Feature

Health care: Democrats go it alone

Will Obama give up on winning over Republicans and try passing reform without them?

"It took a little while," said Alex Koppelman in Salon, "but the White House has apparently read all the available tea leaves and decided that it's not worth going after Republican votes on healthcare." (watch Democratic Rep. Barney Frank spar with a critic) According to a New York Times report, the Obama administration is preparing to go it alone, and focus on getting enough congressional support from other Democrats to get a health-care reform bill passed. "Still, this doesn't mean the end of negotiations over healthcare legislation, and it doesn't mean that passing a bill will be easy."

There's no reason it should be easy, said Jonah Goldberg in National Review. The opposition to ObamaCare isn't isolated to a handful of "Neanderthals" on the far right as the White House "and its cheerleaders in and out of the media would have you believe. The president's ideas for health-care reform have been "tanking in the polls" recently because they're unpopular with most Americans.

The Obama administration is hinting it's willing to make significant compromises, said Carl Leubsdorf in The Dallas Morning News, such as retreating on the "public option" -- a government-run insurance alternative to compete with private health insurance. So the debate seems to be entering its "end game." There is more negotiating ahead -- it will be tricky getting House Democrats to drop the public option, for example -- but in the end the Democrats must realize that, after promising health-care reform for so long, failing to deliver now would "be disastrous." 

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