The Worst Approach on Health Care.

Ezra Klein tells us the following, about breaking up the health-care bill, which makes me want to scream:

I should say, at the outset, that I'm not a fan of this idea. But there's no denying that breaking the health-care bill into different pieces is receiving serious consideration. Nothing is decided, but according to House aides, there would be at least four bills: one containing tax credits to help people up to 400 percent of poverty purchase insurance and insurance regulations; a second focusing on changes to Medicare, everything from pilot programs to the closing of the doughnut hole; a third including the Medicaid expansion; and a fourth with miscellanea like the health-care workforce and wellness and prevention programs and IT. Funding would be scattered across the bills in order to satisfy pay-go requirements.

Yeah, you know what we need now? Another few months of ugly debate on health-care reform. I'll bet Republicans won't want to engage in any of that demagoguery anymore, because even though it was a political bonanza for them, they probably feel really bad about it. And maybe, if Democrats ask really nicely, they can get Republican senators to break with their party, and not filibuster a Democratic health-care bill. And maybe that could happen not once, not twice, not three times, but four separate times.

Listen up, Charlie Brown: Lucy is going to pull the football away. She'll tell you that this time is different, but it isn't. There will be no Republican votes for health-care reform. Zero. How in god's name can you not understand that by now? The only choice is to pass the Senate bill through the House, then make additional changes in the reconciliation process, which can't be filibustered. There is no path that goes through the regular legislative process in the Senate. None.

Ezra also passes on this, which Chris Van Hollen, the head of the DCCC, told Greg Sargent: "The Senate bill has been branded in a way that understandably makes it unacceptable in its current form to many voters, especially independents." So they're reluctant to pass the Senate bill through the House.

Van Hollen is a smart guy, but this is classic inside-the-beltway blindness. What was unpopular wasn't "the Senate bill" -- it was the whole ugly process. The idea that most Americans have distinct opinions about the Senate bill, the House bill, and other proposals is just absurd. You couldn't get 10 percent of Americans to tell you what the difference was. What Democrats need to do is pass the damn thing.

-- Paul Waldman

You may also like