In The New Republic, Jonathan Chait asks why so many people are outraged that Democrats may use the budget reconciliation process to pass a comprehensive health-care reform bill, when the reality is simpler and, in theory, far less controversial:
"There are a lot of thorny issues in American politics that require a great deal of concentrated attention to grasp. The controversy over budget reconciliation and health care is not one of them. It's pretty simple, and can be explained in thirty seconds or so. And yet large chunks of the political class seem unable to grasp it.
Before we turn to the principal subject of my latest condescending lecture on this topic, let's briefly review the situation here. Last year, some Democrats considered passing health care reform through budget reconciliation, which would only need a Senate majority. Other Democrats objected, arguing that, since reconciliation bills can only change taxes or spending, it would be very hard to pass a whole health care bill this way. All the features related to regulating insurance companies and setting up exchanges would be stricken out, and the result, as Kent Conrad put it, "would look like Swiss cheese." So Democrats pursued health care reform through the regular process, passing slightly different bills through the House and Senate."