Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Calming Down on Massachusetts and Healthcare Reform

Ezra Klein, voice of reason:
To state some of the arguments of my earlier post more succinctly, the short-term danger of a Scott Brown victory is not Scott Brown in the Senate, or even 41 Republicans in the Senate. It's Democrats freaking out and abandoning the House bill. But on the merits, this is just absurd. If health-care reform was a good idea last week, it's a good idea next week -- and just as feasible.

The bill has left the Senate, can be passed by the House, and can be tweaked using the budget reconciliation process -- which is not some wild idea, given that Democrats initially considered running the whole bill through reconciliation. Nor is a Brown victory some national referendum on health-care reform: This is a special election in Massachusetts where a bad Democratic candidate has insulted Red Sox fans no less than twice. If anyone thinks Ted Kennedy would lose this election or vote to filibuster this bill, they've not said so aloud.

Finally, Brown opposes the national health-care reform bill even as he supports the virtually-identical Massachusetts health-care reform (the main difference between the two is that the national bill is more conservative, with more cost controls). His candidacy, as Jonathan Cohn points out, is evidence that health-care reform is popular once implemented, and becomes an article of faith even among Republicans....

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