Republicans appear dead-set on repealing the Democrats' signature health care overhaul, and a "handful of moderate Senate Democrats" could help them, says Manu Raju in Politico. At least four Democrats facing tough re-election battles in 2012 say they are open to changing the law, especially the controversial individual mandate at its heart. Four Democrats plus the Senate's 47 Republicans equals a simple majority. Once the tinkering begins, will the whole reform package collapse — with the help of Democrats?
Yes, at least some Dems have seen the light: With courts threatening to strike down the unpopular mandate (which requires all Americans who can afford to buy health insurance to do so), and possibly the whole law, it's no surprise these moderate Democrats are "looking for a Plan B," says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. But what they'll find is that "ObamaCare simply doesn't work, either economically or legally, in any form." Once that realization takes hold, there should be a bipartisan push for "real, market-based reforms," and ObamaCare is toast.
"New threat to ObamaCare: Senate Democrats"
Scrapping the mandate would help Dems: Replacing the individual mandate with a similar provision that discourages free-riders "wouldn't be particularly hard," says Ezra Klein in The Washington Post. What the moderate Democrats are really doing is separating the Republicans who are serious about reforming the law from those engaged in "bad-faith discussion" aimed soley at killing it. Democrats as a whole may not like what replaces the mandate, but they should welcome any GOP "buy-in."
"Democrats should welcome reform of the reform"
These Democrats are setting a "trap": The GOP should be clear that it's all or nothing, says Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post. President Obama's welcoming of efforts to fix the law is a "brilliant political maneuver" that could draw Republicans into a bipartisan strategy of "'fix and save' instead of 'repeal and replace.'" They also could "inadvertently help vulnerable Democrats get reelected," and if the GOP doesn't win the Senate in 2012, repeal is dead.
"Fix or repeal? Obama's health-care trap"
The moderates are making fools of themselves: GOP opposition will ensure there's not "any substantial changes" to the law until after the 2012 election, or until the Supreme Court weighs in, says Kevin Drum in Mother Jones. So this maneuver by the four Democrats "reeks of desperation." I get why they want to "demonstrate their moderate bona fides in order to shore up their right flank before the 2012 election," but tinkering with health care? What could they possibly be thinking?
"Centrist Dems plot against the mandate"