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A thought

How would health-care reform's prospects change if members of Congress and their families wouldn't have health insurance unless it passed?

By Ezra Klein  |  January 21, 2010; 3:51 PM ET
 
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Comments

Let's keep hurling those Molotov cocktails -- a few of 'em should hit their targets.

Posted by: scarlota | January 21, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Only if 'pigs were flying'. That is not the reality and reality is Congress folks have health insurance. If they did not until they got HCR, we would not have been in this mess.

Even in cutting the throat of HCR, Dem Leadership doing it utterly disgusting manner. No ownership, no leadership and no accountability.

The reality is we have been fools in following these Dems so far and believing that they will bring any substantial change. It is clear, they do not have any such intention now.

Use the Base and throw it over the bridge when 'winds' change...

Posted by: umesh409 | January 21, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

They would have provided something, and probably come up with a better bill, if they had to utilize the same healthcare system they were prescribing for everyone else.

Would it have been easier to come up with universal healthcare if they had just decided to expand the current government healthcare to everybody?

Or would there have been less opposition if the healthcare bill had included a requirement that all federal employs and elected officials would have to use the exact same healthcare system the man on the street would be obligated to use?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 21, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I have never seen such a massive freakout by a political party......

The Dems were given a small window to pass a bill through the Senate with 60 votes. They pulled through. Then things went back to how they were in the Senate. When Dems turned to the House to get it done ... House members had completely bailed. Makes no sense to me, especially w/ Pelosi's tenaciousness.

Pass the thing quickly, fix it in reconciliation, and FORGET ABOUT HEALTH CARE FOR A WHILE. The longer everyone sits around and stews about it, the more unpopular it is. If it becomes so unpopular that it doesn't pass, the party is doomed in 2010, and way, way more blue dogs will be gone than otherwise would be.

Posted by: Chris_ | January 21, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

There is zero chance of passing comprehensive health insurance reform. I think progressives are under-estimating the fact that house members are highly accountable to their constituents, and the healh care bill has become increasingly unpopular. The House vote was going to be close even without Massachusetts.

I think the idea of passing medicare expansion through reconciliation would be politically viable.

Obama's talk of a "pared-down" bill is surrender monkey talk. I doubt it would pass, Republicans aren't going to bail-out Democrats.

Posted by: HuckFinn | January 21, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

It would have no impact. Too many of them are already rich. Those that aren't simply would find a way to get their spouse employed in a cushy job to get coverage. You think Liberman or Bayh are worried about their healthcare, or that they couldn't find coverage easily? You think any GOP'ers in this environment would jump over if they weren't covered?

It's a great soundbite. But it's removed from the reality that many members of Congress bear no relation to those they represent.

Jane Harmon, anyone? DiFi?

John

Posted by: toshiaki | January 21, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

How would it change if nobody had coverage unless it passed? Why just limit it to our "leaders" on the hill?

The obvious answer is that it would be marvelous.

The reality is that those without adequate coverage (including some WITH insurance) don't have enough clout. So here we are.... again.

Posted by: freesty1e | January 21, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

You didn't seem to care about their cadillac provided plans previously.

Any healthcare bill passed should force our politicians into the same system they want for us.

Posted by: WrongfulDeath | January 21, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

HuckFinn you make sense, but here is the question - even without MA loss or with that loss you say House was reluctant to vote for the compromise; but then why are they under illusion that by not voting they would get voted back?

It is understandable that House members are accountable to constituents on more immediate basis. But to believe by showing such an utter incompetence in governance (even with majority you cannot do anything); they can get voted back is delusional and they all deserve to be kicked out.

Further, to hope that something smaller can be passed is also extremely high risk strategy (more than backing Senate bill and getting back things in reconciliation budget bill) because:
- health care reforms will be that much in the news which will further hit Democrats and
- why would any single GOP would come on board when the 'victory' by opposing health care reform is all there for GOP to only loose?

Not only your doubt of GOP not helping Dems is true, we know how this whole path is going to get traced:
- bring down health reform;
- obstruct Obama and Dems on financial regulation reform so the failure to governance goes to Dem (Instead of saying I am ready for a fight why is Obama hiding the fact just last Thursday he spoke to House members that he was ready for HCR fight? He just ran away from that fight so no one can believe him here.);
- get GOP majority in Congress in 2010;
- make Obama to get a primary challenge from Left so Dem party is finally broken and Obama becomes next Carter.

We are all on that path and by refusing to back the Senate HCR and Dems Leadership not putting all of their marbles / stakes in convincing House Dems; we are for sure heading towards that tragedy if we stay with Dems.

Run, run away from Dems...

Posted by: umesh409 | January 21, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words...

http://images.theweek.com/dir_27/the_week_13716_27.jpg

Posted by: economistsdoitwithmodels1 | January 21, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"There is zero chance of passing comprehensive health insurance reform. I think progressives are under-estimating the fact that house members are highly accountable to their constituents, and the healh care bill has become increasingly unpopular. " --HuckFinn

Do you suppose that unpopularity might have something to do with the fact the bill doesn't address the reasons we have so many uninsured in the first place?

The number one health care problem in this country isn't that [x number] are dying because they cannot afford treatment. Our problem is that we have a health care financing model that is so dysfunctional that it is bankrupting individuals, companies, and all levels of government to the point that we cannot afford to extend treatment to those who have not found some way to have someone else pay for it.

How exacty would pouring more public money (that we don't have and will not have anytime in the foreseeable future) into that situation possibly result in a sustainable improvement for anyone?

And unless Congress lifts the prohibition on drug negotion for Medicare, you can forget about any popular support of any extension.

Posted by: Athena_news | January 21, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Remember when John Edwards promised to shut down the federal employees health benefit plan if Congress failed to pass a universal health care bill? Remember when he was ruthlessly mocked for the idea?

Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Posted by: HBurton1 | January 21, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

It has already been tried. You don't think Rahm Emanuel went to every wavering vote and told the person he would not be reelected, he would not receive DNC funds for the campaign and would be "primaried", if he didn't get his head straight and vote for the bill?

Posted by: truck1 | January 22, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

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