We’ll have more reports about health reform from DC through the week. But one message: this is *totally* doable.
There is a path for health reform. Some call it “two-step,” others call it “Senate plus reconciliation.” But it’s the same path, and perhaps the only path: The House passes the Senate bill, and a package of improvements that would be passed by the Senate through a limited budget reconciliation process. This still takes two final floor votes, needing 218 votes in the House, and 51 in the Senate.
This is a situation where the best policy and best politics align.
We need comprehensive health reform, and failure to pass such a broad reform (or passing a dramatically scaled back version of reform) won’t begin to solve basic issues: getting insurers to compete based on cost and quality, rather than avoiding sick people; having people pay for coverage based on what they can afford, rather than how sick they are.
But other options are also politically problematic. Small reforms and/or starting anew wouldn’t work, would not provide the necessary political benefit, and would bring up all sorts of new issues, new opponents, and take much more time and effort.
That’s the procedural path is clear. The only question is the political will.