After the toughest week yet for health reform, leading Democrats are warning that the party likely will have to accept major compromises to get a bill passed this year – perhaps even dropping a proposal to create a government-run plan that is almost an article of faith among some liberals.
With August dominated by angry faces and raised voices at town hall meetings, influential Democrats began laying the groundwork for the fall, particularly with the party's liberal base, saying they may need to accept a less-than-perfect bill to achieve health reform this year.
"Trying to hold the president's feet to the fire is fine, but first we have to win the big argument," former President Bill Clinton said Thursday at the Netroots Nation convention, a gathering of liberal activists and bloggers who will prove most difficult to convince. "I am pleading with you. It is OK with me if you want to keep everybody honest. . . . But try to keep this thing in the lane of getting something done. We need to pass a bill and move this thing forward."
“I want us to be mindful we may need to take less than a full loaf,” he said after recounting the political troubles that followed his failed reform effort in 1994.
They sent Bubba out to do damage control....be worried... and Politico continues with this:
Jettisoning the public plan has always been one option, and even Obama has signaled for weeks that he would consider alternatives to a government insurance plan, which moderate Democratic senators have yet to embrace and nearly all Republicans oppose. And in the face of public resistance to Obama’s plans, some top Democrats have begun to talk more openly about the possibility of compromise on a bill.
Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, said twice this week that he was open to dropping the public plan to pass a bill. “We are determined to get a bill to the floor. It doesn't have to be a perfect bill. I don't want this process filibustered to failure,” he said.
Don't give up the fight....let them know once and for all we want real reductions in spending before some cockamamie increase in healthcare spending...real reform, not more govt. intrusion.
Baucus already has drawn fire from liberals for working too closely with Republicans on a compromise bill – and Obama’s embrace seemed designed to provide him some political cover to keep those bipartisan negotiations going in September.
In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still committed to the public option, Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said. Progressives point to the fact that four out of five congressional committees that have passed reform legislation have included a public plan – with Baucus’ bill still in the works.
Asked whether Democrats were still committed to the public plan, one congressional source said, “Democrats can count to 60 and know that what plays in blue states doesn't always play across America. Everyone has learned the lesson of the failures of Hillarycare and knows that getting health care done is more important than drawing a line in the sand.”
Indeed, the whole notion of a public plan makes some moderate Democrats so nervous that they won’t even talk about it. Asked whether he supports the public option, Virginia Democratic Sen. Jim Webb said, “Depending on what else is in, yeah I do at the moment. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
Folks, they want to trojan horse this, or they want to incrementalize it over time. Don't let them. Beat this back again like we did with Hillarycare. Now is not the time to go wobbly.