But there is a little bit of a break today, enough so that we can ask, "What do to with Joe Lieberman?" Steve Benen speculates.
TPM analyzes the Final Four on the Dem side of the aisle who are standing in the way of meaningful reform.
Meanwhile, Rahm Emmanuel has assigned some required reading for the Dems. Let's hope they read very carefully indeed:
Take that, Conservadems!Just a few days after David Broder argued the Democratic health care reform plan may not cut costs enough, David Brooks makes a similar case. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the NYT columnist argues, "Instead of reducing costs, the bills in Congress would probably raise them." Brooks concedes that Dems "have tried to foster efficiencies," but he doesn't expect them to succeed in "fundamentally bend[ing] the cost curve."
Perhaps the Davids should take the time to read this Ron Brownstein piece, published over the weekend, on the ways in which the reform plan would cut costs. The White House has been circulating Brownstein's item, and for good reason -- it's an important piece.
When I reached Jonathan Gruber on Thursday, he was working his way, page by laborious page, through the mammoth health care bill Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had unveiled just a few hours earlier. Gruber is a leading health economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is consulted by politicians in both parties. He was one of almost two dozen top economists who sent President Obama a letter earlier this month insisting that reform won't succeed unless it "bends the curve" in the long-term growth of health care costs. And, on that front, Gruber likes what he sees in the Reid proposal. Actually he likes it a lot.
"I'm sort of a known skeptic on this stuff," Gruber told me. "My summary is it's really hard to figure out how to bend the cost curve, but I can't think of a thing to try that they didn't try. They really make the best effort anyone has ever made. Everything is in here....I can't think of anything I'd do that they are not doing in the bill. You couldn't have done better than they are doing."
Gruber may be especially effusive. But the Senate blueprint, which faces its first votes tonight, also is winning praise from other leading health reformers like Mark McClellan, the former director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services under George W. Bush and Len Nichols, health policy director at the centrist New America Foundation. "The bottom line," Nichols says, "is the legislation is sending a signal that business as usual [in the medical system] is going to end."
Speaking of must-reads, Digby found another one:
I think the Cons and the Conservadems need to spend their holiday weekend doing nothing but reading that report and the previous column. As many times as it takes for them to finally get it. Not that some of them ever will. We can but try.This must-read report in the New England Journal Of Medicine lays out the facts about the cost to society in lost lives, productivity and money for failing to assure that everyone is covered by health insurance. And the costs of treating them late in preventable emergency situations is far, far higher than it would otherwise be. This should be obvious, but it's not.
The White House hits back at the gun lobby. You'll be utterly shocked, shocked, I tell you, to learn that the reform bill contains no cunning plans to disarm all the gun nuts.
And, finally, you knew there'd be a stupid Con trick coming. Here it is:
If the Dems let these fucktards get away with that, I'm afraid there's no hope for sane, even somewhat effective rule in this country. Not in our lifetimes.The strategy for congressional Republicans isn't exactly a secret.
Even if a [health care reform] bill ultimately passes, Republicans hope to delay that moment until well into 2010 -- when all seats in the House and one-third of those in the Senate will be contested -- then make the case to voters that Democrats took their focus off the economy and an unemployment rate above 10%.
Got that? Congressional Republicans are desperate to delay progress on health care reform, while congressional Democrats want to complete work on health care and move onto a jobs bill. If GOP tactics are successful, Democratic efforts on jobs will be delayed.
At which point, Republicans will say, "Why haven't Democrats done more to address unemployment?"