Rethinking Healthcare

Dems run quarterback draw on health care fourth down

Dems run quarterback draw on health care fourth down

Posting in Government

What is clear is that on this issue the public is deeply split, that the split is reflected in the positions of the two parties, and that compromise among Democrats will be difficult, with Republicans impossible.

Stuck between Scylla and Charybdis on the last play of the health care game, Democrats plan to run their quarterback up the middle tomorrow and then force a bill through on a bare majority.

Their final offer is a modified version of what the Senate has already passed. Absent any Republican support majority leader Harry Reid seems willing to use a majority rules process called "reconciliation" over two months if necessary, to overcome a filibuster.

The plan is to have the House vote for the Senate plan, use reconciliation on the Obama amendments, and then have the House agree to those, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Analysts like Amy Walter of The Hotline think this can be a winning play. Voters are suspicious of government, but also of big business, she writes.

A tracking poll from Kaiser Health sees support for specific elements of the Senate bill, like changing how health insurance works, creating an insurance exchange, and closing the Medicare "doughnut hole. Even Republicans like these ideas, although they are not in the game plan GOP leaders will run tomorrow.

Liberals appear exhausted, warning that the final bill may still fail in the House over abortion, that the most popular part of the original proposal (a public option) is left out of the final bill, and that they have lost patience with the process.

What is clear is that on this issue the public is deeply split, that the split is reflected in the positions of the two parties, and that compromise among Democrats will be difficult, with Republicans impossible.

Republicans are already in active campaign mode. Democrats hope the theatrics of tomorrow and final passage of a bill will generate enough enthusiasm in their base that voters may reconcile themselves by November.

In other words no one likes the sausage factory while everyone craves a nice hot dog. But, quiet, they're coming out of the time out.

This whole thing would be a lot more fun if John Madden hadn't retired.

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Dana Blankenhorn

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Dana Blankenhorn has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age's "NetMarketing" supplement and founded the Interactive Age Daily for CMP Media. He holds degrees from Rice and Northwestern universities. He is based in Atlanta. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure