The worst thing that could have happened to Democrats — and the one thing that needed to happen in order to kill health reform — did not happen
Why? How? When?
Marc Ambinder, the Atlantic: “…the White House was taken aback by the ferocity of the health care debate, the media was confused, activists were alarmed, and Republican enthusiasm shot up. But a funny thing happened on the way to the morgue…
The worst thing that could have happened to Democrats — and the one thing that needed to happen in order to kill health reform — did not happen. The Democrats held together. Moderates were not intimidated. Don’t confuse their constituent meeting pander with changed minds.
Did more than a handful — if any — Democrats who were leaning towards voting “yes” on health care before August change their minds during August? Probably not. Another irony: the public option debate helped. It helped by offering itself up as a sacrifice. The new Maginot line, drawn by advocates of a single payer system, turned out to be a bit of a feint because it was never the sine qua non of reform. Initially, given the GOP success (aided by progressive elites who essentially agreed) in framing the option as essential to health care, its putative failure and demagoguery seemed to be a significant blow to the White House. But — and here is the key point — it became something for the Blue Dogs to “oppose” and thus satisfy their constituents’ concerns about reform in general…the White House would rather have the bill they’re probably going to get now and worry about Netroot anxiety later. From the start, the least convincing argument made to the White House about strategy starts with the premise that compromising with recalcitrant Republicans is inherently bad.
After August, under the worst case scenario, there is majority support for the following major changes to health care: real (albeit limited) competition in the insurance industry (even absent a public plan). A cap on what a person pays for catastrophic illnesses. An end to insurance company recision policies. Guaranteed issue. A basic benefit package. Significant subsidies to help people who earn as much as $64,000 a year pay for health insurance. Better cost and coverage incentives. And lots more. Say what you will about these reforms — maybe they’re incremental — but they’re a foundation for center-left policy in the future.”
My anxiety is reduced – thanks!