"An Amazing Thing To Watch"

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Harry Reid weighed in on health care today, saying he'd advance a health care bill with a public option that allows states to opt out of the program. It seemed the surest way to hold together a coalition that could support a bill. The move must mean that Reid thinks he can keep 60 members of the Democratic caucus together to support bringing the bill to the Senate floor even if some vote against the measure on final passage. We'll see where all this goes in the coming days. Can Reid hold his people together? What happens when it's married to a House bill? What comes out of the conference between the two? For those of us who thought health care either wouldn't pass or the final bill would be much more stripped down, it's been a pretty amazing thing to watch, a healthy reminder that Washington still has the capacity to surprise. Paul Krugman pushes the argument forward today by optimistically arguing that a final bill, however flawed, is likely to work--that is, it will cut costs, get most everyone insured, etc. I guess I'm skeptical again about the laws of unintended consequences and that a bill of this size will take a lot of repair work no matter how complete it seems upon passage. But passage of something big and substantial now seems much more likely than I ever expected.  

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

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