With the summer recess over, President Obama will address a joint session of Congress tomorrow night, in which he'll restate his case for passing sweeping health care reform legislation this fall. In today's Sparring Opinions we're comparing two op-eds that examine what's to come in the health care debate and how Obama's speech will affect negotiations.
Rich Baehr, chief political correspondent for the American Thinker, laments in Pajamas Media that the president and the Democrats won't consider tort reform or the value of market forces in making insurance more affordable. He views some level of reform as misguided but inevitable:
"The president will try to calm the nation, drive away their fears (which he will claim are due mainly to conservative scare mongers), and provide some soothing music that all will be well or better if the nation just follows his lead. This is nonsense. The odds of a big package passing at this point are, I think, slightly better than 50-50, given the Democrats’ control in Congress and the desire not to embarrass Obama with a big defeat. The odds of passage for a more incremental approach (which will still not address any fundamental cost problem, but will not cost as much) are much higher."
Jonathan Cohn, The New Republic's health care blogger, agrees that reform legislation will likely pass, but focuses on how progressive the final bill will be. If the Democrats can't muster enough Republican support, approving reform will become a "high-risk-high-reward strategy":
"Since reconciliation means passing a bill with just fifty senators supporting it, the group of interests to satisfy becomes narrower--potentially allowing for a bolder, more progressive bill. That's the reward ... But the greatest risk with reconciliation is that the process produces a weak bill, an incomplete one, or, in the very worst case, a counter-productive one--not that it fails to produce any bill at all. The Democratic Party isn’t necessarily the bravest. (If it was, it’d have passed reform already.) But it’s also not the dumbest. Failing to pass a bill when they have the numbers would be politically suicidal, just like it was in the 1990s. Having committed themselves to passing legislation, they now must follow through."
Whose assessment do you find most insightful? Make your voice heard -- add your review to these to stories:
• Obama's health care speech a high-stakes political game - Pajamas Media
-- Derek Hawkins