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Breaking up is hard to do

Some Democrats are suggesting that leadership breaks the health-care bill into different pieces and passes them separately. I'll just outsource this to Jon Cohn:

As a matter of policy, breaking up the bill into component parts doesn't work, unless you're willing to scale back the bill into almost unrecognizable form. Jon Chait and Paul Krugman have explained why.

But put that aside. Breaking up the bill would be bad politics, too. Right now the Democrats need to move quickly -- to finish this debate, which is alienating more voters every day it drags on, and to talk about the economy. Breaking up the bill into pieces merely insures we'll be debating health care into the spring and summer.

For all of the panic in Democratic ranks right now, the reality of the situation is stunningly simple. In the span of twenty-four hours, the House of Representatives -- the House in which Democrats command a huge majority, in which liberals actually have some sway, and in which leadership actually has power -- could put health care reform on the president's desk for signing.

One lousy vote. One lousy, stinking roll call vote. That's the only hurdle in the way of health care reform.

That this idea is gaining any traction is evidence that after months and months of constant focus on health-care reform, there are plenty of legislators who haven't bothered to learn very much about it.

By Ezra Klein  |  January 20, 2010; 12:52 PM ET
 
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Comments

Ezra,
Your Socialist ideas are not popular. Yes the house COULD pass the senate bill, but it would be a major setback for women's reproductive rights and it would basically be signing most of their own death warrants for the 2010 elections.

As much as you like to pretend that the country wants this legislation passed, its crystal clear it does not. If a MA Dem can lose a senate election, imagine the backlash if someone from a moderate/ swing state did this. Its very easy to ask other people to give up their jobs when you get to sit behind a computer desk. Thats basically what your asking the left to do.

Posted by: Natstural | January 20, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Not advancing healthcare is a death warrant for most Dems. Why support them if they can't accomplish something this important?

Posted by: fuse | January 20, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Natsural, your ideas are unworkable. With health care, the whole world is socialist and spend less.
http://blogs.ngm.com/blog_central/2009/12/the-cost-of-care.html (click on graphic)

Low-information voters follow the mood of the country. In the choice between "being losers" or "getting something done," "getting something done" actually a) helps people b) allows Dems to focus on other priorities and c) fixes our screwed up insurance system.

There is a backlash to incumbents. It's clear that some blue dogs will lose in 2010. It's unclear whether they will all lose upon HCR failing (like 1994) or only some of them will lose (because of the huge, huge majority built up from 06 and 08). If you're a Dem, I'd choose passing the thing quickly and moving on to something else the GOP can complain about.

Not passing this is asking the Dems to appear like they wasted everyone's time and effort, making them even more unpopular, and letting the landslide effect sweep all blue dogs out of congress. Passing the thing, apart from what you think about the policy, lets them appear as if they got something done.

Posted by: Chris_ | January 20, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

If the dems pass this bill - they have signed their death warrant...it's as simple as that!.......The people have spoken - and they continue to ignore - they will sign this disaster of a bill at their demise.

Posted by: short1 | January 20, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Not to sound like a broken record, but we aren't the rest of the world. I don't see all these socialist wonderlands leading in Haiti. Its our Armed forces securing the country. The UN did virtually nothing there during its time as police. Should we follow the world's example when it comes to responding to a crisis too?

Our healthcare provides great service to the majority of the country. We have the top technology. Americans don't go to Canada to get medical treatment, but people from Canada and the rest of the world DO come here.

Basically screwing with people's health care, when the majority of us are content with it, to help 10-20 million people is not going to fly. Do it and lose your job.

Posted by: Natstural | January 20, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Natstural, your logic is impeccable:

IF we help Haiti THEN we must have an awesome health care.

That's ridiculous. Look at the stats in that link: we spend way, way too much. If you're a fiscal conservative that should make your blood boil.

And what's this with "losing your job?" Currently, if you're losing your job, you're most likely losing your health care. That happens for millions of Americans, and we pick up the tab in their ER visits. That's costly. Getting people into an insurance pool to spread risk? That's smart.

All of this has no effect on "extra" care. Want to spend a bajillion dollars on some high-cost, experimental treatment in America? Come on in, Canadians! But, don't expect people to come here for basic health care -- in fact, expect many people to stay far, far away from our mess. That hurts our economy as much as it hurts the uninsured...

Posted by: Chris_ | January 20, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Both parties have their lunatic fringe, the majority of this country wants a balanced budget. As an investor and citizen I'm outraged of the compensation paid to company execs, to bankers, to D C government employees, to college presidents, to school superintendents,etc. I see many pay imbalances. I want tax revenue used frugally and wisely. Home ownership is great if one can afford it. If not don't subsidize it. The budget office has lost what little credibility they had in the health care debacle. Until we have unemployed physicians health care will rise. The majority will support more medical schools. The AMA will scream. Pay part of med school, don't subsidize more because a student goes to school in an expensive city. Limit medical tort claims. Streamline insurance forms, when billing insurance bill primary and secondary plans, give the consumer a detailed bill showing amount of bill primary insurance payment and secondary payment. Instead of talking the talk of being an American walk the walk. I'll never forget the picture of Admiral Poindexter getting into his foreign vehicle. National security?

Posted by: twayneb | January 20, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

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