Washington’s blizzard may have stalled work on Capitol Hill yesterday, but it hasn’t kept bloggers from taking stock of health reform’s political future.
Heritage’s Conn Carroll thinks President Barack Obama sent mixed messages in his press conference yesterday: “But more importantly, if we are to take the President at his word, and believe him when he says he wants to prevent a government takeover of health care, then he should know that his plan is the exact wrong direction to go.”
FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver parses polls of Congressional Democrats and concludes:
The near-term political case for passing health care, again, is not that the bill is magically going to become popular over the next eight months. Rather, it’s that the Democrats are already in such bad shape among independents — partly, no doubt, because of their bungled handling of what has become an unpopular health care bill — that they may as well go ahead and give their base something to get excited about. Seriously, the Democrats’ approval rating among independents in 19 percent. What more do they have to lose?
Ezra Klein concurs with Silver that the public opinion supports moving forward on the health care bills, but cautions: ”
The answer for Democrats, of course, is that they need to get their people back in the game, and that means making them feel like their team might actually win. No one stays till the ninth inning when it seems that their side has stopped trying to catch up. So c’mon, Democrats. You know what you need to do. Pass. The. Bill. And keep looking like you want to be bipartisan while you do it.
Reason’s Peter Suderman thinks Republicans have backed themselves into bit of a corner by recently protesting Medicare cuts. Suderman thinks Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan have “legitimate plans” to address health care, “Yet legitimacy only goes so far when much of the rest of the party seems less interested in workable policy and more interested in short-term political advantage.”
Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky comments on the buzz that Republican Sen. Judd Gregg could be an ally for Obama in negotiating compromise: Despite Gregg’s instance that Democrats need to ‘reset‘ health care talks by abandoning ‘the House or Senate-passed partisan bills,’ his health care plan actually resembles core elements of the Senate-passed bill.” Volsky makes a table showing which of Gregg’s ideas are included in the Senate bill.
And The New Health Dialogue’s Julie Barnes reports on physician wonk Atul Gawande’s speech to the National Health Policy Conference Tuesday. According to Barnes, Gawande focused on the need for better organization in medicine, saying, “given the realities of our complicated treatments and procedures, we need simple, systematic solutions that acknowledge and prevent the repetitive patterns of medical errors.”