Those who followed health reform in 2007 recognized that any legislative proposal has three proving grounds: not just an executive, but both houses of the legislature. While much has been written about the U.S. Senate, both as an obstacle (60 votes!), and as a leader in shaping policy with Sens. Baucus and Kennedy, some new articles give some insight into the other arenas:
The powerful chairmen and subcommittee chairs of the House of Representatives–mostly Californians like Waxman, Miller, Stark, etc.–are working together to produce one health reform bill from the House, according to Robert Pear at the New York Times. As reported also by Ezra Klein at The American Prospect, and overheard at the White House Forum on health reform, there is some common framework, including “shared responsibility,” including that of individuals and employers, as well as a choice of public or private plans. There’s lots of details in how that would be crafted, but it’s a start.
Also Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic does some reporting about the internal conversations in the White House that led the Administration to continue to emphasize health reform as a top priority this year, and to set aside real money to invest in it. The short answer is that the commitment keeps coming back to the President himself, who continually reasserts his interest despite concerns from his advisors.
Finally, the action isn’t just in DC, as outside forces impact the federal conversation. There’s my article at The New Republic’s The Treatment about the real prospects of Healthy San Francisco helping spur reform not just in other states, but at the national level.