Time to Kill the Bill?

The question many of us have debated is, how bad does the health care bill have to get before we’re better off killing it? Howard Dean says the time has come.

The gauntlet from Dean — whose voice on health care is well respsected among liberals — will energize those on the left who are mobilizing against the bill, and make it tougher for liberals to embrace the emerging proposal. In an excerpt Kinzel gave me, Dean says:

“This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate. Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill.”

Kinzel added that Dean essentially said that if Democratic leaders cave into Joe Lieberman right now they’ll be left with a bill that’s not worth supporting.

On the other hand, Nate Silver writes Why Progressives Are Batshit Crazy to Oppose the Senate Bill. You’ll have to read his post for the argument, but it’s a solid wonk argument.

Greg Sargent:

There’s a debate raging in the blogosphere about whether the Senate bill has been so watered down that it’s time to try to kill it, and one thing that’s interesting is how cleanly it breaks down as a disagreement between operatives and wonks.

The bloggers who are focused on political organizing and pulling Dems to the left mostly seem to want to kill the bill, while the wonkier types want to salvage it because they think it contains real reform and can act as a foundation for further achievements.

All I know is that I have a headache.

17 thoughts on “Time to Kill the Bill?

  1. I don’t think so. If nothing else it pisses off Republicans. That’s what we’re reduced to – the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Whatever Lieberman is for I AM SO AGAINST. I’m going to lie on the floor and hold my breath now. Can we has Canada style health care yet?

  2. Somehow we must reduce the amount we, as a nation, pay for health care. If we are fully owned by the insurance companies, the end is much closer than I thought it was.

    Clinton started us off on the big push toward globalization. Bush put us chin deep in debt and, now, we are about to fall over the edge of the cliff.

    Maybe the next group of people that attempt an experiment like this will be able to learn from our mistakes.

  3. You know, disagreements over detail aside for a second, could someone explain to me why a bill that’s much more expansive than the one Dean was proposing 6 years ago isn’t good enough all of a sudden?

  4. My motto for many decades has been, “Fifty percent of something is better than one hundred percent of nothing.”

    Politics is the art of compromise or the art of the possible.

    Take what ever it is that you can get and after Obama signs it into law, kick Joe out of the Dem caucus.

  5. Silver makes sense. Anybody who reads this link will see that. It is the kind of presentation that gets the point across to people. The center of the three columns is the one that shows what happens if we just drift along as we are. It is not an acceptable path. We have to get something done.

  6. My guess is that it passes (most of the people who will actually have a vote on it have already moved on), and that 6 months from now, most of the “kill the bill” folks will be doing their best to pretend they didn’t say that.

    The ideological fight is over, and the progressive side won. Of course it ain’t perfect. Hollywood endings just don’t happen anywhere but Hollywood.

  7. I’m not convinced we should kill the bill, but I am sure the Dems need to change the locks on a couple of senators so they can’t go home again. We all know who they are.

  8. Politics is live theatre – favorable reviews mean you get re-elected. Bad reviews mean you have to work for a living.

    Act One – Play this out fully so no one doubts that Joe joined the GOP, despite being in the minority, to kill this bill. Put the compromise legislation (which I don’t like) with the provisions Joe said he will vote against – up for a vote. Fully and totally brand the GOP as the party of NO. Make sure everyone understands who gets credit for 40,000 Americans who will die for lack of health coverage every year.

    Act 2 – Put back in a full and vital public option and pass the bill under reconciliation.

    Act 3 – Strip Lieberman of everything but bathroom privileges.

    Act Two does not work without Act One – if you want decent reviews in 2010.

    Thiw will require that Harry grow a spine. I will contribute to his re-election – if he has the cohones to invoke reconciliation. He could go nuclear and not suffer from voter anger – if he plays the theatrical aspect right.

  9. The senator from Israel will kill the bill, guaranteed. He still has not given his “blessing” yet, he says he is waiting for the CBO score, which is what he said 3 days ago when the Medicare buy in was still breathing. Joe and Hadassah will not disappoint the big money interests they have sold themselves to.

  10. Doug Hughes, Liberman is over 60, stripping his bathroom privileges is key to defeating him!
    No more tinkle time for Liberman!

  11. Doug Hughes is right on. The Senate 60 vote pony show was never going to be any other way. This has to happen by reconciliation and it has to be because Joe Lieberman and the Republicans killed any other option.

  12. The merged bill is unknown.

    The dems are not very strong on keeping the things that benefit Americans based on their rapid capitulation on well just about everything so far. Lieberman, Snowe, Collins and Landrieu will not support a bill that helps Americans very much. Republicans will not support anything that helps any Americans.

    The hope is that down the road someday, someway it will be improved. Knight in shining armor crap if you ask me because this generation of adults in power is nothing but an albatross to the human race.

  13. “. This has to happen by reconciliation ”

    Just to be clear, everyone does realize that:

    a) the regulatory reform aspects of the bill are ineligible for the reconciliation process

    b) the reconcilliation bill would be managed by Kent Conrad (D-Blue Cross Blue Shield)


  14. Good points, Jackson.

    If regulatory aspects of the bill had to be split off and passed separately, that’s fine with me.

    2) If Leiberman becomes the focus of ALL the anger of the Democratic party (not just progressives) for being the one guy who killed health care – how eager will Conrad be to replace him as the most vilified man in the Senate?

    3) If it looks like Conrad won’t serve up a liberal bill to pass by reconciliation, can Reid replace him?

    I’ve never pretended to have all the answers, but if the Democrats will FOCUS on the PR aspect of protecting the lives of 40,000 Americans who would otherwise needlessly die for lack of a good bill – they could take off the gloves and fight bare-knucked and NOT lose the respect of the voters. There’s something happening here that incumbents fear – they (Reid, leriberman & Conrad) could be INDIVIDUALLY branded as the guy who fumbed the ball on the 1-yard line in the last seconds of the big game.

    THis is not what they want to be famous for. (I’m not convinced that Leiberman has the nuts to vote against the bill – he’s planning on redsigning it to suit his individual taste. If we don’t give him that, his ‘Nae’ vote is anything but certain.

  15. Strip Lieberman of everything but bathroom privileges.

    Yeah, and they should install a pay toilet for his use.. He’s so concerned about the cost of a health bill while he eagerly votes to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan..Reduce some of the bloat in our senseless over the top military/defense spending and perhaps there’ll be enough savings to invest in the lives of ordinary human beings.

    Oh, Lieberman thinks that spending for health care is not “necessary”…That’s because his sorry ass is covered to the max at taxpayer expense, but the rest of us who are subject to financial ruin can go shit in our hats.

  16. “If it looks like Conrad won’t serve up a liberal bill to pass by reconciliation, can Reid replace him?”

    No. Reorganizing committees without a vacancy (so if Senator X resigns and frees up a chair, the next ranking member moves up to his chair), requires passing a completely new Organizing Resolution that the entire Senate has to vote on, and yes it’s subject to the filibuster. So even if the rest of the Democratic caucus was unanimous in wanting to replace Conrad in this hypothetical, Conrad+40 Republicans could filibuster the OR.

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