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The Democratic plan: Finish this bill

obamanewplan.JPG

There's not a lot of policy news in the president's new health-care plan. The changes are pretty much what we expected: more money going to subsidies (which are now being referred to as "the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history"), an excise tax that kicks in later and affects fewer plans, a new Health Insurance Rate Authority to oversee premium increases and reject them if they're unfair, the elimination of the Nebraska deal, and so on. There's no public option, nor any significant retrenchment. In fact, the cost of the bill has increased by $75 billion, the result of more generous subsidies.

But if the changes to the underlying policies are modest, the impact on the politics will be tremendous. It might even be, as Olympic announcer Ed Olcyzk said about the Canada/U.S. hockey game, "tremendously tremendous." The release of this plan marks the end of the Scott Brown election and the resumption of the health-care process.

This is not the first time Democrats have waited out a bad political period and then used a combination of televised events, substantive releases, and legislative progress to take back control of the media's narrative. In August, when the Tea Parties geared up and the town halls went nuts and the opposition found its voice, the Obama administration and the Democrats waited out the storm and then used the president's big speech to pivot to the release and subsequent passage of the Senate Finance Committee's bill. Even as the politics fell into chaos, the process ground on, which eventually brought the media back.

In December, when Joe Lieberman killed the public option and the Medicare buy-in, when Ben Nelson cut his deal, when the Republican obstruction became uncommonly ferocious and liberals began demanding that Democrats "kill the bill," Democrats did the same thing: They kept their heads down, continued working on the legislation, and kept the Senate in session until they'd won its passage. A month of bad press gave way to articles assessing Obama's likely historic achievement.

The election of Scott Brown threw the politics of the issue back into chaos, and unlike in past instances, left the process uncertain as well. But Democrats have spent the past few weeks rebuilding the process, and today was the first step: The press will now spend a few days covering the plan itself, rather than just the politics of the issue. Then comes Thursday's summit, and if all goes well there, Harry Reid says that the Senate will use the reconciliation process to make a few tweaks and changes and, alongside the House, finish this bill.

That, of course, is the real plan: finish the bill. The Democrats have been roundly criticized for mishandling the politics of health-care reform, and those criticisms have often been justified. But there's a larger truth, too: The only way to win this issue is to pass the bill. Their biggest mistake has been letting the legislation take so long. But that doesn't mean they've failed. They fail if the bill fails, and they succeed if the bill passes. The progress has become slow and halting and unsteady, but they are still moving toward the finish line.

Photo credit: Laura Rauch/AP.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 22, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Next: Where are they now?

Comments

There is more detail on the whitehouse.gov site than in the 11 page summary -- see it here --
http://www.whitehouse.gov/health-care-meeting/proposal

Posted by: LindaB1 | February 22, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, I know you're on the wonk side of the wonk-activist divide, but I would love to request that you post an appeal for reform-minded folks to call their Senators & Representative, and help us out a little with what you suggest say to each one for maximum effectiveness. I have called a number of times and I tend to get very vague generalities, i.e. the Senator is committed to bipartisan health care reform. (A discouraging answer from a Democrat.) I press a little harder and point out that Republican participation in this process is not exactly forthcoming, at least not if you define participation as including "being willing to vote in favor of something at the end of the day", but it doesn't get me any more details as to what exactly she is committed to doing. And most likely, the answer is "nothing, yet" and she needs to hear from constituents.

Posted by: Jenn2 | February 22, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

"The press will now spend a few days covering the plan itself, rather than just the politics of the issue."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
You're funny Klein!

Posted by: jeirvine | February 22, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

The full-scale, nearly-universal Republican opposition to the President's health-care initiative has been a bit surprising all along because it is clearly rooted in political, more so than policy, considerations. There is no significant expansion of Medicare, no public option, no real "public plan" being added here, and the plan resembles more the moderate Republican Chafee-Durenberger proposal of 1994 than it does the Clinton Health Care Plan of that year---yet Republicans have attempted to falsely characterize the plan as "government takeover of health care." There has been a great deal of hypocrisy at work on the part of Republicans.

The Republicans have no real interest in health care reform. They have no plan to extend coverage to the uninsured. Some even oppose crackdowns on many insurance company abuses, and most oppose any real change to the way health providers are paid.

In short, the Republican Party continues to stand, as it always has, with the narrow special interests of the few, and against the common interest, the public interest. The Republican Party has historically fed at the trough of corporate interests, trade association lobbyists, and against policies which might create a more even playing field for the middle-class.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | February 22, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

so no real change. the senate bill minus the nebraska giveaway + a health insurance regulator (that will get thrown out procedurally) + more subsidies + a weakened excise tax.

wish they would have listened more and realized they had a policy and not politics problem. doesnt change my impression of the bill (it actually only makes it worse).

Posted by: PindarPushkin | February 22, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Actually, it's just better formatted -- looks like the content is the same. What's interesting is what is NOT changed -- no public option, no changes to the abortion language in the Senate bill, no relief for undocumented workers, no inclusion of a national exchange. Looks like the changes in the President's proposal are probably the ones agreed to by Senate and House leadership in the final hours before the Massachusetts election. Only the rate regulation authority has been added. Obama is staying true to his moderate approach.

Posted by: LindaB1 | February 22, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

yes it was a tremendous hockey game. but just like that game if they don't go and finish it'll all be forgotten.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 22, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"Their biggest mistake has been letting the legislation take so long."

You are crazy.

The biggest problem by far has been the tone deaf commitment by Obama-Pelosi-Reid to embark on this fiscal trainwreck that ignores the most genuine grass-roots movement representing an reaffirmation of all that has made the USA great!

Ezra - In your lifetime have you seen a genuine authentic grass roots movement like the Tea Party?

Don't patronize the American People!!!!

http://www.newsweek.com/id/233915/page/1


Democrats - Continue to ignore the reality of the USA in 2010 at your own peril!

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 22, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

"The press will now spend a few days covering the plan itself, rather than just the politics of the issue."

I want what Ezra's smoking.

Yes, I know someone beat me to it, but it's such a preposterous statement it had to be called out twice.

Posted by: inkadu | February 22, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I called Senators Snowe and Collins and asked them to take another look and to support the president's proposal.

Posted by: mainer2 | February 22, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"The Republican Party has historically fed at the trough of corporate interests, trade association lobbyists, and against policies which might create a more even playing field for the middle-class.
Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN"

What changed? Now the Democrat party is pulling in health insurance lobbing dollars at a 2-to-1 rate and liberal members Schumer, Reid and Rangel are bringing in the biggest hauls. And for a bill that places great financial burdens on the middle class with what many polls expect to be comparable or even worse quality of care.

Posted by: cprferry | February 22, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

How many independents in BLUE Massachusetts and New Jersey voted for a Republican recently?

How many of them cited opposition to what Democrats were doing in DC as the reason?

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 22, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"Their biggest mistake has been letting the legislation take so long."

I understand what you're saying here. Every time liberal Democrats failed to convince moderate Democrats before a recess of Congress, moderates came back less willing to sign on to the bill.
The progressive agenda requires secrecy, deceit and party loyalty. Kind of like Stalinism.

Posted by: cprferry | February 22, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

In Massachusetts, losing Democrat Coakley pulled down money from insurance and pharmaceutical lobby.

Dare the minions in the liberal echo chamber to consider that all is not how it appears to you. "Helping the little guy" scam has made many a Democrat become rich and fat.


In your lives have you've been better off in your life when you've dealt with American corporations directly with only limited intervention by federal government---look at your employment, your consumption of products on the free market?

Would you rather continue depending on that same relationship? or would you rather have a lot more federal government involvement in your everyday life?

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 22, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I think the administration and democratic leadership are still tilting at windmills.

Regardless of political fallout, they can "fix" the Senate Bill using reconciliation, to make it line up with the President's proposal. At that point the Senate will be done. BUT...

The Pelosi has to get the amended version of the senate bill passed by a simple majority of the house. Unless the Democrats have been taking a lot of lessons in party discipline, I am very doutfull that is going to happen. They barely passed their own bill, and that was with the support of Stupak's group. He doesn't seem happy with the Senate's abortion compromise. If his group says "no", there is no passed legislation, reconciliation or no reconciliation.

Posted by: WEW72 | February 22, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Does the Obama plan do anything to speed the implementation timetable, which could be critical in order to improve the popularity of the bill, as well as the Dems' electoral chances?

Posted by: rich_in_nj | February 22, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Only in the fantasy park of Kleinland could "more money going to subsidies" be cast as "the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history".

Who does Klein thinks buys the goods from "The Rich" who "pay" (at the business end of the government's gun) for those subsidies?

And the price controls of the "Health Insurance Rate Authority" are a direct prescription for shortages. See Venezuela for comparison (in rhetoric and practice.)

Posted by: msoja | February 22, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

This is Obama's 90-foot shot at the buzzer. He's trying to rig the game and change the rules, but Americans are on to his con. If Democrats go for this bill, which effectively nationalizes health insurance and health care, they'll lose control of Congress and most governors' chairs next fall. As I blogged this morning:

President Obama today announced that instead of creating a public option, government run health insurance organization, he wants to effectively take over private health insurers by imposing price controls and regulations that would destroy the companies and eliminate any real competition in the health insurance markets. He's going for all or nothing.

By nationalizing insurers, Obama effectively would impose wage and price controls on physicians,
nurses, medical group practices, hospitals and other health care providers. If Congress imposes ObamaCare on insurers, they will have to pass the price controls and new regulations on to providers. And providers will reduce access to care to America's sickest and most needy patients.

Under ObamaCare, health insurance and health care markets will become even more politicized, and every medical and health care policy will reflect the political needs of politicians, unions, providers, medical supply and device makers and insurers.

Patients will have virtually no say about their insurance or care, because they aren't organized and don't have high-paid lobbyists making contributions to the politicians who will be looking out for number one—themselves.

What's most frustrating about this is that insurers are asking for it. Wellpoint's politically tone-deaf announcement that it was raising some Blue Cross and Blue Shield premiums by 39% gave Obama the opening to propose price controls.

People are angry enough about those rate increases and about a lot of other dumb things insurers do to almost demand that the insurers be put out of business.

What they forget, of course, is that when government takes over, every decision is all about politics, not about doing what's right for people who buy insurance and need timely, high-quality health care services. www.businessword.com.

Posted by: donaldjohnson | February 22, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

So why is this a good bill again? I think I missed something.

Does anyone really think this bill is deficit nuetral?

Does anyone think our unionized federal bureaucracy is more competent than the private sector?

Does anyone understand what an implicit tax is and how this can negatively effect the incentives that encourage growth in our economy?

Does anyone think taking even more control away from individuals will improve their ability to manage their own health?

Does anyone that supports this bill understand the difference between revenue and profit or how insurance works?

IF the insurance business model creates a product that saves people money on healthcare expenses while creating lots of good jobs and value for shareholders then how is it evil?

Why doesn't anyone ever talk about the impact of mandating the terms of coverage upon the cost of premiums? If every policy has to account for the risk that the client might want to get a sex-change operation then that will make every policy more expensive. Why can't consumers choose what risks they want to insure against? How can the government presume to understand their risks better than them?

Posted by: fallsmeadjc | February 22, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The Republican Party is feeding on pure ignorance and hope that this approach will lead them back into power. I heard one of their members at CPAC say no to spending and yes to tax cuts. If you try that in a real business by not reinvesting in the business itself and cutting prices to your customers, then lets see how long that business will exist as a business. The thought in itself is beyond idiotic. I went to China last year and was amazed at the level of development taking place there. China plans to have 42 high speed rails in operation by 2014; we intend to begin the first one in Florida at that time. We're falling behind so quickly and no more investments at home and more tax cuts for everyone would continue our slide backwards. The Republicans answer to ANYTHING is to take a taxcut and come back in the morning. There is no discussion of anything else; just take a taxcut and all will be well.

Posted by: ATLGuy | February 22, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

fallsmead, at least $7 billion of the proposed deficit reductions actually come from a revision of the biofuel tax credit.
Just more Democrat games.

Posted by: cprferry | February 22, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

For Dems, the politically smart thing to do is to pass the current reform bill by reconciliation, after the President shows the TV viewers that all the Repubs' substantive concerns are already met in the bills.

Then everybody will take 2-3 months to find out everything the reform does, and the parts they don't like, and the prospects for improving it again in the near future, if you elect good people.

Then peoples' emotions will subside, and they will say, "You know what, this reform is going in the right direction, and at least the Democrats had the guts to push it, and the Republicans were total jerks," -- and the Republicans will be out of business for about an entire generation.

After all, the current Republican position is, "We're going to obstruct this, so you can continue to pay 40% more than any other advanced country for the same health statistics...

"Also, we don't think everybody should immediately be covered! It's your fault you're sick!...

"And if you BELIEVE our nonsense that private healthcare insurers should be without regulations like the credit-card companies, and that tort reform will cure all ills, you deserve it!"

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | February 22, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Ezra writes:
Then comes Thursday's summit, and if all goes well there, Harry Reid says that the Senate will use the reconciliation process to make a few tweaks and changes and, alongside the House, finish this bill.

_______________

I'm sorry, but then what is the purpose of the summit????

If they're planning the reconciliation route (which would be necessary for partisanship to rule the day) then that indicates they have no intention of considering Republican ideas on Thursday, and this IS all political theater and an attempt to feign bipartisanship.

Sorry Democrats, but this will fail you. You've misunderstood what the electorate is most hungry for - playing nice with each other - for real.

Posted by: boosterprez | February 22, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

This bill is more populist than the negative reaction to it. The Democrats embrace of crude economic populism doesn't jibe very well with the preferred liberal image of refined sophistication. How can they try to cast their opposition as a bunch of ignorant fools while proposing this mindless rubbish?

Posted by: fallsmeadjc | February 22, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I look at Greece, and I can't help but think what our country will look like in the future.

Right now Greece is paralyzed. The Labor Unions/Government workers are set to go on strike. Why? Because the country is forced to put freezes on wages, cut the Greek version of S.S from age 61 to 63 and so on.

Of course once you are a recipient of an entitlement program it is nearly impossible to undo it. Greece has been a wellfare state for many years now and that goes along with just about the rest of Europe.

Right now, 2 out of the 3 main areas that will add to our deficit, which are the entitlement programs of Medicare and S.S.

We should be talking about how to reduce reliance and make very difficult cuts on these programs, but rather do that, we are going to add yet another entitlement program. And not only are we going to add another one, but Obama wants to increase the size of the subsidies and close the donut hole on the prescription drugs, which of course just once adds more to the size of this new proposed entitlement program.

But don't worry folks, "It's payed for". Even though we are going to cut the only tax that made sense, the only one that actually would help reduce overall health care spending, which is the excise tax (because of the Unions), we are going to add close to $750 B worth of new taxes over the next 10-12 years. Sure, let's just pretend that the $750 B will have a minimal impact on our economy.

Also, let's just put stiffer mandates for businesses to offer insurance to their employees. Ya, that won't hurt businesses.

Mr. Partisan puppet Klein says
"They fail if the bill fails, and they succeed if the bill passes."

No, if the bill passes, we all fail.

Posted by: Magox | February 22, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Correct. Passing a health care bill now is what matters. Americans will benefit for years to come.

Posted by: dudh | February 22, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Will the lemmings REALLY follow Barack, Nancy and Harry right off the healthcare cliff? Is no one in the Democratic party paying attention to the sentiment of the public? Did they not just watch a Republican win Teddy's seat, running AGAINST the very healthcare "reform" effort they are now going to try to push through? This is absolutely political suicide but the Dems refuse to pay attention.

Posted by: eddie_the_k | February 22, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Ah Ezra, the Berkeley sophomore writes with salivating bias for BHO's new new new socialist tripe of Care. The Plan is an outline, not even in bill form so the CBO cannot even score it. When San Fran Nan and Hoyer already are scoffing at it, and public comments already see this as an arrogant way to go round the Pubs once more as well as any common sense Dems who are left in that radical group in Congress, one knows that this may get the MSM and flacks like you all hot for change but this is just another gimmick of leftist nonsense which will try to fool the voters again. My bet is, it will not. Now Feb. 25 is another fraud and Ezra, you need to point that out if you are honest. It is a trap. And Pubs should put their own Care Plan out on CSPAN, Fox, Talk Radio, twitter, Facebook and forget you guys and the WH radical crew. Americans will then finally see an opposite free enterprise plan rather than a European socialist try again. C'mon Ezra. Tell us that you really are just in the bag for this radical!!!!

Posted by: phillyfanatic | February 22, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Hi Ezra: I wish to make three points:
(1) the president wisely stayed out of the health care debate, because Hilary was trounced by having lots of presidential input as well as secrecy. Obama's entry at the end is after the Senators and Representatives couldn't agree - so he is functioning as a mediator. (2) Mr. Brown is a moderate in a lot of ways; he has acknowledge he is open to health care reform in some format and he ran an effective campaign against and ineffective candidate with a significant degree of baggage. Stop making Mr. Brown election a death knell - it isn't.

I personally miss the Hill and enjoyed every minute of health care reform. While I think the Republican's are putting hurdles and boulders in the democrats way, the Democrats need to address their concern as legitamate (i.e. what about abortion, what about illegal alien); because those were not addressed and if you don't spell it out, you don't know what you're agreeing to. Sara S.

Posted by: delrayAlex | February 22, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, your continuing optimisim for Obamcare is too cute. Just keep telling yourself that everything will be OK over and over and maybe it'll help dull the pain when Obamacare come crashing down. One thing you never mention is that the Democrats still have to pass Obamacare in the House for it to become law. You keep talking like House passage is a given. The more liberal version of Obamacare only managed to get 220 with 218 votes needed for passage. The lone Republican to vote for the House version of Obmacare has already said he won't vote for the Senate version so there's one vote gone. Bart Stupak says he won't vote for the Senate bill because it weakened his abortion restrictions and Neil Abercrombie Congressman for Hawaii and Obamacare supporter has resigned to run for governor. With those three votes gone Obamacare drops below 218 and that doesn't include others in the House who realize Obamacare will cause them to lose their jobs in 2010 and will consequently vote against it. But keep thinking those happy thoughts Ezra.

Posted by: RobT1 | February 22, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse


FIRST, DO NO HARM, MR. PRESIDENT.

President Obama fails to realize that as long as the federal government is compromising the health of Americans by putting a cell tower- based microwave/laser weapon system in EVERY neighborhood in America -- and using it to silently attack and impair thousands of unjustly "targeted" citizens -- Americans cannot trust their government when it comes to protecting their health and well being.

Read this article by a mainstream journalist and a victim of what amounts to a government genocide hiding in plain sight:

http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves
OR: poynter.org/subject.asp?id=2 (see articles list)

NOW IT'S OBAMA'S GESTAPO USA. WHEN WILL TEAM OBAMA ACT?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
OR NowPublic.com/scrivener (see "stories" list)

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR NowPublic.com/scrivener (see "stories" list)

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 22, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

Your blog would really benefit from some smarter trolls.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 22, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the Republicans are obstructist--thank goodness. We the people out here are grateful.

Don't blame them for this mess...the Democrats could have passed a bill at any point without a single Republican last year. The public was assured of the Democrats attitude: "we won." They didn't have to work with Republicans and refused to. The fact that they closed out any meaningful dialogue is why the bill has no tort reform, no appreciation for the fact that insurance companies are businesses with actuarial tables that they use to be profitable and stay in business, and is just a huge new entitlement favored by the far left.

The Democrats are crazy to just make demands of the free market with no thoughts of the consequences. They passed the stimulus bill and it is clear that they have no idea what they are doing (8% unemployment anyone?) besides giving everyone money that is not theirs to buy votes in their fictional utopia. China is in a position to buy us for a reason--the stupidity of the party in power. I blame the Glass-Steagal act in 1999 and greedy politians all around for the banking debacle, but at this point it is Democrats and their short sightedness running our country into the ground. Thank goodness for Scott Brown, who has forced Democrats to slow down in their abuse of power.


Posted by: BeckyinMo | February 22, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I think Mr. scrivner50 speaks for all those in opposition to health care reform when he says that microwave towers are an Obama genocidal conspiracy to control our brain cells. That is a self-portrait of the opposition that no Democrat could have ever painted with such impact and effectiveness.

BRAVO, Mr. scrivner50! Keep talking! Maybe you can stop health care reform AND those killer microwave towers before the end of the year!

Posted by: ilarynx | February 22, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Americans, lets not let 2010 be a repeat of 2009. The runaway spending must stop, the healthcare reform if passed will literally do away with the Democratic party.

What you find difficult Ezra is this: Obama and gang have misused Americans and their persistance in whittling away at a "Healthcare Reform" is only serving as an irritant to the taxpayers.

What don't the Democrats understand about "No?"

If you want the Democrats to regain any type of solid footing, you need to realize that Americans will not tolerate anymore ridiculous spending, a healthcare reform package at this time - nor will they vote for Democrats in the upcoming elections.

In the wings, we have more businesses closing their doors, states who are struggling and many more foreclosures on the horizon.

If I were you Ezra, I'd rethink your political whims and get yourself on solid footing. What don't you understand about the stimulus package and all Obama's reform bills? Not one has been a true benefit to the American people.

Do your homework, study about Tarp, Harp, Hamp, stimulus bill and the recent healthcare reform.

None of these programs were orchestrated properly, non were they monitored (some not at all) and it's time that you realize we aren't about to join Obama's program to spread the wealth. May God Bless Our Nation

Posted by: annie21 | February 22, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Multi-Millionaire: Sarah Palin's Grand Son is On [Government Run-Socialized Medicine]
______________________

The dangers of "death panels" were explained to Americans on Sarah Palin's Facebook page. Oh, sweet Lord, she must not sleep at night...her grandson could be the next victim of "socialized medicine".
________________

Recently released documents from the custody battle show clearly Tripp Palin Johnston has socialized health care through Indian Health Services and the Alaska Native Medical Center.

Palin's Family has Federally Funded Health Care afforded to them...but if you had it Barack Obama might kill you. Put this on the list of Palin's Greatest Hypocritical Hits...volume 97.

___________________

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Health_Service
___________________

Government Run Health Care, Death Panels and All: Indian Health Service (IHS) is an Operating Division (OPDIV) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). IHS is responsible for providing medical and public health services to members of federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Natives. IHS is the principal federal health care provider and health advocate for Indian people, and its goal is to raise their health status to the highest possible level. IHS provides health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives at 33 hospitals, 59 health centers, and 50 health stations. Thirty-four urban Indian health projects supplement these facilities with a variety of health and referral services.

Posted by: omaarsblade | February 22, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

This is the smart route for the Democrats to pursue. It may or may not be successful, but running around like chicken's with their heads cut off after the Scott Brown election made no sense.

I knew the politically suicidal behavior of the Democrats was too good to last.

That being said: @OHIOCITIZEN: "In short, the Republican Party continues to stand, as it always has, with the narrow special interests of the few, and against the common interest, the public interest. "

If that were self-evidently true, or even close, then Republicans would never win elections and you'd have nothing to worry about. The fact that not only do Republicans win elections, but they've won them recently in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia, suggests that *something* that Republicans run on resonates with the general public.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 22, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Rahm-rod it through! Ignore any opposition! The President knows best and the Congressional Leadership knows better than any citizen what's good for this nation and its people!

Keep it up.... the cliff's edge is only a little farther ahead....

We are not lemmings, or sheep. Come November, you will find out exactly how disgusted we are, though.

Posted by: Wanderer13 | February 22, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes, smarter trolls, PLEASE.

BeckyInMo blames "crazy Democrats" and the "Glass-Steagal act in 1999" for the banking meltdown when actually the Glass-Steagall act of 1933 was repealed by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act of 1999. Please note that this is the PHIL Gramm (REPUBLICAN-TX), JIM Leach (REPUBLICAN-IA), TOM Bliley (REPUBLICAN-VA) act.

Notice the common thread between those three authors?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramm–Leach–Bliley_Act

Posted by: ilarynx | February 22, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

HCR opponents can be heard repeating the Tea-Bagger's mantra: We are not lemmings or sheep. We are not lemmings or sheep. We are not lemmings or sheep. We are not lemmings or sheep. We are not lemmings or sheep. We are not lemmings or sheep. We are not lemmings or sheep. We are not lemmings or sheep. We are not lemmings or sheep. We are not lemmings or sheep. We are not lemmings or sheep. We are not lemmings or sheep. We are not lemmings or sheep. We are not lemmings or sheep. Baaaa. Baaaaaa...

Posted by: ilarynx | February 22, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

"The press will now spend a few days covering the plan itself, rather than just the politics of the issue."
-Ezra

I agree that this will prove to be wishful thinking, but at least Chris Matthews has been pre-empted all week by the Olympics. :)

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 22, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

That's right! Ram it through and the he!! with what the majority want, even thogh we cannot afford it!! Has everyone had a glimpse of what the White House placed on their site?
Their heads will be reeling after they force it. This president sure is determined to be a one term president.
The good news: We will have a brand new Congress after the November elections!

Posted by: SeniorVet | February 22, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, they succeed if they pass a bill that actually addresses the issues. They fail if they pass anything else.
Your metric of any bill passed is victory is a sad commentary on reduced expectations and the gap between the world Americans are struggling to survive in, and the world of inside-the-beltway media.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | February 22, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Go Dems. Get this Health Care Reform passed and let the hypocritical, irresponsible, unAmerican republicans know our country is tired of their obstruction.
For a party that almost destroyed our country and the world to actually believe the American people support their unethical, dishonorable behavior proves how out of touch they are with us, and, destructive they are with their actions.

Posted by: kathlenec | February 22, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Same song, just another verse...what makes Obama think by combining the house version of health care reform with the senate version change the attitude of the American people about health care reform..this 'newest' version should be dead on arrival.

Posted by: drcody75 | February 22, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Now it is reported that Obama intends to save his health care takeover by giving the goverment the power to roll back large premium increases by insurance companies.

Obama's plan continues to be contrived and changed daily to create new boogeymen when each days populist pandering fails.

Obama is either misled or misleading when he tries to explain that he is going to "reduce costs" by reducing the premiums we pay. In truth this does not reduce costs, it actully worsens the problem because users lose sight of the signals that indicate how much they are health care really costs, which in turn makes them spend more. Obama's plan is smoke and mirrors and misinformation

Posted by: ELFopportunity | February 22, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Paul Volcker put it well on the Sunday talk shows a week or so ago, the most frightening thing for the future of the United States has become our inability to govern. Progressives MUST stand and deliver on this. Pass the Senate bill now. Deliver the public option on its heels.

Ezra, as you put it so well on Maddow, Congress can do this overnight. More doing, less talking. Any Democrat that has any hope of surviving the November elections ought to understand this.

Posted by: sdavis3398 | February 22, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

annie21 claims that the Stimulus Bill (among others, including TARP initiated under Bush) has not been run properly. Well, at least with regard to the Stimulus Bill, the Wall Street Journal (2/19/2010) disagrees:
"Last April, Mr. Obama went to Britain for a summit of leading economic nations, amid much skepticism among European leaders about the value of economic-stimulus measures, doubts about the wisdom of the bank "stress test" the U.S. was planning... The [resulting economic] disparity suggests that at least a few things were done right in the U.S. response to the economic crisis, and a few things less right in Europe.."
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704269004575073320619483574.html

Perhaps annie is suggesting an Iraq/9-11/Katrina level of executive competence?

NO THANK YOU!

Posted by: ilarynx | February 22, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

This unwanted bill for government takeover of our health care will mark the end of the Democrats as well. This will be their waterloo. Our family will has never been angered by anything as much as this. They may be able to do this but you will see anger unlike any we have ever seen and the Dems will pay the price at the voting booth. They will be creamed and deservedly so.
Republicans, we are behind you to stand up to say NO to this garbage. I hate to say this but there really is something wrong with a President who keeps proposing a bill no one wants and is ignoring our economy and the creation of jobs. Either he is rather slow or he just does not give a fig about our country or us.

Posted by: greatgran1 | February 22, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes, they need to finish, for political reasons if nothing else. Yes, this bill will do a lot more good than harm.

But this isn't a historic achievement, it's weak tea.

Posted by: adamiani | February 22, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

How terribly sad is must be to be a Republican these days, where all you can do is wish for the worst for your president, wish for the worst for your country, and wish for the worst for your fellow Americans. All this, simply for the mindless desire to return to political power.

How shallow. How empty. How un-American.

(Paraphrasing Sean Hannity)

Posted by: ilarynx | February 22, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, as usual, two very different opinions:

"Universal(almost) HC, Good for America"

and the other:

"HC bill is a Global Disaster."

Easy to see which one is reasonable...

Posted by: rogerhq | February 22, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Health Care Reform: Clearly remains a Democratic effort. Working off the Senate's bill while melding key provisions from the House's version, White House officials are proposing to add another $75 billion in costs to the legislation, bringing the total up to $950 billion over the next decade -- all of which will be offset by increased revenue.

Among the major changes in the president's proposal:

* It removes the $100 million in Medicaid funding that Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) had secured for his home state of Nebraska -- funding that, after intense criticism, even Nelson now wants removed.

* It adopts the House's more generous measures to help individuals purchase insurance, and adopts the Senate's approach when it comes to penalizing individuals who don't buy insurance -- basing the penalty on a reduced flat dollar assessment or percentage of income, and including a "hardship" exemption for families who simply cannot pay the fine. (This paragraph has been corrected.)

* It closes the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole" coverage gap by 2010 -- choosing the House's language rather than the Senate's (which would provide a 50 percent discount for only certain drugs in the hole). How this conforms to the deal that the White House cut with the pharmaceutical industry at the beginning of the health care reform process is unclear.
Story continues below

* It adopts the Senate's model for health insurance exchanges (virtual marketplaces for consumers to compare and buy coverage) making them state-based as opposed to national. One plugged-in activist told the Huffington Post that this could be because it would be impossible to pass national exchanges into law using the Senate's simple-majority reconciliation process.

* It adopts the Senate's abortion provisions, which are more moderate than the aggressively anti-choice measures adopted in the House.

* It uses the Senate's revenue provisions, though it goes a long way toward pacifying those concerned about the so-called "Cadillac tax". The threshold at which health care plans would be hit by that tax would be raised from $23,000 for a family plan to $27,500. And the provisions would not kick in at all until 2018.

* It includes a new wrinkle: establishing a national health insurance authority that would help states combat insurers that institute unreasonable premium increases. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced this same proposal last week.

* Finally, despite a late-stage push for the White House to include a public option for insurance coverage in the final bill, the president's proposal does not include any element of government-run insurance.

"There is not a Public Option in here," said Pfeiffer, before insisting that the President Does Support The Provision.

Posted by: omaarsblade | February 22, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Another thought I haven't seen in the HC debate:
What will happen with those 30 Million Americans who in the future will benefit from a decent HC system?

Will they produce less or more?

Posted by: rogerhq | February 22, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

And the winners are... big insurance, big pharma, big government. The losers? The Dems in November, and generations of American taxpayers who must foot the bill. As we've known all along, it doesn't matter that most people don't like what either the House or the Senate Dems came up with, just as it doesn't matter whether the Repubs bother showing up to Thursday's so-called health care summit. Now that they've pretty much got this out of the way, perhaps Obama and the Dems can focus their attention on further funding of big nuclear power. Strange, but it all sounds like something the left would accuse the Republicans of conspiring to unleash upon the American people.

Posted by: lbataille55 | February 22, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Best article I've read on this subject by far lately. Thanks to Ezra Klein.

Republican resistance to health care reform appears to consist of not wanting Democrats to succeed in anything. What the country needs, what is good for America, for U.S. competitiveness, to ensure the country does not go broke paying for health care, etc., does not seem to matter.

Even more curious, Republican arguments against the proposals do not make sense while their counter proposals do not pass judgment.

Allowing the political process to drag on might have been a mistake for Democrats, and a more hands approach might have helped Obama, but one cannot seriously accuse the Democrats of reckelessness here. This legislation is well thought out and a good compromise.

I especially appreciate Klein's observation that Democrats were strategic in waiting for various political storms to pass before taking subsequent action. If this process were a Chess game, Obama is playing well. The opposition might finally be in check.

Posted by: wheatlandsprings | February 22, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Napoleon might win Waterloo after all. I'm greatly discouraged by the Democrats at the moment, but they have a chance to prove their worth here.

Good stuff.......I want to see Boehner or McConnell seizing on the floor when a reconciled bill gets passed. They've got great health care after all.

Posted by: theobserver4 | February 22, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

You know a significant portion of the Wellpoint profits they're talking about are directly related to the sale of a subsidiary?

I know the reporting at this paper adheres to a zombie-like bias but that does seem like a rather important fact given the current thread of the Democrat's rhetoric. It would be nice to have reporters do a iittle due diligence before swallowing talking points.

It should also be noted that the rate increeses in California are directly related to the regulatory framework in California that coincidenttaly mirrors a lot of what Obama wants to impose on the whole country. More regulations means higher premiums. A good reporter would analyze why California's rates were increased so much more than other States. Could the regulatory environment be an important factor? Hmmmmm.....

You should do some actual research and stop being such a lazy zombie.

Posted by: fallsmeadjc | February 22, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Obama must be a Republican mole....

Posted by: yankintenn | February 22, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The Dems will be taking a puck in the mouth come November if they cram the Senate montrosity through using reconciliation. If they can convince the country on Feb. 25 maybe this revised proposal has a chance.

Posted by: ktruth | February 22, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

The reason I'm absolutely opposed to this bill is that it will explode the national debt 10 years out (the first 10 yrs are made to look deficit neutral by removing $250B in Medicare funding and by providing only 7 years of benefits with 10 years of taxes). Klein points out the current bill is $75B more costly than the Senate version; who cares?! The entire bill is insanely expensive, when we can't come close to paying for the entitlements we already have (Medicare alone is $38T...that's trillion...in the red).

Posted by: JohnR22 | February 22, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

fallsmeadjc: "It should also be noted that the rate increeses in California are directly related to the regulatory framework in California that coincidenttaly mirrors a lot of what Obama wants to impose on the whole country."

It should ALSO be noted that that is the same line of BS used by Enron in their manufactured "crisis" in California - "Gosh! Those bad regulations made us raise rates and throttle the power grid (i.e. illegally manipulate the market)."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis

Sorry, we're not buying the same GOP con-job this time.

Posted by: ilarynx | February 22, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The corrupt healthcare bill with its trillion and trillions in additional costs will be final straw that will push the country into a debt crisis unlike anything we've ever seen! Obama isn't planting the seeds of another Great Depression, he's planting full sized trees!

Posted by: valwayne | February 22, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

We have seen this all and rejected it. It is not the solution to our problem. The Dems are determined to have a health care plan implemented, even if it is a bad one and the American people do not want it. Shows us just how great the representative government works. The beauty is there is an election just months away, and we are going to do all we can to oust these socialists before they bankrupt us and we are a failed state just like Greece!

Posted by: flutie1 | February 22, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

Your columns are hilarious! If you lose your job at the Post, you can get some back pay from the Obama White House.

Posted by: mitchflorida | February 22, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

You were a participant in the storm of media anguish following one of these periods, in your "This is how healthcare dies" post.

You were rather wrong on that one, weren't you?

Posted by: ramseytheii | February 22, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

President Obama this week called for a televised bipartisan summit to get his health care reform plan back on track, but 61% of U.S. voters say Congress should scrap that plan and start all over again.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds just 28% who think it is better to build on the health care plan that has been working its way through the House and Senate.
Support for and opposition to the existing plan remain at the same levels they’ve been at since just after Thanksgiving.
Only 35% of voters believe Congress should pass health care reform before the upcoming midterm elections anyway. Fifty-four percent (54%) say Congress should wait until voters select new congressional representatives in November.
It’s interesting to note that in a separate survey earlier this week 63% of voters said, generally speaking, it would be better for the country if most incumbents in Congress were defeated this November. Just 27% now believe their current congressman is the best person for the job.

Posted by: mharwick | February 22, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I think Mr. Klein is right on, as usual, and I hope that the appearance of a new resolve is in fact a new resolve and the bill is eventually enacted, in our time. There is an excellent summary on the BBC at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8160058.stm that gives a very concise and meaningful, fairly objective summary. I personally like the insertion of a price control ingredient, which in my judgment can be as effective as a public option. I would prefer a universal health care system but this is better than nothing and better than the Senate bill by far. I am wondering, I guess, what will happen with the anti-abortionist people, who have done more to hurt their own cause in the last several months than anything they could do in a millennium? It is hard to believe that they will just lay low to fight another day in a more appropriate forum for their cause, or find it within themselves to respect the personal choice of others as others respect their personal choice on the issue. We will see on this one. However, in the overall, let's put an end to the health care reform debate by passing a bill, even if it is through the reconciliation process, which most Americans would feel more closely represents the democratic process as expected than the BS that has been going on for the last several months. Put an end to it and get going on creating a new economy for all.

Posted by: rryder1 | February 22, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Is he going to have a press conference and answer questions or just read from that d.... prompter!

Posted by: flutie1 | February 22, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Ezra -- You're so proud of this ugly baby, and why shouldn't you be? You don't analyze issues: you simply pass along what Obama's press people are shoveling, never mind that the public at large isn't listening. But since you're so elated at the release of this PDF and the end of the Scott Brown election (actually, not sure you saw, but that ended Jan. 19, and your side lost), I'm surprised you forgot to mention the catchy names the Obama people were tossing around for the President's earth-shattering combo health care plan:

- Obamacare: How to Win at Three-Card Monty
- Senate 2: Electric Boogaloo
- Healthcare Reform Cost Savings, Perpetual Motion and Other Bright Ideas from the 2010 Democrats
- Jaws XIV 3-D: The Federal Government is back, and it's hungrier than ever!
- The Sting 3: We Put a High Premium on Your Health

Posted by: Imperfections | February 22, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The President clearly does NOT care what the American people want heir health care or government to operate. This administration has circumvented vetting, Congressional advice and consent for appointees, breaks any rule, or writes un supported Presidential fiats to do what ever it please, dispite the strong and vocal opposition of the American people The answer to them is derision and a slap in the face. This is clearly not a President of all the people. He sees it as his personal kingdom. We don't want a King, never did.

Posted by: kalamere | February 22, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Until the President and his party sit down and rationally discuss the following in the context of the impact of Healthcare reform. They are perpetrating a fraud on the taxpayers as a whole and the Republicans in particular.

The Pew Center on the States released a disclosure that a $1 trillion deficit in State Pension Plans staring the taxpayers in the face is a body blow for the economy.

The mainly undisclosed mandated but unfunded medical care costs for the states in BO's Healthcare reform are criminal. California at $2 trillion and AZ at $4 billion are two exceptions both notably Republican Governors while the Democrats remain silent about the economic damage this will cause.

The fact that oil prices have doubled in a year and we import more than half our oil is blithely ignored - more trillions out of our economy and shipped to offshore economies (& terrorists?)!

The projected deficit spending by Congress and BO of $10 trillion for last year and the next 9 years will have to be repaid by tax increases taking cash out of the US economy and is just plain stupid wildly uncontrolled spending. To date, it has created NO jobs as unemployment and UNDEREMPLOYMENT continue to skyrocket (above 20% now).

The trillions of dollars in state tax revenue shortfalls versus current expenditures are a tsunami of tax increases all coming out of the economy. $2 trillion for CA and $3 billion for AZ are examples for large population and small population states.

CAN'T ANYONE HEAR THE LOUD SUCKING SOUND? It is our economy running down to empty because self interested Washington morons are following the discredited economic theories of Keynes.

Posted by: PRRWRITER | February 22, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Until the President and his party sit down and rationally discuss the following in the context of the impact of Healthcare reform. They are perpetrating a fraud on the taxpayers as a whole and the Republicans in particular.

The Pew Center on the States released a disclosure that a $1 trillion deficit in State Pension Plans staring the taxpayers in the face is a body blow for the economy.

The mainly undisclosed mandated but unfunded medical care costs for the states in BO's Healthcare reform are criminal. California at $2 trillion and AZ at $4 billion are two exceptions both notably Republican Governors while the Democrats remain silent about the economic damage this will cause.

The fact that oil prices have doubled in a year and we import more than half our oil is blithely ignored - more trillions out of our economy and shipped to offshore economies (& terrorists?)!

The projected deficit spending by Congress and BO of $10 trillion for last year and the next 9 years will have to be repaid by tax increases taking cash out of the US economy and is just plain stupid wildly uncontrolled spending. To date, it has created NO jobs as unemployment and UNDEREMPLOYMENT continue to skyrocket (above 20% now).

The trillions of dollars in state tax revenue shortfalls versus current expenditures are a tsunami of tax increases all coming out of the economy. $2 trillion for CA and $3 billion for AZ are examples for large population and small population states.

CAN'T ANYONE HEAR THE LOUD SUCKING SOUND? It is our economy running down to empty because self interested Washington morons are following the discredited economic theories of Keynes.

Posted by: PRRWRITER | February 22, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I love the WaPo use of language: wait out bad political period, Repub near universal obstructionism...Ezra, can you say a PLURALITY/MAJORITY OF THE US DOESNT WANT THIS BILL. This has nothing to do w/ bad political period or the Repubs. I've read this stuff, all of it, and it's REALLY TERRIBLE. CBO states, re the Manager's Amendment (paraphrased from p 19): w/ the $500 bil in Medicare cuts, ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE LIKELY TO DECREASE, QUALITY OF HEALTH CARE LIKELY TO DECREASE. You can make this about poltics but it's really about HEALTH CARE and why this bill SCREWS UP THE ENTIRE SYSTEM. But, thanks for your thoughts tho. No need to deal w/ the will of the people, just plow ahead w/ your ingorance.

Posted by: JohnLeeHooker1 | February 22, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

A part of me wants the loony-left d-crat socialists to exhibit their FULL CONTEMPT for voters and the democratic process and do the sleazy, dirty reconciliation deed for their socialist healthcare-rationing bill. That way, patriotic Americans will put them out of power for the rest of my life, and I won't have to even think about them anymore.

Posted by: TeaPartyPatriot | February 22, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA'S PLAN ELIMINATES OVER $1 TRILLION OF GOVERNMENT SPENDING ON HEALTH CARE (net-net).

That's according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, January 2010.

I can live with that.

Posted by: paul65 | February 22, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Bush passed a lot of major legislation, including tax cuts, using reconciliation.

Fact.

Posted by: paul65 | February 22, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Senate Republicans undertook more filibusters last year than were undertaken in all the rest of American history combined.

Now THAT'S contempt for the will of the majority of American voters.

Posted by: paul65 | February 22, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Forget Intrade - you can estimate the prospects for an actual health care reform bill being signed by the volume of bs concern troll comments flooding any Ezra post saying the bill could pass.

Judging by this post, the bill's a shoo in.

Posted by: jeirvine | February 22, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

In reading a little further, one can sense that the rural fascists must be rattled, since we are again seeing the same old ridiculous comments against anything and everything that they call "Obama." If we can trust in their squealing, it sounds like the Obama proposal is a go.

Posted by: rryder1 | February 22, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

The DenofRats are toast if they prepetuate this fraud of a bill on the American people. The pigs in the WH and on the Hill will have hell to pay.

2012 cannot come soon enough.

Posted by: DCer1 | February 22, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Only in Washington DC can the government require people to buy something, pay a portion of the cost out of public funds and call it a tax cut! Or is that Ezra's suggested spin?

Posted by: spongebuck | February 22, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

TeaPartyPatriot:
Yes, yes, yes. This is one, er, what did you call me, a loony-left d-crat socialist?
Anyway, I am a patriotic American who has been in favor of this healthcare reform from the beginning and am totally for a public option. Please forgive me for not being able to be bi-partisan after a year of trying but I guess I am going to have to resort to using a sleazy, dirty, reconciliation deed to be democratic and
pass healthcare reform for the good of all Americans. BTW I thought when we put the blood sucking Republicans out of office that I would not have to contend with them again for the rest of my life, but guess what? We American patriots still have to contend with their ignorance.

Posted by: MaggiePi | February 22, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

"They fail if the bill fails, and they succeed if the bill passes."

If they succeed, the American public -- two-thirds of whom are against this legislation -- lose, as will every generation thereafter until it's repealed.

It's vital to the well-being of this country that Progressivism fail so that liberty for every citizen can succeed.

Jeff Perren
Shaving Leviathan

Posted by: jdperrenoud | February 22, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Is Ezra supposed to be a Post employee, or is the Post simply yielding space from its web "newshole" to the Obama Administration for dissemination of propaganda?

The hopey-wishy absurdity of this essay is mind bogling.

Posted by: wbcoleman | February 22, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

This is like going to a restaurant and ordering fish. When it arrives, it's kind of smelly and you send it back. An hour later, the waiter brings back the very same fish, now a bit smellier. Needless to say, you refuse the fish and quit patronizing that restaurant.

The Democrats face disaster if they fail to pass this bill, true enough. But they face catastrophe if they do. Getting yourself into this position when you control three-fifths of each House of Congress as well as the White House takes some kind of political talent, but I won't attempt to say what kind.

Posted by: bobroyfills | February 22, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how realisticit is to beleive that over 2,000 pages of law is reform for anything

Posted by: JoeLunchpail | February 22, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

hello paul 65 the repubs did not have the numbers to fillibuster anything in the last year until month ago when they added a body to the senate you must be college educated

Posted by: JoeLunchpail | February 22, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

the president does not control recociliation

Posted by: JoeLunchpail | February 22, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder how realisticit is to beleive that over 2,000 pages of law is reform for anything"

And what, pray tell, is the correct ("realisticit") number of pages within which to legislate comprehensive reform of the American health care system?

If the bill had a shorter length, you EK trolls would all protest that it is too short and lacking in detail.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 22, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

The republicans want to scrap this bill and start from scratch. Of course they do! That would give them another chance to be obstructionists for a whole nother year. Then they could accuse the dems of being incapable of governing. That's their whole strategy.

Posted by: scorplar | February 22, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Finish it off - for good. The first order of business for the next Congress will be to repeal Obamacare.

Posted by: doctorfixit | February 23, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

ilarynx -

how terribly sad it must be to not be able to think for yourself. to not understand dissent based on issues, not ideology. how terribly sad it must be to always be turning to big brother for a handout, since you can't fend for yourself....

Posted by: subframer | February 23, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm beginning to wonder is there is a such thing is a mentally stable person left in our Goverment. What do the American citizens need to do to make these morons understand that the country does not want this monstrosity bill to be passed. Obviously voting a historic overwhelming loss in Va and putting a strong right conservative in office didn't work. Nor did voting out an incumbent, heavily favorite democrat governor in the bluest of blue states in NJ. Maybe taking out Teddie's seat in the liberal bastion state in Massachusets that has been in democratic hands for 60 years, that would half to make them wake up. Sadly but no, this health care sh*t sandwitch is their holy grail that has alluded them for decades so by god they will force feed this repulsion right down our throughts knowing it will choak the life blood out of us. But buy god, when it's all over Obama can put a nice little check mark on his list and move on to regulation will force us to get rid of our cars and ride pogo sticks to work. You don't think a country can be completely destroyed from within in a single generation, you better think again, you are wittnessing history being made here.

Posted by: ProudTexan | February 23, 2010 12:46 AM | Report abuse

The republicans want to scrap this bill and start from scratch. Of course they do! That would give them another chance to be obstructionists for a whole nother year. Then they could accuse the dems of being incapable of governing. That's their whole strategy.

Posted by: scorplar | February 22, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse


__________________________________________

The Dems are incapable of governing. They need to do anything they possibly can to stop the out of control loony lefters party for creating yet another huge entitelment that we have no money to pay for. Do you work and have a bank account that you have to manage? Most people typically don't get by by running monthly deficits by spending 33% more money than they make. These trillion dollar here, trillion dollar there bills these idiots are proposing will destroy this country.

Posted by: ProudTexan | February 23, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

I don't see this proposal getting any Republican votes in the House --- but it will lose all the Stupek Democrats. So... what's the point? Is Obama trying to hang onto his base? That's around 18-22% of the electorate, he's going to need quite a few moderate Democrats and a majority of independents if he's going to accomplish anything and then win reelection. I don't see that happening.

Posted by: JBaustian | February 23, 2010 1:39 AM | Report abuse

They pass it or they don't pass it. Makes no difference. The Democrats lose either way.
The process has been so debased in the eyes of the American people that the result itself is filthy.
Saying NO has become a virtue.
If Ezra doesn't see this, he should quit boring us with his tripe.

Posted by: parkbench | February 23, 2010 4:05 AM | Report abuse

"If Ezra doesn't see this, he should quit boring us with his tripe."

~or~

If you find the "tripe" here to be so boring, perhaps you should go look for some less boring tripe elsewhere.

Just a thought.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 23, 2010 5:10 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, one thing I don't understand: How on earth can they expect to pass the health insurance rate regulation plan by reconiliation? That seems like a textbook example of something the Parliamentarian would strike from the bill.

Posted by: martin_blank | February 23, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

This is hilarious seeing BeckBots claiming that "nobody wants health care reform" and that "a majority don't want health care reform" and such nonsense. Apparently you were too busy trying to figure out how to spell "oligarhy" to notice that A MAJORITY OF AMERICAN VOTERS elected Obama who ran on a platform that included HEALTH CARE REFORM as a major issue. REMEMBER way back in 2008 when OBAMA HANDED McCAIN/PALIN'S ASSES TO THEM IN THE ELECTION. Yeah, that. I realize that your memories are notoriously short and that reading is not your strong suit, but you really have outdone yourselves here in the room-temperature-IQ department. Now, tea-baggers, back to the drawing board: O-L-I-G-A-R-H-Y. Very good! Next, P-O-T-A-T-O-E. Excellent! You're now qualified to run as GOP VP in 2012! Congratulations!!!

Posted by: ilarynx | February 23, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

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