Liberals in revolt over health care compromise

Rick Moran
It was expected that liberals would balk once word leaked out that both the House and Senate were looking to water down or even eliminate the public option in the health care reform bill. But it could be that both Pelosi and Reid underestimated the depth of opposition as well as overestimating their own abilities to deal with what is now an open revolt by the powerful Progressive Caucus in both chambers.

The liberal's gripe - that Blue Dogs have taken over the process - is true, as Glenn Thrush in Politico points out:

Liberals, Hispanics and African-American members - Pelosi's most loyal base of support - are feeling betrayed after House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) reached an agreement with four of seven Blue Dogs on his committee who had been bottling up the bill over concerns about cost.

The compromise, which still must be reconciled with competing House and Senate versions, would significantly weaken the public option favored by liberals by delinking reimbursement rates to Medicare.

"Waxman made a deal that is unacceptable," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), one of about 10 progressives who met repeatedly with Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Wednesday.

"We signed a pledge to reject any plan that doesn't include a robust public option, and this plan doesn't have a robust public option," he added.

By sundown Wednesday, the outcry from the left had become so loud that Waxman was forced to scrap a scheduled markup of the compromise measure. He rescheduled the meeting for Thursday morning and convened a mass question-and-answer session for a deeply divided Democratic Caucus - a meeting that is expected to be extremely contentious.

Fortunately for the country, liberals are apparently willing to short circuit the whole process just because their radical notions of reform gave their more moderate colleagues the willies.

The real danger is that the current talk of compromise with the Blue Dogs will actually yield some kind of bastardized version of health care reform that may be even worse than what the liberals want. That's because the bill will most likely contain contradictory elements, since it will be a product of several different Democratic factions in the House and Senate.

Worse, such a compromise may attract a few GOP votes. Republicans should distance themselves from this disaster as much as possible, not embrace it. Let the country know that screwing up health care was the Democrat's idea and their idea alone. The bill is bad policy, bad politics, and bad for the country. No sense in climbing aboard a train destined to crash and burn.
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It was expected that liberals would balk once word leaked out that both the House and Senate were looking to water down or even eliminate the public option in the health care reform bill. But it could be that both Pelosi and Reid underestimated the depth of opposition as well as overestimating their own abilities to deal with what is now an open revolt by the powerful Progressive Caucus in both chambers.

The liberal's gripe - that Blue Dogs have taken over the process - is true, as Glenn Thrush in Politico points out:

Liberals, Hispanics and African-American members - Pelosi's most loyal base of support - are feeling betrayed after House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) reached an agreement with four of seven Blue Dogs on his committee who had been bottling up the bill over concerns about cost.

The compromise, which still must be reconciled with competing House and Senate versions, would significantly weaken the public option favored by liberals by delinking reimbursement rates to Medicare.

"Waxman made a deal that is unacceptable," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), one of about 10 progressives who met repeatedly with Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Wednesday.

"We signed a pledge to reject any plan that doesn't include a robust public option, and this plan doesn't have a robust public option," he added.

By sundown Wednesday, the outcry from the left had become so loud that Waxman was forced to scrap a scheduled markup of the compromise measure. He rescheduled the meeting for Thursday morning and convened a mass question-and-answer session for a deeply divided Democratic Caucus - a meeting that is expected to be extremely contentious.

Fortunately for the country, liberals are apparently willing to short circuit the whole process just because their radical notions of reform gave their more moderate colleagues the willies.

The real danger is that the current talk of compromise with the Blue Dogs will actually yield some kind of bastardized version of health care reform that may be even worse than what the liberals want. That's because the bill will most likely contain contradictory elements, since it will be a product of several different Democratic factions in the House and Senate.

Worse, such a compromise may attract a few GOP votes. Republicans should distance themselves from this disaster as much as possible, not embrace it. Let the country know that screwing up health care was the Democrat's idea and their idea alone. The bill is bad policy, bad politics, and bad for the country. No sense in climbing aboard a train destined to crash and burn.
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