An aide to a Democratic senator checks in:
The GOP’s argument against health care reform, from the beginning, was that Democrats all secretly want a single-payer system but since that’s a non-starter with The People, they’re trying to pass a bill that looks good on the surface but will force private insurance companies out of business and leave us with no option but to adopt single-payer. They said that about every version of the bill that has been debated in either chamber, even the Senate bill which would actually provide a bunch of new business to private insurers at the taxpayers’ expense, with no public option. Hasn’t it occurred to House Democrats that the GOP would simply say the exact same thing about these “smaller chunks” they’re talking about breaking the bill into? They’d even say it about the stuff that’s considered popular.
Imagine we introduce a bill that says health insurance companies can’t discriminate based on pre-existing conditions. All that would happen is the insurance industry would pay some firm to do a study that concludes that would cause insurance companies to go out of business, and some GOP senator will go to the floor and say “See? This is all about forcing single payer.” Throw in some douchebag on TV with a tri-cornered hat and a chalkboard, and you have a unified GOP caucus against any bill that remotely attempts to deal with the health care issue.
You know things are going to shit when you hear a Democrat say “the Republicans will be hard pressed to vote against THIS bill…” They’re always always always wrong. The GOP was ready to filibuster a troop funding bill to derail health care reform last month.
The only option at this point, if you want anything at all, is to suck it up and pass the Senate bill, and fix it later. The supreme irony in all this is that had Coakley won and the bill gone to Conference, there probably would have been some deal to pass a bill that nobody was in love with, and fix the rest of it through reconciliation. Passing the Senate bill is not that far off from this scenario. And it’s not really that bad an option. These House members need to get over themselves.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.