Monday, January 18, 2010

What will happen in Mass and then to reform?

Update 9:30pm: now says Brown 3:1 favorite, meaning 74% chance of winning. I think he correctly picked every senate race in 2008.

Short answers are I don't know and I don't know. Here is detailed analysis from you are interested in polling generally, statistics and how polling is done you will find his post interesting. If not, then you won't and he says it is a toss-up, but also paints the most convincing case for either side using the polls, so you can make yourself happy with what he writes whether you are a lefty or a tea-bager.

What about reform? If Brown wins, there are plenty of ways to pass a bill, even the bill that is now being negotiated. The biggest barrier to this is that the Democrats are not so unified. It is really a question of what a Brown loss will do to vulnerable Dems, especially in the House. Will this scare them into not wanting to vote for the bill, or any bill? I got a newsflash for any of them thinking this way: 10% unemployment and people even wondering who will win Senate race in Mass means that they are vulnerable and a lot of them are going to lose, no matter what.

If you look at the Nov. vote in the House, the most liberal and the most conservative Dems voted no. So, the negotiations are titrated toward just enough to pass the bill. No public option loses some on the left, while inclusion of public option can't pass the Senate. Some of the conservative Dems certainly like the bill now being discussed better than the one that passed the House. But, they are mostly in swing districts and they are the ones who are most likely to lose, because the only way you get a large majority is winning marginal seats. So, Mcintyre, Kissel and Shuler in NC (Dems voting no in Nov House bill) have a good chance of losing, regardless of the health bill. Anthony Weiner from Brooklyn and who is for Medicare for all is not going to lose.

In the end, they should do what they think is best and correct. Hopefully, there would be issues at least someone would be willing to lose over?

The worst thing about passing nothing is how terrible the status quo is for this nation. In 1999, employee share of premiums were around 10% of wages, and last year they were almost 20%, and the number of uninsured in accelerating. The fiscal insolvency of Medicare due to the baby boomers, which we have known about since the 1970s-80s, is upon us. We actually have to do something.

And it is hard to see how we as a country muster the will to focus back on this again. No bill means two straight Democratic Presidents crushed in first part of their presidency attempting to address health reform comprehensively. Republicans are good and unified on defense, but the campaign slogans (market solutions, sell across state lines, etc.) are just that and I just don't think its in their DNA to take this on. The one time they have driven for something large (Medicare Part D) they committed one of the most fiscally irresponsible bills Congress has ever enacted. Not much of a track record.

I think the bill being outlined is easily better than the status quo. And one of the best aspects of it actually passing would be that it would ensure that each Congress for the next 5 would be back to tweak, adjust, and refine. It would take 293 House votes and 67 Senate votes to override a veto, so all the Republicans can run on repeal if it passes, but if something does pass it is not likely to be repealed. Whether a bill passes or not, if the Republicans are going to gain back lots of seats, I hope some of them are actually thinking of policies that have a chance of making things better. The country needs for them to develop an offense.

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