What to Watch in the Health Care Debate

More

Amidst all the crazy health care negotiations, one thing to keep your eye on is this: Will the Senate Finance Committee come to dominate the process. Multiple congressional committees are working on health care, all with their own ideas. But the Senate Finance Committee is probably the most important to watch because its chairman, Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat, has vowed to produce a bipartisan bill. Other bills incorporate Republican amendments but that's not quite the same thing. Anyway, I bring all this up today because Baucus announced this afternoon that they have a bill that keeps the cost under $1 trillion and is all paid for--mostly through Medicare cuts. It eschews the so-called public option that Democrats and the administration consider so essential to reducing costs and getting insurance to the uninsured.

Intellectually, the public option still makes a lot of sense as a bludgeon to the insurance comapnies. But the Finance Committee version still feels like the one that'll emerge victorious from this Darwinian struggle. It's going to annoy a lot of Democrats but they could wind up signing on to it anyway.

In any event, it's worth thinking of health care not as a one shot deal but as an ongoing process. Medicare is still being modified 40 years later. The idea that we'd get to universal care in one year--even if it's one big year--was always a little unrealistic.

This process will go on for awhile, into the fall. But the Finance Committee version still feels like the one to watch. And the question is not whether we get full health reform this year but if we get some of it or none at all.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Matthew Cooper is a managing editor (White House) for National Journal.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The U.S. is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In