President Obama says the Senate should not try to rush through health
care reform before Scott Brown, the new senator from Massachusetts,
arrives to deprive Democrats of their filibuster-proof majority.
"People in Massachusetts spoke. He's got to be part of that process."
So what are the alternatives?
- A Scaled-Back Bill The Wall Street Journal's Adamy and Meckler write, "President Barack Obama suggested he's open to Congress passing a scaled-back health-care bill, potentially sacrificing much of his signature policy initiative." What would it take to tempt at least one Republican to support reform? "A pared-down bill could still restrict insurance companies from denying care and overcharging customers, but would likely jettison a mandate requiring everyone buy insurance."
- Pass As-Is, Amend Later If the House accepts the Senate version word-for-word, it's a done deal with no further Senate votes needed. Rep. Barney Frank, initially calling reform doomed, now supports this approach. Washington Monthly's Steve Benen agrees, calling it "the most obvious resolution." House Democrats would have to hold their noses and vote to approve the Senate version, but could later pass additional legislation to amend it more to their liking. House Dems would have to be convinced that Obama and Senate Dems will back them on the later changes.
- House ConservaDems Could Sink it The Weekly Standard's John McCormack thinks Conservative Democrat Bart Stupak, who voted for the House bill but opposes the Senate bill for its softer anti-abortion provisions, could rally enough fellow conservative House Democrats to kill health care reform. "Pelosi has at best 216 votes right now--and Stupak should be able to bring along about 10 more of those 216 votes due to the abortion issue," he writes.
- Temper, Temper Left blogger Matthew Yglesias fumes at "angry liberal" House Democrat Raul Grijalva, who wants to kill the bill in order to punish Senators for their more conservative bill. "Raul Grijalva Flirting With History's Greatest Monster Status," he writes. "[i]f Grijalva feels the need to take out some anger on the Senate, he should pass health care then go find a particularly annoying Senator and punch him in the face. Just--bam!--pop him."