A Feint: Senate Debates Health Care Bill Next Week

By November 10, 2009Health Care

Interesting maneuvering matched by occluded motives in the health care debate today up on Capitol Hill. From Reuters, “US Senate Democrats push to open healthcare debate“:

WASHINGTON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate said on Tuesday they hope to bring a long-delayed healthcare bill to the floor next week, kicking off a tough fight that may well spill into next year.

From a purely tactical standpoint, it might indeed make sense to quickly bring the House bill to the floor, vote it down, and then go back to the Senate bill as defining the debate. Politically, it might stop the bleeding.

Meanwhile, President Clinton legacizes on the Hill. From ABC News, “Bill Clinton Visits Capitol Hill to Rally Democrats on Health Care

In the push for health care legislation, a new yet familiar face emerged on Capitol Hill today in an attempt to rally Democrats — former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton, who himself unsuccessfully sought to overhaul the nation’s health care system 15 years ago, met today with Senate Democrats during their weekly caucus meeting and urged them to come to a compromise on health care legislation.

And from Dow Jones, “Former Pres Clinton: No Need To Be Perfect On Health Care.”

The Wall Street Journal examined that “just get it done” strategy in an editorial today, reviewing the comments of John Cassidy, a liberal writer at the liberal New Yorker. From “Confessions of an ObamaCare Backer“:

Mr. Cassidy is more honest than the politicians whose dishonesty he supports. “The U.S. government is making a costly and open-ended commitment,” he writes. “Let’s not pretend that it isn’t a big deal, or that it will be self-financing, or that it will work out exactly as planned. It won’t. What is really unfolding, I suspect, is the scenario that many conservatives feared. The Obama Administration . . . is creating a new entitlement program, which, once established, will be virtually impossible to rescind.”

Why are they doing it? Because, according to Mr. Cassidy, ObamaCare serves the twin goals of “making the United States a more equitable country” and furthering the Democrats’ “political calculus.”

Cassidy concludes: “Putting on my amateur historian’s cap, I might even claim that some subterfuge is historically necessary to get great reforms enacted.”

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