There's a funny thing that's happening with health care politics:
- See, “moderates” of both parties want to be seen as pro-private sector. They certainly don't want to be seen as antagonistic to the insurance industry.
- They also want to be seen as fiscally moderate, stingy with the taxpayer dollar.
These two things are not compatible. A plan with a strong public option would save $1 trillion over 10 years. You cannot serve two masters: You can either serve the taxpayers and premium-payers — the broad general public; or, you can serve the lobbyists of one particular industry. You cannot claim to want to save money in health care reform, and still be against a strong public option.
And let's also be clear: You can either cut costs from the consumer end (less coverage), or from providers (paying less). The way the Senate is going about things, it's all from the consumer end. Why?
This is our era's test case in how politics affects policy. Judging by the polls, the public is way, way ahead of our political establishment. Now we will see if we've turned the corner from special-interest politics, towards a grassroots-dominated politics. Now we will see if the public can shake up the Senate into doing the right thing. Now we will see if a grassroots-elected President can use his considerable leverage to get this thing done, finally.
As JimC has mentioned, Democrats got elected to reform health care. That is their raison d'etre in office right now. And if “moderate” Dems in the Senate scotch health care reform, *it is Democrats* who will suffer — quite possibly including the obstructionists.