The Will To Get Health Care Done

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Matt Tiabbi offers a skeptical (or realist?) view of why health care reform is stalling:

The reason a real health-care bill is not going to get passed is simple: because nobody in Washington really wants it. There is insufficient political will to get it done. It doesn't matter that it's an urgent national calamity, that it is plainly obvious to anyone with an IQ over 8 that our system could not possibly be worse and needs to be fixed very soon, and that, moreover, the only people opposing a real reform bill are a pitifully small number of executives in the insurance industry who stand to lose the chance for a fifth summer house if this thing passes.

We should note that it's not just a small number of industry execs opposing this bill: America's Health Insurance Plans has backed the overall reform project and is now running ads calling for a "bipartisan" plan...which Democrats may need anyway to get the moderate votes from their own party members in the Senate. Industry players are by and large on board with reform; they'll flip and go all-out against it if Congress comes up with a plan that's truly distasteful to them, beyond expectations...but that hasn't happened yet.


The cost of health care reform is what's riling conservative Democrats, the votes that are truly needed to pass something. It's the deficit projections they can't stomach, that they feel they can't take back to their districts. For them, there's a looming possibility of getting shouted down by menacing tea-partiers at town-hall meetings five miles away from their own houses--both this August and when they're running for reelection next summer.

If there's a problem of will, maybe it's the vocal conservatives, not insurance execs, who deserve the credit.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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