty clear in their negotiations and August comments that they have no desire in handing any sort of victory to Obama on healthcare. Or, put another way, what plan have they put forth?

Posted by: scott1959 | August 20, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

pseudonymousinnc,

hi! no i mean conservatives but real funny!

Do you not realize there is a shortgage of doctors now?

Sure don't take my word for it, TAKE EZRA'S.

http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?month=06&year=2006&base_name=the_coming_doctor_shortage

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 20, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Actually, what Enzi means is that if a bill passes this year it will be a Republican bill that shifts the burden of costs away from the insurance companies and to individual policy holders. No public option; no penalties for denying coverage for pre-existing conditions (as Jon Kyl made clear today; etc.

Posted by: scarlota | August 20, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Obama's a moderate.

Posted by: obrier2 | August 20, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

OILY Koch Industries wants to defeat Obama on Healthcare to weaken the Climate Bill, so they spend a fortune sneakily under fictitious names. Not only do they fund "Americans for Prosperity" but then "Americans for Prosperity" in turn funds 289 websites of assorted names puffing themselves up to look like a big crowd.
http://truthiest.blogspot.com/2009/08/koch-industries-astroturfing-against.html

AFP then is JoinPatientsNow.com and PatientsFirst.com and TAXPAYERMINUTE.COM, and HOTAIRTOUR.ORG, and defendingthedream.org, and rightonline.com.

Koch's also fund the Mad Hatter's Tea Party crowd, like the LEADED TEA PARTY (bring your guns) sponsored by MEDICAL Development Intl boss, AMERICANS FOR PROSPERTY FLORIDA CHAPTER Chairman. Don't say there's no connections between the Gun Nuts, the Tea Baggers, the Town Hall Health Care Disrupters, Astroturfers and OILY Koch Industries.
http://truthiest.blogspot.com/2009/08/tea-party-gun-nut-wants-armed-anti.html

Posted by: know1 | August 20, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

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