As Washington awaits the State of the Union address this week and congressional decisions on the health overhaul legislation, many bloggers are focused on what to do if reform is revived or are involved in the post-mortem.
Karen Tumulty at Time magazine was in Massachusetts to watch Republican Scott Brown campaign successfully for the Senate seat formerly held by Edward Kennedy. She found health care front and center on voters’ concerns. “They were unsettled by the mounting costs of their state’s program and even more so by the process they saw going on in Washington. Rather than being drafted with the common good in mind, they said, the health bill was turning into a series of backroom deals. … As a veteran of the Kennedy political operation put it, ‘They think there’s a lot coming out of Washington — and none of it is for them.’”
Ezra Klein offers a different take on such backroom deals — with the help of one of his readers who says other major legislation, including the Clean Air Act, included major concessions to secure votes. “The Nelson deal may be galling, but the media has done the public a real disservice by pretending that it’s rare.”
In terms of moving forward, Jeff Goldsmith, on the Health Care Blog, offers a suggestion to President Barack Obama on what strategy to adopt for health reform: “The crucial thing is that the President must rigorously limit what’s in the bill to things that directly reduce the uninsured population with as little collateral fiddling as possible, or which create immediate, tangible benefits for people than can be explained in, at most, two PowerPoint slides, and do it in about 300 pages of legislation.”
Sam Stein at Huffington Post suggests Democrats want more White House involvement: “Frustration is mounting among Capitol Hill Democrats over what they say is the White House’s lack of direction in how to resolve a potentially crippling impasse in health care reform negotiations.”
But Keith Hennessy says some of the proposals for going forward don’t make sense. “Some in the House are floating the idea of splitting up either the House or Senate health bills into component parts and passing them individually. … This strategy does not work substantively.”
Tevi Troy on Critical Condition scolds Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., for suggesting that Democrats sought Republican contributions for the health package and instead praises the offer by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to work on a bill if the Democrats will start over again. “Durbin is making the mistake of confusing amendments, many of which are technical, with a serious discussion of the bill’s basic architecture. … In spurning McCain’s offer, Durbin is insisting on maintaining the same process that led to the Democrats’ embarrassing loss in Massachusetts last week.”
For something a little lighter, take a look at Tim Noah’s posting at Slate. He is running a contest for readers to come up with a “plausible path to revive” the legislation.