The Real Showdown

Ezra Klein's healthcare preview:

In the end, repeal will pass the House -- likely tomorrow -- and quickly die in the Senate. Then comes the more interesting phase of the fight over health-care reform: The GOP's effort at revision.

Republicans, who already know that repeal will fail, are preparing to begin the longer and more complex campaign to replace, rewrite, or simply undermine various parts of the bill. The relevant committees in the House will try to develop alternatives, while the GOP will look for Democrats willing to sign onto targeted attacks on the legislation. That will allow them to focus their energies on the parts of the legislation that are tough for Democrats to defend, rather than letting the Democrats force them to focus on the parts of the legislation that are easy for Democrats to defend. But this strategy has its own dangers: As the least popular bits of the bill are either successfully preserved or somehow changed, more and more of the bill's opponents will lose their reason for fighting the legislation.