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.
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