With health care reform still in the Senate, where it probably needs 60
votes to pass, the last Republican Senator to support the reform bill,
Olympia Snowe, has dropped out
This leaves the Senate Finance Committee's bill, the current iteration
of reform under discussion, with exactly zero pledged Republican votes
of support. Can health care reform still pass without Republicans? Even
if it does, will it still be anything worthwhile?
- Obama Should "Hammer" Snowe David Sirota penned
an open letter to Obama titled "Stop Being a Celebrity, Start Being a
Leader." He wrote, "It seems to me that if you went to states like,
say, Montana, Iowa and
Maine and publicly hammered Sens. Baucus, Grassley and Snowe as
obstructionists, there's a decent chance they would fall in line
(especially Baucus, who is a Democrat who always worries about losing a
primary). At minimum, doing that kind of thing, rather than spending
time on national/glam television and courting elite journalists/talk
show hosts, gives you a better chance of delivering concrete legislative results, even if it might make you momentarily less of a pop culture celebrity.
- Snowe Could Be Back Publius urged liberals not to give up on Snowe's support. "I don't think this is the last word on Snowe," he wrote. "It could be kabuki on
her part -- establish opposition now to provide political cover for
later support. Of literally all the Senate Republicans, she seems
sincere in her desire to get a decent reform bill."
- No Reform Without Republicans Megan McArdle expressed skepticism
reform could still pass. "If
so, it will be the first time in history that I can think of that a
single party passed anything of this size--certainly not a major new
entitlement," she wrote. "Medicare and Social Security both had
considerable Republican votes, something I don't see this time around."
- Republicans Not Needed Washington Post's Ben Pershing dismissed the importance of GOP support. "How strong were the chances for such a compromise in the first place?" he asked.
"Beyond the basic necessity to get 60 votes in the Senate, how important
is it in the broad scheme of things to pass a bill with two or three
Republican votes, instead of none?"
- It's a Republican Trap David Corn labeled
any GOP support for reform "a Republican trap" that could harm
Democrats. "Though some Republicans have been ticked off at the GOP
half of the
Gang of Six--Senators Charles Grassley, Mike Enzi, and Olympia
Snowe--the Republicans may owe these legislators their thanks," he
flirting with Baucus over the bill, they have moved him to the right,
and he's produced a cheaper measure that could cause the Democrats real
political problems with working-class families."
- It's Just Negotiations Nate Silver advised calm. "Leverage in a negotiation is not necessarily a zero-sum affair, since nobody has any
leverage if there's no hope to reach an agreement. So some of this
maneuvering, perhaps, is a reflection of the bill moving closer to
passage and not further away." Silver noted that the latest iteration
of reform is not the final word. "There are at least three other
starting points for
a final showdown over health care: the House Tri-Committee bill, the
Senate HELP bill, and possibly also the White's House's statement of
principles, some of which remain vaguely defined."
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
mfisher at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.