So it's not perfect. But these columnists agree that the Baucus bill, or something like it, is probably the best chance for health care reform anyone is going to get this year. Three takes on what to do with the flawed legislation.

  • Make it Stronger or it Will be Worse Than No Bill at All, Paul Krugman says at The New York Times. "The insurance industry, of course, loves the Baucus plan. Need we say more?" Krugman says the time for bipartisanship has long ago passed. "It would be disastrous if health care goes the way of the economic stimulus plan, earlier this year. As you may recall, that plan -- which was clearly too weak even as originally proposed -- was made even weaker to win the support of three Republican senators. If the same thing happens to health reform, progressives should and will walk away."
  • Pass the Bill For a Political Win, John Dickerson advises Dems at Slate. "So a long, slow, we're-trying-our-best-to-meet-them-halfway process may help Obama cement his appeal to independents. Even under the worst-case scenario--if all of this delay and outreach fails to attract a single Republican supporter--Obama can point to the Baucus bill process and say they were patient, endured the political hits during delay and tried to compromise."
  • The Bill Is Almost There, Ron Brownstein says at The Atlantic. "Baucus has advanced the historic Democratic cause of providing health security to all Americans by demonstrating that it can be compatible with fiscal responsibility and long-term cost control."
  • Forget the Republicans. Pass the Bill Now, USA Today warns Democrats. "For Republicans to insist on starting over at this point is disingenuous; 2010 is a congressional election year, when the chances for a bipartisan deal, or even a deal that unites Democrats, will be even more dismal."