Health Care Reform's Last Chance?

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by Patrick Appel

Krauthammer's take on the health care bill:

This is [the] signature achievement he has promised. If he doesn't have it, if he doesn't have a bill, any bill, at the end of the year, his presidency is going to be seriously damaged, and all the mystique will disappear. Which is why...I'm absolutely sure that at the end of the year, he will have a bill. It will have the words "health-care reform" on it. It will be extremely watered down: All of the ballast that the Blue Dogs were protesting against, including, I'm sure, the public plan, is going to be thrown overboard.

And it will be a very weak version of what we have now, probably even harmlesswhich will be a great American achievement. But he's going to have something. He won't have it in August, but he will have to have it at the end of the year.

I'm more optimistic about the bill's chances, but we'll see, won't we? If Democrats can't pass a meaningful bill with all their current political advantages, I'm not sure how it will ever get done. Healthcare is projected to take up an increasing share of GDP. The bigger the industry gets, the more difficult it gets to appease special interests and get a bill passed. If you think that the health care lobby is a barrier to reform now, wait until it takes up 20 or 30 or 40 percent of GDP.

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