Bloggers continue to regroup after a major boomerang in the health care debate this week with the election of a Republican to the Senate from Massachusetts.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein writes, “the part of this that was predictable was the press building a narrative around either success or failure. It’s Democrats who appear to have chosen — and I use that word advisedly — failure rather than success. Though I imagine that if Barack Obama could actually pull the party together and convince Congress to pass the Senate bill with modifications, that would get a fair number of stories about the back-from-the-brink-of-death administration.”
Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky argues that if Massachusetts Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown “believes that Americans should not have to finance other states’ reform efforts, he should return the federal dollars that subsidize Massachusetts’ Medicaid expansion,” which is estimated at $385 million annually.
Looking toward a scaled-down effort, Time’s Karen Tumulty says, “The lesson has been that, unless you have pretty much everyone covered, insurance reforms won’t work.”
Heritage’s Rory Cooper thinks conservatives have plenty of ideas. He says it’s “critical that conservatives continue to offer alternative solutions to the health care and entitlement problems that our nation faces,” and offers a handful of current priorities, such as like state-based experimentation with reform.
But The Treatment’s Harold Pollack is still fighting: he and law professor Timothy Jost penned a letter — that attracted the signatures of more than 40 other health policy experts — channeling Winston Churchill: “The Massachusetts election was a setback. Democrats still have large majorities in both the Senate and the House. We’ve heard worse. It’s time to act.”
Indeed, The National Review Online’s Robert Costa speaks to Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., who says Democrats are looking at a reconciliation bill strategy, and continues, “I’ve spoken with many Democrats and the message is this: They’re not ready to give up. They’ve waited their entire adult lives for this moment, and they aren’t ready to let 100,000 pesky votes in Massachusetts get in the way of fulfilling their destiny. They’ll look at every option and spend the next four or five days figuring it out,” Ryan tells Costa.