I am now of the mind that the rage against the health care reform compromise was premature. Not only has it caused unnecessary fracturing of the liberal/progressive/netroots/whatever the hell you want to call it coalition, but it has put those folks in position to receive all the blame if the bill ultimately fails. The reality on the ground, as it were, is that there is no bill. Senator Reid has yet to corral 60 egotistical narcissists Senators to support whatever it is we’re arguing about.
The latest in the line of ridiculous arguments against compromise (version 15) is Ben Nelson’s concern about Medicaid. He insists that it’s an underfunded mandate, despite the fact that the federal government picks up 93% of the cost. This is, of course, on top of his monomaniacal obsession with abortion. Nelson has stated that he’s willing to derail any health care reform bill that does not, by and large, eliminate Roe v. Wade rights for anyone who gets even a penny’s worth of federal dollars (Hyde Amendment on steroids). There are some who think Reid should call Nelson’s bluff, but I’m not convinced Nelson won’t join a GOP filibuster.
Given the trajectory of health care reform, it’s only a matter of time before one of the other creepy “centrists” pipes up with his/her own demands. And, why shouldn’t they? Surely they saw how willing Senator Reid and the White House were to acquiesce to Holy Joe’s demands not merely in the first instance, but at every illogical twist and turn. I fully expect Bayh, Landrieu and/or Lincoln to find something else objectionable.
And that is why the collection of folks who have vociferously opposed the latest compromise should have held their powder. The bill will invariably get worse before it’s voted upon, if it ever even makes it to the floor. And when the near inevitable failure occurs, the opponents could merely sit back and say that they told you so while avoiding recriminations or assigning of blame.